Crisis of Bordigism? Maybe, But Not a Crisis of the Italian Left, Damen

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The habit has caught on, especially among the Communists of other countries, and we could add, through theoretical inertia, of confusing the Italian Left with Bordigism, or rather, with the name of Bordiga and with theoretical formulations that characterise his personal thinking.

It has come about because this comrade was always singled out due to the fact that no-one else experienced such adulation and so much “betrayal”. In addition, his closest comrades were struck by his exceptional eloquence and theoretical elaboration, which stood out due to his wide knowledge and his gift of improvisation in the service of a technical, historical and philosophical education, which was wider than it was deep. We maintain that this prevented the comrades of the Left from acquiring a certain critical awareness and a continuity amongst themselves to form a solid core of struggle on an organisational level.

In the opposition to first Bolshevisation, and then Stalinism, Bordiga was submissive and inactive and took no initiative. From the Left’s removal from the leadership[1] until the partial re-awakening of his interest which occurred recently due to pressure from the most conscious part of our party, Bordiga appears as the fighter who chose to remain for almost thirty years under the crushing defeat of the collapse of the Third International, which was accompanied historically by the consolidation of Stalinism in Russia and around the world.

The round of “isms” (Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Bordigism), which correspond to the phase of reflux of the great experiences of each epoch, the hallmark of this or that “Church” which the epigones of the doctrine, or virtuosi of any tactical innovation always make issue of, thus dividing it off in a process of decline, if not degeneration.

The recent decades in the history of the parties linked to the fate of the Comintern confirm this view, and there are few who escape this contamination, this ideology of withdrawal, to remain solidly wedded to key ideas rather than to the personal work or claims of the “masters”.

Amongst these few are those of the Italian Left, who, being mostly in exile on French or Belgian territory, whilst others were imprisoned or confined on islands by fascism, were forced to openly distinguish themselves with the arbitrary and controversial name of “Bordigists”.

The precise object of this study is to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and we will do so not only by appealing to a general objectivity which in reality is always partial and subjective, despite its good intentions, but also to the unbroken and documented experience of those years. If the parties of the International have emphasised Bordigism as a specific position, “original” in its thinking and tactics, more than ourselves, this is due to the controversial and “biased” interests of the governing bodies of the Comintern[2], which systematically sought to identify and confuse the Italian Left with the personal thinking and positions of Bordiga.

Nevertheless, we must recognise that four-fifths of the theoretical work of this current we owe to Bordiga, and at least until 1923, he always contributed four-fifths of the political and organisational activity of this current.

That said; we need to see when and how Bordiga’s thinking really only expressed only his own views and, conversely, when one can say they have become part of the theoretical and tactical heritage of the Italian Left. That is to say, let’s see how far Stalinism, both in Italy and internationally, has come to identify Bordiga with the Left.

But first of all, we have to assess the work of a militant of the revolutionary vanguard from the point of view of their contribution, however important, to general economic, historical and theoretical issues, or largely political and tactical practical problems. We believe that this must be done in the most impersonal way, even when it is very personal. It must be considered in the sense that, in whatever epoch a revolutionary makes their theoretical contribution, whatever their name, they can only develop this work through instruments they take from the pool of scientific work accumulated by the class. They merely take up the themes identified by their predecessors which taken to a certain level of development, correspond to a certain degree of maturity of the working class, under the impulse of the stimuli and needs at that given moment in the life of capitalism. Revolutionary intellectuals must get used to stripping their personalities of any vestige of ‘culturalism’[3], the desire to put on themselves on a pedestal and gain personal success, following the bad habits of small town academics or cults like Freemasonry.

In this sense, owe to Marx another wise warning: that in the light of certain “Marxist” theories, Marx did not feel he was a Marxist.

We must sweep away once and for all that theoretical authoritarianism and that group mentality which makes one particular person infallible and the rest servile observers.

We wish to end this introduction with a statement, which for us is very important. The Italian Left took root in the fertile soil of a socialism tested by harsh, active experiences, full of lessons from the First World War. It embodied the revolutionary initiative of the first post-war period in continuity with a mature critical experience, and clarified its opposition, both explicitly and tacitly, against “Russian” guidance which was dominant in the Third International. It acted and still acts as a pole of attraction for the few residual forces still anchored to a class terrain and revolutionary struggle after the tragic dispersal of the unifying body which was the International, which passed bag and baggage over to imperialism and war.

