The Struggle Against Unemployment:
Socialist Strategy vs Trade Union Bureaucracy
By the Permanent Revolution Group (New Zealand), March 1988
In the last decade the shape of New Zealand society has been transformed. Ten years ago, if you wanted a job you could get one. It had been that way since the Second World War. Today even a conservative count shows that well over six percent of the workforce is unemployed. That is 100,000 people - about the population of Hamilton or rather more than the population of Dunedin.
The Permanent Revolution Group addresses this pamphlet to everyone interested in doing something about it.
This pamphlet is obviously not meant to mobilise masses. We will support any serious attempt to mobilise against unemployment, but we believe that before we can get very far in this struggle it is necessary to gather a core of activists from the left and workers movement, to unite a group of people around a strategy which effectively challenges the irrationality of the capitalist system. The only successful strategy against unemployment is a socialist strategy.
We hope this pamphlet will contribute to the process of discussion which will crystallise that core of people and policies.
Permanent Revolution Group
Unemployment hurts us all
Work is important for people. For a start the money is important. Unless you are unusually privileged, if you havent got a job then you havent got a decent standard of living. But work can be important in other ways too. If you havent got a job it is difficult to fit in socially with people who do have jobs, and because of the importance placed on work you probably havent got much self-respect, either. Most unemployed are under twenty five, and as new generations grow up without hope the evils of unemployment are cumulative.
So unemployment hurts. It hurts not only those who are actually unemployed, but all of us. It tears the guts out of workers struggles. And what better way of imposing labour discipline and keeping wages and conditions down than by strengthening the threat of joblessness?
The huge level of unemployment is not temporary. If things are left as they are, or if they are left to the two major parties of government to sort out, this wont be a mere hiccup. The main parties are quite clear about it: at just that time when the slogan of full employment is most needed, they have both dropped it - even from their rhetoric. And nobody really thinks for a moment that there is any solution in the policies of the "Labour" government. In fact the present policies create the conditions for not the abolition of unemployment even in the long term, but for mass unemployment becoming an entrenched and permanent part of New Zealand society.
But it is not only the two main parties which are letting unemployment go on, but also virtually every workers organisation in the country. It is an indictment on the bureaucrats who run the trade unions that the only people doing serious work against unemployment in New Zealand today are some of the unemployed themselves. No organisation with power is doing anything more than a bit of window dressing on the subject. Nobody has any strategy to end it. There are other priorities.
Irrationality of unemployment & need for a rational society
We have grown used to unemployment and have almost stopped seeing its absurdity, but unemployment is, in fact, one of those strange facets of capitalist rationality which is at bottom simply insane.
At the same time that there is massive unemployment, there are jobs crying out to be done. There is no general system of childcare, for which there is a desperate social need. There arent enough womens refuges. Educational facilities, especially for pre-schoolers, adults, cultural minorities and children with learning disabilities - and also generally in low-income areas - are grossly inadequate. There are working-class suburbs without leisure facilities such as swimming pools. The health care system has huge gaps in it, and those on low incomes usually die some years younger than those on high incomes.
And there are people who need money, who are without jobs and who could help fill these social needs.
But the number and type of jobs available has nothing whatever to do with either the needs of people for money or the needs of society to have jobs done; it has to do with whether it will profit capitalist enterprises to create the jobs.
Weve got to argue against this irrationality of the system; weve got to demand that these socially necessary jobs get done. Some progress is sometimes possible within the system, but if the struggle for a rational society is to get very far it must become a struggle against the system itself.
The people who make the political, economic, management and personnel decisions which put workers on the streets are not themselves doing any constructive work, of course. They are not producing anything. In fact, just as there are many jobs that urgently need to be done which are NOT done, there are huge numbers of jobs which ARE done which are totally useless. Most of the work done in banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions would be found totally without use in a rationally planned society. Huge amounts of resources and labour power are tied up, which if used productively could allow us all to live at a vastly expanded standard of living with far less work.
