The capitalist class of bosses, financiers, landlords, and their cops wage relentless and violent class war upon the working class. The General Defense Committee (GDC) is a committee of and supports the revolutionary unionism of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The GDC’s goal is to defend and support the entire working class, divided and under attack by those who wage class war against us. We therefore promote, through organization, action, and outreach, a mass, non-sectarian defense of the class, in order to build a self-organized working class that treats differences as strengths and opportunities to live in solidarity. Community Self Defense means we intend to build our revolutionary community precisely by defending it and the earth on which we live.
Our power as a class will never come from our possession of wealth, but from our ability to organize the class to defend ourselves. We must secure defense against legal attacks, but do not imagine that legal and financial defense alone are sufficient. Any revolutionary union that does not expect oppression from the master class, and organize to meet it, has failed to learn from past waves of repression.
We say defense means organized action taken explicitly to defend members of the class against the different forms of oppression that structure our society. Our membership expects the GDC to be an arena of mutual education through mutual struggle. Exploiters rely upon the fractured unity of the working class. By standing in solidarity across and directly attacking the diverse oppressions of the class, we intend to embody the notion that an injury to one really is an injury to all, and to openly use our defense to build the resilience, strength, and fighting spirit of the working class. Because the class war is not limited to the workplace, our defense of the class cannot be limited to the workplace. Oppressions like racism and sexism structure class oppression and division. Both degrade the solidarity members of the working class should have for each other, and are predicated on acts of violence within the class, and structures of violence organized by the state. We are against all oppressions. By organizing against the diverse oppressions of the working class, and centering our revolutionary and anti-capitalist foundations, we intend to directly overcome those divisions. Through this struggle we advance the goal of an anti-capitalist revolution by building the size, solidarity, and strength of working class.
The oppressed do not determine the grounds of their liberation; those grounds are chosen by the oppressors, whose warfare upon our class results in exclusion, harm, and death. We intend to meet our oppressors on whatever grounds we must, in order to complete the revolution against the capitalism that accelerates not only our exploitation throughout the world, but our entire world’s ecological peril. We reject sterile bureaucratic or legalistic restrictions on the revolutionary demands with which our union and our world is faced, recognizing that our history includes failed attempts to pretend allegiance to the state and capitalism. We make no pretense. We will defend and support each other.
The General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World demands hope and bravery of its membership, so that we can build and organize the class that is worthy of the revolution that we must make.