The annual meeting on Marxist education of the PdAC will be held, as usual, in late summer. Representatives of the various ongoing struggles in the country will meet and discuss together. We spoke with Matteo Bavassano, head of the bureau of theoretical training and publications of the PdAC.
Matteo, what is the meaning of this two-days education meeting, which has become an annual must for the party?
I believe that over the years this meeting in late summer has become an integral part of the party’s life: it is a time when militants from all over Italy meet each other outside the “normal” life of the party – made by section meetings, study seminars and especially struggles and events – and when the party, let’s say, collectively, meets all those contacts, those activists, those members of the struggles that our militants have known in a full year of activity and intervention in the class struggle. It has, in fact, become the main moment of public screening of the party, the best time to come to know the PdAC, understand who we are and what we do, and why not, maybe decide to join this revolutionary political project. This year there will also be moments of leisure in which to know better each other.
And, let me tell you, in these years the two-days meeting has changed and improved, reflecting the changes of the very party and of the Italian social and political situation. If a few years ago the time was more prone to seminars and theoretical education strictly speaking, the revolutionary situation brought by the “Arab Spring” has opened up more and more to the struggles that started in different fronts, both in the domestic and international arenas. So we decided to slightly change the two-days program, by placing a panel discussion on Sunday, in order to open a discussion on the grounds that a new phase has been created: the struggles, their leadership and purposes and the necessity of working class unity against the bosses to win. This year, on the other hand, the meeting will reflect the importance of a central theme that we have faced in our last congress [the 4th, held in May], the oppression of women in capitalist society.
Let’s talk about the agenda of the two-days meeting this year. The title is “Europe in crisis: reform or revolution?”. Why did you choose this theme?
Because it seems a relevant theme nowadays, that the “radical left” (to use a term that I do not like, but very used) debates constantly, day by day, when it speaks of the Tsipras government, the European “Institutions” (i.e. Troika), of Podemos: all of this debate reflects the search for a solution to the deep crisis of the EU as a functional creation for increasing the imperialist exploitation and the exploitation by the strongest capital in Europe, to the detriment not only of the colonial countries as such, but also of the European countries whose economies are most in crisis (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy…).
We must keep in mind that this discussion takes place in the situation opened by the Greek crisis since 2011, the Arab revolutions and the demonstrations of 15M in Spain (the so-called indignados), i.e. social movements that have added a new factor to the objective crisis of capitalism which began in 2007-2008: an stunning mobilization of the masses. A subjective element is missing in this situation; a revolutionary leadership aware of the struggles and mainly coherent with the deep purpose that generated those mobilizations. As you know, nature tends to fill the vacuum, and the new neo-reformist formations in European countries which had been shaken by protests, namely Greece and Spain, arise, in our opinion, as distorted reflex of those mobilizations. But political events, especially in the era of the so-called “globalization”, can’t be confined in each country: they also affect the political dynamics of the countries that were not directly affected by the crisis (albeit in different manner and intensity from country to country). It arises as a whole process that the last congress of IWL-FI has defined as a “political and trade union reorganization process”. It influences the left, but also operates on the right.
In this context a new relative turn has happened in the Greek elections that put Syriza in office, creating countless illusions among the masses and unmasking the Centrists everywhere, that is, all those who pretend not to believe in Syriza in words, but support it in deeds. The last municipal elections in Spain have reinforced these trends. So, the theme we have chosen not only is currently central in the political debate on the left, but is also strategically a central debate to define the tasks and tactics of the Communists in the next stage, a discussion that needs to be addressed by anyone with the will to reconstruct a world revolutionary party, a party that fights for the seizure of power and for the socialist revolution. Without anticipating all issues of the two days, we’ll start with an analysis of social phenomena that we have seen in recent years, we’ll study deeply the real nature of Syriza’s government, and then propose which, in our opinion, is the program that revolutionaries must advance in Europe to snatch the workers vanguard from the reformist political sympathy.
It seems a central issue for the next political phase, not only in Europe, but worldwide. But how the panel discussion on Sunday can be linked to the main theme of the education meeting?
As I said before, the panel discussion is intended as a time when the more theoretical and political issues discussed in the first day are brought to the concrete reality of the daily class struggle. And here we’ll find a number of reasons to talk about struggles and sexist oppression of women, from those of a more general nature (but no less important) to the more specific and contingent.
It could then start by saying that women are at least half of the working class and the oppressed and exploited masses, if not the majority, but certainly they are not equally represented in the left-wing parties, including those of the so-called radical left, as it is hard to find men in subordinate positions to women in unions or in social centers. This is undoubtedly a product of the sexist bourgeois society in which we live, but there is certainly a degree of internalization of women’s oppression within the organizations of the working class, which must be fought to allow our female comrades to participate more actively in politics.
The second aspect is that the employers’ reaction to the crisis of capitalism nowadays affects more women, who are increasingly being pushed back to the role of “guardians of the home” certainly not by their choice. Besides the female unemployment caused directly by the redundancies, we must take into account that the austerity measures that governments are implementing, reducing social services, hit mainly women: they are those who, thanks to the sexist mentality of the companies, leave their jobs to care for the elderly or young children or disabled relatives. Women thus become a kind of “safety valve” for social austerity in bourgeois society in decomposition: sexism proves still to be fully functional for capitalism.
Eventually, the main outcome of this situation, and perhaps the most crucial, is that currently, despite all the constraints of sexist bourgeois society, women are today the protagonists in many struggles in both national and international arena: not to mention the now famous example of Women fighters in Kobanî, we could refer to the women workers of Yoox in Bologna, who are affiliated to the trade union Cobas (Sicobas) and are continuously fighting firmly sexism, or to teachers’ struggles against the education reform implemented by Renzi and his party in office, the Democratic Party (PD). Notoriously, women are the majority in this sector, and who are carrying out, with great difficulty, an implacable struggle against the privatization project that aims at destroying the public school. This is just a small preview of what will be discussed at our meeting in September. Needless to say, the invitation is for everyone to participate.