The Third International after Lenin

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Recognizing, organizing, and acting

5 years ago

....At the closing conference rally, Gerald Sanderson from the Communist League in the United Kingdom described the sale of 25 subscriptions to workers in Dagenham, a working-class area of East London, who are contemptuously written-off by middle-class radicals as a hotbed of anti-immigrant sentiment and votes for Conservative, not Labour Party candidates.

Selling the Militant in working-class communities “helped me get a better understanding of the paper” and “breaks down stereotypes,” Sergio Zambrana told the Militant.

....the measure of success of the door-to-door sales of Militant subscriptions was not just numbers but, above all, what the effort registers and helps advance in politically leading and transforming the ongoing, weekly activity of party branches.

The party’s members were “transformed by and began transforming others in the conscious layers of the working class,” Barnes said. What was accomplished registered the response by growing numbers of working people to the accumulating consequences of crisis-wracked capitalist rule—from rising joblessness, to brutal imperialist wars in which the sons and daughters of workers and farmers are sent to fight and die.

“Big turning points for the party come when we recognize broad shifts such as this in our class, anticipate what’s coming, and begin to organize and act accordingly—with no guarantees, no IOUs, no due dates,” Barnes said. “It’s an act of imagination about the political changes as workers fight through the horrors capitalism is bringing—horrors that have already begun.

“And the political conclusion is always the same,” Barnes said. “Go more broadly into the working class, with confidence that we have no monopoly on imagination among workers, no monopoly on recognizing our own worth. And with the knowledge that as we fight alongside other working people, the party will begin to shake off the effects of a long political retreat of our class.”

Testing this increased responsiveness to the party’s course, Barnes said, means taking the Militant and books more broadly into the working class than the party has been doing in recent years, including to rural areas and to neighborhoods where there are concentrations of workers who are Caucasian as well as Black, Latino, and immigrant.

It requires overcoming a “union bias,” recognizing that as a result of the procapitalist course of the labor officialdom, a large and still growing majority of workers are unorganized today. It means understanding that resistance to the bosses’ assaults will begin in the working class—among both the unorganized and the organized—and, as that happens, pose the need and opportunities to rebuild and politically transform the unions....

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