Socialist Fight: Where We Stand

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Aims of the Socialist Fight Magazine

Revolutionary socialism

1. We stand with Karl Marx: ‘The emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves. The struggle for the emancipation of the working class means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies but for equal rights and duties and the abolition of all class rule’ (The International Workingmen’s Association 1864, General Rules). The working class ‘cannot emancipate itself without emancipating itself from all other sphere of society and thereby emancipating all other spheres of society’ (Marx, A Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843).
2. In the class struggle we shall fight to develop every struggle of the working class and oppressed in the direction of democratic workers’ councils as the instruments of participatory democracy which must be the basis of the successful struggle for workers’ power.

Revolutionary strategy and tactics

3. We recognise the necessity for serious ideological and political struggle as direct participants in the trade unions (always) and in the mass reformist social democratic bourgeois workers’ parties despite their pro-capitalist leaderships when conditions are favourable. In fighting the attacks of this Tory government it is now necessary to work within the Labour party as well as within other proto-parties such as Left Unity and RESPECT that seek to present socialist and anti-imperialist politics in opposition to the neo-liberalism that is now deeply embedded within the Labour Party. We support all genuine left developments within Labour, such as the Corbyn for leader campaign. We seek to cleanse the Labour Party of neo-liberalism as part of the broader struggle to transcend reformism, but recognise that the Labour party is a reformist party which can never be won to the cause of revolutionary socialism but we recognise it may well be forced to defend the working class in future periods of developing class struggle as it has in the past. Work within the Labour party is a tactical and not a strategic issue in the struggle to cohere a revolutionary nucleus to build the revolutionary party. Whether or not to work within Labour depends on our assessment of the opportunities, whether we still regard it as a bourgeois-workers’ party and if sufficient internal democracy allows us to function within it. Comrades on the EB may have different assessments on this.
4. We strongly support campaigns to democratise the trade unions’ traditional link to the Labour party. We are for funding only those MPs who agree to and have a record of fighting for union policies. We demand an end the farcical Warwick-type Agreements which sees top TU leaders, acting bureaucratically as plenipotentiaries and defenders of capitalism, asking for miserable reform, accepting far less and ending up with practically nothing in practice from Labour Governments. National funding of Labour must also be on the basis of fighting for union policies and must be withheld until the Labour leaders agree to represent the interests of trade union members, the working class and oppressed against the bankers and the capitalist system in general. We support union funding for working class left-wing alternatives to Labour when Labour fails to meet those conditions but never the ‘other political parties’ formulation which would mean funding bourgeois parties like the Scottish Nationalist Party, the Greens, the Liberal-Democrats and even the Tories.
5. We fight for rank-and-file organisations in the trade unions within which we will fight for consciously revolutionary socialist leadership in line with Trotsky’s Transitional Programme statement:
“Therefore, the sections of the Fourth International should always strive not only to renew the top leadership of the trade unions, boldly and resolutely in critical moments advancing new militant leaders in place of routine functionaries and careerists, but also to create in all possible instances independent militant organizations corresponding more closely to the tasks of mass struggle against bourgeois society; and, if necessary, not flinching even in the face of a direct break with the conservative apparatus of the trade unions. 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. Trade unions are not ends in themselves; they are but means along the road to proletarian revolution.”
6. We totally oppose all economic nationalist campaigns like for ‘British jobs for British workers’ that means capitulation to national chauvinism and so to the political and economic interests of the ruling class itself. We are therefore unreservedly for a Socialist United States of Europe.
7. Representatives of all political parties are welcome to participate in blocs to organise and support specific, concrete struggles for quantifiable demands that are in the interest of the working class. Those whose class interests are counterposed to such struggles will exclude themselves. That is the tactic of the united front. But a line must be drawn against anything that even seems to imply a common programme for government, at national or local level, with non-proletarian forces. Such blocs that go beyond practical united fronts for action, with representatives of non-working class parties such as the Greens, Lib Dems or SNP by definition rule out ever fighting for the socialist revolution, the only ultimate solution to all capitalist crises. We are totally opposed to these popular fronts, that is, political alliances of workers organisations with political representatives of the capitalist class to ‘save the planet’, ‘defeat fascism’, ‘stop the war’, etc. These characteristically have broadly defined aims that imply an open-ended bloc tailored to the politics of those parties, or even a joint government. As Trotsky said “no mixing of the Red and the Blue” (or Green – SF). The fact that David Cameron is a member of Unite Against Fascism (UAF) restricts the working class to the politics and programme of its class enemies.”
8. We fully support of all mass mobilisations against the onslaught of this reactionary Troy Government, in particular we stand for the repeal of all the anti-trade union laws and strongly opposed the new ones promised.
9. We are completely opposed to man-made climate change and the degradation of the biosphere which is caused by the anarchy of capitalist production for profits of transnational corporations. Ecological catastrophe is not ‘as crucial as imperialism’ but caused by imperialism so to combat this threat we must redouble our efforts to forward the world revolution.

