On 3 June 2023, the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) voted to expel the national leadership of its youth organisation (UJCE). The latter had been raising a whole series of criticisms of the right-wing, social-democratic drift of the party, and had agreed to convene a special congress of the youth organisation to discuss the way forward. The use of administrative measures in this way represents an unacceptable and bureaucratic response to political issues by the PCE Central Committee. We republish the following statement of the Spanish section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT).
The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) expresses its solidarity with the comrades of the leadership of the Union of Communist Youth of Spain (UJCE), who have been bureaucratically expelled by the majority of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE).
This has come after a period in which the leadership of the UJCE, the youth section of the party, has issued very harsh criticisms of the leadership of the PCE for the social-democratic drift of its policy over years. The UJCE has criticised the party’s involvement in the policy decisions of the PSOE-UP government, which have ended up giving in on all issues that fundamentally concern the interests of the ruling class and the state apparatus (labour reform, the Gag Law, housing policy, tax reform, the war in Ukraine, etc.). It has also distanced itself from Yolanda Díaz's SUMAR project, which the PCE has joined, and which it has rightly described as the umpteenth social-democratic project, and doomed to failure.
Months ago, the leadership of the UJCE quite correctly issued a sharp criticism of the two-stage theory defended by the leadership of the PCE in its defence of the Republic, whereby it detaches the slogan of the Republic from the struggle for socialism.
In short, the leadership of the UJCE has criticised the PCE leadership for being content with a policy that boils down to attempting to distribute the crumbs that fall from the plate of big business. It is a policy that completely abandons any perspective of the socialist transformation of society.
The IMT shares this characterisation of the politics of the PCE, which has, alas, succeeded in frustrating thousands of communist militants over the years.
In the face of this, instead of putting forward political arguments, the PCE leadership has resorted to organisational measures of internal repression. A genuine communist leadership, confident in its politics and arguments, would not resort to expulsions to ‘resolve’ political differences. That reflects a lack of confidence in their own positions – even more so when about half of the Central Committee of the PCE opposed the expulsion of these comrades. In this situation, a real communist leadership would open the broadest possible debate within the party, so that the membership as a whole would have the last word on the points in dispute.
There is no doubt about the acute unease that exists in a large part of the rank and file towards the policies of the leadership of the Communist Party, grouped around its General Secretary, Enrique Santiago. They might ‘settle’ political differences with expulsions and exclusions today, but new differences will arise because they are rooted in the mistaken policy of the PCE leadership itself. And if the apparatus continues on this repressive path, it can only lead to the destruction of the party itself. It is time for the honest militants of the Party to sound the alarm and demand a complete revision of the policy and ideological foundations of the present PCE, which are so far removed from its founding principles.
In the end, the social-democratic drift that has led the PCE into this situation, and which the young communists have so resolutely criticised, was no accident. Although the PCE has known heroic and inspiring periods, its history over the last 95 years is rooted in the Stalinist and bureaucratic degeneration of the former USSR and the Communist International under Stalin. This degeneration led to the transformation of the communist parties in each country into national agencies of the Soviet bureaucracy, certifying their national-reformist degeneration, which expressed itself time and again over decades in the thwarting of the revolutionary energies of the working class.
The young communists must demand a serious balance sheet of the past and study very carefully that historical period, and in particular the Spanish Revolution of the 1930s. It is there that we must seek the root of the present social-democratic drift that casts its shadow over the PCE, which has played such an enormous role in the history of the Spanish workers’ movement.
Finally, we encourage the young communists to continue to organise and fight. We are sure that this will be the case. From the IMT, we extend our hand of solidarity and support to them, with the certainty that they will find us participating side-by-side in the process to contribute to the development of an authentic communist alternative within our class.
International Marxist Tendency, Madrid
6 June 2023