WSF (1999): “Libertarian Socialism (Anarchism): What we Believe – Libertarian Socialism and Workers Control”
From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 5, number 1, second quarter 1999. Complete PDF is here
The WSF is founded on the basic principle that the Working Class (the workers, the unemployed, ordinary soldiers, and the families of these groups) must FIGHT the bosses and politicians and top government officials. The society we live in is based on the rich exploiting the poor.
The rich – the bosses and politicians and top officials – live off the sweat of the Working Class. The rich are what we call the Ruling Class. Together they RULE the country. Your vote means nothing. The real decisions are made by the Ruling Class. The government is not a democratic structure open to the control of ordinary people. Instead, government is controlled behind the scenes by the Ruling Class. Elections are a fraud to distract people from the truth. The politicians are professional liars who aim to feather their own nests while making and breaking all sorts of promises to the Working Class. Successful politicians become bosses. Unsuccessful politicians want to become bosses.
In reality, every government policy is set by the Ruling Class to serve its own interests. The police and army exist to uphold the Ruling Class. If you strike, the cops might arrest you. If your boss fires you, the cops will support him. The law contains a few protections for workers, but as a whole, it is anti-worker. It is law that you cannot strike against retrenchments. It is law that the farmers can evict the farm workers. It is law that you can be paid low wages. The law is supposed to stop crime, but it protects the greatest criminals in human history – the Ruling Class. A boss who exploits and kills workers through unsafe conditions will not be arrested. At most he will pay a small fine. The mines have killed 50,000 workers over the last 100 years, yet Harry Oppenheimer is as free as a bird. The government serves him and his rich friends.
The bosses get rich through robbery. If you work in a car factory, you may do work that is worth R10,000 a month – for example, machining parts. But at the end of the month you will only get R2,000. The boss keeps the rest. This is how the bosses get rich. The bosses are at war with each other. Every company wants to be competitive. This forces the boss to keep underpaying us and making us work long hours without benefits or proper pay. If the boss gave us the full value of our labour, he or she would go out of business. Also, to compete by cutting costs, the bosses replace workers with machines and with sub-contracted workers.
REVOLUTIONARY INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM
We, the Working Class, make up the majority of society but live in misery.Short of housing, education, food, money, decent transport, free time. Meanwhile, the rich have all the fine things of life, without doing more than play golf and exploit workers. We want to see this society – based on the oppression and exploitation of the broad Working Class (the workers, the unemployed, our families) replaced by a free society based on workers control of the economy, non-racism, and the redistribution of wealth.
As long as the Working Class is ruled by the bosses and the pro-boss government, we will suffer. Bad wages, retrenchments, long hours, disrespect by the bosses will continue to make our lives hell. Therefore we must fight the bosses and government, and overthrow them through militant mass action. Capitalism (the bosses system) must be replaced by free socialism (the workers system).
With the unions (allied with community structures) we can fight the bosses and politicians and top officials when they oppress us with bad wages and bad conditions and bad policies. With the unions, we have the democratic structures that will allow us to take over and run the factories, mines, offices and farms. The union meeting will be the seat of a Working Class democracy. Instead of a useless parliament, we can run the economy through mass meetings and elected delegates, consulting experts like engineers on specialised technical matters. And if we control the economy, we can PLAN PRODUCTION to ensure that everyone gets a house, food, an education and decent health-care. This policy must be applied in every country, so that all the workers of the world are freed from the Ruling Class.
Undemocratic union leaders and sell-out policies are obstacles to the freedom of the Working Class because they corrupt the unions and the struggle. They must be replaced with a policy of no-compromise and workers control of the union. This accomplished, nothing can stop the might of the Working Class.
To this end we fight with firm and loyal hearts. We fight for the day when the millions of strong workers march with fists upraised towards the revolution, united in our unions, and ready to meet force with force. What we need is ONE BIG UNION (all workers united) and ONE BIG STRIKE (a revolutionary strike by workers to take over the economy from the Ruling Class).