May Day Thoughts on Why The Rank and File Strategy is a Solid Starting Point

Luke Pretz

May 1, 2021

May Day celebrations often commemorate historic working class victories, struggles, and heroes. However, in a moment when the US socialist movement seems to be gaining momentum and building power, socialists should celebrate with an eye on the future. As socialists we know what we want—a democratic society without class divisions, organized around production for need and human flourishing. Imagining a socialist future is one thing; getting there is another thing all together. It requires a well thought out strategy that incorporates a democratic and intersectional outlook.

Kim Moody’s The Rank and File Strategy provides a solid starting point for figuring out how to build a robust and democratic socialist movement. In it, Moody takes up the question of how to rebuild the labor-left link that had been severed through decades of historical damage and business unionism. His solution is that socialists should take up rank and file jobs in industries that are of strategic importance to capital and work to build up a militant minority of shop floor leaders committed to democratic principles and supporting workers in their attempts to fight back. However, it’s not enough to simply bore from within; socialists should also be looking to build cross-union networks, ally themselves with community-based working class organizations, seek out opportunities for international solidarity, building a class independent electoral apparatus, and creating a socialist organization that connects all of those layers.

The Rank and File Strategy covers a massive amount of ground. It lays out a history of Marxist thought, labor history, and a discussion of class formation and class consciousness in under forty pages. While no pamphlet or book will have all of the answers, Moody’s Rank and File Strategy is an excellent starting point for socialists searching for a way forward in the twenty-first century.

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