Religious and Political Oppression of Workers Takes Similar Forms the World Over – USA No Different

Food for thought:  from Wang Lixiong’s article on Tibet from “New Left Review” March/April 2002

Replace the word: “Tibetan” and “Tibetans” with any other nation or nationality and “Buddhist” with any other religion and the analysis is very nearly unchanged.  The origins of the usefulness of religious mythology in the maintenance of the social status quo is explored; the use of fear of death and of angering the gods by opposing their “divine plan” here in this life is exposed.  Without the intervention of conscious revolutionaries bearing Marxist materialist ideas and ideals, the masses remain trapped by the all-pervasive fear of the gods and of the capitalist state which – in the view of the religious believers of any faith – exists due to the fact that the status quo is ordained by God and cannot – must not –  be opposed.  This is the “slave mentality” that cripples workers and peasants throughout the capitalist world.

—— IWPCHI

“A fear above all others

“One of the unique characteristics of traditional Tibetan society was that, despite a considerable degree of social and economic polarization, there was hardly any history of actual class confrontation. Conflict was generally between upper-class factions, or between Tibetans and other ethnic groups. What explains such an unusual degree of deference and obedience? The answer surely lies in the deeply rooted religious traditions of Tibet. Even if aware of their suppressed and exploited status, the poor would resign themselves to their fate, seeing it as retribution for their previous lives. According to Buddhist doctrine, their hope of freedom from suffering lay entirely in the hereafter: only by resigning themselves to their present condition and enduring its misery might they hope to win the favours of the deities, and the chance of being born into a better afterlife. Any resistance was disobedience to the divine will and would be met with suitable punishment. This staunch belief moulded the Tibetans’ attitude of passive submission. The benefits of reform in this world could never match the happiness of the afterlife; if they committed the crime of ‘defying their superiors’ or ‘enriching themselves with dubious wealth’, the dreadful punishment that awaited them would far outweigh any earthly gains. This was why so many felt uncertain about class struggle…”

[…]

[In this section of Wang Lixiong’s essay, replacing the word “Buddhism” with “capitalism” – the national religion of the USA – you get even more surprising and enlightening results.  — IWPCHI]

“If the highly evolved doctrines of the lamaist tradition are almost impossibly abstruse, the faith of the masses is far more comprehensible. The roots of their intense religiosity lie in the terrors of their natural environment—the explanation, surely, for the extraordinary proliferation of deities and monsters within Tibetan Buddhism, differentiating it from Indian and Chinese variants. Fear is the key factor […] [f]ear provoked awe, and awe gave rise to the totem of deities and monsters:

“The Tibetans were living in a state of apprehension and anxiety. Every perturbation, either physical or spiritual, every illness, every susceptible or dangerous situation, would drive them to search feverishly for its causes, and for preventative measures.

But the search for solutions only reinforced the anxiety: the more thought and explanation was lavished upon it, the deeper it grew. Faced with a fear that they could neither escape nor conquer, Tibetans were in need of a larger fear, clearly defined and structured, one that exceeded all others and which, so long as one obeyed it totally, would keep at bay all the lesser fears, lifting the intolerable psychological burden.

Fear formed the core of the Tibetans’ spiritual world. Only by propitiating their terror, by offering sacrifices to it in complicated ceremonies, by worshipping and obeying it, could one feel safe and free, reassured by its vast dominion and tremendous power. Such a fear already possessed, at a certain level, the nature of divinity; the origins of the vast number of ferocious and terrifying objects worshipped in Tibetan religion—including those of the Bon shamanism that predated the eighth-century introduction of Buddhism from India—can surely be traced back here.  In that frightful environment, humankind can scarcely persevere without some sense of divine guidance and support. From this perspective it might be argued that, even if all other religions were on their way to extinction, the Tibetan creed would probably be preserved to the very last day.

“Tibetan Buddhism exacts an exorbitant price from its followers. The hope of a better life hereafter demands a punishing regime of forbearance, asceticism and sacrifice in the present. Tibetans also have to contribute a considerable part of their personal wealth to religious activity—building monasteries, providing for monks and nuns, performing ceremonies, making pilgrimages and so forth. Under the Dalai Lama’s government, 92 per cent of the budget was devoted to religious expenditure. Even today, according to some estimates, the Tibetans pay about a third of their annual income to the monasteries. This was money that would not be transformed into productive investment nor used to improve the people’s lives. For over a thousand years, the sweat and toil of the Tibetans had gone to encrust the monasteries, while the governing monks formed an enormous parasitic social stratum. […] This unproductive layer was a heavy burden on Tibetan society…”

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence – Transcript

We publish here our transcription of the post-performance address given on behalf of the cast and writers of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on 18 November 2016.  We produced it from the New York Times video copy of the event.  Though it appears that actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the address on behalf of the cast and writers of the show, made somewhat more extensive remarks, the video ends before he appears to finish his statement.  We have been unable to find a copy of the video which shows the entire event through to the cast walking off the stage.

Many people on the Internet are decrying the fact that actors would dare to break the “fourth wall” between the audience and the performers in a stage performance in this manner and act as if this has never been done before.  Actually it has happened on many occasions, particularly before and after performances.  Also there have been commentators who seem to believe that the address to Pence was some kind of rude political attack intended to embarrass or humiliate Pence.  In reality, Mr. Dixon took great pains to stop any booing of Pence at the beginning of the address and delivered the address in a very respectful if direct manner.  The video shows that if anyone objected to the cast addressing Pence so directly they were in the minority: the vast majority of the audience cheers loudly in favor of the political points that are made.

The political points made by Dixon on behalf of the cast simply consist of pathetic appeals to a man who has been appointed Vice-President by the new President-elect Trump who is busy assembling the whitest, most male-dominated Presidential cabinet in almost 40 years!  “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir ” said Dixon.

What a fine example of the impotent method of political shucking and jiving (preferred by US liberals) of “speaking truth to power” in the manner of an obedient if somewhat uppity servant who first declares his respect for the person he is addressing and then makes a pathetic plea to the King’s representative for compassion and understanding of the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and dispossessed – just as it would have been done during the historic period in which ‘Hamilton’ is set!   The US working class is almost 200 million strong… yet once again we see a de facto representative of the US working class approaching his “social betters” – the capitalist class representative Pence, representing a mere 10% of the US population at best! – hat in hand, pathetically begging our “masters” to treat us kindly… rather than taking the revolutionary road of standing up and overthrowing the racist ruling capitalist class of the USA that Trump and Pence represent!  The numerically tiny US capitalist class who fantasize about returning the USA to the “Good Old Days(TM)” of genocide against the Native Americans and the theft of their lands, white supremacy, total subordination of women to “the menfolk”, slavery and child labor and the ruthless crushing of every attempt of the workers and slaves to fight for their “inalienable rights” that existed – then and now – only on paper!   The fact is that the integrated US working class in 2016 and our immigrant sisters and brothers have no rights that the capitalist class is “bound to respect”; and the fact that the US capitalist class has seen fit to allow Donald Trump and his gang of white supremacist scum to occupy the highest office in the land proves this point beyond doubt!  Anyone who can’t see this is either willfully blind or an imbecile.

