Category Archives: Workers

Wilhelm Liebknecht

Today is the 113th anniversary of the death of Wilhelm Liebknecht, founder of the SPD. Here is what the “Great Soviet Encyclopedia of 1979” said about him:

Born Mar. 29, 1826, in Giessen; died Aug. 7, 1900, in Berlin. A prominent figure in the German democratic and labor movement, a disciple and comrade of K. Marx and F. Engels. One of the founders and leaders of the German Social Democratic Party. The son of an official.

Liebknecht was educated in the universities of Berlin, Giessen, and Marburg. He was active in the Revolution of 1848–49 in Germany. After the revolution was defeated he emigrated first to Switzerland and then to Great Britain. During his emigration he became acquainted with Marx and Engels. Under their influence he adopted the ideas of scientific communism. In 1850 he joined the Union of Communists. The proclamation of an amnesty permitted Liebknecht to return to Prussia in 1862. He worked as a correspondent for various democratically oriented German and foreign newspapers. He was involved with the General German Workers’ Association and helped form the opposition to Lassallean leadership within the association. Liebknecht was one of the most ardent propagandists of the revolutionary ideas of the First International. He helped attract German workers to its ranks. In April 1865, Liebknecht was expelled from Berlin and traveled to Leipzig in Saxony, where together with A. Bebel he was active in workers’ societies. In January 1868 he was appointed editor of Demokratisches Wochenblatt, which in December 1868 became the newspaper of the Union of German Workers’ Societies. He worked in close contact with Bebel.

“Bebel,” wrote V. I. Lenin, “found in Liebknecht just what he wanted—living contact with the great work done by Marx in 1848, contact with the party formed at that time, which, though small, was genuinely proletarian, a living representative of Marxist views and Marxist traditions” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 23, p. 365). Counterbalancing the leaders of the Lassalleans, Liebknecht and Bebel criticized the policies of O. Bismarck, who had carried out the unification of Germany by counterrevolutionary means under the aegis of the Prussian Junkers. Striving to unify the country on a democratic basis, Liebknecht tolerated certain mistakes (assuming that the creation of an independent workers’ party was premature, he allied with the South German petit bourgeois democrats, who were calling for a policy of federalism). Liebknecht’s democratic illusions were sharply criticized by Marx and Engels, with whom Liebknecht was in constant communication. In 1868 at the Nuremberg Congress of Workers’ Societies, Liebknecht and Bebel broke organizationally with the bourgeois democratic currents and in 1869 founded in Eisenach the Social Democratic Workers’ Party, which was governed by the revolutionary principles of the First International. Liebknecht was the editor of the central party newspaper, Volksstaat, published in Leipzig.

Liebknecht was a deputy to the North German Reichstag from 1867 to 1870 and to the German Reichstag beginning in 1874 (with interruptions). Following the instructions of Marx and Engels, Liebknecht skillfully used the parliamentary platform to denounce the reactionary foreign and domestic policies of the Prussian Junkers and to attack militarism. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, Liebknecht and Bebel, taking an internationalist position, opposed the annexationist plans of the Junkers and bourgeoisie. He passionately propagandized the idea of solidarity with the Paris Commune of 1871. For their opposition to Germany’s annexation of Alsace and East Lorraine, Liebknecht and Bebel were brought to trial in 1872 by Bismarck’s government, accused of “state treason,” and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. “We congratulate all of you for your speech in court,” Engels wrote to Liebknecht on Apr. 23, 1872, referring to the bold appeal of the accused to the German and international workers’ movement (Marx and Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 33, p. 378).

Liebknecht was instrumental in helping the Eisenachians and Lassalleans come together in 1875. However, in doing this he made considerable concessions to the Lassalleans on questions of principle involving both theory and the party program. The program adopted at the Gotha Social Democratic Unity Congress, which had been principally devised by Liebknecht, was sharply criticized by Marx and Engels. Under the impact of criticism from Marx and Engels, Liebknecht adopted revolutionary positions at decisive moments of the class struggle. During the period when the discriminatory law against socialists was in force (1878–90), Liebknecht was one of the militant leaders of the illegal party. In 1890 he became editor in chief of Vorwärts, the central organ of the Social Democratic Party. He played an active part in disseminating Marxist teachings in Germany.

He was repeatedly imprisoned for revolutionary activities. Liebknecht was one of the organizers of the Second International and a participant in its congresses. He actively opposed militarism.

20130807-105621.jpg

Advertisements

UK tories cutting social security

We pay into the tax system when we are working and when times are tough we have a small part of that tax held for when we need it, social security.

From the Socialist Party (UK)

Tories make the poor pay say Socialists as benefits cap is introduced

Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party London regional secretary said: “This is yet another demonstration of the Tories obsessional hatred of working class and poor people. Instead of getting people into work by creating jobs they are forcing some of the poorest people in society into destitution. Up to 40,000 households will now face the prospect of not being able to pay the rent or buy food.

The government claims that this is in the name of “changing a culture” and putting an end to “days of blank cheques”. It’s a shame that they have never applied these principle to the bankers who caused the economic crisis in the first place who have had plenty of blank cheques written for them in the form of huge bail outs.

Unfortunately the Labour Party is too busy attacking trade unionists to put up any real opposition. They accept the same logic as the Tories of kowtowing to big business.

This is why Bob Crow made the call for a new party at the weekend. In the elections next year, hundreds of trade unionists, socialists and ordinary working people, fed up with Labour’s inability to stand up for us, will be standing candidates in the elections under the banner of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

In order to end worklessness and poverty a government would have to unroll a programme of public works in order to create real jobs. The money is there – if big companies aren’t prepared to invest, they should be nationalised under democratic control.

