Independent Workers’ Government and Program

Understanding the difference between program and theory is key to winning mass support, writes Susie Mirtis

Policy for a new society

The working class needs political representation capable of forming an independent (non-class collaborationist) government. This government could be a one-party state, or a ‘worker’s government’ of multiple worker’s parties, but the point is it must have a plan to reshape society.

The first point that the worker’s government must be independent is – I hope – a very simple, uncontroversial point. The working class cannot simultaneously enact policies that benefit both the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, we cannot let capital flow freely, it must be controlled by labour and subject to a general plan for global production, not reckless market expansion and financial speculation.

The second point is also very simple but more ‘controversial’ (ignored, really). Society as a whole (not just the working class!) needs a political program, a general set of proposals and policies, to enact as we move beyond capitalism. Communists rarely think about government policy, but society does. We have to have the clearest, most concise, and most realistic set of policies capable bringing the vast majority of society on board (or at least giving passive support). Getting non-proletarian elements of society on board with the proletarian political program does not necessarily mean class collaboration. The more elements of society that the working class brings on board to its program means less of a potential base for a reactionary rebellion to develop from.

These are the general aims of any revolutionary serious about forming an independent worker’s government. Notice that I say nothing about any number of possible strategic or tactical formations, such as protests, mutual aid, electoral work, and so on. All of these are viable tactics, but the only way they will ever amount to anything is with an independent political program for government. Revolutionaries cannot win society over to “theory”, you need a clear set of governmental policies and proposals to get the majority on board with, otherwise you’ll never achieve more than small sectional struggles that will either be crushed or eventually wither away.

There is an enormous range of questions that still need to be answered about, for example, the role a communist party would (or, rather, could) play in an independent worker’s government, what general form the government would take (democratic republic, anyone?), if a peaceful transition to such a government is possible, what about the international situation, and so on. The hope is that, with this article, I can provoke some responses and draw out the real points of disagreement that are blocking a serious unity project for an independent communist party.