Report on the ICC Public Forum in Birmingham, 24/2/07

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The presentation was on the title: Only the class struggle can stop the war drive. The presentation focused on the two dynamics.

Bush’s rejection of the Iraq study group’s recommendations has to be seen within the framework of the impasse of US imperialism. Since the collapse of the old blocs the, so-called, “new world order” is really disorder and chaos. The US has launched an offensive to protect its dominant position. It is becoming more and more isolated and has become bogged down in the Iraqi quagmire. The US has to pull itself out and reassert itself. We are faced with the future prospect of a confrontation between Iran and the USA.

The only way the working class can confront war is through the class struggle. The level of the class struggle is low, but we are seeing signs of a re-emergence through a new generation. We can see the students’ movements in France as an important example of this.

The discussion that followed was very good.

On the war a sympathizer said that workers are more cynical about the war. The ideological cover for imperialism, “the war on terror”, is seen more and more for what it is. The meeting discussed the ways that the bourgeoisie manipulates it’s so called opposition. In the UK there is a leftist anti-war movement, but in France the opposition is focused on anti-globalisation (i.e. anti-Americanism).

One thread in the discussion was the role of the revolutionary organization and the development of the class. A sympathizer asked the question “How does the class raise its consciousness to a revolutionary level and how does the revolutionary organization contribute to this?

Another sympathizer answered that the working class learns from its struggles internationally. It needs to go beyond the distortions of the bourgeoisie. By reporting on struggles like those in Bangladesh and Egypt the ICC is contributing, in a small way, to the classes understanding of what is really going on. A comrade of the ICC pointed to the struggles in France. It was only when the ICC intervened in the assemblies that we were able to see the real dynamic that was hidden behind the media focus on the violence.

A comrade pointed out that George Galloway was due to speak in Birmingham. The meeting discussed the arguments put forward by the leftists. The support they give to national liberationism and anti-fascism. In the face of a low level of struggles what do revolutionaries do if they don’t join up with these leftist campaigns. The current favorites are Chavism & anti-Americanism. Like the communists during WW1 & the left communists during WW2 the ICC supports internationalism. This is a fundamental class line anything else is a betrayal of the working class.

A comrade asked the ICC how it defines class struggle. There must be other gauges than days on strike. A comrade of the ICC pointed to Marx’s definition of class struggle. Along with strikes there is political and theoretical struggle. When looking at the present situation it is not just about strike days, because they are at a low level compared to the past, but we are seeing a greater qualitative content. For example the large strikes in Vigo where workers held mass assemblies in the town center. They joined together even though the worked in different factories.

Though the class is at an early stage of development in it’s re-emergence, this meeting was a small example of the qualitative gains the class is making.

Ash, 4/03/07.

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