We are not for work for its own sake. More leisure, more things to do with your leisure, and a decent standard of living from which to enjoy leisure are a part of any programme for a good society. And these are not simply impossible dreams; we have the technology which can make it possible for everyone to have plenty of satisfying leisure, yet for so many people satisfying leisure is inaccessible.
A fundamental change is necessary
The lever for fundamental change is the working class. The method is revolution.
It is true that right now the working class is hardly in a state to act as a lever for fundamental change; but if the way is pointed for the working class to fight for its own interests it can be reshaped, because its basic interests are the interests of a rational society. And it has huge potential power; it can do the job.
Our part is very small - but essential. We have to gather together a grouping of people who can start to point the way. It is a matter of starting to reshape the working class around a new political party.
Effects of unemployment on the working class as a whole
The programme for reshaping the working class must start from an understanding of the real needs and the real problems of the working class as they are felt today. And unemployment is clearly a key problem of the working class.
Unemployment obviously helps the bosses maintain work discipline. The threat of losing your job is much more serious when it is going to be so difficult to get another one. The threat of joblessness puts enormous pressure on everyone to be good at work.
But there are also direct effects of unemployment. Most families in New Zealand are touched by unemployment from time to time. There is usually someone whos without a job, or has been recently, or will be soon. However, although most people are affected to some extent, some groups within the working class are hit particularly hard. Women, disabled people, school leavers, Maori people and islanders get it worst.
Because it hits some groups harder than others, the quiet acceptance of unemployment leads to frictions between different groups and the fragmentation and weakening of the working class. Unemployment plays off different layers of the class against one another, so every increase in the level of unemployment hurts the unity of the class as a whole, attacking our ability to fight to protect our conditions of work and of life.
Leaving unemployment unchallenged keeps the income of workers who have jobs very low, but it can also keep workers in jobs feeling comfortably self-satisfied. After all they are in a superior position to the jobless. There are attempts by the employed to keep the unemployed at a distance and there is a growing intolerance of the desperation of the unemployed. Many groups of employed workers start to justify their little privileges by holding the unemployed in contempt; some become responsive to right-wing demagogy, racism, sexism, "law and order" campaigns and so on.
However, the fight against unemployment can lead to class unity. Every improvement in the lot of the unemployed, every redundancy which is prevented, strengthens the bargaining position of the whole class. The struggle against it can cut across the divisions which have traditionally weakened us.
Growth of unemployment
A certain amount of unemployment is always with us. Even on a national basis full employment is an exception under capitalism; internationally there has never been full employment. It is true that a few countries have managed to avoid it for the odd decade or two, but only by transferring the problem to other countries.
New Zealand in the fifties and sixties was such an exception, but New Zealand will not return to full employment under capitalism. For a short historic period from the end of the Second World War until the late 1960s the New Zealand economy was sufficiently small and underdeveloped yet privileged within world capitalism to be able to maintain a system of industrial protection which kept the official unemployment figures negligible. Even then New Zealand capitalism created a great deal of disguised unemployment, especially on Pacific islands to the north.
With the deepening world economic troubles from the end of the sixties onwards, unemployment crept up - slowly at first. At first it was unemployment at a level which is pretty normal in capitalist countries, but by the late seventies it started to reach mass proportions. New Zealand simply had no institutions in place to control unemployment, institutions such as effective retraining programmes and adequate public works schemes.
Now although some unemployment is virtually inevitable as long as capitalism survives, the massive scale of unemployment we have now was not inevitable. It takes special efforts to get into New Zealands present situation. Those special efforts have been undertaken by successive governments, but especially the present "Labour" government.
Unemployment & economics
The sharemarket crash didnt help either. A sharemarket crash is a kind of bizarre strike of the capitalists - theyve simply decided not to invest. On the business pages of the newspapers the most noticeable effect is that share prices go down, but that is not really so important. The real problem is that when the capitalists decide to cut back their investments there isnt so much construction and production, and therefore not so many jobs. It is, of course quite extraordinary that the really important decisions about employment levels and standards of living should be made in an institution like a sharemarket, but thats the way the capitalist cookie crumbles.
