Draft Program for Working-Class Unity

1. Nothing of economic value has ever been produced without human labor. Only our labor can create economic wealth.

2. Intelligent, human labor fuels the upward trend in the universe (the tendency towards precision, integration, cooperation, mastery of the environment, and improved communication).

3. Almost all people work for a living. In all past societies and in nearly every society to date, those who work have neither owned the wealth that they produce, nor controlled the means of producing it (the factories, shops, land, etc.). Historically, we have received only a small portion of the wealth that we produce—either as subsistence food and shelter (under slavery), as a small portion of the crops or handicrafts (under feudalism), or as wages (under capitalism).

4. All other oppressions have grown out of the economic exploitation of workers. Sexism, adultism, anti-Semitism, racism, ageism, and countless others condition us to oppress each other so that we are diverted from resisting classism, the fundamental oppression that robs us of the wealth we produce.

5. The working class includes all of us who earn a living primarily by selling our labor. This is almost all people. It includes nearly all members of other oppressed groups. It includes homemakers who do the essential work of child rearing while dependent on their spouses’ income, and thus provide two workers for one worker’s wages.

6. We can reunite with those who have been separated from us. Some people have been separated from production by oppression and hurt. This includes permanently unemployed, alcoholics, chronically or “mentally” ill prisoners and elderly. These groups come almost entirely out of the working class.

Some workers have achieved or been granted a few privileges, a supervisory job, a more comfortable income, a better education, an intellectual role. Such workers may be told to consider themselves “middle class.” The idea of a “middle class” is a device to confuse and to divide workers from each other.

It is in the working class’ interest to combat and end all other oppressions. To overcome them successfully, we need to discharge sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other patterns that keep us divided. To do this we will need to meet together first as groups who have been victimized by each oppression (a black workers’ caucus, a women workers’ caucus, etc.), as many groups as are necessary to allow the safety and discharge that lead to unity. Each such caucus will then report to the larger group and will be heard with respect.

First we divide for safety, then we listen to each other and unite for strength. Respectful listening, discharge, and correct policies will lead first to unity within each particular group, and then to unity between workers of every group. Real solidarity can be built in this manner.

8. Internalized classism must and can be rejected and eliminated. Distress patterns that tell us to compete instead of unite have been forced upon us. These may take the form of hiding our working class origins or, conversely, questioning whether somebody else is “really” working class, attacks on our working-class leadership, put-downs or violence between us. The job of discharging these negative feelings about ourselves and each other cannot be avoided, or they will keep us ineffective. Such feelings can pull us toward grievancing, alcohol, desperate attempts to “get out of the working class,” anti-unionism, or defending lack of information as a virtue. The real role of the working class is to lead and to act. We are the ruling class of the future.

9. As a class, we have the power to require fundamental social change. We are the only class with a future as a class. Oppressive societies are no longer even workable and in any future society, we producers will also be the owners. We will all work physically and mentally, own and manage and create and run society. History is moving inevitably in the direction of a working-class (a classless) society.

10. Industrial workers hold much of the power of the working class, particularly workers in basic industry. Objective conditions push this group (in spite of patterns) towards greater communication, unity, organization and increased awareness of the reality of the collapse of society. What this group produces (i.e., energy, steel, chemicals, transportation, electronics, machine tools, etc.) permits the production of almost everything else. The present highly integrated and coordinated economy depends on almost total cooperation of everyone involved. Workers in basic industry have the power to require fundamental social change any time a substantial number of them agree, organize, unite, and firmly require such a change.

11. Unions are basic organizations of wage workers: they are absolutely crucial to our economic survival. Although many unions are presently being controlled by the owners’ agents, most wage workers have correctly supported and defended their unions even when the leadership has been taken over by criminal elements or other owners’ representatives. To strengthen our unions, to win union members to liberation policies and to return the leadership of the unions to the members is a main job for workers who are interested in working class liberation.

12. There is no obligation for any wage workers in RC to become involved in working-class liberation. People are in RC for their own re-emergence and will tend to become interested in liberation issues only as they see that it will accelerate their individual reemergences.

Reprinted from Working for a Living #4

Last modified: 2014-10-07 18:29:29+00