Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Marxist-Leninist Party

World Crisis and the Class War

First Published: Communist, No. 6, October 1971
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Brush aside all the muck and confusion of the bourgeois “economists” and “experts”! What we are taking part in, as proletarian revolutionaries in the imperialist heartlands, is not the sum of a series of separate crises, but, in fact, the general and world-wide crisis of the entire capitalist-imperialist system!

What is really happening, under the appearance of “stabilization”, is an all-round panic among the bourgeoisie in all countries, and a subsequent frantic and bungling “emergency” response. Nowhere, neither in Zurich, nor London, nor Wall Street, do the bourgeoisie really understand what is now taking place in the world, much less are they able to change it. Whether it be “monetary” or military, each successive convulsion in the capitalist-imperialist oppressor nations only plunges the bourgeoisie, with their hundreds of thousands of bribed scholar-despot “intelligentsia” deeper into confusion and fear.

The proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world, on the other hand, are full of hope and confidence, for the obvious reason that they, and we, are not merely witnessing, or being tossed about here and there by the crisis, but, in fact, are waging both the People’s Wars and Class Wars that are the major causative factor of the crisis as a whole. Yes, the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world are bringing the bourgeois system down collectively and consciously.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the present-day Class War in the oppressor nations has moved far beyond all the limitations of Economism(wage-demands) and Reformism(“political” demands), beyond all the “minimum programs” and compromises.

The Class War today involves both the advanced (world-historically conscious) proletarian sectors, and the spontaneous every-day struggle of the oppressed and exploited. Each of these has reached its highest, Revolutionary-Military stage in many areas of the capitalist-imperialist countries, from the organized armed struggle in Ireland and Puerto Rico, to the daily sabotage and class-resistance at the point of production, that has become recognized by the Capitalist and Union Boss alike as an “unprecedented world-wide phenomena.” Tons of volumes of “industrial research” papers are being churned out, motivated by the same fears that prompt the bourgeoisie to fund endless “counter-insurgency studies”, the fear of the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed and exploited. The decade of the 60’s produced the first wildcat general strike in history (France, May, I968). The decade we have just entered promises to unfold even deeper and broader mass upsurges!

Within the same week or two-week period after the “Wage-Price Freeze” was declared, the pseudo-left went into its typical, superficial frenzy, calling their usual useless conferences, calling on the unions to pull a “one-day”(!) protest strike, even, in the case of the Trotskyite “Center for United Labor Action”, issuing a petition calling for “militancy”, to be mailed in to your local union office, no less. Just what the pigs want – to get the names, addresses, of the advanced elements. (We suspect, however, few wildcatters or factory-guerrillas will fall for it.) An article by Sam Marcy, boss of the Trotskyite “Workers World” clique, says: “It is therefore no surprise if a considerable section of the workers, caught off guard, seem to support Nixon’s move. Of course, the initial impression of the workers reflects what they have heard on the media or read in the press. It showed that ideologically the workers and the mass of the population generally are at the mercy of the ruling-class which owns and controls the means of communication.”

With this McLuhanite rubbish, Marcy throws reality out of the window! Why have the ruling-class been forced to even institute the Wage-Price Freeze to begin with, if the “workers and the mass of the population generally are at the mercy (!) of the ruling class”? It is precisely because the proletarian workers, the Black, Puerto Rican, Chicano, and other national-minority workers, the masses of workingwomen, and the other most oppressed and exploited workers are out of control, not “at the mercy” of the ruling-class, that such semi-fascist measures as the Wage-Price Freeze, with more yet to come, are necessary for U.S. imperialism to maintain its rule.

The other Trotskyite cliques also “responded” to the situation with a chorus of new appeals for a “Congress of Labor” and “Labor Party”, joining the general petty-bourgeois trend to channel anything and everything into votes, elections, petitions, and the swamp of parliamentary cretinism. None of these rotten cliques is beyond making accommodations to either white-chauvinism, male-supremacism, or anti-communism, in their moves to entrap the advanced workers in their “Labor Party”. The CPUSA “left-flank” publication, the Guardian, echoed the praises of the miserable Daily World for the “heroic” union bureaucrats, especially taking naive delight in pig Woodcock (Auto workers “union boss”) and his blusterings about “war”. Chief union-scab Meany (who once bragged: “I never walked a picket-line in my life.”) even made the front-page of the Daily World several days in a row, as a reward for his waddling around to various press conferences, also making “militant” noises. Of course, the Union bureaucrats, like the State-Monopoly-Corporate chieftans, have all been “briefed” for this Wage-Price Freeze months in advance, and they have all got their little “acts” well rehearsed. The Pseudo-Left can only limp along behind.

