by Sean O'Torrain
Comrade sent this out to a discussion list I am on. It is about
the infiltration of the working class organizations by the capitalist
class. It has a lot of very important information. Even though it is very long
I recommend everybody read it. Here are my immediate thoughts on it and
the link to the original follows.
A few things
jump out at me from a quick reading.
One is the emphasis these ruling class agencies place on and understand the
need to shape the consciousness of the working class. As one report from the
British Department of Education quoted in this report says: "people must
be educated once more to know their place." They also say that the
"Vietnam war was lost on the TV screens of the US." That is once
again we see that they understand that they are dealing with the
consciousness of the working class. That the class struggle is the
struggle for the consciousness of the working class.
There are many criticisms made of the revolutionary left. And many of them are
valid. I think that a central one is that it does not orient to the working
class and see its role as to engage with, to have a dialogue with and to
win the consciousness of the working class. In other words the revolutionary
left are ultra left in the main. I think a major advantage of the Seattle
campaign of Comrade Sawant was that it was not ultra left. It connected with
the consciousness of the working class.
The majority of the revolutionary left veer between sectarianism, opportunism
and ultra leftism. The 1% movement did not consciously understand the need to
and articulate the need to orient to and win over the consciousness of the
working class. This was a weakness which among other things brought this
movement to its knees. However its simple sharp slogan, 1%
99% captured the mood of millions, tapped into the
consciousness of the working class and helped take forward the
consciousness of the working class. This was a very big step forward. The 1%
movement must be congratulated for this. They were superior to the
revolutionary left even if they were so unconsciously.
I have tried to place emphasis on the class struggle being the struggle for the
consciousness of the working class. This is something the ruling class clearly
knows and acts upon. This is why they set up their massive propaganda machines.
However this is not something that is understood to anything like the same
extent by the majority of the left. The very good election result in Seattle
was a struggle for the consciousness of the working class in the area, those
organizations who are against electoral activity abstain from the struggle for
the consciousness of the working class, abstain from the dialogue with the
working class and therefore abstain from the struggle for the consciousness of
the working class. The only time this is justifiable and even then this has to
be considered very carefully and sectarian and ultra left mistakes
avoided is when the working class are in a position to take power through
It is also interesting how this report of the ruling class in Britain
and the US and Europe shows that these agencies put so much emphasis on
infiltrating the mass workers organizations, the Labor Parties and the
trade unions in particular. This was much more in line with the thinking of the
CWI over the decades. I see that this report mentions that the British and US
intelligence put an agent into the Militant. They do not mention putting an
agent into any other revolutionary group. When I was working as a full timer
for the CWI in Ireland we were sent a document anonymously that showed
where the Labor Party were offered 60,000 pounds sterling, about
$100,000, if they expelled us and changed the program of Labor Youth from
what was our program, that is a revolutionary program to one
that they agreed with.
It is also useful to think about what happened to the Scottish Socialist Party.
They began to take off, they had a number of very good members of parliament,
they were leading mass campaigns, they opposed the nuclear weapons in Scotland.
This report makes clear that the secret organizations of the British and US
ruling class would not have been sitting on their hands while this was going
on. Especially the promise to remove the nuclear weapons.
There are Comrades on this list, one just in the last day who objected again to
those of us who look at the lessons of the past and the workings of the CWI of
which we were members. This is a bad mistake. People like myself have over the
past period been concentrating on the mistaken internal life of the CWI. We
still are very worried about this and how it could damage the work of the SA
and its intention to work with others to put forward a slate of 100 or 200
candidates in the coming elections. Also how this mistaken internal life could
damage the SA itself as it comes under the further pressures of more new
members and more internal discussion and debate.
But there are the other lessons also. Comrade Sawant and the SA will now
come under some serious pressure. What are the lessons of the CWI, of the SSP,
of the Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance in Ireland etc. I
think it would be impossible to say there are no lessons. Look at this report
put on here by Steve. See what we are up against. Draw conclusions. Political
and organizational. We are up against the most powerful ruling class in the
world. Lessons have to be drawn.
- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
- Facts For Working People Weekly Phone Conferences and Discussions
- Help open The AFL-CIO AIFLD Archives