By Robert Fox
Last Sunday, the Revolutionary Workers Movement (RWM) held their first public meeting, declaring their intention to organize workers in Kansas City to fight back against exploiting bosses and conquer power for the working class.
Workers from many trades, from auto workers to plumbers to welders, showed up to the meeting excited about the new organization. Attendees shared their experiences of foremen who sat in air-conditioned trucks barking orders to workers sweating under the summer sun, of managers sexually harassing workers without any repercussions, and of bosses threatening to close shop if they dared to unionize.
Unlike existing labor unions or activist “left” groups, the RWM is committed to class struggle, fighting for the proletariat to conquer power and establish a socialist state. RWM’s presentation summed up their attitude with the revolutionary slogans of: “It is right to rebel! What do we have? Nothing! What do we want? Everything!”
The RWM put forward three immediate objectives: ending wage theft, ending work intensification, and ending layoffs. Bosses steal more money from workers every year than burglaries, robberies, larcenies, and auto thefts combined. Through work intensification, short-staffing, speedups, and machinery, they try to extract even more profits from workers without raising wages.
The RWM opposes all layoffs, but particularly opposes workers being fired for their political views or for racist or sexist reasons. To make these goals a reality, RWM is forming Workers’ Brigades, which will organize workers to make it impossible for companies to carry on business as usual.
The RWM has many union workers in their ranks, but they oppose the union bosses, whose job is to broker peace between the exploiters and the exploited. Rather than serving the bourgeoisie and selling out the workers, RWM aims to strike fear into bosses with uncompromising militancy.
“We will never side with bosses,” one organizer said. “We’re a fighting organization for the working class, because we’re already in a state of war with the bourgeoisie. We don’t want peace, we want power for the proletariat. Unions and NGOs want to maintain peace and calm, we want to embolden workers to fight back.”
The organizers who were inspired by the militant workers’ movements in oppressed nations like Brazil, Peru, and the Philippines, stressed the importance of anti-imperialism, internationalism, and struggling against anti-immigrant sentiment in the workplace.
Whether they come from Mexico or China or the US, all workers share the same enemy, the bosses that pay them less than their labor is worth and set them against each other.
RWM was also inspired by the history of the working class in the US, which won demands like the eight-hour workday and a minimum wage not through compromise but through struggle and sacrifice.
“We have a duty to carry the torch of the martyrs who struggled for what we have,” one organizer said.
After the presentation there was a lively discussion. Workers discussed the issues they face on the job, including harassment, unequal pay for women, the lack of maternity or paternity leave, and bosses taking vacations whenever they want while workers can’t even take breaks, and brainstormed tactics they could use to fight back.
Organizers discussed their plan for the next three months, including meetings, study groups, and canvassing. RWM plans to join the revolutionary May 1 demonstration as well as organizing cultural events to put the class struggle back in May Day. RWM has also established a hotline at (816) 995-7965 for workers to report issues on the job.