Britain: For a General Strike to Bring Down the Cameron Government! For a Workers’ Government! For a Constituent Assembly!
Fight against the corrupt Parliament which is inextricably linked with Big Business! Build Peoples’ Assemblies and Action Committees to organise the struggle throughout the country!
Statement of British Supporters of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT Britain), 14.4.2016, https://rcitbritain.wordpress.com/
1. The Cameron government faces its biggest crisis until now. It has become highly unpopular in the wake of never-ending austerity attacks, its unpopular desire to keep Britain inside the European Union and, more recently, the scandal surrounding the shady business affairs of Cameron and his family which have become public with the publication of the Panama Papers.
2. In reaction to this scandal, thousands of people have spontaneously demonstrated in front of Downing Street to express their disgust for Prime Minister Cameron. Many more will march on 16 April at the Peoples’ Assembly demonstration. There is mass outrage among the workers, migrants and youth against the corruption and the profound lack of real democracy in Britain. Similar protests are currently taking place in South African and the US (dubbed “Democracy Spring”).
3. This revelation of the Panama Papers demonstrates once more the enormous degree of corruption in the highest ranks of bourgeois politicians and their close links with Big Business. It illustrates how little democracy there is in imperialism’s bourgeois “democracy.” The government is above any control by the people and is closely connected with the capitalist class via numerous personal and commercial links. Ministers and parliamentarians receive astronomical incomes many times higher than the average wage of a British or migrant worker. In addition, the workers in our country have to foot the bill for the so-called House of Lords and the whole decadent institution of the monarchy. Indeed, bourgeois “democracy” hides behind its self-righteous façade what is actually a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie” (Lenin) against the working people. Real democracy can only be achieved if the working class – the vast majority of the people – unites and overthrows the ruling class and replaces bourgeois pseudo-democracy with authentic democracy: a workers’ government based on popular councils and militias which opens the road to socialism.
4. Shamefully, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has not even called for the resignation of Cameron. Obviously the Labour leadership wants to avoid an escalation of the domestic political crisis. This reflects the unwillingness of Corbyn and the left-reformist bureaucrats to wage a consistent struggle against the government. This is because these party bureaucrats are inextricably connected with the capitalist state apparatus and big business. Instead of immediate confrontation with the bourgeois state, they prefer to wait for the next elections scheduled to take place in 2020! But the workers, migrants and youth cannot wait another four years during which their incomes and subsidies will be cut and their jobs increasingly threatened, while politicians unabashedly enrich themselves at our expense!
5. The RCIT calls for the formation of people’s assemblies and action committees to organise the struggle throughout the country. Their main goal should be to organize mass demonstrations and an indefinite general strike in order to bring down the Cameron government. The road ahead is to confront and defeat the government on the streets and in the workplaces, not by means of political manoeuvring behind the scene. Socialists should demand that the leaderships of the Labour Party and the TUC organize such mass actions to bring down the government!
6. We also reject the orientation of various left-reformists and centrists who raise the call for new parliamentary elections. We think this is a cul-de-sac, since it focuses the attention of the workers and youth to the parliamentary field which is dominated by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.
7. Instead, the RCIT Britain raises the slogan of a Constituent Assembly. Such an assembly would have the task of discussing the political and social system in which the people of Britain wish to live. There must be no pre-conditions on what type of constitution and what laws are possible. In particular, there should be no a priori commitment to protect of the property of the rich, the capitalists, and the financial institutions. Such a Constituent Assembly should be based on direct democracy grounded in workplace and residential constituencies; delegates should be elected proportionate to the numbers in each constituency; any delegate should be subject to instant recall if deemed appropriate by the electorate he or she represents; and each delegate must earn no more than the wage of an average skilled worker. After elaborating a new constitution, such a Constituent Assembly would dissolve itself.
8. Naturally, the RCIT Britain considers it the duty of authentic socialists to argue inside such a Constituent Assembly for a program of revolutionary transition to socialism. The Constituent Assembly is not a government or a new parliament. It is only a temporary forum for debate to decide about a new constitution.
9. The slogan of a Constituent Assembly is the highest form of revolutionary democracy. It does not negate the need for revolutionaries to fight for a workers’ government based on popular councils and militias. But it is a slogan which relates to the current democratic illusions among many workers and youth in Britain, without falling into the reformist trap (like the slogan for new elections does).
10. We expect various centrists to vehemently reject the slogan of a Constituent Assembly, pleading that such a slogan would deflect the workers attention from the struggle for a workers’ government and socialism. However, this is entirely wrong and rather reflects the economistic limitations of such groups. This slogan is not counterposed to a workers’ government (just as it was not the case in 1917 Russia, 1931-36 Spain, or in Latin America in the past decades). Rather it will advance the struggle for such a workers’ government since the ruling class will do everything possible to prevent the election of such a Constituent Assembly. However, given the massive democratic illusions among the vast majority of the workers and youth, it is obligatory for socialists to advance slogans which relate to such illusions. The task is to raise revolutionary-democratic slogans which are opposed to bourgeois parliamentarism and to win the vanguard of the working class over to such a perspective. The RCIT Britain asks all militants who share such a perspective to join us in this struggle!
Postscript: We draw our readers’ attention to the RCIT’s program where we already envisioned a situation which might raise the need for a slogan calling for the Constituent Assembly. “Where there are basic issues of political sovereignty on the agenda and there is still no awareness among the masses about the superiority of proletarian council democracy, in certain phases the slogan of a revolutionary Constituent Assembly can be important. Bolsheviks-Communists advocate that the delegates should be controllable and open to recall by its people. Thus such a Constituent Assembly cannot easily become an instrument of the ruling class, they should not be called by a bourgeois government, but by a revolutionary government of workers and peasants’ councils.” (RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, p. 46, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-manifesto/revolutionary-struggle-for-democracy/)