How the US Capitalist Class Makes Billions of Dollars A Year From The Illegal Drug Trade

The US government’s long-running. bloody – and profitable –  “War On Drugs(TM)” is widely considered to have been a complete failure. Illegal drugs have never been so easy to obtain as they are today; and the supply of heroin in the USA has become so plentiful that its price has dropped to a level at which it has become the drug of choice for teens to start off with. 

Here we will provide a running collection of all the evidence we have found over the past decade or two which proves that the #1 reason why the US government opposes re-legalization of drugs is that the capitalist class that runs the USA makes tens to hundreds of billions of dollars a year laundering drug money for the top drug cartels, from Mexico to Afghanistan to Southeast Asia.  If you run across any articles that provide more evidence of US capitalist class, military of police collusion with the drug cartels, send them to us and we’ll add them to this archive.

The evidence is not to be found on the popular conspiracy-mongering websites but hidden in the archives of the world’s bourgeois press.  All of the information we’ll provide here has been found on such top bourgeois press websites as Reuters, Bloomburg, New York Times, The Guardian, Wall St. Journal, The Economist as well as WikiLeaks and other “alternative press” sites.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency and the US military forces involved in supposed drug interdiction operations are among the most corrupt police state operations in the world.  Since they have militarized the “War On Drugs(TM)” the relatively non-violent drug cartels have been steadily replaced by much more violent ones like Mexico’s “Los Zetas” – composed of and led by Mexican special forces soldiers trained by the Pentagon in counterinsurgency warfare and then unleashed against the peasant-revolution-leading Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico.  Since the US militarized the “War On Drugs(TM)” practically every police force and the military forces of every nation from Mexico south have both received training from the US Government and had many of their members recruited by the top drug cartels.  Thousands of workers in North and South America have been murdered by these Pentagon-backed drug cartels; journalists who seek to expose the connections between top politicians, military and police officials and the cartels have been murdered. Likewise, every politician in Mexico, Central and South America who threatens to expose or clean up the deep connections between the ruling classes and the cartels is threatened with torture and/or assassination.  Meanwhile, in the US itself, the “War On Drugs(TM)” has led to the unleashing of a massive police state apparatus ostensibly dedicated to shutting down the drug trade, but which has instead has been used as a pretext for militarizing the police forces of every town and city in the US, increasing mass surveillance of the entire population and has criminalized millions of workers who enjoy using drugs which were legal from the time of the American Revolution until the 1920s.

As always in the racist, capitalist USA, the burden of the “War On Drugs(TM)” has fallen most heavily on the poor and especially African-American and Hispanic workers – not on the bankers who have made billions laundering drug cartel money.  In fact, the US capitalist class’ “War On Drugs(TM)” has filled US prisons to bursting with primarily black and Hispanic workers arrested for non-violent drug “crimes” and has given the US the hideous distinction of having the world’s highest prison population per capita.  On the streets of US cities – and especially here in Chicago – violent gangs fighting over drug dealing turf shoot and kill hundreds of people every year.  Corrupt cops extort millions in bribes monthly from the street gangs who must pay up or go to jail.  The “War On Drugs(TM)” has been a disaster for the working class – and a very profitable business for the cops and the bankers.  That’s why the US government and the US capitalist class opposes the legalization of pot, cocaine and other popular drugs. If they re-legalized drugs the capitalist class would lose billions of dollars a year in illegal income from drug cartel operations.

Many of the most popular drugs today were legal for thousands of years and were only criminalized in the first few decades of the 20th century.  With medical science having discovered ways to effectively deal with drug addiction there is no rational reason to maintain a phony, expensive and very bloody  “War On Drugs(TM)” at all. The vast majority of people who use “recreational drugs” like cocaine, pot, Ecstasy and others never become addicted to drugs at all.  For the minority of users who do become addicted, drug treatment programs could be expanded to treat everyone who wants to get off their heroin and cocaine addictions.  Under socialism we would seek to implement this kind of rational science-based way of dealing with drug addiction; we’d re-legalize all drugs so that drugs would no longer be adulterated with poisons that kill hundreds of people every year.  We’d expand drug treatment programs so that everyone who wanted to get off drugs could immediately begin treatment instead of being forced to wait for months – or even years – for an opportunity to get clean.

Nothing short of workers socialist revolutions in the USA and throughout the Americas and the world can put an end to the reign of terror imposed upon the workers of the world by the blood-drenched, money-grubbing capitalist classes of the world.  For that to be accomplished requires the building of revolutionary socialist political parties – specifically, Leninist vanguard parties – which are the only political force that has ever successfully overthrown the capitalist class anywhere.  The Independent Workers Party is dedicated to this task – but we can’t do it until YOU – and thousands of honest, brave workers like you – join our party and dedicate your lives to this work as well.  What are you waiting for?  Get in touch with us and let’s get this Party started!

— IWPCHI

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1973

March

Censored U.S. Department of State Cable: “IBMND [Taiwan’s “Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of National Defense”] INVOLVEMENT IN NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING”

April

U.S. Department of State Cable: “SMUGGLING OF HEROIN BY CREWMEMBERS OF U. S. S. KING ( DLG-10)”

U.S. Department of State Cable: “BANKING & CORPORATE ACTIVITIES IN THE BAHAMAS DAMAGING TO U. S. INTERESTS”

May

U.S. Department of State Cable: “POSSIBLE INVOLVEMENT OF KING ZAHIR’ S PERSONAL VALET AND AFGHAN EMBASSY/ WASHINGTON IN SMUGGLING OF HASHISH OIL TO U. S”

July

U.S. Department of State Cable: “JACK ANDERSON ARTICLE”

 

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1989

AGENTS ACCUSED: THE DRUG FIGHT’S DARK SIDE – A SPECIAL REPORT: Corruption in Drug Agency Called Crippler of Inquiries and Morale

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

2009

January

U.S. Department of State Cable: “MEXICAN ARMY MAJOR ARRESTED FOR ASSISTING DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATIONS”

August

U.S. Department of State Cable: “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON ZETAS AND U.S. MILITARY TRAINING”

December

How important are illegal drug profits to the maintenance of the disgusting, worker-exploiting-and-slaughtering world capitalist system? “Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations’ drugs and crime tsar has told the Observer.”