Someone, somewhere probably believes that the economic policies of the Labour Government will eventually alleviate unemployment. After all, thats what we are told so often. Actually not so very many people believe it, so perhaps it is unnecessary to stress the truth: there is no evidence whatever that Rogernomics will in the long term reduce unemployment in the slightest.
A careful comparison of the different trends in unemployment in sixteen major capitalist countries concludes that the "cut down the public sector, strengthen the market economy" method of managing an economy "has been the shortest and fastest route to mass unemployment". It also concludes that once achieved mass unemployment is extraordinarily hard to get rid of. (Goran Therborn, Why some peoples are more unemployed than others, Verso, London, 1986.)
So a massive level of unemployment has become entrenched in New Zealand, and could only be brought under control with the strongest kinds of political, social and economic measures. The Second World War was necessary the last time around.
What will happen if we leave things to the powers that be? Well, for a start, the unemployment figure will stay high. It will go up for a while; then it might come down a bit sometime - a little bit. Benefits will be reduced and the police force increased. There will be unwinnable riots and repression, and the employed will feel more and more self- satisfied and contemptuous. Possibilities for progress will be cut off.
The only "solution" capitalism can find for its problems, for unemployment and for its periodic crises, is imperialist world war: a redivision of markets and areas of exploitation, and a massive destruction of capital and goods - and people. Lenin discusses it in his 1916 pamphlet, Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism. But things are different than they were in 1916: this time round world war will be carried out with a vicious nuclear efficiency unavailable to the imperialist bourgeoisies in the past. Humanity cannot afford the capitalist solution. The working class must impose its own.
The working class today is in no shape to impose its own solution. Its trade union and political organisations are led by the people who have allowed Rogernomics to rule in New Zealand. They have allowed unemployment to reach its present proportions without more than token resistance - and their failure has been the direct cause of the weakening of the working class to the extent that real wages have been allowed to fall drastically in the last period.
Trade union bureaucracy & imperialism
The profession of a trade union official is one of leading minor skirmishes in the class war in order to be in a position to negotiate retreats. Or, at best, truces. Their privileges come from their role as mediators. If the class war were actually won, theyd be out of a job - and its the job they care about. These are the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class.
In imperialist countries like New Zealand - in its petty way it is thoroughly an imperialist country - trade union officials form a bureaucratic caste which has its own interests which are not the interests of the working class. They want to rock the boat as little as possible, but to keep their own jobs they occasionally have to do some things which appeal to the interests of some of the workers they represent. Their solution is to specialise in calling for the most minor defensive actions against attacks on the wages and conditions of workers, and calling for reforms which do as little harm as possible to the capitalist system.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks had some experience with the likes of our trade union bureaucracy, and they were successful as revolutionists because they had an extremely acute understanding of the phenomenon.
At the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 Lenin and his collaborators were deeply shocked when the trade union movement and the main workers parties of the world all supported their "own" bourgeoisies, and encouraged the working class in each country to kill and be killed on behalf of the different national bourgeoisies in the inter-imperialist slaughter. The Bolsheviks kept to the traditions of the Marxist movement, of course, and gave no support to the war, calling for workers to "turn the guns the other way" in each country against their own ruling class.
The bourgeoisies of the world were using their presses, pulpits and other mechanisms of ideology to build a climate of nationalist war-fever, and the leadership which controlled the organisations of the workers movement was supporting them wholeheartedly, so it was not very surprising that the workers went off to fight each other. The leadership of the working classs organisations has immense influence, for good or for bad, over the decisions of individual workers, and over the options open to them.
But the question was, why should this nationalism so damagingly infect the leadership of the labour movement around the world? Nationalism does not serve the working class but the bourgeoisie. This problem got Lenin and the team he was working with at the time, particularly Zinoviev, into the study of the processes of imperialism, and it is discussed in Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism and in a more extended way in Zinovievs The social roots of opportunism.
The analysis that Lenin and Zinoviev jointly worked out showed how some of the super-profits derived from the oppression of the colonial world are passed on to some sections of the working class, allowing the development of a kind of aristocracy within the working class with considerable privileges. An important part of the working-class aristocracy is the labour bureaucracy, the network of officials of the trade unions and of the reformist parties based on them.
