From Förbundet Arbetarmakt (FAM), in English, "Workers' Power League". The League, with its predecessors and aftermath, were active during the years 1972 - 1985. This text was written about 1975, as a presentation of the League in English.
We had our first congress in August 1973. Before that, various councils' socialist groups, who built the league, worked with producing magazines and pamphlets for two years, studied Marxism and held a lot of conferences to discuss and prepare a platform. The platform was discussed, changed and taken as the league's at the congress.
This translation of the basics of our ideas is the only thing so far translated into English.
WHAT IS SOCIALISM?
Neither Stalin's or today's Russia, nor Mao's China are socialist societies. We mean that socialism is WORKERS' POWER. Party- and bureaucratic dictator-ship has nothing to do with workers' power.
The socialist society must be built by the working class itself through it's own institutions - the workers' councils.
In almost every revolutionary situation around the world since St Petersburg soviet in 1905, workers' councils have been created. In industries, on regiments, locations etc, people have got together to elect their own delegates. The delegates have gathered locally, in assemblies of local councils (soviets), sending delegates to central council-assemblies for the whole country and sometimes created revolutionary governments.
These revolutionary attempts have been destroyed by several reasons: military defeats, the passiveness of the revolutionary movement, the takeover of power by intrigues, or violence by political parties (reformist and "communist").
But despite failure, these council-uprisings have shown the way towards socialism. We must learn from history, with the help of Marxism, and see where these uprisings went wrong.
It is this council-organising, with directly controllable and from the base removable delegates, which is to be the workers' state, the state through which the working class itself is to stop the former ruling class from regaining power. It is with the help of this state that the working class can start doing something about the unbearable conditions, created by the class-society, and start the march towards the classless society - communism.
THE STRUGGLE TODAY
We fight against the Class-cooperating and class-betraying politics of the Swedish socialdemocracy. The Socialdemocratic Party (SAP) and the tradeunion movement, which it dominates, tries to make the workers to believe that they have, or will get, as big influence as possible. SAP, being the party in government for the past, 40 years, has succeed to some extent in milding the economic crisis. They have helped the capitalists in making the capitalist society survive and function smoothly. Socialdemocracy is a guarantee for the continuing life of capitalism.
The social democrats are part of the making of laws directed against the working class. They work against all independent workers' actions. Struggle, through strikes and other actions on places of work today are being made outside the unions, because there is no other way. In strikes, the workers often organise strike committees, elected by themselves.
The workers who have seen the limits of the unions and want to take up struggle, can organise themselves in shop-committees These can be organised in many ways. It can be some workers gathered around the making of a duplicated factory-paper. It can be a wellorganised group in an industry with an anticapitalistic platform.
The committee can initiate the building of committees to support other workers on strike, to create possibilities for, contacts between' workers. The committee can also try to destroy isolation inside the factory and reveal union actions.
The committee is selfclaimed, not elected by the workers. The shop-committee is not an organ for this or that revolutionary organisation on the factory. It is not an alternative union because it only gather the most conscious workers. It does not lead the struggle, because that is the task of the committees elected by all workers (strike-committees, occupation-committees etc.).
Through this independent organising, struggle can be organised for different demands (monthly payment, better working environment, against the firing and blacklisting of workers etc.).
In a wider view, the task for the shop-committees is to be a part of the growing up of a workers' vanguard which ban be a part of the building of a consequent revolutionary organisation.
In the long run, a national organising of these committees must be done. Several workers' conferences held in Sweden the last years is a little beginning of this.
The independent struggle means independent from reformism, independent from the unions, but also independent from "the left", and that includes Workers' Power League. The revolution and the socialist society implies people who act independently, and the work to create this kind of people must start today.
DOWN WITH THE STATE-BUREAUCRACY
Not all parts of the world are dominated by the capitalist system. In the so-called socialist states (Eastern Europe, Soviet, China, North Korea, North Vietnam etc.) there is a mainly planned economy. But this economy is not planned by those who create the values of society: workers and peasants. It is plan-ned by a ruling class of bureaucrats. The class struggle continues. We can see the examples: Poland 1970-71, Hungary 1956, Shanghai 1968, to mention just a few uprisings in the state-bureaucratic countries. But the ruling class secures it's power with armed violence - so far.
