The following article was first printed in Revolutionary Transit Worker No. 34.
The League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) is at present a small group of revolutionary workers, organized mostly in New York and Chicago, with a number of supporters internationally. By fighting alongside our fellow workers in struggles, we seek to prove that socialist revolution is the only answer to the exploitation and oppression of life under capitalism.
Capitalism by itself forces workers to organize to defend themselves. However, it is only by studying the past and the present that we can learn to foresee developments and choose the best tactics for our struggles. In fact, the success of our immediate struggles, as well as the achievement of the goal of overthrowing capitalism in the future, requires that workers ourselves develop the most sophisticated political understanding of the history of class struggle internationally.
In the recent transit strike, RTW, supported by the workers of the LRP, played a unique role in analyzing the forces at work and in fighting for a genuine way forward. That is one small example of what we do. Our political ideas have provided an accurate guideline to what is happening in the world. And, agree or disagree, our political program is always up-front: the LRP stands for workers’ socialist revolution. We believe in telling fellow workers the truth because workers’ consciousness of political reality is the key to gains now as well as revolution in the future.
As we explained in the article Workers’ Socialist Revolution is the Solution, capitalism creates its own gravedigger, the working class. But the working class as a whole doesn’t automatically or simultaneously become conscious of its revolutionary role. People learn through experience. But different people come to different conclusions at different times.
Take the transit situation. Toussaint was forced into a strike he didn’t want. Fearful of going too far, he held back the struggle. Based on the bad situation he created, some workers drew the conclusion that further struggle, including preparing for another strike, is too radical an idea; they think they should just accept the situation for now. But some also agreed with those who said that the strike didn’t go far enough. These TWU members know that workers really have power, and as bad as things look now, workers can exert that power to change the balance of forces. This group of militant workers includes a still small number of politically conscious workers who already see the need for a fight against capitalism, the root of our problems.
Just as transit workers were forced to struggle by their situation, far larger numbers of workers in the future will be involved in greater confrontations with the bosses. Indeed, such massive struggles are inevitable.
But successful conclusions to these struggles are not guaranteed; that does depend on what politics win out. To prevent still more Toussaints and more disasters, we need a new political leadership, a vanguard party composed of the most politically advanced workers. The vanguard party has to be built beginning now so that it will be ready to lead fellow workers. The faster that revolutionary forces can become stronger, the more chance for success even in struggles today.
Militancy by itself will never overcome capitalism. If workers are always fighting back in battle after battle with no overall solution, they will hit a dead-end. Militancy alone is not enough. As well, if a new leadership develops which is genuinely militant but remains pro-capitalist, it may lead some fightbacks but it will limit the workers’ struggles. Sooner or later it will cave in to the demands of the bosses, instead of the demands of the workers.
That is why a revolutionary party leadership is really key. Such a leadership will engage in today’s struggles to win immediate gains. But it will also fight within those battles to help show more and more workers that socialist revolution is necessary. Through this interaction, more workers become willing to take the further steps. No socialist revolution will ever be possible without the patient work of a revolutionary party beforehand.
The interests of the working class are international and can only be solved through socialist revolution throughout the world. The re-creation of the Fourth International would mean a world-wide organization, consisting of parties of the most class-conscious workers in the different countries and among the different races and ethnic groups. The International would bring together the class struggle everywhere. To express these central goals, we call our international grouping the Communist Organization for the Fourth International (COFI), and call ourselves in the U.S. the League for the Revolutionary Party.
The working class itself can achieve revolutionary consciousness, build its own party and free humanity from the misery of capitalism. But only if the most politically conscious workers are already organized to lead the way. Join us.
Let us know what you think of our views.
If you agree, let us know.
If you disagree, let’s discuss it.
Write to us:
P.O. Box 1936
Murray Hill Station
New York, NY 10156