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International Communist Workers Party Pamphlet

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Industrial Workers: Key Revolutionary Force

Brazil: Striking transit workers fight cops to join the protest of favela residents during World Cup

Our lives revolve around how production is organized. To transform the design of production is to transform society itself. This simple but hidden truth encapsulates why industrial workers are key to making and maintaining communist revolution.

The industrial working class is the main revolutionary force. They are not the only force.

First, there can be no thought of revolution without masses of red soldiers.

Teachers, students and intellectuals play a vital, even indispensible, role. They often start the ball rolling. But if you want to finish what you started, turn to the working class.

The industrial working class possesses the stability, organization and relationship to the means of production needed to mobilize the masses for communism. This key relationship to the means of production gives them the power to quickly up the ante. Pacifist illusions about the bosses' system will not find fertile ground here.

The central role of industrial workers does not end after the seizure of state power. These workers will be in the forefront of redesigning the factories and fields around collective work.

Humankind needs production to survive. But the way we produce helps shape our very being.

From the time children begin to sense the world around them, they will see that, under communism, the people they know work for the common good. Work will not be for a wage that puts food on the table of an individual family. Collectivity, not individualism, will be their first glimpse of human behavior.

As they get a little older, they will visit industrial sites where red industrial workers will teach them the science, mathematics, language and political organization behind communist production. They will become accustomed to performing useful, and not exploitive, work at an early age.

They will already have an idea of how to build the collectives we need by the time they are ready to enter the factory, bus division, collective farm or mine. Their education will continue as they move from task to task, work site to work site, teaching and producing.

Capitalism gives birth to its own gravediggers in the industrial working class. Industrial workers are uniquely positioned to advance the struggle: to change the nature of production, society, and how we think about human potential. 

Comrades in Mexico take Red Flag to workers, May Day 2014

Industrial revolts have spread the world over. They mark the "new global economy."

Each industrial rebellion has a political character. Sometimes it's implicit, like rejecting a bribe. Other times it's explicit, like confronting the armed might of the state in Egypt, Brazil and South Africa. Some have even blocked governmental activity in places like Greece, Bangladesh and Mexico.
Each pushed aside unions, ignoring contracts that legitimize wage slavery. The bankruptcy of capitalist reform embodied in trade union ideology is on the minds of millions. Each rebellion confirms the mass heroism of the industrial working class. These heroes have shattered the notion that industrial workers can't be the agents of change.
And each attracts national and international allies among the broad masses, setting the stage for communist revolution.

Bigger Industrial Working Class: Bigger Communist Potential Worldwide

The size of the global industrial working class has exploded. The numbers are unprecedented. Now more than ever the industrial working class holds the key to mobilizing the masses for communism.

The CIA estimates there are more than 750 million manufacturing, mining, construction and energy production workers alone. To these we can add the closely related transportation, communication and food production workers.

Industrial supply chains span the world. Millions have entered factories in countries barely touched before by modern production. Migrant labor, often temporary, subjects millions more to horrific racist and sexist exploitation.

Indeed, the wholesale murder of thousands of migrant construction workers building the Qatar World Cup stadiums was too much for even professional soccer players. Moroccan Footballer Abdeslam Ouaddou who played on English, French, and even Qatari teams denounced "this world cup of shame and slavery." He was not alone.

In Brazil, World Cup protests were everywhere. Led by transportation and garbage workers, four million have hit the streets, shutting down whole cities during the past year.

In the midst of this ballooning revolt against exploitation lies the wherewithal to forge a communist world. Ally these workers with soldiers and our Party's guiding strategy of mobilizing the masses for communism becomes real.

Where communists see potential, the capitalist system responds with economic crisis. The expanded productive capacity plunged this illogical system into a worldwide crisis of overproduction.  Since the beginning of the crisis, the intensified misery of the working class that Karl Marx predicted has struck with a vengeance.

