FREDERICK ENGELS pointed out that the class struggle takes place not only on the fronts of Trade Unions and politics — but also on the front of ideology. Revolutionaries can not ignore this front on pain of being outflanked. The traditional ideology of a given society, organised through the schools and the churches, is a 'material' force in binding the masses to the ruling class, in cementing over the crevices of conflicting interests; the ruling class's intellectual monopoly, with its churches, information and education systems is an irreplaceable weapon in its continual struggle to keep the masses in subjection, to deprive them of the consciousness necessary to take advantage of their numbers and put an end to capitalism. .
IDEOLOGY AND CLASS SOCIETY
'Material conflicts clothe themselves in ideological garb.' Ideological armament is necessary before action for political ends - but its degree of clarity varies enormously: the bourgeoisie under Cromwell made their revolution bending texts of the Bible into weapons in their struggle to 1ay the basis for a bourgeois state. The French bourgeoisie expressed their interests in the idealised service of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity - though these interests demanded only formal equality, which is absolutely different from what the working class needs.
No matter, if the bourgeois revolution did not clearly see what it was doing. The rising bourgeoisie had already a large measure of economic power, accumulated wealth, independent culture and powerful connections - they could afford to blunder and grope their way empirically to full control.
But the working class remains a slave class up to the point of taking power; the objective conditions for its assumption of power - the growth and concentration of the means of production, the contradictions in capitalism - ripen while the aspirant ruling class is still in wage slavery. The proletariat can only free itself economically by taking power first politically, in reverse order to the bourgeois development. Because of the intricacy of its tasks, and its 1ack of wealth, culture or leisure under capitalism, the initial struggle for workers' power is a struggle against all forms of bourgeois ideology, and for the scientific world outlook - Marxism.
MARXISM AND THE CLASS STRUGGLE
The proletariat under capitalism, without its own independent culture, is not a blank page - inevitably it is influenced by the ideas of the ruling class. The British Labour Party demonstrates this: 60 and more years of 'successful' political activity, on the basis of bourgeois ideas and conceptions, of socialist aspirations without clarity on the nature of the state and of capitalist society in general, of the Labour Party's Clause IV of its constitution mixed up with patriotism, gradualism and Christian socialism, have resulted in... the present labour Government – the main instrument of entrenched capitalism in controlling the working class and canalising its aspirations against its own interest.
The British working class - and the Irish - through a peculiar combination of historio circumstances was utterly defeated ideologically — and this has conditioned everything else. By contrast, the real ground work of Bolshevism was the merciless battle for Marxist theoretical clarity waged by Lenin from the first days, on this foundation building the actual party structure as a living organic unit combining the different aspect of the class struggle in a strategy of struggle for power.
The battle on this front' to break the hold of the ideas, methods of thinking and outlook which express and sanctity the interests Of capitalism - this is the prerequisite of revolutionary politics. Where this foundation is lacking no sharp revolutionary weapon of the working class will be forged, no Bolshevik combat party will be built. In the whole history of the labour movement those who were indifferent to revolutionary theory almost invariably wound up not only indifferent, but hostile, to revolutionary practice. This is by no means accidental, no more than was the determined combativity of Lenin towards all bending under bourgeois ideology, even in apparently obscure points of philosophy.
When he said that 'No revolutionary theory means no revolutionary practice' he was defining the believe that had guided his political activities. 0ur task is to sharpen the consciousness of its class interests in the proletariat; to strive for that irreplaceable clarity of revolutionary thought, necessarily developed in war with the ideas of the enemy class, that is essential to effective political action by the proletariat for its own programme.
THE ROLE 0F THE WORKERS' REPUBLIC
These considerations show us what the role of THE WORKERS` REPUBLIC must be. The specifications are high ones, and it would be preposterous to pretend the we as yet measure up to them. But for Marxists to formulate the demands placed upon us by the objective needs of our class is to announce our determination to live up to them. The fight to develop Wrorkers Republic is essentially the fight to develope and clarity our understanding of the tasks of the Irish Workers' Group in the struggle for Connolly's Workers' Orepublic.
THE WORKERS' REPUBLIC must forge that Marxist class consciousness necessary to our task of assembling forces to fight for workers'power. It will attempt to cover the world struggles of our class, and also the struggles of our direct allies, the British workers. We will try to build up its circulation in Britain as part of the work of co-ordinating the common struggle: there is a need in the British labour movement for a paper basing itself on the programme of Bolshevism and at the same time rejecting the one-sided caricatures of British 'Trotskyism' - the irrational super-activists on the one hand and the contemplative scholastics on the other.
WORKERS REPUBLIC will provide a forum for analysis of events, other tendencies in the labour movement, history and ideas. Above all we want to encourage discussion and controversy. Only on the basis of the most free and comprehensive discussion can we achieve real clarity of ideas - and unanimity in action. We repudiate all dogmatism and sectarianism: but we do not regard concern foe precision and clarity of ideas as sectarianism. Our attitude to other Marxist groups and publications is one of seeking points of unity against the common enemy. But at the same time Bolshevik seriousness demands a clear and open discussion of issues and points of differences - that cooperation must be deliberate and conscious; that differences must be loyally put to the test of experience, not buried or hushed up. For this reason we attempt, seriously, to conduct a dialogue with those Marxist groups with which we differ.
Today there are many people in Ireland and England coming to revolutionary politics: we appeal for your support. Develop WORKERS' REPUBLIC - sell it - contribute to it. For our part we will make a serious effort over the coming months to improve its coverage, range, level and standard of production. We have changed the name because WORKERS' REPUBLIC expresses clearly what we stand for. We also intend to try and bring it out bi-monthly from now on. This will depend on selling enough in the time to make it pay for itself. If we succeed in doing that - with the help of our readers - the next issue will appear at the beginning of April.
This is the discussion magazine of those who stand for the Workers' Socialist Republic. Help us to develop it.
EDITORIAL, SPRING 1967 AN SOLAS/WORKERS'REPUBLIC NO 17