Ernest Mandel on raising the self-confidence of workers

One of the main aspects of the direct action of the masses, of their strikes or mass mobilizations, is the raising of their level of consciousness through the growth of their confidence in themselves. In daily life the workers, poor peasants, small artisans, women, youth, national and racial minorities are all used to being crushed, exploited, and oppressed by a multitude of possessors and powers. They tend to feel that revolt is impossible and useless, that their enemies are too strong … But in the heat of mobilisations and great mass struggles, this fear, this feeling of inferiority and powerlessness, suddenly begins to disappear. The masses become conscious of their immense potential power as soon as they act together, collectively and in solidarity, as soon as they organise themselves and organise their struggles effectively. That is why revolutionary Marxists attach extreme importance to everything which increases the self-confidence of the masses, everything which helps to break them from the obedient and servile behaviour which has been impressed on them through thousands of years of domination by the possessing classes. ‘Servile masses, arise, arise’: these words from the first verse of the Internationale’ perfectly express the psychological revolution which is needed for the victory of the socialist revolution.

— Ernest Mandel. From Class Society to Communism: An Introduction to Marxism. Ink Links Ltd, 1997. p. 128-129.

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