The Working Class needs its own Political Organisation

The Working Class needs its own Political Organisation

On the left of the political spectrum there is no shortage of calls for the formation of “workers’ parties”, the transformation of existing parties into “real workers’ parties”, or this or that clique declaring itself to be “the party”. An endless alphabet soup of Trotskyist and Stalinist groups have dedicated their resources towards depriving this slogan of all meaning. So it’s no surprise at all that at first glance our work towards the formation of an independent and international political organisation of the working class, can come across as just more of the same.

A Party Against the Capitalist State

The fundamental difference lies in what we mean by these words as well as the political perspectives which motivate them. Unlike the left-wing of capital which masquerades as socialist, we recognise the State for what it is. Rather than some metaphysical institution, hanging over and above society just waiting to be captured by the working class, the State is a very tangible formation that arose at a specific historical period. To paraphrase Marx: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, the clergy, and the judiciary, everything that came to comprise the modern centralised capitalist State, was utilised by the capitalist class in its struggle against feudalism back in the days of absolute monarchy. As modern industry developed, that state power assumed more and more the character of a national power of capital over labour, of a public force enforcing a hierarchical division of labour.

Depending on the particular political and historical circumstances, State power may appear different in different countries. But whether the political superstructure takes the form of a “multi-party” system (like in Germany and Sweden), a “two-party” system (like in the US and in some ways the UK), or a “one-party” system (like in China and Cuba), the objective remains the same: administration of the capitalist economy in a given territory. Towards that end a mountain of institutions have been erected and thousands of different laws and regulations devised. The different political parties (where they are allowed) compete based on who can carry out the task of administration in a more efficient manner and satisfy both their electoral base and the section of the capitalist class that funds and supports their activities.

Unlike Labour

The Labour Party is only a “workers’ party” in so far as its electoral base has historically been primarily composed of the working class. This means that yes, it might want to represent workers’ interests, but only as long as these interests don’t disturb the process of capitalist accumulation (which is why, whenever in power, Labour has been no less hesitant in putting down strikes than their Tory peers). No matter how well meaning the original intentions, the left in government ends up carrying out the very same functions that it once claimed to oppose (the SPD in Germany serves as a clear example from the past, but so more recently do Syriza in Greece or the PSUV in Venezuela). This is because it is enmeshed within the State.

It Must Be International

On the other hand, what we mean by an independent and international political organisation of the working class is one that is outside and against the logic of the State – it cannot be simply an appendage of a faction within the capitalist political system (which Trotskyist and Stalinist groups reduce themselves to through Labour Party entryism or support for various rivals of US imperialism). The political organisation that we speak of is, as we always repeat, not a government in waiting, but a political compass with a clear understanding of the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate goal of the working class movement (that is, abolition of class society and the emancipation of humanity from the dictatorship of capital). It also passes on the lessons of the past, one of these being that the working class expresses its fight for freedom via mass assemblies, strike committees and workers’ councils rather than parliamentary masquerades!

In order for such an organisation to come about, we cannot wait for day X. The 2007/8 financial crisis may have sparked a wave of mass anti-austerity protests across the globe, but it did not give birth to a new political force (instead, in its absence, it breathed new life into old political formations like the Labour Party). If communists want to have any influence over events, if they want to help to guide the movements of the future towards emancipatory goals, they cannot remain isolated. There is a need for an organisation to exist prior to the outbreak of such movements, so that it can disseminate an alternative message among the class, that there is another way of organising society, that capitalism, which drives the world towards imperialist wars and ecological collapse, is not the be-all and end-all. While the existence of such a political organisation does not ensure victory, without it every revolt will surely exhaust itself within the system, just like the anti-austerity movement has done.

The above article is taken from the current edition (No. 49) of Aurora, bulletin of the Communist Workers’ Organisation.

Posted By

Dec 14 2019 12:16


  • If communists want to have any influence over events, if they want to help to guide the movements of the future towards emancipatory goals, they cannot remain isolated.


