“The day after the UAW pushed through the contract—claiming it would prevent the company from declaring bankruptcy and save jobs—the number three US automaker filed for Chapter 11 protection and released plans to close eight plants and eliminate another 3,500 jobs.”
“Organizing a fightback using some of the militant tactics of the ‘30s like eviction blockades, mass protests, and strikes with fighting pickets is the only way we can effectively resist. ”
Here are two articles, each one illustrating a different approach to resisting massive capitalist crisis.
In the face of crisis in the 1930s, the Communist Party refused to surrender to circumstances, organizing creatively to stop evictions in the communities, to organize labor in untraditional ways (through a new union federation called the CIO) and to involve the whole working class in its work (e.g. organizing the unemployed despite the contracting economy, organizing sharecroppers, making conscious efforts to reach out to and organize black workers, etc). Nothing they did was perfect, but these strategies demonstrate the creative spirit the left so severely lacks today.
For example, the union movement has no far-left participation within it. The left has no roots in the working class, be they unionized or not. This creates a situation in which UAW can get away with telling its members to accept cuts in pay and benefits and claim that resistance would be futile because workers have no leverage. The defeatism is justified by conjuring up the danger of businesses going bankrupt or moving overseas. When the working class lacks “leverage” in the form of a high demand for their labor, political consciousness and militancy becomes their most valuable asset.
It’s the job of Marxist militants to bring that consciousness to the workers, whether they are blue-collar workers, like in the auto industry, welfare recipients, white-collar computer industry workers, soldiers or veterans, informal economy day-laborers like maids or nannies, or students. With class consciousness comes solidarity, and solidarity generates not only deep commitments to struggle, but also opens up many more paths to action, helping the proletariat redefine the terrain of battle and outflank the capitalist enemy (and supposed progressives in union bureaucracies, non-profit organizations, and of course the Democratic Party). Tthis is the reason why, objectively, internationalism, ant-sexism, anti-racism, pro-ecology, etc., are fused with true proletarian class consciousness. The internalization of these principles creates more unity and opens up options to exploit capitalism’s most vulnerable points at any given time. Some have confused these areas of struggle as alternatives to class struggle, but really they should be seen as extensions of class struggle.
Everything from sexism and racism and ecological destruction are products of class societies and capitalism, even it didn’t generate them in the first place, sure capitalizes on them to increase exploitation and derive profits. what left group is organizing (not just theorizing) along anti-capitalist, class based anti-racism or environmental protection? what organization is doing this with the goal of seizing the means of production, knowing that unless the way we produce, distribute, and consume is thoroughly democratized and socialized, the basis will never exist for any of the cultural and ideological revolutions we know are crucial components of a real communist revolution?
Here are the articles:
White House relies on UAW to ram through GM Job Cuts, Concessions By Jerry White 19 May 2009
Organize and Fight Back – 1930s Struggles of the Unemployed Hold Lessons for Today May 18, 2009 By Jesse Lessinger