We call for the trade union movement to work alongside unemployed activists and anti-cuts campaigners to build a mass movement against austerity. A 24 hour general strike should be the next step in the campaign against the ConDemolition of our rights and living standards.”

The Paris commune

Monday will be the 142nd anniversary of the Paris Commune.

The Commune was the first Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Although it wasn’t socialist, since the bourgeois still owned the means of production, but the government was controlled by the workers, and worked for them.

Marx on the Commune:
Civil War in France
Paris, the central seat of the old governmental power, and, at the same time, the social stronghold of the French working class, had risen in arms against the attempt of Thiers and the Rurals to restore and perpetuate that old governmental power bequeathed to them by the empire. Paris could resist only because, in consequence of the siege, it had got rid of the army, and replaced it by a National Guard, the bulk of which consisted of working men. This fact was now to be transformed into an institution. The first decree of the Commune, therefore, was the suppression of the standing army, and the substitution for it of the armed people.

The Commune was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary body, executive and legislative at the same time.

Instead of continuing to be the agent of the Central Government, the police was at once stripped of its political attributes, and turned into the responsible, and at all times revocable, agent of the Commune. So were the officials of all other branches of the administration. From the members of the Commune downwards, the public service had to be done at workman’s wage. The vested interests and the representation allowances of the high dignitaries of state disappeared along with the high dignitaries themselves. Public functions ceased to be the private property of the tools of the Central Government. Not only municipal administration, but the whole initiative hitherto exercised by the state was laid into the hands of the Commune.

Having once got rid of the standing army and the police – the physical force elements of the old government – the Commune was anxious to break the spiritual force of repression, the “parson-power”, by the disestablishment and disendowment of all churches as proprietary bodies. The priests were sent back to the recesses of private life, there to feed upon the alms of the faithful in imitation of their predecessors, the apostles.

The whole of the educational institutions were opened to the people gratuitously, and at the same time cleared of all interference of church and state. Thus, not only was education made accessible to all, but science itself freed from the fetters which class prejudice and governmental force had imposed upon it.

The judicial functionaries were to be divested of that sham independence which had but served to mask their abject subserviency to all succeeding governments to which, in turn, they had taken, and broken, the oaths of allegiance. Like the rest of public servants, magistrates and judges were to be elective, responsible, and revocable.

The Paris Commune was, of course, to serve as a model to all the great industrial centres of France. The communal regime once established in Paris and the secondary centres, the old centralized government would in the provinces, too, have to give way to the self-government of the producers.

Daily Headline – 12/05/13

Conservative Lord Young: exploit cheap labour

Lord YoungThe prime minister’s adviser on enterprise Lord Young has told the cabinet that the economic downturn is an excellent time for new businesses to boost profits and grow because labour is cheap.

Instead of trying to improve conditions for workers the ruling coalition is focusing on the positive side to recession, cheap labour and as we all know, cheap labour is good for business and good for profits.

If ever there was a clear sign of the governments callous attitude towards the working class and their lust for profits over people here it is.
Only business owners should be voting for the coalition, anyone else is voting against their own interests.

Conservative = Scum

Blind terror

By Reece Lawton

Why is it illegal to throw a stone through the window of a department store? Yes, the law is meant to protect us, but in reality it protects private property and bourgeois interests. The law in it’s current state is a bourgeois invention, thus the legal apparatus, in fact the whole bourgeois apparatus must be opposed.

Therefore, firebombing a department store is an expression of disdain towards the bourgeois system, towards exploitation; it is an act in solidarity with the proletarians that work at that store, selling themselves daily. But it isn’t enough to commit arson as an individualistic way to convey your antipathy towards the current system, because, overall, it achieves nothing other than causing a few thousand pounds worth of damage.

If one wishes to truly have an impact upon capitalism, then they need to do more than destroy an individual link in the chain. Let us take the London riots of 2011- the underprivileged youth showing its hate for the status quo. It had potential, but since it was random acts of violence against private property, it achieved nothing, but worst of all, meant nothing. This was terror upon the bourgeois class, but the people rioting did not know this. If one wants to revolt against the bourgeois state, they must have:

1) proper theory; it would not be good to be commiting blind acts of violence

2) they must expose the exploitation in capitalism and attempt to raise class consciousness.

3) they must make it clear to the masses that they are fighting for the proletariat, and that their actions are merely a response to the class war that the bourgeoisie has been waging with the proletariat since the birth of capitalism.

Radical democracy

Democracy.

The word democracy comes from te Greek words ‘demos’ and ‘kratia’- rule by the people. Are we ruled by the people? Do we have a say in what our state does?

We are not a democracy, we are a country ran by the rich! A member of parliament gets £66,000 a year, a second home payed for, a grocery allowance- is this fair? This is capitalism: the rich rule, while the poor get to decide which rich man to vote in every four or five years.

So how do we fix this problem? What we require is a Workers state (my friend Leon will disagree with me here!) ran through real democracy, that will genuinely represent the interests of the people. Here is what I propose:

1) Local decisions decided through direct, participatory democracy.

2) Delegates to be elected to represent the area at a regional/national level.

3) Delegates to be revocable through majority vote and accountable.

4) No delegate to receive more than the average wage of a skilled worker, or receive any special privileges.

Since all delegates will be proletarian, not bourgeois like today, they will serve proletarian class interests. If a delegate does not do what he/she said they would do, they can be voted out.
Anyone could become a delegate with enough popular support, it wont be left for the Etonians and public schoolers like it is under capitalism.

The leadership has failed. Even so, the leadership can and must be recreated from the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the decisive element, they are the rock on which the final victory of the revolution will be built.

Rosa Luxemburg