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Resolving Differences Within The Working Class Movement - Make Unions Schools Of The Working Class Movement

Written by: Ned K. on 24 November 2021


The ruling class of every stage of capitalism up to its current stage of imperialism in decline have always seized on opportunities to cause and inflate division and differences within the working class. 

In recent times there has been a lot of effort by the ruling class to divide workers on the issues of climate change, Covid 19 lockdowns and vaccinations. Within workplaces there are deliberate employer strategies to divide permanent workers from casual or labour hire workers, new migrant workers against workers born in Australia, First Nations workers against workers whose descendants were part of the still existing colonial settler society and so on.

That is why the bosses hate it when workers take united action against the boss class itself because not only does this unity lead to workers winning short term victories but workers experience their collective power and they see that whatever differences there have been between workers, that they can be resolved on the basis of the need for principled unity.

There are also different ideas, different views and harmful behaviour within the working class that are the result of centuries of ruling class ideology bombarding the working class from all directions every day. For example, the idea that women should be subservient to men or that First Nations people are lazy and if only they went and got a job like respectable white working class people, everything would be ok.

Sometimes the ideology of capitalism manifests itself within working class mass organizations as well. For example, a respected union member may make sexist comments to a woman worker or racist comments towards a migrant worker without even realizing that their behaviour is unacceptable and harmful to those workers and divisive to the workers' movement. It is the responsibility of other progressive workers to "call out" this type of behaviour before it gets out of hand and turns into not just a genuine mistake but a pattern of unacceptable behaviour and harmful to the workers' movement.

The great leader of the Chinese workers’ and peasants’ revolution in 1949, Mao Zedong, understood the importance of preventing and addressing bad mistakes and bad ideas within the movement. 

He said the aim in these circumstances should be to "cure the sickness to save the patient" and within the people's movement always practice the principle of "unity-criticism-unity".

Unions are in a good position to become schools of the working class by devoting more time to education and combating capitalist ideology within the working class. Unions are part of capitalism but their leaders also have a choice as to whether they contribute to the struggle against the ideology of capitalism in all its manifestations or whether their own leadership style actually reinforces capitalist ideology.



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