Revolution or War n°23

(January 2023)

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Workers’ Struggles and Revolutionaries’ Intervention

Since last spring, in connection not only with the crisis but also with the war in Ukraine and its consequences, direct or indirect, on the living conditions of the international proletariat, a dynamic of resumption of workers’ struggles tends, albeit slowly, to assert itself and to develop. It is in the United Kingdom that this dynamic has expressed itself the most. We cannot explain here why, without ignoring or underestimating other workers’ struggles and social revolts at the international level [1], we think that the proletariat in Great Britain has been, and still is, in the vanguard of the workers’ revival, however modest it may be in itself. It is therefore a first experience, in the period opened by the war, for the revolutionary forces both from the point of view of understanding the dynamics of confrontation between the classes and of the intervention that they must put forward in order to best assume the role for which the proletariat produces them: that of political leadership.

That is why we publish below the communiqué that we have put on our website and sent to our contacts and groups of the proletarian camp. It is dated September 9. If it is outdated as to the course of events themselves, the facts, it seems to us that it remains a moment of this workers’ mobilization – the intervention of communist groups, however limited, is an integral part of workers’ struggles. Let’s recall that the spring and summer had seen a series of wildcat strikes break out in the United Kingdom, initially overwhelming the unions; then forcing them to urgently organize legal strikes by sector lasting 24 to 48 hours in order to try to channel and control the growing workers’ combativity. In August we published a leaflet, For Wage Increases, Strike Everywhere and Without Delay! calling on all workers in the country to go on strike without waiting. In particular, without waiting for the so-called “hot autumn” that the unions advanced as an alternative to entering into mass struggle immediately. This orientation raised some criticisms, in particular that “workers [do not] need to be told to strike since the situation will become dire but to know that the strike is only the beginning.” We responded to this then in Response to Some Critical ’Posts’ about our Intervention by trying to present our conception and method of intervention in workers’ struggles. Basically, we considered then that waiting for the autumn left the field free for the bourgeoisie and its unions to prepare themselves and to prepare the ground with a planning in advance of days of union action divided by sector and corporation and in time – by 24 or 48 hour strikes; and thus to break definitively the dynamics of mass strike that the wildcat strikes of the summer announced.

And then... Queen Elizabeth II died. It was clear to us that this event, independent of the particular class confrontation in progress, as pure contingency, could only break the dynamics in progress. This is the object of the following communiqué, which was our political responsibility, “party responsibility”, to assume until the end, since we had called for a strike on August 20. Since then, at the call and under the control of the unions, the strikes – legal – have resumed in Great Britain, particularly during the Christmas and New Year period. They affect many sectors, health, railways, post office, education, which are called to strike one after the other. Obviously, it is the whole state apparatus, government, political parties, trade unions, media, including the repressive apparatus, which are prepared to render impotent and sabotage any generalized and united workers’ response. Thus, the proletariat in Britain has lost the initiative to the bourgeoisie and could only regain it today at the cost of an open and frontal confrontation with the unions and at the risk of massive repression – is not the government already threatening to declare strikes in certain sectors illegal? [2] Unfortunately, it is unlikely that it will be able to do so in the immediate future – we have no indication or material fact to suggest otherwise.

Our intervention if we had a section or militants in the UK? We would not call for a massive strike by means of a leaflet as we did in August. Where combativity continues to be expressed, essentially behind the unions and their days of action, we would participate in the strikes of course and try to gather the most combative workers and those most aware of the sabotage work of the unions so that they can regroup, intervene with their comrades at work and act to put forward particular – or even local – alternatives to the days of union action; in particular by advocating any concrete action, including strike and street demonstrations, aiming at overcoming the corporatist divisions.

RL, December 29th 2022



[1. We do not have the space here to provide our position on the social movement and workers’ strikes in Iran, which are of major international importance. We refer our readers to the articles of the proletarian camp, in particular of the ICT.

[2. It was the same in the United States, where the government and the Senate declared illegal the strike in the railways, although it had respected the legal framework following a large majority vote (99%!).