Attached files


Dec 15 2019 07:59

"On the left of the political spectrum there is no shortage of calls for the formation of “workers’ parties”, the transformation of existing parties into “real workers’ parties” "

The latest

Dec 15 2019 09:26

Did you have to supply that link? I felt nauseous after I read it.

Rob Ray
Dec 15 2019 10:26

Workers' parties are awful, join our workers' party.

Dec 15 2019 10:31

Not so much a new workers' party, more a re-grouping

It seems to be that Galloway has recruited the left-nationalist CPGB (M-L) as his following.

The deputy leader of the Workers Party is Joti Brar, who is also the vice chair of CPGB-ML and the daughter of Harpal Brar, both of whom are most certainly Stalinists.

Once it has served its purpose like RESPECT, Galloway will move on

darren p
Dec 15 2019 11:23
Rob Ray wrote:
Workers' parties are awful, join our workers' party.


Dec 16 2019 09:33
ajjohnstone wrote:

Once it has served its purpose like RESPECT, Galloway will move on

guess that it will happen pretty soon, unless someone in the party can pay the bills for Galloway

Dec 16 2019 12:02

RT will provide free advertising

I note that his Mother of All Talk Shows is on tour and tickets are 10 pounds.

Dec 26 2019 07:38

A local section of the Communist Party Of Sweden also recently split to form a "real workers' party". This came after a long period of increasing conservatism in the section, which includes transphobia and anti-migrant sentiments(at one point they were handing out fliers that read "join the union or go home" in polish to migrant workers from Poland). They also apparently cleaned out the funds from the party section in their split(which was decided in the yearly meeting apparently). What is funny is that the leader, who is playing this "real worker" shtick, is a well-paid doctor. The best part is that it exposed that the section only had at most about 28 members, and is now down to at least 14 members.

Jan 6 2020 09:58

it is not a section of the Communist Party of Sweden (Sveriges Kommunistiska Parti, tankies but solidly against Nazis and racism and culturally not conservative) but from the Communist Party (Kommunistiska Partiet, former KFML(r), anti-revisionist ex-Maoists, very workerist) who is the larger of the two CPs and counted quite a number of celibrities (writers, artists, actors) in its ranks

Jan 6 2020 13:51

Yes, I meant K and not SKP, my bad. I would not call them anti-revisionist anymore since they have clearly given up on most political principles for whatever form of "populism" it is that they have embraced. A lot of leftists seem to think that K are now cleansed but most of the people in power of the party, especially the new chief editor of the party paper, still maintain the same politics as the Malmö-fraction.

I think KFML(r) would be an interesting case study of how "ultra-leftism"(for of the lack of a better word) can turn into opportunism and eventually a very conservative form of social-democracy. They really drove the "social-fascist" line hard and entirely focused on the small wave of wild-cat strikes, which I think characterized their politics as compared to KFML who held the line that the trade unions should be made into "combat organisations". Their youth-wing also had a few maoist-influenced splits last year, one of them posting a 90-page manifesto and leaking internal documents. I think most of them fizzled out or were subsumed into the new maoist sect Kommunistisk Förening.

I also don't think we should put SKP on a pedestal, they suffer heavily from being mostly older men. They reject having a feminist position in their party program, and local party militants derided the me too movement as "petit bourgeois". It is not that surprising since they came from a split from the (now named) Left Party because they liked Khrushchev, nuclear power and industry.

Jan 6 2020 14:36

think that there is in many countries a worrying tendency that maoist, tankist and nationalistic-"putinist" derivatives of stalinism are attracting new and young adherents

Jan 6 2020 14:46

The Malmö-fraction seems a bit older in its average age but they did also get a militant and trade-unionist from the youth-wing who had been in the central committee as well. It is disturbing to see young people, who have been associated more with labor struggles and to some extent cultural work(he is a "musician" of sorts), get dragged into entirely pivoting around "stopping crime with more police and immigration control" as their politics. I don't really know if the Malmö-fraction could be accused of really being putinst, their politics seem too anchored in local politics for that. Skåne overall has a long history of local racist parties and the far-right Sweden Democrats are becoming the largest party in most municipalities(even practicing some form of "communalism" by challenging the "legitimacy" of the state by enacting local rulings that break the law).