THEORY AND THE WORKING CLASS MOVEMENT
The vanguard organization that takes up the responsibility to lead the proletariat onto the revolutionary path must have an all-sided and objective analysis of the working class movement in its own country. This means possessing a profound knowledge of the workers’ conditions and struggles as well as their level of class-consciousness and intellectual development. While our theoretical work is far from complete on this front, the following theses, based on years of studies, have become essential to the Scientific Socialist analysis of the working class movement.
Thesis #1: The American working class is the most exploited of any working class in the advanced capitalist countries.
This is supported by the following facts. American workers are:
1) paid the least relative to the value of their labor.
2) worked the longest hours.
3) least protected by health, maternity, and retirement programs, unemployment
and disability insurance.
4) given the fewest holidays and shortest (if any) vacations.
5) forced into more part-time and temporary jobs to try to sustain themselves.
6) more susceptible to injury and death on the job.
7) burdened by the heaviest debt bondage.
Thesis #2: The American proletariat is oppressed by the most reactionary, anti-labor, and anti-democratic regime of any Western imperialist power.
neo-fascism operates a huge apparatus to curtail the basic rights and freedoms of labor to check the spontaneous working class movement. US
The tyranny of the oligarchy’s fascist dictatorship has so mutilated its so-called democracy that even the spontaneous or reformist struggles of the working class are now throttled. That is, this tyranny not only acts to block the revolutionary movement but also those struggles that limit themselves to improving the position of labor within the legal boundaries of capitalism by combining into unions, fighting the employers mainly on economic issues, and compelling the government to pass laws favorable to workers, etc.
2) The right to strike and the right to organize into unions have especially been attacked over the past several decades.
Strikes involving 1,000 workers or more have declined from an average of over 300 per year during the 70s to approximately 80 per year during the 80s to fewer than 35 a year in the 90s. The suppression of the strike movement was assisted by neo-fascism’s union busting offensive, which cut organized labor in half over these decades, from 28% of the workforce in 1976 to less than 14% by the end of the 90s.
Thesis #3: The neo-fascist regime suppresses the workers’ movement with both arms of its state.
1) The official government arm of the state, with its draconian anti-labor laws, courts, and police forces, attacks the working class movement openly. At the same time, the subterranean arm of the state operates a fifth column, consisting of numerous contingents, such as the AFL-CIO bureaucracy and its local agents together with the secret police and gangster underworld to sabotage the working class movement from within.
2) The strike movement in particular is subject to attack. The government, with its reactionary laws, court injunctions, etc, routinely denies workers the right to strike But all major labor actions are subject to manipulation by the union bureaucracy and other fifth column units, and their interference and treachery are a thousand times more destructive than any open state attack. Historically, strikes and other militant labor actions provided important schools of class warfare, where workers learned how to struggle for their emancipation by uniting in common cause against the capitalists and their government. Now these fights have had their strength sapped by fifth column interference and treachery and have been reduced, for the most part, to impotent protests.
3) The capitalists supplement both these arms of the state by contracting “private” enterprises, such as security and surveillance companies, scab employment agencies, etc, which are specifically “marketed” as weapons against the working class movement.
neo-fascism enforces ideological and cultural regimentation to rob labor of its proletarian class-consciousness as well as to retard the entire population’s intellectual development. The oligarchy and its state employ a wide range of measures to achieve this regimentation. US
1) The neo-fascist dictatorship, de facto, bans Scientific Socialist theory and proletarian revolutionary politics from the political and intellectual life of the country.
neo-fascism also promotes variegated forms of racist and sexist ideology reinforced by the reactionary policies of its state. US
2) Open and rabid anti-Communism, as the official state line, is propagated in thousands of ways throughout the neo-fascist superstructure. This line is carried directly into the labor and democratic movements by fifth column mechanisms, such as the AFL-CIO bureaucracy, which, besides promoting anti-Communism also pushes the ideology of class-collaboration, national chauvinism, and militarism. Other fifth column mechanisms particularly harmful to labor are bogus Communist parties and groups that spread enormous confusion in the ranks of the revolutionary-minded and advanced workers with their pseudo-Marxist programs, theories, and ideas.
3) Education for the working masses at all levels is constantly degraded by neo-fascism, which has thoroughly corrupted objective-materialist and humanist outlooks and methods of science and democracy in the major disciplines.
4) The neo-fascist mass media channels censor and misrepresent the conditions and struggles of working class in order to keep workers as ignorant as possible about the social and political reality. They withhold vital facts and information about national and international developments, substituting falsifications and distortions that support the "official truth" of the state detached from the masses’ everyday experience and rudimentary logic. Consequently, the proletariat lacks essential ways and means to raise its class-consciousness.
These are some of the factors that explain why the workers have not successfully resisted the encroachments of capital upon their wages, working conditions, living standards, etc. and are in no position to lead opposition against the oligarchy and neo-fascism. There are others. For example, due to the wide scale export of production facilities outside the
, the size of the American industrial proletariat, historically the most advanced and militant section of the workers, is considerably smaller relative to the size of the working class than ever before. Also, US immigration policy allows entry to huge numbers of ruined, desperate, and thus more easily exploited workers from the economically devastated neo-colonies for staffing industrial jobs. Lastly, it is undeniable that a wide strata of the working class has been lulled to sleep by deceptive reactionary propaganda and pacified by imperialist culture. US
As a result, labor has grown weaker and weaker. However, it is also true that, despite the very unfavorable circumstances, militant currents continue to break out among those workers who are undaunted in struggling for their interests. But both effective reformist struggles and the revolutionary class struggle require certain levels of consciousness, unity, and organization, which the working class is now deprived of due to the dark oppression of the fascist dictatorship. Clearly, it is the role of the vanguard units to, first of all, patiently and systematically educate the advanced workers about the general conditions of the American proletariat, their causes, and what must be done to change the situation. As the current economic crisis unfolds, the Scientific Socialist trend, drawing from its analysis, will find more fertile ground among wider sections of the working class, leading to this trend’s growth and development.