The trade union bureaucracy, then, has a material interest in modern capitalism. So it is hardly a mystery that they sit easily within it, that they are at best reformists.
Revolutionaries vs misleadership
The misleadership of the labour bureaucracy is not the sole cause of bourgeois ideology in the working class, of course. Consciousness is far more complex than that. But the bureaucratic misleadership is, nevertheless the prime obstacle to the development of real class consciousness. The building of a revolutionary leadership in a political fight against the existing misleadership - a fight for a revolutionary programme - is the way towards real class consciousness.
Revolutionaries will fight alongside the labour bureaucracy to defend workers and for reforms in the interests of the working class, but we will always say that the fight must go deeper, that ultimately it must confront the capitalist system. We will always tell the truth about the labour bureaucracy. And we will not go along with the trade union bureaucracy when the reforms they call for are not truly in the interests of the working class as a whole.
The development of the unity, strength and will of the working class can be forged in the defensive struggle against the effects of capitalism, a struggle which goes on all the time. But to make that defensive struggle effective requires the understanding that there is ultimately no defence against capitalism. An offensive strategy is inescapable.
Clearly the consciousness of the mass of the working class in New Zealand (as in all of the advanced capitalist countries) is limited at best to the consciousness of the need to defend its present situation, or perhaps to fight for some minor reforms. That reflects the fact that the existing leadership of the working class is in fact a defensive and reformist misleadership.
Todays battles, then, are limited by this misleadership. Even in defensive struggles we are not too effective, except when occasionally things get out of the hands of the bureaucrats. And there is no possibility at all of the existing officials leading struggles which go onto the offensive, in which the working class becomes united and conscious of itself as a class with interests completely opposed to the capitalist class.
For Marxists the task therefore must be to win the working class away from this fundamentally pro-capitalist bureaucratic misleadership and to aid in recasting the traditional framework of working-class organisation in a revolutionary mold. In this way the class can become effective.
We must make it clear - the trade union movement is not the private property of the professional mediators; it belongs to the working class. The conservative and self-serving policies designed for advancement in bureaucratic careers must be exposed, and the bureaucrats must be replaced by militants who are elected solely because they have convinced the rank and file that they have a programme, a plan of action, that can win.
That process of replacing the present misleadership of the working class is the process of the building of a new anti- capitalist workers party.
As the Bolsheviks worked out, the trade union bureaucracy throughout the advanced capitalist world has all this century sought to acquire for sections of the working class in the imperialist countries a small portion of the benefits of imperialism - benefits ultimately made at the expense of workers and peasants in the economic colonies of the world.
One of the key ways in which the trade union bureaucracy has done this, particularly in New Zealand, is to call for economic protectionism - import controls to keep out foreign-made goods and thereby make it more profitable to produce goods in New Zealand. The idea is that if there is a factory making radios in New Zealand it will have difficulty competing with factories producing radios in say Hong Kong, so a special tax will be put on radios brought in from overseas. This will help keep the New Zealand factory open, but it will make it harder for the factory in Hong Kong to stay open.
The policy of protectionism is not merely a capitalist solution to the problem of unemployment, but - because it also is a nationalist solution - it is a very important step on the road to the capitalist solution, inter-imperialist war.
The call for protectionism divides the working class internationally, making New Zealand workers see, for example, Asian workers, as the threat to their jobs rather than the capitalist system. When the call is taken up by the government and protectionist policies are put in place, they simply tend to transfer unemployment to other countries, and furthermore to build an international climate of trade war between different groups of capitalist states. Such a climate will inevitably be created by the bourgeoisies of the world as the continual crises of capitalism intensify, but the working class has no interests in building such a climate. Just as we have no side in a shooting war between capitalist states, or a nuclear war, so we have no sides in a trade war.
