Solidarity with the "Occupy Wall Street" Movement! Expropriate Wall Street!


Resolution of the Revolutionary Workers Collective (USA), 7.10.2011


1. For weeks Wall Street has been occupied by hundreds, sometimes thousands of activists. Tens of thousands have participated in the recent demonstrations. Their slogan is "We are the 99%" i.e. the 99% of the population that have as much assets as the richest 1% alone. Almost every day there are meetings, lectures, demonstrations and other actions. What initially was a movement dominated by students has become a mass movement as the activists have sympathy and support from large segments of the populations. Workers, the unemployed, and the salaried middle class have all joined the movement.


2. We, the Revolutionary Workers Collective, stand in full solidarity with the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. We reject all forms of police repression against the activists and demonstrators. We urge the unions and all other labor organizations to follow suit and show solidarity-not just in words, but in actions!


3. The "Occupy Wall Street" movement is a spontaneous mass movement. It is currently experiencing a massive upswing which is expressed not only in an increase of demonstrators. Every day there are new expressions of solidarity in both the US and globally. The support of various trade unions, such as the United Steel Workers union and the Teamsters, is particularly impressive. There have even been declarations of solidarity from China and preparations for a mass protest on October 15th. An occupation movement in Toronto has also developed. The activists in the US were inspired by the Arab spring and are now inspiring others around the world.


4. It has also made reference to the occupation movement in Spain and other protests that have occurred in Europe this year. "Occupy Wall Street" is also no longer limited locally. There are now solidarity actions occurring in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver and around 60 other cities in nearly 30 states. In various statements that have come out of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement global solidarity is called for and the common interests of the global 99% are stressed. This is a mass movement that presents itself in an international context. The international demands are a key achievement of the movement. The ruling class of the US has maintained its worldwide supremacy through massive military oppression and through economic exploitation of large parts of the world. The working class and the youth of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement show the world their internationalist attitude of brotherhood of all workers and oppressed through their actions. They impressively demonstrate that it is not the arrogance of the workers, but rather the policy of the capitalists that has provoked the hatred of the oppressed against the United States as an imperialist superpower for decades.


5. The grass roots character of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is emphasized by its spontaneity. Large sections of the movement reject any participation of political parties and organizations, like the occupation movement in Spain, on principle. Especially politicians of the Democratic Party have often tried to use it for mass movements themselves. Barack Obama's slogan "Yes we can!" is the same which the mass movement of immigrants used for years in the U.S. on May Day, ("Si, se puede!"). The rejection by the activists is therefore understandable. The danger really exists that real bourgeois parties utilize this movement. However the answer to this problem must not be rejecting of any political organization but rather the construction of a new party, a party of workers and young people which arises from the ranks of the current mass movement and learns from its experiences. We as revolutionary communists are working to ensure that the program and the whole policy of such a party is consistently proletarian and revolutionary communist. A new workers' party based on a revolutionary program would be able to lead the masses in their struggle and to fight for the right tactics at the right time. Such a party would be address one of the central problems of the U.S. labor movement: the struggle within the unions against the slavish dependence on the bureaucracy of the Democratic Party and to win the unions for building a new workers' party.


6. Because of the spontaneous and still limited nature of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement a central task must be to build structures for self-organization. We now need action committees, which form not only spontaneously on the occupied places to plan democratically and carry out of actions. Such committees should also be formed in the work places, in schools and universities to expand the struggle to the enterprises and the education sector. Such structures must be used to organize themselves democratically and also to elect representatives to regional meetings and conferences. They should be chosen from their own ranks and under the direct control of the masses - being recallable at any time. Such action committees can provide the basis for choosing higher forms of protest to realize the demands. Even to repulse the attacks on social and health services strikes, mass strikes up to a general strike are necessary. Because in the long run a occupation of a central place, even if it is very large, in combination with mass demonstrations will not be sufficient to implement the movement's demands.


7. The demands of "Occupy Wall Street" correctly go far beyond various economic reforms. It denounces the US ruling class as being corrupt, leading imperialist wars, putting profits before people, carry on a monopolization at the expense of the farmers, discriminating workers on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin and sexuality, selling out the education system, and reducing the working and living conditions for our class, the working class. It takes more than an occupation of space to change all of this. It takes a massive blow against the heart of the ruling class, against their state and economy.


