Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 9. 9 May 1972
It's Not A Dream
It's Not A Dream
Salient's anonymous, ex-armchair revolutionary makes a number of worthwhile points in his article "Is the Dream Over?" But his basic premise, that all we can do is reform the present bourgeois system, is completely rejected by the Spartacist League.
We live in an era of war, class exploitation, colonial oppression, pollution and racial and sexual persecution. These are a direct outcome of the Irrationality of capitalism in its era of decay. The laws of capitalism force the imperialists into a militant protection of the markets they control, and into all kinds of barbarity.
The only way to bring an end to these atrocities is to bring an end to capitalism internationally and the only force capable of doing this is the international working class.
In his criticisms of past and present "radical" political groups, Salient's correspondent is dead right - but he doesn't go far enough. Instead of just criticising the automatic impulse to get out and march, he should look at the social composition of the marches, and the ideas of the "radical" groups' leaderships.
What he fails to see is that the vast majority of antitour, anti-war marches etc are reformist in their demands and leadership, and petty-bourgeios-student in composition. Hardly a revolutionary force.
But although he unconsciously criticises the demonstrations for this ("....the war continues the capitalist corporations are still getting rich from selling the means of death...."), he then goes on to develop this same reformism to its logical conclusion - work within the system. He dismisses in passing, the possibility of revolution, and his reasons for doing this are perhaps, from a "right-now" viewpoint, valid.
But the built-in irrationality of capitalism and the basic conflict of interest in it between the bosses and the workers makes crises in the future inevitable. Revolutionaries must struggle to come to an understanding of this society and of the revolutionary means of smashing it. And recognising the working class as the only potential revolutionary force, they must strive to build a party of the working class, guided by revolutionary politics.
It's because of the efforts of those reformists who've been leading the protest movement that we do not have such a party. They've made every effort to discourage truly revolutionary action or truly revolutionary thinking in anyone (the radicalisation that has occurred has been largely a reflex reaction to the inadequacies and incompetence of the existing powers). Certainly they've made no attempt to build the political consciousness of the working class, which, when united and aware of its interests and what it can do, is the decisive revolutionary force in society.
The Spartacist League stands for working class revolution, but realises this is not going to be an overnight thing. The immediate aim must be to build a vanguard party which will intervene in the day-to-day struggles of the working class to lead them nearer and nearer to the revolution.
This must be the task that takes up all our energy at present - trying to make this sick bourgeois society a slightly better place in which to live. Fighting to put the National Party out isn't going to raise anyone's political consciousness, and by siphoning off energy from the struggle to build a vanguard party, slows down development of such a party, thus re-inforcing the assertion that the number of true revolutionaries is growing too slowly for revolution to be seriously considered.