And there are two ways to approach the formation of this left Marxist current, either by linking it to a political and theoretical consciousness related to the development of the events that led to the First World War, or to the analysis of this or that comrade or group. The former is a dialectical formulation consistent with Marxism, while the latter is a totally idealistic and subjective way to consider the role of individuals in the dynamics of class conflict.

The infancy of the Italian Left was characterised by abstentionism. A strange fate lay in wait for this fundamental idea; reality would subject it to harsh criticism and unexpected metamorphosis. This current was abstentionist, an abstentionism which operated on the theoretical and tactical terrain until the Livorno Congress (1921), from then until 1924, it agreed to participate in the elections with a more or less pronounced nostalgia for abstentionism.

This was a matter of surly and unpleasant polemics by the Stalinists, according to whom Bordiga had the tactical skill to compromise on the issue of abstention in return for the pittance which was party leadership. We would say that Bordiga never really developed the abstentionist theory in a structured and permanent fashion, so it was like one of those fruits which always remain a little bitter.

The poverty of Bordiga’s speech and the corresponding theses presented by the Italian delegation at the Second Congress of the International are notable for their negativity. They are only comparable to Lenin’s arguments urging participation in elections and electioneering “tout court”[4]. In Italy there were many more urgent problems demanding solutions than this waste of time over a stale argument and the one-sided practice of abstentionism, which in itself did not mean that the revolutionary path was a substitute for the parliamentary path, a position as one-sided and obsolete as the position favouring participation in elections which ended up confusing revolutionary parliamentarism with things like the workers’ government of Thuringia and Saxony. This represented a tragic end to the German and European revolutionary period and paved the way for Hitler.[5]

In this way we can clearly distinguish between the Italian Left on the one hand and Bordiga and certain Bordigists on the other, the Left has never defended a theoretical, moral or constitutional abstentionism. It was not afraid to participate in elections, and when it did defend abstention, it did so as a simple tactical expedient, which is particularly useful in the phases in which the proletariat is carried away by the electoral illusion, an educational way to express opposition to all aspects of parliamentarism. Similarly, it has never accepted or endorsed that other aspect of Bordigism’s participation in elections based on a purely quantitative and formal calculation. For the Left, what matters is the political struggle against the entire coalition of bourgeois parties, and not the number of votes that a movement like ours could obtain since, by its nature, it is destined to play no role in the field of bourgeois democracy.

In this respect, the Italian Left set out its precise theoretical and tactical features at the Imola meeting, when the Abstentionist Fraction was dissolved, and with even more precision in the fundamental theses of the constitution of the party at the Congresses of Livorno (1921) and Rome (1922).

Bordiga’s ability when it came to clarifying the tasks of the party, another aspect which raised the passions of certain sectors of the Communist International, would be irrelevant if not for the fact that it represents an example of this comrade’s ability to adapt and his theoretical instability, constantly ranging between his natural deterministic appreciation of the facts and a complacent dialectical evaluation taken from Marxism which he perceived and expressed in a deterministic manner, following the canons of positivist scientism, which he illegitimately employed.

So we can see that when the Italian Left disagrees with Bordiga, the origin of the disagreements is always in different ways of interpreting Marxism.

The policy developed by the party between the Livorno Congress and the Left’s ejection in 1923, represented the political ideology of our current. It is not only still ninety percent valid, but is the only one that has survived and endured the ideological and organisational disaster that befell Lenin’s International. The years 1924 and 1925 were a period of intense Bolshevisation of international parties, the changing of the leadership of the sections that were considered “infected” by leftism was the dramatic starting point. Opposition to this policy, which was secret in the Russian party, did not develop internationally, apart from the open complaint we made in creating the “The Committee of Entente”. This was unprecedented in the history of the Italian Left. For the first time it’s initiative took the form of a collective frontal assault by the rank and file, with Bordiga reluctantly being dragged along. This situation remained unchanged until the comrades of the Left were forced to take another initiative, to defend the theoretical contribution of Comrade Bordiga against Bordiga himself, now in voluntary retirement.

This bitter battle the Committee of Entente engaged in until the Lyon Congress (1926) was a real and timely alarm sounded over a policy imposed by the central organs of the International, and requires further examination in the light of the developments that followed. Anyway, the fact is that in that historical situation there was no disagreement between the Committee of Entente comrades and Bordiga, but there was a tendency for this comrade to “weaken” in the face of the enormous pressure from Moscow, which considered this kind of pronouncement of the Italian Left as a break from the formal discipline they had implemented instead of true revolutionary discipline, as an example that might “influence” other countries, particularly the German Left.

