"Educating AWL members so we become educators" (document 2.0)

Submitted by martin on 20 May, 2007 - 7:21

1. The fundamental long-term task of a Marxist organisation is to help the working class educate itself.
In order to do that, the Marxist organisation must educate itself. We do our work by educating the advance-guard; educating, organising, and equipping, morally and materially, a revolutionary cadre that works within the working class to educate it, from books and from experience.

Marxism is essential to working-class self-emancipation. Though general socialist ideas arise spontaneously in certain conditions, Marxism cannot be improvised in that way. It has to be created and augmented and modified, over years, in the light of experience, propagated and passed on. That is our work, and our primary work.

All the organisational and practical work of a Marxist organisation, right up to leading mass uprisings, is based on that fundamental educational work. Our agitation, propaganda, and organisational initiatives are determined and shaped by that task. It lays down what we can and what we can not do in our activities and in our agitation against capitalism and imperialism. The crime of the existing left (for instance, the SWP and its satellites) is that its agitation, propaganda, commentaries, organisational initiatives, and alliances can not do other than miseducate the working class.

2. The centrality of education is even more true in a time of ebb of the labour movement and decay of the left, as at present. In a period of the eclipse and ideological collapse of the left and of socialism, this work is, even more than in more favourable circumstances, the to-be-or-not-to-be question for socialists.

3. In today's conditions, relatively little of the educational work can be done "on the fly", in the course of day-to-day activities and debates.

4. Therefore we should give central priority to self-education.

5. This is self-education with the purpose of creating ideologically-equipped and competent Marxist educators, each one of whom is the bearer and proponent in the working class and labour movement of a more or less full Marxist education.

6. Its test is whether the person being educated can then educate others, not whether they have passively sat through this or that many classes and day schools.

7. This conference mandates the incoming NC and EC to devote central resources to a new educational drive geared to:
(a) a consistent induction system for new recruits, through which they all pass, becoming full members when they have established their ability to function as educators
(b) educating all our existing members so that they become competent educators.
(Being "educators" does not mean that they have to be skilled lecturers; it means that they are competent to explain our basic ideas to contacts and to people whom they meet, and to speak up for our ideas - if only briefly - in meetings they attend).