Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Facts For Working People: Think Tank for Workers And Youth.

While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” Eugene V Debs

Facts For Working People Think Tank. For the Creation of a Healthy Democratic Culture in the struggle against capitalism. An Invitation .

FFWP Blog has recently published three items, an article on Violence - Non Violence, an article and body of work on Class Politics Not Identity Politics and a video also emphasizing the need for class based politics, The Divisive, Reactionary Nature of Identity Politics

The mostly positive response to these three items has been exceptional for our Blog. We would like therefore to explain to our readers how these three posts came about, and issue an invitation to consider becoming part of this process. 

The ideas in these articles come out of weekly conference calls which are held every Saturday by those of us who have come together in the past years around the FFWP Blog ( and its Think Tank.

These conference calls are not conference calls of an organization. We are not an organization. We are a Think Tank, a Think Tank for Working People. Most of us have come out of or have had experience with self-styled revolutionary groups in the past. We reject the left sectarianism of these groups, the secretive and sectarian internal life of these groups and reject their method of organizing that they describe as Democratic Centralism.

We seek to help create a new democratic culture in the movement to end capitalism and to build international socialism.

Facts For Working People is a Think Tank which seeks to clarify ideas for the fight against capitalism and for how the working class can overthrow capitalism and take power into its own hands and build a democratic socialist world. We invite all who agree with these guidelines to contact us and join our conference calls. In doing so we wish to emphasize a few points. 

We believe it is very unproductive, extremely unhelpful, to the struggle of the working class for activists to refuse to admit our mistakes. We believe that we have a responsibility to do so and to do so openly. Those of us who are part of the FFWP Think Tank are committed to regularly discuss not only the mistakes of the movement, but also our own individual mistakes.

We also draw conclusions from our experiences and mistakes. We reject the secretive “we are always right on everything” approach which dominates in so much of the left. This is damaging to the struggle against capitalism. Open discussion, sharing discussion with the working class, openly admitting mistakes drawing conclusions from these; this is the correct method of fighting capitalism. In this age of the Internet the idea of secret discussions and secret internal lives is particularly incorrect. The ruling class can tap every phone and hack any computer. If they think it is important to them they can access all discussions and the internal lives of all groups. To try and have a secret internal life was always incorrect but especially so in the present period with the incredible advances in technology and the Internet.To try and do so only prevents the working class from having access to the discussions and debates among the anti capitalist forces while if it thinks it is necessary the capitalist class can access all such discussions and debates. There may be occasions when some detail of tactics has to be kept secret, but other than that, secret internal lives are damaging to the struggle against capitalism. 

We would like to emphasize another point. For those of us who have been involved in the struggle against the capitalist class and their system for some time, it is especially important that we start from the following position: The self styled revolutionary left has made serious mistakes. This is shown by its failure to put down any significant roots in the working class. This has to be openly accepted and conclusions drawn.

For example in the US in the 1960s in the years of the Black Revolt, the anti Vietnam War movement, the women’ revolt, some estimates are that there were half a million to one million people in the USA who saw themselves as revolutionaries. The question has to be asked: What mistakes did the self styled revolutionary groups make that made them unable to help bring together large sections of these people into a substantial revolutionary anti capitalist force? This question is always part of the currency of our conference call discussions.  What mistakes were made? What lessons have we learnt? What lessons are we learning?

Some of those who participate in our Think Tank conference calls and Blog are members of the Democratic Socialists of America and hopefully more will join. The phenomenal growth of this organization is an important step forward for the struggle against capitalism. The growth of the DSA has taken place while other left groups have either had marginal growth or stagnated or disappeared. There are a number of reasons for the growth of the DSA. One, and the most important, is the objective situation, or as it is sometimes described it is the "phase through which we are passing". The capitalist offensive which has being going on against the working class and women and all specially oppressed groups for decades has been given increased impetus and crude openness by the advent of Trump as Predator in Chief in the White House. It is said that sometimes the revolution needs the whip of the counterrevolution. Given the cooperation of the trade union leaders with the bosses' offensive and their consequent refusal to lead, it has taken the more crude and open face of the counterrevolution under Trump to bring the beginnings of a new movement to its feet. This is the main reason for the growth of the DSA.

It should be recognized that few if any of us on the left, including those of us around this blog, thought the DSA would be the force that would draw to it the thousands of people drawn to politics during the last election and the rise of Sanders and Trump. This was a mistake.

The growth of the DSA has to be recognized and the organization given credit for its achievement. The Trump counterrevolution did not lead to any great explosion of growth of the myriad left groups outside the DSA. The greatest strength of the DSA which led to its recent explosive growth was its ability to campaign against capitalism and for democratic socialism. This was its profile. Not nit picking about some detail of revolutionary theory. Not repeating worn out formulae such as the dictatorship of the proletariat but campaigning against capitalism and for democratic socialism. Also, important is that the DSA recognizes the importance of standing for democratic socialism, therefore refusing to allow US capitalism to falsely seize the mantle of democracy. 

Another reason for the explosive growth in the DSA has been its genuinely democratic and open internal life. There is open discussion and debate. There were a number of different currents running for election, contrasting their ideas, at the recent DSA conference and this was seen as entirely natural and acceptable. This was excellent. This open internal life was and is a huge feature in the growth of the DSA. It is a very healthy alternative to the undemocratic and sectarian internal lives and methods of the left sectarian groupings. The proof of the pudding they say is in the eating. In this period when significant proportions of the American people, especially in the age group of the twenties and thirties say they favor socialism over capitalism, any socialist group which has not been growing by the thousands has to ask itself why. The DSA is the only group which has being growing in this way. 

