Solidarity #12 – September 2010

September 5, 2010

Issue 12 - September 2010

Download issue in .pdf format (1.1MB)

The 12th issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf above, or click below to read the contents online.

Contents:

If you want to make sure you don’t miss an issue of Solidarity, you can subscribe to either the print or electronic version.

To subscribe to the AWSM announcements list, put your email address in the form on the top right of each page on our website, http://www.awsm.org.nz.

Subscribers will be sent .pdf copies of Solidarity each month, along with other publications produced by AWSM and ocasional information – we promise we won’t spam you with a ton of useless stuff though! The electronic copy is identical to the print version.

Or, you can subscribe to the print edition to receive a copy of Solidarity in the post. $8 for 12 issues. Mail a cheque to AWSM, PO Box 6387, Wellington 6141, or contact us to organise an alternative method of payment.


Let’s Kill The Bill!

August 18, 2010

On Saturday August 21st, there will be nationwide rallies organised by the Council of Trade Unions against the Government’s proposed changes to employment laws.

Auckland: 1pm, QE2 Square (bottom of Queen St, opposite Britomart)

Wellington: 1pm, Civic Square

Christchurch: 1pm, Cathedral Square

Dunedin: 11am, Sunday 22nd August, Assemble at Dental School, Great King Street, March to rally at the Octagon

Below is the text of a leaflet produced by AWSM for these rallies and the struggle to defeat these laws. It is made to go along with an earlier article, Workers Set To Face More Attacks, which contains more details about the proposed changes themselves.

You can also download a .pdf version of the leaflet, designed to print out on double sided A5. Click here to download it (126kb).

Let’s Kill The Bill!

Like most of us, you too are probably overworked and underpaid. We slave away for 8 (or more!) hours a day, only to head home and find that we don’t have enough money to pay for the things we need to live an enjoyable life. Unfortunately, the Government is now proposing changes to employment law which will only make things worse! If the changes go through, we will all face a future with more unemployment, even less job security, less days off in both sick and annual leave, lower pay and all the stress and frustration that goes with all of that.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – together, we have a huge amount of power as workers and, if we can work collectively and exercise that power, we can not only defeat these proposed law changes, but also improve significantly on the status quo!

All over the country, people have been out on the streets marching and rallying against these attacks on workers. But while mass protests on the streets are worthwhile, they will not be enough to roll back these proposed changes on their own. Mass action, like the hundreds of thousands that protested in the street against the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991, is ignored by those in power when it suits them. We need to take strike action and hit bosses where it really hurts — their profits.

The Council of Trade Unions is organising protests and probably a nationwide stopwork in October, however we need to go well beyond that if we are to have any chance of stopping these law changes. We need real resistance run by the workers ourselves, not rhetoric and symbolic action. Likewise the Labour Party, which implemented a ban on solidarity strikes and political strikes when it introduced the original Employment Relations Act while it was last in power, is primarily concerned with managing capitalism rather than supporting workers. This means that when push comes to shove, the Labour Party will side with the bosses and make workers suffer – as was most clearly demonstrated during the 1980s when the Lange government introduced the most sweeping right wing reforms this country has ever seen.

What follows are some further ideas for collective resistance to these anti-worker laws.

We need to take industrial action against the bill where possible. This action can be legal or not. If you are not in negotiations, and thus cannot strike legally, push to open up negotiations for variations to your contracts to oppose the proposed laws. In that way, you open up space for legal strike action. Or push for unofficial strike action, like taking a mass sickie at your workplace on the day of the stopwork or protests against the bill. We need to build on these actions, and push for more national stopworks and strike action to defeat the bill.

If you can build a strong supportive culture with your workmates, you can create a situation where action can be taken even when outside the legal restrictions. Support others’ struggles too – we are all in this together, and that means that we need to support and encourage each other to the best of our ability. Ensure that all action is controlled by the workers taking it, not by union officials who are removed from the shop floor and don’t have the same interests as us.

The new laws will make us work more for less pay. We want more pay for less work. We oppose any deals or laws linked to increases in productivity and work hours (such as reducing our leave or ability to take sickies). The bosses already steal countless hours of our lives and countless dollars from our pockets, they certainly don’t deserve even more!

If, at the end of the day, these laws do pass, we need to plan to make them unworkable. Any boss considering firing someone under the 90 Day Bill should know that if they do, they will have pickets outside their business. Likewise for those employers who pressure workers into giving up their 4th week of annual leave. Bosses need to be taught that they cannot use these new laws without there being negative consequences for their profits.

