Violent conflict is on the increase all over the world, both in terms of wars between nations and violent clashes between the classes. While war is waged in the Middle East we also see a growing tendency to use more brutal measures against the workers in struggle, with many being killed around the world. What should the position of Marxists be on this question? This has been the subject of debate within the PRC in Italy with Bertinotti taking the position that no form of violence is justifiable.

We are publishing two articles from the Italian Marxist journal Falcemartello which give a clear indication of the level of militancy that is developing among the workers in Italy. Both the FIAT Melfi and the Alitalia disputes highlight the growing contradiction between the will to struggle on the part of the workers and the constant striving to hold down the movement on the part of the union leaders. This cannot last for ever.

In March the PRC is holding its 6th congress. Bertinotti, the party secretary, has made a very sharp turn to the right. For instance, he is no longer calling for the immediate withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq. All this is part of a deal which would allow the party to be part of a grand coalition if the Centre-Left, “Olive Tree” alliance wins the next elections in 2006. At this congress the Marxists of Falcemartello have succeeded in getting their opposition congress document accepted as an official document, which is an enormous step forward for them.

On the weekend of 4-5 December, the national meeting of the comrades of the Fifth Document took place. The meeting was held in the premises of the PRC branch of via Confalonieri, Milan, with 140 comrades present from all over the country.

Tomorrow the 6th national congress of Rifondazione Comunista opens in Venice. The party is being called on to join a future Centre-Left governmenet headed by Prodi, as it looks very likely that Berlusconi will lose the next general election. The Marxists of FalceMartello have intervened up and down the country in over 1000 local party congresses warning the ranks of the party that to go down this road would be a disastrous policy. We provide here a brief introduction by Fernando D'Alessandro and Part One of the document the Marxists are defending in the congress.

In Part Two of the document of the Italian Marxists, presented at the national congress of the Partito della Rifondazione Comunista (PRC) which opens today in Venice, the comrades draw a balance sheet of the previous congress and deal with the questions of the war in Iraq, the crisis of capitalism in Italy and Europe and draw up a programme of transitional demands that the party should adopt.

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