--classstrugggle-flipmag CS Mar-2019 MKP - Page 8

In the long run even the most honest trade union leader is only able to resist the corruption of the labour aristocracy by the support of the communist party and the consistent line of class struggle. In the original revolutionary communist party in Denmark – DKP (1917-56) and its Marxist-Leninist successor DKP/ML (1978-97) – it was the rule that trade union and parliamentary leaders should be considered as party functionaries, paid by the party. They would deliver their bribe salary to the party and keep a sum equalling an ordinary worker’s pay. Back in 1892 Friedrich Engels spoke about an ‘aristocracy inside the working class’ in England, signifying a privileged minority of the workers, as contrasted to the great majority. This privileged minority originated as a result of the profits of Britain’s colonial monopoly. Lenin broadened and clarified this analysis in the light of the emergence of imperialism, stressing that the imperialist bourgeoisie in a number of countries is able to bribe a part of the best-off workers on the basis of imperialist super-profits. Due to the special economic position of the labour aristocracy and its social position and influence, it emerges that the class interests of this social strata is connected to the preservation and survival of capitalist society. The labour aristocracy is better able to defend the politics of class collaboration and thereby the interests of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeoisie itself. This makes this social stratum the most important class basis of the reformist and revisionist parties, the actual material and social basis of their ideology, theory and politics, along with petty bourgeois intellectuals. It has always been an important principle for the Marxist- Leninists not to make appeals to 8 this special stratum to uphold the demands of the working class or to nurture any illusions that they will fight for them to the end. Every struggle must be fought in spite of them – at times in direct confrontation, as many strikes and labour struggles and protest movements have experienced over and over again. The labour aristocracy does not constitute a separate class, also not in imperialist countries like Denmark, where it is somewhat larger than in the countries exploited by imperialism. As a social stratum it relates to different social classes. The strata of the labour aristocrats in Denmark them- selves may also be subdivided The main figures are the bourgeois politicians of the so- called workers’ parties, the parliamentary reformist and revisionist organisations and the heads of the trade union leaderships and their consorts. This upper segment belongs to the monopoly bourgeoisie and includes the managers of the big pension and investment funds of the labour unions. The Danish ATP (workers’ special pension) is the biggest pension fund in Europe with a value of one billion dollars, and is an important economic force in Danish society. What once was created to protect the workers from social misery is now a business on purely capitalist terms. Recently the LO trade union leadership sold the insurance company of the trade unions, Alka, dating back to 1903, to corporate vultures for more than 1.35 billion dollars. The top leadership of the two largest trade union federations (one for workers in private companies and one for public employees) have for a long time prepared to amalgamate into one huge enterprise, expected to take place by 2019. The top layer of the trade union leadership and labour aristocracy is a part of both the economic and political elite of today. Together with various bourgeois and social-democratic governments and employers’ organisations, they are responsible for the implementation of the greater part of the neoliberal labour policy and social policy of the European Union and the subsequent reforms, which are endorsed in the main labour contracts by negotiations among the three parties – the state, the employers’ organisations and the trade union federations. The middle layer of labour aristocrats consist of the paid trade union leaders and functionaries at lower levels, the employees and functionaries of the administration of the unemployment funds, consultants and paid staffs of the so-called workers’ parties. Their salaries and working conditions are also much better than those of the people they are supposed to represent. The lowest but still privileged layer of labour aristocrats are paid shop stewards, groups of highly paid workers in certain key functions and workers who have been accorded leading functions in the implementation of the concrete work projects. The characterisation of the labour aristocracy by Lenin in Imperialism as the ‘fire extinguishers of the struggle of the working class’ has been distorted by certain elements into a claim that the entire working class in the imperialist countries is bribed and bourgeoisified. Such radical sounding ‘theories’ are sheer left opportunist nonsense. Their purpose is to pull the teeth out of the working class struggle and leave the workers by themselves to the reformists and revisionists. The other main social basis of opportunism is the intellectuals, the Class Struggle