Don’t Vote - Prepare the Resistance

Political and Economic Crisis

“You don’t know what you’re doing” is a familiar England football chant. The same refrain could be directed at the British (and global) ruling class.

For years the world capitalist system has been in economic crisis. No matter what policies various governments have tried (from increased spending, to privatisation and letting the banks speculate on anything and everything) this crisis has not gone away. It got worse in 2007-8 when the speculative bubble fuelled by the banks burst. We have been paying the consequences ever since. Despite talk of a recent recovery, real incomes of the majority have continued to fall.

The decision to hold a referendum over membership of the EU showed that the failure to solve the economic crisis has led to political desperation. A (successful) short term fix to hold the Tory Party together has produced a long term decision likely to be disastrous for British capitalism as a whole.

Short termism is a sign of a ruling class that is losing its grip. This is even more apparent since the Brexit vote. Since they didn’t expect to win, the Brexiteers had no plan to enact. On the morning after they began stabbing each other in the back. By saying nothing the opportunist Theresa May (a quiet Remainer) ended up becoming leader of the Tory Party without a vote being cast. May has now broken her promise not to have an election before 2020. She has also torn up the Tory Law that was supposed to ensure that every parliament would last exactly five years. Why?

The Perils of Brexit

The current Government can see that leaving the EU risks an even bigger economic mess than we are now in. With the final split from Europe scheduled for 2019, the crisis would probably be at its deepest by 2020. More attacks on the working class would then be needed. For the Tory Government holding an election now, with a Labour Party in total disarray, with Ukip having lost its purpose, they are likely to get a huge majority. This will be their excuse to impose more misery on the population. They will also get a couple of years more breathing space before the next election would be due in 2022.

For workers none of this makes much difference. Brexit or no Brexit, as we said at the time, the costs of the crisis will be paid for in more cuts in benefits, more wage freezes and greater insecurity of employment (see accompanying article in this issue).

In the run up to the election the Tories, backed by the tabloid press and most of the media, will replay the nationalist theme of Britain “taking control” against the Brussels bureaucrats. The racist message that immigration will have to be reduced if not halted will re-surface, as it did in the referendum.

But Why Not Vote Labour?

In this situation it is not surprising many young people think that Labour remains an alternative. Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn they claim that Labour has re-found its “socialist roots”. This is a myth. Promising to defend the National Health Service, pensions and benefits or to re-nationalise the railways are not in themselves socialist. These are state capitalist measures designed to hold the system together and damp down social tensions. They can’t do away with exploitation but at best merely soften some of its worst aspects so that capitalism can go on … and on. Labour has supported capitalism in all its wars and against all attempts by the working class to break free of the system.

By participating in the electoral charade we only legitimise their right to misrule and exploit us. Political democracy without economic democracy is impossible. The minority who own most of the property and the means of producing the things we need to live also monopolise the media. It makes the notion of a fair and free election a non-starter.

Socialism cannot come about just by putting a cross on a piece of paper in a ballot box. Socialism is more than equality. It is an entirely different way of doing things. It can only come about when millions of workers take their lives into their own hands and actively fight for it. This is not on the immediate agenda but it needs to be.

A New Perspective

Abstention alone is not enough. We need more active resistance to what the system is trying to do to us. This begins in the everyday resistance to increased exploitation, to worsening living conditions. It develops via the solidarity of workers in one struggle with workers in other struggles, and it culminates in the setting up of workers’ councils.

This was the form of direct democracy founded 100 years ago by workers in Russia. Not ‘representative’ democracy where someone is elected for 5 years and then can say and do whatever they like. Direct democracy mandates delegates to local, regional and other councils, where they vote and act according to the course of action looked-for by those who elected them. Delegates are subject to recall at any time. Through it everyone is drawn into the running of society. Politics is not something left to a small elite. Or rather, political activity gives way to decision-making by the whole community. Although the workers councils lost their power in the early 1920s as the counter-revolution took hold in Russia they remain the historically-discovered form of working class democracy.

The fight to re-establish them, the struggle to end capitalist exploitation, imperialist wars and the destruction of the environment will not be won anytime soon. Resistance will have to be built up and the ideas of a new society based on an end to exploitation and all discrimination will have to be fought for within the working class. This is the goal and the task we have set ourselves in order to create a political movement, a party of the working class, which is both international and internationalist. If you like our message, get in touch. Your class needs you!

Friday, June 2, 2017


So you believe that 'through it (workers' councils') everyone is drawn into the running of society'. As workers' councils lost power after 1917 in the early 1920s, what are the chances of their retaining power in future, if and when faced with a far more technically sophisticated counter-revolution ? The question might be answered in both future anti-Stalinist and Stalinist ways. However, then, whatever answers might be offered, is it not likely that the future will, one way or another, be totalitarian, in view of the steadily growing crises of capitalism, world population growth and climatic threats ? Without a clearly defined power structure, the alternatives might be exponentially dangerously chaotic. Somehow, the world needs to be in command of itself, whether anarchists like it or not !

Those who harp on about the last counter-revolution tend not to think about the next revolution. Things will be different (in many ways). Soviet power was lost due to the isolation of the revolution to a country where the working class was a long way from being a majority not for any "structural reason". Soviet power will be a clearly defined means for addressing the big question of how do you get the participation of the mass of society in the decisions that matter is answered by the real and historically discovered experience of the class. And we can learn from the experience of Russia - we won't create a body (the Council of Peoples' Commissars - Sovnarkom) over and above the elected executive of the Congress of Soviets.

I think the CWO/ICT spends a long time on the origins of the third international, the attempt and failure of the last revolutionary wave and I think this is necessary.

I posted the article on a pro Corbyn site and got the usual hail of abuse. I'm a thick skinned little rhino though...I only answered one.

Stephen, the revolution isn't happening before Thursday, so like it or not we have a choice between Labour or Tories. You might think it makes no difference, everyone on here does.

::::::::::::::::::::Even if you vote Corbyn, I still urge you to take on the struggle in the workplace etc. As you know I think capitalism only offers erosion of living standards. I advise you to resist, vote or not. The revolution won't be made by a few readers of Marx and the like. It will be made by millions who at the outset probably accept many capitalist ideas, but struggle will be the soil for revolutionary ideas to generalise. This is not on the immediate agenda, but until it is, the attacks will escalate. The global capitalist system has no other way out.

I think we could possibly create a centralised global organisation subsumed under the general platform of the absolute power of the councils.

Am I correctly using the term subsumed?

Such a broad church, nevertheless operating under democratic centralist principles, could generate many contradictions, but my understanding is contradictions are unavoidable, and are not necessarily antagonisms which cannot be resolved.

If this is impossible, I would like to be educated why, so I can move on to a higher understanding.

Taking responsibility means being willing to be held responsible for whatever are the objective results of so doing. Those not taking as much responsibility and those taking other tesponsibilities, or not, want to know just who is responsible for matters of their concern. It is unlikely that results will be fully acceptable, but, as a zen saying goes, eighty percent is perfect ! Workers councils will need to be made fully clear in their composition, because vague aspirational fudge won't meet the practical needs of society.

Aurora (en)

Aurora is the broadsheet of the ICT for the interventions amongst the working class. It is published and distributed in several countries and languages. So far it has been distributed in UK, France, Italy, Canada, USA, Colombia.