In the face of the ongoing historic crisis in the capitalist world system, workers in the United Kingdom are showing the way. With waves of strikes across key sectors, targeting service, transport, and logistics industries, workers around the country have taken the fight directly to Capital. The largest and most independent of the trade unions, namely the RMT and Unite, have led the charge, with many actions having taken the form of wildcat strikes and walk-outs, occurring without the support of union leadership. These workers are demonstrating in action the lesson taught by the history of the workers movement: that the crisis of capitalist society must be met with a workers' offensive and the struggle for a better world.
For decades, the capitalist mode of production has been locked in an inexorable decline. This decline has been navigated chiefly through fiscal and industrial policy designed to drive up investment through the deregulation of industry, the merger of state and corporate infrastructure, and the maintenance of low interest rates. This model of accumulation was premised upon a delicate system of globalised supply chains and internationalised production.
Thrown intro crisis by the combined body-blows of an international pandemic, a climactic crisis, and a land-war in Europe, this mode of accumulation has been broken beyond repair. With this breaking has come steeply rising prices, especially in essential goods and utilities. It is against these price rises, set alongside the existing low wages and declining property ownership, that the present class struggle has erupted. Beginning with the rail workers, thousands of workers are now participating in rolling strike actions directly or indirectly, opening a wave of class struggle unseen in a generation.
Workers in Australia should celebrate this wave of industrial activity, as well as the waves of successful unionisation campaigns in the United States. However, we should also think hard as to why the response to the cost of living crisis amongst the labour movement here has been comparatively weak. Despite similarly grim conditions, the labour movement has not reached anywhere close to a similar level of activity!
The blame for this fact lies at the feet of the trade unions themselves; having spent decades involved in the management of the neoliberal transformation of Australian capitalism, the union movement acts now as more of a barrier for worker activity than a tool for it. This weakness is made even more intense by the servile, corporatist relationship between the ACTU and the Labor Party. When Australian workers could have gone on the offensive in the face of a massive cost of living crisis, many sectors are being told to settle for mediocre wage growth by the governing Labor Party. In the Revolutionary Communist Organisation, we say: To Hell with the Labor Party and their Corporatist lackeys in the unions - the class needs to go on the offensive.
The lesson from Britain is simple, if we are willing to learn it: direct action by workers against capitalists gets the goods. Together, workers can organise, inside and outside the existing union movement, to bring the capitalist class to their knees - and to begin to imagine a world where we bring down the capitalist system of production itself.
Take the Fight to Capital! Smash the Corporatist Labor-ACTU-NUS Lackeys! For a Revolutionary Industrial Union movement and for a new Socialist Workers Party!