This isn’t a call for a new organisation so much as a call for a new practice. We need collectives that contribute to the struggles of our class based on an analysis of the concrete conditions and of what our fellow workers are already doing. The recent focus on electoral politics has shifted the focus away from what is needed: workers’ self-organisation at work and beyond; and a debate about how our day-to-day struggles relate to the global struggle for a new society. We urgently need to regroup. Why?
1. Labour is toast! The original bread was mouldy too!! Electoral politics doesn’t work because time and time again, workers’ own initiatives are stifled and channelled into election campaigns. The state is the main arbiter of class society and relations. Turning workers into ‘voting citizens’ disguises the fact that we are the ones with the knowledge and power to change society for the better. We have to use it for our own ends. This is not just ideological dogma – it is based on the historical lessons from the last hundred years: from Germany in the pre-war era to 21st century Latin America to Greece.
2. Which brings us to our second point. Workers need to build their own independent decision-making structures. Only with this as the fundamental basis can they assess their situation and use whatever tools and structures that get them to where they want to go. We can’t simply rely on ‘joining a union’ and expect miracles to happen. We might have to use the law at certain times but we need to have our eyes open: the union apparatus are fully-functioning, self-serving organisations. Anyone who’s had any experience dealing with the bureaucracy when things start heating up knows what we mean. You can spend your whole life trying to democratise these institutions, but ultimately, workers need to rely on and coordinate themselves. This is woefully lacking and we need to focus our attention there.
3. We have organic power at work, but things suck outside of work too. We have to build solidarity structures against the landlords, the hassle from the job centre or the migration office, against the small bosses of our ‘communities’. This network of local people build links to local workplaces and connections need to be made between the two. We shouldn’t have to rely on MP’s and councillors or the media to do this work for us. They have their own agendas.
4. We have to discuss the strong and weak points of current local struggles and understand them in their international context. In the UK there is a lack of analysis of strikes and organising activity and a lack of debate that connects the big questions, e.g. ‘automation’ or ‘impact of migration’ with concrete shop-floor experiences. With the focus on Labour the debate has become insular and there is little exchange between working class militants internationally. The system is global, the crisis is global, the solution is global. We gotta engage with that!
If you agree with what we’ve said, and are committed to this kind of working class practice, join us! We plan to have a conference in the Autumn where we can all meet and start this ball rolling!! It’s daunting to strike out alone. But if we keep relying on the same stale old state structures to do our job for us, we’ll be waiting forever!
What do we propose? Local groups, even if it’s only 2 people in the beginning – get started, setting up a solidarity network, engaging with local bigger workplaces. If you’re not sure how to start, we can help.
We plan on holding a conference for existing groups and individuals who share our outlook in Autumn 2020. If you want to be involved, drop us a line!