This is not to say that all will be plain sailing for the DSA. Any sizable formation which rises to put an alternative to capitalism comes under attack and pressures from many sides. From the capitalist class itself, through its massive propaganda and censorship apparatus and its state. From the pro capitalist trade union leadership which will try and tame any socialist formation and bend it to its policy of cooperating with capitalism, the capitalist Democratic Party and to its policy of the so called Team Concept in the trade unions and workplaces. From these sources and from the pro capitalist academia of one kind or another comes the danger of the DSA being pushed in an opportunist direction, being pushed to make concessions in the fight against capitalism rather than standing firm in its struggle to end capitalism.  Opportunist pressures are and will be a threat to the DSA. We in the DSA must keep up our guard.

Another threat is ultra leftism. The putting forward of ideas and policies and objectives which seem totally unachievable to the working class and youth periphery in which we work. Ideas and objectives must be put forward which connect with the existing consciousness of the working class and which bridge the gap between that existing consciousness and the conclusion that there is the need to end capitalism. Of course there are many different layers of consciousness in the working class. There are the more thinking and combative sections in the workplaces. There are the millions who marched in the women's marches.

There are the tens of thousands who were on the tax day marches and the defend science marches. There are the tens of thousands who put themselves on the line to fight the destruction of what health care exists. There are the many thousands who attack the capitalist politicians at their town hall meetings. There are the tens of thousands who fight the fascists and police violence. If DSA puts forward ideas and connects with these the most combative sections of the working class at this stage and helps orient these sections towards connecting with the wider layers of the working class, then we will be able to avoid the trap of ultra leftism. 

The other threat facing DSA is left sectarianism and a sectarian internal life. DSA is showing that it is not succumbing to this threat. It has an open and democratic internal life. This is excellent. However DSA should be mindful that there is still a threat to it from left sectarianism in the form of the left sectarian groups. These groups all view the rise of DSA as a bird of prey views its next meal. They are all either joining DSA or stalking around its edges or in their lack or proportion and arrogance stating their willingness to work with it. The purpose of all these approaches is the same--------to recruit new members from the DSA to their own ranks. The dominant feature of left sectarian groups is they put building their own group above that of the interests of the working class movement.

They have no interest in helping DSA to grow, on the contrary they see DSA as a threat to their own possible growth, their only interest is to stalk DSA, either as members or non members in an effort to recruit a few new members to their own ranks. To the extent that they are successful this will weaken not only the DSA but the struggle against capitalism. Any worker or youth who joins these groups is trained in such a way that he or she becomes unable to interact with, to relate to, the working class movement and at the same time conduct the struggle to end capitalism and establish socialism. In fact any contact they have with the working class movement with few exceptions puts workers off socialism.  

There will be a tendency amongst some in DSA to ban these groups. However with respect, those of us around the Facts For Working People Think Tank believe this would be a mistake. It could take DSA down a slippery slope. In any case, if DSA banned these groups they would most likely dishonestly announce they no longer existed and join DSA anyway.

The best way for DSA to deal with this threat is to say that DSA is open to all those who agree with its policies but with certain conditions. Anyone wishing to join DSA who is a member of another organization must state openly they are members of another organization and explain openly which organization that is. They must also commit to share with the DSA membership if the DSA membership is interested, the internal discussions and debates including differences in their other organization. After all, if they are members of the DSA they will have access to all the DSA discussions and debates and differences, it is only correct that DSA members if they are interested should have access to the discussions, debates, differences of these groups.

This would have a number of results, all positive. It would likely prevent these organizations from joining the DSA as they would be unable to overcome their secretive sectarian internal lives and unable to share their internal debates and differences. However, if they did accept these conditions this would have the tendency to force a change in the internal lives of these groups and perhaps rescue some of their members from their sectarianism and help them act positively in the struggle against capitalism. 

These are some of the ideas and thoughts that are discussed in the FFWP Think Tank conference calls. We invite all who see such discussions as positive and who accept the 
guidelines of our Think Tank conference calls involvement to join them. Our Think Tank is seeking to help create a new democratic culture in the revolutionary democratic socialist movement. 

Facts For Working People our Think Tank and conference calls do not constitute an organization. We are what we state we are-----a Think tank for working people. Our blog exists to conduct a struggle against the capitalist class for the consciousness of the working class. We believe that capitalism can only be ended and life on earth as we know it saved from being destroyed either through climate change, nuclear war, mass starvation, drought, etc by the international working class taking charge of society. For this we believe an international movement of tens and hundreds of millions of working class fighters is necessary. We seek to be part of such a movement and help to build within it a healthy democratic revolutionary non-sectarian culture. 

Those of us involved in the FFWP Think Tank and conference calls try to keep up with the ideas of and work for democratic socialism and internationalism. In doing so we are careful that we do not make the mistake that has been made many times by many people in the past. We try to understand what we can do and what we cannot do. We try to ensure that we do not exhaust ourselves, burn ourselves out. Whatever we can give we give while simultaneously avoiding working in such a way as to break our neck against the existing situation and the existing consciousness of the working class at any given time.

We appeal to the many people out there who have gone through such experiences in the past and have been burnt, to put your toe back in the water again and participate in our Think Tank and conference calls.  If all anybody can do is share our Blog postings this will be very helpful. If all anybody can give is to be involved in our conference calls and give their views this is entirely acceptable. If you want to submit articles please e mail them to us at:

The Struggle against capitalism is the struggle for the consciousness of the working class. Please join in this struggle by participating with our FFWP Think Tank, Conference Calls and Blog. 

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