22nd ICC Congress: Resolution on the international class struggle

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baboon
22nd ICC Congress: Resolution on the international class struggle
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: 22nd ICC Congress: Resolution on the international class struggle. The discussion was initiated by baboon.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

baboon
I think that this is an

I think that this is an excellent text that has been greatly worked on and needs a lot of reading and discussion. It's just about about everything of the main lines and a deepening that moves away from the tendency to see the "class struggle" section as a section apart - with, for example, its "class struggle highlights". Ditching this formula constitutes an advance and, in this case, an overall deepening. For example, the question of the "high spot" of Poland 1980 isn't just a "good" example of class struggle, which it was, but is seen encompassed by its great weaknesses. If the proletariat in Poland wasn't ready to go war for Stalinism it was nevertheless wide open to the siren calls of capitalism in the west.I know that this has been said before but it's more explicit here, more sober and profound given the overall analysis of Stalinism in this text.

The last sentence of point 11 says: "The criterion for measuring the evolution of the balance of forces between the classes can no longer be that the proletariat holding back world war, and has in general become more difficult to gage" If this is saying that in respect of capitalism's decomposition it is becoming more difficult to gauge the proeletariat's ability to hold back imperialist war, then I agree with it. But it's not clear.

On point 16 and the post-Arab Spring bloodbath: I entirely agree with the points being made here and wouldn't want to underestimate them at all. But I am constantly amazed that even within the various wars and upheavals of the Middle East there are still elements of fight and solidarity that shine like lanterns amidst the gloom. There was an uprising against both the forces of the Syrian government and the jihadists in control in Idlib a couple of weeks ago. It didn't extend and probably ended badly but, like similar events that get reported from time to time, points to a tenacity and courage that's bigger than victimhood.

I like the bit about the positive elements of the new generation and the disinction made in saying No to capitalism and is proposed future from the "no-future" of the petty-bourgeoisie in the 70's.

The most profound part for me is that last sections insisting on the prime need for revolutionary theory that rids itself of all idealism and voluntarism. The text says about how the ICC was affected by an immediatism which rendered some of its elements open to leftism or demoralisation. I think that within this immediatism there was a certain idealism that was also fed by an individualism. At any rate the overall theoretical analysis was not seen as central. These same weaknesses affect us today and the text talks about how the milieu closest to the CL, liberatarians and so on, have no real theory about revolution and to them it's all about running from one campaign to the other within capitalism. On another level, I think that the idea of the "reconstitution" of the working class, and all the theory around this, is an immediatist panic reaction that seems to forget the basics. For me this text reaffirms the basics in a big way. . 

jk1921
This is an important text

This is an important text about which much could be said. First, there is an acknowledgement in here that "things are not as they used to be," that some things have fundamentally changed in the social landscape of this phase of capitalism (decomposition) that make the proletarian class struggle much more difficult. Chief among these indeed being the loss of class identity (to bring in the concerns of another thread). Therefore, for the ICC the progressive loss of working class identity is a clear blow to the communist project--it is not an opportunity to reframe the terms of struggle or find a new historical subject. But I don't see in here any "nostalgia" for Fordist institutions like unions and socialist parties, which the ICC is pretty clear were always (in the period of decadence) organs of the capitalist state for deflecting and managing the class struggle. Still, there does seem to be a suggestion here that even though these organs were not of the proletariat--their existence reflected a certain balance of class forces in that historical period that was on the balance "better" for the prospects of the emergence of mass struggles and their potential transformation into revolutionary moments (even if this didn't happen during this period) than what we face today.

With the emergence of populism, the ICC seems to think that the balance has fundamentally shifted for the worse. It is indeed less favorable when the proletariat is manipulated by populist demogogues than when they are under the influence of union bureaucracies and socialist pols. This fits with the ICC's analysis of decomposition in which time is not on the proletariat's side--and the emergence of populism is the latest in a series of blows against the working class' self-conception as a unified social force.

