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Vol. 76/No. 21      May 28, 2012

Workers need conscious leadership

The working class on a world scale is confronted with a relentless assault by the propertied rulers who are driven by the crisis of their profit system to go after our wages and ramp up “productivity.”

The bosses’ assaults have already been met with some resistance by workers looking to defend not only their own wages and working conditions but also those of future generations, drawing and extending solidarity to others facing similar attacks.

This historic crisis, still in its initial stages, is not one of banking and finance, but is rooted in a slowdown of production and trade. Its features are endemic to the capitalist system and cannot be “fixed” by reforms, regulations or government policies. Going after the working class is ultimately the only option the owners of capital have within the framework of maintaining their property, prerogatives and political power.

Under these conditions the normal tendencies inherent in the capitalist system assert themselves in a way not seen for many decades. This includes the expansion of layers of long-term unemployed, which the rulers use as a bludgeon to drive down the price of labor power and ultimately the more permanent and accepted living standards of working people—to drive back what we’ve conquered in struggle over decades.

Workers’ resistance will go up and down, but in the long run will grow to meet the propertied rulers’ ever deeper assaults. These battles raise broader questions—how the attacks are a necessary product of the lawful workings of the capitalist system itself, how fighting them will require an expanding alliance of workers, across industries and borders, and ultimately pose the question of which class should rule. The better we understand what is unfolding, the more effective we can choose our battles and conduct them as effectively as possible, coming out stronger in the process.

At some point revolutionary struggles become inevitable. But the victory of the working class will depend on leadership and organization. As we fight, an essential question becomes the construction of a politically conscious vanguard and a revolutionary workers party that can lead working people and our allies in the contest for political power on a world scale.
Related articles:
Profit system drives growing joblessness, boss offensive
Greek rulers fail to form gov’t, Europe crisis deepens  
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