The Strike Wave

By Paul Mattick

Revolt Library Anarchism The Strike Wave

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(1904 - 1981)

Paul Mattick Sr. (March 13, 1904 – February 7, 1981) was a Marxist political writer and social revolutionary, whose thought can be placed within the council communist and left communist traditions. Throughout his life, Mattick continually criticized Bolshevism, Vladimir Lenin and Leninist organizational methods, describing their political legacy as "serving as a mere ideology to justify the rise of modified capitalist (state-capitalist) systems, which were [...] controlled by way of an authoritarian state". (From:

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The Strike Wave

Published: in International Council Correspondence Vol. 1, no.1, October 1934, p 16.
Source: Antonie Pannekoek Archives
Transcribed: by Graham Dyer

The present strike wave is characterized by defeats and betrayals. The workers suffer defeats because of their insufficient and treacherous organizations on the one hand, and because the capitalist class and its state cannot permit a victory to the workers on the other. Capitalism in the period of general crisis, must combat to its fullest extent any attempt by the workers to improve their conditions. Victory for the workers would mean endangering the position of capitalism. Every strike is practically lost in advance.

But this does not exclude the necessity of workers fighting every onslaught on their living standard. We must take part in every one of these struggles, and encourage the worker to fight, because the present strike wave in spite of its shortcomings is more important than the whole of the "official political movement" at this time. The fact that these strikes are destined for defeat or betrayal does not mitigate the revolutionary value of the struggle. We may point out that on the basis of the present labor movement no victory is possible, but we have to fight in all these labor struggles as they are, and not as we might want them. We must strive to hinder the labor fakirs from using these strikes to their own advantage, and this is best done by the most activity on the actual strike front.

The fight for existence is the fight of today; and the struggle for a new society can only grow out of these daily struggles. As these day to day struggles increase, and as the worker gains experience from the defeats, the fight changes its quality and becomes revolutionary leading to the overthrow of the present system. A communist may criticize and condemn the character of the strikes and the organizations involved, but he must take part in the strikes and fight, for this is the shortest road to revolution in the declining period of capitalism.

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March 2, 2021; 5:09:42 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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