Still, I think that in places it is not clear to me if the ICC is offering up a kind of semi-modernist analysis that the social landscape of this phase of capitalism is objectively transforming the proletariat in ways that make it highly unlikely to reverse the downward spiral. The section on the role of debt seems to give off this vibe. The proletariat is too burdened by debt today to do anything about its condition. The role of debt is obviously important in some ways, but I wonder if there is too much global significance given to it here. Not all debt is the same. Mortgage debt (or is it the home ownership that goes along with it?) does appear to have a certain tendency towards promoting a kind of conservatism, but other than that, debt that can't be repaid, is debt that can't be repaid. Its not clear why this is marked out as such a special feature of capitalism today? Whether one is indebted to the local merchant, company store or the credit card company, if you can't pay it back, you can't pay it back. This section seems suspect to me in the emphasis given to it.

It also misses other things: for example, professionalization, in which educated young people are encouraged to think of themselves not as proletarians who owe and benefit from solidarity to those in a similar class situation, but as members of a kind of social elite tied together by certain cultural sensibilities about virtue, seems to be a bigger problem today than debt.

But the main issue here is the question of whether or not these kinds of changes are structural--and therefore the consciousness that arises from them are in some way functional to new class positions (in which case we are probably doomed) or whether or not they are ideological manipulations or distractions, which can still be overcome as a result of the radicalizing weight of the crisis? I am not certain after reading this text, what the ICC believes.

Finally, I actually think it is too pessimistic regarding the weight of anti-communism and anti-Marxism today. There is a veritable renaissance of interest in the left today--mostly among the younger generations,which--even if it is for now trapped in academic, activist, leftist and electoralist forms--must have some meaning for the future? If it didn't than there would be no reason to lament the decline in working class identity and the discrediting of communism and Marxism in the first place as we wouldn't know what that means either.

I could say much more, like on immigration for instance, but will stop here for now.

LBird
Identity or consciousness?

jk1921 wrote:

But the main issue here is the question of whether or not these kinds of changes are structural--and therefore the consciousness that arises from them ...

jk, if your 'consciousness arises from structural changes', how do you have the freedom to know this? Or, do you have a 'special consciousness' that is not produced by 'structures'?

Marx warned about the political consequences of starting from the ideology that the consciousness of the masses are formed in a different way to the consciousness of an elite.

jk1921 wrote:
Finally, I actually think it is too pessimistic regarding the weight of anti-communism and anti-Marxism today. There is a veritable renaissance of interest in the left today--mostly among the younger generations,which--even if it is for now trapped in academic, activist, leftist and electoralist forms--must have some meaning for the future?

I think that I agree with you here, jk... but if by 'trapped' you mean 'can't think it through and start to criticise', then once again, you, as a member of an elite, must not be 'trapped'.

jk1921 wrote:
If it didn't than there would be no reason to lament the decline in working class identity and the discrediting of communism and Marxism in the first place as we wouldn't know what that means either.

The notion that a 'working class identity' is anything to do with 'political consciousness' needs to be addressed. A 'decline' in 'flat-cap heavy industry identity' is nothing whatsoever to do with 'revolutionary class consciousness'. And what's been 'discredited' has been 'Soviet communism' and 'Stalinism', which is entirely a 'good thing' for our class' political development.

What's been lost, today, by comparing the 20th century proletariat with the 21st century proletariat, is illusions. This has nothing to do with 'structural change', but with political experience and critical thinking, in short, social theory and practice by workers themselves. The Leninist parties were part of the problem, and the sooner the 'identity' of 1917 as a 'workers' revolution' is finally ditched, the better for our understanding of our class' history.

