Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Internationalist Contingent in Britain

Break the Chains! Manifesto of the Revolutionary Internationalist Contingent in Britain


The achievement of political power and even the establishment of a socialist system not based on exploitation must be seen not as an end in itself but as one part of a long transition period full of twists and turns and inevitable setbacks as well as advances until the goal of world-wide communism has been achieved. – Declaration of the RIM

3.1 The immediate aim of violent proletarian revolution is to overthrow the monopoly capitalist class, smash their state apparatus, and set up a new type of state power exercised by the working class and its allies, that is, the dictatorship of the proletariat. By this means the proletariat will be able to bring about the progressive revolutionary socialist transformation of society culminating, in conjunction with the revolutionary struggles of workers and other oppressed peoples throughout the world, in the creation of a classless and stateless communist society in which the guiding principle will be ’From each according to his ability, to each according to his need’. Socialist society is a necessary period of transformation in which all the vestiges of capitalist society will be eradicated, both in the way people produce and in the way they organise society. This process of socialist transformation will last for many generations and involve many revolutionary struggles with setbacks as well as advances during its course. Full communism will only be realisable when the last vestiges of capitalism have been completely done away with. The horizon is bright but the road is tortuous.

3.2 While the whole world is now chained to the capitalist system this is in a very uneven fashion. Uneven development is the keynote of the imperialist era, as can be seen in the wide differences between the imperialist metropoles and the oppressed third world countries, and even among the oppressed countries. This uneven development gives rise to weak links in the imperialist chain, and therefore, the possibility of revolutionary break troughs in one or several countries in the first instance. Such a breakthrough occurred in Russia in 1917 and was led and defended by the Bolsheviks and Lenin and Stalin. Today, in the event of a similar breakthrough, the revolutionary forces should follow their example and proceed to the socialist transformation of the liberated country. It is quite possible to undertake such transformation only one or a few countries, as long as it is carried out under the dictatorship of the proletariat. However, it is also clear that the material basis for communism, (as opposed to socialism), will only exist on a world-wide basis; so the new socialist state could commence socialist construction, but not complete it, i.e. arrive at communism. This would require revolutionary success on a world-wide basis. The most important task of such a socialist state is to provide a base for world revolution. Its support and defence will be an important task for workers and revolutionaries all round the world. Equally, this base will provide unqualified material support for revolutionary struggles all over the world, with the clear recognition that real progress towards communism requires that the working classes in all countries seize state power.

3.3 The working class in Britain will only achieve state power by means of a revolutionary civil war to overthrow the monopoly capitalist state. The proletarian state will be a very different kind from the capitalist state because it will be the instrument of rule of the majority of the people, the working class and its allies in the intermediate strata, over the minority of bourgeois elements and their supporters in the intermediate strata. For the working class and its allies there will be the fullest and most genuine democracy while for the bourgeoisie and other reactionary elements there will be firm dictatorship to prevent them staging a counter-revolutionary comeback to power. The proletarian state will be set up and led by the Communist Party and those sections of the working class who have played the most active role in the proletarian revolution. However, every effort must be made to progressively involve the entire working class and revolutionary inclined members of the middle strata in the active administration of society. This will be done by setting up appropriate organs to revolutionise all the aspects of social life; in the workplace, in the community, cultural activities etc. These revolutionary bodies will consist of party cadres, technical specialists and representatives of the working masses. The most revolutionary conscious sections of the working class must struggle to gain the active participation of the whole working class in the administration of the proletarian state.

3.4 At first, the proletarian state must be a very strong and powerful state if it is not to succumb to its bourgeois enemies both at home and abroad. This means that there must be a permanently armed workers militia consisting of the most revolutionary sections of the proletariat whose task is to defend the dictatorship of the proletariat. In addition, all the while there are imperialist capitalist states existing in other parts of the world the proletarian state will need to maintain some permanent armed forces to defend itself against attacks. Such military provision will be carried out in close co-operation with any other proletarian states which have been set up elsewhere. The main task of the proletarian state in Britain will not simply be to defend the dictatorship of the proletariat here but actively to participate in advancing struggles throughout the world. If this task is not attended to then the proletarian state will only be able to undertake socialist transformation on a limited scale because of the need to maintain a strong state to ward off imperialist attack. Such circumstances postpone the withering away of the state and could even result in capitalist restoration from within Britain. Thus the working class in Britain have a very definite material interest in participating in revolutionary struggles elsewhere because only the worldwide defeat of the bourgeoisie can ensure the ultimate triumph of communism.

3.5 The central task of the dictatorship of the proletariat in: Britain will be to transform an economy based upon private ownership of the means of production with the aim of maximising profits for the monopoly capitalist class into an economy based upon common ownership of the means of production with the aim of maximising the satisfaction of the human needs of the great mass of the people. Despite the tremendous power of modern forces of production large numbers of people in Britain still lack nutritious food, decent housing and many other benefits of modern civilisation, simply because capitalist relations of production restrict the truly useful application of the forces of production. The, first step in liberating the productive forces is for the Proletarian state to expropriate into state ownership the chief means of production, the larger industrial and commercial concerns, from the monopoly capitalist class. There is no question of compensation of any sort for these mass robbers. In the case of small concerns owned by the petit bourgeoisie, e.g. small shops, their proprietors should be offered continued participation in these enterprises but only on a non-oppressive and non-exploitative basis. If these small proprietors refuse to incorporate themselves into the working class in a non-antagonistic way then they too will be forcibly expropriated.’