Workers were initially mere victims. By 2010, ruling class strategists like Bank of America's Joe Quinian began to wonder if "the global economy will rebound in time to quell the rising discontent among millions of workers who have turned—violently, in some cases —against capitalism."

Too late! That ship has sailed.

Last year, for instance, hundreds of thousands of miners in Marikana, South Africa, attacked what many had thought were unassailable instruments of capitalist rule. Neither arrests, nor torture, nor the deaths of comrades have dampened the workers' resolve.

They fought the African National Congress government and their murdering cops. They trashed union headquarters: unions that for decades played on the good will created during the fight against apartheid. Their bravery exposed the lie of a non-racial, post-apartheid capitalism.

Their struggle and others like them have inspired millions. "The masses have woken up," said a Boeing friend a continent away upon hearing of this rebellion.

This mass anti-capitalist sentiment inspires us all. But it cannot be consolidated without a communist alternative. "We need a new kind of organization," said a South African friend. "There is no organization with this goal [to mobilize for communism] here."

A metalworker, bus driver and friends answered by founding a new branch of the International Communist Workers Party (ICWP) in South Africa this May Day.

Capitalists Won't Give Up Without a Fight

The bosses are throwing everything they can into politically containing this tidal wave of industrial revolts. Their rule is doomed if more do what our South African comrades did: build the ICWP to carry this fight to its logical revolutionary conclusion.

The speedy global economic rebound that Quinian hoped would "quell the rising discontent" is nowhere to be seen. The bosses have impoverished millions to buttress their profits and businesses. Still, the crisis continues.

U.S. imperialism's main foreign policy think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, worries 'that capitalist governments and corporate big wigs our contribution to the common good, not by how much money we make. Communism will restore our humanity.

Wage Slavery Underpins Racism, Sexism

The wage system also forms the material basis of racism and sexism. Eliminating wages allows us to mount a campaign that can finally end racism and sexism.

These anti-working class ideologies justify the billions in extra profits the bosses reap from racist and sexist pay differentials. The capitalist system would be hard-pressed to survive without this super-exploitation.

Successful mobilization for communism, now and in the future, requires smashing these poisonous ideologies. We must build deep ties among workers whom the bosses want separated. Racist and sexist repression has taught our most oppressed brothers and sisters a thing or two. They can potentially provide the revolutionary leadership we all need.

Trade unionism is another political trap. The U.S. ruling class's main mouthpiece The New York Times editorializes that a more robust union movement is the answer to inequality. In the next breath, they urge unions to be "practical" and compromise away the pennies the bosses allow us.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM), for instance, is more than willing to accommodate. Centered in the U.S. aerospace industry, it has vowed to deliver a cheap workforce, chained to exploitive contracts and a de facto strike ban.

Last December IAM Boeing workers revolted. They marched through the plants when company and union leaders demanded they sacrifice the next generation of workers for a $10,00O bribe.

Within days Red Flag networks distributed thousands of leaflets entitled "No Extortion: Take Back What Is Ours!" to mobilize for revolution and communist production. Workers chased local officials from union meetings. They demanded that national representatives get out of town.

The national union, corporate board, Washington State governor, and federal officials plotted their revenge. They scheduled a second vote when thousands were on vacation. Eventually they reversed the 2-to-1 defeat of the original contract proposal.

Only six percent of the workforce voted when union presidential elections were held shortly thereafter. Most were paid union officials and shop stewards. Since then groups of Boeing workers have consistently attended our meetings and socials to discuss a communist alternative to trade unionism.

Trade union ideology says we can survive and prosper by uniting to reform workplace conditions. Like every widely held illusion, this ideology contains an element of truth:  Unity is essential.

Working-class unity is the platform upon which a communist society can transform production. Communist production will make the fruits of our labor our collective property, not the bosses' private property.

The crisis has forced the exploiters to take off their kid gloves. They have bled our class to save their companies.

Ultimately, this will fail to secure their empires. They will be forced to attack their international competitors. They are perfectly willing to chew up a generation in the factories and battlefields of the next world war.

