National Sections of the L5I:

Transform the trade unions

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To strengthen the trade unions as instruments of struggle and to break the hold of the conservative union bureaucracy, we advocate the establishment of rank and file opposition movements within and across the unions committed to:

• The election and recallability of all officials
• The payment of officials at the average wage of their members
• All strikes and pickets under the control of rank and file action committees
• Militant action, not collaboration with the bourgeoisie.

All strikes should be under the control of delegates of the workers on strike.

One union per enterprise – one union per industry: we support trade union unity on the basis of democracy and class struggle.

We support 100% trade unionism and the right of trade unions to enforce union membership as a condition of employment in every enterprise.

We fight for the complete independence of trade unions from the capitalist state, an end to state restrictions on trade union activity and the abolition of all laws limiting and penalising industrial action.
We fight for factory and enterprise committees to assert the workers’ right to control production. We work for the establishment of inter-district and inter-enterprise committees of workplace representatives to break down sectionalism and undermine the ability of the bureaucracy to hold back the struggle.

Whilst always seeking to establish networks for direct action by the rank and file, militant workers should resist the temptation to “ignore the bureaucracy” altogether. Though this can seem at first sight to be a radical response, in fact it leaves them unchallenged by failing to demand that they break with the capitalists and assist the struggle of the workers. This means that an opportunity is lost to expose their true failings before the eyes of the workers who have not yet understood their reactionary role.

Without in any way forgetting the primary responsibility of militants to organise action directly from below, without in any way expressing faith in the officials or illusions in their willingness to fight or their commitment to the workers’ cause, we demand of all union leaders that they break with the capitalists and end their policy of class collaboration. We demand that they quit their joint-boards with the employers, their national and municipal state offices and join the struggle on the streets and on the picket lines. We insist that they put the financial resources of the union not into funding bourgeois politicians but into support for strikers and their families, into defence funds for victimised militants, into campaigns to unionise unorganised workers.

We advocate the right of the socially oppressed (women, youth, racial and sexual minorities) to caucus within the trade unions.

Though we advocate a fight within the trade unions wherever possible to challenge and break the hold of the reformist bureaucrats, we do not flinch from a break with the apparatus of official trade unions and forming new unions where the needs of the struggle demand it.

Unions are united fronts of the class struggle. Their membership should be open to workers from the enterprise or industry they organise, not restricted on grounds of political affiliation.

Yet the slogan of “political neutrality” of the unions is a fraud on the workers – there can be no neutrality in the class struggle. Wherever this slogan is raised it can only aid the capitalists and the political monopoly of the bureaucracy within the unions. We struggle for the unions to support the policy of the revolutionary workers and aid the struggle against the system of wage slavery.

The outcome of this struggle depends on the strength and success of fractions of a revolutionary party and its sympathisers in the unions. Therefore we demand the unlimited right for revolutionaries to build political fractions in the trade unions, against all bans and restrictions on revolutionary activity and for a revolutionary leadership of the unions.