What the US working class needs is not shameful “representatives” who present shamefully weak petitions to the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class but heroic revolutionaries like Lenin’s Bolsheviks who presented their petitions to the Tsar and his hangmen on the ends of bayonets!  These scum who want to impose a racist, capitalist, white supremacist pig like Trump as President of the United States are throwing down a gauntlet to the working classes of the US and the world!  “If you don’t like living in our racist, white supremacist, anti-union America you can get the hell out of ‘our’ country!” they declare!  And they are preparing to unleash their fascist shock troops to intimidate and terrorize those who dare to oppose them!  The rising US fascist threat must be crushed in the egg; it will take a militant, Trotskyist-led workers movement to do it – and the US working class have barely begun that tremendous work!  Don’t you think it’s high time you got off your knees and started to fight for your rights, sister and brother workers instead of begging your mortal enemies to love you and respect you?

This is no time for presenting timid petitions to King Drumpf I, but for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will fight for an egalitarian socialist workers republic to replace this deeply corrupt, senile, revanchist, racist dinosaur US capitalist class and its rotten economic system that is threatening to destroy the unity of the world’s working classes and even the entire planet!  You want your rights as citizens to be defended now and forever more?  Then stop begging your enemies to do it for you and prepare to create a revolutionary workers government under which your “inalienable rights” – which exist only on paper under capitalism – to become full and permanent under a workers’ republican government!  When we say that “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!” we are not just spouting a slogan: we are stating a harsh fact, one which you had better come to understand before it’s too late.  To limit the US working class – 200 million strong – to the pathetic role of merely “speaking truth to power” – the alleged “power” of at most 30 million greedhead capitalists – is to accept the status of loyal slaves and to make it a permanent fact of our political lives!  What could be more cowardly?  We don’t want to petition “King Trump” or merely to “speak truth to power” to his flunky ministers like Pence: we want to overthrow the despotic racist regime itself:  Trump and his entire rotten class and their capitalist system.   If the revolutionaries of 1776 had stupidly limited their struggle to merely “speaking truth to power” we’d still be living under a monarchy!  But they were NOT cowards; they were not content to “keep their place” as loyal subjects of the King, being forced to accede to his every decree and command like stupid slaves!  We need to build a political party of the working class that is energised by the same kind of revolutionary spirit that animated the likes of immigrant political theoretician Thomas Paine, Daniel Shays, John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the communist men and women who fought to build the US trade unions and the civil rights movement in the 1930s!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

— IWPCHI

********************************************************

NY Times Video – Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Addresses VP Elect Mike Pence After Performance – Complete transcript by IWPCHI, with notes in brackets by IWPCHI.

[Transcribed by IWPCHI from NY Times video of event. Speech delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon]

[Cast on stage taking final bows. Wild applause and cheering. Pence not visible during video.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening [light laughter throughout audience] And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments [one or two people boo, and apparently derisive comments anticipating tenor of speech can be heard] … there’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen; there’s nothing to boo here [light applause] we’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a little message for you sir [Dixon reaches for prepared address in his pocket] and we hope that you will hear us out. [Opens up paper with prepared address and prepares to read it] … and I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and Tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, O.K.? [Reads: audience completely silent] ‘Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical”. We really do. We, sir – we – are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us [applause and cheering, some boos] our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. [Audience silent again]. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of *all* of us. [Cheering] *All* of us. [Loud, sustained applause and cheering from audience. No booing. Dixon continues through loud applause:] Again we truly thank you for sharing this show: this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [Loud applause and cheering. Video ends.]

IWPCHI

 

The USA Now Has A President That Perfectly Reflects the “Soul” of It’s Demoralized, De-Unionized Heartland

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.”  (Every nation gets the government it deserves.)  – Joseph de Maistre

“This whole election is being rigged. The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.” – Donald Trump

“Even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.” – Anonymous

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States came as a shock to many observers around the world.  Professional political pollsters, particularly, were exposed as the charlatans they are by their wildly inaccurate predictions made through the last weeks of the campaign.  The New York Times, America’s “Newspaper of Record” dropped all pretense of “journalistic objectivity” to campaign furiously for the hideous Democratic Party candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, turning their newspaper into a de facto arm of the Clinton campaign.

The NY Times and almost all other major bourgeois press outlets railed 24/7 against the equally repulsive Republican candidate, slumlord and swindler of small businessmen and working class college hopefuls Donald Trump, piling up devastating evidence of his contempt for women, handicapped people and immigrants in particular.  In spite of the damning audio recordings and accusations of several women of his misogynist tendencies broadcast on all news media for the final weeks of the campaign, Hillary Clinton was unable to put Trump in her rear-view mirror.  Trump, just a day before the election, still trailed Clinton by just 4 percentage points in the WSJ’s polls.

The pinnacle of pro-Clinton propaganda was reached on November 3 when the magazine “The Atlantic” published an incredible puff piece on Clinton that will stand for all time as one of the most  hilariously fatuous and wildly inaccurate pieces of political journalism ever penned.  Written by Chimamanda Adichie (seemingly while curled up comfortably  in Hillary’s lap), it was entitled “What Hillary Clinton’s Fans Love About Her”:

“We do not see, often enough, the people who love Hillary Clinton, who support her because of her qualifications rather than because of her unqualified opponent, who empathize with her. Yet millions of Americans, women and men, love her intelligence, her industriousness, her grit; they feel loyal to her, they will vote with enthusiasm for her.

“Human beings change as they grow, but a person’s history speaks to who she is. There are millions who admire the tapestry of Hillary Clinton’s past: the first-ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley speaking boldly about making the impossible possible, the Yale law student interested in the rights of migrant farmworkers, the lawyer working with the Children’s Defense Fund, the first lady trying to make health care accessible for all Americans […]

“There are people who love how cleanly she slices through policy layers, how thoroughly she digests the small print […]

“They have confidence in her. There are people who rage at the media on her behalf, who see the coverage she too often receives as unfair. There are people who in a quiet, human way wish her well. There are people who, when Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to be president of the United States, will weep from joy.

“Hillary Clinton was guilty immediately when she stepped into the view of the American public as the first lady of Arkansas. She was a lawyer full of dreams. She had made sacrifices for the man she loved, waived her plans, and moved to his state. But she also dared to think herself her husband’s equal, to assume herself competent enough to take on expanding access to healthcare and reforming the Arkansas public education system […]”.

“Because she is already considered guilty in a vague and hazy way, there is a longing for her to be demonstrably guilty of something. Other words have been repeated over and over, with no context, until they have begun to breathe and thrum with life. Especially “emails.” The press coverage of “emails” has become an unclear morass where “emails” must mean something terrible, if only because of how often it is invoked.

“The people who love Hillary Clinton know that the IT system at the State Department is old and stodgy, nothing like a Blackberry’s smooth whirl. Hillary Clinton was used to her Blackberry, and wanted to keep using it when she became secretary of state…”

It has to be read to be believed.  How much does it cost to hire someone to write sickening, fawning garbage like that?  How can an editor with any sense at all dare to present such a thing to the public?

The constant stream of evidence of Hillary Clinton’s willing servility towards the US capitalist class brought forth by the WikiLeaks organization was like a firehose of condemnation turned against Clinton for the final month of the campaign.  Hacked emails spirited from her top campaign manager John Podesta’s computers revealed how the Clinton camp’s near-total control of the primary election machinery of the Democratic Party had sabotaged the chimerical Bernie Sanders campaign from day one.  The WikiLeaks document trove also detailed how the Clintonites had conspired to use their agents in the US bourgeois press to build up the weakest of the Republican candidates so as to provide Hillary with the weakest possible opponent from the Republicans’ Augean stable of rotten, greed-driven swine.  Many commentators have awarded the laurel wreath to WikiLeaks for torpedoing the Hillary Clinton campaign with their steady drip of exposures of the criminality of Hillary Clinton and her family’s deeply corrupt Clinton Foundation, awash in barely concealed campaign donations from some of the most reactionary regimes on the planet.  But WikiLeaks’ efforts, though significant, were not responsible for the humiliation Clinton suffered at the sweaty, grasping hands of Donald Trump.