Industrial workers—along with soldiers—are uniquely positioned to make the bosses' next war their last.

The Engine of Revolution

Groups of communist industrial workers like those who have joined ICWP in El Salvador and South Africa can transform the revolts in which they participate. Rather than demanding change in the leadership of the capitalist state, they can lead the charge to end the capitalist state. Rather than demanding more equitable compensation, they can mobilize to end exploitative factories.

July 2014: 220,000 metalworkers and engineers on political strike against ANC government in South Africa.

Wherever industrial workers accept this responsibility, they will inspire communist mobilization. Who wouldn't want plants that unleash the creative potential of the working class? Who wouldn't want work sites that were learning and cultural centers for workers and their children? Who wouldn't want factories based on producing for the needs of our class, not on exploitation and profits?

These communist industrial units would build not only the material things we need, but also the collectives necessary to construct a new communist world.

The crisis has made it harder for bosses and their agents to hide the naked truth of exploitation. Impoverishment of industrial workers and workers in general is baked into capitalism.

The industrial working class is bigger and more exploited now than at any other time in history. Rebellions that strain to break free from the limitations of trade unionism and liberal reformism abound, challenging the traditional instruments of capitalist rule. Now more than ever industrial workers can become the engine of communist revolution.


Tumultuous class struggle marks the world. These fights revolve around the very industrial workers needed to make a revolution.

We must respond concretely. At a bare minimum, we should guarantee that the International Communist Workers' Party (ICWP) grows. Red Flag networks have to expand, developing into organizing collectives providing revolutionary solutions. Our base can become broader and deeper, politically and personally. Building for political strikes helps. What we do today lays the basis for communist power tomorrow.

Many workers ask us what they have to do to join our Party.

These same workers often test communist ideas on their co-workers, friends and family. Collective discussion, criticism and self-criticism come along with joining. These activities will help our friends spread the paper's influence.

Each recruit is a nail in capitalism's coffin. When groups join, they can turn revolt into revolution.

Workers demand death to the factory owners responsible for the murder of 3,000 garment workers in building collapse, Bangladesh, 2012

New members and friends can expand Red Flag networks, circulating papers on the shop floor and in the homes of industrial workers and their families. These networks will become organizing hubs.

Networks should organize groups to study lessons contained in our Party's newspaper. These study groups will help our base mobilize their fellow workers. Our friends can then develop the confidence they need to join the party.

Networks prepare the ground for more intense base-building. Union meetings, demonstrations, strikes and mass rebellions clearly provide opportunities, but let's not forget social activities, recreation and family milestones. Every aspect of life counts.

Our fellow workers are attacked in a million ways every day. Articles in the Party's press should provide a communist answer to every attack, whether they affect an individual worker, a whole industry or the masses.

We are one international working class, today more than ever. Every international industrial revolt affects the struggle "at home." Our paper can bring the lessons of these battles to every work site, barrack and school.

New comrades, a broader base and expanded use of Red Flag as an organizing tool lay the groundwork for industrial political strikes. These strikes would bust the bosses' no-strike laws. They would confront racist and sexist divisions. They take aim at the heart of capitalism, opening the door to massive mobilization for communism.

Communist political strikes become a real possibility amidst the tumult of industrial revolts. No doubt, many political ideas will be present at the beginning. Our party, base and paper must prepare to expand and deepen these political actions: to mobilize the immediate strikers and the masses for communism.

This political work has begun to bear fruit. Groups of industrial workers have joined out of the sharpest struggles. More will follow.

Strikes, even political strikes, are not the ultimate weapon of the working class. Armed insurrection is the only way to take state power.

The Putilov Iron Works gives us an historical example. It was the biggest industrial factory in St. Petersburg at the time of the 1917 Russian socialist revolution.