 

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

2010

US Drug Enforcement Agency and International Association of Chiefs of Police – “Speaking Out Against Drug Legalization”

June

“Banks Financing Mexico Drug Gangs Admitted in Wells Fargo Deal”

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

2011

April

Wachovia: “How a big US bank laundered billions from Mexico’s murderous drug gangs”

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

2012

May

“Special Report: Mexico’s Zetas rewrite drug war in blood”

July

“Mexican Drug Cartel Laundered Money Through BofA, FBI Alleges”

“Bank Accounts Figure in Drug Probe – FBI Says Mexican Cartel Funneled Money Through Bank to Horse-Racing Firm”

 

 

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

2014

January

“Marijuana Businesses Need Banking Access Now, Colorado Lawmakers Say”

 

September

“Banks Launder Billions of Illegal Cartel Money While Snubbing Legal Marijuana Businesses”

 

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

2017

October

“DEA Agents Sold Opioids, Stole Cash, and Falsely Identified Drug Suspects, Say Feds – Seize the drugs. Sell the drugs. Arrest the buyers. Repeat.”

 

 

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The Science of Human Memory: Why Christine Blasey Ford’s 40-Year-Old Accusations Are No Longer Credible

When it comes to human memory, scientists speak not of its “reliability” but of its “fallibility”.  Under capitalism, which embraces superstitious belief and “common sense” while denigrating scientific knowledge, the generally scientifically illiterate working class is left to fend for itself when it comes to seemingly “deeply controversial” issues – like whether or not the 40-year-old memories of a person can be relied upon as an accurate record of their early-life traumas. In fact, as we clearly establish in this article, there is no scientific “controversy” in regard to the fallibility of human memory over time: human memory is nothing like a documentary record by which events in a person’s life can be recalled precisely as they happened – even by the very person who lived the experience.  Even worse, the passage of time and the acquisition of new life experiences cause human memories to be continuously revised and reconstructed. 
We oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court due to his well-documented extreme conservatism and hostility to women’s rights; but neither he nor anyone else should be compelled to submit to a public interrogation regarding unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations from almost 40 years ago that were never brought to trial in a court of law.  We have nothing against Christine Blasey Ford, but unfortunately for her the time for her to bring her assault allegations forward was 36 years ago; the passage of nearly four decades has rendered her accusations, in our opinion, inadmissible in a court of law due to the scientifically proven fact that human memories – even of traumatic events like sexual assault – degenerate over time.  This underscores the vital importance of sexual assault victims coming forward to report the crimes committed against them at the earliest possible opportunity. – IWPCHI

The nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh was brought to a screaming halt this past month by the sudden emergence of one Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with an accusation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her some 36 years ago.  This explosive accusation – coming as it has against a prospective Supreme Court Justice in the wake of the #MeToo hysteria – has brought his confirmation hearings to a halt. Kavanaugh’s political and judicial record is that of a consistently right-wing, anti-worker and anti-woman conservative bent.  The battle lines for and against his confirmation for the Supreme Court have been drawn on strict partisan lines, with the Republicans and Democrats engaging in a shit-slinging contest like two troops of caged monkeys, with both sides cynically using the issue of women’s rights like a crude weapon in their political knife fight. The process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice has become not a careful assessment of the nominee’s qualifications as a jurist but a brutal running of a political gauntlet where as much salacious dirt as possible is either dug up from the youthful indiscretions the nominee may have engaged in – or the Congressional Inquisition just makes up as much damaging slander as they can and then hurls it in the face of the nominee, hoping that he or she will withdraw their candidacy for the Court rather than continue to be publicly humiliated by the Congressional cretins of both parties.  The nomination process has become so vicious that it is hard to imagine why any decent, qualified candidate for a Supreme Court nomination would put themselves and their families through the character assassination and humiliation of the process. Into the hellish partisan maelstrom of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings sailed one Christine Blasey Ford this past month, with top Democratic Party sponsorship and an explosive story to tell.  Revealed to the nation at the 11-th hour of the confirmation hearings by the Democrats, Blasey Ford launched her broadside of 40-year-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh using the too-credulous bourgeois press to leak out at least two different versions of her tale of “abuse” allegedly at the hands of a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh and (depending on the version leaked out) either one or four co-conspirators.  Her accusations – which were not reported to the police at the time of the alleged assault, and were reportedly not told to anyone at all until she revealed them to a marriage-counselling therapist in 2012, immediately were taken up by the bourgeois feminist #MeToo lynch mob which shrieked in unison that they believed every word Blasey Ford said – even before she actually published a coherent full version of her story.  The Congressional Democrats, who have been steadily destroying womens’ rights by degree for decades now, and terrified by the threat posed by the loose cannons of the #MeToo movement, who have been destroying the careers of the guilty and the innocent with glee, cynically supported Blasey Ford in a bid to pose as “the defenders of womens’ rights” as opposed to the Kavanaugh-backing Republicans who seem to be just as cynically utilizing the #MeToo phenomenon to pose as the defenders of the rights of the accused to a presumption of innocence – a fundamental principle of U.S. law won at the time of the American Revolution which they have been busy heaping contempt upon for decades.  It is a sorry spectacle symptomatic of the long degeneration of the political consciousness of the US capitalist class reflected in their bought-and-paid-for political parties, which have all grown steadily more and more depraved since the last dying gasp of the revolutionary bourgeoisie was breathed during the brief Reconstruction period immediately after the U.S. Civil War. With the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings brought to a screaming halt by the accusations leveled by Blasey Ford, and a large percentage of the populace finding her last-minute allegations more than a little bit suspicious politically, the Democrats and Republicans hunkered down and started digging up “evidence” to refute the “evidence” being put forward by Blasey Ford. The Republicans behind Kavanaugh produced a signed petition of hundreds of women friends of Kavanaugh who vouched for his deep love of children, women, apple pie and all things good; the Democrats came forward with a signed petition from the Friends of Blasey Ford vouching for her teenaged chastity and her all-around honesty, love of truth and all things good.  Kavanaugh denied Blasey Ford’s accusations; a few of Blasey Ford’s friends came forward to claim that they now remembered her telling them of the alleged sexual assault way back 40 years ago while howling partisan mobs vented their respective spleens across social media.  The Democrats called for an FBI investigation of the allegations and/or for the allegations to be probed publicly by the Congressional committee overseeing the Supreme Court nomination process. Calls for a full-on public spectacle in which Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford would testify before Congress on national television as to their respective 40-year-old memories of the incident (or non-incident) in lieu of an actual trial before a jury of Kavanaugh’s peers came shrieking down from the Democratic Party side, with the rabid “Start By Believing” forces of the crazed #MeToo legions in battle formation.  Anyone daring to publicly doubt the actual probative value that could be expected from such a pointless “he said/she said” trial by public opinion was declared to be “obviously” a woman-hating apologist for the rapists.  Such is the level of political discourse in the “Land of the Free(TM)” these days. Yet we did dare to ask: what is the value of 40-year old accusations in a court of law?  Is it possible for someone’s 40-year-old memories to be credible enough to destroy a person’s career or even to be used to convict that person and send them to prison for decades?  Most importantly: what does science teach us about the reliability of human memory over time? We had read over the past several decades many scientific articles on the fallibility of human memory in relation to “eyewitness testimony” – which was once believed to be the most reliable evidence that could be admitted in a legal proceeding, but which now has been scientifically proven to be highly malleable and utterly unreliable.  Irked by a Tweet posted by a Democratic Senator throwing shade on anyone who would express skepticism about the timing and inherent value of 40-year-old anecdotes of sexual impropriety seemingly very conveniently recalled just in time to derail a highly contested nomination to the Supreme Court, we responded by performing a simple Internet Search for the terms “reliability of human memory” – and we immediately found, on an Internet portal linked to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a half-dozen scientific studies and reviews of recent scientific research on human memory.  The results are not good for Blasey Ford and her shrill #MeToo friends. Human memory is not just fallible, it is highly unreliable even in the short-term, and becomes more and more unreliable over time.  The human memory is not, as many people believe, like a digital security camera video recording that can be rewound and replayed over and over again without any loss of detail at all; it is more like a very sketchy and incomplete series of snapshots that are modified by human life experiences that preceded and which occurred after any event we can “remember”.  In marked contrast to what “common sense” beliefs exist in the minds of most people, science has learned over the past 40 years that human memory is nothing like computer memory AT ALL.  There is simply no justification for the #MeToo crowd’s mantra that, especially in sexual assault cases, we should always “Start By Believing” – especially when the accusations were not reported until years or decades afterwards.  Even a delay of as little as a few hours can lead to profound modifications of human “memories”. We were initially driven to look for the science behind human memory thanks to this annoying Tweet by U.S. Senator Mark Warner:

