11. Reformism and us

Submitted by Spassmaschine on December 17, 2009

At the moment of writing, the Volkswagen workers in Belgium are striking for jobs that are their means of surviving under capitalism. Apart from their importance as an experience for the workers, aren't such fights without perspectives, and finally more frustrating ? Their situation is bad, it wasn't good before and it won't get any better, whether the outcome is a "success" for the unions or for VW. What should the perspective of such strikes be, and what could our contribution be to give them a perspective ?

Is it possible to "give" a perspective ? When a struggle breaks out, the best theory or strategy can hardly suggest to the participants a higher form of action than the one they are experiencing. Neither you nor we are leaders or advisers. Radicals don't radicalise. Only a time of deep crisis is capable of providing a transition from "bread and butter" demands to a potential antagonism to the existing social order.

Reformism is counter-revolutionary only when it ossifies itself into institutions, politics, parties and theories. Otherwise, there's nothing negative in itself in trying to sell one's labour power instead of living on (or without) dole money. Few unemployed are happy social critics. Those that are usually were so before they lost their jobs, and they're now able to become full time critics of society : only a handful of jobless will have the means to achieve that. Long term loss of work drains proletarian energy at least as much as (and often more than) having to clock in every morning.