Telling The Truth To The Workers
Trotsky, wisely said that Marxists should always tell the truth to the class, even when it was not pleasant. But, let us look at what the AWL would really have had to say to the Vestas workers had it told the truth, and compare it with what a Marxist can say. Were the AWL to have spoken the truth to the Vestas workers they would have said,
“Look, we don't really believe there is a hope in hell of David Cameron nation-alising your company. In fact, we don't believe there is any more chance that Ed Miliband would do so, were he Prime Minister. Still less do we think that even were they to nation-alise your company they would do so, for your benefit. Every Capitalist Government, including Attlee's, that has nation-alised companies has done so to bail-out the Capitalists, and for the benefit of the Capitalist economy, not for the workers. We recognise that Trotsky was right when he said, ' a bourgeoisie that feels it is firmly in the saddle will never tolerate dual power in its enterprises', and no one can doubt that the bourgeoisie certainly does feel it is firmly in the saddle. In fact, for the reasons Kautsky spelled out that, ' As an exploiter of labour, the state is superior to any private capitalist', we understand that if Cameron DID nation-alise your company, you would be in an even weaker position than you are confronting your current bosses! But, we do not ask you to spend your time and energy struggling for this demand because we think it has any chance of success, or that it could resolve your problems.
On the other hand the Marxist can tell the truth, and say,
But, if the statements by your leaders are not true, then that reality has to be addressed too. It does not mean the end of the line. More than 30 years ago, workers at Lucas Aerospace, showed that they could draw up their own plans of products they could produce, instead of weapons, which they could sell profitably. There are lots of useful products, which are required, and which we are sure you have the skills to produce. A start would be to enlist the support of other workers to draw up such plans, to investigate what needs you could meet, and so on.
But, your best safeguard against that is to pool your resources with other workers in a Co-operative Federation, and as the workers who have set up the Argentinian Co-ops have done, by uniting your Co-ops with the local communities to help meet their needs.
We don't seek to win you to our organisation as part of making these arguments to you, because instead, what we want is for you to realise the need for you to create your own mass Workers Party, which will pursue the political struggle that will be needed to defend your Co-ops, your Trades Unions, and the other organisations you create, from the attacks of the bosses and their State. And, as in your day to day struggles in the workplaces, and in the communities, our aim within this Workers Party, is once again to only provide you with our advice. On that basis we hope you will find our advice proves correct, and on that basis we will win your respect, so that you may be inclined to take our advice in future.”
The AWL's statement that the Tories are putting forward the idea of Co-ops as a cover for Cuts may well be true, but so what? Why would that mean that we should then not argue for Co-ops for our own reasons? If socialists develop their demands and their programs based not on what they believe is necessary, but by placing a plus everywhere that the bosses place a minus, then it will mean boycotting our own politics. Thatcher argued for Trades Union democracy as a cover for attacking the Unions, but that in no way meant that Socialists had to drop their own demands for greater democracy within the unions. In Trotsky's words,
“The policy of the proletariat is not at all automatically derived from the policy of the bourgeoisie, bearing only the opposite sign – this would make every sectarian a master strategist; no, the revolutionary party must each time orient itself independently in the internal as well as the external situation, arriving at those decisions which correspond best to the interests of the proletariat.”
Learn To Think.
But, the AWL do not seem to have noticed, when they advise workers to look to the Capitalist State rather than their own Co-operative organisations, for solutions, that it is that very same Capitalist State that is carrying out the attacks! It is the Capitalist State, which is attacking workers pensions; it is the Capitalist State which is sacking tens of thousands of workers; it is the Capitalist State which is cutting billions from welfare programmes; it is the Capitalist State, which is the workers main enemy, its class enemy incarnate. It is this Capitalist State the AWL tell the workers to place their faith in at home and abroad, rather than in their own actions, their own organisations, their own self-government!
In the Foreword to the book, Huxley writes that the really efficient state of the future would not need to rely on coercion because Fordism would have become 'second nature'. The state's role would be controlling “a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced because they love their servitude. To make them love it is the task assigned, in present day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers. The task of making people love their servitude was to be the task of an army of scientists through a “deep, personal revolution in human minds and bodies”. They would use, amongst other things, improved techniques of suggestion, through infant conditioning and drugs. It is achieved today through an all embracing Welfare State, which, especially as in the case of the NHS, we are told to “love”, and via the myriad of ideological strings, by which it is connected through the mass media, and all the panoply of a consumerist society to lead us not only to accept our current condition of servitude, but to love it. It is that condition that the AWL seek to perpetuate. They have become like the Lotus Eaters.
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