Protectionism was the catch-cry of the old reformist New Zealand Labour Party, which traditionally gave a strong voice to bureaucrats with deep roots in the trade unions. But just now the trade union bureaucracy is having a hard time and the Labour Party leadership isnt even reformist in a working class sense any more, but has gone over to a capitalist free-trading ideology for a few years. However, there are two organisations where trade union bureaucrats can still feel at home and which remain faithful to protectionism - the Socialist Unity Party (SUP) and the Workers Communist League (WCL).
For united fronts against unemployment
We want to work together with trade union bureaucrats and the likes of the SUP and the WCL against unemployment. Their struggle will be inadequate, and they will try to inculcate support for fundamentally reactionary schemes such as import controls. But they can take a part in action against unemployment, and if they want to they can begin to mobilise workers in the trade unions they run. That would be a start.
However, theyre not so keen on working together with us.
This is the question of the united front, of working together with various political currents to agreed ends, despite openly stated areas of disagreement. And fundamentally it also turns out to be a matter of democracy within the workers movement.
In the early 1920s the international communist movement (the Third International) developed the united front tactic as a means simultaneously of defending the basic interests of the working class and winning the mass of workers away from the reformist social democratic parties, the labour parties. Naturally the reformists were not too keen on working together with the communists in the united front. Any desire to defend the basic interests of the working class was overshadowed by their fear of losing their supporters to the communists.
In 1987 and 1988 in Wellington we have been active in a united front organisation, Workers Against Unemployment (WAU), which was set up in Wellington with the aim of organising demonstrations against unemployment. WAU has consistently attempted to draw all groups and individuals on the left into both the organisation of and participation in its activities. However there has been a reluctance among trade union officials and the established left to become actively involved in WAU.
The main explanation offered is discontent with two placards carried on a WAU march held in the streets of Wellington last September.
The march was organised on the basis of all parties agreeing to some very basic slogans about unemployment being a bad thing. Everyone participating accepted those slogans, but if anyone wanted to carry other slogans, as long as they were not obviously inconsistent with the agreed slogans, they were free to do so. And so there were two placards which were controversial: `Oust the Union Bureaucrats and `No Import Controls.
Members of the WCL and the SUP have made their distaste for these slogans clear, a distaste which is not very surprising considering that many members of these two organisations are themselves union bureaucrats and, therefore also for protectionism. But these groups go further than expressing a distaste for these slogans: they want them banned as a condition for their participation in the activity. They want to silence the organisations to the left of them.
Unity & difference
On a 1987 Central American solidarity march held in Wellington there was a man carrying a placard calling for "Food to Nicaragua, not guns". The so-called communist parties would, presumably claim that they disagree with such a right- wing, pacifist and ultimately pro-bourgeois slogan, but there was no suggestion from any section of the left that such a banner should not be allowed on the march. If that same man had offered to help organise the march there would be no suggestion that he could participate only on the condition that he kept his views to himself.
However when it comes to left-wing placards it is different. They are considered "divisive". Thus there is a selectiveness in the attitude of the social-democratic left on united front activity. Their sectarian stance on united fronts with communists is fundamentally a method of defending their privileged position within capitalism by avoiding debate with revolutionaries before the working class.
Particular slogans are only divisive if people decide that they will let the matter divide them. The whole point of a united front march is for different groups and individuals on the left to march together. If we did not have different political programmes, surely we would be in the same organisation.
The irony is that these same people who refuse to participate in WAU are the loudest in calls for `unity of the left. They sincerely do want unity, but unity with preconditions, unity around their own programme. It is true that unity is an important thing, but unity must be between groups which openly put forward their differing programmes for consideration. Only in that way can there be the political clarification which leads to higher levels of class consciousness.
The reformists argue that political differences should not be aired in a public forum like a march. Rather they should only be argued in private meetings where such differences can be "ironed out". While the PRG supports such specific forums for debate (and will attend more than it will be welcome at), we cannot agree with the viewpoint that the "public" (i.e. the working class) should be shielded from disagreements. Surely the aim of each organisation that claims to have a political programme - in this case a strategy to end unemployment - is to persuade people to their own viewpoint. And surely they do not only want to persuade people from other organisations who are privy to private debating sessions.