One way to do this is to get involved in creating a network of militant workers in your area. This network could organise the above pickets. It could coordinate action and solidarity to support and encourage those taking industrial action and to resist any repercussions on those going beyond the law. If you are interested in being involved in a network like this, please contact us below.

We want to dump not only these new laws, but the whole sordid Employment Contracts/Relations Act era which has strangled workers’ ability to strike, thus delivering massive profits to capitalists. In the end, there is no such thing as pushing for fairness at work. The capitalist system is at its heart exploitative, and all bosses are exploiters, even the ‘nice’ ones. Ultimately, we need to get rid of the whole exploitative system and bring in a classless, stateless society whereby we freely co-operate to meet our collective needs rather than be wage-slaves for the profit of a few.

This leaflet was produced by the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM), a national organisation working towards a classless, stateless society: anarchist-communism. As class-struggle anarchists our priority is active involvement in workplace struggles and industrial action as well as community based campaigns in our neighbourhoods. We encourage working class people to organise themselves against capital and the state. We do not seek to paternalistically organise people from the top down.


Solidarity #11 – August 2010

July 31, 2010

Issue 11 - August 2010

Download issue in .pdf format (1.1MB)

The eleventh issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf above, or click below to read the contents online.

Contents:

If you want to make sure you don’t miss an issue of Solidarity, you can subscribe to either the print or electronic version.

To subscribe to the AWSM announcements list, put your email address in the form on the top right of each page on our website, http://www.awsm.org.nz.

Subscribers will be sent .pdf copies of Solidarity each month, along with other publications produced by AWSM and ocasional information – we promise we won’t spam you with a ton of useless stuff though! The electronic copy is identical to the print version.

Or, you can subscribe to the print edition to receive a copy of Solidarity in the post. $8 for 12 issues. Mail a cheque to AWSM, PO Box 6387, Wellington 6141, or contact us to organise an alternative method of payment.


Workers Set To Face More Attacks

July 27, 2010

The National Government recently announced a series of new attacks on workers across New Zealand. The raft of proposed changes to the anti-worker Employment Relations Act (ERA, brought in by the previous Labour Government in 2000) and the Holidays Act will serve to further cut job security, wages and conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers in both the public and private sectors.

What are the changes?

Perhaps the biggest change is the expansion of the 90 day fire at will scheme. Under this, any worker can be fired within the first 90 days of employment without any way to legally challenge this. When originally introduced following the 2008 election, this only applied to workers in workplaces with 19 or fewer employees (around 1/3 of the total workforce) however the proposed expansion would see it cover all workplaces. Since it was brought in, approximately 22% of workers hired under the scheme have been fired within 90 days, many given neither a reason nor a warning of what was about to occur, leaving them financially screwed.

A number of changes have also been proposed to the personal grievance process and the way the Employment Relations Authority works. All these changes make it harder for workers to challenge harassment, unjust firings and other problems and while making it easier for the bosses to get their way in a system that is already slanted in their favour.

We will also be pressured into working more often. The time honoured tradition of pulling a sickie is under attack (see elsewhere in this issue of Solidarity for details). Meanwhile, the 4th week of annual leave will soon be able to be exchanged (for cash), as will public holidays (for other days). National is declaring that both of these exchanges must be initiated by the employee, but in reality many workers will no doubt be pressured by their bosses into making them, especially those workers in the first 90 days of their contracts who are in constant fear of being fired! This all adds up to more work for an already overworked population.

Workers who want to join a trade union may find it much harder if the proposed changes go through. Unions will require permission from the employer before they can set foot on the property, meaning it will be especially difficult for unions to get onto sites where they don’t already have members. Additionally, companies will be able to communicate directly with workers during collective bargaining meaning yellow unions (unions run by the company) may become more common, with the associated drop in wages and conditions.

Separate from this lot of law changes but also coming up soon is a private members bill from National MP Tau Henare, which would place further restrictions on strike activity. The bill, which would force unions to hold secret ballots for all strike activity, would give bosses another avenue with which to have strikes declared illegal, at a time when workers are already heavily restricted in their choice of industrial activity by the ERA.

What can we do?

