About the Workers’ Group — Foundations and Guidelines
The Workers’ Group is a voluntary political union of workers that seeks to develop and deepen communist theory in order to aid in the emergence of a genuinely revolutionary working-class political movement, a movement that is a viable alternative to the parties and organizations of the exploiting and oppressing classes: the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. By “viable alternative,” we do not mean a competitor on the battlefield of capitalism’s choosing (e.g., elections), but rather a guide and political leadership in the battle to defeat and overthrow the ruling classes, and to establish a workers’ republic.
The Workers’ Group is not itself a party or even a pre-party formation at this time. Rather, we are a working body — a fraction — within our class and its movement that hopes to become a key element in the formation of a new proletarian communist party.
A central part of our work involves active intervention in the struggles of the working class, even if those struggles are limited in scope and scale. Our task in these struggles is to advocate and fight for the independence and self-activity of our fellow workers, for a clear and irreversible break from the exploiting and oppressing classes, and all of the myriad of organizations, parties and movements led by them — including those of the Left, which place themselves at the flank of the capitalist order with the aim of keeping workers from tearing themselves away from it.
Hand-in-hand with this work is the introduction of the history and lessons of the international working-class movement, past and present, to current and future generations of workers, as well as helping our fellow proletarians in developing communist theory, and the principles of how to organize and administer the future classless, communist society.
Historical Political Foundations
The Workers’ Group finds its political foundations in the diverse movement of proletarian communists who emerged in the wake of the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. The October Revolution, which represents the historical high-water mark of the international working-class movement, was, at the same time, rife with contradictions that both united and divided the worldwide revolutionary workers’ movement throughout the 20th century.
The proletarian communist movement first appeared in three countries where the class struggle had reached its highest intensity — Russia, Germany and Italy — and was therefore capable of looking more soberly and critically at the contradictions that not only arose out of the new Soviet Republic, but also at the contradictions of the new epoch of capitalism that had just gripped the world in four years of barbaric war. In doing so, they lived up to the finest traditions set down by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels; in doing so, they were attacked and persecuted by their “comrades.”
Marx once wrote: “[P]roletarian revolutions … constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts.” The proletarian communists (slurred as “Left Communists” by their petty-bourgeois opportunist opponents, known today as “Marxist-Leninists,” “anti-revisionists,” Maoists or Trotskyists) fought to uphold this principled act, expressing their criticisms of the policies of the Soviet Republic, the Russian Communist Party and the Communist International, all while doing their duty to protect and defend the international revolutionary (communist) workers’ movement, and its gains in Russia and other countries where workers briefly held state power. In return for their service to the international revolution, they were thrown out of the “official” Communist movement, slandered as both “ultra-left” and “counterrevolutionary” by their opponents, surveilled by the state, imprisoned, exiled and assassinated.
Nevertheless, the proletarian communist movement survived and continues to exist today. The Workers’ Group looks to elements of the Russian, German, Italian and French proletarian communists — centrally the Russian proletarian communists around the Workers’ Group of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks), beginning in 1922 — as its inspiration and political bedrock. At the same time, we recognize that capitalist society has not frozen in place, and that we must move forward. That is why the development and deepening of communist theory, based on the lessons of the class struggle, is at the core of our organization.
Basic Organizational Guidelines
The Workers’ Group is organized into committees and specialized bodies, currently administered by a Provisional Organizing Bureau in lieu of a Central Committee. Any worker who accepts the fundamental political positions and expanded organizational guidelines, supports the Group both financially and by participation in one of its committees or bodies, publicly advocates for and defends the organization, abides by the decisions collectively reached and agreed upon by the Group as a whole or by one of its bodies, and keeps all information deemed secret as such, is welcome to apply for membership.
Conventions of the Workers’ Group, our highest decision-making body, are held by request of a majority of local committees. The Convention sets the political and organizational tasks for the Group for the immediate future. Conventions elect the Central Committee, ratify major decisions made by the C.C. and other Group organizations previously, and insure the Group is in the best shape for the coming period. The Central Committee coordinates the work of the Group between Conventions, edits the Group’s main publications, arbitrates disputes between committees, and oversees the organization’s treasury.
All members have the undisputed right to express their views and have them circulated throughout the entirety of the Group, while at the same time it is expected that all members will unite around the decisions made by Group committees and bodies, and work together to carry them out to the best of our collective capability. We understand that, given the small and fractious character of the proletarian communist movement at this time, differing shades of opinion based on different trends of the movement are bound to appear within the Group.
Because of the importance of building a politically and organizationally independent proletarian communist movement, the Workers’ Group does not allow its members to also be a part of other self-described socialist, Marxist or communist organizations that stand outside of this internationalist camp.