PROSPECTUS OF THE WORKERS LEAGUE (WL)
- The WL aims to be a revolutionary organisation which stands for the overthrow of capitalism on a world scale, and the establishment of socialism, the first step towards a classless society. The WL is an international tendency, which organises and projects its politics on the foundations of working-class internationalism.
2. The WL is an organisation which calls for, and seeks to prepare for, the construction of Marxist vanguard parties internationally. We critique all other types of parties and organisations, especially those dominated by conservatism, reformism, liberalism, opportunism, class collaborationism, electoralism and parliamentarism. Only a workers’ vanguard party will be capable of confronting and overcoming the enormous task of leading the proletariat, at the head of all of the oppressed, towards and beyond the seizure of state power.
3. The WL aims to apply Leninism. We seek to learn from all historical attempts at building a Marxist vanguard party, but a pre-eminent position is accorded to the Bolshevik Party led by V.I. Lenin.
Genuine Leninism can be said to fulfill the content of the time period from 1914 to 1924. This was the period of the peak of political achievement for both Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, with the triumph of the October Revolution in Russia in 1917. The leadership of both V.I. Lenin and L.D.Trotsky was crucial to the success of the world’s first proletarian socialist revolution, and the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This later inspired the overturning of capitalist rule in Eastern Europe, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos. Although the revolutions countries that followed the USSR did not have wholly proletarian content, they nonetheless demonstrated the vulnerability of the capitalist system.
Lenin’s paramount contribution to Marxism was the defining and building of the vanguard party which is necessary for a successful revolution, while Trotsky’s largest contribution to Marxism was the theory of the permanent revolution – the original formulation of which came from Marx himself. It was the practical fusing of Lenin’s concept of the vanguard party with Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution which enabled the victory of October 1917.
While the WL is not a part of any Stalinist, Trotskyist or Maoist current, it upholds the Marxist program of Permanent Revolution internationally, and the call for proletarian political revolution in the remaining deformed workers’ states. The power of the regenerated workers’ states combined with the power of the global working class should ensure the necessary transition from capitalism to socialism.
4. The WL recognises the proletariat, or the working class, as the only revolutionary class. The working class is unique among all the classes, as it has no material interest whatsoever in the maintenance of the capitalist system. All political activity is geared towards safeguarding and advancing its core interests. While we may attempt to win over some elements of other classes to the cause of socialism, at no stage can the socialist movement be politically subordinated to the interests of other intermediate classes such as the middle class and the petty bourgeoisie. The working class has irreconcilable interests with all wings of the bourgeoisie, and therefore must protect its political independence.
5. The WL seeks to assist in the accomplishment of the ultimate protection for workers – the construction of a socialist republic, or a workers state. The WL therefore recognises and defends the existing deformed workers states – the People’s Republic of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Laos People’s Democratic Republic. At the same time, the WL calls for proletarian political revolution in these states to replace the nationalist and bureaucratic leaderships with genuine Leninist parties based on working-class internationalism. We do not prescribe the exact political form through which a proletarian political revolution will proceed, but it must include full democratic rights for working people. Historically, the WL conditionally defends previous degenerated and deformed workers states, including the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the states of the former Eastern Bloc. The building of solidarity with the existing deformed workers’ states is primarily carried out with the aim of inspiring workers to establish their own socialist republic.
6. The WL opposes imperialism in all its forms, whether this is political, diplomatic, economic, military or otherwise. Imperialism and its wars must be opposed and struggled against, principally by utilising the power of the working class. Not all nations can be placed under the designation of imperialist, but key examples include the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain and Australia. Allies of imperialism include countries such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. NATO is an imperialist war bloc, and workers must call for its abolition.
Imperialism is weighed against the non-imperialist powers, whom they seek to destroy and/or overturn. Examples include Russia, the People’s Republic of China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Allies of the non-imperialist powers include: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Cuba, Syria and Venezuela. Generally, the WL will call for the military defence of the non-imperialist countries against NATO and imperialism, while withholding political support for the governments of such states – given an assessment of each case.
7. The WL supports Trade Unions as basic defence organisations of the working class. We stand for militant and political class struggle Unions. This struggle involves challenging the pro-capitalist leadership of Trade Unions, while standing with the rank and file members. Where possible, the WL urges workers to fight for the democratisation of the Unions.
The WL aims for the replacement of the self-serving and ideologically pro-capitalist Union officialdom with a genuine rank and file leadership committed to working-class struggle. This struggle is wholly bound up with efforts to forge a Marxist vanguard party, as the Union bureaucracy sees professional opposition in a workers party which fights for socialism. While the WL seeks to organise workers through Unions, and therefore defends them, no automatic political backing is offered to Union officials.
