People are challenging the brutality of capitalism—from the uprisings in the Middle East, to the general strikes in Greece, to the 30 June strikes in Britain.
As people begin to fight, questions come up of how to organise. Many of the protest camps that mushroomed across Spain last month banned political parties and trade unions.
But in Egypt people have flooded into independent trade unions, a new workers’ party has been launched and the Revolutionary Socialists are growing.
But why should people join anything?
People whose apparently spontaneous mass protest which swept aside a dictator don’t always immediately see the need for more structured organisation.
Others have experienced years of seeing their struggle held back by trade union leaders or parties that call themselves socialist and think we are better off without any formal organisation.
The ruling class is incredibly powerful. It controls the wealth and force in society—the state and its armies, the media and education system that shape our ideas.
As soon as we decide to challenge them we need to organise. And we need to do this in different ways.
Building trade unions is vital, for all that we might want their leaders to be more radical.
But a revolutionary party is not like the Labour Party or a campaigning organisation or trade union—based on being a broad church that has members who may hold very different views.
We unite the best fighters with the most advanced ideas—our members are in the forefront of the struggle, leading the fight to smash the system.
The ruling class fights to keep us divided—it fosters oppressive ideas like racism and nationalism that make us fight one another instead of focusing our united anger at them.
Workers hold contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. They can hate the cuts and understand that the bankers caused the financial crisis, but at the same time buy into the racist ideas pumped out every day in the press that immigrants are the problem.
A revolutionary party like the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) holds the fundamental belief that workers have the power to liberate themselves through their own struggles.
Within debates in the movement, the party also acts as the memory of the working class. The tradition of Marxist ideas developed out of the high points of class struggle is ignored, hidden or actively suppressed by our rulers and the mainstream media.
The party is able to ensure that our traditions are not lost, but instead continue to be developed by new generations.
The party puts forward the arguments that show why the struggle against the cuts is linked to the fight against Islamophobia, or why socialists should support the anti-rape “SlutWalks”, even if we disagree with their name.
And those who are organised are more likely to be able to shape and influence the direction of struggle.
That is where the revolutionary party matters. It is different to other forms of organisation.
The SWP has been central to the establishment of organisations—such as Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War, Defend Council Housing and Right to Work—that bring together people from different political traditions to fight around a simple, common goal.
Our members are active in local campaigns and anti-cuts groups, on campuses and in colleges, in trade unions and pensioners’ forums.
But precisely because we are spread across the movement, organisation is even more important.
The party enables members to come together to share their experiences. But we are a party of struggle. That is why, once we have debated and reached a decision, we can act in unity—all of us are held democratically accountable to the collective decisions.
The SWP came together repeatedly over the past year to discuss building the fight against the Tory austerity programme.
Our members in the UCU, NUT and PCS unions worked tirelessly to get the most radical coordinated action for 30 June.
We are at a unique point in history. The attack the ruling class has unleashed on us presents an enormous challenge. Our party relies on its theory and experience, but also on its members.
Having members in many workplaces allows the party to learn from discussions on the ground and improve and develop its ideas.
What every one of us does now matters. You can have socialist ideas on your own, but you can’t be an effective socialist on your own. To do that you need to organise with other people.
Join us and help link the struggles in your workplace, college or school to the revolutionary wave sweeping the world.
If we are going to change the world, we need a revolutionary party with members rooted in every struggle. That is why we need you to join us.
Join the Socialist Workers Party. l phone 020 7819 1172