The International Writers Magazine: Political Debate: Capitalism
Great Plan of Insurrection
The One Big Union
we can change the system without bloodshed, then we are truly
working class heroes.
When you look at
today's society, you will see one grave statistic. And that is the statistic
of the amount of people in poverty compared to the amount of people
in luxury. We see people working eight to twelve hours a day, getting
paid very poorly, given a very small allowance of what society produces,
and then on the other side, we see men and women buying expensive drinks,
clothes, houses, and cars. They are wealthy capitalists, or they are
corporate executives, or they are politicians. Their income allows them
to practice excess and have little time laboring. Whatever labor they
do, it is to aid companies and businesses in increasing the price of
food, increasing the price of housing, increasing the price of goods,
necessities, commodities, clothing, and services. It also aids these
businesses in paying their workers less, in laying off the least productive
workers, in making the work day of the average laborer more productive,
but also more stressful, more disappointing, and more overwhelming.
In one word or two, we can describe the activities of the wealthy class
as exploitive; they all seek, in one way or another, to make men labor
and create vast quantities of wealth for their economic masters. This
is the status of things, which every man of intellect will accept, which
every working person will sadly confess to, as every person concerned
in the processes of government, no matter what their class, will agree
upon. These are the way things are. It's extremely oppressive and without
any sense of natural justice. The way things are has become the enemy
of the working man, and we work everyday so that we can overthrow these
oppressive, exploitive relationships in society.
There is no doubt that the economy operates on this principle of exploitation.
Who will deny that there is a small sect of wealthy people who have
massive control over all of the produced wealth? Who will deny that
most working class individuals are poor, without means to make themselves
wealthy, without any direction in the economy except as a wage laborer?
Who will deny that the wealthy use their influence to bribe political
leaders, or use their wealth to support the campaign of a political
leader who will support their interests? Who will deny that the poverty
of the working man drives him to crime, to preying on his fellow man
to ease his pains that were caused by this system; that is to say, long
work hours, low pay, and the misery of cruel labor? These are arguments
that no serious person will ever doubt. These are not exaggerated statements.
This is the situation of America it exists now and as it will continue
to exist until we do something to change it. We, as Socialists and Leftists,
all seek to eliminate the Capitalist system.
The average person who looks at this, and agrees with these words, one
of the members of the common working class who identifies himself as
a Socialist and when reading all of these arguments, he is content with
the ideas, supportive of the measures, and a proponent of our initiatives.
"The means of production must become the collective property of
the public; there shall be no masters and no slaves in our society!"
But, he errs; he becomes a Marxist. His solution to the problem has
been to have a revolution of the voting poll; a swing shift of voters
attempting to elect Socialist party candidates. "All we have to
do is make tyranny illegal," the nominated Socialist declares to
a toast at his party headquarters. The working class soldiers rally
to the call, but they soon become unimpressed and lose faith in the
process of elections and campaigning. So long as a state exists, there
will be great compromises between the working class desires and the
interests of megacorporations and their billions of dollars of influence.
So long as there is a state, there will always be a hierarchy, there
will always be the dominating figure of authority threatening liberty,
there will be unfair class divisions of the ruling over the ruled. In
this regard, the government becomes our greatest enemy. And by government,
Anarchists mean all organizations that are based on authority and oppression,
on control and obedience. For all of these reasons, we have the understanding
that Democratic control of the law is the only just means of social
organization. It is the only method where the liberty of the average
citizen is guaranteed in a society based on equity and tolerance, the
precursors to a true freedom without leaders.
What then, I am asked, is the way in which we go about securing this
better future for ourselves? Every other reform movement or social issue
group in the past has worked towards legislation, lobbying, letter-writing.
The Prohibitionists worked on getting anti-liquor candidates in to office.
Many of the Civil Rights advocates lobbied to get anti-discrimination
laws passed. And, again, the Feminist movement has to thank the vocal
women who demanded the media not to glorify large-breasts or perfect
body images. All of these movements in the past have effectively changed
the status quo of society from their voting. It was the legislative
process of the system that allowed for their minority opinions to become
democratically important. I do not doubt the ability of the system to
make some small changes, as insignificant bartering techniques with
the working class, but the government never made any changes until they
had been created by the people. There was no serious discussion about
passing a Civil Rights bill in either the congress or the senate, until
news studios started to carry stories about police dogs ripping apart
African-American protestors who are demanding their liberty.
The government itself has never taken on any of these great public works
projects; it has never worked to improve the personality of mankind
or enhance the liberty of artists, poets, and inventors. The government
is, and always has been, the vanguard soldier of the past, ancient traditions
of our forefathers. It has always been the enemy of whatever progressive
policy brings to the table. Whether it's the case for Civil Rights,
the right for women to vote, the right of Homosexuals to be free of
job discrimination, or the right of the working man to receive a minimum
wage, it has always been opposed to by the government. The standing
order of old power and wealthy rulers have always been the bitter and
antagonistic enemies of these new changes. These changes always have
to be yanked out of the hands of the establishment, they must be demanded
with the powerful screams of a unified population; rights were never
allowed by the oppressor on to the oppressed. There was always struggle,
always battles, always social conflict. Once the popular movement of
change and revolution has become accepted by its own direct action does
the ruling class take notice. Only when there is serious pressure on
them or they will lose their job will they ever act on behalf of the
people. And while people are in the streets being beaten to death by
police officers with clubs and batons, these "representatives of
the people" are enjoying the plush seat of power, doing what they
can to smother the liberation movements.
Martin Luther King Jr. never ran for presidency. He never sought out
any office of any kind. His message was not a political one, but a social
one. He didn't drive his followers to the voting polls; he drove them
to the streets! "Make the people in this national community understand
our pain! Make the content people in their homes recognize that there
are these terrible tragedies being inflicted on minority citizens! Be
the change you seek in society!" The Socialist will tell you things
will change by a new system of government, "one that breaks the
seemingly concrete trend of governments oppressing the people."
