Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 35, September 12, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The Challenge of Developing the Independent Politics of
the Working Class in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of workers speaking in their own name. This is a moment for the working class to define the modern democratic personality which bears its own stamp and unites all democratic and progressive forces around it. It is a moment in history which is calling on the workers to be that leading force which takes up for solution the problems of the economy and society and points in a pro-social direction.

The ruling oligarchs are demanding a return to "business as usual" even though the status quo has proved unsustainable in practice. However, working people demand an economy and a government under their control and organised to serve the public interest not vested narrow private interests.

Workers at three BMW plants in the UK staging a one-day strike against a plan to close their defined-benefit pension scheme in April 2017.

A state organised to pay the rich is not a free market. It is an economy controlled for the privileged few. The aim of the economy to pay the rich renders it incapable of mobilising its tremendous productive powers to solve the problems the people face. In this context, the working class and people are charged with the task of bringing into being a new mode of production with an aim of serving the people, meeting their claims on society, and resolving national and international problems without violence and war.

Employers like BMW will use the argument that nothing can be done because it is the market which dictates. The workers are encouraged not to be an independent force, but to erect barriers in their consciousness and remain wage slaves. In opposition, the starting point for the workers is to embrace the programme to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programmes in order to guarantee the rights of all. Why not have the collective will of the society expressed in the form of socialist planning and control by the working people over those affairs that affect their lives?

The immense social product available from the modern means of production can be put to use to solve society's problems and guarantee the well-being and rights of the people and the extended reproduction of the economy. The social wealth necessary to run the economy can be mobilised through the collective authority of the people and resources of the economy. The prices of production, supply of raw material, the training of the working class, the provision of the social and material infrastructure, the relation between supply and demand, and other crucial features are social and public. This requires additional public measures beyond the operation of the mega-companies themselves. Ultimately it requires a public authority in which the people can participate in making decisions on the direction of these enterprises and ensure their viability and stability as part of a pro-social economy.

In short, the working class must take up its own political aim to end the situation whereby the rich marginalise it and confine it to being a subject labour force beholden to a small minority of oligarchs who control competing parts of the economy for their private interests. The working class is a mature, educated international social class comprising the vast majority of the population. It is more than capable of leading and looking after the economic and political affairs of a modern society. The ruling oligarchs with their agendas to serve their competing private interests are incapable of bringing the economy under any control at all. The working class can and must shoulder its social responsibility to empower working people and build the new, bringing the modern economy under its own control to serve the people and society. Only the modern working class with its broad agenda to serve the public interest can do so.

The working class is the largest and most advanced social class, the only social force capable of moving the economy in a new pro-social direction to allow working people control over economic, political and social affairs. Only this can save the day from the disasters that these imperialist elites are causing society, their fanatical defence of their wealth, power and class privilege at all costs. This is the challenge facing the working class - to take up their role of being socially responsible for the well-being of the people and the direction of the economy.

Developing the independent politics of the working class at this time crucially involves the organising of forms which build on the strength of the working class as a force independent of the ruling elites. By consciously participating in building workers' forums to exchange views, analyse unfolding events and set their own orientation to defend the rights of all, the programme to stop paying the rich and to increase investments in social programmes can lead to the establishment of an alternative. The independent politics of the working class to stop paying the rich and increase investments in social programmes is what must be consciously taken up and developed. It is a component of and consistent with organising the people themselves to form an Anti-War Government.

Now is the defining moment in the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic for the working class to fight to establish an alternative and open society's path to progress. This is the inspiration which unites us all.


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