Why do the likes of the SUP and the WCL seek to prevent us from carrying our banners? If they really believed that it was in the interests of the working class that union bureaucrats stay in office and that import controls would be a good thing, then youd think they would want to argue these positions in public. But the reformists dont feel so confident about these positions, and instead of tackling opposing views to the left of theirs with open political debate, they use the age-old tactic of attempting to prevent debate.
Organising against unemployment
The Permanent Revolution Group believes that all the active struggles which develop against unemployment should be given full support - struggles against redundancies, factory closures and so on. But we dont believe that it is going to be enough to support the struggles which will be going on inevitably. Something has got to be made to happen.
We must build a campaign which uses not only the methods traditional to trade unions and to reformist political parties but also the methods of such struggles as the campaign against the Vietnam war and the Anti-Tour movement. But our campaign should differ from those of most trade unions and most reformists, and from the campaigns against the Vietnam war and the Tour (and virtually all other political work in this country) by appealing to the interests of the working class as a whole. There has been a lot of activity around the question of unemployment in New Zealand, but very little of it has been directed at workers who still have jobs.
The immediate victims of unemployment, the unemployed themselves, will obviously play a crucial role in the fight against unemployment. But, a successful fight wont leave them to it on their own. People who are unemployed face difficult conditions of everyday life and without the social power inherent in the ability to withdraw their labour, to strike, their situation is demoralising. An effective struggle can only be mounted if it is given militant support by the organisations of the employed working class. And certainly it is vital to the interests of employed workers that an effective struggle is mounted.
Union role in the fight against unemployment
It is in the interests of all workers that the organisations of the unemployed be given a special status: affiliated and with full voting rights on district Council of Trade Unions and national union bodies, but with full independence in their own decision making. Furthermore unemployed workers should have the right to remain members of the unions covered by their previous employment, and at nominal rates, as well as to join an organisation of the unemployed. And the unions of the employed must give generous financial support to the organisations of the unemployed.
The new Council of Trade Unions has taken over the old Federation of Labours guideline that one percent of union income should be spent on unemployment. That is a totally inadequate and mostly unfulfilled token.
Trades councils must set up rank and file standing committees against redundancies. These would draw together activists from the organisations of the unemployed and from other unions. They would involve unemployed workers, those who come into the struggle as they face redundancies, and also those far-sighted workers who have jobs themselves but are motivated by a sense of class solidarity.
Programme of demands
The Permanent Revolution Group fights for a better life for the unemployed; we fight against unemployment; and we fight against the conditions that lead to unemployment. For us, these are all part of the same struggle.
We do not expect everyone to accept all the demands we put forward, but we present them as a possible framework of struggle, starting with todays felt needs, but pointing the way towards the solution to the problems of the working class and of society by ending the wages system.
We want to put forward our programme against unemployment, but we wish to work together with people who view unemployment in a different light than we do, and have other strategies than ours. We certainly are not making agreement with these demands as any sort of precondition for working together with anyone about unemployment.
The slogan "Four days work for five days pay," can be central to an effective campaign against unemployment. It combines a simple and rational remedy to the problem, with a mechanism to allow the whole of the working class more leisure. It is a slogan which, if it were put forward with vigour by the mass organisations of the working class, could help mobilise vast layers in action.
But we dont hold it to be some sort of infallible solution, as some of our comrades in the Socialist Alliance sometimes seem to think. It must stand side by side with the slogans and demands which are thrown up in the course of the struggle, and it must be enlarged upon, explained, posed in new and different ways, and supplemented.
WE WANT JOBS, NOT THE DOLE! And theres plenty of work to be done. LABOUR DEPARTMENT TEMPORARY MAKE-WORK JOBS ARE NOT ENOUGH! NO NON-UNIONISED JOB SCHEMES! REAL, PERMANENT JOBS AT AWARD RATES OF PAY!
We want jobs, but were for a higher level of the dole. ALL SHOULD RECEIVE AT LEAST A MINIMUM LIVING WAGE DETERMINED BY THE COUNCIL OF TRADE UNIONS!
