The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 26th March 2010

The following pages contain the text of the political opening given to the March meeting of the New Communist of Party's Central Committee. This meeting agreed to call on the working class to vote Labour in the forthcoming general and local elections. This opening was printed in it's entirety in the New Worker - week commencing 26th March 2010

Communists in today’s world

The revolutionary party, bourgeois elections and social democracy

by Neil Harris

The nature of social democracy

When workers realised that on their own they were powerless against the boss, they started to organise in unions to protect themselves. Unions arose out of the class struggle and are part of it. Their fluctuating strength reflects the class consciousness of the working class and its ability to confront the ruling class. Because they are a product of the class struggle there is nothing revolutionary about unions and nothing about them that threatens the existence of capitalism itself, only the level of exploitation and the amount of surplus value.

Because trade unions are created by workers as a means of self-defence in the class struggle it should be no surprise that the majority of trade union leaders are reformist and social democrats and often betray the interests of their members.

This is why communists are active in the unions, battling to make them democratic, militant and class conscious. The aim is to convert that class consciousness into a revolutionary consciousness — to fight not just for higher wages but to seize and control the means of production itself, or as it has often been said, not to fight for a bigger slice of the cake but the whole cake and the equipment that made it as well.

That is why social democratic, reformist unions are still a working class asset and why communists support them in spite of their leaderships. The battle against the bosses is a daily education in the class struggle and how to fight it. In the same way, the co-operative movement remains a working class asset and we also support it.

Created in the 19th century as an alternative to the revolutionary struggle, co-operatives have always been dominated by the liberal and religious wing of the working class movement. Co-operators believe that they can somehow withdraw from the market and through that replace it. This form of reformism is based on idealism and wishful thinking. Nevertheless co-operatives are another working class defence mechanism in the class war. Co-operative assets have been built up through workers’ sacrifices over many years and in opposition to capitalism. They are non-capitalist concerns and deserve our support. For this reason communists are active in the cooperative movement, campaigning for democratic co-ops and fighting for a revolutionary position in relation to capitalism.