3.6 It is important to realise that the conditions in which proletarian revolution is likely to occur in Britain are ones where there will be a very considerable destruction of means of production and people as a result of imperialist war and/or revolutionary civil war. The bourgeoisie are not going to hand us the economic assets we have worked so hard to create intact on a plate. Massive reconstruction to repair war damage will be necessary. Furthermore, the imperialist character of the British economy means that to a considerable extent it is at present parasitic on the underdeveloped neo-colonial territories of the world. The economy will need to be restructured to put an end to such exploitative relationships. So the working class and its allies will in the first instance face a desperate economic situation in which living standards are considerably below what they were before the revolutionary crisis arose. It may be some time before economic life can be stabilised and only a strong communist party and proletarian state can provide the necessary leadership to sustain the revolutionary zeal of the masses. However the working class will not have the burden of a monopoly capitalist class to carryon its backs. Party cadres and state officials will be paid no more than the earnings of the average worker. Even more important will be the fact that the working class control the state, control production; so that there will be a great unleashing of energy and creativity. Socialist transformation applies not just to machines, but to people themselves, enabling them to elevate their activities and their relationships. Thus the potential will exist for very rapid changes in material conditions.

3.7 The proletarian state must develop a central economic plan for the all-round development of the forces of production. This plan will be formulated as a result of the fullest consultation with workers, technicians and administrators at all levels of the economy. The value of an enterprise will be judged not primarily in terms of the surplus it makes but in terms of its general, overall contribution to building a socialist society. Although at first commodity production will continue, (i.e. producing goods and services for market exchange through the medium of money) things will be progressively removed from the sphere of monetary exchange and be provided simply as a social service. Most important will be the struggle to revolutionise the capitalist relations of production which will still exist within particular enterprises. In particular the legacy from capitalism of the contradiction between manual and mental labour must be fiercely struggled against, and progressively abolished. The division of personnel into those with administrative skills and technical knowledge and those who simply carry out mundane, routine tasks is deeply reactionary in two important ways. It is a massive waste of talent and creative energy because it restricts the creative participation of most people in productive activity and thus holds back the development of the productive forces. Also it mirrors the class division of owner and controller of means of production and those who simply sell their labour power for wages. As was shown by the experiences of the Cultural Revolution in China, only the fiercest struggles within workplaces can begin to abolish the division between mental and manual labour. Only if this is fully achieved and thus the forces of production are fully liberated will the danger of administrators and managers turning into a new state bourgeoisie be headed off.

3.8 The struggle to bring about the socialist transformation of the British economy will not be easy and only if the communist party draws correct conclusions from previous attempts at socialist construction, especially in the Soviet Union and China, will the necessary political guidance be available to successfully accomplish the great task.

3.9 As the working class progressively abolishes capitalist relations of production and replaces them by non-oppressive, non-exploitive ones then the alienation characteristic of capitalism will begin to disappear. As the great mass of people gain control of their productive activity and the products of their labour so their antagonistic estrangement from each other and their aversion to work will be overcome. Productive activity will become once again a creative, fulfilling and truly human activity. The division between work and non-work will gradually disappear and people will freely choose what to produce rather than being constrained by immediate necessities. As the new communist person displaces the old bourgeois man the human species will embark upon a completely new stage of its historical development free from the oppression and exploitation of class society.

3.10 It is not only the material basis of society which must be transformed to abolish capitalism and create communism but also the ideological superstructure must undergo thorough change. We have already mentioned the necessity to create an entirely new proletarian state. Relations between the sexes and family relations must also undergo progressive change. The communist party must lead mass struggle to implement measures to alleviate the particular oppression and exploitation suffered by working class women. This will include measures to ensure that women will participate just as fully as men in social production. Proletarian control of such existing technology as test-tube babies and fertilisation methods will offer the means for a rapid alteration in the relationship of women and men to reproduction and child-rearing. Many of the tasks which at present are the responsibility of the family, particularly child-rearing and much domestic labour will be socially reorganised so as to both free individuals from being restricted by these tasks and to encourage a weakening of strong feelings of family loyalty so as to promote a socialist consciousness of commitment to the welfare of one’s fellow human beings as a whole.

3.11 Education in capitalist Britain serves mainly as an important part of the process whereby a class divided society is reproduced. Different types of education are given to different people to fit them for membership of different classes and strata. The proletariat in a socialist Britain would leave education as it is at it peril. Education and the arts are important spheres where old bourgeois ideas can persist and this provides a fertile ideological ground for the emergence of a new bourgeoisie. Education would be thoroughly transformed so as to serve the interests of the working class. It would be closely integrated with production arid community life so as to assist the working class to develop the political outlook administrative techniques and technical knowledge and skill necessary for the working class to take leadership in everything, including education. At present literature and the arts largely serve the bourgeoisie by mirroring their outlook on the world. Under socialism writers and artists would be required to serve the working class by giving expression to their outlook and aspirations. In the course of time, the creation of literary and art works would no longer be a narrow specialised activity engaged in by a few, but a mass activity, just one aspect of the new communist man and woman where the free development of each will be the condition for the free development of all. As we learned from the tragic experiences of China, the most thoroughgoing cultural revolution must accompany political and economic revolution if revolutionary transformation is to move ahead and not be subverted by capitalist restoration.

3.12 The revolutionary struggle to bring about a thorough transformation from capitalism to communism will last for many generations. Although the working class in Britain can begin the process of socialist transformation while capitalism and imperialism exist in other parts of the world it cannot finish this process until there has been worldwide proletarian revolution. After all, workers in Britain are just one contingent of the international working class and our revolutionary struggle is essentially an international one. Although we have an immense task in front of us it is one worth tackling for ’the proletariat have nothing to lose except their chains, they have a world to win’. The workers and other progressive people in Britain can deal a major blow against capitalism and imperialism by overthrowing our own monopoly capitalist class and taking part in the historical task of liberating the whole of humankind.