The Marxist-Leninist Party has continuously pointed out the bribed and corrupted nature of the present-day unions and “labor leaders” of all stripes, including the main “left” tendency, the CPUSA’s hand-picked selection of “progressive unions” (UAW, UE, District 65, etc.) and their phoney “Rank and File” set-ups. The only difference between the Trotskyites and the CPUSA revisionists is that the former have illusions about “leading” the unions into a “Labor Party”, while the latter more realistically just follow the unions into the Democratic Party. He are all going to see the reactionary nature of the unions clearly, in this coming period, which will witness, in the final analysis, the brutal policing of the “labor force” by the unions, which will be directly absorbed, like the Nazi, “labor front” into the governmental machinery of State-Monopoly-Capital. The Trotskyite and social-democrat appeal for “Nationalization” is one of the social-fascist measures involved in this process–nationalization by the oppressor nation, nationalization by the bourgeois imperialist nation-state! This is the true meaning behind this slogan!

Exactly one year ago (in Communist no. 3, September-October 1970) we pointed out:

The No. 1 Scab for U.S. imperialism, the Trade Unions, are preparing a new round of phoney bargaining, strikes, negotiations, and other hanky-panky, to let off a little steam, so to speak. The Trade Union bureaucrats of the AFL-CIA, as well as the so-called “progressive” all know well that the proletariat and the entire working-class is undergoing a basic transformation. They would not admit it, openly, but they know damn well it has something to do with Revolution. They are ready, at the bidding of their U.S. imperialist masters, to stage even a series of phoney “strikes” in order to appear as the “leaders” of the workers. They are especially afraid that the workers may develop their own leadership in the course of struggle. Of course, strikes called by the union leadership, in most cases, should be supported and aided, since they disrupt the imperialist economy and work-routines. However, we resolutely oppose the “institutionalization” of the strike.

Our critique of the unions, and of their manner of conducting strikes, according to the worst traditions of class-collaborationist Economism, raises the question of the non-union strikes, the wildcats, the sabotage and shut-downs, and the rest of what is still a basically spontaneous mass struggle, carried on despite, not because of, the unions’ efforts to police and regulate the “labor force” according to the needs of State-Monopoly-Capitalism.

The present crisis has brought forth new forms of struggle in both the People1s Wars and the Class War, forms whose content remains that of the epoch of World Proletarian Revolution, but whose particular characteristics and overall development must be grasped and transformed, through the conscious transformation of the Party itself, both qualitatively and quantitatively, its inner-party struggles and continued building of links with the broadest everyday class warfare, being the basis of this transformation. The Party must concentrate and systematize the new forms of struggle in particular (since it is these new forms that will inevitably pose the question of power) raising them to a higher level. All the paths of the class war will be joined together on a single road: the road to the seizure of power.

We must trace some of these new paths, so as to better make our way along that road, a road that history has already made bloody.

The task of the Marxist-Leninist Party, in relation to the spontaneous movement must not be to tail end this movement or to worship it, but to raise it to a more conscious and collective level, beyond class-consciousness and regional or even simply national collectivities to world-historical, Communist consciousness, and to the world collectivity of the proletariat and peasantry of all countries. We know that most, if not all, of the “phenomena” we discuss below are definitely world-wide in character. Thus their special importance to our Party-building tasks.

The revisionists, Trotskyites, and other pseudo-leftists are not even conscious, much less involved in, the everyday class warfare of the most oppressed and exploited sections of the workingclass, for the obvious reason that they belong to, and stay with a “higher” social strata, either petty-bourgeois or labor-aristocrat.

Nevertheless the millions of seemingly insignificant acts of class-solidarity and resistance continue to grow in number and in intensity, to the present-day point, where bourgeois “experts” must admit that the combined effects of “absenteeism” and “vandalism and theft” in all major industries actually cost the ruling-class many times more than strikes.