Hawkeye
22nd ICC Congress Part III

Partial quote from Part 3: 'In the contradiction between the world-wide, associated character of capitalist production..(go on to ) ..in particular with the industrialisation of China and other Asian countries... These new battallions, which have often shown themselves to be extremely militant, potentially constitute a vast new source of strength for the global class sruggle, even if the proletariat of Western Europe retains the key to the political maturation of the working class towards a revolutionary confrontation with capital.' (end of quote).  I'm not at all sure that workers in Western Europe do retain the key to political maturation now, in view of the vast sizes of new cities and proletarian occupants in them and in what's left of the countryside around them in China and other lands in Asia. Whether or not the early Maoist concepts of third world versus first world still make sense, in that in some ways the situation in China is outstripping 'The West', as millions of Chinese have knowledge and some still have experience of the Maoist versions of applying Marxism to the solving of vast problems there, to still suggest that workers of the West retain the key ain't necessarily so. But then please don't assume that I'm advocating anything.

baboon
A couple of points following

A couple of points following jk above: I think that everything has changed and nothing has changed. Capitalism is rotting on its feet, getting more dangerous and the effects of its decomposition rain down on the working class - whether intended or not. But the fundamental condition of the working class is just the same as it was a hundred years ago, with the same fundamental questions posed. As well as the blows against the revolutionary perspective from the campaign around the collapse of Russia, which continue to reverberate, I think that the text is right to raise the question of debt as a ruling class weapon. The "facility" of debt has taken different forms over time, but from the company store to the freely available credit card it all adds to the chains of the working class to its lot. And the vast majority of debt is continually paid back, with interest, by workers. I don't think however that there is an "identity crisis" in the working class; most workers seem to see themselves as workers and the problem seems more of one of isolation which, again, is encouraged in the various campaigns of the bourgeoisie.

On this, the existence of the unions only reflected the balance of class forces to the extent that it represented the response of the bourgeoisie to constrain a continual and growing working class militancy. The unions haven't gone away. The latest manoeuvre "leftwards" in this respect has been the promotion of Jeremy Corbyn in Britain in order to confront a certain political questioning coming from the working class.

jk1921
Three Positions?

So, it seems there are three positions that have been advanced here on the vexing issue of "working class idenity."

1.) The ICC's: There has indeed been a loss of working class identity as a result of structural changes in captialism and this is a problem for the revolutionary movement and the develpment of class consciousness. It is in some ways a feature of decomposition.

2.) What seemed to be suggested by Mark in the other thread: There may be a certain loss of an older and likely outdated conception of working class identity, but this may be an opportunity to reconstruct the revolutionary movement on new grounds. Lamenitng this loss of identity is a form of "nostalgia" and is not particularly useful.

3.) Baboon's: The idea that there has been some meaningful loss of workign class idenity is empirically untrue or is at least overblown.

It seems like there is a genuine controversy here.

LBird
Objective Identity? Or, the bourgeois way?

jk1921 wrote:

So, it seems there are three positions that have been advanced here on the vexing issue of "working class idenity."

Even before we move to examine these alleged 'three positions', jk, we need, more profoundly, to examine what is meant by Communists and Marxists by the term "working class identity" itself.

It seems to me that the term "working class identity" is being used simply to politically avoid the term "working class self-consciousness".

The former is a term which can be employed by an elite of 'experts', as they examine from outside the forms of 'identity' that they themselves ascribe to workers, who remain unconscious of this 'identity'.

The latter term can only can only be meaningful to, and thus created by, workers themselves. They make it, they can change it.

In a nutshell, 'identity' is a bourgeois concept, the ideological language of 'academics', 'social scientists', 'professors', and other assorted 'experts', who hide their politics, behind the language of a supposed 'objectivity'.

baboon
There was an idea I think

There was an idea I think that workers in heavy industry were the "real" workers like miners, steelworkers and so on and that these would be the avante-garde of the revolution. It's a mistaken view not only of the working class but the way that the idea of the "revolution" was developing in the 70's among revolutionary elements (in Britain anyway), i.e., a sentimental view of the working class (that was now being "restructured"!) and an overly-optimistic view of the possibilities of a revolution at that time. I think that more than ever workers, against the ideas of "middle class" and so on know that they are workers. Debt is one factor of their shackles that they are very much aware of particularly in line with the increases in eviction, repossession, prison and all the repressive forces of the state that are brought to bear in order that the working class pays back its debt with interest - the bourgeoisie doesn't give it free money. What the workers have lost is a great chunk of class history and what they have undergone since 1989 is a massive campaign against its own history and itself. As the text shows, decomposition weighs down on the working class from many angles.