  • Talk to your workmates: Build a culture in your workplace where you all support each other when there’s an issue, even if it only effects one or two people. Collectivise problems – it’s much harder for the boss to ignore a larger number of workers.
  • Take industrial action where possible: Work to rules, go slows, taking lunch breaks at the same time, strike activity and more. As workers we produce the wealth that lines our bosses pockets – by threatening that profit we can force bosses to give into our demands. When we do engage in industrial activity, make sure it is controlled by us, not by trade unions. While unions can sometimes be useful (for legal protection, resources etc), industrial activity is our weapon, not theirs, and should be controlled by us without interference.
  • Support other workers’ struggles: We’re all in this together, and one strong workplace won’t be enough. If you hear of another workplace that’s going out on strike, and you can make the picket line, go and stand with them. If you can’t, support them in other ways – there may be a strike fund you can donate to, or even just go in when they’re not striking and let the workers know that you support them.
  • Don’t rely on the trade unions or the Labour Party: The response of the Council of Trade Unions (the umbrella body for NZ unions) to these latest attacks has been pitiful. They have announced they will distribute 20,000 copies of a “Fairness at Work” leaflet – not even enough to reach 10% of their affiliate unions’ membership, let alone the millions of ununionised workers. The Labour Party introduced the anti-worker ERA in its last term in power and has shown time and time again that it is no friend to the working class. In opposition it may encourage members to attend protests, but in Government it’ll just be more of the same.
  • This is our fight: These attacks impact on all of us who are forced to work to survive. We, the working class, must stand together and fight in our workplaces to not only protect what little we have, but to create a better future for us all. Separate we will fall, but together we have a chance to win.

- Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement


Solidarity #10 – July 2010

July 1, 2010

Issue 10 - June 2010

Download issue in .pdf format (0.99MB)

The tenth issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf above, or click below to read the contents online.

Contents:

If you want to make sure you don’t miss an issue of Solidarity, you can subscribe to either the print or electronic version.

To subscribe to the AWSM announcements list, put your email address in the form on the top right of each page on our website, http://www.awsm.org.nz.

Subscribers will be sent .pdf copies of Solidarity each month, along with other publications produced by AWSM and ocasional information – we promise we won’t spam you with a ton of useless stuff though! The electronic copy is identical to the print version.

Or, you can subscribe to the print edition to receive a copy of Solidarity in the post. $8 for 12 issues. Mail a cheque to AWSM, PO Box 6387, Wellington 6141, or contact us to organise an alternative method of payment.


Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement 2010 Conference Report

June 16, 2010

Over the weekend of June 5-6th, the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement held its 3rd national conference since it was founded in October 2008. Almost all members were able to attend, meaning people from 5 different regions across the country were present, at the fantastic venue of the Wellington People’s Centre.

The weekend was spent reflecting on and discussing our activity over the previous 12 months, making some changes to our core politics (as written in our Aims & Principles) and how we work (detailed in our Constitution) and coming up with plans for the next 12 months, plus some longer term thinking as well.

Reflecting on the past 12 months

We discussed briefly the current state of class-struggle. While we have not come to any conclusions about what is happening in society, we considered that under the current recession, importance issues seem to be low pay, overwork, increasing casualisation and unemployment, increasing costs of living, cut backs to community, education and health services, the privatisation of services and infrastructure, and the rise of a surveillance state replete with more prisons and instruments of repression. While there has been some limited resistance, such as how government workers thawed the pay freeze that was placed on them, mostly resistance is still fragmented, small-scale, isolated and at a low-ebb.

Since the 2009 conference, AWSM has grown slightly – from having members in 3 regions, all in the North Island, to having members in 5 places across both islands.

We have been involved in supporting a range of different workplace struggles in various parts of the country, including (but not limited to): Zeal 320 flight attendants, JB Hi-Fi retail workers, Parliamentary cleaners, Ministry of Justice staff and Synovate call centre workers. We have also been involved in struggles for an increase to the minimum wage, for pay equity between men and women and against the proposed pay freeze for public sector workers.

Outside the workplace, we have been involved in fights against cuts to ACC, against the introduction of user-pays charges on residential water in Wellington, against the closure of the 198 Youth Health Centre in Christchurch, and against the introduction of the Search & Surveillance Bill nationally.

