Workers' defence and the question of arms

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radicalchains
Workers' defence and the question of arms
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I was just wondering, well I seem to wonder about this question from time to time actually...about how workers should defend themselves and stop getting injured and killed principally during pickets, strikes and protests. I don't think I have come across the views of the ICC on this, or may have just forgotten them.

It seems to me in most instances if defence is taken seriously it's on a makeshift basis like the Ssangyong factory occupation a couple of years ago in South Korea to take one example. I think they used chemicals from the factory to make molotov cocktails/petrol bombs, used improvised slingshots with metal bits and pieces and mobile barricades from shelters and scrap. However, in the end this wasn't enough as we saw with the final assault by the state on the roof of the factory with many workers getting savagely beaten and sadly during the struggle I think there were also some deaths.

An obvious answer to all of this might be to spread the struggle, deepen and widen it etc but I'm really  thinking about the practicalities here and the need to be prepared for quite frankly what is at times a vicious struggle with the state, sometimes to the death. The reason I ask these questions is also that personally I feel so much anger and hatred when I see workers getting hurt and killed. I think that is something which makes us proletarian to feel like this and want to do something about it.

Alf
valid question

I think this is a valid question, although I think that deepening and widening the struggle is eminently practical and the only real self-defence in the long run because in purely military terms we can never be stronger than the state. That said there have always been more immediate contingencies (attacks by thugs and reactionaries as well as official police) and workers have found ways to organise their defence. The workers in Poland in 1980, who certainly understood the need for extension, took measures to ensure a minmum level of defence of occupied factories. The key thing is that defence squads are part of the general organisation of the movement, not something that substitutes for it. 

Demogorgon
Agree with Alf. The use of

Agree with Alf. The use of violence in defence of a particular movement is a tactical question that can only be decided on case-by-case basis by the movement as a whole. On some occasions employing violence would be completely counter-productive, giving the state the excuse it needs to exact reprisals. At others it would be a vital component of workers' self defence.

Nonetheless, the real key is the extension of the struggle. The state can't be beaten in a toe-to-toe battle by the working class. It can only be dissolved by a mass movement that weakens the conviction of its footsoldiers. The stronger the movement as a whole, the less able the bourgeoisie is able to apply repression without spreading the discontent.

jk1921
I agree with what the

I agree with what the comrades said. Workers are no match for the armed state as long as they remain isolated. Although it is certainly possible that repression against workers is an element that leads to extension. We saw this to some extent in Occupy, where the state actually had to back off repression at times, because they recognized this might radicalize and extent the struggle.

Fred
What the comrades above have

What the comrades above have to say about self-defense via the deepening and widening of the struggle is consoling. I mean nobody wants a whole lot of violence and killings, and it's good to think the state can be "disarmed" politically. What worries me is what happens in those parts of the world where workers are a very small minority and the peasantry is vast. I'm thinking of S.E. Asia here and about the practicalities of states that aren't all that strong, and can't even conduct their numerous democratic election charades without outbreaks of inter-communal violence, and the involvement of bribery and corruption on a large scale. The peasantry is very given over to this sort of caper, and easily misled. Didn't the Russian revolution suffer from their interference and obsessions with land and their ownership of it?

In areas where the peasantry is pre-dominant in numbers, even a revolution going in a successful direction elsewhere could/will spark off the most appalling murderous mayhem - such as would make the situation in Syria, between rival bourgeoisies, seem mild in comparison. It could also devastate food production. The reason I'm pointing this out, is for similar reasons to those of radical chains, who fears for the proletariat at the hands of a vicious state. I fear for masses of humanity at the hands of a vicious and greedy peasantry, their darker side unleashed by revolution in far off lands. Internasyonalismo please note.