WHAT IS THE WORKERS' REPUBLIC? (1967)

Submitted by dalcassian on 10 May, 2014 - 6:21

The only road to the re-organisation of society is the conquest of state power by the working class.

The proletariat must take power, turn it against the class enemy, and use it as a lever to expropriate the exploiting classes and imperialism, establish the workers' Republic and begin the economic and social transformation — the building of socialism. The workers' conquest of power will not mean achieving majorities in bourgeois parliaments and installing socialist ministers to drive the existing state machinery.

Workers' power necessitates the breaking up of the political power of the bourgeoisie by the mass action of the armed working class, and the breaking up of the existing state apparatus which sanctifies and defends the exploiting class. The existing state machinery with its bourgeois-type army, led by bourgeois officers; its civil and political police — and in the North the sectarian special constables; its judges, prison warders and governors; its priests of the various persuasions and other ideologists; its civil service, functionaries and officials; its sham parliamentary democracy:- this will all be dismantled. Workers' Power means the disarming of the bourgeoisie and their officer castes and other reactionary armed groups — and the self-arming of the proletariat organised as a Citizen Red Army. It means the abolition of the bourgeois laws — with their typically bourgeois bias in favour of property against life — and law courts and it means their replacement by workers' law and proletarian courts. It means the secularisation of all state and social life: the elimination of all religious instruction in schools, the removal from religious institutions of all state patronage and subsidy, and the making of religion into a private matter in relation to society, thus finally eliminating in practice the sectarian rivalries which have helped imperialism and the Irish bourgeoisie to split the working class.

In short it means the elaboration of working class organs of administration of a new type, and with this the complete, transparent democratisation of all social life-best expressed in the replacement of bourgeois parliamentarianism by a regime of Workers' Councils, organised in a pyramid with immediate recall at each level as a guarantee of representativeness. All states before the October Revolution were organs of a ruling minority to suppress and manipulate the vast exploited majority and therefore functioned through a permanent bureaucracy attuned to the needs of the ruling class. The Workers' Republic is the rule of the majority, organised through the workers' councils, without standing army or permanent bureaucracy, needing repression initially only against the formerly exploiting minority. Therefore the character of this semi-state of the working class is radically different. Whereas bourgeois democracy is based on a state of exploitation of the vast majority, and is only an empty, legalist formula masking a bourgeois dictatorship, the Workers' Republic means real democracy, the reality of the controlling will of the proletariat: it is democracy by and for the working people against the exploiters.
In the Workers' Republic the means of life well be social property. The factories, mines, land, and means of transport and communication will be the common property of the people, controlled democratically. All imperialist economic holdings will be expropriated. Large-scale industry will be nationalised, as will the banks and insurance companies. (Nationalisation being understood as the transference of ownership to the workers' state under the direct socialist management of the working class. The existing state-capitalist enterprise will also be transformed into social property by the workers' state.)

Large estates and capitalist agricultural undertakings will be nationalised. There will be state monopoly of the wholesale trade, nationalisation for the use of the people of large houses in town and country. Small property, urban and rural, will not be expropriated, and non-exploiters will not be coerced. Only when the small farmers can see the advantages of amalgamations and large-scale agriculture and themselves desire this will there be any question of reorganisation here. Until that time, planning by the Workers' state will at least free the small farmer from the disastrous effects of the present anarchic capitalist system.

On a local level workers' management will be the rule; on a national level economic functions will be centralised in the hands of the democratically controlled Workers' state: the central and local will interact and mutually adjust to each other. For the first time a rational economy planned in the interests of the self-controlling working masses will be possible.

From "Towards an Irish October", the "Manifesto of the Irish Workers Group, September 1967.

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