Labor Action special May 1955: The Working Class is Key

The Working Class is Key

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 17:40

From 1950 to 1957, each May Labor Action, the paper of the "Third Camp" Trotskyists, the Independent Socialist League, gave over a week's publication to a special "pamphlet issue" on a big political question. This is the May 1955 special.

Why Socialists look to the Working Class as the Force for Social Progress

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 17:16

Hal Draper

For social change toward a better world, socialists believe the most important and indeed decisive social force is the struggle of the working class. Why the working class? Why do socialists believe there is a special connection between their own great goal of a new society and the interests of labor, this one segment of society?

Is it because we "idealize" workers as being better, or more clever, or more honest, or more courageous, or more humanitarian, than non-workers?

Isn't it rather true that the workers have time and time again followed reactionary courses and leaders and have by no

The Special U.S. Background

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 16:43

The American labor movement is different from the labor movement in any other country. One of the ways in which it differs most strikingly from most other national labor movements in the capitalist portion of the world is that it is non-socialist and even anti-socialist. How do American socialists account for this fact?

Most important of all, doesn't this non-socialist character of the American working class contradict the socialist analysis of capitalist society and prove that, in America at least, socialism is a Utopian ideal with no real political future? The enemies and critics of

The Class Struggle and the Trade Unions

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 16:28

"There is no class struggle in America": This precept now belongs in the American catechism along with the little boy who chopped down the cherry tree but wouldn't lie.

And, as prescribed by the official Way of Life, unions obstinately refuse to "recognize" the class struggle and boast proudly that they remain aloof from it. But it "recognizes" the unions; in fact, it creates them. Despite the most sincere protestations of labor officials, unions practice the class struggle and a hundred times a day demonstrate its persistence.

In his recent quest for a smattering of respectability, Walter

The Working Class: Bulwark of Democracy

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 16:06

The fate of the working class depends upon democracy, and the fate of democracy depends upon the working class. This simple truth illuminates all problems of modern politics. Where labor enjoys democracy, it will fight tenaciously to preserve it. Where it has lost democracy, its first goal becomes its restoration.

It is fashionable sometimes to say that we must choose between the "security" of totalitarianism and the "freedom" of capitalism. Nothing could be more deceptive. For the working class, security and democracy are inseparable. When totalitarianism is imposed upon it, labor loses all

What Socialists want in the Trade Unions

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 15:06

Trade unions are first formed to achieve simple aims: to win higher wages, to seek shorter hours, to improve working conditions. But these simple goals are only the beginning. As unions become stronger, as the working class becomes
larger, new and far more complicated tasks are forced upon them.

In common with all thinking militants in the labor movement, socialists try to understand the connection between the original basic aims of the trade unions and the broader problems which concern organized labor. Historically, socialists have always been among the most active organizers of the trade

The Enemy Within: The Stalinist threat to labor and the unions.

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 14:35

Confusion and ignorance on the nature of the Stalinist phenomenon penetrates all areas of contemporary political activity. If that is true of the summits of political rule in the West and elsewhere, it is just as true of most of the labor
movements of the world. The confusion, ignorance and, above all, perplexity of the bourgeois world in meeting the challenge of Stalinism, has understandable class roots. It looks upon the Stalinist world solely as a revolutionary threat to capitalism. And the bourgeoisie is correct in looking on Stalinism as a threat to itself, even though it fails just the

Independent political action - The Next Step: labor's own party

Published on: Tue, 08/10/2013 - 14:21

"We live in a world where everybody is bound to take care of himself. Yet the English working class allows the landlord, capitalist, and retail trading classes, with their tail of lawyers, newspaper writers, etc., to take care of its interests. No wonder reforms in the interests of the workman come so slow and in such miserable dribbles.

The working people of England have but to will, and they are the masters to carry every reform, social and political, which their situation requires. Then why not make that effort?"

The question with which Frederick Engels ended his article "A Workingmen's

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