The problem is, of course – as former Virginia Governor and now-Senator Warner, a Harvard-educated lawyer should know – that if Christine Blasey Ford were to take her 40-year-old allegations to any prosecutor in the country it is highly unlikely that they would spend five minutes investigating the case, precisely because the allegations are 40 years old!  There is no physical evidence that is known to exist in the case; it highly unlikely that any new and credible evidence could be collected after the passage of nearly 40 years; the witnesses (if any are still alive and still sentient) would be difficult and perhaps very expensive to find; and if they were found, their 40-year-old memories of the event would be completely useless in a court of law anyway due to current scientific knowledge about the profound fallibility of human memory over time.  Sen. Warner and his many lawyer-colleagues in the Senate and in Congress should know this; and many undoubtedly do know it.  But instead of acting like leaders who will take this as a “teachable moment” and use it to educate the public as to why 40-year-old memories of an alleged sexual assault victim shouldn’t be used in a court of law except as a weak buttress for physical evidence that a crime was committed; instead of educating the public that this case reaffirms the absolute necessity for victims of sexual assaults to report the crime as soon as possible after it occurs while their memory of the details are as valid as they’ll ever be, the Democrats and Republicans are consciously refusing to do any such thing.  They clearly prefer to make their cheap political attacks against their opponents in an effort to jockey for some imaginary “moral high ground” they can stand on when they run for re-election. In Warner’s case it is certain that he knows all about how profoundly the growing body of scientific evidence on the fallibility of human memory has forced major changes in the admissibility of eyewitness and other forms of human memory evidence in the law courts of the nation.  While Governor of Virginia he commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt in a highly controversial case in which the credibility of eyewitness testimony was a central issue (Warner – according to his Wikipedia entry – also “denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor”).  Yet instead of utilizing his own personal knowledge of the science of the fallibility of human memories or of the many U.S. Government-funded scientific studies available to educate people about the importance of timely reporting of sexual assaults and other crimes due to the increasing fallibility of human memory over time, Warner chose to remain silent and let the lynch mobs gather up their stocks of torches and pitchforks.  What could be more contemptible than to withhold such information from an increasingly frenzied populace? Then again, Virginia Democrats know a thing or two about how to direct a lynch mob from behind the scenes so that they cannot be held personally responsible for the work of the madmen – and women – they set in motion.  Virginia is, after all, the historical home of “Lynch’s Law”, named after slave owner Charles Lynch, a former member of Virginia’s House of Burgesses, Revolutionary War officer and later a State Senator. We sent Sen. Warner a dozen Tweets featuring lengthy excerpts from two or three of these scientific studies we found on a US-Government-run science website; of course neither he nor anyone on his staff bothered to respond to any of our messages.  Why haven’t any Senators or Congressmen been spreading this important, often taxpayer-funded research on the fallibility of human memory in order to educate the public as to why it’s not a good idea to allow 40-year-old undocumented accusations based upon the 40-year-old memories of a single human being to derail the nomination of someone with a well-documented legal history and no criminal record to the Supreme Court?  It’s undoubtedly because they feel that they can make more money and further their careers more effectively by lies and disinformation to be spread far and wide. Here is the first scientific study we sent to Sen. Warner. As with all of the studies we cite below, the most surprising thing that comes across is how diametrically opposed the scientific understanding of the nature of human memory is to the widely held (including by us, originally) “common sense” notion of the fundamental long-term reliability of memory, especially of traumatic experiences:

The link to the study we cited is here:  “The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom” Here are a couple of excerpts from this study:

Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

There really is no dispute among scientists when it comes to the reliability of human memory; in fact, there is so much consensus that scientists tend to speak not in terms of the “reliability” of human memory but in terms of its “fallibility”.