During the Naples Meeting of the Left, where the Left had to decide whether or not to continue the work of the Committee of Entente, we should have proceeded as the majority wished, leaving Bordiga in a minority, in order to continue the fight until the Congress of Lyon, and not capitulate before, the then secretary of the International, Zinoviev’s intimidation. Within a few months, the Left, which at the 1924 National Meeting[6] still controlled most of the party and had the solidarity and sympathy of the bureaucratic apparatus (at the time this term had not yet acquired the meaning it would later acquire in working class history), found itself alone in the desert. This is a phenomenon that deserves a separate chapter in the history of the Italian Left, but in any case it is certain that the more conscious comrades realised then for the first time the importance and seriousness of the fact that the life and future of our current were progressively dwindling in that largely fictional atmosphere in which Bordiga tended to isolate his thinking, living like a silkworm in the cocoon he had spun for himself.

It is very easy, and above all very comfortable, to attribute the dispersion of the Left to fascism, on the one hand and Stalinist reaction on the other. The fact is that from 1926 the Left virtually ceased to exist in the organisation of the Stalinist International, and all subsequent manifestations of this trend, both theoretical and organisational as well as its press, were developed without Bordiga. It based itself on a policy that largely diverged from his thinking and his “attitude.”; an attitude that was not imposed by circumstance but of his choice, and lasted until the fall of fascism. Let us consider what is the origin of his isolation and how it relates to dealing with the ideological and political problems of Marxism. Bordiga never ceased to consider Russia as an economic reality dominated by its socialist character: for him, what had degenerated was the policy of Stalin and International.

From that moment, our positions diverged. As the Left continued to act on the traditional line based on a dialectical view of history in general and the proletarian struggle in particular, according to which the party and the duties of revolutionary activity are reduced to zero due to the change in objective circumstances, Bordiga as a consequence of his determinist way of thinking simply adapted to them. We said “consequence” without quibbling whether this conformism was used to justify his “doing nothing” or if it was the logical application of a personal iron-clad deterministic premise based on pulling in the oars on the boat and waiting for a radical disruption of the situation to be able to get back to talking about the Party and revolutionary activity.

Bordiga scrupulously adhered to this commandment without being involved for a moment either in the activity of the comrades organised as a fraction abroad or in the work developed by the first clandestine nuclei which revived the organisational ties which would lead to the formation of the party. And what is worse, huge events like the Spanish proletarian insurrection, the downfall of the International and World War II, waited in vain for his critical comment or theoretical collaboration, which might have demonstrated the continuity and strength of Marxist doctrine and might, above all, have prepared the necessary material in ideas and experience required for the future re-emergence of the class party.

We do not use this argument to focus the debate on an individual, but only to point out that the path of Bordigism differs from that of the Italian Left for the same reason that the dialectical method diverges from the deterministic method, because the revolution does not come about without human will.

His long absence from political struggle and formal and sentimental attachment to the Third International and the economic experience of Soviet Russia led Bordiga to a serious error of perspective: that is why he talked about deviation rather than counter-revolution; that is why he distinguished and classified capitalisms according to differing responsibility (capitalism number 1, capitalism number 2, etc..) instead of pointing out the role played by all imperialisms in favour of war, that is why he considered some of the contenders as progressive and others as regressive, rather than judge the war as universally capitalist and objectively counter-revolutionary.

In this way we, the Left, have come to the truly paradoxical situation of having to defend that part of Bordiga’s thinking which is a legitimate part of the heritage of the Italian Left and reject what we believe does not correspond with Marxism and the interest of revolutionary struggle; in short, the Left has been forced to defend the best Bordiga against the Bordigism of the masonic lodge which has now begun to emerge. And out of all this we have been able to make out, especially because of the inconsistency and the surprising souplesse[7] that he demonstrated, what was the result of a particular mental vice and what was the result of genuine conviction or, to put it another way, what was due to his own thinking brain and what was intellectualist “taste” typical of he who replaces uninterrupted class activity with an easy use of the technique of paradox and a totally scholastic historicism, prone to see bourgeois forces carrying a “progressive” content in their midst, in a favourable light.

It is an undeniable fact that from the formation of the party until today, the differences we have discussed have gradually become more specific and clearer.

Although the militants of our party are aware of the problems that these differences have caused, which have had practical and organisational consequences, it is worth examining them again to see the differences and provide study material for an objective and conscious criticism of the Italian Left, which is too often confused with Bordiga or, even worse, with Bordigism.

