1. The common interests of the international working class:
The international working class shares the common social interests of healthcare, education, infrastructure, housing, democratic rights, freedom of movement, and a healthy environment. The poison of nationalism which divides the international working class must be rejected. There are no longer national solutions that can resolve any of the problems facing humanity.
2. The need to overturn the profit system
Although the wealth of the world is produced by the working class, under the profit system the benefits flow to a tiny minority, the capitalist class. In 2022, Oxfam found that during the first two years of the pandemic the world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes to $1.9 trillion.
This contradiction can only be overcome by the putting the world economy under the democratic control of the working class, so the wealth it produces can be used to meet the needs of all.
3. The need to abolish nation states
Production under capitalism is organised on a global scale, but politically the world is divided into nation states. This contradiction leads to unending competition between the imperialist capitalist powers for resources and spheres of control. The first two world wars were efforts by the imperialist powers to carve up the globe. A third world war would inevitably be nuclear, and threatens the survival of humanity.
The only way to overcome this contradiction is to abolish the capitalist nation state system and establish a global socialist system based on cooperative and rational economic planning. Trotsky explained in his Theory of Permanent Revolution:
The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena.”
4. The necessity of socialist international anti-imperialist war movement
A real anti-war movement must seek to overturn the cause of war and militarism, the capitalist system itself. It must be independent, and hostile to all political parties of the capitalist class, and it must seek to unite workers internationally.
However socialists are not pacifists. We support the right of oppressed countries to defend themselves. This means supporting the right of Russia to defend itself against imperialist encroachment. This means supporting a Russian victory in its war against NATO and its Ukrainian proxies.
5. No Borders – workers have the right to move and live where they choose.
Under capitalism the rich and their capitalist property can move around the world. The working class deserves the same rights. We reject the entire framework of “border control” that is leading to deaths of thousands in the seas and deserts. The attempt to blame migrants and asylum seekers for the lack of jobs, services and infrastructure is a crude attempt by the ruling class to divert attention from the fact that wealth is being hoarded by corporations and the rich.
6. Why are we Trotskyist – the rejection of Stalinism
We are proud to call ourselves Trotskyist because of the crucial role that Leon Trotsky played not just in the Russian Revolution but in fighting in opposition to the development of Stalinism within the former Soviet Union. This was a battle that cost Trotsky and hundreds of thousands of others their lives. Trotsky’s insights into why the Soviet Union degenerated and his role in founding the Fourth International in 1938 protected the intellectual capital of socialism.
7. Current and former Stalinist regimes
In Trotskyist theory, countries such as the USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam were in fact degenerated or deformed workers states rather than having achieved socialism. Capitalist property relations had been overturned and the means of production socialised but the working class did not hold political power. Instead parasitic Stalinist state bureaucracies repressed their own working classes in the endeavor to establish “socialism in one country”. Socialism as Trotsky asserted however can only ever be achieved on an international scale.
Whilst capitalist property relations were fully restored to the former USSR states including Russia in the counter-revolution of 1991, China remains a deformed workers state with a mixture of socialised property relations and a burgeoning capitalist sector.
Like Trotsky himself however, we believe the gains of these successful revolutions must be defended unconditionally against imperialism. China is being targeted by the U.S. as its development in the last 30 years now threatens the declining economic power of U.S. Imperialism. China loans and investment offer developing countries an alternative to the Washington backed IMF and World Bank. In addition the very continued existance of workers states in any form is an intolerable challenge to world imperialism. The imperialists continue to target North Korea both militarily and with vicious sanctions. Cuba also remains under the boot of a seventy year long US sanctions program.
Russia is being targeted by the U.S. despite restoring capitalism as it is intolerable to the U.S., that the new capitalist oligarchy which has inherited the military might of the USSR, stands in the way of full U.S. domination of the resources of Eurasia. This has now led to war in Ukraine.
8. The incompatibility of capitalism and the environment.
In addition to the threat of war, humanity also faces a dire threat from rapid Climate Change and other disruptions to the world’s ecosystems that will undermine food supplies and diminish people’s quality of life. The world is facing mass extinctions and ecological collapse. Reforms of capitalism cannot avert this future. Only through the overturning of the profit system itself can the technologies and production processes be achieved that can improve the quality of human life and protect the earth’s resources.