“The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom_Common misunderstandings about memory” Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Here is the second scientific paper we sent to Sen. Warner:

Memory development: implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom (Abstract) by M.L. Howe, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 Dec;14(12):869-76. doi: 10.1038/nrn3627. Epub 2013 Oct 30.
Unfortunatley, like most scientific papers, this one is behind a paywall (reminding us of Aaron Swartz’ fight to make all scientific publications available for free to the public, for  which he was threatened with prosecution and driven to suicide). Presumably, Sen. Warner has access to all of these databases and could, if he cared to, provide this information to the public.

We kept searching until we could find a scientific paper that wasn’t being embargoed from public view by the capitalists’ greed.  Right away we found this:

The paper is available in full here: “The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences.” Here are some excerpts, which we also Tweeted to Sen. Warner:

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Abstract) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott                                      Memory. 2015;23(5):633-56. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709. Epub 2015 Feb 23

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Excerpt 1) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This paper, by the way, is not an assertion of the two authors’ own personal prejudices regarding human memory; it’s a review of many decades of published scientific research on the subject:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 2 by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633 – 656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” Excerpt 3 – “Children as Eyewitnesses” by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section on the false testimony of very young children is somewhat off-topic but has broad implications as to the gullibility of adults, including cops, judges and the press when it comes to the irrational “Start By Believing” paradigm being pushed by the bourgeois feminists of the #MeToo movement; it also goes a long way towards combatting the widespread and faulty “common sense” notion that “children would never lie about something as serious as sexual assault”:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 4 – Children as Eyewitnesses (cont’d) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott,  Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633–656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Here the authors make mention of one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice ever to occur in the US since the Salem Witch Trials (which also featured outrageous accusations that had no evidence to back them up except for the “eyewitness testimony” of children): the McMartin Preschool Case:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 5 – Children as Eyewitnesses – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section of the study gets into the subject matter of the Blasey Ford vs. Kavanaugh controversy:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 6 – Historic Sexual Abuse – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 7 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 8 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

But what about the widely-touted concept of “repressed memories” that can be “recovered” through therapy?  Does that concept have any scientific validity?  It does not:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 9 – Is there a special case for repressed memories? – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Yet another scientific article we found sheds more light on how easily adult memories can be modified and false ideas easily implanted – especially by those whom we tend to trust implicitly, like doctors, therapists and scientists:

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – Introduction” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – How Memory Distortions Occur” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Clearly, there exists a massive amount of scientific research indicating that the longer a person waits to report a crime, the more unreliable their testimony will be, regardless of the intensity of the lived experience of the traumatic event.  To suggest that the public should simply “Start By Believing” a 40-year-old recollection of an event as if it was akin to a dashboard camera recording of an event – as the #MeToo crowd wishes us to do – is to commit a major error of judgement that flies in the face of the current state of our scientific knowledge of the fallibility of human memory.  It is in our opinion a highly suspicious aspect of the way the Democrats wish to conduct the Kavanaugh hearings that they will seek to do away with Kavanaugh’s right to a fair trial in a court of law with a highly prejudicial kangaroo court proceeding in which the public’s willingness to believe the charges brought against him will hinge solely on the quality of the live performance of Blasey Ford as she details her ancient, sensationalized charges of serious sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh; charges that in a court of law he would not even be required to personally refute but which in this rigged forum he will be forced to attempt to convincingly sway “public opinion”.  By ignoring the science, the Democrats are consciously stacking the deck against Kavanaugh in a vicious manner reminiscent of the proceedings of the Holy Inquisition. As much as we oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, we must vehemently protest against the use of such medieval methods of character assassination as are about to be used in these hearings.  Blasey Ford, by waiting 40 years to bring her charges against Kavanaugh, and by choosing not to pursue them in a court of law where there are rules of evidence to follow has chosen to pursue an avenue of attack for which there is no possible defense that can be effectively utilized by Kavanaugh.  We say she should not be allowed to testify at all, as her method of attack was outlawed long ago when we jettisoned medieval methods of legal procedure in favor of the far more rational evidence-based system of justice, in which innocence is presumed until an accused person is proven guilty in a trial before a jury of one’s peers, which was one of the great gains of the American Revolution.  These rights of the accused must not be allowed to be abandoned for the purpose of winning a political battle – even one as important as the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.

To us as revolutionary Trotskyists the entire sordid episode illustrates our long-held saying that the choice that confronts the workers of the world is: socialism or barbarism.  The US capitalist class, hanging onto power by a toenail, with the youth of the USA clamoring for “socialism”, and unable to rig national elections anymore (as the victory of Trump over their bought-and-paid-for preferred candidate Clinton shows)  is becoming more and more deranged and unhappy with their pretended fealty to democratic process and the rule of law; and now their wholly-owned political pawns are throwing out such “outdated junk” of the American Revolution as the presumption of innocence of the accused and the entire idea of majority rule.  But then that is nothing new; from the time of the American Revolution, it was never the intention of the US ruling class to allow (in slave-rapist Jefferson’s memorable phrase) the “swinish multitude” to rule.  Only a workers socialist revolution can bring about a more democratic society than the burgeoning police state we have now; and to achieve a more democratic, egalitarian society will require a workers socialist revolution led by a Leninist vanguard party of professional socialist revolutionaries.  Those of you who want to create a positive future for the workers of the USA and the world should get in touch with us so we can begin building such a party, without which the working class can’t move one inch forward.

— IWPCHI

Charles Darwin on the Evolution of Religious Belief

Portrait of Charles Darwin by Oscar Rejlander, ca. 1871

From Darwin’s “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex” (Chapter III, “Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower
Animals” – 2nd Ed., Revised,  A. L. Burt, New York, 1890(?))