Below is an accurate and irrefutable synthesis of the ideological and political nature of the Italian left:

1. The dialectical interpretation of life and the world offered by Marxism has been confirmed by the vicissitudes of proletarian struggles as a valid and irreplaceable revolutionary theory and praxis. The permanent and concrete need is to establish indissoluble links between the party and the class, because the evidence shows that the party will become devoid of historical content if it is separated from the class, and the class would be lost without the guidance of the party, unable to fulfil its historic tasks relying only on its own strength.

The revolution, the exercise of the dictatorship, and the construction of socialist society are the result of the right combination of these two fundamental and interdependent subjective forces. Nothing happens in history without the intervention of human will, and that will would act in a vacuum if it were no longer the transforming element of the objective forces from which it is born and by which it is determined.

Amongst the subjective forces of the revolutionary movement, there is no determining factor that is not in itself determined.

The Left has managed to translate this theoretical guidance of Marxism, namely, that the bonds between the party and the proletarian masses, with their struggles and their interests have to be permanent. For the Left, even in the darkest reactionary periods, there are no objective conditions of the proletariat which necessitate the breaking of ties with the masses due to the fact that the latter might submit to the pressures of the enemy, and therefore may not constitute a historical class unity and may have definitely passed over to capitalism.

2. Both in times of relative calm and during reactionary storms, the Left rejected the theory of temporarily taking a break until the capitalist world on its own produced a change in the objective situation. The historical process of capitalism’s own internal mechanism would supposedly lead to an inevitable upheaval that would allow the revolutionaries who have taken a break to resume their place in revolutionary activity, which one fine day would resurface, almost miraculously, with new vigour … This false and illegitimate anti-dialectical determinism, that does not take into account the ups and downs of the proletarian movement, which is unable to decipher even in difficult situations what must be done but theorises only about preventing a loss of members, has never been part of the heritage of Marxists like Lenin. The October Revolution was not made possible by the sudden appearance of the Bolshevik Party, but because this party represented, for the masses moving towards insurrection, the culmination of decades of struggle, painful theoretical formation, contradictions and divisions, throughout which the confidence of the working masses never disappeared, even when they seemed absent, corrupt and dominated by the forces of counterrevolution and betrayal.

The Italian Left believes that the Russian experience lies completely within the framework of capitalism, with the particular feature that state economic planning, which originally was intended to build a socialist society, was the basis for the first and greatest experiment in state capitalism, an organic economic and political phase characteristic of the terminal phase of the development of monopoly capitalism.

The Italian Left believes that from an economic, social and political standpoint, the world capitalist mechanism, which is objectively a monolithic structure, is solid, even in countries where it appears less advanced and external signs of uneven development are more obvious. From this premise based on the most elementary Marxism and, given this basic character, perhaps it may not satisfy those whose theorising is more refined, we understand that the U.S. economy is exactly equivalent to the Soviet from the point of view of capitalist praxis, in the same way that American politics is exactly like Soviet politics as regards its class criminality, which lives on war and exploitation of the working masses of the entire world.

From Dialectics to Sophism

Since we have to clarify the way things really are, accepting or rejecting certain theories, we will say that Alfa’s thought was always of interest in the Executive Committee (EC) in as much as it was an expression of a very distant world. All EC members were in agreement in saying that Alfa was stuck in 1921 and all his political judgments constantly expressed an intermediate ideological position between our party and Stalinism. The fact that today our opinion has changed about he who we can define as “permanent secretary of triumphant opinions” is something that does not concern us.

Let’s get to the point, i.e. the clarification of the real disagreements that led our organisation to fracture, a split that the constant stubborn, formalist, sectarian attitude of Alfa made inevitable, since splitting the party in two freed him from the nightmare of walking in front of, or behind, the “donkeys”.[8]

First disagreement: The way of conceiving the dialectic and the inversion of praxis.

Second disagreement: The way of conceiving the dictatorship of the proletariat through the political surrogate of the party dictatorship.

Third disagreement: The class Party’s attitude to Russia, when the Second Congress of our party had already resolved this definitely, also regarding the need for the party and the relations between the party and the masses.

And so we come to the latest findings, which systematised scientifically what previously had previously been presented timidly: on the one hand indifferentism, whose “ballistic”[9] potential exceeds that of nuclear energy and on the other hand that of a Marx and a Lenin as “supporters” of this or that bourgeois warring side in the wars of their times.