Post-election, the Clintonites desperately sought to lay the blame for their candidate’s stunning defeat at the feet of Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and of Gary Johnson of the Libertarians – both of whom did, indeed, to their credit, succeed in taking a great many votes away from the Democrats and the Republicans.  The Democratic apologists’ shrill condemnations of the third parties for having the nerve to actually run candidates for real against their pre-selected winner of the Presidential race demonstrates better than any communist polemic the utter fraud that is the US political system.  Third party candidates, it seems, can exist, but not if they will actually participate in the final vote.  They are supposed to run during the primaries only, in order to give the completely phony US democracy a thin veneer of legitimacy, and then fold up their tents like dutiful and loyal servants of the two “major” “official” political parties of the US.

Donald Trump won a great deal of support from the mostly white, male working class that elected him by blathering about how the US election process is “rigged”.  Here Trump simply pointed out the obvious, while omitting the most important aspect of the rigged nature of the US political system: it is indeed rigged – to benefit people like him.  Wealthy white males have always been at the pinnacle of US politics since the wealthiest man in the young USA – George Washington – ran for president.  Donald Trump stands elected as US President not in spite of the fact that the US elections are rigged but because they are rigged to benefit white men of his social class: the capitalist class.

Hillary Clinton was defeated because she was a monstrous candidate obviously completely in the pockets of the Wall St. bankers and brokers who had paid her millions of dollars for speeches in which she told them exactly what they wanted to hear from a politician running for president.   Clinton lost because she’s a vicious, heartless, murderous, grasping beast who clearly would do anything – a-ny-thing – to become President of the United States.  To raise money for her election as the champion of women all over the world she openly sold herself not just to the US capitalist class but to some of the most disgusting women-hating regimes on the face of the Earth – like Saudi Arabia – for cold, hard cash.  She and her cohorts – whom she praised in her concession speech as representing “the best” the US has to offer – conspired to deny millions of Democratic Party voters the right to fully participate in the Democratic primary when her campaign deliberately and calculatedly plotted to destroy the candidacy of fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders.  The contempt of her co-conspirators for fair play in a political contest between loyal Democratic Party flacks was so boundless that she left nothing to chance in elbowing her way to the Democratic nomination, even to the extent of having her agents in the news media obtain debate questions in advance of the phony “debates” between herself and Sanders.

Hillary Rodham Clinton lost because she was a far less convincing liar than the real estate huckster Donald Trump.  The only people she told the truth to were the 1-percenters who run the USA and whose money and support she needed to obtain in order to become their anointed presidential candidate in 2016.  For a couple hundred thousand dollars a pop, she made speech after speech to the kings of Wall St., promising them in no uncertain terms that if they backed her they’d be running the tables in Washington for yet another four years.

WikiLeaks provided us with all of the damning evidence of the contents of Hillary Clinton’s highly-paid speaking tours of the halls of actual political power in the US’ phony democracy – which Clinton herself wisely refused to release to the public.  In a speech given to the Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium on 24 October 2013 Hillary told her sponsors: “It’s still happening, as you know. People are looking back and trying to, you know, get compensation for bad mortgages and all the rest of it in some of the agreements that are being reached. There’s nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad. How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.” In other words, if anything is wrong with Wall St., it should be the Wall St. insiders who decide how to fix it, she sang to her paying audience of top capitalists.  To Clinton, the millions who make up the US working class are nothing but an ignorant herd of meddling outsiders.

The more Hillary Clinton appeared in public, the more convinced prospective voters became convinced of her vast insincerity in espousing her fake concern for the plight of working-class families in the US struggling to keep a roof over their families’ heads.  No one believed a thing she said; no one was convinced that she had any other motive for becoming President other than pure egotistical self-aggrandizement and of course to stuff her and her family’s pockets with money by doing favors for everyone who had bankrolled her campaign, from Goldman Sachs to the government of Saudi Arabia.  Hillary Clinton seemed to represent everyone EXCEPT the vast working class majority that makes up the citizenry of every capitalist nation-state including the “classless” “egalitarian” USA.

Hillary Clinton’s pretense of being the #1 champion of women’s rights simply by becoming the first female president of the United States was exposed for the fraud it was by the WikiLeaks revelations that the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from reactionary woman-hating regimes throughout the Muslim world, like Saudi Arabia, whose government she made sure was showered with military supplies used to support the even more reactionary and anti-woman cretins of ISIL/ISIS when she was Secretary of State.  Hillary was never a champion of anyone other than Hillary.  Electing Hillary Rodham Clinton President would have done no more to advance the cause of women than did the election of the Afghan-mullah-loving Margaret Thatcher.  No intelligent person in the world doubts that a woman can run a major modern nation-state.  The United States lost its chance to be the first to have a female head of state decades ago.  Hillary Clinton would have been as big a disaster for the advancement of women’s rights as President as she was as Secretary of State.

Paradoxically, it seems to many, the workers of the US – primarily white males but also a surprising number of white women and a large percentage of US Hispanics and even black workers – were convinced that the bombastic, racist, neofascist huckster real estate swindler Donald Trump was the candidate that truly represented their best interests.  This may seem paradoxical but in reality there is no paradox.  In Donald Trump a large percentage of the US working class finds a mirror image of their racist, greedy, narcissistic selves.  After decades of attacks on the workers’ movement that has driven millions of workers out of the trade unions, the entire concept of the superiority of collective struggle of the working class has been subsumed under a tidal wave of capitalist propaganda and a brutal driving down of wages and benefits for the working class of the USA.  This conscious destruction of the workers’ movement by the US capitalist class and their criminal co-conspirators in the AFL-CIO hierarchy has led to a complete collapse of working class solidarity and its replacement by a “look out for #1” mentality that apes the self-aggrandizing, selfish Ayn Rand-inspired Libertarian ideology of increasing numbers of the capitalist class themselves.  The corruption of the bourgeoisie and their systematic corruption of the bribed trade union bureaucracy that has hamstrung every attempt by the working class at successful collective struggle to defend workers interests over the past 40 years has led inexorably to the corruption of the morals of the working class itself.  “Fuck the next guy – I’m going to get mine first” has become the “philosophy” of a large percentage of the US working class; and so they have ditched the idea of collective struggle through trade union organization and have raised up on their shoulders the hideous caricature of  the “self-made man”: Donald Trump, a billionaire born with a golden spoon in his mouth who never gave a shit about the working class in his entire disgusting money-grubbing life.

Donald Trump perfectly reflects the moral bankruptcy of the US ruling capitalist class in general as well as a similar degeneracy that has mushroomed among a large and growing section of the increasingly desperate and demoralized US working class that has seen its standard of living steadily hammered down year after brutal year since the late 1960s.  With trade union membership in steady decline, the working class has become imbued with the corrupt Libertarian philosophy of the capitalist class that sees poor people as “freeloaders” and unionized workers as “overpaid” and pampered privileged parasites on the national economy.  “Selfishness is the highest virtue” taught the cheap Hollywood screenwriter Ayn Rand; this vicious “philosophy” is at the root of supposedly “egalitarian” Libertarian politics, and has been embraced and proselytized by millions of desperate workers.  Unionized  nurses, teachers and city workers and poor people of every race – but particularly blacks and immigrants –  have become the enemy of the massively non- and even anti-union US working class, egged on by bought-and-paid-for pro-capitalist demagogues from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump.  The US capitalist class and their news media outlets have convinced a large majority of the demoralized US working class that it is not the billionaire capitalist who is the source of the workers’ misery, but the immigrant worker crossing the Mexican border to try to make a decent living for his or her family.  It is not the swindling bankers who have robbed the workers of their income but the black workers on welfare who are doing it.  Never mind that all economic data proves that none of these racist lies are true.  This racist propaganda, spewed by Republican and Democratic politicians and by the US news media for decades has done its nefarious work.  Now we have begun to see the emergence of the fascist scum from the margins of US society starting to become emboldened by hearing their racist ideology parroted by “mainstream” politicians like Trump and seeing their racist “solutions” to the “immigrant problem” put into practice by the Democratic Obama Administration.