 

L. Bird, what are you doing on these threads? Your insults of everyone else are continual and you parrot the same old phrases, along with your insults, time and time again. You are nothing but a destructive troll and are only on here out of a misplaced sense of democratism from the ICC in my opinion.

LBird
Baboon insulting, again.

baboon wrote:

L. Bird, what are you doing on these threads? Your insults of everyone else are continual and you parrot the same old phrases, along with your insults, time and time again. You are nothing but a destructive troll and are only on here out of a misplaced sense of democratism from the ICC in my opinion.

Once again, you've proved, without any insults by me whatsoever against anybody, that your elite ideology is incapable of responding with political arguments to those made by Democratic Communists and Marxists.

I'm not 'insulting' you (or others) when I argue that you are 'elitists' and 'materialists'.

That was Marx's argument - that 'materialism' is an elitist ideology.

You can't argue with this, so you insult me. Every time.

Why the ICC doesn't take a stronger line with you, I don't know. If anything is 'trolling' the proletariat, it's your outdated and politically dangerous ideology of 'materialism'.

Try political argument with me, Baboon. That's what a political site should be about.

LBird
Is Baboon closer to the ICC's and Marx's views than is LBird?

22nd ICC Congress wrote:
In our view, the real condition of human society can only be understood by looking it at from the point of view of the class struggle, of the exploited class of this society, the proletariat, which has no interest in hiding the truth and whose struggle oblige it to see through all the mystifications of capitalism in pursuit of the goal of overthrowing it.  Equally, it is only possible to understand current, immediate or localised events by locating them in a world-historic framework. This is the essence of the marxist method.
[my bold]

Does the ICC really believe what it writes, here?

Or is Baboon's view that a small minority 'Know Better' than the entire proletariat (a view which is the real source of Baboon's (and others') irritation with the critical comments that I make of Baboon's elitist view) the 'proper' way to understand what the ICC stands for?

For example, I argue that 'nature' can only be understood 'from the point of view...of the exploited class...the proletariat', and that workers have 'no interest in hiding the truth' about the concept of 'matter', and that the concept of the social production of 'nature-for-us' (which we can thus change - it isn't a 'fixed thing' we 'discover') 'is the essence of the marxist method'.

When does Baboon ever refer to the proletariat, when discussing 'nature' (eg., see our recent discussion about 'do stones talk to us?')?

Clearly, my critical comments, based upon Marx's words (eg., read the quotes I gave from Marx on that recent thread) cause Baboon great anger, and seem to compel the resort to insults against me (eg., 'troll'), but does Baboon speak for the ICC, in any way at all (not just 'officially', but in spirit)?

I would argue that my critical comments on this thread are much more in line with the text from the ICC that I quoted above.

Amir1
LBird Your discussions are

LBird

Your discussions are challenging. do i ask  your political positions

LBird
Challenging political positions

Amir1 wrote:

LBird

Your discussions are challenging. do i ask  your political positions

I might be misunderstanding your question, Amir1, but I think you are asking me to differentiate my political positions, from (for eg.) baboon's political positions (and by implication, to draw out which political position is closer to the ICC's).

I'm a Democratic Communist (I can't imagine a 'communism' which is not under the political control of the proletariat, which implies democratic control), and I'm heavily-influenced by Marx (who, too, was a communist, democrat, and referred to the political point of view of the proletariat, not a supposed 'objective matter', which supposedly 'determines thought').

As far as I can tell, baboon is an Elitist Materialist (and as such, has no need to discuss workers or democracy, as his 'communism' would be the product of 'matter' and the 'materialists'), and he's heavily-influenced by Engels and Lenin (Engels was confused about 'matter' and 'proletariat', as the source of change, and Lenin was an Elitist, who thought 'matter' determined 'proletarian consciousness', but didn't determine the 'special consciousness' of himself and his elite Cadre Party).

