Action Committee - factory committees - Councils


As important as trade unions and other mass organisations of the workers' movement are for the daily resistance against the attacks of the capitalists, they are insufficient in periods of open struggle of the masses. The unions are dominated by an organized bureaucracy, organise only a minority of the proletariat, and even among these, the upper, partially privileged strata are over-represented. In every battle and in preparation for this the Bolsheviks-Communists are therefore keen to establish rank and file committees outside the bureaucratic control. They will often bring together the most active and most militant elements in Action Committees. The goal must be to convert these action committees in broad, comprehensive combat organizations at the work place, in the district, schools and universities. This orientation is not in contradiction to the work within the existing mass organisations (trade unions, etc.), but rather complement to these activities. The regular work within the unions at the grassroots against the bureaucracy improves the ability of the independent organisation of the working class. The support of each opportunity to build broad committees of struggle in turn strengthens a grassroots movement inside the unions. Only if the workers vanguard is working at these two fronts, it can implement a revolutionary policy which serves the liberation of the proletariat.

Indeed, history - even recent history - proved impressively that in upswing phases of class struggle and in particular during (pre-) revolutionary developments the workers and oppressed tend to spontaneously create independent organisations at the grassroots. Therefore, many revolutions in the past – starting with the Paris Commune in 1871, the revolutions in Russia, Germany, Austria from 1917 to 1920 up to modern times – saw the emergence of self-organised committees in workplaces and neighbourhoods. Whatever their names might be – Soviets, Workers 'and Soldiers' Councils, Defence Committees - they embody an alternative power. They organize the workers and the oppressed sections independent of the bourgeois state apparatus, they allow that the central question can be discussed and decided and that they can choose representatives who are controllable and adaptable and enjoy no privileges. Such councils also offer the possibility that the workers and oppressed are not in tow of bourgeois leaderships, but can determine their own policies.

Also, during the Arab revolution numerous committees were spontaneously created, which represent at least in embryonic form, a step towards councils. In many cities, the people of Tunisia drove out the hated (loyal to the old Ben Ali's regime) mayors, expelled the local police and took over the control themselves. Similarly, in Egypt, so-called popular committees emerged which tried to organise everyday life in the neighbourhoods and to defend themselves against the thugs of the regime and the looting by criminals. Finally, also in the course of the Greek revolution rank and file assemblies and committees emerged in factories and neighbourhoods.

We Bolshevik-Communists say that the spontaneous tendencies of many revolutions are great achievements. It is essential that such developments be expanded and organised. From sporadic rank and file committees we must build links and create a nationwide centralised coordination of the enterprise- and districts-based councils. Only in this way can the basis be laid for a struggle, controlled by the working class itself towards an armed uprising against the ruling class and eventually the establishment of the power of the working class (the dictatorship of the proletariat).

Such a "Soviet" strategy (the term “Soviet” 'means “Council” in Russian) – i.e. a strategy for the establishment and development of councils as a central pillar of the orientation – must be an integral part of the revolutionary programme of liberating the working class. It is an indispensable means of the working class and the oppressed to control the fight and the social transformation and to resist against the inevitable attempts of domination and oppression by the bureaucracy.



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