[Marxism] Is economic struggle subversive?
paraichackett at gmail.com
Fri Oct 14 05:46:13 MDT 2016
Economic struggles have a spontaneous character. They are not political
struggles although they may have political implications. They are struggles
that pursue demands that can be facilitated within the context of
capitalism. They do not challenge capitalism.
Workers on strike in pursuit of a wage increase is merely "the collective
struggle of the workers against their employers for better terms in the
sale of their labour-power" (404) It has nothing, as such, to do with the
abolition of labour power as a commodity. This means that it has nothing,
as such, to do with the abolition of capitalism. It is a tacit acceptance
of capitalist relations. Even if the working class become increasingly
militant in its struggle for better terms in the sale of its labour power
it is still struggling for demands that are realisable from within the
capitalist economic system.
This applies too to the Right2Water campaign in Ireland despite its popular
and even militant character. It is an economic campaign the aim of which is
realisable within the capitalist economic system. It does not constitute a
challenge to the state nor even the government itself.
The problem is that much of the Left presents these struggles as a
challenge to the state. It lends these struggles a political character
which they plainly dont have. They are essentially bourgeois struggles in
that they seek concessions within the context of bourgeois society. They
dont transcend the limits of capitalism. This misrepresentation of reality
by the Left restricts struggle by presenting "bourgeois" struggles as a
challenge to the system. This, instead of promoting the development of
class struggle, retards struggle confining it within the framework of
capitalism. The most militant of workers can have reactionary politics.
Just because an individual is against the imposition of water charges does
not necessarily mean that this individual seeks the abolition of capital. A
supporter of the government may be, not inconsistently, against water
charges. Just because there is a mass movement against the imposition of
water charges does not necessarily mean that the masses are becoming class
conscious. Just because a worker strikes work in pursuit of a wage increase
does not mean that worker is hostile to capitalism. Even politically
reactionary workers go on strike.
By characterising economic struggle as a challenge to the system the Left
is attempting to misleadingly "politicise" economic struggle. Such false
politicisation forms part of an attempt to present what is essentially a
"bourgeois" form of struggle as an anti-bourgeois form of struggle. In that
way the fake Left is an obstacle to the development of class struggle. It
is to constrain subversion within the limits of capitalism thereby denying
the possibility of social revolution. Lenin called this politics economism.
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