In terms of political positions, it's quite easy to differentiate between Marx and Lenin (Engels is much more confused and confusing, and agrees with both, at different times, sometimes in the same letter). Put simply, Marx argued for the active self-development of our class (to the exclusion of elites), whereas Lenin argued for Party Leadership of our class, where the proletariat are passive in relation to an active party.

This is fundamentally illustrated by the political question of 'democracy'.

'Materialists' will not have democracy. Not in politics, not in science, not in 'nature-for-us'. They pretend to 'Know Better' than the majority.

I hope this is what you were looking for, Amir1.

Amir1
yes it is right , that is my

yes it is right , that is my question. but then i have planty question that try to ask later? 

 i was looking for the treat you talk about differences between Engles and marx, could not find it? 

any way thanks

Alf
hands off Baboon

L Bird, stop singling out and slandering Baboon and accusing him of being an elitist. And perhaps in response to a question like Amir's you could start talking about dirty old political life, engaging with the profound problems facing the working class as analysed in the resolution, instead of repeating yet again that "materialists" or Engelsists are by definition potential dictators over the working class. There is no mechanistic link between what we say about matter and reality at the most general level, and our concrete political practice. 

LBird
Questions and answers

Amir1 wrote:

yes it is right , that is my question. but then i have planty question that try to ask later? 

 i was looking for the treat you talk about differences between Engles and marx, could not find it? 

any way thanks

There are plenty of threads here, where we discuss Marx, Engels, 'materialism', science and democracy, Amir1. If you do a search, you should be able to find them.

They contain lots of quotes from what Marx actually said, as opposed to what Engels and Lenin said.

If you want to ask a particular question, go ahead.

LBird
Calling me a 'troll' is 'slander', Alf

Alf wrote:

L Bird, stop singling out and slandering Baboon and accusing him of being an elitist.

Alf, you apparently haven't read the progression of this thread. This always seems to happen with baboon's supporters. I haven't insulted anyone, but baboon called me a 'troll'. Please read the thread, Alf, if you value truthful accounts. baboon 'singled me out', in fact. Just as on the other threads. baboon can't answer political questions, and always resorts to insults.

Alf wrote:
And perhaps in response to a question like Amir's you could start talking about dirty old political life, engaging with the profound problems facing the working class as analysed in the resolution, instead of repeating yet again that "materialists" or Engelsists are by definition potential dictators over the working class. There is no mechanistic link between what we say about matter and reality at the most general level, and our concrete political practice. 

But 'materialists' are 'potential dictators over the working class'. Any society or party in which 'materialists' hold sway, the proletariat doesn't. Leninism is a 'dirty old political life', and has to be politically challenged by class conscious workers.

And... there is a 'mechanistic link between what one says about matter and reality' and what 'materialists' do in 'concrete political practice'. This is a 'profound problem facing the working class', because it denies our own active agency.

If the revolutionary proletariat cannot change their concept from 'matter' which pre-exists them, to a concept like Marx's 'inorganic nature', which doesn't pre-exist us, because we create the world we live in, 'organic nature', and thus we can change it.

Only the class can determine their own concepts. There is no elite party that can dictate to the class, that only The Party can determine whether 'matter' is a suitable concept. This is what's at political stake, Alf.

If you, too, claim to 'Know Eternal Matter', which can't be changed, as do the 'materialists', I'll also call you an 'elitist', because that's what you'll be choosing to be. This is political analysis, not slander.

You'd do well, Alf, to consider what I'm saying, and reply to it, rather than simply 'back-up' baboon's uncalled-for insults.

jk1921
Serious Criticism

baboon wrote:

L. Bird, what are you doing on these threads? Your insults of everyone else are continual and you parrot the same old phrases, along with your insults, time and time again. You are nothing but a destructive troll and are only on here out of a misplaced sense of democratism from the ICC in my opinion.

