Counter-resolution on the class struggle
The proletarian struggle in Poland has marked a new and decisive step forward in the continuing process of mass strike which began with the struggles at Denain and Longwy, reemerged in the dockers' strike at Rotterdam and in the British steel strike, and which posed in differing degrees in each struggle the need for the self-organization, extension and generalization of the struggle.
1) These struggles have confirmed the new characteristics of proletarian struggle in decadence. Although they are a response to the aggravation of the economic crisis, they cannot aim at a real improvement in the workers' living and working conditions. In addition to the economic demands that form the basis for these struggles to start from, they prefigure and prepare the future revolutionary assault on the state, the only historic response open to the working class in face of the generalized crisis of capitalism.
In these struggles the real antagonism existing between the needs and practice of the working class and all the false strategies and conceptions of unionism could be seen. All these unionist-style strategies have been the reply of the bourgeoisie to the working class in struggle. They have all attempted to undermine the self-organization of the working class and the dynamic toward generalization contained in its struggles. As well as that, the methods of trade unionism derail the development of political consciousness within the working class, a consciousness that has been emerging in this period.
2) In future, the only way for the proletariat to go forward will increasingly be for it to go beyond corporatism, localism, and nationalism by setting up in its struggles general assemblies and elected and revocable strike committees, and by deepening the political antagonisms between all the bourgeois factions acting inside the class and inside the organized proletariat.
3) The other fundamental aspect of the present struggles is that they act as a historical brake against the tendency towards war contained in the blind contradictions of the decadent capitalist system in crisis. For the first time in history, today's period is one in which the proletariat has been able to impose on the bourgeoisie its own initiative in the class struggle. Unlike the 1930s when the economic crisis accentuated the defeat suffered by the working class in the 1920s, throughout the 1970s it was possible to see the slow and chaotic reconstitution of the strength of the working class. This new upsurge of proletarian struggle has prevented the bourgeoisie from leading society toward another world war. The inability of the bourgeoisie to take this road rests on the fact that those parties most capable of mobilizing the proletariat for a new massacre are the leftist parties, but they are precisely the parties which the new upsurge in working class struggle has brought into question.
4) Faced with a proletariat which is regaining its class strength once more, the Left has seen its margin of maneuver reduced, and its capacity to mystify the class , which it had accumulated during the years of counter-revolution, has been reduced as well. During these last ten years a crisis has developed within these parties: they've been wracked by splits and a real erosion of their militant base. The appearance of new leftist groups corresponds to the bourgeoisie's need to adapt to the struggles of the working class, but at the same time such a dispersal shows the potentially real weaknesses of the Left in future.
5) Such an erosion of the Stalinist and Social Democratic counter-revolutionary machines has repercussions on the whole political apparatus of the bourgeoisie. The Stalinist and Social Democratic machines are an integral part of the state and they share all the characteristics of the decadent bourgeoisie -- its senility and its incapacity to become a homogeneous bloc when faced with its historical enemy, the working class. In fact, it is the state itself which has been weakened by the blows delivered by the workers' struggle. But weakness doesn't mean outright collapse. Each bourgeois party, using its own methods and its specific arsenal of anti-working class measures, tries to prevent the outright collapse of the state. The bourgeoisie is threatened by working class struggle, but it is also forced to adopt stringent austerity measures to avoid the utter economic bankruptcy of its system. Caught in this contradiction it tries, where it can, to react and respond to the struggle of the working class by bringing forward a whole series of tactics essentially based on democratic mystifications and illusions. The other aspect of the bourgeoisie's tactics is its necessity to find a way of breaking the struggles from the inside, either by openly sabotaging them or by politically derailing them.
6) Today the activity of the Left parties is right at the centre of the problem confronting the bourgeoisie. How is it to defeat the proletariat and make it accept austerity and later on the war? But, in reality, in the period to come, an increasing instability will become evident in bourgeois politics because the Left parties are going to be forced to develop more and more incoherent political orientations in the face of the working class:
-- in opposition they risk losing their influence because they cannot present themselves eternally as defenders of the immediate interests of the working class. Because of that, they risk losing their capacity to sabotage struggles from within.
-- in power, they quickly lose their credibility in the eyes of the working class by organizing and managing austerity. Today, workers forget less and less easily what the Left has done when it is in power.
7) In the years ahead, we will see the ripening of a generalized political crisis within the bourgeoisie. But, contrary to those years in which the proletariat was not able to use such a crisis for its own ends, we are now entering a period when it is going to become crucial for the working class to take advantage of the crisis of the bourgeoisie. In this sense, the political character of the struggles that have just happened will become more and more explicit and pose in clearer terms the importance of the role and intervention of revolutionary groups. Given the need for revolutionaries to understand how the working class is to achieve a unification of its struggle, the ability of revolutionaries to analyze the contradictions wracking the bourgeoisie as a whole and tearing apart each of the individual national bourgeoisies, will be decisive in the ripening of class consciousness.
The proposed counter-resolution was: retain points 1, 2 and 7 of the Resolution on class struggle and replace the rest with the counter-resolution.