The state-bureaucrats are impoverishing the proletariat by controlling the, production of the whole country. And through the sampled values of the production of the working class, they decide how much the workers will get paid, how much they will get themselves, where the investments shall be made etc. The power of the bureaucracy is dependant on the importance of the national production. The bigger national production - the more power to the bureaucracy.
Therefor, the bureaucracy tries to expand the apparatus of production. To do this, they seek to get as big a. national production as possible. Therefor, they stake the heavy industry to (through this) make more means of production, and by this raise the production level even more. This, instead of providing for consumption.
But one cannot "eat the cake and keep it". One' cannot only invest in new means of production. Then the workers (the producers) will get no articles to buy with their salaries. One must get back the money paid in salaries. One is forced to make the prices on the products higher. This leads to a worsening of the living conditions of the working class, which results in dissatisfaction and riots, rallies and strikes plus the creation of worker's' councils, as in Poland 1970-71.
If, on the other hand, the bureaucracy "let go" and start to produce consumption-products, they will enter a competition with other state-bureaucratic countries, in for example the development of new types of machines, to produce more and better consumption-products. To develop new machines, to hand on to the concurrence (even with the capitalist societies) one must stake more on production of means of production, lower the consumption. An unsolvable contradiction, except through the socialist revolution.
The solution to the conditions in the state-bureaucratic countries is, as little as in Sweden, reforms. The ruling class of bureaucrats will never abate freewillingly. Only a socialist society, based on workers' power through workers' councils, can imply the end of repression in east and west.
LONG LIVE THE PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM
Many people have grown conscious about imperialism through the struggle of the Vietnamese people against US imperialism. Now when NLF and FUNK have succeeded in Vietnam and Cambodia, our support is as important as ever.
The victory for NLF and FUNK does not mean socialism. But it means better living conditions for the people, the development of industry, hopefully without the intervention of imperialist countries.
The victory for NLF and FUNK is a first step towards socialism. But we must not forget the struggle against imperialism in other parts of the world. In Africa, the people in the Portuguese colonies have risen with the help of the crashing of fascism in Portugal. We must continue to show solidarity with the struggle in South Africa against any kind of new-colonial solutions.
In Latin-America US imperialism openly shows that it is the defender of status quo. The coup in Chile is the worst example of this.
Many more countries could be mentioned. Everywhere where imperialism exists, it meets resistance in one form or another. Imperialism is not a phenomenon bound to the third world - the root to imperialism is capitalism. Sweden is also an imperialist country., The Swedish industry is more multinational than the industry of USA. The fourth biggest industrial city of Sweden is Sao Paolo. The struggle against imperialism is also a struggle against capitalism.
This is what we mean with proletarian internationalism: our struggle against capitalism in Western Europe is a support to our comrades in Chile, Palestine and Angola. And the other way around: their struggle is our struggle. We mean that the proletariat have common interests the world over. The proletariat have no homeland.
That is why we support and take part of the solidarity-movement for the struggle against imperialism around the world and work for the blockade of i.e. Chilean copper in Swedish harbours.
FOR THE LIBERATION OF MANKIND
It is not only with the help of police and military that the ruling class continues it's rule - the dictatorship of the capital. They also carry on an ideological repression, and then not only through, media, but also through up-bringing, school and rules for behaviour.
Under capitalism, we can only develop two sides of ourselves: as producers and consumers. Our life is being split into work and free-time. On the work we are forced to produce things that we often do not need and in a way that we cannot control.
On free time we are forced into consumtioning wherever we are. We have been passivated by this to an extent where we have stopped to create something ourselves. Instead we consume sport, music and dance exactly as we do with other things. We are led to the belief that feelings and spontaneity comes from the consumption of clothes, cosmetics, beer and Coca-Cola.
One of the main institutions for the ideological repression by the class-society is the family'. In this, man, woman and children are given certain divided roles. In a whole, the role of the woman in the capitalist family is a service function for the man who is the supporter. The latter is partly broken up when capitalism suffer lack of labour. The woman of the working class are in these times forced to work in the industry and given low wages.
It is the Woman of the working class who suffers most by this repression. Even if all woman suffer from the commercial exploitation of the woman as a sexobject, the upper- and middleclass women have a possibility to get a better position with the aid of money. They do not have to go out in the low-paid industry.