This is a serious criticism that needs some consideration from the ICC. Of course, we have yet another thread poised on the edge of derailment as a result of the typical behavior of a certain element who, in what appears to be something like coprolalia, blurts out his usual denunciations and insinuations against those who do not conform to his own democratist distortions and who appears incapable of any critical reflection on his own dogma or his behavior.

 

LBird
More insults - materialists can't help themselves

jk1921 wrote:

baboon wrote:

L. Bird, what are you doing on these threads? Your insults of everyone else are continual and you parrot the same old phrases, along with your insults, time and time again. You are nothing but a destructive troll and are only on here out of a misplaced sense of democratism from the ICC in my opinion.

This is a serious criticism that needs some consideration from the ICC. Of course, we have yet another thread poised on the edge of derailment as a result of the typical behavior of a certain element who, in what appears to be something like coprolalia, blurts out his usual denunciations and insinuations against those who do not conform to his own democratist distortions and who appears incapable of any critical reflection on his own dogma or his behavior.

I know that you won't know this, jk, but I'm the one quoting from the article under discussion.

But, just like baboon, you can't answer political criticisms of 'materialism', and so turn to insulting me, yet again.

But... 'democratist distortions'... wow, you're Uncle Joe Stalin in the making, jk!

As I said to Amir1 earlier, 'materialists', like jk, won't have democracy in politics or science.

jk believes that jk knows better than billions of workers. If that's not elitism, I don't know what is.

Try answering my political arguments, jk.

Amir1
Alf,is icc monolithic, there

Alf,is icc monolithic, there should be differences and I as who defend the icc should know everything as possible 

Demogorgon
A Stalin too far

LBird, we've tolerated a lot from you over the years, but this really takes the biscuit. If you compare another comrade on this site to Stalin, I will ban you immediately and permanently with no reprieve.

If you disrupt this thread further by disputing this decision here in any way whatsoever, I will ban you immediately with no reprieve. Stalin-baiting will not be tolerated here. This is your only warning.

If anyone wants to discuss a topic not related to the topic of this thread, including comments about how we manage conduct on the site, you can start a new one.

LBird
Banning never solves political criticism, it's an act of fear

Demogorgon wrote:
LBird, we've tolerated a lot from you over the years, but this really takes the biscuit. If you compare another comrade on this site to Stalin, I will ban you immediately and permanently with no reprieve. If you disrupt this thread further by disputing this decision here in any way whatsoever, I will ban you immediately with no reprieve. Stalin-baiting will not be tolerated here. This is your only warning. If anyone wants to discuss a topic not related to the topic of this thread, including comments about how we manage conduct on the site, you can start a new one.

I think you misunderstand my political criticism, Demo.

Politically, anyone who adheres to the lie that 'materialism' is suitable for the revolutionary, class conscious, democratically-organised, proletariat, is a potential Stalinist.

That's why political criticism of Lenin and his 'materialism' must be open. Marx's concept of "workers' activity" must prevail over Lenin's 'matter'. 'Matter' does not determine "workers' activity". 

If this political openness with workers gets me banned by the ICC, an organisation that I've defended on this site, against some others, that I've never been banned or even suspended (unlike by LibCom and the SPGB), then so be it.

I suspect, though, that this act will prove my political defence of the ICC, ironically, to have been mistaken.

Amir1
I do not know what is

I do not know what is materialism? So, as you say, I'm potentially Stalinistic

I condemn the Stalinist and Stalin label to call any of the comrades as insulting on this site.

jk1921
LBird hides behind

Edit: I didn't see that LBird had been banned when I posted this. This is unfortunate, but  necessary at this point, IMHO.

LBird hides behind allegations of political persecution and victimization never considering that it is his behavior and comportment that are the problem more than whatever people think about his positions. He doesn't appear to have any interest in discussion and the exchange of ideas; he is here to evangelize and denounce, only showing the slightest interest in others when he senses there may be an opening to his self-constructed system. Everyone else who questions his discovered truths have their intelligence insulted when they aren't denouced with all manner of slurs: "elitist," "Stalinist," etc. The fact that he might have a valid point once every fifty posts notwithstanding, this behavior is simply incompatible with the tasks of revolutionaries today to clarify, explore and develop Marxist theory in a situation in which outside of basic class line positions we are stuggling to find our way. By contrast, LBird's behavior comes off an entitled, arrogant and proselytizing all while he ironically claims to speak in the name of anti-elitism. To call this curious is to be too kind. The effect of course is only destructive--to chill discussion and construct a climate of fear and recrimination that paints a very negative picture of revolutionary work for the many who read but are probably disuaded from participating by such behavior. This has simply gone on for far too long.

