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Leaflet to ACI ‘Rebellion’ Event

Text of our leaflet to the Rebellion event hosted by the Anticapitalist Initiative

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Today’s event is an opportunity to discuss questions and answers for the resistance to austerity. From the Greek resistance to rank and file movements in Britain’s unions, we can draw lessons on where the Anticapitalist Initiative needs to go in the months ahead.

Decisive struggles are on the horizon and socialists must use the coming weeks to prepare ourselves to intervene effectively with the tactics that can break the logjam created by the political failures of the left.

Workers Power, a founding organisation of the Initiative, believes we should use today’s discussions as a basis for common action where we can make a real difference in what can be the ‘hot autumn’ of 2012.

In just two years the Con-Dem coalition has succeeded in forcing through significant parts of its programme.

The passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, the tripling of tuition fees and the privatisation of swathes of local public services has been eased by the absence of a credible political alternative, and the failure of the Trade Unions and workers’ organisations to build a united resistance.

From mass strikes to workplace occupations, the cuts have seen no shortage of resistance. But the resistance has so far been confined to sectional struggles and sporadic militancy.

But the leaders of Britain’s trade unions – even the ‘left’ leaders like Serwotka – do not believe they can throw back the bosses’ offensive. Meanwhile, the socialists, the self-styled revolutionaries, believe they have all the time in the world to pursue the failed tactics of yesterday – the bureaucratic manoeuvres, the opportunistic tailing and false front building – at the expense of the real working class united front that is needed today.

The defeat of the students, the division and dismantling of the November 30 coalition and the collapse of coordinated action in May were undoubtedly grave setbacks. The timid political strategy of the TUC and the existence of several rival anti-cuts campaigns are the key obstacles on the road to uniting the resistance.

It is not the task of the ACI to establish yet another body, as a miniature rival to the hundreds of anti-cuts groups, campaigns and committees which already fulfil the task of coordinating the various struggles across the country.

Nor is it, in our view, its task to be a discussion club for individuals disillusioned with the left groups and searching for some “new left” by mixing up libertarianism with Leninism. The reasons for the failures of the so-called old left are varied and lie in their politics not in their from of organisation. Or rather their organisational sins originate in their politics not vice versa. Therefore we need to discuss these false strategies and consider alternatives to them.

In order to fight clearly for the right tactics in different struggles, and in order to turn the generalised experience of the successes and defeats into a credible strategy for addressing the working class crisis of leadership, we believe the ACI needs to say clearly from the outset what its basis is for doing so.

The ACI must aim to organise rank-and-file militants, anticapitalists and radical youth around a perspective for uniting the anti-cuts campaigns on a democratic basis. Within the campaigns the ACI can coordinate the activity of those who believe that a successful resistance to the cuts is inseparable from the successful establishment of a political alternative to capitalism.

If the ACI wants to make headway in winning the argument for a new political organisation, based on anticapitalist alternative to reformism, then we must be able to show what we are for and what we are against.

We think the ACI needs to take the necessary steps to make round-tables and democratic debate a basis for agreeing on common action in the working class movement.

Our proposal for a policy conference in the autumn is motivated by the need for a democratic debate on the bases for an action programme – a strategy which can win – one that is not afraid of posing the need for the transition from capitalism to working class power and communism.

Our second proposal aims to bridge the gap between now and the autumn conference. If we want the policy conference to be credible and capable of attracting the forces searching for an open, democratic decision-making conference, then we must say clearly what the component forces of the Initiative stand for at the moment.

We must overcome the strange fear of programmatic debate that bedevils the British left. It is only another version of the old dictum that “the movement is everything, the goal nothing.” A movement which dare not express its goal and outline how to achieve it is indeed nothing.

Today the ACI will make a serious mistake if once again it fails to take a real step forwards programmatically. To do so will condemn it to continued stagnation and worse.

 

PROPOSAL FROM WORKERS POWER TO THE NATIONAL MEETING OF THE ANTICAPITALIST INITIATIVE

14 JULY 2012

Part 1

The Anticapitalist Initiative will convene a Policy Conference of participating individuals, networks and groups in late 2012  which will aim to discuss, debate and adopt a programme of action for the transition of society from capitalism to communism.

Part 2

Pending the outcome of the Policy Conference, the Anticapitalist Initiative will not advance a comprehensive programme, but adopts the following short statement of principles.

  1. The  Anticapitalist Initiative campaigns to unite workers, students, claimants and youth for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a democratically planned, ecologically sustainable, socialist system.
  2. We resist the destruction of the welfare state – the NHS, public education, services and pensions – by direct action, strikes and occupations, up to and including a general strike to bring down the coalition government.
  3. The existence of several rival national anticuts campaigns is a scandal. We call on them to unite on a democratic basis to formulate a national plan of action and link up with local level anticuts committees.
  4. We support the building of anti-bureaucratic rank and file movements in the unions to deliver action without the union leaders where necessary.
  5. We support the self-organisation and campaigning of the unemployed, precarious workers, migrants and youth.
  6. We oppose all imperialist wars, occupations and state repression in the name of the ‘war on terror’ and ‘humanitarian aid’ alike.
  7. We support the Arab revolutions and the fight of the Palestinians to return to their homeland.
  8. We oppose the savage austerity imposed by the rulers of the European union on Greece and call for Europe-wide actions in solidarity with the Greek resistance.
  9. We fight against racism, sexism, Islamophobia and homophobia.
  10. We fight against the capitalists’ destruction of the environment.
  11. We support for the formation of a mass anticapitalist political alternative to the Labour Party.
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