Who are the friends of the working class?

“THE LEFT” in politics in Britain is a strange mixture of people from many different walks of life. But alas it is all too often the ideas of the intelligentsia that predominate: the people that everyone pays attention to and respect, the great and famous intellectuals like Naom Chomsky and film director Oliver Stone. Most of them are very genuine people, coming out and criticising the way capitalism is run and condemning the savagery of modern French-UK-US (FUKUS) imperialism.

Rank and file lefties feel honoured to have such prestigious people on our side and listen to their every word with baited breath. But, although they may have come to the same conclusions as us on many political issues, they are coming from a totally different direction.

These are people from the capitalist class who feel let down by the way capitalism is behaving. They see the horrors of “shock and awe” invasions, of Guantanamo and other western concentration camps as an aberration of capitalism gone wrong — not the logical outcome of capitalism taken to its rational conclusion. They are not as intelligent as they seem because it has not yet sunk in for them that one of the main laws of capitalism is that the cut throat capitalists always eat up and spit out the benevolent, liberal, altruistic capitalists — those who do not make enough profits and profits are what capitalism is all about.

They have a vision of a version of capitalism that is moderate, democratic, peaceful and prosperous that will gradually morph by general consensus into a pacifist/ anarchist paradise. They are in denial that their comfortable lifestyle is dependent on extreme exploitation and hardship for the working classes — nowadays usually in the Third World. Oh they love poor people, Blacks, Asian and so on, especially when they are starving and can be pitied and patronised.

But the idea of a world run by workers who are strong, self-confident, including African, Asians and Latin Americans and their own downtown neighbours, scares the hell out of them. That is why at root they can be more deeply anti-communist than most right-wingers.

Many regard themselves as revolutionaries but they don’t want to be part of a disciplined, organised movement — which is the only kind of movement that can overthrow capitalism. They want to keep their individualism. In their fantasies they would sooner die romantically on the barricades as in Les Miserables than wake up the day after a successful revolution and have to organise transport, fuel supplies, food, clean water, emergency healthcare and so on — and have to take and give orders and be part of a team.

We have to work alongside these people in broad movements — for peace, against fascism, for environmentalism and against imperialist aggression. They have a role. But we must never be so much in awe of their “great intellects” that we forget to use our own brains. We must never be afraid to challenge their anti-working class fears and contempts. We must be in no doubt that as the class struggle becomes more and more intense it is the working class who will and must take the political lead. We workers have an essential intellectual ability far above theirs — we know how to work together as a team with no egos for the benefit of the class as a whole and how to support each other in struggle without hesitation or question.