September 2, 2016 will see one of the largest coordinated labour strikes ever in India, possibly in the world. Trade unions cutting across political affiliations will shut down key sectors of the Indian economy against the pro-corporate anti labour Modi Government.
FROM ECONOMIC TO POLITICAL STRUGGLE
Economism is a tendency in the workers movement that only focuses on economic struggle – struggle for wages, welfare and rights in the workplace – and that limits itself to union work.
As a resistance to this, Lenin puts the versatile political struggle and the revelation of the state and the bourgeois. He writes:
“Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without; that is, only from outside the economic struggle, from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers.”
He also writes:
“that the Social-Democrat’s (communist ed.note) ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalise all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat”
“Trade-unionist politics of the working class is bourgeois politics of the working class”
Political struggle over economic struggle
In the article “Once Again On The Trade Unions” Lenin writes:
“I said again in my speech that politics is a concentrated expression of economics, because I had earlier heard my ‘political’ approach rebuked in a manner which is inconsistent and inadmissible for a Marxist. Politics must take precedence over economics. To argue otherwise is to forget the ABC of Marxism.”