Fourteen foreign countries and the reactionary White army immediately attacked the new revolutionary government in the midst of World War I. The red Putilov workers made weapons for the Red Army to defend the revolution. Then they drove those weapons to the front lines to train new Red Army soldiers how to use them in the midst of battle. 

What we do today trains us for the exercise of power tomorrow.

Communist Ideas Up Front at Los Angeles Transit

"Welcome back," said a balloon that flew defiantly, tied to the tool box of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) mechanic who had been suspended. Many mechanics came to greet him. They cracked jokes and took pictures, showing comradely solidarity.

This small reception reflected our self-criticism. We, as his fellow workers, had not shown enough solidarity with our class brother. We should have defended him more from MTA's racist attack.

We had unconsciously resented the fact he did not go along with management's program of reporting only major problems. In our hearts we knew, however, that his position of inspecting the buses properly was correct.

The bosses claim that passenger safety is their highest goal. In reality, they want buses in the streets, not in the repair shops. To avoid being attacked, we went along with their farce: less work for us and fewer buses in repair for MTA.

Due to this mechanic's struggle and the political campaign waged by Red Flag, management started re-educating mechanic inspectors throughout the company. Some workers in the suspended mechanic's division told the inspectors, "A co-worker got suspended for putting into practice what you are teaching. If what you are teaching is true, then MTA must change its policy."

The next day the supervisor met with the mechanic inspectors and told us that in the future they wouldn't bother us for conforming to the stricter guidelines. All they wanted was that inspection reports be turned in on time.

Distributing Red Flag to MTA workers, summer 2014

Many consider this the "victory," but our real victory lies elsewhere. This battle has advanced communist political understanding of the suspended worker and throughout MTA. Confidence in Red Flag and in ICWP has grown tremendously.

ICWP's approach to this racist attack had two aspects. One was to forge anti-racist class unity among these co-workers based on the understanding that unity is necessary to destroy capitalism and its wage slavery. The other was to spread our political analysis of the attack, showing capitalism's inhumane nature and communism as an alternative.

Red Flag and Party members focused on struggling around these communist ideas, not on demanding reforms from MTA. 

The bosses' concessions were in response to ICWP's massive campaign through Red Flag. Thousands read our paper during the battle. Management hoped to calm things down and stem the spread of communist ideas.

We think this is a good way to participate in the class struggle. We should never forget that we are locked in a class war with the capitalists. Our goal is to advance political understanding and recruit workers to help mobilize the masses for communism. As our forces grow, this class war will break out into open armed revolution.

Just as capitalism cannot stop exploiting and attacking us, we cannot stop fighting to abolish its wage slavery. Their racist, sexist attacks won't end until we end capitalism.

El Salvador: Garment Workers Build ICWP

"We have made a huge effort in several factories to build the International Communist Workers' Party (ICWP)," reports a garment worker.

"Women and men workers have joined us. We distribute our Red Flag to co-workers in different factories. We are proud Party members—workers fighting for communism."

For four years we have fought inside the factories for commitment to Mobilize the Masses for Communism. Red Flag networks are expanding every day in spite of workers being bombarded with lies about communism and attacks by the bosses and unions.

Articles about workers fighting for communism in other countries inspire our friends.  "It fills us with joy to know that there are comrades in many places in the world struggling together with us," commented another young worker.

Every Attack Deserves a Communist Response

Recently, the boss and union attacked a co-worker for an action she took to defend the very same union. A judge fined her $180, a month's salary.

She saw that unions and bosses are rotten birds of a feather. We are struggling with her that the solution is to join ICWP and fight for communist revolution.

Also, recently, a supervisor insulted another woman worker who reads Red Flag. The boss ordered her to go to a different production line. As a wage slave, she had to put up with this humiliation or lose her job.

She got up, very upset, and disappeared from the supervisor's sight for three hours. A comrade, worried, went to look for her. He found her in the bathroom, her eyes filled with tears.

