labour aristocracy cont.

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at
Mon Feb 3 17:03:32 MST 2003

"Sorry, I should have been more explicit. >>To elaborate on this, it is a
*fact* that not a single revolutionary party in a G7 type country has
recruited significant numbers of industrial workers since the end of

I've already said this is true and important. It just doesn't validate a
theory Lenin developed during WWI. Because at that time, the
revolutionaries were highly successful in recruiting workers in the west.
In fact they recruited workers in America, and those workers were a lot
better off than plantation workers in Honduras.

"Tom, we had an opportunity to begin to recruit workers in the 1960s, but
foolish organizational conceptions squandered whatever chance we had to
build a working class revolutionary party, even on a modest scale."

This has its measure of truth. I was part of it. But it's also true that we
were starting from scratch and had very little healthy living tradition to
learn from. I found myself leading a left group in Australia, and what the
fuck did I know? Which in turn brings us back to bigger historical and
material factors.

It's also true that the wave of working class struggle subsided after a few
years. The last high point was the Portuguese revolution. In Australia, the
militancy continued relatively late but ended in major defeats which I
doubt can be blamed on left groups. Since 1981 strike levels have fallen
relentlessly and are now at very low levels.

"Since you think nothing was done wrong in the 1960s"

A million things were done wrong, many of them by the far left, some by me
personally* (happy now?) but the question is why something more viable than
the Sparts or the SWP or my own current didn't emerge and do the right
things. (*I will never live down writing a document entitled
"Industrialisation - the Road to A Workers' Combat Organisation". This for
a group of 15 members.)

I suggest that part of getting away from the sect mentality is to stop
gnashing our teeth about those people with the hammer and sickle on their
paper. They are minor players in history.

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