Switzerland: founding congress of the Revolutionary Communist Party – communism is back!  

The founding Congress of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RKP/PCR) took place in Burgdorf, Switzerland on 10-12 May. After three days of intensive political discussions, the delegates unanimously voted to found the new party and adopt its manifesto. Neither champagne flutes nor bouquets of flowers marked this event. With shouts of “RKP/PCR”, the comrades proudly announced: we are building the foundation of the future mass communist party to overthrow capitalism!


[Read the original report in German and French]

It's high time!

“It is high time for the return of revolutionary communism,” declared Dersu Heri, National Political Secretary of the RKP, introducing the discussion on the founding of the party.

Responding to the typical objection, he declared: “Communism is certainly not a utopian idea. To think that the huge problems facing the world – the destruction of the environment, wars, oppression – can be solved under capitalism, that is utopian.”

In fact, the question we are facing is clear: either the working class of our generation overthrows the capitalists, expropriates them and initiates the transition to a classless communist society – or humanity will sink into barbarism. There is no middle way. 

“Communism is the only solution. A new generation of young people and workers has come to this very conclusion and wants to fight,” Dersu continued. “But you can't fight for communism alone. You need a party. This is why we are founding the Revolutionary Communist Party!”

320 communists mobilised

Communists travelled from all parts of Switzerland and all of its linguistic regions to attend the Congress. For the first time, they included a new group from Italian-speaking Ticino. The entire Congress was translated into German, French, Italian and English. A total of 342 workers and students took part in the event. Among them were almost 100 potential members who had not yet joined. 13 of them joined the RKP during the Congress. A further 27 applications for membership were received during the weekend and shortly afterwards online. This means that the RKP is now beginning its work with 320 founding members and over a hundred people who are interested in joining!

One sympathiser, who was still uncertain about joining when she travelled to the Congress, said afterwards: “What I needed was tangible proof that communism can work. At the Congress, I realised that communism is not just an ideal. It is based on a solid foundation: Marxism. The RKP, that is something concrete.” We warmly welcome her to her party!

The RKP is a party like no other. There is no empty babbling and passive applause here – instead, the Congress focused on clarifying key political tasks, so that the comrades can get to work. The ideas, analysis, strategy and the immediate tasks of the party were all explained and discussed in detail, so that each of the first 320 organised Communists in Switzerland would be able to help build a Bolshevik cadre party.

 Internationalism and Palestine

One of the most impressive features of this congress was the deep spirit of internationalism. This was fostered not only by our political discussion, but by video greetings from our sections from Pakistan to the USA, as well as the contributions of guests from Italy, Germany, Austria, Britain and Sweden.

The discussion on Palestine was the best proof of this fact. While the Congress was taking place, the student movement against Israel’s genocide was spreading internationally, starting in the USA. The occupations were a recurring theme throughout the Congress. We discussed how Palestine has become the focal point of the international class struggle, revealing the explosive nature of the whole situation. An extra session on the role of communists in the university occupations brought together experiences from the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Austria and all regions of Switzerland.

Founding the RCI

Niklas Albin Svensson from the International Secretariat of the International Marxist Tendency/Revolutionary Communist International (RCI) introduced the discussion on the international situation, based on the Manifesto of the RCI. Niklas contextualised the various crises around the world as an expression of the existential crisis of the entire capitalist system. He explained how the consciousness of the working class has changed through the experiences of life under the rotten capitalist system over the last 15 years: “The working class is learning, but it has very bad teachers,” Niklas explained, referring to the stifling role of the reformist leadership of the labour movement. But today a layer has moved beyond reformism, they are allergic to “soft” reformist socialism. They want communism.

RCI banner

With the goal of becoming the point of reference for this layer, the International Marxist Tendency is refounding itself at its World Conference in June as the Revolutionary Communist International. Niklas also explained that this radical communist layer must be equipped with the right strategy and tactical understanding in order to win over the broader masses of the working class.

The Congress unanimously decided that the RKP would be founded as the Swiss section of the RCI and elected the delegates of the Swiss section for the World Conference in Italy.

The myth of Swiss stability

The development of the class struggle in Switzerland is still lagging behind international developments. But let us not be fooled by the appearance of eternal stability! An important role of the Congress was to clarify how Swiss capitalism has remained stable for such a long time, but comrades also explained that today every pillar of this stability is crumbling.

