The nature of trades unions under both capitalism and socialism is a question which has occupied many sections of the international Marxist movement since the beginning of the 20th century and before. The basics are, of course, obvious.
Trades unions are formed where workers unite to defend their immediate interests against those of capital. In fact, the very existence of trades unions is due to the basic contradiction between labour and capital. The primary motivation of capital is to increase the surplus value extracted from the workers.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Further, it follows that every class which is struggling for mastery, even when its domination, as is the case with the proletariat, postulates the abolition of the old form of society in its entirety and of domination itself, must first conquer for itself political power in order to represent its interest in turn as the general interest, which in the first moment it is forced to do.” (The German Ideology, Marx & Engels).
As Ireland once again moves to commemorate another anniversary of the 1919-1921 War of Independence, we have a collective duty to preserve the memories of both participants and significant events that solidified the reawakening of national anti-imperial sentiment. With that comes a responsibility to articulate an accurate depiction of the period that is often overlooked;Continue reading “Remembering the Limerick Soviet”
To what extent does Marxism advocate the use of violence in pursuing political aims; specifically, when does class struggle become armed struggle?
Communism is certainly not a pacifist ideology. Throughout history, Communist Parties, and organisations in which Communists have played a leading role, have resorted to armed struggle, either in self-defence or in order to further revolutionary aims. Examples include socialist revolutions, national liberation struggles and anti-imperialist wars of national defence. Indeed, violent struggle has often played a key role in social transformation, far predating Communist influence.
Lenin called Imperialism the highest stage of Capitalism, and we view Fascism as its necessary extension, its naked face. In contrast to our socialist belief that power should rest in working class hands, Fascism demands total ruling class control over the nation. It is class collaboration over class struggle, the dictatorship of capital, a form of extreme nationalism, acting as the last ditch defence of capital against the rising power of the working class. Its features are a militaristic regime based upon terror, where civil liberties are repressed, and where profit is the root and fruit of racism.
When we apply Marxism Leninism to the National Question, we must look dialectically at the class forces at play in shaping the social and national development as well as identity of Nations. For our purpose, let’s look at one particular nation in Britain. Scotland, fundamentally, is a nation.
Simply put: “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.”
In liberal ideology, dictatorship and democracy are commonly thought of as occupying opposite ends of a spectrum against which all forms of government can be measured. Typically, bourgeois parliamentary democracy, as practised in the US and western Europe, occupies one end and is held up as the gold standard. This conception is based on an entirely false understanding of class society.
Any serious communist movement must establish and maintain a revolutionary youth organisation. However, the role of such an organisation has at times been open to question. Most of the classif Marxist texts on the role of the youth were written during the early stages of the construction of socialism, whereas Marxist writers under capitalism have tended to ignore, or overemphasise, the specific role of youth and student organisations.
“The communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention and rescue education from the influence of the ruling class” Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party
Communists have long understood the class nature of education. In the construction and maintenance of ruling class hegemony, education plays a key role. Indeed, in developed capitalist society, universal education (public or private) is the key mechanism for the reproduction and crystallisation of class differences, in spite of the resistance of many education workers.