These everyday struggles and acts are against the fascist rules and regulations, the wage-slave work routines of the factory, office, workshop and work-place in general, against the speed-up and the “productivity” drives, against the machinery of production itself, when this machinery becomes murderously unsafe. These struggles pit the most oppressed and exploited workers against the bribed and corrupted labor-aristocracy in all its forms : foremen, union officials, spies, scabs, stool-pigeons, company goons, etc.. The present day level of these struggles, in the era of State-Monopoly-Capitalism, imperialism, have bypassed, in fact, made historically obsolete the Trade Union, both as organization and ideology. These struggles have achieved this level (still in most capitalist countries, without fully developed Marxist-Leninist Parties) by expressing themselves as an effort on the part of the workers involved to gain direct control over more and more of their own lives, and less in terms of the wages paid for their “time”, either hourly, daily, weekly, or yearly.

Underneath the surface flow of currents of economic values and monetary exchange lies the basic material economics of time, the time that has been ripped out of the lives of all those who are workers, wage-slaves, whether employed “labor force” or unemployed “lumpens”, whether producers, or “reproducers”. The question of the economics of time is essential to the rate of profits, and its increase or decrease. The speed-up is the single most exploitative answer of the bourgeoisie- in all countries to the immediate wage-demands and other small concessions gained by the proletariat and entire toiling masses over decades and decades of bloody struggles. The present-day technology of bourgeois-dominated production especially in the U.S.A. and other countries built upon war has reached its most murderous stage, not only for the victims of the weapons produced, but for the workers involved in their production. Thus, sabotage in the military industries has become for many workers today a life-and-death necessity; for hundreds of thousands of workers exposed to incredible amounts and varieties of un-tested chemicals (as is the case in war and “space” industries, among others) unless they literally destroy the workplaces they are employed in, they, their families, and much of the immediately surrounding communities risk being destroyed themselves. The facts of this are well known today, but are still being covered up with ’an avalanche of “ecology” rubbish that usually blames the workers!

Thus the question of struggle for time (as opposed to simply wages in payment for tine) joins directly with the direct clash between the workers and the machinery they are bound to (and alienated from, at the same time), a clash that, could never exist in a system of production that is scientifically planned and socialistically controlled, but which.is bound to reach a special peak in this present-day period of the most completely irrational and reactionary bourgeois class rule.

In an article entitled “Counter-planning on the Shop Floor”, published in a “new left” journal called Radical America, this aspect of the present-day class struggle struggles to be recognized, altho somewhat hampered by the thick fog of the typical “new left” confusion concerning the’ question of State and Revolution, the Party, etc. However, the article itself expresses the reflections of a worker on the shop floor, related to one form of the struggle we are discussing, the shut-down:

The shut-down is radically different from the strike; its focus is on the actual working day. It is not, as popularly thought, a rare conflict. It is a regular occurrence, and depending on the time of year, even an hourly occurrence. The time lost from these shut-downs poses a real threat to Capital through both increased costs and loss of output. Most of-these shut-downs are the result of planned sabotage by workers in certain areas, and often, of plant-wide organization. The shut-down is nothing more than a desire for controlling the rationalization pf time by curtailing overtime planned by management. It is a regular device during the hot summer months...The sabotage of the rationalization of time is not some foolery of men. In its own content it appears as nothing more than the forcing of more free time into existence; any worker would tell you as much. Yet it is an activity which counteracts capital’s prerogative of ordering labor’s time. It is a profound organized effort by labor to undermine its own existence as “abstract labor power.”

It is around the new forms of class warfare (not new in their use, but rather, in the present-day context of their use) that the new organs of struggle will crystallize. It is around the un-negotiated, and for most of the pseudo-left, un-recognized everyday struggles such as we have discussed that the most conscious and collective activity of the class is now developing. It is these struggles which are the real driving force behind even most of the “official” strikes, since, in many cases, the unions are forced to call walkouts when the alternative might be more threatening to them.

It is these struggles which are the basic ingredients to be combined and developed towards the next stage of Class War in the oppressor Nations – the stage of violent seizures and destruction of, the productive apparatus, Factory Occupations and industrial bombings, to the point where mass workers assemblies will make and carry out decisions, inside and outside the factory gates and office-buildings, enforcing these by its armed and organized might, against the decrees and organized violence of the bourgeoisie and its state machine.

The Marxist-Leninist Party has developed precisely through the recognition of the world-historical tasks of the proletariat, and will move forward in its development by linking these tasks with the everyday class struggle and protracted Class War of the most oppressed and exploited.