This 2016 US Presidential election shows to us that the US working class, in its present disorganized and demoralized state, with no revolutionary socialist leadership to speak of, with the trade union movement in free-fall and supporting the same anti-immigrant proposals as the racists, stands ready to fall victim to fascism in all its savagery.  Prepared by two decades of nearly non-stop war against Middle Eastern and Asian countries with large Muslim populations, the US working class has in large numbers become utterly intolerant of Muslims – who make up nearly a third of the world’s population.  Driven to a mad fury by the neofascist slogans “Make America Great Again” and a fulsome hatred of immigrants not seen in the USA since the days of the “Know-Nothings” the USA looks to us in 2016 like Germany circa 1938.  Millions of US workers have degenerated morally into vicious, greedy, racist and desperate thugs who don’t give a shit HOW MANY people the US military slaughters so long as the price of gasoline stays below $5 a gallon.  Trump’s election isn’t an aberration: it’s the culmination of decades of attacks on the working class and minorities by the Republicans; and even more so by the “friends of labor” Democrats like Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose racist program to “end welfare as we know it” and whose “truth in sentencing” laws fostered decades of brutalization and victimization of black and Hispanic workers.  Seeing no way out of the “hope”-less and “change”-less blind alley into which the Democrats under Barack Obama have led them, and seeing the promising futures and those of their children and grandchildren melt away as their wages and benefits decline, the white working class is embracing neofascist ideology and striking out on the road towards an American Fascism that could well lead inexorably – and rapidly – towards World War Three.  The only way to prevent this descent of the US into the very same abyss that destroyed Germany in just 12 years of unparalleled savagery is for the working class to be won over to the program of revolutionary Trotskyism which alone can overthrow the racist, exploitative capitalist system and to replace it with an egalitarian working class socialist republic.  Only a party such as this can organize the working class to effectively smash the growing fascist menace being unleashed by the US capitalist class, hell-bent on global domination.  This is the kind of political party we hope to build in the coming years right here in the belly of the U.S. imperialist beast.

If that section of the US working class that continues to fight for the rights of immigrants and minorities does not immediately stop tilting at the windmills of impotent “speaking truth to power” and begin to organize a fight to take power directly into the hands of the working class itself, fascism will soon triumph in the USA.  Only a powerful working class force like the communist movement proved capable of effectively fighting fascism in the 1920s and 1930s.  It was the communist-led Resistance movements of Europe that led the opposition to fascism during Hitler’s bloody reign of terror; it was the USSR that finally crushed the “Thousand-Year Reich” and that drove Hitler and his inner circle to suicide in their hole in the ground in Berlin.  It was the heroic communists of Asia – particularly China and Korea – who led the victory over Japanese fascism and, immediately afterward, to new victories over world capitalism and US imperialism.  Those heroic communist movements were successful in spite of the crippling effects of their Stalinist and Maoist bureaucratic leaderships which usurped political power from the working class and led their revolutions into nationalist dead ends from which they still haven’t escaped.  A new Trotskyist movement in the USA is the only hope the working class has of creating a militant and positively creative force that can unite workers of all races, creeds and ethnic backgrounds into a revolutionary force that can crush any and all fascist opposition and lead a truly egalitarian revolutionary workers movement like the one led by Lenin and his Bolsheviks after WWI.  “The capitalist system must die so that the working class may live” is our slogan.  “The capitalist system must die so that fascism can never rise again” must be the principle upon which the now decrepit US workers movement rallies itself around in a massive fight to restore the power of the communist-led US workers movement of the 1930s.  Failure to achieve these goals will lead to the triumph of fascism in the USA and ultimately to the total destruction of the US by the combined forces of the entire world, which will unite to smash US fascism just as they smashed the fascism of the German, Italian and Japanese Nazis in the ’40s.

Time is running out for the US working class to organize itself and turn the direction of the US around into the direction of workers socialist revolution.  Join with us to build a socialist future for the workers of the world through the overthrow of a capitalist system that threatens to plunge the planet into a war that will kill tens or even hundreds of millions of workers and that could damage the planet beyond repair.  The victory of Donald Trump is a clarion call to all workers in the USA to begin immediately to take up the tremendous tasks that face the US working class to build the revolutionary workers party that will lead the American Socialist Revolution in the USA , throughout the Americas and around the world.

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

Capital hand in hand with Labor! As true in 1899 as it is today.

Capital hand in hand with labor! by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing "labor" to a rock.

“Capital hand in hand with labor!  “If there is anything the matter with Trusts the Republican Party can be relied upon to fix it.” — Hanna.” by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing “labor” to a rock.  Source: Library of Congress

 

We are pleased to present to you our dear readers this political cartoon from 1899 extolling the warm relationship of capital and labor as partners with identical interests.  Our “friends” at the AFL-CIO headquarters  will undoubtedly be upset to see their “partners” the capitalists portrayed in such a harsh light.  It gets harder and harder every day for them to sell their lie that workers and their exploiters are natural allies; we are so happy to make their work just that much more difficult.

The cartoon was created by Horace Taylor on 13 November 1899 and shows John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust political fixer Mark Hanna of the Republican Party “shaking hands” in partnership with a worker.  The Library of Congress lists this artwork as part of their collection, but for some strange reason they do not offer a color reproduction (or any downloadable high-resolution image) of this honest depiction of the true relationship between capital and labor.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Workers of the world, Unite!

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

— IWPCHI

 

Defend North Korea! N. Korean Bureaucratic Workers State Carries Out Another Successful Nuclear Test

On 9 September, seismic sensors around the world detected what appeared to be an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on the Korean peninsula in North Korea.  It was determined to have been not an earthquake but a nuclear explosion – an underground nuclear test carried out by the North Korean bureaucratic workers state as part of their ongoing efforts to develop an effective nuclear deterrent to oppose US imperialist plans to destabilize and overthrow the North Korean workers state.

As Trotskyists we have always defended those countries in which the capitalist class and their economic system have been overthrown and replaced with a planned socialist economy.  While we oppose the Stalinist, Maoist and Il Sungist bureaucracies that have usurped political power from the working class in all these states and call for workers political revolution to depose the bureaucracies and to establish true workers democracies, we defend unconditionally all these workers states against imperialist attack.  In a war between North Korea and its puppet client state S. Korea, we would call for the defeat of the US.  This is why we say: Defend North Korea!  US/UN/NATO hands off the Korean Peninsula!

Predictably, this latest successful nuclear test carried out by the Pyongyang government – the largest so far, and apparently evidence that the North Koreans may have successfully developed a small nuclear warhead that can be deployed on North Korea’s ballistic missiles – has caused the US capitalist class, its anti-communist government and its owned-and-operated propaganda outlets to scream bloody murder.  The US capitalist class is still furious that, despite their unleashing of mass-murder during the Korean War – in which as many as 3 million Koreans were murdered – the US was forced to accept the partitioning of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a bastion of socialism in the new nation of North Korea.  The US capitalist class seeks to reverse the historic victory of the North Korean working class over US imperialism by imposing brutal economic sanctions against this tiny country that has never threatened the US in any way – except by denying the US capitalist call the “right” to brutally exploit and squeeze profits from the North Korean working class.  We say: End the sanctions against North Korea now!