Firstly we must clarify that any comrade may have any opinion and sympathy they wish, provided they do not turn them into a theory and seek to impose it on the party.

What, today, should be the attitude of revolutionaries and the organisation in which they militate against imperialist war in general and its protagonists in particular?

If we walk, as we should, along the path of revolutionary defeatism toward the practical objectives of the revolutionary struggle, then it has no importance, or at most a mere abstract and intellectualist importance more appropriate to metaphysicians than to revolutionaries, to know which of the protagonists of WW3 will embody a “progressive” historical content and which is “regressive” and if, as far as the fate of the proletariat is concerned, we must desire the victory of one or another of the imperialist robbers.

We do not know what sense such desires have if the forces involved in their realisation do not act directly. That’s for those to say, those who, like Alfa, reduce the dialectic to a boring game of abstract ideas and throughout World War Two played their role as leaders by insisting that their desire was to beat the Nazi-fascist regimes, while we had the audacity to ask the comrades if perhaps we would not have been wrong (fools, Alfa would say) to defend in different places, by other means and with other ideas, the revolutionary tradition of the Italian Left.

We are returning to this in order to clarify these ideas.

Once the era of national wars which could count on the help of the revolutionary forces came to an end, wars today occur between the contradictory forces of imperialism, and ultimately are directed against the working class of all countries.

The strategic problem that inspired both Marx and Engels (1848-1849) due to the prevailing pressure of the Tsarist Empire and the struggles for national independence, today no longer arises, Marx and Engels distinguished, rightly between counter-revolutionary peoples that served as the “Russian outpost” in Europe and the “revolutionary people”, Germans, Poles and Magyars. In imperialist wars, the task of revolutionaries is not to join forces for the victory of the side that carries the banner of bourgeois progress on its bayonets, but to insert their struggle and the objectives of the class revolution in the midst of the vicissitudes of the bourgeois war. And calling a spade a spade, neither does the war in Soviet Russia, even if it were a defensive war, given its level of economic and social development, escape this iron law that presides over the entire structure of the bourgeois world.

In this regard, we will recall what we wrote in July 1946 (Prometheus 1, year I):

For Marxists, the capitalist forces that have entered the downward spiral of war to solve the problems of this or that imperialism, are not divided into opposing forces, one being progressive and another reactionary. Just as we have never shown sympathies or desires for a victory for the Axis forces, despite our critical analysis whereby we may consider that on the level of economic and political organisation, they are better adapted than the Anglo-Saxon to the current course of capitalism, tomorrow we will not show sympathy or desires that Soviet forces prevail when, for example, they fight against the Anglo-Saxon, just because the Soviet regime, i.e. the more advanced and characteristic regime of state capitalism, represents a historically more progressive stage of this economy evolving towards more vast and radical collective production and therefore closer to socialism and more impregnated by it. Capitalist development is based on its internal contradictions and not the likes and desires that its class enemies may profess. When imperialist war profoundly shakes the capitalist production system, including the laws that govern it, the essential and immediate task of the revolutionary party will be to act in accordance with the Marxist analysis of the nature of all imperialist wars, whose necessary theoretical justification is the development achieved by capitalism and its class antagonism, and not this or that other reason as the opportunists have a habit of stating, with great success. Given that the proletariat, albeit temporarily, could be crushed under the weight of the balance of power when this worsens, it remains a protagonist of history, it is up to the party to explain, to move it ever further away from the ideological influence of the war, revive it, direct it onto the terrain of understanding and class struggle, if possible channelling its forces to try to take advantage of an eventual favourable situation in which it can specifically raise the issue of transforming the imperialist war into social war.

This theoretical precision was inspired by Alfa’s first revisionist signs with respect to the problem of the nature of war. While for us what was most important was the proletarian solution to the post-war crisis, Alfa hoped that the nation that had just arrived at capitalism might dismantle the citadel of capitalist preservation represented by a nation with a mature and solid capitalist economy. As if the force of a young victorious capitalism in this way strengthened a hundredfold would not be the starting point of a new cycle of exploitation of the proletariat and not push any possibility of socialist revolution further away.

Let us take inspiration from the classics.

The other war (1870-1871) had accelerated development towards democracy, bourgeois progress: the fall of Napoleon III, unification of Germany. This war (1914-1916) can only accelerate the development of the socialist revolution. – Lenin, Against the Current.

