Report of FRFI day school, Glasgow - 4 Dec 2010

On the 4 December, Glasgow FRFI held a Day School entitled 'Capitalism in meltdown: Crisis and class struggle, Who will lead the resistance?

An audience from across Scotland gathered, despite ongoing weather and transport problems, to address the current situation facing the working class. The event was well attended and broad ranging, producing an insightful and thought provoking series of speeches and discussion.

Speakers included Trevor Rayne (Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Editorial Board), Neil Gray (writer and researcher from Variant magazine) and Jamie Beaumont (Maryhill Burgh Angel).

All speakers and contributors emphasised the centrality of the working class in organising and opposing the vicious agenda of the ruling class being put in place. FRFI stressed the critical political point that the crisis arose specifically from the system of capitalism and imperialism and not from the class arrogance of the wealthy and aristocratic cabinet. It was stated that a whole historical period was ending and now huge sections of the working class- from the youth to the pensioners- were to be made simply impoverished.

The audience reflected this range of ages and experiences and many pitched in with their personal accounts of benefit cuts, housing and community problems and local government inefficiency and corruption. No- one was prepared, unlike the middle class left, to make any excuses or space for the Labour party.

As the dominant political party in Scotland since the end of the Second World War, it was this party in government- local and national- which had always neglected or literally carved up working class areas and communities. Labour's business pals in construction, the media and culture had benefited but the working people had been excluded and marginalised.

Neil Gray´s account of past prestige projects and future developments around the Commonwealth Games in 2014 illuminated the hollow attempts to re- brand cities while poverty and deprivation increased dramatically. Community resistance and newspapers- like the Maryhill Burgh Angel- were important in giving a voice to working class opposition and were upheld as vital alternatives to the slick, professionally produced bilge of the multinational media who themselves have a thousand dodgy ties to big business.

Facing such wealth and power the meeting recognised that despair, cynicism and demoralisation was understandable- but for the fact that since the occupation of Millbank and the righteous trashing of the Tory wolves' lair, new forces were emerging of the character and temper necessary to challenge injustice, poverty and class privilege.

FRFI argued that class struggle and anti- imperialism for socialism- exemplified in the deeds of revolutionaries like John MacLean and James Connolly- was the way forward for the working class and had to be central in the movements and campaigns of resistance here and in the time to come. It was seen as reactionary and divisive that activists should be discouraged and prevented from raising slogans or points about racism or imperialist war and occupation at anti- cuts marches and events: that FRFI and leaflets should be vetted and banned by the middle class left who are appointing themselves as leaders and policemen of the resistance.

It was agreed that democracy was an absolute essential for the movements in order that all can speak and argue their position openly. People, the students and the youth, were discovering that the politics of resistance can be very exciting, bringing freshness, energy, creativity and tactical invention to challenge the dull staleness of parliamentary and media politics. The experience of the absolute decline of the anti- war movement- that had also originally brought out the youth- was raised to make the point that the middle class left could not get away with serving up the old boring, respectable Labour party and  union figures as speakers for the campaigns. The movement needs democracy to bring forward the structures, the fighters and leaders for the working class to move forward.

Socialist Cuba was upheld throughout the day as an inspiring example- not for the middle class left-

of how welfare: jobs, health, education, culture, could be built for the working class. While imperialist Britain exported weapons and soldiers and was embracing a grim culture of war and death, Cuba celebrated life with the solidarity of health workers, teachers and the exuberance of musicians and dancers.

In the face of the millionaire's assault on the working class the words of James Connolly are worthy of consideration as we face their mean spirited injustice and violence: “Our demands most moderate are- We only want the Earth”!