The rabidly hostile US government propaganda being spread by all US mass media outlets against the North Koreans’ obvious right to defend their country reveals the depth of US government control of the supposedly “free press” in the USA.  The North Koreans are not delusional when they claim that their development of a nuclear arsenal is vitally necessary in order to protect their working class from annihilation at the hands of the most blood-drenched capitalist regime in world history: the USA.  The US committed mass-murder on the Korean peninsula during the Korean War, deliberately slaughtering millions of peasants and civilians.  US military war criminals bragged about their having bombed Korea so thoroughly that not one building over 2 stories tall was left standing from the Chinese border to the border of the artificially created South Korean US puppet state.  The only way for North Korea to effectively defend their nation-state from the serial mass-murderers in Washington, D.C. is to develop a nuclear deterrent.  We salute the North Korean bureaucratized workers state on their historic achievement of the development of their nuclear arsenal.

The Korean War never actually ended – it ended in an armistice – and the US has continuously launched provocations against the North Koreans through endless military “war games” carried out right on the border of North Korea.  Some of the recent US threats carried out in these military exercises included flying numerous B-52s in simulated nulear bombing runs aimed directly at the North Korean border which veered away from their bombing runs just before entering North Korean airspace!  Just imagine what the US’ reaction would be if Russia or China carried out such activities in the coastal waters of Alaska!  This constant state of threats to blow away North Korea in a  full-scale invasion underscores not just the North Koreans right to defend themselves by any means necessary but the absolute necessity of their developing the only kind of military deterrent the US seems to understand: a nuclear arsenal.

The “lesser evil” Democratic Party – like the Republican Party, wholly owned and operated by the US capitalist class – goes literally ballistic every time North Korea tests a new weapons system.  Having created a situation in which North Korea must spend a huge proportion of their national wealth on military weapons, the US and its equally repulsive allies excoriates North Korea for imposing “starvation conditions” on their own population!  Then, to turn the screws even tighter, the Democratic Party administration of war criminal Barack Obama – and the obviously already “elected” Hillary Clinton – hypocritically utilize the North Koreans’ wholly justified imposed necessity for military spending as “justification” for the imposition of even more stringent economc sanctions against North Korea!  Meanwhile the Maoists in Beijing, whose fake “Communist Party” bureaucracy is slowly restoring capitalism in China – refuses to tell the US to back off or lose their assets in China.  China must defend North Korea at all costs!  The US attacks against North Korea are ultimately aimed at the overthrow of the Chinese bureaucratized workers state – in fact that is the primary target of the US in its imperialist “pivot to Asia”!

We call for workers political revolution in North Korea because we understand that, as with the Stalinists who proved to be the gravediggers of the USSR when they sold out the world’s first union of socialist republics, the bizarre nationalist  Il Sungist hereditary socialist bureaucracy is incapable of defending the North Korean workers state indefinitely.  Once the Stalinists gave up the revolutionary Marxist principle of internationalism in favor of building “socialism in one country” the USSR was doomed to suffer the restoration of capitalism.  In order for socialism to be truly successful and to develop into actual communism, capitalism must first be overthrown throughout the world.  The Stalinists and Maoists as well as the Il Sungists have abandoned revolutionary Marxist internationalism in favor of seeking an unattainable “peaceful coexistence” with the capitalist world.  Having done that, all they can do is to slowly surrender the historic gains of their workers revolutions to the imperialists in exchange for “peace”.  This piecemeal selling off of state assets to the capitalists leads to the development of a capitalist class inside the workers states, and to the wholesale corruption and bribery of state officaldom.  Unless the working classes of the workers states overthrow the bureaucracies in these bureaucratized workers states in a pro-socialist workers political revolution and return to the road of Lenin and Trotsky, capitalism will be restored in all of these workers states.  That – as with the collapse of the Soviet Union – would be a tremendous defeat for the workers of the world.  We call for Trotskyist workers political revolution in North Korea and all the workers states!

In order to give the North Koreans the opportunity to have their side of the story told, we republish the “official” announcement of the North Korean government press regarding their latest nuclear test as well as another Korean Central News Agency report issued on Sept. 9th.

Defend North Korea!  US/UN/NATO hands off North Korea! Drop the Sanctions against North Korea now!

— IWPCHI

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[Source for both articles:  http://www.kcna.kp]

DPRK Succeeds in Nuclear Warhead Explosion Test

Pyongyang, September 9 (KCNA) — The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK made public the following statement Friday:
Scientists and technicians of the DPRK carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead newly studied and manufactured by them at the northern nuclear test ground under the plan of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) for building strategic nuclear force.
The Central Committee of the WPK sent warm congratulations to nuclear scientists and technicians of the northern nuclear test ground on the successful nuclear warhead explosion test.
The nuclear test finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets of the Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army as well as its performance and power.
It was confirmed through the results of analysis of the test that the measured values including explosion might and the nuclear material usage coefficient conformed with the calculated values and that there was no radioactive materials leakage during the test and, therefore, no adverse impact on the ecological environment of the surroundings.
The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power with a firm hold on the technology for producing and using various fissile materials. This has definitely put on a higher level the DPRK’s technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.
The nuclear warhead explosion test is a demonstration of the toughest will of the WPK and the Korean people to get themselves always ready to retaliate against the enemies if they make provocation as it is part of practical countermeasures to the racket of threat and sanctions against the DPRK kicked up by the U.S.-led hostile forces who have gone desperate in their moves to find fault with the sovereign state’s exercise of the right to self-defence while categorically denying the DPRK’s strategic position as a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.
The DPRK will take further measures to bolster the state nuclear force in quality and quantity for safeguarding its dignity and right to existence and genuine peace from the U.S. increasing threat of a nuclear war. -0-
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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Blasts Anti-DPRK Invective of U.S. Official

Pyongyang, September 9 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the Institute for American Studies of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK gave the following answer to the question raised by KCNA Friday in connection with the fact that the deputy security advisor of the National Security Council of the White House again made remarks slandering the DPRK:
The deputy security adviser at a press conference in Vientiane spouted vituperations that they will have to be more awakened to implement sanctions against north Korea, adding that if north Korea abandons nuclear and ballistic missile programme, the U.S. may think over.
It is the shining fruition of the self-reliance and self-development that the DPRK ranked itself with dignity among the military powers, being possessed of perfect nuclear attack capabilities despite the toughest sanctions of the U.S.-led hostile forces.
The U.S. intensified hostile policy and hideous nuclear threat and blackmail only resulted in making the DPRK bolster its nuclear attack capabilities in a phased way.
The U.S. desperate moves for unilaterally putting sanctions and stifling the DPRK are a hideous crime against humanity aimed at subversion of a social system of a sovereignty country as they violate the right to development and existence of the country.
The U.S.-touted UN Security Council’s “resolutions on sanctions” against the DPRK assume the nature of reprisal banned by international law and, therefore, they are nothing but criminal documents devoid of impartiality, lawfulness and morality.
The U.S. is calling for tightening sanctions and pressure on the DPRK while trying to deploy THAAD in south Korea but it is nothing but a sigh of losers taken aback by the tremendous military capabilities of the DPRK.
The DPRK’s line of simultaneously developing the two fronts is a strategic line to be constantly held fast to as long as the imperialists’ nuclear threat and arbitrary practices go on, and if one thinks the DPRK can change its road, it is a pipedream.
The U.S. should never underestimate the tremendous mental power and inexhaustible might of the DPRK. The U.S. will be made to clearly see how the DPRK rises imposingly out of chains of sanctions, blockade and pressure. -0-

Labor Day 2016: “Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

The following selection from the labor press of the AFL back in 1904 will show that there once was a time when even the class-collaborationist and hidebound AFL of Samuel Gompers understood – in direct contradiction to the fundamental belief of today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” – that the interests of labor and capital were fundamentally opposed to each other.  “Let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class.” So spoke the AFL back in 1904!