[NB:  This book, published in 1871, – like nearly all books on sociology and anthropology written in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries – contains terminology that is very harsh to modern ears.  Darwin was not a racist; he considered all human beings on the planet to be part of the human race, regardless of skin color or stage of cultural development.  Neither did he look down upon what he and other scientists of his time called “savage” or “barbarian” tribes of human beings.  Still, he was a man of his times, and he represents a stage in the evolution of anti-racist thought; for example,  as enlightened as he was for a man of his time on the subject of race, he thought nothing of drawing a direct comparison between the thought processes of human beings living in a state of  “savagery” and the thought processes of his dog.    At the same time he, like many others – particularly pioneering American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) – understood that the ancestors of all “civilized” people in the more advanced “civilized” nations had lived for a long time in a state of “savagery” characterized by very rudimentary development of culture compared to the modern nation-states.  They saw in the primitive cultures of “savage” tribes a vision of what their own ancestors must have lived like.  Morgan, in his excellent book “Ancient Society: Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery, through Barbarism to Civilization” (1877) –  developed a theory that all modern human civilizations had passed through a series of evolutionary stages (as the subtitle of the book states quite clearly).  That there were tribes in existence in 1870 which reflected all of these stages of development was a profound scientific discovery and provided a powerful proof of the evolution of human society.  Today, modern sociologists and anthropologists recognize the truth of Morgan’s analysis of the evolution of human civilization, but use terms that are less politically loaded with what many people – incorrectly, in the cases of Morgan and Darwin – perceive to be a blatant racism on the part of the scientists who originated the older terminology.  Used in the proper purely scientific manner of Morgan and Darwin “savage” “barbarian” and “civilized” are seen in their correct light as stages of development of the human race which make no assertion as to the intellectual superiority or inferiority of the human beings found at any stage of this evolutionary ladder.  Morgan’s pioneering work deeply influenced both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels;  his book “Ancient Society” was among the principal works which inspired Marx to prepare notes for what would eventually become, after Marx’s death, Engels’ “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”, which quotes Morgan’s work extensively.  Darwin’s major works deeply influenced Marx and Engels from the time of their initial publication: “Only 1,250 copies of the first edition of On the Origin of Species were printed, and they all sold in one day. One of those who obtained a copy was Friedrich Engels.”(1)  Everything written by Marx and Engels after the publication of “Origin of Species” in 1859 was thoroughly influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution.  When Marx finished “Capital” in 1867 he sent Darwin an inscribed copy of the first edition(1); Darwin’s work is referenced (sometimes extensively) in “The Part Played by Labour In The Transition From Ape to Man” (1876), “Anti-Duhring” (1877), “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific” (1880), “Dialectics of Nature” (1883) and the aforementioned “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” (1884).

[UPDATE: Thanks to the Internet, we’ve been able to locate almost every journal article and book Darwin cites in his footnotes to this article.  Since we found two errors in his citations which might well have made it extremely difficult for researchers and historians of science to locate these works, it is even possible that we are the first researchers to have found at least these two previously misidentified sources.

– IWPCHI]

NOTES:  (1)  “Marx, Engels… and Darwin?” by Ian Angus, International Socialist Review (November 2010)

Excerpt from “Descent of Man”, Chapter III, “Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals”:

Belief in God – Religion. — There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travelers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their
languages to express such an idea.(1) The question is of course wholly distinct from that higher one, whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the universe; and this has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.
If, however, we include under the term “religion” the belief in unseen or
spiritual agencies, the case is wholly different; for this belief seems to be universal with the less civilized races.  Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it
arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence.  As Mr. M’Lennan (2) has remarked, ” Some explanation of the phenomena of life, a man must feign for himself, and to judge from the universality of it, the simplest hypothesis, and the first to occur to men, seems to have been that natural phenomena are ascribable to the presence in animals, plants, and things, and in the forces of nature, of such spirits prompting to action as men are conscious they themselves possess.” It is also probable, as Mr. Tylor has shown, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions. When a savage dreams, the figures which appear before him are believed to have come from a distance, and to stand over him; or “the soul of the dreamer goes out on its travels, and comes home with a remembrance of what it has seen.”(3)  But until the faculties of imagination, curiosity, reason, etc., had been fairly well developed in the mind of man, his dreams would not have led him to believe in spirits, any more than in the case of a dog.
The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying
on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog had any one stood near it. As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved the dog growled fiercely and barked.  He must, I think, have reasoned to himself in a rapid and unconscious manner that movement without
any apparent cause indicated the presence of some strange living agent, and that no stranger had a right to be on his territory.
The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods. For savages would naturally attribute to spirits the same passions, the same love of vengeance or simplest form of justice, and the same affections which they themselves feel.

“Fuegian Wigwams at Hope Harbour in the Magdalen Channel”  Illustration from King, P. P. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the first expedition, 1826-30, under the command of Captain P. Parker King, R.N., F.R.S. London: Henry Colburn.

The Fuegians appear to be in this respect in an intermediate condition, for when the surgeon on board the “Beagle” shot some young ducklings as specimens York Minster declared in the most solemn manner: ” Oh, Mr. Bynoe, much rain, much snow, blow much;” and this was evidently a retributive punishment for wasting human food.  So again he related how, when his brother killed a ” wild man,” storms long raged, much rain and snow fell.  Yet we could never discover that the Fuegians believed in what we should call a God or practiced any religious rites; and Jemmy Button, with justifiable pride, stoutly maintained that there was no devil in his land.  This latter assertion is the more remarkable, as with savages the belief in bad spirits is far more common than that in good ones.

FUEGIA BASKET, 1833. JEMMY’S WIFE, 1834. JEMMY IN 1834. JEMMY BUTTON IN 1833. YORK MINSTER IN 1832. YORK IN 1833. From FitzRoy, R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-36, under the command of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy, R.N. London: Henry Colburn.

FUEGIA BASKET, 1833. JEMMY’S WIFE, 1834.
JEMMY IN 1834. JEMMY BUTTON IN 1833.
YORK MINSTER IN 1832. YORK IN 1833. From FitzRoy, R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-36, under the command of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy, R.N. London: Henry Colburn.

