Madison, WI rally

From Cairo to Madison – Workers Unite!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of revolution and mass mobilizations. After a period of relative lull in the class struggle, during which it seemed to many that nothing would ever change, millions of people can now see with their own eyes that revolutions can and do happen. They can see that fundamental change is only possible when ordinary men and women, who normally have nothing to do with politics, act collectively to bring about a political earthquake on the streets, in the factories, workplaces, schools, and halls of power.


Egyptian Revolution 2011Inspired by the events in Egypt, where the masses occupied Tahrir Square and brought about the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, tens of thousands of workers, students, and community supporters from around the country have descended on Madison to fight back against governor Scott “Hosni” Walker.

His attempt to smash the public sector unions has achieved what many thought was impossible: the mobilization of ordinary Americans to fightback against cuts and austerity. This in turn has served as an inspiration to workers around the country and beyond. Now trade unions in Egypt have sent messages of soldiarity to Madison. This is international working class solidarity at its finest!

Way back in early 2002, at a time when GW Bush ruled the roost in the aftermath of 9-11, and it seemed to many that the right wing would rule unopposed for decades to come, we launched Socialist Appeal. Ever since, we have implacably opposed any and all attempts to write off the American working class as a force for real change. We have patiently and consistently emphasized the colossal power of the U.S. workers and their unions. Well before the events in Wisconsin showed this was a possibility in practice, we wrote: “The full power of the labor movement, in alliance with the community, if seriously mobilized and organized, can stop these attacks!”

We have also consistently maintained a principled, internationalist approach to politics, providing unrivaled analysis of workers’ struggles around the world. Many doubted the revolutionary potential of the masses of the Middle East. Not us. Here’s what we said in the November/December 2010 issue of Socialist Appeal: “The events looming in Egypt will shake the entire region… The Egyptian revolution will dramatically change the course of events in the Middle East, North Africa and on a world scale.”

This perspective has been absolutely confrmed by events. So-called experts and politicians like Hillary Clinton were caught completely unawares. We were able to understand what was happening beneath the surface of society, not because we have a crystal ball, but because of our use of the Marxist method in order to analyze the world in all its rich and dynamic contradictions.

Basing ourselves on the objective needs of the working class and the labor movement, we develop perspectives, slogans, and demands that serve to raise working class consciousness, confidence, and unity. This is why we have consistently called on the unions to break with Democrats and Republicans and form a mass labor party. The need for such a party remains the most urgent political necessity for the U.S. working class.

In our 2010 U.S. Perspectives document we wrote: “Those who limit themselves to a critique of capitalism and then advocate either a ‘lesser evil’ vote for the Democrats, or present themselves as the party of revolution, are in practice impotent or worse. We must be clear that only mass forces — not an organization of 60 or even of 6,000 — but of millions of workers, with all the resources and capabilities of organized labor, can offer a serious challenge to the two parties of Capital.”

Events are moving quickly now.  Just a few weeks ago, who would have thought that the revolution in Egypt would have such a galvanizing effect on ordinary Americans? Who would have thought that a call for a general strike by the Wisconsin South Central Federation of Labor, and growing calls for nation-wide solidarity actions would be on the agenda? There is even talk of repeating the occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol in the U.S. Capitol itself. How quickly things change!

The revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa are far from finished and will unfold over a long period. With the events in Wisconsin, we can say that the beginning of the beginning of the American revolution has also now begun. It too will be a long and protracted process, with ups and downs, ebbs and flows, victories and defeats. But throughout this process, the working class and youth will learn.

Walker is not acting on his own, he expresses the interests of an entire class. The capitalist system demands more cuts, and they will not stop with Wisconsin’s public sector workers. We are all on the chopping block. We must organize and fight back! In the coming years, mass left wing currents will crystalize in the unions. Pressure from the rank and file will push the union leaders to fight back against the bosses’ attacks or be replaced by leaders who will. Pressure to break with the parties and form a mass Labor party will intensify.

Now more than ever, the need for socialist policies and revolutionary organization is becoming clear. We invite you to join the WIL in this struggle!


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