1976 text by libertarian socialist group Social Revolution about the current state of the world and the working class.
Throughout the world a small minority of bosses – private capitalists or State bureaucrats – own and control the means of life: the factories, laboratories, communications and all the other resources we depend on. They leave the rest of us with no choice but that of working for them – in boring, usually socially useless or harmful, and often dangerous jobs outside the home, and bringing up kids for the same kind of life inside the home. They let us produce goods and services only when they can make a profit by selling them, in complete disregard of human needs, so that mountains of food are destroyed while millions starve who can’t afford to buy it, so that people rot in slums while building workers are laid off. And when the trade wars between the bosses of different countries hot up into the real thing, it’s the rest of us, the working people, who have to make the weapons and are sent off to kill one another.
But plenty of us refuse to put up with it all without a fight.
In our workplaces we organise to defend living standards and to gain some control over conditions of work. In the community we form tenants’ associations, resist motorways and try to stop pollution. School and college students challenge the way they are indoctrinated. Women, gays, black people fight the discrimination they suffer. Socialists try to spread awareness of the need for a complete change to a free classless society.
These, and others, are all valid ways for working people to express their needs as human beings and resist their conditions of life. Members of the SOCIAL REVOLUTION group are all involved in one or more of these movements. We aim to encourage people to organise democratically without leaders, and to exchange experiences and understandings so that all the different struggles can merge, with one another and across national frontiers, into a united and conscious movement for world social revolution.
The liberation of the working class can only be the work of the majority of working people themselves. The manipulation of self-appointed leaders can only hold back this work. We expect that the main form of organisation for carrying out revolutionary change will be some kind of WORKERS COUNCILS – that is, councils of delegates based on workplaces and neighbourhoods, elected by and under the direct democratic control of working people. These councils will co-operate to produce and distribute the goods and services needed by the community, which will be made freely available as the waste of capitalism is done away with. Work will be the voluntary and varied activity of people controlling their own creativity for agreed human purposes. The united world, without money, Government or war, will belong for the first time to the people of the world.
SOCIAL REVOLUTION group will not be telling anyone to “follow us”, or issuing calls to “build the revolutionary party” as if it were some universal panacea to the problems facing our class. But revolutionary groups do have a role to play in the struggle for socialism. These groups should attempt to clarify issues, to attempt to show the links between seemingly isolated and unconnected activities and struggles – to show that these are linked in the overall fight to overthrow this rotting corpse of a social system, capitalism, and replace it by a democratic society with people producing for use not profit.
“SOCIAL REVOLUTION” is produced by different local groups taking it in turn to edit and layout each issue. We do this in order to attempt to break down the divisions of labour imposed by modern society.
We have decided to increase the size and frequency of “Social Revolution”, and to discontinue production of “Libertarian Communism”, our discussion journal. We are investigating the possibility of producing a libertarian discussion journal jointly with the Anarchist Workers Association and Solidarity. We are aiming to bring out the new “Social Revolution” once every two months, with 16 or 20 pages. We have not yet decided on a price but the larger size will inevitably mean an increase on the present 8p. Our aims in making this change are to use our limited resources more effectively and to use the space in the gibber SR to go into more issues in more depth.
Editing and lay-out of this issue of Social Revolution was by Aberdeen Group. Published June 1976.
‘where we’re at’, Social Revolution, No. 4 (June 1976), p.2
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