On this International Workers Day, the Virginia Worker Editorial Board calls for this draft document to unify the left wing of the Virginia working class and begin the task of constructing a workers party and militant state-level labor movement
The following points are meant to form the basis of unity among Virginia workers both inside and outside the unions as we work towards cohereing a Workers Party of Virginia. The lack of a workers party is detrimental to the class and our ability to build political power, raise class consciousness, and win real concessions from capitalists and their government.
This is in tandem with the construction of a strong workers movement across the commonwealth. We cannot have one without the other based on a proper footing which provides a course correction away from the liberal politics which dominate the weak labor movement in our state.
The marginal leftist parties with a presence in Virginia either engage in opportunism by tailing/integrating with the Democrat Party or engage in political indifferentism by abstaining from the electoral arena altogether. Until a real bloc of the left wing of workers unites around a common program which maintains class independence at all sites of struggle – especially in the Democrat controlled unions – workers will continue to remain passive spectators to the machinations of capitalists, their parties, and their politics which keep workers subjugated in all facets of life.
We call on all workers to engage in this document, sign on, and dialogue with these proposed points as we work towards the establishment of an organizing committee for the formation of a Workers Party of Virginia. We welcome all feedback and look forward to further discussion and debate over these points.
- Recognition of the class struggle: Without such a starting point, no independent class party or movement can be formed. The working class and the capitalist class have nothing in common.
- Abolition of the wage system: The ultimate interest of the working class is its own dissolution and class itself, in other words for class emancipation.
- For political independence from capitalist parties: Keeping workers tied to the Democrats and their politics means no class power in our state and the continued domination of liberalism within the unions.
- For the formation of an independent workers party: In order to break the dominance of Democrats in the unions and the class in Virginia we need a party of our own.
- Against reformism: While participation in elections of the capitalist state can be an important avenue of struggle, this by itself is insufficient. Only a revolution that establishes workers’ control can do away with capitalism and set the stage for socialism. Reforms are won and defended through the revolutionary class struggle, not the opposite.
- Against the labor bureaucracy: The stratum of paid bureaucrats within the unions is inherently a conservative, pro-capitalist force inside the class which betrays the interests of workers both in the unions and among the global working class.
- For worker internationalism, against nationalism: Workers have no nation, our interests are the interests of the global working class as a whole. Nationalism only serves the interests of capitalists and the destruction of the working class.
- Against limitations of the strike, for mass strikes, political strikes, and sympathy strikes: The strike remains the most powerful tool workers have to win concessions from capitalists and their government. It’s no coincidence the decline of strike activity for generations corresponds with the decline of unionization rates, and the decline in living standards for the working class. Workers must reject no-strike clauses advocated by labor bureaucrats, as well as reject capitalist law which attempts to restrict the strike.
- Fight for leadership and bore from within the business unions, create new red unions: The default union leadership in the unions serve the interests of capitalists and their government. Militant workers must struggle to root them out and prepare for the possible expulsion of such workers by opportunist union leadership. New unions will need to be formed where the business unions lack any desire to organize the unorganized.
- No police, prison guards, landlords in the workers movement: Just as the labor bureaucracy sides with capitalists and their government, so do the so-called “workers” who serve the capitalist state – such as cops and prison guards. Workers who function as parasites on other workers through rent-extraction also side with capitalist government. All of the above must be excluded from a workers movement and party which seeks class emancipation.
- For the arming and defense of the working class: Capitalist government and their representatives do seek to disarm workers, both through the restriction of the strike and the restriction to practice armed defense. As the class struggle heightens it will become more crucial for workers to be organized with the capacity for collective armed defense against capitalists and their lackeys, whether they be cops, fascists, or general reactionaries who seek to suppress a militant workers movement.
- Against all divisions within the working class ex: race, gender, skillset, immigration status: Solidarity is the building block of working class power. Capitalists have long known that promoting racism, sexism, elitism, homophobia, transphobia, etc within the working class has historically been useful to keep workers weak. United we stand, divided we fall.
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