9. An independent movement of the working class – and all capitalist parties.
The working class must break free from all the bankrupt social democratic parties such as the Democratic Party in the U.S., the Labor Party in Australia, the SPD in Germany and equivalent parties internationally. These parties which have claimed to represent the working class are now hollow parties of war and big business. Supporting one or another of these parties under the banner of the “lesser of two evils” is a disastrous dead end for the working class. The project of reformism has been discredited forever.
Many organisations that call themselves “socialist” are in fact reformist parties. This includes the various tendencies such as the Democratic Socialist of America in the US, Socialist Alternative in Australia, Syrizia in Greece, Podemos in Spain and the Socialist Party in the UK.
These forces which base themselves on the material interests of the petty bourgeois upper middle classes disorient the working class through the use of left wing phraseology work unceasingly to keep workers contained within bourgeois parliamentary democracy. They do so by insisting that workers can exert leftward pressure on the trade union bureaucracy and by extension leftward pressure on the capitalist parties.
10. Trade Unions
Trotsky stated in the Transitional Program:
“The Bolshevik-Leninist stands in the front-line trenches of all kinds of struggles, even when they involve only the most modest material interests or democratic rights of the working class”. He stressed that revolutionaries must not adopt a sectarian position of refusing to fight within Trade Unions because of their reactionary leadership.
However he also stressed that:
“If it be criminal to turn one’s back on mass organizations for the sake of fostering sectarian factions, it is no less so passively to tolerate subordination of the revolutionary mass movement to the control of openly reactionary or disguised conservative (”progressive”) bureaucratic cliques.”
This meant breaking with the trade unions and forming new, more militant organisations such as worker or factory committees when conditions required.
On the question, “Should Revolutionaries Work in Reactionary Trade Unions?” Lenin referred to the bitter struggle between communist unionists and the trade union bureaucrats:
“These men, the “leaders” of opportunism, will no doubt resort to every device of bourgeois diplomacy and to the aid of bourgeois governments, the clergy, the police and the courts, to keep Communists out of the trade unions, oust them by every means, make their work in the trade unions as unpleasant as possible, and insult, bait and persecute them. We must be able to stand up to all this, agree to make any sacrifice, and even—if need be—to resort to various stratagems, artifices and illegal methods, to evasions and subterfuges, as long as we get into the trade unions, remain in them, and carry on communist work within them at all costs. “
Since the 1970s production has become globalised, weakening the bargaining power of nationally based unions as capital moves factories to countries with lower labor costs. In the name of “international competitiveness” the union bureaucracies have functioned increasingly as industrial police, collaborating with management in attacking workers’ wages and conditions. The union bureaucrats have been richly compensated for their collaboration. Top bureaucrats now earn half-million dollar salaries, putting them in the 1% at the top of the wealth pyramid.
This fact, combined with increasingly casualised work patterns, has led to a dramatic decline in union membership in many parts of the world. However, tens of millions of workers in key industries remain in unions globally. Revolutionaries must assimilate this change in material conditions. Wherever possible workers struggles must be just as international as the globalized supply chains. Efforts must also be made to reach out and organise the non-unionised layers of the workforce. Social media is a powerful new tool for such organising efforts.
Although industrial struggle was successfully suppressed by the union bureaucracies for the last forty years, workers are beginning to break free from this straight jacket with wildcat strikes and workers voting to reject sell out deals pushed by the bureaucracies. This trend must be built upon.
11. Covid19 and the attack on public health
The Covid19 pandemic has revealed once again that the capitalist ruling class will not allow anything to interfere with the pursuit of profits and is incapable of cooperating to solve any international based problem. The pandemic has killed tens of millions and disabled many more with Long Covid since 2020 across rich and poor capitalist nations. The vaccine program has been inefficient on a global level and focussed on the profits of Big Pharma rather than actually solving the Covid19 crisis. The pandemic threatens a historic drop in life expectancy and quality of health for the global working class with no end in sight.