She angrily told the comrade that the bosses harassed the workers more because he was no longer a union leader. Our comrade explained that he stopped being a union leader to fight directly for communism. Trade unionism is a death trap for workers. His goal now was to win workers to ICWP.

el sal
Garment Workers El Salvador May Day, 2014 "DESTROY CAPITALISM; BUILD COMMUNISM ICWP"

The defense of the workers must not depend on a union "leader," but on the collective of all the workers, acting as a single fist against the bosses. Indeed, as the fined worker learned, unions have often become part of the problem.

Building this solidarity must be part of the struggle to get rid of capitalism, which, in crisis, needs to terrorize workers to exploit us more.

Being fired can be a death sentence. If we don't have a job to produce profits for a boss, our families don't eat.  Our struggle must be to destroy the wage system that daily threatens our families and us. The answer is to build a communist system, based on producing to meet the needs of the international working class.

In communism, there won't be bosses, profits or exploitation. The centers of production will be centers of ideological struggle over communist solidarity and collectivity. No worker, man or woman, will be mistreated. If someone breaks this principle, the collective will discipline them.

We have a long road ahead, full of many struggles, but more are joining. We know that we are on the correct road to building a communist society.

South Africa:  Young Lions Roar!

I grew up in the national liberation struggle, but today my comrades and I mobilize for communism. We've got exciting news from the South African front.

I was recently invited to a screening of Miners Shot Down in the Platinum Belt. I introduced young brothers and sisters there to the International Communist Workers' Party (ICWP).

These young friends despise their employers and the African National Congress (ANC) government. The ANC blames the most recent months-long platinum strikes on foreigners and everyone else but the mine bosses.

Our friends from Marikana in the platinum belt now distribute Red Flag among miners and their families.

They are demanding that we meet quickly with them. These miners started the rebellions that rocked South Africa the last two years.

Comrade in South Africa reading Red Flag

These militant waves of strikes in South Africa, Brazil and elsewhere are unfortunately reformist. They do not seek to end capitalism. They aim to win some gains that will only be reversed or eroded.

A lifetime of experience tells me workers and the poor of every country should fight for communist revolution. Our aim should be to bring an end to world capitalism.

A Lifetime of Struggle Brings Comrade to Communist Mobilization

The 1976 Soweto uprising was my first taste of struggle. Masses fought to get rid of Afrikaans (language) instruction and the Bantu education system.

The apartheid government beat, arrested, and killed students and closed the schools. I am the same age as Hector Peterson, one of the first victims killed by the state police.

Most political parties were banned in the 1960's. Their leaders were jailed and exiled. After a lull, communities took up their own struggles, while workers fought the bosses and apartheid state through their trade unions.

The giant trade union federation Congress of South African Trade Unions came out of this struggle in 1985. I and other young comrades formed the Chemical Workers Industrial Union where we worked.

In 1988, I helped form a student organization, which later became the South African Student Congress. By now I had already been detained for political organizing under the notorious state of emergency, which allowed detention without trial for longer periods.

In the 1990's, political parties were unbanned, exiles returned and political prisoners were released. Most organizations, after much debate, disbanded in favor of the bourgeois ANC. The ANC opted for negotiations. The rest is history.

Five unions came together to form the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in 1987. In 1997, I became a NUMSA member and leader on the job.

Years of activism, reading and research showed me how treacherous class collaborationist politics can be. It subordinates us to the national bourgeoisie, while promising socialism later. It ends up killing communists and the communist movement. History abounds with examples of this treachery.

Last year I met ICWP. The Party mobilizes the masses for communism, not socialism, which is state capitalism anyway.

The Party here has a solid foundation of young cadres. We meet every Sunday to read Red Flag and share our own experiences. More are joining every day.

Yesterday, I was on the phone the whole day recruiting from an area where autoworkers live. These youth are determined and want to meet with us right away. The place is a bit far, requiring two taxi rides. It won't stop us. Young lions of the ICWP, roar!

Read the ICWP manifesto Mobilize the Masses for Communism and Red Flag


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