In Wellington and Christchurch we have organised (in coordination with Beyond Resistance in Christchurch) public discussion groups and film nights, on a range of topics including current attacks on the working class, mining in national parks, dole autonomy, tactics for workplace struggle, women and work, and more. We have also hosted talks by a member of the Workers Solidarity Movement in Ireland, looking at how the WSM organise and some of their successes and failures over the past 25 years.

We have published 6 issues of our newssheet, Solidarity, and are now on target for publishing it every month, a goal which we previously had not been able to attain. The current distribution is 700 paper copies across 6 different centres, plus electronic distribution worldwide. Some discussion was held at the conference about increasing the number of paper copies we distribute.

In addition to this, we have produced a handful of different leaflets for various events and struggles, which have been distributed across the country. We have started writing news and analysis articles specifically for the website, as well as those we publish in Solidarity, and our members have been involved, on an individual level, in a variety of other things, including one who spent several months engaging in industrial action (including strikes) at their workplace, involvement in the October 15th Solidarity campaign, and more.

Changes to the Aims & Principles

Point 4, which used to read:

We support Tino Rangatiratanga and stand in solidarity with grassroots indigenous struggle and direct action, while not supporting Maori capitalism and corporatisation (we acknowledge the lack of anarchist theory on the indigenous struggle in Aotearoa / New Zealand and are in the process of researching, debating and discussing a more detailed position on this point).

Now reads:

We support Tino Rangatiratanga and stand in solidarity with flaxroots indigenous struggle and direct action. The state’s Treaty of Waitangi settlement process has benefited a small Maori capitalist elite, while doing little for working class Maori. While we respect tikanga Maori and te ao Maori, we believe that tino rangatiratanga is not possible for all Maori under capitalism and the state.

Point 9, which used to read:

We acknowledge that by implementing the organisation section of the The Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists – theoretical unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility and federalism – we will be best able to move forward in promoting the aims and principles of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement.

Now reads:

We believe that by working with the principles of theoretical unity, tactical unity, collective responsibility and federalism, we will be best able to move forward in promoting the aims and principles of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement.

We added two new points, 10 and 11:

10: We advocate a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change and overthrow society through our own efforts. Worshipping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation/liberation. While we respect people’s right to hold spiritual beliefs, we encourage skepticism toward any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force.

11: The working class has no country. For a revolution based on anarchist-communist principles to succeed, it must be global, and in our exploitation by the ruling class we share a common experience with other working class people all over the planet. Internationalism is therefore crucial to our politics. While we oppose “national liberation” movements because they are cross-class in nature and harmful to worldwide working class solidarity, we support working-class resistance to colonialism and state oppression.

You can read our full, updated, aims & principles at http://www.awsm.org.nz/?page_id=14

Changes to the constitution

We made a number of (mostly minor) changes to our constitution, including further clarifying our decision making process, adjusting the responsibilities of two of our national positions (national secretary and treasurer), and some changes to our internal communication and internal education process.

We also changed the roles of the editors of Solidarity and our (yet-to-be-published, yet-to-be-named) magazine, so that they could be performed by a collective. We felt that this was necessary in order to make these roles accessible to more members, as when performed by one person they became very time consuming.

Our full, updated, constitution is on our website at http://www.awsm.org.nz/?page_id=50

Plans for the future

We have planned for a number of activities in the coming months and years. Firstly, much of what we are currently doing will continue – monthly discussions/film evenings in Wellington and Christchurch (and, we hope, soon Auckland as well), publishing Solidarity, strike support etc.

Additionally, we have set deadlines which will see the first issue of our magazine published before the end of 2010. The magazine will contain a variety of articles, including theory, in-depth news analysis, New Zealand class-struggle history, interviews and more.

We have planned to hold a small scale anarchist bookfair in Wellington within 12 months. The event will include stalls from political groups and publishing/distribution collectives, workshops and talks, and film screenings.

The next 12 months could also be full of conferences. AWSM will have another annual conference next year, but before then we are also planning a theory conference, which will consist of a whole weekend spent discussing 4 topics to try to formulate our thinking on them. So far, we have decided on 3 of the topics: Tino Rangatiratanga, Workplace Organising, and The Role of a Revolutionary Organisation in a Non-Revolutionary Period. There is also the possibility of an Oceania anarchist-communist conference, to be organised by the Melbourne Anarchist-Communist Group.

In Wellington, AWSM members are planning to help create new organisational forms that workers can use to get around the legal restrictions on the right to strike laid down by the repressive Employment Relations Act. Such forms would of necessity need to be independent of AWSM (or any other organisation).

