First Published: The Worker, No. 1, January 16, 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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As the crisis of capitalism deepens and as the ruling class and its Government in Britain show themselves incapable even of insuring profits – let alone of maintaining a system in which workers can expect a reasonable return for their labour, the working class itself has to prepare to take over, to assume state power, to make Britain an economically viable and politically independent home and workshop for its working people.
How does the working class prepare itself for this mission?
By recognising that class struggle within the system, imperative as it is for survival, is not enough. Workers in Britain have the longest history of resistance to capitalist exploitation. They have not hesitated to take on the government itself when it has customarily intervened on behalf of employers. They have an unmatched record of persistence in struggle and of manoeuvre without surrender. And yet, in spite of this, as long as they fight within the capitalist arena according to capitalist rules, they cannot prevent crises nor can they maintain their hard-won standard of living when crises occur. They can even find themselves, due to the particular incompetence of ruling class and government in Britain falling behind fellow workers elsewhere who are less well-organised and less wise in the ways of class struggle.
Is the working class strong enough to take over?
In Britain there are only two classes – the exploiters and the exploited, the capitalist class and the working class, that is all those who live by the sale of their labour-power which in an advanced industrial country is always both manual and mental. The working class are well over 85 per cent of the population. Given that this were a class-for-itself and not merely a class in-itself, that is, given the conscious recognition by all of belonging to the working class and of the necessity of the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism which is an essential part of such class consciousness, they could assume state power tomorrow.
But we do not delude anyone with the idea that the conquest of state power by the working class is going to be easy. No ruling class in history has ever abdicated voluntarily. They will fight to hold onto their power, wealth and privileges, using every mercenary willing to murder in their pay and exploiting every split they can find or make within our ranks. But with correct leadership we can defeat them. Otherwise we shall find ourselves prostrate under fascism which is what capitalism with its back to the wall inevitably becomes.
What is the correct leadership for revolutionary struggle?
The correct leadership for revolution can only be the theoretical concentration of the experience of workers anywhere in making and consolidating revolutions as applied to the concrete conditions of Britain today. Only Marxism-Leninism has ever made successful working-class revolutions and then been able to maintain their results. Only a Marxist-Leninist Party can provide the correct leadership for the mobilising and deployment of the working class in its war against capitalism.
We, in the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist), are aware of the grave responsibility this places upon us. In the coming year we dedicate ourselves to this vital task with revolutionary zeal.