Capitalism cannot exist without inequality: 1% of the population on the planet owns 40% of the world’s resources, and the wealth of the three richest people exceeds the one of the 48 poorest states. This is according to a UN statement in 2000. Eight years later started the global crisis, and the rich became richer, the poor – poorer. In 2010, the number of people suffering from hunger reached one billion. If we want to remove this inequality, we have to remove capitalism.
And the only force able to do this is the working class, because it is them who create the wealth, while they themselves don’t own anything. To take the power and the economy into their hands, they need an organization. In this document we will tell about the principles on which should be built a revolutionary workers’ organization. Do not look in this document for any analysis of the Russian regime nor for any discussion of our priorities in the next period. Do not look here for any critique of methods of the CWI Russian section, which we left. In this document we are only describing an organization that we want to be members of and in which we want to believe.
We set to ourselves ambitious objectives. And it shouldn’t frighten. We are very careful to evaluate our own forces and do not wait for quick results. But we cannot move in the right direction if we don’t see our target, even though it seems today far away.
What kind of organization do we need
The working class will begin the socialist transformation of society only when they will take hold of the state power. No heroical revolutionaries, affinity groups or even mass trade-unions can realize this objective. This task can only be accomplished by a strong political organization that will unite the workers under a common program and will organize them in action.
Since there is no such organization at the moment in Russia, no one can predict exactly what that organization will look like. But still, cadres will be needed for its founding and development: people who can elaborate its program and plan of action, who can convince everyone else to act in an organized way. We want to prepare these cadres. For this, our organization has to stick to some principles.
Marxism. To organize the working class for revolution is a difficult task. In order to accomplish it, we need to understand the situation well, to lay down exact perspectives and to choose a method of action. We cannot do this without an understanding of the class nature of society. Therefore we will apply the methods of marxism and will call ourselves marxists.
Revolution. We are convinced that it is impossible to reform capitalism and get to socialism gradually. The ruling class will not willingly surrender its power and its property: we need to take them away from them. This is why we need a revolutionary organization.
Cadre. A large workers’ organization cannot reach its objectives without the leadership of people who are able to propose a plan of action. Such people, experienced and politically educated, can be formed only after a long work, made of discussions, actions, participation in strikes… One of our objectives as an organization is to prepare such a leadership. This is why we are a cadre organization.
Democratic centralism. Debates are necessary in order to form a thorough analysis and take the right decisions. Only through debates can the leadership elaborate a programme of action that the whole organization will be made to follow. Freedom in the discussions, unity in action. This approach is what we call democratic centralism.
Internationalism. Capitalism is a global system, the economies of different countries are interconnected. It is therefore impossible to build socialism in only one country. If a socialist revolution will start in one country, the capitalists of the other countries will do everything to stop it. This is why workers have to fight on a global arena, in several countries at the same time. Socialists need an International with a unified tactics and program.
How we will work
Analyse deeply and not stereotypically. This is the main difficulty for most of the lefts. One is content to repeat marxists ideas from the beginning of the 20th century, while others refuse any class analysis at all. Neither approach can give us an answer to the questions «What is happening?» and «What to do?».
We study the writings of the classics so as to learn through them the method of marxist analysis. We do everything to avoid formalism: we do not extract a few quotes or examples for a mindless repeat of past means of struggle. We will consider it a success if our cadres will learn how to conduct a marxist analyzis by themselves.
We will study the works of past Left theoreticians and representatives of social sciences, and in particular of marxist economists. Trotsky’s works were written before the Second Word War and before the collapse of the Soviet Union. We need to study modern researches in order to elaborate an adequate plan of action.
A deep analysis is also necessary in order to attract new cadres. People won’t join our organization if we only answer to all their questions by tossing them a few slogans and quotes from Marx. Comrades need to understand how the bank system works, how the State budget is made, how decisions are taken in international politics. People will come to us when they will see us as experts.
The study of marxism will help the Left and the working class movement as a whole. Even if the results of our work will be modest, we will bring our contribution to the development of Left ideas. We will show by our own example which methods work and which do not. This will help the other socialists who will take up the struggle after us and will bring our tasks to their conclusion.
We will adopt a respectful behavior towards other organizations such as the CWI, who managed to preserve the Left traditions during the past 20 years. This organization brought the ideas of marxism to many people in the world, and we cannot say that we did anything more useful at the moment. Still, we think that their approach is stereotyped and we do not believe that they will reach their stated objective. This is why we’ve decided to follow our own way.
Some Left could misinterpret our statements about a «non stereotyped analysis». We could be confused with such organizations who have refused to carry on a class analysis in the name of «more modern» ideas. This would be a mistake. A deep analysis is necessary in order to implement the marxist method in the new conditions; not in order to accomplish a revision of Marx’s ideas.
Work purposefully. Before joining a protest, a social movement or a trade-union, we need to assess their potential and our own forces.