This article, which makes an eloquent plea for the necessity of the establishment of an independent labor press if the cause of the working class was to be fairly represented in the mass media, was written 112 years ago – and for the most part could have been written yesterday.  The need for such a press is just as important today as it was then, although in 1904 there were dozens of labor papers in existence scattered throughout the US.  In 2016, apart from the revolutionary socialist press that fights for the cause of the working class – but is almost completely ignored by the mass of slavish US workers – there is no labor press at all.  This is because the pro-capitalist AFL-CIO, whose affiliated locals once recognized the need for and published dozens of such papers, is now led by such a gang of housebroken puppets of the capitalist class that this crying need of the working class goes totally unanswered.   ———— IWPCHI

From the ‘Ohio Valley Worker’ – the ‘Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.’ [Kentucky and Indiana, USA] – Volume I, Number 33, 10 September 1904

INDEPENDENT LABOR PRESS A NECESSITY

Labor Given the Knife by the Great Molders of Public Opinion.

The Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented.

No argument is needed to convince the intelligent observer of passing events of the growing need of a labor press that has no entangling alliances with any of the agencies which have undertaken the task of emasculating the labor unions or destroying them entirely. The most superficial reader of the daily press is quick to notice the manner in which the news agencies of the world are continuously and forever giving Labor the worst of it in every conceivable manner. The Associated Press, the chief news-gathering agency in America, is made up of one or more daily papers in the various cities of the country, and the stuff put upon the wires and known as the Associated Press dispatches is usually gleaned from the matter prepared for these local papers. Very often a proof of the matter set up for the daily papers is supplied the [sic – IWPCHI] Associated Press correspondent, and often, without any corrections or changes whatever, the matter is telegraphed all over the country and appears in all papers receiving the press report as Associated Press dispatches.

The foregoing recital is made for the purpose of showing that, while the Associated Press if damned for false stories, especially in nearly all cases where there is a strike or other controversy between Capital and Labor, in reality the blame rests upon the daily papers, whose reporters, acting under instructions, have juggled the facts so as to make it appear that Labor is wrong and that the employers are persecuted saints. To be sure, the daily paper merely serves its master in this. It looks to the “business interests,” the banks, corporations, manufacturers, and large employers of labor generally for its support. And, obeying the impulse to defend the class-interest of the element to which it belongs, the daily paper uses all its powers to thwart organized labor, confuse the union membership, and help the employers to a victory that means no improvement in the condition of the workers.

The facts above stated are so patent, and are being more and more recognized by wage-earners, as the days come and go, that we deem an extended mention thereof to be superficial were it not for the moral the story contains.

Under the circumstances what is Labor to do? Must it docilely submit to the fate of inaction? Shall it cower and cringe before the public gaze because it has been lied about and vilified – and whipped back to the factory, shop or mill through the misrepresentation of men in control of the daily press, whose economic interests are opposed to those of the workers? No! There is a better solution of the problem. The thing to do is to build up a LABOR press – owned by Labor and controlled by Labor. Through your own press, fellow-workers, you may become powerful, but not otherwise. With a medium that is under your ownership and control your organization may become a power not now more than dreamed of. To establish and make secure such a Labor press is the duty of the hour. You must have your own medium to give utterance to your demands, crystallize the sentiment that may be created in your favor, and finally do battle for you in every conflict in which you may be engaged.

THE WORKER is the only paper within several hundred miles of Louisville that is organized and established on the right basis. It is the only one that is democratically owned by the forces of Labor, and therefore is the only medium through which the favors of those friendly to Labor ever reach the point for which they are intended. It is the only genuine Labor paper.

Everyone who reads the Louisville daily papers will recall that within the past couple of years they vied with each other in their efforts to get up a union labor department. Regularly each week a column or two was devoted to the news of the unions. Where are these departments now? When they have not entirely disappeared they have dwindled to virtually nothing. This is a manifestation of the studied purpose of the Employers’ Association and all its friends to give no recognition to organized labor except to oppose and belittle this great movement. A representative of one of the daily papers, in a semi-confidential manner, gave the writer the tip several months ago that from that time on there would be less labor union news in the city daily papers than has been customary to give. Events have proven that he knew whereof he spoke. Labor is to be ignored – or, if given any consideration at all, it is to be given the knife.

Again, let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class. We do not blame the employers for defending their interests, but the workers MUST awaken to a proper defense of THEIR interests, and this can be done only by and through the press which they own and control, and not through the press that almost without exception gives Labor the hot end of it in every great issue and on every great question.

Set up and support your own press and keep it true to its purpose. Therein lies your only safeguard, fellow-unionists.

[Emphasis given in capitalized words in original – IWPCHI]

Labor Day, 2016: Once Upon A Time, The US Had “Labor Newspapers”… Lots of Them

On this “Labor Day” weekend we are reminded of the terrible state of the union movement in the USA.  Under the pro-capitalist leadership of the AFL-CIO since the anti-communist witch-hunts led by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy back in the ’50s drove the commies out of the unions, the percentage of the US working class holding union cards has steadily dwindled.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and trotskyist leadership; collapsed when "Reds" were driven out of unions in late 1940s.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and Trotskyist leadership; collapsed when “Reds” were driven out of unions in late 1940s.  Wealth distribution towards top of income pyramid shows distinct inverse relationship to percentage of workers in higher-paid union jobs. Anticommunist, pro-capitalist AFL-CIO “leadership” has overseen 65 years of almost unbroken failure to organize the unorganized.  Time to dump these bums and build a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership in the unions!

Today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” regales the membership with the lie that “the interests of labor and capital are one and the same”.  Look at point one in the following AFL-CIO handout:

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about "unity of interests" of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these "labor lieutenants of capital" at the helm?

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about “unity of interests” of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these “labor lieutenants of capital” at the helm?  Every word of this document is pure bullshit, sowing illusions that workers can get a fair deal under the capitalist system.

It wasn’t always this way.  In the late 19th and the early years of the 20th century US workers and their union leaders understood that the interests of capital and labor were directly COUNTERPOSED and IRRECONCILABLE.  Union leadership in those days was full of anarchists, socialists and (after 1917) Communists inspired by the Bolshevik Russian Revolution.  Though the top AFL-CIO leaders like Sam Gompers were hidebound pro-capitalist quislings, many of the local unions had more left-leaning leaders who taught that the working class could expect nothing but a knife in the back from the capitalist class – and their media outlets, which in the early days of the union movement before radio and television meant just one thing: the newspapers.  And so, in order for the truth about the union movement to be broadcast to the masses, the socialist parties and later on the AFL-CIO itself began publishing newspapers telling the workers’ side of the story.  From union and socialist and anarchist strongholds like the lumber and mining unions in the Pacific Northwest to the shores of the Atlantic, union newspapers were created.  Where once the US produced perhaps dozens of daily socialist, anarchist and trade-unionist newspapers none are in existence today.   Outside of the important revolutionary socialist papers that struggle to obtain the support of the slavish, pro-capitalist US working class of today (and can only publish weekly or biweekly or monthly as a result) the US has not a single pro-union daily newspaper!  What is wrong with this country and its working class?   Here is a selection of papers we ran across today as we checked out the archives at  Newspapers.com:

The Knights of Labor, Richmond, Virginia, 1886: “That is the Most Perfect Government in Which An Injury To One Is the Concern Of All.”