AWSM is also planning a nationwide speaking tour over the next 12 months, which we hope will spur the creation (or growth) of branches in various centres, and build contacts in various centres, industries and groups. The topics are yet to be decided, but we hope they will be interesting and entertaining. If you would like to host the speaking tour in your town or city, please contact us. We will also be making a concerted effort to put out propaganda around the issues of low pay and overwork, which we feel are vital issues to confront, and will be using the opportunity of the General Election in late 2011 to spread the message of self-organisation as opposed to voting.

If you are interested in joining or simply finding out more about AWSM, you can visit our website at http://www.awsm.org.nz, email us at info [ at ] awsm.org.nz or send us a letter: PO Box 6387, Wellington 6141, New Zealand.


Introduction to Anarchist-Communism

June 10, 2010

On June 5th, the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement held a public talk introducing the ideas of anarchist-communism, followed by a screening of the film Living Utopia, about the Spanish Revolution and Civil War of 1936-9. About 40 people attended the event, held at the New Crossways Community Centre in Mt. Victoria.

Introduction to Anarchist-Communism

We live in a beautiful world. After millions of years of evolution, humans have built vast societies that span almost the entire globe. These societies, however, are marked by massive differences in wealth and power. While some individuals have more than they could ever possibly use, let alone need, many of us struggle just to put food on the table, or even to have a place of our own to put a table in. Our society is fundamentally divided into two classes – the ruling class, encompassing a tiny percentage of the 6 billion plus people living on this planet, and the working class, the vast majority of us. The system which divides us is called capitalism.

Some people think of male factory workers when they hear the term working class, but this is not what we mean. The working class is not limited to blue collar workers in factories, but instead it includes all of us who are forced to sell our labour power to survive. This includes people who are in paid employment, whether in a factory, office, cafe or retail store. It also includes those who are unable to find paid employment, or have chosen to refuse the drudgery of paid work in order to attempt to live on the meagre benefits supplied by the state, and who provide a vast potential pool of labour that enables the ruling class to further keep wages down. The working class includes stay at home parents, doing vital unpaid work to raise the next generation of human beings. In short, if you don´t own a business, if you aren´t part of the Government, if you aren´t independently wealthy (such as from an inheritance), then chances are you are a part of the working class.

Now we can begin to see why the working class is so vital in the struggle to end capitalism and build a better, more just society. Through the sheer weight of numbers, we in the working class, if we are able to recognise our collective strength, can threaten the very existence of classes. But it is not through numbers alone that the working class has the potential to destroy this rotten system. As workers, we create wealth for the bosses each and every day at our jobs. Some of this wealth is returned to us in the form of wages, but much is stolen. This stolen wealth is often called ¨surplus value¨.

It is the accumulation of surplus value, stolen by our bosses, that forms the wealth of the ruling class. But because the goods and services that create this surplus value ultimately come from the hands and the brains of workers, through collectively withdrawing our labour, we can force the bosses to give in to our demands. In the short term, withdrawing our labour (in the form of strikes) can improve our wages and conditions at work, and increase the collective confidence and feelings of solidarity amongst our workmates. But in the long term, a general strike across all workplaces could ultimately be the first spark of a revolution, a time where we sweep away old injustices and usher in new forms of organising to create a society where no-one would suffer for lack of food, water or shelter, where we would all be able to contribute to our full potential and have all our needs fulfilled. Our fight for this, the fight of workers against bosses, is often called class struggle.

In this future society, production of all goods would be guided by our needs, not the drive for profit. Unhampered by an inability to afford higher education, or a need to provide financially for ourselves and others, we would each be able to work in areas which interest and fulfill us. Any undesirable work would be shared out equally amongst us all. Through a system of democratic mass meetings, also called councils, in our communities and workplaces, we would all have an equal say in making the decisions which affect our lives. All who contributed to this society to the best of their ability would be fully entitled to have their needs and wants met. Money would not exist, replaced by a gift economy, where all goods and services would be freely distributed without any need for barter or other forms of trade. Mutual aid would replace competition as the force between us. This future society, governed according to the phrase ¨from each according to ability, to each according to need¨ is known as communism.

In a communist world, there would be no reason to maintain the artificial lines which divide the working class today. Without borders, and therefore without states, all would be free to live wherever they pleased. As workplace and community councils will have taken over the running of our society, there will be no reason to have governments or politicians. The idea that the working class can control our own lives, without states, governments or borders, is also called anarchism.