 

Now back to the subject of the thread: I heard an economist the other day remark, in an attempt to explain populism, that establishment elites have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of work and employment--a job is not simply income, it is also identity--a sense of self and community that cannot simply be exchanged like old clothing. This raises some interesting questions about the nature of the experience of work today, where it is often suggested that younger workers do not feel the same identity attachments to particular jobs--they embrace the freedom and contingency that the reconstructed labour market affords, eschewing the kind of "rooted identities" that the Fordist era working class are now seeking to desperately defend. I think the idea that younger workers embrace the contingency of precarious employment is overblown, but there seems to be, nevertheless, a real difference in identity contruction going on here--and there seems like there might be a connection between the different cultural sensibilities around immigration, demographic change, etc. between different sectors of the working class.

baboon
I think that idea, as you

I think that idea, as you say, jk, is definitely "overblown". Most young workers it seems to me want a job with decent hours, half-decent pay and some holidays. The massive attack on working class conditions in the face of its disorientation has largely put paid to that. But this attack is not simply a "restructuring" but a tendency of the state to constantly restrain and lower working class conditions. That's not a restructuring but a condition of the class struggle since time immemorial - even if it's taken on a bit more bite of late. It's interesting that you mention immigration in this respect; immigrants because of their particular circumstances are the ones doing the "shit" jobs, the ones with the worse pay and conditions and that's generally been part of the condition of the working class throughout capitalism. Another factor is that here in Britain, after the miners' strike and after the collapse of "communism", there was a deliberate push by the bourgeoisie to favour "self-employment" which might (or might not) pay a little better but whose working conditions, hours and "social wage" were far inferior to workers "on the books". This also had the added advantage to the bourgeoisie of further loosening the bonds of solidarity that existed within the class - its "class indentity" in this respect. That's why the populist campaigns and its media cheerleaders, the Sun, Daily Mail, etc., and the relevant government departments, all support "White Van Man".

 

Get this our of the way: that's a good summary jk of the damage that L; Bird has inflicted on this site. I thought that he should have been banned years ago but I tried to engage with him in a discussion on history and materialism. Not only was it a complete waste of time but I'm convinced that it was his presence on the discussion that kept everyone else away.

baboon
A bit more on the "bonds of

A bit more on the "bonds of solidarity": During the struggles of the seventies and eighties one of the major weapons of the ruling class through its unions was the trade union version of "solidarity" which reaches its peak in corporatism. It was this "solidarity" that was responsibe for the defeat of the steel strike in the late 70's, the miners' strike in 84 and many major strikes in western Europe during the same period. It's the same with the wistful looking back at the solidarity of the community which, though it has a genuine basis and history, nevertheless is also a two-edged sword that, used by the unions, can serve to keep the working class in a particular struggle enclosed and isolated and it was very difficult for the workers to break out of this cage. Even when they did they could still run into a dead-end. I remember intervening for the ICC with leaflets and papers in the steel strike in the Midlands steel town of Corby. There were thousands and thousands of steel workers from Scotland and the North milling about on the streets sent there by the unions, as the "solidarity" posters went up on the lamposts. I'd been involved in strikes, some wildcats, but I had never seen numbers like this. They were completely abandoned by the steel union and divided from the local workers. We talked to many angry workers and gave out leaflets but neither we were rather backward and not up to the task. We should have called a meeting on the streets or better still got the workers to call a meeting and let us speak. As unprepared and stumbling as we were anything that we said would have been a class difference than the sabotage offered them by the unions.