The remaining workers states showed how when profit is subordinated to human need the pandemic could have been controlled. China demonstrated how a planned economy could control the virus however after three years China and the CCP have capitulated to the demands of capitalist interests such as the Apple corporation to adopt the same “let it rip” policies of the capitalist west. It is worth noting also the success of the workers state Cuba in developing vaccines to protect its population.
12. The threat of fascism
Fascism arises during periods of capitalist crisis and the subsequent fear of the ruling class of working class revolution. The economic chaos following World War 1 that led to the Great Depression and the fear of the spread of the revolution from the USSR, birthed European fascism. It took power first in Italy before spreading to other countries – including most disastrously for the world, Germany.
Now, after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 and the worsening capitalist crisis of this century, fascism is again rearing its ugly head. Fascistic parties are in power in Ukraine, the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Austria and Italy. They are on the rise in France, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, the Baltic nations, Croatia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and last-but-not-least, in the dominant imperialist power, the United States, led by the fascist Donald Trump.
Under conditions of ever-increasing inequality, and the threat of world war, the ‘normal’ mechanisms can no longer be relied upon to keep the working-class from entering revolutionary struggle. Once again, the ruling-class (in crisis) needs a movement to prevent socialist revolution. Fascism is an ideology with the specific class purpose of developing a mass movement that can install a dictatorial government to smash the working-class and pave the way for total war.
This movement does not arise spontaneously. It must be cultivated through spreading the filth of racism, extreme nationalism, xenophobia and militarism to the petty bourgeois (middle-classes) and elements of the disoriented working-class. Trotsky states: “In this way, big capital ruins the middle-classes and then, with the help of hired fascist demagogues, incites the despairing petty bourgeoisie against the worker.”
Fascism can only find an audience due to the crisis of leadership on the Left. The working-class has been betrayed by the Social Democratic parties around the world such as the Democrats in the U.S. along with their partners in the Trade Unions since the 1970’s. There is a paucity of revolutionary left-wing leadership around the world. This is why the fascist demagogues are finding such a receptive audience.
13. For freedom of the press and the internet.
The international working-class now numbers in the billions and is linked by modern communications technology, most notably the internet. Freedom of press and speech are fundamental to the development of the consciousness of working class as access to truthful information is a a pre-condition for the working class acting its own interests. Workers can now share and communicate with each other on a truly international scale. The use of social media has been crucial everywhere from the Arab Spring, the Yellow Vests, teacher strikes in North America and the strikes in Matamoros in Mexico.
This is seen as a deeply troubling by all sections of the ruling class who are desperately attempting to control dissent through internet censorship.
14. In defence of Julian Assange
The imprisonment of Julian Assange is watershed in the descent of the international order into criminality and impunity. The courageous journalism with Wikileaks now faces an effective “extraordinary rendition” to the U.S. which is being given a legal figleaf in the servile British courts. Assange is now being held on in isolation in London in conditions amounting to torture. The Trump Administration charged Assange under the Espionage Act and he faces up to 175 years in prison and Biden continues the prosecution.
Class-Conscious has maintained the movement to free Assange must be orientated to the working class and attempts to subordinate it to any faction of the ruling class must be resisted. This includes the Labor Party in the UK as well as far right infiltration by pro-Trump forces in the US.
15. Submissions welcome to classconscious.org
The current period of capitalist crisis requires workers to form new organisations and to develop a new leadership. This process must be based on a careful analysis of past workers struggles; in the early part of 20th century as part of the revolutionary upheavals that culminated in 1917 Russian Revolution, Marxist argued through the daily questions constantly through many different publications and even within the pages of Pravda itself debates occurred. Such a culture must be developed again and we hope classconscious.org can play a small part.
In this spirit classconscious.org wishes to reach out to the best layers orientated to the working class and invite them to submit articles. Whilst we will not promote articles that seek to obscure the truth from the working class through falsification and appeals to reformism we would be happy to foster debate by publishing articles that may not fully align with the position of our editorial collective. Submissions are welcome from those who are orientated to the working class who call themselves socialist or anarchist.