8. The WL recognises that as long as private property exists, women’s liberation will not be achieved. Women’s liberation is an essential part of the struggle for socialism, as is the struggle against all discrimination against Lesbian, Gay Men, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people.
Women’s liberation is integral to the triumph of socialism, just as socialism is integral to the triumph of women’s liberation. The source oppression of women under capitalism is ultimately to be found within the family unit, and society will not advance until the vast tasks of child rearing and care for the sick and the elderly are progressively taken on by society itself. The replacement of family duties by society, and thus voluntary new living combinations, can begin once the working class holds the reins of state power, initiating the path towards socialism.
Feminism as such forms a block to the achievement of women’s liberation. All wings of the feminist movement ultimately seek to alleviate the living and working conditions prominent under capitalism, with no effort to overturn the system through the establishment of a workers’ state. Women’s liberation struggles can be led by women, but it remains a task for the entire working class, and thus it must be a priority of a Marxist vanguard party in which the most class conscious women (and men) must be combined.
The oppression of Lesbian, Gay Men, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people remains a by-product the oppression of women under capitalism. All efforts to overcome discrimination against LGBTI people must be supported by advanced workers, to enable them to live without reproach in society. However, LGBTI struggles which do not have pro-working class content can be used to block the advance of class consciousness. Likewise, a sectoral approach to LGBTI struggles (where LGBTI people act on their own in political campaigns) can fuel identity politics, which grates against the interests of both the working class and LGBTI people. Only the abolition of class society can ultimately end all forms of sexual oppression, and the most important step towards this is the building of a Marxist party.
9. Where imperialism has colonised other regions of the globe, indigenous peoples invariably suffered dispossession, cultural suppression, and marginalisation if not outright extermination. Predominantly the European colonial powers took over large parts of Asia, Africa, Australia and the Pacific with scant regard for the previous custodianship of the land by indigenous peoples for tens of thousands of years.
The WL thus champions the struggles for elementary justice of indigenous peoples. While the struggle of many indigenous peoples for basic rights is progressive, it does not necessarily follow that the politics adopted by indigenous people on their own will also follow in a progressive direction. To achieve their goals, indigenous struggles must link with working class struggles against capitalist oppression. Both token liberal recognition into class society and sectoral struggles for indigenous issues only are inadequate and can lead to further political demoralisation.
The WL thus fights for revolutionary integrationism of indigenous peoples and their struggles with working class resistance to the rule of capital. Indigenous peoples’ just campaigns must be backed by advanced workers, and workers’ struggles need to be backed by indigenous peoples. The key enabler of this mutual assistance is ultimately the forging of a single Marxist vanguard party, which recruits and trains the most advanced elements from pro-working class indigenous and non-indigenous workers.
10. Capitalism has all but destroyed the environmental conditions necessary for human habitation on planet Earth. The WL accepts that efforts to stem environmental desecration remain important, while recognising the political limitations of much of the environmental movement. To seriously address ecological destruction, socialism will first have to emerge victorious.
The WL does not seek to advise capitalist governments which energy sources and which technologies to prioritise, which policies to adopt, and so on. Like in all other areas, these governments are alien to working people, and must not be recognised as any authority. The WL highlights the fact that capitalist desecration of the environment is a mirror of its mistreatment of the working class itself. Hence, it is only with state power in the hands of the workers can the urgent environmental issues begin to be addressed.
- Refugees and asylum seekers are targeted by imperialist governments, as a part of their strategy to divide workers against each other. The WL stands for a humane approach to refugees and asylum seekers and seeks to generate workers support for this struggle. Generally, the WL fights for full citizenship rights of all refugees and asylum seekers. This is a part of a recognition that all workers have the right to seek the best terms of sale of their labour power, and the optimum economic and social living conditions. The right to flee war and persecution must be upheld. At the same time, the WL recognises that pro-refugee sentiment can be manipulated by imperialist backed political forces.
12. The WL seeks to build class struggle social movements. The interests of the working class must be foremost at all times. The politics of the movements must not be subordinated to, or accommodate, non-working class forces. The WL thus seeks to build united front movements – where all political forces march together but maintain their own political programs. The WL warns against and seeks to avoid popular fronts – where working class interests are invariably subordinate to liberal political forces of antagonistic classes.
The WL does not seek to build movements as ends in themselves, but to achieve definite political gains for working people. Even the best movements can only achieve certain things, and all movements rise and fall away. The building of a Leninist vanguard party alongside social movements must be the overarching goal of socialists.