The feeling of religious devotion is a highly complex one, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of dependence(4), fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps other elements.  No being could experience so complex an emotion until advanced in his intellectual and moral faculties to at least a moderately high level. Nevertheless, we see some distant approach to this state of mind in the deep love of a dog for his master, associated with complete submission, some fear, and perhaps other feelings.  The behavior of a dog when returning to his master after
an absence, and, as I may add, of a monkey to his beloved keeper, is widely different from that toward their fellows.  In the latter case the transports of joy appear to be somewhat less, and the sense of equality is shown in every action. Prof. Braubach goes so far as to maintain that a dog looks on his master as on a god.(5)
The same high mental faculties which first led man to believe in unseen
spiritual agencies, then in fetichism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism, would infallibly lead him, as long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs.  Many of these are terrible to think of — such as the sacrifice of human beings to a blood-loving god; the trial of innocent persons by the ordeal of poison or fire, witchcraft, etc.
— yet it is well occasionally to reflect on these superstitions, for they show us what an infinite debt of gratitude we owe to the improvement of our reason, to science, and to our accumulated knowledge.  As Sir J. Lubbock(6)  has well observed, ” it is not too much to say that the horrible dread of unknown evil hangs like a thick cloud over savage life and embitters every pleasure.”  These miserable and indirect consequences of our highest faculties may be compared with the incidental and occasional mistakes of the instincts of the lower animals.

NOTES:

(1) See an excellent article on this subject by the Rev. F. W. Farrar,
in the “Anthropological Review,” Aug., 1864, p. 217. [Note by IWPCHI: this part of this footnote is inaccurate: the actual publication this appeared in was “The Journal of the Anthropological Society of London”, Vol. 2 (1864), pp. ccxvii-ccxxii, “On the Universality of Belief in God, and in a Future State”];  For further facts see Sir J. Lubbock, “Prehistoric Times, “.3d edit., 1869, p. 564; and especially the chapters on Religion in his ” Origin of Civilization,” 1870.
(2) “The Worship of Animals and Plants”,” in the ” Fortnightly Review,” Oct. 1, 1869, p. 422.
(3)  Tylor, “Early History of Mankind,” 1865, p. 6. See also the three striking chapters on the Development of Religion, in Lubbock’s “Origin of Civilization,” 1870. In a like manner Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his ingenious essay in the “Fortnightly Review ” (May 1, 1870, p. 535), accounts for the earliest forms of religious belief throughout the world, by man being led through dreams, shadows, and other causes, to look at himself as a double essence, corporeal
and spiritual. As the spiritual being is supposed to exist after death and to be powerful, it is propitiated by various gifts and ceremonies, and its aid invoked. He then further shows that names or nicknames given from some animal or other object, to the early progenitors or founders of a tribe, are supposed after a long interval to represent the real progenitor of the tribe; and such animal or object is
then naturally believed still to exist as a spirit, is held sacred, and worshiped as a god. Nevertheless I cannot but suspect that there is a still earlier and ruder stage, when anything which manifests power or movement is thought to be endowed with some form of life, and with mental faculties analogous to our own.

(4) See an able article on the “Physical Elements of Religion,” by Mr. L. Owen Pike, in ” Anthropolog. Review,” April, 1870, p. 63. [Note by IWPCHI: another error in this footnote: the journal is actually “”The Journal of the Anthropological Society of London” and the actual title is “On the Psychical Elements of Religion” ]

(5) “Religion, Moral, etc., der Darwin’schen Art-Lehre,” 1869, s.53. It is said
(Dr. W. Lauder Lindsay, “Journal of Mental Science,” 1871, p. 43), that Bacon long ago, and the poet Burns, held the same notion.
(6)  “Prehistoric Times,” 2d. edit., p. 571. In this work (p. 571) there will be found an excellent account of the many strange and capricious customs of savages.

 

The Curse of the NGOs: S. African Housing Rights Organization Was Forced to Adopt Rules to Defend Itself From US-backed NGO’s Hostile Takeover

How is it possible for a tiny (but filthy rich) ruling class – the capitalist class – to directly control the vast majority of political activity of the workers of the world? The answer in the 21st century is: by financing tens of thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on every political issue large and small throughout the world.  In the past 6 years, we have found that almost every single NGO in existence – from BYP100 (ostensibly fighting for the rights of African-American workers in the USA) to Abahlali baseMjondolo (ostensibly fighting for housing rights for black South Africans) are (or in AbM’s case, were) actually controlled (perhaps without many of the activists in these NGOs even being aware of it) by wealthy white capitalists in the USA – and perhaps even the US government itself.  It is remarkably easy to discover this by simply digging through the layers of propaganda offered on the websites of the various NGOs until you get to the (sometimes carefully-, sometimes poorly-hidden)  financial information which reveals who is actually funding the NGO in question.  Usually this can be done directly from the website of the NGO – but sometimes, as in the case of South Africa’s “Abahlali baseMjondolo” you have to peel back quite a few layers of deliberate obfuscation in order to get to the rotten capitalist core of the organization’s funding.

Today we discovered a “formerly” US-capitalist-financed housing rights organization that has come under attack from the South African government because of its ties to a US-backed NGO.  The ANC suspected that since it was being funded by an ostensibly Indian (but actually a largely US and German capitalist-financed) NGO it was actually nothing but a Trojan Horse for a US-sponsored destabilization project attempting to discredit the African National Congress.

Meet "Abahlali baseMjondolo" - ostensibly an independent "grassroots" organization fighting for housing rights for South Africa's homeless people. Looks fantastic - but is it what it seems to be? (Source: Enough Is Enough!)

Meet “Abahlali baseMjondolo” – ostensibly an independent “grassroots” organization fighting for housing rights for South Africa’s homeless people. Looks fantastic – but is it what it seems to be? (Source: Enough Is Enough!)

We ran across Abahlali baseMjondolo via the ” Enough Is Enough! ” WordPress site (which is, itself, completely organizationally opaque).  We subscribed to their blog a while back because they publish often very interesting news about anarchist antifa activity around the world.

