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Ending Oppression and Exploitation: The Two Routes

By Punkerslut

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Work" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: June 4, 2009
Finish Date: June 4, 2009

"...in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases."
          --Étienne de La Boétie, 1548
          "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude"

     We, as lovers of liberty, must be opposed to both the Capitalist system as well as the state. The economic authority can deprive you of employment, and starve you to death. The political authority can throw you in prison, or put a bullet in the back of your head. There is more than one way to kill a human being, but either way, both methods amount to a type of murder. This is what our revolution is against!

     There are the two popular methods for achieving a Social Revolution: the political party, and the worker's union. The political party's main methods involve parliamentary action, like lobbying, campaigning, and electioneering, as well as a coup or armed aggression. The trade union's methods involve the strike, the boycott, picketing, demonstration, and finally, its most powerful weapon, the General Strike. Below I have listed some examples of each and their result.

"And if you join this union in sufficient numbers, if you build op this organization and give it the power it ought to have-if you rally to the standard of this revolutionary union-then, as certain as I stand before you, you will carry that banner to victory. Then the workers will be the sovereign citizens. the rulers of this earth. They will build houses and live therein; they will plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof. The labor question will have been settled, and the working class, emancipated from the fetters of wage-slavery, will begin the real work of civilizing and humanizing the human race."
          --Eugene Victor Debs, 1905
          "Class Unionism"

     The Worker's Union :

494-287 BC - Secessio Plebis, Ancient Rome - The working class organizes a walk-out of all laborers, granting them significant social, cultural, political, and economic rights.

1917 - St. Petersburg General Strike of Russia - After strikes and public demonstrations, workers convince the military to join their cause in resisting the Tzar, who is overthrown and executed as a result.

1919 - Barcelona General Strike of Spain - Workers force the state into passing the first, national eight-hour day law.

1920 - German Kapp Putsch Strike - Workers strike and break the strength of what turns out to be a failed, Monarchist uprising.

1936 - Syrian General Strike - Workers in Syria go on strike to get revolutionaries out of prison, and once they got their demands, they established national independence.

"The mass strike, as the Russian Revolution shows it to us, is such a changeable phenomenon that it reflects all the phases of the political and economic struggle, all stages and factors of the revolution. Its adaptability, its efficiency, the factors of its origin are constantly changing. It suddenly opens new and wide perspectives of the revolution when it appears to have already arrived in a narrow pass and where it is impossible for anyone to reckon upon it with any degree of certainty. It flows now like a broad billow over the whole kingdom, and now divides into a gigantic network of narrow streams; now it bubbles forth from under the ground like a fresh spring and now is completely lost under the earth. Political and economic strikes, mass strikes and partial strikes, demonstrative strikes and fighting strikes, general strikes of individual branches of industry and general strikes in individual towns, peaceful wage struggles and street massacres, barricade fighting – all these run through one another, run side by side, cross one another, flow in and over one another – it is a ceaselessly moving, changing sea of phenomena. And the law of motion of these phenomena is clear: it does not lie in the mass strike itself nor in its technical details, but in the political and social proportions of the forces of the revolution."
          --Rosa Luxemburg, 1906
          "The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions"

1946 - Indian General Strike - Workers went on strike and held public demonstrations, creating insurrection throughout India. Britain conceded and granted national independence.

1968 - French General Strike - Workers go on the biggest wildcat strike in history, with two out of every three workers striking. Federal government dissolves, and new elections are called.

1984 - Uruguan General Strike - Workers strike, and force the removal of a military dictator.

1989 - Polish General Strike - The trade-union Solidarity goes on strike and holds demonstrations, resulting in the end of Soviet rule in Poland.

     Similar successes: The Bolivian General Strike of 2005, the Guinea General Strike of 2007, and the French Caribbean General Strike of 2009.

"State means domination, and all domination presupposes the subjection of the masses and consequently their exploitation to the profit of some minority or other."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, ~Late 1800's
          "Marxism, Freedom, and the State," Chapter 4

     The Political Party :

1917 - The Bolshevik Party - Abolished the right for workers to organize and created a military dictatorship.

1948 - Korean Workers' Party - Same.

1949 - Communist Party of China - Same.

1959 - Communist Party of Cuba - Same.

1975 - Lao People's Revolutionary Party - Same.

1976 - Communist Party of Vietnam - Same.

     Similar failures: The Communist Party of Romania, Ukraine, Czech, Afghanistan, Poland, and Hungary.

     Just given WHAT WORKS and WHAT DOES NOT WORK, shouldn't we abandon the political party? If Socialists worked on creating a federation of workers' unions, then we would be on the route that has historically been successful! This should be all that matters to us -- we want to take actions that work towards our vision of a workers' society, and not actions that simply create a new dictatorship.

"Free citizens cannot be made out of market slaves."
          --Henry Demarest Lloyd, 1910
          "Lords of Industry," Chapter 7


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