NO LAYOFFS OR REDUNDANCIES! RETRAINING FOR NEW JOBS ON FULL RATES OF PAY! Its not for the working class to take the punishment for the problems of the capitalist system. LET THE BOSSES TAKE THE LOSSES!
There are an incredible number of social needs which are not being met. FOR A MASSIVE PROGRAMME OF SOCIALLY USEFUL PUBLIC WORKS!
The unemployed include many groups who suffer racial and sexual discrimination which has often resulted in educational deprivation. Many of the unemployed are young. If other job opportunities are shrinking, then let the education industry be expanded. OPEN ACCESS TO ALL EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS! A LIVING WAGE FOR ALL STUDENTS FROM THE AGE OF FIFTEEN!
Other basic social services must be expanded and made free. This will make jobs, and make life better for anyone who is left without one. FREE QUALITY MEDICAL CARE! FREE URBAN TRANSPORT!
Many have special difficulties in finding suitable jobs because they have children. FREE, QUALITY, TWENTY FOUR HOUR CHILDCARE!
Many of the unemployed may be in danger of being returned to the Pacific Islands. NO DEPORTATIONS!
Traditionally the labour bureaucracy has arranged for the jobs of New Zealanders to be protected by directly attacking the jobs of workers overseas! FOR INTERNATIONAL CLASS SOLIDARITY! NO IMPORT CONTROLS! NO PROTECTIONISM!
Spread all the work going among all the available workers. This means shorter hours -- but it must not be allowed to mean less pay. FOUR DAYS WORK FOR FIVE DAYS PAY! If four for five does not do it, then were for three for five. FOR A SLIDING SCALE OF HOURS!
And no use of inflation to cut into the value of our income. Wage freezes are unacceptable. Price freezes are un- believable. TIE WAGES TO A CTU-CONTROLLED COST OF LIVING INDEX! FOR A SLIDING SCALE OF PAY!
Of course the bosses will claim that theres just not enough money for four days work for five days, pay or sliding scales of hours and wages, so we want their books of account available for workers inspection. END BUSINESS SECRECY! OPEN THE BOOKS!
The bosses will always be trying to manipulate their businesses to maintain their profits at the expense of the working class, so we must call for EVERY WORKPLACE TO BE MONITORED BY A UNITED WORKERS COMMITTEE! and WORKERS CONTROL OF INDUSTRY!
Rogernomics turning of state-owned enterprises into openly capitalist businesses is resulting in retrenchment, redundancies, cuts in socially necessary services, and disruption of traditional patterns of workers organisation. NO CORPORATISATION! FOR STATE ENTERPRISES UNDER DEMOCRATIC WORKERS MANAGEMENT!
While capitalism remains they will from time to time try to make workers redundant and close factories and other workplaces. Weve got to call for STRIKES AGAINST REDUNDANCIES! and the OCCUPATION AND EXPROPRIATION OF WORKPLACES WHERE CLOSURE THREATENS! NO COMPENSATION!
Massive strikes and workplace occupations will come under the attack of the forces of bourgeois law. We must call for MILITANT PICKET LINES AND WORKERS SELF DEFENCE GROUPS TO PROTECT STRIKES AND OCCUPIED WORKPLACES!
Any victory in a single factory or even a single industry is a hollow victory while capitalism remains. A democratic, open and rational system of planning under workers control will end unemployment and abolish the vast amounts of unproductive work that capitalism involves. We can build a society where we can all live well with little compulsory work. WORKERS CONTROL THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE ECONOMY! PLAN PRODUCTION ACCORDING TO SOCIAL NEED!
Ultimately unemployment can be abolished only through the abolition of employment, through ending the wages system. Only a political movement which gets at the causes of unemployment can stop it. BREAK FROM THE POLITICS OF THE LABOUR PARTY AND THE TRADE UNION BUREAUCRATS! OUST THE BUREAUCRATS! BUILD A REVOLUTIONARY WORKERS PARTY!
FIGHT FOR A WORKERS GOVERNMENT!
Posted: 24 June 2005