by Jan Makandal
January 19, 2016
First, to avoid any futile debate, let us demarcate from the theory that no work should be done inside the existing unions. This is not our position. In fact, we disagree with that political line and the practices that emerge from that theory—total absence and unilateral abstinence of presence inside these unions. For us, that would be ultra-leftist, the inversion of a right-wing deviation.
We do agree with Trotsky on his conception of the degenerated nature of organized labor [institutionalized unions]. The concept of degeneration is a dialectical concept, implying a phenomenon that is in a process of decaying. We do not think that they could be still at the same stage of decomposition as they were 76 years ago. To say that we are in the same stage is not only intellectually lazy, but is also a dogmatic approach.
Dogmatism is one of our biggest enemies in the theoretical battlefield of dialectics. Dogmatism asserts permanency in phenomenon—dynamics frozen in time. But the only thing actually permanent in a phenomenon is reproduction.
We agree with Trotsky about the degenerated nature of unions that existed 76 years ago. Furthermore, we also think that today’s unions have totally transitioned to their highest form of decay, into capitalist organizations among the working class. These unions, far from being the instruments of working class power that they started out as, are in fact playing a pre-emptive repressive role among the working class, in the interest of capitalism.