Workers and Communists – Capitalism must Go!

The following question was received from a corresponding comrade. As it’s a theme we often encounter, we thought we’d share our response:


What is cpgb-ml’s position on trade unions? I was listening to Scotland’s CPB. They insist that we must work with the Trade Unions, Tenants Associations etc…. “AS THEY ARE”. We must not propagandize from above, we must work from within the democratic movements already on the ground. .

I have doubts about this approach myself.

Our reply:

Hi Cde, I am not sure exactly what is meant by the expression “propagandize from above”, but if it refers to imparting revolutionary as opposed to reformist politics – for which these expressions are generally euphemisms, then our considered response would be in disagreement with the Scottish comrades you mention.

We agree with Marx and Lenin in their assessment that Workers and their organizations cannot come to a consistent socialist consciousness by themselves.

The state and the ruling class have a vast network (inc the media etc) which permeates our society and culture with bourgeois ideology.

The job of the communists is to take the socialist consciousness into the movement, to link up the various struggles and demonstrate that their common fight is against capitalism.

The peace movement, the women’s movement, the youth and students, the anti racism movement and the trade unions all share a common enemy, imperialism. But without the scientific method of Marxism-Leninism to illuminate the path they will wander around in the dark.

So, the CPGB-ML is very much in favour of taking a communist understanding into all walks of working class life, into all campaigns, into all workers organisations.

A recent example would be the occupy movement, where we have updated our propaganda explaining the capitalist crisis and agitating for it to be overthrown. This has been warmly received in both the UK and the USA, in the limited numbers we have been able to circulate.

Lessons of the Occupy Movement:

Time to face it Capitalism must Go!


One thought on “Workers and Communists – Capitalism must Go!

  1. We go and work in those organisations in order to help people learn from their own experience just how limited the goals are — and how impossible it is to make permanent gains under capitalism. If workers are lucky and very militant, trade-union activity (for example) might enable them to hang on to decent conditions for a while, or even slightly improve them temporarily, but the second they stop being vigilant, the ruling class is busy undermining their position again.

    Communists make the best reps because we have a bigger vision and hence don’t get sucked into trying to be best mates with managers or fall into depression at the lack of progress we make after years of work! We also know how to distinguish useful activity from pointless busy-work!

    The main thing workers can *potentially* learn from unions is the power of organisation. It’s rare these days, but again the job of communists is to encourage workers to have faith in themselves (despite the timidity and opposition of their officials) and use their collective strength to stand up for pay and conditions. (Present-day officials in the trade-union movement have mostly jettisoned this approach in favour of asking managers to please be reasonable and then giving up when they’re not. They have, in fact, stopped doing even the limited job that the unions were formed to do of fighting for workers’ rights within the capitalist system.)

    Once workers have experienced standing together in a local work struggle, it’s much easier to get them to believe in the power of the working class generally — an understanding that is systematically undermined by the way we live and the prevailing bourgeois philosophy. When workers realise their collective power and the strength they gain through organisation, no power on earth will be able to stop them from taking power and changing the world!

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