We will discuss who will participate in this protest, with which slogans, who leads this protest, in what this could result and under which conditions. Such an assessment means we won’t act in a stereotyped way : for example, we won’t call every single mass protest the «seed of revolution». Only after an unbiased analysis we will be able to define the tactics, to decide what we will bring to that movement and how it will reinforce our own organization.
In the work with the trade-unions and the social movements, we set for ourselves two tasks: to reinforce them, and to find there new sympathizers. We do not want to appear like blabbers who want to use the trade-union only as a tribune, without caring about its future fate. But we won’t start to participate in a trade-union work if we do not see how this will strengthen our organization and bring us closer from the socialist revolution.
In our work with the trade-unions and social movements, regularity is very important. If we participate only time to time, if we disappear when nothing seems to be happening and come back only at times when events are moving on, then these workers will never trust us. That work won’t bring us any results. Therefore, if we think that this movement will offer us perspectives, our work in it needs to be regular.
Careful methods are very important in our search for new cadres. We do not hope to find ready-made activists – this is a rare luck. We plan to win over people during a process of common work and discussion. Therefore, our articles and leaflets must be understandable, our reports must be substantial, and our work must show the effectiveness of our ideas.
Collaborate. We are ready to tactical unions with other Left and workers’ organizations as long as this will not require us to water down our programme.
We will propose a collaboration only if we are interested in it. Often, organizations call to build a united front, but do not really do anything to implement it. They do this only so as to show that they are not sectarionists and care about the entire movements, not only their inner interests. But they only show it. We propose to collaborate only if we are actually ready for this in practice.
We collaborate in mutually beneficial way. We would be happy to do everything on our own: to organize mass meetings, to organize help to workers on strike, to protect ourselves from the attacks of the far-right. But we do not have enough time, forces and people for that. We know that other Lefts in Russia have the same problem. This is why we need to work together for concrete practical actions. We will disscuss the conditions, share the work, and implement the agreements.
We collaborate in an ethical way. We see other Lefts as rivals: if we thought that they follow the right course, we would join them. We do not share their convictions and methods. But we will criticize them without any insults and only by using adequate arguments: so as to help them understand their own mistakes, not to mock them. And we are ready to support them against attacks from the regime or from political opponents.
Always talk honestly about everything. Never to exagerate our merits, never to minimize our own mistakes.
Bravado is dangerous. It sows confusion: our sympathizers will not understand the real relations of forces. It demoralizes: when the lies are uncovered, comrades feel that they have been cheated, and the organization loses authority. Therefore, honesty is important for our organization.
If we’ve spread two leaflets at a meeting, then went home and drew conclusions, then we will write on our website everything as it really happened, and not make any statements such as «We shared a multitude of leaflets and had very interesting discussions with the people». If we made a mistake, we will recognize it and try to correct it, instead of attempting to justify our position a posteriori.
Develop leaders. We will choose in our leadership experienced and authoritative comrades. We won’t keep in our leadership people just to thank them for many years of service or «so that they won’t be offended».
We will elect our leadership so that it will:
— elaborate our program, using all the intellectual potential of our organization;
— organize our work in order to implement our program in real life.
The leadership will convince by weighted arguments and by its example – not by using mandates or moral pressure. It can make mistakes: comrades will correct and supplement it. For this, a well argued discussion is necessary.
Discipline concerns all members in the organization, including its leadership. We won’t build relations looking like a boss to his employees, we won’t practice the so-called «division of labour». Discipline can’t work if the leadership does not uphold it by its own example.
Our leadership prepares our future new cadres that will replace us. If, after several years, we still can’t find in our organization anyone able to replace the old leadership, it means something is wrong. It means that the leadership did not develop comrades in a political way. To work on the education of cadres means to preserve democracy in the organization.
The leadership does not forbids comrades to discuss any themes. In the agenda for branch meetings, any questions can be discussed, especially if activists feel worried about these issues. If the leadership doesn’t have anything to say, a ban is not the right decision.
Support comrades. This is a priority for the whole organization.
All our activists must be convinced that our organization will stand by them during difficult times and situations. This is why support must be provided by the whole organization, and not by a few compassionate comrades. If such a situation happens, we need to discuss it at branch meetings, to draw plans and to implement them in practice. This way, our activists will not remain alone facing problems.
Honour traditions. A task for the organization and for every comrade is to make sure that we adhere to our principles and turn them into traditions.
No one decides consciously: «From today on I will lie». Double standards, maneuvering, separate castes of aristocrats, all this enters the life of the organization gradually. In order for this not to happen, principles must become traditions.
We consider the work of our own organization in a critical way and with a great responsibility. If we see that we failed to adhere to this or that principle, we won’t react in a condescendant way. We will discuss and draw conclusions. When new people come to us, they must accept these principles as a matter of course. Then we will see that we built a reliable tradition.