8. The central task for the movement in the coming days and weeks is to discuss and decide on an action program. Such a program on one hand must include concrete and immediate demands to fight for the most urgent needs of the people. These include demands against any cuts in pensions and the social and health sectors, against layoffs and pay cuts, against the undermining of trade union rights, against the omnipotence of high-handed police and other organs of the state apparatus, etc. On the other hand, the movement also must have central slogans which focus on the key challenges of the capitalist crisis. These include the nationalization of the banks and financial institutions under the control of the workers, the cancellation of all debts and the abolition of the stock market and the nationalization of assets traded there with full compensation for all small shareholders. The fight for a public employment program to eliminate unemployment and to improve the infrastructure is equally important.


9. The slogan for the expropriation of the rich is particularly important because Wall Street and the rich elite cannot be controlled by reforms and regulations. This is an illusion that many activists in the movement believe. But those who have the money also have the power. Big capital corrupts the state apparatus and politicians in many ways. Can we seriously think that the government officials and congressmen – who are corrupted by lobbying, campaign contributions, benefits and career prospects in the private sector – would control Wall Street and the corporations? Nor is it possible to create a fundamental reorientation of the economy and society with a tax on the rich. Such a tax does not procure the necessary means and it lets the rich use their ability to find loopholes or transfer capital abroad. Only by expropriating the capitalist class can the economy be brought under the control of the working masses. Such an expropriation is ultimately only possible through a socialist revolution – i.e. through the violent overthrow of the ruling class by the working class and the oppressed – and the establishment of council based democratic, socialist society. In such a socialist society the political decisions would not be made by detached parliaments but by councils whose delegates can always be controlled by the masses.


10. The ruling class will do everything in their power to prevent such a development. They will mobilize their full repressive apparatus including policy and the military and mount a massive agitation against the activists. It is therefore important that the pacifist illusions that currently exist inside the movement are given up. In a sense the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is reminiscent of the anti-globalization movement of the 2000's though it is more developed at a political level. But if the movement does not overcome the pacifist policy, which makes it impossible to achieve higher forms of resistance like strikes and general strikes, it is doomed to failure. The ruling class and the media still propagate the US as the "leader of the world" and the president as "the most powerful man in the world." In contrast to the ruling class of the US which is hated around the world, the working class and youth can now become a model for the world proletariat. It can take the path that will ultimately lead to the overthrow of the ruling class: from occupations and strikes, to an indefinite general strike, to an armed uprising. By this the movement might realize what they desire for: "This will be a great step towards reclaiming power for the working class. Those who profit off the suffering of others will held accountable. We are the 99%, and we are too big to fail.” But it is also a road for which the ruling class will demand a massive death toll.


11. Even during the movement's peaceful protests on October 1st at the Brooklyn Bridge there was a major police operation including batons, pepper spray, and the arrest of 700 activists! How will the ruling class respond when the movement takes actions which really hurt it? It must therefore build self-defense units in order to defend themselves against the police. Maybe the movement succeeds in bringing one or the other officers to the side of the protests. But the police force as such is there for the suppression of the activists. Ultimately it must be smashed and replaced by higher forms of self-defense units, namely by armed militias of the workers and the oppressed. Otherwise the cops in their absolute majority will do what is their task: to break our resistance with violence.


12. The US labor movement, unions, etc. do not have such a rich tradition of class struggle as the workers' movement in Europe does. The weaknesses of the labor movement also means that also the bureaucracy is weaker, but not less dangerous. The reformist approach of the bureaucracy, their appeasement policy and their sellout of the interests of the workers for their personal gain make them enemies in the ranks of the labor movement. To build a really strong, vibrant and militant labor movement in the US we need to organize at the grassroots. Inside the labor movement we need mass meetings, direct election of representatives who are accountable and can be replaced if necessary at any time. Ultimately it needs a strong labor movement and a revolutionary workers party with roots in the masses in order to accomplish the overthrow of the ruling class through a revolution. In this way it is possible to set up a society as the "Occupy Wall Street" movement wishes for: a society of justice for the masses and the extinction of racial, sexist and any other form of oppression – a society in the interests of the working class, a socialist society. For such a society we the Revolutionary Workers Collective fight together with our sister organizations – the Revolutionary Communist Organization for the Liberation (Austria), the United Lankan Workers Party (Sri Lanka) and the Revolutionary Workers Organization (Pakistan). To conduct this struggle internationally, we strive for the building of a revolutionary workers' 5th International.