First Published: The Worker, Vo. 12, No. 6, March 6, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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AT PARTICULAR times in working class history a common need expresses itself in a popular demand, a slogan which can mobilise the whole class. Such was the call for “Bread, Land and Peace”, proclaimed at the first All Russian Congress of Soviets, in June 1917. Such also is the cry on the lips of every politically articulate worker in Britain today: “Thatcher Out!”
Slogans like these are what Mao Tsetung called the main contradiction, translated into injunctions which can be acted on. The main contradiction is that major opposition within a thing or situation which gives it its essential character, and which, when taken hold of by the masses, can change that thing or situation into something else. The main contradiction in Britain is the confrontation between capitalist exploiters and exploited workers. It culminates in the immediate political form of Thatcher against all of us who live by the sale of our labour power.
It is a sign of capitalism’s parlous state that it should be represented at such a time by a thoroughly pedestrian second-rate, animated only by her class hatred. Her incapacity for clever deception or shrewd manoeuvre reflects the position of capitalism at the end of its tether. Hence the successive moves towards naked fascism by which class struggle is suppressed by law and force. The very encouragement of British citizens to inform on their neighbours for fancied infringements of the rules of social security is the same kind of socially divisive tactic as Hitler’s plea to children to inform on their parents for criticism of Nazism. In Thatcher we have the end of bourgeois democracy in Britain.
Is such a slogan, “Thatcher Out”, revolutionary or merely social democratic? Any demand which the whole working class is prepared to act on and which the ruling class cannot or will not concede is revolutionary. That is why the leaders of social democratic parties or groups are not making such a demand. It comes from the working people who are potentially the revolutionary force. A revolutionary situation is one in which the ruling class cannot go on ruling in the old way and the working class shows that it will no longer submit to being ruled in the old way. “Thatcher Out” is a revolutionary declaration on the part of workers that brushes aside all parliamentary flim-flam and dust-raising to hit the nail in capitalism’ s coffin right on the head.
But can it all be as simple as that? It is perfectly simple. It is like the situation in the factory when the foreman gets stroppy and begins to take it out on us workers. We have to find the easiest form of rebellion which will seem to all of us the likeliest way to put a stop to that tyranny. We don’t; at such a moment, worry about what might come after to such an extent that it stays our hand. We know that when we have chucked out that foreman things at that particular factory will never be the same again. Any successful industrial action is like a little revolution.
We in the CPB (ML) are not dilettantes who try to think up obscure theories and slogans because we don’t think our class can formulate its own political needs. We are delighted that all of us are raising our voices in a shout for the first step on the way to building a better Britain – THATCHER OUT!