Special Oppression and Racism

10. We recognise that class society, and capitalism as the last form of class society, is by its nature patriarchal. In that sense the oppression of women is different from all other forms of oppression and discrimination. Sexism and the oppression of women is inextricable tied to the ownership and the inheritance of private property. To achieve sexual and individual freedom women need to fight in the class struggle in general to overthrow class society itself. We cannot leave the struggle against women’s oppression until the revolution but must recognise it as one of the most fundamental aspects of the revolutionary struggle itself or we will never make that revolution. We therefore reject the reactionary “intersectional” theory as hostile to Marxism, to the class struggle and to revolutionary socialism.
11. We also support the fight of all other specially oppressed including lesbians and gay men, bisexuals and transgender people and the disabled against discrimination in all its forms and their right to organise separately in that fight in society as a whole. In particular we defend their right to caucus inside trade unions and in working class political parties. While supporting the latter right, we do not always advocate its exercise as in some forms it can reinforce illusions in identity politics and obscure the need for class unity.
12. We support the rights of sex workers and oppose all laws which criminalise them or tend to endanger their lives and health. Whilst recognising sex work as a commercial activity driven by deprivation is a product of the oppression of women and the deformation of sexuality under capitalism and knowing that this will disappear with the ending of the patriarchal-dominated private property structure of class society we raise the demands to protect their rights now such as free and regular health checks under the NHS and a safe working environment for all sex workers.
13. We fight racism and fascism. We support the right of people to fight back against racist and fascist attacks by any means necessary. Self-defence is no offence, we support it. Two people might make racist/far right comments but on challenging them one might turn out be a hardened racist/fascist and the other might be mindlessly repeating the Sun editorial. It is necessary to distinguish. It is a legitimate act of self-defence for the working class to ‘No Platform’ fascists but we never call on the capitalist state to ban fascist marches or parties; these laws would inevitably primarily be used against workers’ organisations, as history has shown.
14. We oppose all immigration controls. International finance capital roams the planet in search of profit and imperialist governments disrupts the lives of workers and cause the collapse of whole nations with their direct intervention in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and their proxy wars in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc. Workers have the right to sell their labour internationally wherever they get the best price.

Revolutionary internationalism

15. We defend the Leninist position on the differences between imperialist and semi-colonial countries. As Trotsky observed in 1937; “…the difference between England and India, Japan and China, the United States and Mexico is so big that we strictly differentiate between oppressor and oppressed bourgeois countries and we consider it our duty to support the latter against the former. The bourgeoisie of colonial and semi-colonial countries is a semi-ruling, semi-oppressed class.” Leon Trotsky Not a Workers’ and Not a Bourgeois State? (November 1937).
16. We were and are for the immediate withdrawal and/or defeat of imperialist armies in wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Ukraine. Whilst giving no political support to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Sunni and Shia militias in Iraq, Hamas or Fatah in Palestine, Gaddafi (as was) in Libya, Assad in Syria, the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq, the theocratic regime in Iran or the Donbass leadership in Eastern Ukraine we recognise US-led world imperialism as the main enemy of humanity and so advocate critical support and tactical military assistance from the working class to all those fighting for the defeat of imperialism as part of the perspective of Permanent Revolution.
17. We defend the ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq against the bombing of US imperialism but do not ally with them against the Kurdish defenders of Kobane and Rojava (Western Kurdistan). We support the Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination and to their own nation state, even though they are scattered over four other nations now. The Islamic State is a reactionary utopia and has no legitimate right to self-determination. We do not object if the Kurds take advantage of airstrikes against ISIS to defend their own territory in a process of nation-building but we reject any strategic alliance with US-friendly forces on the ground, like the Free Syrian Army. The Kurds have every right to accept arms from Assad.
18. We are for the overthrow of the Zionist state of Israel and for a Multi-Ethnic workers’ state of Palestine as part of the Socialist Federation of the Middle East.
19. As socialists living in Britain we take our responsibilities to support the struggle against British imperialism’s occupation of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland very seriously. For this reason we have assisted in founding the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group and we will campaign for political status these Irish prisoners of war and for a 32-county united Socialist Ireland. We reject all ‘two nations in Ireland’ theories.
20. We recognise that many socialists and working class militants may agree with much of the above statement of principles, but still have differences with parts of it. Therefore, the basis of adherence to our trend is acceptance of the above as the basis for current activity, not necessarily agreement with all of it. We are seeking to create a revolutionary party in which Marxism can be developed through open debate of the many complex developments that exist in the real world. This means members must be free to disagree and debate with each other, forms faction and tendencies, and publish their views by whatever means is available, provided they do not disrupt agreed actions of the collective while they are being carried out. This is the real meaning of ‘democratic centralism’
21. We are for the re-creation of a World Party of Socialist Revolution, a revolutionary international, based on the best traditions of the previous revolutionary internationals, critically understood, particularly the early Third and Fourth Internationals, with their determination to combat and overcome both reformism and centrism. It is by orienting to the ranks of workers in struggle, struggles against imperialism, struggles of oppressed minorities against varied all forms of social oppression, as well as political ferment among intellectual layers radicalised through these struggles, that we will lay the basis for regroupments with forces internationally breaking with reformism, centrism and various forms of radical populism/nationalism, and seeking to build a new revolutionary Marxist international party.

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