It is mostly the woman of the working class who has an interest in' totally demolishing the repression of woman, it's causes - the class society, it's means - the family institution. A crushing of capitalism and the building of socialism must not only liberate the women and the children but also the man in his role in the class-society.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
The main tasks for. revolutionaries in Sweden today are two:
1. Make clear what socialism really is; unmask the ideas saying that Russia and China are socialist countries or workers' states; show the bureaucracy as a ruling class in these countries; show that socialism is workers' power, that socialism is the participation of the whole class in the management of society; show the consequences this have for the strategy for socialism for a revolutionary organisation: the rejection of the Leninist revision of the party theory of Marx; as a result of this, work for the building of a new revolutionary organisation.
2. Support and be a part of the development of the independent organising of the working class. This is due to the fact that if socialism shall develop towards communism, it must mean the rule of the society by primarily the working class and later the whole of the people. This socialist society can only be made through own and conscious actions; the socialist society cannot be created for the Working class by a vanguard. The revolution must mean the participation by the whole class in the destruction of the old state and in the creation of the new workers' state. With this goal for our strategy, we must already today support and be part of the development of the self-activity of the class. That is why the tasks for revolutionaries today is to be a help in the liberation of the class from the reformist and so-balled revolutionary "leadership", to get the working-class to take up struggle themselves and organise independently.
The work made by Workers' Power League is aimed to fulfil these two main tasks. We mean that this must be the tasks for revolutionaries in Sweden today; to take part in the building of a genuine revolutionary organisation. Today, all other tasks are subordinated these above mentioned main tasks in importance. For example: a work for the liberation of women, a struggle against higher rents etc, can not be made without a perspective towards socialism.
Join the work to develop the workers' independent struggle and organising!
Join the work to make clear what socialism is, for, and in, the working class!
It is mainly on three subjects that we separate from all the left today:
1. We are non-Leninists
2. We mean that socialism must mean workers' power
3. We mean that the revolution must be total and also up sexuality, the family and the problem of alienation.
Points 2 and 3 are explained above. But point 1 needs a special explanation.
In practices non-Leninism mean that we do not accept the party-theory of Lenin. The dialectical relation between class-struggle and theory, between conscious-ness and being, is from Lenin's and his supporters view, a "one-way-relation". They see the growing up of a theory autonomously from the class-struggle. In consequence of this, the theory therefor is a task for the revolutionary intell-ectuals inside The Holy Party.
From this, the formally logical conclusion is being made, that the working class itself is not able to reach a socialist consciousness. From the Leninist view, this is due to the party alone. When having this opinion, one can justify ones own role outside the working class and see oneself as an institutional factor of power in the socialist society.
We mean, in opposition to the opinion about the party as "the revolutionary initiative", that the revolutionary initiative must be at an independent and organised working class.
This do not mean a rejection of a revolutionary organisation. We mean that it is absolutely necessary with a strong revolutionary organisation, which is to be a vanguard. A vanguard in the meaning of the part of the working class which goes first, initiate and point out the goal for the struggle.
In opposition to the Leninists, we do not want to institutionalise the power of the party, by the simple reason that socialism is workers' power and nothing else. Therefor we must understand and use the right means to get there. The Leninist party-theory will get into an unsolvable contradiction to this goal.
WHAT DO WE DO?
Workers' Power League is today very small. In spite of this we do a lot. Most of us are workers. It is a necessity for a communist group to have it's base in the working class. In difference to the "new left" groups in Sweden, the League does not have it's background in the student movement of the late 60's.
We publish a monthly magazine, WORKERS' POWER (Arbetarmakt). We also publish a theoretical magazine, COUNCIL POWER /Rådsmakt/. WORKERS' PRESS /Arbetarpress/ publishes pamphlets and books etc.
Besides this, comrades from the league distribute "red papers" at places of work, regiments, housing areas etc. But we see the mouth-to-ear propaganda as the most important way of agitation.
"For almost 40 years we have emphasised that the class struggle is the immediate motive force of history and, in particular, that the class struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat is the great lever of modern social revolution; hence we cannot possibly co-operate with men who seek to eliminate that class struggle from the movement. At the founding of the International we expressly formulated the battle cry: The emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself. Hence we cannot co-operate with men who say openly that the workers are too uneducated to emancipate themselves, and must first be emancipated from above by philanthropic members of the upper and lower middle classes."
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels:
Circular Letter to August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Wilhelm Bracke and Others
Source: MECW, Volume 24, p. 253
Written on September 17-18, 1879