Manifesto for Revolutionary Liberation: Chapter VI. Work in Mass Organizations and the United Front Tactic



The necessary struggle against reformism and populism must under no circumstances be confused with any form of sectarianism towards the mass organizations of the working class. In a period of rising class struggle, in light of the dominance of reformist and populist bureaucracies in workers’ and popular mass organizations on the one hand, and the small size of authentic revolutionary forces on the other, the application of the united front tactic plays a central place in the revolutionaries’ arsenal. It is a fundamental element in achieving the strategic goal of breaking the working class away from the treacherous labor bureaucracy. Such tactics must be focused on practical activities and should include mobilizing and organizing ordinary members, placing demands on leaders, warning the workers against having any illusions in the bureaucratic leadership, in addition to independent agitation and propaganda. Thus, the united front tactic must go hand in hand with the sharp denunciation of the entire bureaucracy, reformist and/or populist, and the steadfast refusal to form any strategic bloc with any ostensibly “left” faction of the bureaucracy. This is the only way to defend the political independence of the working class from all bourgeois influence.


It remains crucial to work within the unions and other workers’ and popular mass organizations in order to revolutionize them. Communists should therefore organize themselves into factions and assist in building a broad rank-and-file movement to fight against the privileged bureaucracy and to ultimately oust it. However, revolutionaries are also aware that the unions usually organize only a small minority of the working class. In addition, unions are often dominated by the labor aristocracy or by the more affluent sectors of the proletariat. Hence, it is crucial during struggles to use all opportunities to form factory committees and similar bodies in order to broaden the base of organized workers. Furthermore, revolutionaries must strive to organize the lower strata of the working class and the oppressed layers within the unions as well as ensure that representatives of these layers achieve leadership positions so that the dominance of the aristocratic layer can be eliminated.


Such an orientation to the lower strata of the working class and the oppressed is particularly crucial in the present period, when many social democrats, Stalinist and centrist parties are more than ever dominated by sectors of the labor aristocracy and middle class intellectuals. This has resulted in the creation of a culture of “elitism” and “aristocratism” within the petty-bourgeois left milieu, rife with arrogance towards the lower strata of the proletariat, the migrants and the oppressed, and totally isolated from these sectors.


In contrast to such elitism, the RCIT directs its efforts in building revolutionary parties primarily to the proletariat of the South and to the lower strata of the working class and the oppressed in the imperialist countries.


The decline and degeneration of the reformist parties, the complete absence of any workers’ party in many countries, and the intensifying class struggle all make the application of the united front tactic in the field extremely urgent. In countries, where no bourgeois workers’ party (not even a reformist one) exists or where the existing bourgeois workers’ parties are already so degenerated that they repel the workers’ vanguard, revolutionaries call upon the workers’ vanguard and mass organizations to found a new workers’ party (or “Labor Party”). In the struggle for such new workers’ parties, interim stages are certainly conceivable. Revolutionaries might initially support alliances towards such a goal or the foundation of new organizations of oppressed layers (e.g., migrant organizations) which could also stand at elections. In addition, entry into existing reformist or petty-bourgeois parties as a faction, on the basis of a revolutionary program, is also a legitimate tactic.


We have seen attempts to found new workers’ parties in Brazil in the 1980s and currently in South Africa and Bolivia. The Brazilian example of Lula’s PT demonstrates that revolutionaries have to fight against the danger of a reformist degeneration of any new workers’ party. They should do so by counterposing a revolutionary strategy, i.e., a full transitional program, as the program of the party, against the more “mainstream” reformist program. Revolutionaries should found a revolutionary tendency within such a party which will fight for the leadership of the party by exposing the betrayal of the reformists and the centrists in actual struggles. This can be done by putting forward a set of appropriate minimum and transitional demands which will unify and mobilize the workers and the oppressed against the capitalist class enemy. On such a basis, revolutionaries should use the tactic of the united front with other forces against the common enemy according to the principle “march separately, strike together.


However, revolutionaries must not be ultimatists. In other words, they don’t enter such a labor party, present their program and, if rejected, immediately leave the party. Such a sectarian tactic would only be in the service of reformist forces trying to control the party. Communists must attempt to win over rank and file workers and youth and left-wing forces within the party by proposing concrete campaigns which help to advance the class struggle and the political development of the party in a militant, socialist direction.


Of course, sooner or later the party will stand at a crossroads: either it will develop in a revolutionary direction and become a truly socialist party or it will degenerate bureaucratically and be transformed into a reformist force. When revolutionaries prove too weak to halt the reformist degeneration of such a party, they will be obliged to split away from it.



About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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