National Sections of the L5I:

The insurrection

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The capitalist state cannot be taken over and used for the purpose of introducing socialism. It must be smashed in the very process of revolution. For this reason, the general strike is a vital tactic on the road to power. It poses the question point blank: who rules society, the bosses who own it, or the workers who run it? It places the struggle for power at the top of the agenda. But, in itself, a mass withdrawal of labour cannot answer this question. The general strike must prepare the way for an armed uprising.

History shows that the working class can only deprive the capitalists of state power by violent means. Of course, the amount of force necessary will vary according to the balance of forces on the eve of the insurrection. It will depend on the extent to which the armed forces have been won to the side of the workers. Nevertheless the working class must be prepared for the maximum resistance from the bosses.

Without a revolutionary situation, in which the masses stand fully behind a revolutionary party, an insurrection led by a revolutionary minority will be an adventure and will set back the struggle. A revolutionary party must have won over the majority of the organised workers of the major cities and towns if the rising is to succeed and the new regime is to last.

Not all uprisings are the work of an organised vanguard leading the democratically organised masses. Spontaneous mass insurrections are many times more frequent, proving that revolutions are not the result of small circles of conspirators as capitalist propaganda claims. The attitude of the revolutionary minority to such a spontaneous uprising is to participate fully in it, seeking to give it conscious leadership, especially through the fight for workers’ councils and a revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ government.

The other type of insurrection is the conscious, planned, forcible transfer of state power to the working class on the model of the October Revolution in Russia. The carrying through of the insurrection is a technical task that demands conspiratorial planning. The workers’ councils have to be won to the goal of insurrection and the workers’ militia and the pro-working class regiments are the means of carrying through the rising. But the seizure of the key installations, the organisation of the new regime’s defence, the distribution of arms and the allocation of insurgents cannot be left to the spontaneity of the masses or “enlightened officers”. The revolutionary party alone can prepare and provide the leadership to direct a successful rising.