Richmond, VA K of L paper_'The Labor Herald'_ 17jul1886

The Knights of Labor were originally organized as a secret society at a time when union organizing was punished as a “conspiracy” of labor against the “rightful rulers” of the USA.  Having just emerged from secrecy in 1886 during the rapid rise of the “Eight-Hour Day” movement, the K of L were driven back underground in the wake of the vicious anti-union attacks led by the US capitalist class and their press in revenge for the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago that took place in May of 1886.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois “Progressive Farmer” of the Farmer’s Mutual Benefit Association (FMBA), 1895

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. (Some things never change!) The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association, though not a trade union, was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

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Even small towns like Elwood, Indiana had their own labor papers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany and Jeffersonville Indiana’s “Ohio Valley Worker”, 1904: “The Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of. This one features a poem dedicated to Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs.

 

Greensboro, North Carolina “Labor News”, 1908: “Organ of the State Federation of Labor.  Endorsed by Greensboro Trades Council.  Motto: Organization, Education And Elevation.”

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist "public opinion".

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist “public opinion”.

 

Everett, Washington “Washington Socialist”, 1914: “Workers Of The World, Unite!  You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains.  You Have A World To Win.”

A revolutionary socialist newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti war articles rail against WWI: "[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class."

A revolutionary Socialist Party newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti-war articles rail against WWI: “[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class…the proletariat have no country, but are and should be citizens of the world, and that they have therefore but ONE enemy, the capitalist class…”

Decatur, Illinois “Labor World”, 1915:  “The Paper That Won’t Be Muzzled… Endorsed By The Trades And Labor Assembly”

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WWI saw the US working class, which had initially completely opposed any involvement in the “War to end all wars”, being driven by the jingoist press into joining in the effort to defeat “the Hun”.  The Socialist movement, led in many midwestern cities by German workers, was attacked for its principled anti-war stance for being “pro-German”.  This placed the editors of newspapers on the defensive throughout the period of build-up to the entry of the US into the war until the anti-communist Palmer Raids shut down many of these papers in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

 

Everett, Washington “Northwest Worker”, 1917:  “Official Organ of the Socialist Party of Snohomish and Stevens Counties… Spokesman for the Only Useful Class in Society – The Working Class”

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By 1917, the US had been transformed by 3 years of incessant warmongering from the capitalist press from a nation utterly opposed to entry into WWI to a nation eager to plunge into the worst bloodbath in world history to that time.  Working-class papers that had held to their anti-war principles were severely attacked in print and in public.  The Socialist Party openly hails the bourgeois-democratic revolution that had taken place in Russia in February of 1917, toppling the hated Czar from his throne.

 

Cincinnati, Ohio “Labor Advocate”, 1917: “A Paper Without A Muzzle For All Who Toil… Property and Official Organ of the Building Trades Council of Cincinnati and Vicinity… Independent… Non-Partisan”

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from "the Hun". Touting in its masthead the slogans "Independent" and "Non-Partisan" it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from “the Hun”. Touting in its masthead the slogans “Independent” and “Non-Partisan” it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

 

Duluth and Superior, Minnesota “Labor World”, 1918:  “For Social Justice, Economic Reform, And Political Progress”

The motto says it all: this paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor "peace" and mere "political progress", not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the "working class" but of the "consuming class".

The motto says it all: this AFL paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor “peace” and mere “political progress”, not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the “working class” but of the “consuming class”.

 

Wilmington, North Carolina “Union Labor Record”, 1918:  “The Medium of Organized Labor and Guardian of the Workingman’s Interest.  Endorsed by the North Carolina State Federation of Labor.”

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By the end of 1918, the US working class – outside of a few strongholds of internationalist socialism — has been stampeded into supporting the US drive to enter WWI.  This southern AFL paper decries war profiteering while trumpeting a “united war work drive”.

 

Everett, Washington “Labor Journal”, 1922: “Official Paper Everett Central Labor Council… Published In The Interest Of Organized Labor”

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Another pro-capitalist AFL paper, featuring the uplifting, inspiring saying (in the face of a mass lockout of workers by the railroad barons): “In the struggle between poverty and talent, poverty generally triumphs.”

The AFL-CIO unions today publish not newspapers but newsletters for their membership only, featuring self-aggrandizing pabulum about how great the local piecards are… and of course the death notices… and large displays of US flags everywhere – along with attacks on the Republicans and lists of “friends of Labor” Democrats to vote for in the upcoming elections.  No wonder the AFL-CIO is going down the tubes with this pathetic, pro-capitalist leadership!  If we want to see the union membership rise again like it did in the 1930s, we need to kick out the pro-capitalist labor fakers and replace them with a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership that fights not just for “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” but for workers socialist revolution in the USA and around the world!  There will not be any dancing in the streets after WWIII, sisters and brothers.

Workers of the World, Unite!  Capitalism Must Die So The Working Class May Live!

—IWPCHI

Leon Trotsky Gives the Best Explanation Ever of Dialectical Materialism

We present to our readers what is probably the best, most concise and easy to follow explanation of what exactly is the essence of Marxist dialectics – the philosophy of dialectical materialism.  Suffice it to say that any worker who tries to comprehend political science without the benefit of the materialist Marxist dialectic will find herself in a world of confusion – like the bourgeois philosophers, economists and political scientists themselves.

What is the use of studying Marxism and Marxist dialectics?  It is quite simply a matter of life and death for the working class.  For example:  revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyists understand that capitalist society is a class society and is divided primarily into two classed: the capitalist class of exploiters and the working class of the exploited.  The class interests of these two classes are irreconcilably counterposed to each other.  There can be no “peace” between these two classes since the capitalists must ruthlessly exploit the workers in order to maintain their massive wealth, and the capitalist class state maintains an enormous repressive apparatus of cops, courts, jails and the military to crush the workers every time the workers try to fight for their rights.

When a political party rejects the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning, it loses its compass and can no longer find its way in the world; it can no longer serve as a revolutionary leadership for the working class.  A tragic example of this can be found in the Colombian Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo (FARC–EP),  (FARC for short).  This formerly formally “Marxist” political party has just concluded a “peace” agreement with the murderous Colombian capitalist class.  They have told their members that “peace” between the exploiters and exploited is possible under capitalism and they have declared to the world that they have achieved a “peace” agreement with the same politicians and government that has murdered tens of thousands of workers and peasants in the past century.  In fact the ex-Marxist renegades of FARC who, up until a few years ago, felt it was absolutely necessary to organize a revolutionary army in order to defend themselves from the Colombian capitalist class death squads and military forces has now become so disoriented since they have abandoned the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning that they are ordering their members to SURRENDER THEIR WEAPONS TO THE U.N. as part of this “peace” swindle!  Needless to say, the Colombian capitalist class has absolutely no intention of giving up THEIR weapons – or the weapons in the possession of their death squads either!   The last time FARC tried to obtain a “peace” agreement with the Colombian capitalist class and run candidates in “free and democratic elections, dozens of their leaders and at least 4 to 6 THOUSAND of their sympathisers and party members were murdered by the Colombian military and death squads organized and financed by the capitalists and big landlords! FARC has learned nothing from this tragic failure of their party leadership, and in 2016, having abandoned revolutionary Marxism (and by extension the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning that would have prevented them from making the same hideous mistake twice in just thirty years), they have betrayed the Colombian workers and peasants once again.  THAT is what happens to fake “Marxists” – and, more tragically, to the workers who follow them – when they abandon the Marxist method of dialectical materialism! (We have repeatedly tried to warn FARC away from concluding a “peace” agreement with the capitalists and away from agreeing to disarm, to no avail.)

