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The people themselves develop the struggle

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by Nick G.

After the great outpouring of anti-Abbott sentiment at the March in March rallies, the people again turned out in thousands to protest the Budget cuts and make their stand on other issues close to their hearts at the huge March in May rallies.

This is a great tribute to the capacity of Australians from many walks of life to engage in expressions of anger and outrage at the agenda of the rich and powerful.

It is a great tribute to the capacity of users of social media to circumvent monopoly media censorship and the indifference or opposition of established organisations and parties, to mobilise mass displays of rejection of unpopular budgetary and other measures.

People want to keep the action going
In Melbourne, in the space of a few days, the decision was made to organise the 18 March rally against the savage budget, and in only three or four days some 25,000 people took again to the streets. 

This should make certain people who ridiculed and dismissed the earlier March in March national rallies sit up and take stock of themselves.

A senior ACTU figure spoke well to union representatives in Adelaide about the all-encompassing attack on unions being developed by big business and its political enforcers.

However, when asked what the ACTU’s relationship was to the coming March in May rallies he made a fairly indifferent reference to “the sort of people who go to those things… there were even people against vaccinations at the last one”.

The ALP refused to support the March in March rally and directed its rank and file members planning to attend not to display any ALP signs.

That is why the eventual support for March in May by some unions who were reluctant to support the March in March was so important.

That is why ACTU President Ged Kearney’s appearance at the Melbourne rally was very important.

That is why the speeches by union leaders at other rallies around the country were very important.

A movement beyond the control of apologists for capitalism
This is not a movement that can now be brought back under the ownership and control of people who want it to be restricted to demands for the return of Labor to office.

This is not a movement that needs endorsements from on high.

The March Australia movement and other spontaneous people’s movements independent of parliamentary parties have their own momentum and mass base.

It is a broad church with a single enemy - Tony Abbott and his government.

That is both a strength and a weakness.

It succeeds for the moment in uniting the many.

It succeeds because people are responding to its genuine broad grass roots initiative, not the tightly controlled political party affair from above. They sense that it is put on by people just like themselves with no agenda beyond having a go at Abbott and collectively voicing their anger with the socil and economic injustices.

But this was also the strength and the weakness of the Occupy movement.

In the end, and it took a long while to peter out, but in the end it could not be sustained simply because it was a movement that remained spontaneous and disorganised.

The post Occupy movement’s successes are those where ots participants did go out into workplaces and communities to consciously learn from the people and assist in organising the people’s movement for the long term.

Mass line is key to lifting struggle
If the March movement is to succeed, it needs the active participation of people who understand the need to go beyond the spontaneous demands of its broad congregation of supporters.

It needs active class consciousness to develop as a people’s movement similar to the first stage of the Your Rights at Work movement, prior to its nobbling by the ALP and its diversion from a workplace and community fight for rights to an exercise in voting for the same old parliamentary misleaders of the working class.

At the moment the movement has a healthy commitment to staying away from the quicksand of parliament.

Even when the demand is raised to “Block Supply before July” – an action that can only occur within parliament – it reflects people’s eagerness for lifting the struggle, for bringing on a crisis rather than for calming things down and taking the heat out of the immediate struggle. 

That is why circumstances favour, in very careful and appropriate ways, the task of raising the understanding of people about the nature of capitalism and of raising the level of struggle against it. 

This is why circumstances favour the continuing development of an independent agenda for the working class, an agenda around which other sections of the people can be rallied as the attacks by imperialism and conservative reaction take away even more of the people’s rights.

Those who are familiar with Mao Zedong’s explanation of the mass line will know that they cannot be content with echoing the spontaneity of the movement, but must listen to it, contextualise its causes, and reformulate its demands at a higher and more precise level of targeting the main enemy.

Every support must be given to the spontaneous movement of the people, and every effort must be made to lift it to ever higher levels.


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