If 52 percent of the population in the richest and most stable country in the world can barely make ends meet, and only 4 percent still have “complete trust” in politics, that is a damning judgement of the entire system. The pressure on the working class in Switzerland is increasing and resentment is spreading. At a certain point, the working class simply has no alternative but to fight collectively as a class.

The RKP is committed to carrying the best lessons of the class struggle into these coming battles as quickly as possible. For this, the party must grow, grow and grow! Therefore, the Congress adopted the goal of doubling the party’s membership by the next Congress in a year's time and equipping these new comrades with the ideas of Marxism.

An echo in the media

The Congress was a thunderclap that reverberated far beyond the walls of the Burgdorf market hall. Here a party bluntly declares that the working class must take power and expropriate the capitalist exploiters! The declaration of a working class party committed to expropriating the capitalist exploiters drove the ruling class into fits of hysterics. 

The press, radio and television informed more than half a million people about the foundation of the RKP. Our declaration of war on the ruling class was reported in English, French, German, Italian and Romansh.

French-language publications reported soberly and in some cases emphasised the historic significance of the founding of the RKP in their headlines: “The red flag flies again over Switzerland” (Le Temps), “Communism rises out of the ashes” (Radio Jura Bernois). The highlight was a five minute report in the state broadcaster’s primetime news show, which covered the Sunday of the Congress.

German-language newspapers, on the other hand, remained loyal to textbook Cold War anti-communism. The online media channel Nau brought in an “expert on extremism” to warn against the “dangerous” RKP: “I think that sooner or later such a group will turn violent. We should be vigilant and raise the alarm about this group!” 

The arch-reactionary media outlet 20min sent an intern to the Congress to report on the event live, but – no doubt under instructions from above – she did not write even once about the political positions that were discussed there. A number of other outlets reported on the Congress, with several focusing on the RKP’s finances.

The aim of these articles is clear: they did everything they could to slander the communists without saying a single word about our politics. Their hypocrisy stinks to high heaven. These are the same media outlets that stir up hatred and spread lies every day to distract from the violence and atrocities of their capitalist system!

They are on the side of the bosses and bankers – and a growing layer of workers and youth is realising this. 27 people approached us to join in as a result of the articles. One worker explained: “I am usually in favour of the exact opposite of what is written in 20min. When I saw this article, I thought: I have to get in touch with them!” 

The Young SVP vs RKP

Following the Congress, the Young SVP (JSVP) – the youth wing of the right-wing Swiss People's Party – issued a shrill warning against the RKP and called for state repression of our party. The JSVP is apparently “shocked” by our communist programme in “prosperous and economically successful Switzerland”. They say that communism is “an inhuman ideology on a par with National Socialism” that leads to murder, starvation and genocide. What irony! This is coming from a party with close ties to the neo-Nazi group Junge Tat, internally admitting to advocating the same programme.

The JSVP has no right to lecture us on “inhuman ideology”. They are the party that is spreading racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic poison on a daily basis in order to conceal the interests of big business. This was also raised at the Congress, when comrade Anthea declared: “To smash the SVP, we need a party that exposes the capitalist class interests behind the SVP's racism and unites the entire working class on a communist programme. Today, with the founding of the RKP, we have laid the foundation for this.”

The JSVP calls for the Federal Intelligence Service (NDB) to monitor the RKP and its members – to “protect democracy”! In addition, they demand that laws banning certain political parties during World War II are reintroduced in order to prohibit communists from working as teachers, carers or in any other role in the state authorities. So much for the JSVP's “fight” against “increased censorship”. For the JSVP, freedom of expression includes their racism, sexism and bigotry. Yet they beg for state repression against anyone who threatens the wallets of their capitalist backers.

We take this as a compliment. The JSVP and RKP are, of course, mortal enemies. They use lies and smear campaigns to defend a dying system that produces wars and misery. In the RKP we have founded precisely the party that can help the working class overthrow the capitalist system.

Sereina Weber, RKP Secretary for Western Switzerland, closed the congress with the words: “We did not found the RKP for ourselves, but for those who want to fight right now. We call on them: Fight with us for the overthrow of capitalism. We promise to do everything we can for the return of Bolshevism to Swiss soil. Forward to the communist revolution in Switzerland and in every country in the world!”

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