Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Work in the Factories

A Report on the Atlanta Conference

Strikes – A School of War

With the attempt on the part of the capitalists to shift the burden of the present crisis onto the backs of the workers, a new upsurge is taking place in the U.S. workers movement. During the first seven months of last year, 4,580 strikes took place with more than 3 million workers taking part.

These strikes play an important part in preparing the workers for revolution and educating the workers in the spirit of class solidarity and hatred for the capitalists.

As Lenin said, “Strikes are a school of war,” in which the workers learn how to fight against then class enemy for the liberation of the entire people and of all the working men and women from the yoke of capital.

But this is only one side of the question. The other inseparable side of this problem is, as Lenin said, “we must say that strikes are as said above, a ’school for war ’ and not the war itself; strikes are only a means of struggle, only a form of the labor movement. The workers can and must pass over, in all countries, from separate strikes to the struggle of the whole working class for the liberation of all the working people.”


In the coming year, a number of significant strikes will take place. Contracts in major sections of industry including rubber, electronics and auto are expiring and the workers are faced with the fascist measures of the Nixon government in its attempt to drive down wages and working conditions while it drives up monopoly profits.

Another significant development in the strike movement is the growth of the communist movement in the U.S. and its gradual merging with the labor movement. This is having the effect of changing the character of these struggles and giving them more of a political content.

In the Strike Strategy Workshop, the tasks of uniting the class in struggle and “increasing the workers ability to fight” was stressed. The need to “build self-reliance” in the face of collaborationist policies of the labor opportunists, was also pointed out.

On the question of communist work in the shops, it was stressed the communists “must play a leading role in the day to day struggles.” This was put forth in opposition to the line of some other groups who call for simply “winning the advanced workers” through propaganda only. The workshop agreed that,

“The way we do this is by practicing the mass line. That is gathering the unsystematic and spontaneous ideas of the masses and formulating them into demands, programs and actions. Then putting them out to the workers and winning them to them.”


The need for communist shop papers was emphasized. More than a dozen communist shop papers from around the country were exchanged. The workshop concluded that “A communist shop paper can play an important role in leading the struggle, maintaining our independence as communists and as a collective organizer.”

Another point of agreement in the Strike Strategy Workshop was found on the need to work in the trade unions, “because this is where the majority of the workers in big industry are at.” At the same time, a program must be put forth to struggle against the undemocratic, chauvinist policies of the labor leadership and a struggle must be earned on to place the unions into the hands of the rank and file. The workshop statement said, “We must fight for the unions to unite the class and not divide it by fighting against all forms of national chauvinism and raising the special demands of the minority and women workers. Lastly, we must push the union to militantly take up the economic struggle of the working class in a way that will promote class struggle, instead of class collaboration.” In preparing for strikes this year, the main thing stressed was the building of mass rank-and-file organizations and caucuses along the line of the Worker’s Solidarity Committees which could mobilize the rank and file in political action in preparation for the struggle and through the strike.

(A report on the conference workshop on “Strike Strategy.”)