But how do we get from our current capitalist society to a future anarchist-communist one? Here, we can learn much from past attempts such as the Spanish Revolution (which we will be watching a film about after this talk) in the mid-late 1930s, the Russian Revolution, including the experiences of anarchists in the Ukraine in the late 1910s, and the uprising against Soviet rule in Hungary in 1956. While learning from the successes and failures of anarchists and the broader working class movement is important, we must also be cautious not to blindly copy strategies and tactics without considering the differences between our current situation and theirs. During periods of intense class struggle, new forms of organising can be thrown up that may surprise everyone involved. Ultimately, we must never lose faith in the ability of working class people to organise themselves. We have created everything in this society, and this is just as true of forms of struggle as it is of material goods.

From the lessons of the past, we can learn that those in power will never give up control over society lightly. In order to destroy the current order, there will need to be a revolution, a time of great upheaval. The success or failure of this revolution will depend on many things, but the methods of organising it will have a major impact. A revolution controlled by a small clique can only result in a society controlled by that same clique. Therefore, if we want to create a society where control rests democratically in the masses, the revolutionary struggle itself must also be controlled democratically by the masses. Anyone nominated to do a particular task must be subject to instant recall, meaning that if they make a decision that goes against the mandate they have received from the councils, the councils can remove them from their position and nullify the decision. Ultimately, all final decision making power rests with the councils themselves, not with any individuals delegated to particular roles. This type of decision making structure is called direct democracy.

One of the key tasks to build towards a revolutionary situation is the building of working class consciousness and confidence. At present, most working class people don´t identify as such. Through collective struggle, we can begin to discover our common interests with other members of the class, and we start to recognise that those interests lie in direct opposition to the interests of the ruling class. At a really basic level, in the immediate term, we want to work less for more money, while the ruling class wants us to work more for less money. In New Zealand, since the 1980s, productivity has massively increased while real wages have stagnated or even dropped. In other words, we are currently in a period of class defeat. Through working collectively to better our daily lives, we can build up the confidence to take on bigger and bigger issues, ultimately leading to a revolutionary period where we can change the entire structure of society. These struggles are not limited to the workplace, but also encompass community campaigns – for instance for better access to services such as childcare and libraries, or in defence of services we already have, such as the struggle against user-pays charges on water. Struggles against forms of oppression such as sexism and racism that serve to divide us against each other are also vital if we are ever to recognise our full collective power and to enable the full participation of all members of society on an equal level.

While sexism and racism are hugely influenced by class society, they are not wholly owned by it. In fact, patriarchal societies predate the existence of capitalism. While class society enhances these oppressions, and uses them to bolster its own control over the working class, we must not let that trick us into thinking that these forms of oppression are solely due to capitalism, and will automatically disappear along with it. On the contrary, struggles against sexism and racism must be fought alongside those against class society. These struggles can compliment each other – for instance, standing alongside someone on a picket line, seeing clearly your common interest with them, can be a way to lessen or remove entirely your prejudice against them.

In all these struggles, we must be wary of those who would seek to co-opt our class power and redirect it to further their own interests. Politicians will often try to control community campaigns, promising to give us a victory if we vote for them in the next General or Local Body election. We must be clear that we can win without them, that by exercising collective class power we can achieve a victory on our own terms. Likewise, in workplace struggles, trade unions serve to function as a cork on class power. They help to ensure struggle never gets out of their control, often selling out the very workers they claim to represent. NGOs will seek to professionalise environmental and social struggles, encouraging us to sign their petitions or pledge weekly donations, thereby removing us from the struggle while bolstering their own claim to be the legitimate representative of the environment, women, queers etc. Above all, self-organisation of the struggle must be remembered as a key principle.

Working class unity and solidarity, across borders and social divides, is what will ultimately allow us to create a new world without capitalism or states. We do not glorify the working class – as human beings, we can never be perfect. But we, the working class, however flawed we may be, have created all the wealth in this society – we built the cities, vast railway lines and huge ships. We have created stunning works of art and beautiful pieces of music. We have cured diseases and prolonged life to an unprecedented extent. And together, if we realise our own power, we can finally take control of our lives, free from exploitation, alienation and oppression. This future, an anarchist-communist one, is truly a future worth fighting for.


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