There is really no need for an introduction or explanation of this material except to say that it is part of the series of Trotsky’s letters and essays that make up the book “In Defense of Marxism” which was published (and continues to be published) by Pathfinder Press;  our version comes from the Marxist Internet Archive and was proofread and checked with our edition of “In Defense of Marxism” (3d edition), Pathfinder Press, 1981.  We have edited it slightly; where excisions have been made we place the following: […].

— IWPCHI

Leon Trotsky: The ABC of Materialist Dialectics

[…]

The dialectic is neither fiction nor mysticism, but a science of the forms of our thinking insofar as it is not limited to the daily problems of life but attempts to arrive at an understanding of more complicated and drawn-out processes. The dialectic and formal logic bear a relationship similar to that between higher and lower mathematics.

I will here attempt to sketch the substance of the problem in a very concise form. The Aristotelian logic of the simple syllogism starts from the proposition that “A” is equal to “A.” This postulate is accepted as an axiom for a multitude of practical human actions and elementary generalizations. But in reality “A” is not equal to “A.” This is easy to prove if we observe these two letters under a lens – they are quite different from each other. But, one can object, the question is not of the size or the form of the letters, since they are only symbols for equal quantities, for instance, a pound of sugar. The objection is beside the point; in reality a pound of sugar is never equal to a pound of sugar – a more delicate scale always discloses a difference. Again one can object: but a pound of sugar is equal to itself. Neither is this true – all bodies change uninterruptedly in size, weight, color, etc. They are never equal to themselves. A sophist will respond that a pound of sugar is equal to itself “at any given moment.” Aside from the extremely dubious practical value of this “axiom,” it does not withstand theoretical criticism either. How should we really conceive the word “moment”? If it is an infinitesimal interval of time, then a pound of sugar is subjected during the course of that “moment” to inevitable changes. Or is the “moment” a purely mathematical abstraction, that is, a zero of time? But everything exists in time; and existence itself is an uninterrupted process of transformation; time is consequently a fundamental element of existence. Thus the axiom “A” is equal to “A” signifies that a thing is equal to itself if it does not change, that is, if it does not exist.

At first glance it could seem that these “subtleties” are useless. In reality they are of decisive significance. The axiom “A” is equal to “A” appears on one hand to be the point of departure for all our knowledge, on the other hand the point of departure for all the errors in our knowledge. To make use of the axiom “A” is equal to “A” with impunity is possible only within certain limits. When quantitative changes in “A” are negligible for the task at hand then we can presume that “A” is equal to “A.” This is, for example, the manner in which a buyer and a seller consider a pound of sugar. We consider the temperature of the sun likewise. Until recently we considered the buying power of the dollar in the same way. But quantitative changes beyond certain limits become converted into qualitative. A pound of sugar subjected to the action of water or kerosene ceases to be a pound of sugar. A dollar in the embrace of a president ceases to be a dollar. To determine at the right moment the critical point where quantity changes into quality is one of the most important and difficult tasks in all the spheres of knowledge including sociology.

Every worker knows that it is impossible to make two completely equal objects. In the elaboration of bearing-brass into cone bearings, a certain deviation is allowed for the cones which should not, however, go beyond certain limits (this is called tolerance). By observing the norms of tolerance, the cones are considered as being equal. (“A” is equal to “A.”) When the tolerance is exceeded the quantity goes over into quality; in other words, the cone bearings become inferior or completely worthless.

Our scientific thinking is only a part of our general practice including techniques. For concepts there also exists “tolerance” which is established not by formal logic issuing from the axiom “A” is equal to “A,” but by dialectical logic issuing from the axiom that everything is always changing. “Common sense” is characterized by the fact that it systematically exceeds dialectical “tolerance.”

Vulgar thought operates with such concepts as capitalism, morals, freedom, workers’ state, etc. as fixed abstractions, presuming that capitalism is equal to capitalism, morals are equal to morals, etc. Dialectical thinking analyzes all things and phenomena in their continuous change, while determining in the material conditions of those changes that critical limit beyond which “A” ceases to be “A”, a workers’ state ceases to be a workers’ state.

The fundamental flaw of vulgar thought lies in the fact that it wishes to content itself with motionless imprints of a reality which consists of eternal motion. Dialectical thinking gives to concepts, by means of closer approximations, corrections, concretizations, a richness of content and flexibility; I would even say a succulence which to a certain extent brings them close to living phenomena. Not capitalism in general, but a given capitalism at a given stage of development. Not a workers’ state in general, but a given workers’ state in a backward country in an imperialist encirclement, etc.

Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar thinking in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. Hegel in his Logic established a series of laws: change of quantity into quality, development through contradictions, conflict of content and form, interruption of continuity, change of possibility into inevitability, etc., which are just as important for theoretical thought as is the simple syllogism for more elementary tasks.

Hegel wrote before Darwin and before Marx. Thanks to the powerful impulse given to thought by the French Revolution, Hegel anticipated the general movement of science. But because it was only an anticipation, although by a genius, it received from Hegel an idealistic character. Hegel operated with ideological shadows as the ultimate reality. Marx demonstrated that the movement of these ideological shadows reflected nothing but the movement of material bodies.

We call our dialectic, materialist, since its roots are neither in heaven nor in the depths of our “free will,” but in objective reality, in nature. Consciousness grew out of the unconscious, psychology out of physiology, the organic world out of the inorganic, the solar system out of nebulae. On all the rungs of this ladder of development, the quantitative changes were transformed into qualitative. Our thought, including dialectical thought, is only one of the forms of the expression of changing matter. There is place within this system for neither God, nor Devil, nor immortal soul, nor eternal norms of laws and morals. The dialectic of thinking, having grown out of the dialectic of nature, possesses consequently a thoroughly materialist character.

Darwinism, which explained the evolution of species through quantitative transformations passing into qualitative, was the highest triumph of the dialectic in the whole field of organic matter. Another great triumph was the discovery of the table of atomic weights of chemical elements and further the transformation of one element into another.

With these transformations (species, elements, etc.) is closely linked the question of classification, equally important in the natural as in the social sciences. Linmeus’ system (18th century), utilizing as its starting point the immutability of species, was limited to the description and classification of plants according to their external characteristics. The infantile period of botany is analogous to the infantile period of logic, since the forms of our thought develop like everything that lives. Only decisive repudiation of the idea of fixed species, only the study of the history of the evolution of plants and their anatomy prepared the basis for a really scientific classification.

Marx, who in distinction from Darwin was a conscious dialectician, discovered a basis for the scientific classification of human societies in the development of their productive forces and the structure of the relations of ownership which constitute the anatomy of society. Marxism substituted for the vulgar descriptive classification of societies and states, which even up to now still flourishes in the universities, a materialistic dialectical classification. Only through using the method of Marx is it possible correctly to determine both the concept of a workers’ state and the moment of its downfall.

All this, as we see, contains nothing “metaphysical” or “scholastic,” as conceited ignorance affirms. Dialectic logic expresses the laws of motion in contemporary scientific thought. The struggle against materialist dialectics on the contrary expresses a distant past, conservatism of the petty bourgeoisie, the self-conceit of university routinists and … a spark of hope for an after-life.

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