What the workers must do is organize. They must work together and perform
all matters and means of strike, boycott, and picket. As unionists,
a group of people combined to express their interest as a group, we
will be able to stop the entire structure of Capitalism.
To survive, all businesses need labor. Without it, their factories will
not get operated, their fields will not get farmed, their stores will
not get stocked. If one business in an industry comes to a quick halt,
the entire economical chain becomes unbalanced. The master corporations
of the economy start to lose money, and they sense themselves losing
power, and willing to give in to any deal so that they can start making
their wealth back. But, if a union is smart, and federates itself with
other unions of the same industry, then an entire industry can go on
strike. For however long, necessities like coal, food, clothing, or
oil will be completely rare. Society begs its masters to give in to
the demands of the unionists, as the masters themselves suffer greatly.
And the Capitalists quickly try to settle the matter; they strike an
agreement with their workers for higher wages, lower hours, and job
security. Liberals in office increase the minimum wage by $.25, but
unions gain $3.00 per hour in collective bargaining agreements.
As unionists, we are men and women who are united together because we
believe we are the common victim of this senseless social machine. We
are citizens, students, thinkers, and friends. We make up the community
and are the ones who are most concerned in alleviating the problems
of everyday social life. The power of decision-making should not be
in the hands of a few select who hold no care or concern for the workers.
The power of decision-making should be in the hands of the people, in
a completely democratic system where every person creates policy, as
opposed to only the wealthiest creating policy. In supporting these
ideals, as unionists, we also support the activities of Anarchists.
Those stencilists, nighttime painters, these masters of graffiti and
amateurs of the bomb, these pamphleteers and friends of the world. These
are individuals who support libertarian organization, based on the idea
of cooperating to obtain a common end, in this case, in abolishing capitalism.
They are the protestors, the picket line extras, the weekend pamphleteers,
the squatters, the shoplifters, the inner city drummers. As an Anarchist
and a worker, I feel I am obligated to organize fellow workers in mutual,
cooperative efforts to increase our wages and our working conditions.
So should every worker. It is only by working day to day, earning the
trust of fellow workers, and then organizing in a mutual, cooperative
manner to obtain a better state of society, a better organization of
Not only would this method of worker self-organization and cooperation
help in obtaining the interests of the working class, but it would prepare
the worker for his new role in a better society, in a better world.
By working together as strikers, boycotters, and picketers, we are forcing
our oppressors to make concessions to us, we are forcing them to give
in to our demands and change the status quo. Above all, though, we are
managing to obtain our ends without resorting to violence. No doubt,
we must support our fellow comrades who use physical destruction without
harming anyone, but we are all good and kind individuals of a peaceful,
cooperative, and non-violent culture. If we can achieve political change
without arming ourselves, we feel that we have accomplished an even
more powerful goal. We showed the world how we can achieve political
and social change by non-violent methods. The Bolsheviks achieved their
political power by military uprisings. They gained power only through
the gun and the soldier. Once they had gained this power, the public
wanted them out of office. Lenin, the leader of this so-called Army
of the People's Republic, ignored the vote and seized power. Those leaders,
who wanted to get prosperity, equity, and liberty for their people,
as social and economic units, those leaders were often apt to becoming
corrupt, cruel tyrants. This is not always the case, but there is certainly
the possibility of it. For this reason, we support social and political
change from the position of Direct Action, by striking, boycotting,
and picketing; the real ends of cooperation in an economic sense for
the good of our working class. If we can change the system, then we
are worthy of the title revolutionary, but if we can change the system
without bloodshed, then we are truly working class heroes.
If we look at the situation from every perspective, we will realize
that the means of the strike is simply a method of civil disobedience.
We are very much like those protestors who lock arms and disallow entrance
to certain buildings, like those people who chain themselves to the
doors of certain buildings, like those who form road blocks and march
in streets and hold signs on the lawn of the capital of the nation.
These activities prevent them from building and gaining power effectively.
If we, for example, were to have the entire paper industry on strike,
then all of those offices, stores, and other businesses that rely on
paper would also be unable to function. We would prevent taxes in the
form of sales tax, income tax, or social security tax. People wouldn't
be able to work or behave as they would in a normal system of human
relations. So, the great and abominable Capitalist class falls to its
knees, agrees to new contract and negotiation talks, and the strikers
are allowed back at their jobs. The strike worked. The union succeeded.
It was all because of the strength of the workers, in their boldness
of their character that lets them risk employment to achieve a better
world, in their loyalty to their fellow workers and their refusal to
purchase products from oppressive corporations. By these traits, the
working class will only be able to soar and create the type of society
that at present we are only capable of dreaming of.
With all of this theory understood, with a common ground to stand with
all others that you call your friends and allies, there is the question
of title. What exactly is this movement of the working class? When many
people look at the working class, they are content to believe that they
are looking at people with hard habits, with rusty culture, with malnourished
humor. They feel that a hard day's work and a quick instinct for alcohol
will make a man become thick minded and thick hearted. Those of us who
know that we are being ripped off by this system of commodities and
wage-slavery, we have agreed upon some very uniform principles in our
revolution. We believe in a class unity, in a unity of all working people,
without prejudice of race or skin color or nationality or religion,
and I believe in the organization of these people in order to express
the will of the general population. With our knowledge of authors, writers,
and philosophers of the past, of Bakunin, Goldman, Malatesta, Proudhon,
Godwin, and Paine, we have decided to call ourselves Anarcho-Syndicalists,
Unionists, Direct Actionists, Libertarians, or sometimes just Anarchists.
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