In 1793 and 1848, both in France and in Germany and across Europe, the bourgeois-democratic revolution was objectively on the agenda […] feudal and dynastic wars were then opposed objectively to democratic revolutionary wars, wars of national emancipation. Such was the content of the historical problems of the time. Currently, in major European advanced states, the objective situation is different. Leaving aside temporary setbacks, there is no progress if not towards a socialist society, towards socialist revolution. Objectively, from the point of view of progress, from the point of view of the most advanced class, bourgeois imperialist war can only be tackled by a war against the bourgeoisie, the war for power, without which there cannot be a step forward in a serious way. – Lenin, Against the Current.

The war between England and Russia [referring to the threatening danger of 1885] in Afghanistan can bring the end of the bourgeois regime closer. But who do we wish will win? Who must be defeated? England or Russia? Guesde responds: I wish the defeat of both. And Guesde concludes whoever the regime to fall under the blows of the adversary, because we are dealing with different types of oppressive regimes, this is the gap through which the new social order can penetrate.

Whoever the imperialist giants may be, they are equally culpable, and their falling into the predatory war of 1914-1916 will open a breach through which the proletarian revolution will pass; that’s how a Socialist must reason in our time.

In the imperialist war of 1914-16 [in all present or future imperialist wars, we add] one cannot be consistently internationalist without being defeatist.” – Lenin and Zinoviev, Against the Current.

And defeatism is not about politically “supporting” anyone, not yesterday’s Nazi-fascism nor today’s Stalinist Russia, not even using the theoretical expedient which considers Soviet Russia as a country that the international proletariat should help in its struggle against feudalism.

Marx, Engels, and even Lenin were “supporters”, and rightly so, of some of the national wars of their time, but it is obscene and ridiculous, on the eve of World War III, to try to imitate them by analysing the belligerents to know which of them holds the levers of further development of capitalism.

Have our disagreements come to an end? If it were so, nothing and no one could have prevented them from being resolved within the party.


Notes

[1]. Between late January and early February 1923 – the fascist government was established just a few months earlier – the police arrested most of the leaders of both the centre and the provinces of the PCd’I, including Bordiga, making the operation of the Executive Committee impossible. They were accused of “conspiracy against the state”. The Communist International took advantage of this to “advise” the Italian party to form a new leadership. At first Togliatti took over temporarily, but later it fell directly on Gramsci. The control of the Comintern over the Italian party was growing.

[2]. The Third (Communist) International or “Comintern” was founded March 1919 in Moscow by the Russian Communists and a handful of delegates representing the few already formed communist parties and leftist groups. It was established that the number of national representatives were proportional to the number of members from each party, so that the USSR had a predominant weight in the decisions and policies of the Comintern line, especially after 1921, when gradually the national interests of Russia were forced more and more on the International and started appealing to the “need” to defend “the country of socialism”.

[3]. By this we think Damen means a kind of intellectual dilettanteism or trying to look clever for the sake of impressing others with their knowledge [Translators’ note].

[4]. It can be translated as “without qualification”, in French in the original.

[5]. The Workers Governments of Thuringia and Saxony saw the practical application of the disastrous formula of the “workers’ government” (to which was later added the term “and peasants’”) adopted at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International (1922), a formula for which Bordiga demanded a “third-class funeral.” In October 1923, the KPD participated in the governments of the Länder of Saxony and Thuringia, led by “left” social democrats. This triggered a reaction from the central government, who, with the support of national social democracy, sent troops to disarm the communist “worker centurions” and put an end to this opportunist experience by military means. The KPD leadership, with the support of the International, although the objective conditions were totally unfavourable, sparked the uprising planned in Hamburg anyway, which was inevitably defeated militarily due to the lack of mobilisation of most of the working class. This “German October” as it was called, signalled the eclipse of revolutionary hopes in Germany and the rest of Europe. For more see footnote 108 [footnote 1 in Bologna 1919: A Page from History – MIA].

[6]. The National Meeting of the PCd’I was held in May 1924. The clandestine conference which brought together party leaders approved the resolutions proposed by Bordiga and the Left, who received 35 votes plus that of the Secretary of the Youth Federation, while the motion of Gramsci received 4 votes and that of the right-wing of Tasca 5.

[7]. Flexibility. In French in the original.

[8]. The original Italian word is “scarponi”. Bordiga is here referring to his opponents (i.e. the majority) in the Internationalist Communist Party [Translators’ note].

[9].The original term is “ballistica” [Translators’ note].

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