Today we saw that they’d had published a story which referenced the recent assassination of a South African organizer for “Abahali baseMjondolo”  (the name of the group is Swahili for “those who live in shacks”).  The organization is – ostensibly – fighting for housing rights for black homeless workers in South Africa.  We had only vague information about this group and so we attempted to find out what we could about it – suspecting that it might well be another one of these US-Government-financed NGOs.  What we found out wasn’t what we’d expected to find; instead we found out how difficult it is for an ostensibly “honest grassroots organization” to fend off the aggressive takeover attempts of US-backed NGOs seeking to operate in “Third World” countries. This is how we tried at first to determine who was funding AbM:

First we searched the “Enough Is Enough!” article for links to AbM’s website – but, strangely enough, there weren’t any.  So, of course, we turned to our #1 go-to source for information on everything from the abacus to Led Zeppelin: Wikipedia.  And, as usual, they did not disappoint us: they had an article on AbM which contained  a link to the AbM website.

[N.B.: some clever people criticise us for utilizing Wikipedia for a reference. But the fact is that Wikipedia has longer, more informative articles on more subjects than the Encyclopedia Britannica website.  If you don’t believe us, compare the two.  We cancelled our subscription to EB for just this reason.]

OK; so far so good.  We have made it to the AbM website:

Homepage of Abahlali baseMjondolo. Another very militant image on their homepage. And what a cool logo! Let's find out where they get their money. (Source: http://abahlali.org/)

Homepage of Abahlali baseMjondolo. Another very militant image on their homepage. And what a cool logo! Let’s see if we can find out where they get their money. (Source: http://abahlali.org/)

Usually, either at the top of the homepage of every NGO you’ll find a link labeled “About” which will take you (if you’re lucky and if the organization is being open about itself) directly to their “Board of Directors” or their “Supporters” page, which often gives the game away.  Here we get nothing at the bottom of the homepage; but there is a “Contact” link in the menu at the top of the page so let’s check it out:

Interesting. They claim not to be an NGO even though that is clearly what they are. They claim that they are no longer affiliated with the "Canadian" NGO "Centre for Civil Society" any longer; but they are affiliated with the "Church Land Programme". And they give us a link to a document that tells us more about their history. (Source: http://abahlali.org/contact/)

Interesting. They claim not to be an NGO even though that is clearly what they are. They claim that they are no longer affiliated with the “Canadian” NGO “Centre for Civil Society” any longer; but they are affiliated with the “Church Land Programme”. And they give us a link to a document that tells us more about their history. If necessary we can also do a search for “David Ntseng” and “Raj Patel”.  (Source: http://abahlali.org/contact/)

First let’s look at AbM’s “Brief Guide to the History and Praxis of [AbM]”.

Here we see that they once were involved with an NGO called “Centre for Civil Society” and that, apparently, it was at least partly due to their early receipt of funds from this organization that AbM were denounced by the African National Congress (ANC): “Individuals in the ruling party, including the Durban City Manager Mike Sutcliffe and Mayor Obed Mlaba, Provincial MEC for Housing Mike Mabuyakulu and his spokesperson Lennox Mabaso and many others, have very often accused Abahlali of being manipulated by a ‘third force’ or a foreign intelligence agency ‘bent on destabilizing the country’. No empirical evidence has ever been adduced for these claims and they are patently ludicrous and paranoid but they have created a climate that justifies violent repression.”

In fact, the “Centre for Civil Society” (CCS) is an ostensibly “Indian” (as in “India”)  NGO whose current Chairman – Luis Miranda – is  “Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure” and who obtained his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business!

Are we supposed to believe that when AbM performed their "due diligence" in investigating the source of money behind the CCS they did not even bother to look them up on the Internet?

Are we supposed to believe that when AbM performed their “due diligence” in investigating the source of money behind the CCS they did not even bother to look them up on the Internet? [Source: CCS website]

CCS has derived at least some of its funding from major US capitalist “philanthropic organizations” –  like the “Templeton Fund” and the “Michael and Susan Dell Foundation”.   Templeton is in turn part of huge American “philanthropic organizations” like the “Grantmakers for Thriving Youth” NGO-funding organization which is itself funded by such capitalist luminaries and lovers of the working class and homeless like Bill and Melinda Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos Family Foundation (Amazon.com), the Walton Family Foundation (WalMart), S.D. Bechtel Foundation (US Defense Dept. construction firm Bechtel Corporation) and others too numerous and disgusting to mention.  It is not at all surprising that the ANC government would be pissed off when these US capitalist criminals start funding “grassroots organizations” that are operating in the country.

In its defense AbM describes the aggressive ways in which these billionaire capitalist-backed “philanthropic foundation”-financed NGOs go about “recruiting” their agents around the world.  Apparently it is a full-time job for any honest actual “grassroots activist” leading an honest NGO to fight off the constant attempts at undermining the honest NGO’s independence by bribing his or her colleagues being made by the US-backed NGOs:

“Abahlali welcomes support from independent activists and activists in churches, NGOs, universities, independent media projects and so on. But while the movement has often experienced deeply principled and invaluable solidarity that has enabled the development of popular democratic power in the settlements it has also had some very bad experiences with particular individuals and organisations which include a considerable degree of financial and political exploitation, as well as self promotion at the expense of the movement’s praxis and the simple disrespect of (often racialized and classed) assumptions of an automatic right to lead, decide and teach in the name of solidarity. At times there has been deliberate out and out misrepresentation and deliberate attempts at sabotage. There have also been consistent NGO attempts to bypass the movement’s democratic structures and to determine who can represent the movement at meetings, to the press etc from outside (this has often been accompanied by attempts to offer money to individuals who will be prepared to take instruction from the NGO – most often these are people who have never been active in the movement in the first place….) ”

[Source:  http://abahlali.org/node/1391/%5D

Look at the detailed list of demands and requirements AbM has devised in order to fend off the continual attempts being made by “Western” NGOs to recruit AbM activists and use them to take over the organization:

Abahlali welcomes support that is prepared to work within or in partnership with the movement’s democratic structures and to accept that this is where all the movement’s decision making should occur. It rejects ‘support’ that seeks act above the movement’s structures and assumes a right to take decisions for the movement outside of the movement’s structures. Abahlali asks that the following general requests be respected:

  • All proposed solidarity initiatives (including invitations for members to speak, attend meetings, workshops and so on) should be bought as a proposal to one of the weekly Abahlali meetings well in advance of its anticipated start date and discussed there and agreed to there before they are begun. If you want the support of the movement for your projects you will have to negotiate this with the movement’s democratic structures – all of which are always open to all. The support of the movement for your project cannot, as the most notorious of the NGOs seems to assume, be bought by offering money to individuals.
  • All conditions set for a project following the discussions at such a meeting must be adhered too. If for some reason this becomes impossible then this should be discussed with a sub-committee set up to work on the project or taken to a weekly meeting.
  • Abahlali works very hard to ensure that the movement is as broad based, as democratic and as representative of the movement’s geographic diversity as possible and that at least 50% of all people elected to represent the movement are women. It also works very hard to ensure that as many people as possible get as much experience as possible. Therefore other organisations are asked to extend invitations to speak and attend meetings etc to the movement rather than to individuals of their choice so that the movement can elect a revolving set of representatives. Invitations to individuals will either not be accepted or the movement will, if it is decided to accept the invitation, ask to elect its own representatives. It is completely unacceptable for NGOs to decide who should represent Abahlali at their meetings.
  • Any meeting or project that is serious about developing a politics of the poor must be serious about arranging for translation if the meeting is to be conducted in English. Similarly it should be held in a place that is easy for people to access.
  • All media produced on the movement (articles, films, photographs etc) should be shared with the movement and, where possible, translated into Zulu or Xhosa.
  • No one acting outside of the movement’s structures should speak for the movement, decide who should represent the movement or attend meetings or workshops or events on behalf of the movement, raise money for themselves or their organisation in the name movement, allocate money to people in the movement, make deals on behalf of the movement, or in anyway act for the movement.
  • No one should claim to be working with the movement or to be part of the movement when they have never attended its weekly meetings and have not had their claims for involvement with the movement negotiated at these meetings. Furthermore NGO activists need to be aware that working with people who live in shacks is not the same thing as working with Abahlali and does not give them the right to make claims in this regard let alone to try and make decisions for the movement, raise money for themselves in the name of the movement, produce media for the movement etc. It is far from the case that all shack dwellers are Abahlali members or that all shack settlements are affiliated to Abahlali.
  • After a number of bad experiences Abahlali took a decision in October 2006 to refuse to work, in any way, with the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal or with anyone at the Centre (including visitors, interns, film makers etc) and has stuck to this decision resolutely. Claims to the contrary have no validity. People wanting to develop solidarity with the movement are asked to respect this decision. Please also note that AbM is not the only grassroots organisation to have taken a decision to refuse any involvement with the Centre for Civil Society.”

[Source:  http://abahlali.org/node/1391/%5D

This is all very fascinating; but does AbM expect the South African workers to believe that they were “hoodwinked” into accepting funding from an organization that openly trumpets its many connections to the top US government-connected banks like Morgan Stanley and the support it was given at its founding by infamous architects of International Monetary Fund-backed economic destabilizations like Milton Friedman?

The members of the AbM were placed in a very dangerous situation when their leaders accepted financing through the “Centre for Civil Society” which the ANC knew was a cutout for US-government-linked “philanthropic foundations” – organizations of the type which have been used historically as screens for CIA destabilization operations all over the world.  This does not mean that the ANC government has the justification for what the AbM alleges are brutal attacks by the government’s police agencies, from having people thrown out of their jobs to slandering them as agents of foreign governments to murdering them.  The ANC leadership and their government are thoroughly corrupt themselves, are stuffing their pockets with cash as pro-capitalist “partners” of the former racist Randlords of the apartheid state and are the mortal enemies of South African workers of all ethnicities.  It is highly unlikely that the desperately poor and probably poorly-educated rank-and-file membership of the AbM has any idea what lies behind the seemingly pure ideals and generous gifts being offered to them by US Government-backed NGOs: protecting them from these criminals is precisely the job of the AbM leadership.

Is AbM an “honest grassroots organization” or is it a front for a destabilization programme being run by the USA in order to discredit the ANC government?  We can’t be sure; and in some ways that is actually asking the wrong question.  For revolutionary socialists, what determines the “honesty” of any ostensibly working-class organization is its degree of complete independence from any connection of any kind with the capitalist class and their government.  The AbM leadership could have had all the “good intentions” in the world when they were organizing their group; but, as Trotsky once said: “the working class needs leaders not only with clean hearts but with clean hands as well.”  If the political naiveté of the AbM leadership led them to foolishly, “accidentally” accept funding from a deeply politically-compromised NGO – that is a huge problem with the quality and the class-consciousness of their leadership.  This is why it is important to have revolutionary socialist leadership that has fully incorporated Trotskyist class-consciousness into the fiber of every leader in that party.  We won’t be so politically blind as to lead workers into obvious traps like this.

The AbM leadership was, at the very least, quite foolish to accept money from the “Center for Civil Society” without first investigating where they got their money.  It took us less than an hour to find all the information we needed right on the website of the CCS itself.  But if what AbM says is true, once a US-backed NGO has decided to work with you (translation: use you for its nefarious purposes) they will stop at nothing to either take over your organization – or, if you refuse, set you up for attack from the government.  The question now is: has the AbM leadership truly “learned its lesson” as they claim they have?  And it really does not appear to us that they have.  Their hostility towards socialism – or their foolhardy attempt to create a “non-class” or “multiple-class” “politically neutral” organization can only result in their making the same mistake over and over again as they try to obtain political support and financial assistance from “anyone but the ANC” due to the ANC’s vicious attacks against them (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”-syndrome).  And it could even be that the AbM is saddled with at least some “anarchist” leaders who refuse to take a consistent side in the class struggle on the side of the workers by completely eschewing any kind of political party work at all: “The [AbM’s] Deputy President, Lindela Figlan has argued that ‘Voting someone into government just gives them power to oppress and exploit us.'” [Source: Wikipedia, “Abahlali baseMjondolo”]  This “classless” “apolitical” stance can lead only to one unprincipled lash-up after another with pro- and anti- working class organizations.  And this is just what the AbM leadership are doing!  The very same Wikipedia article goes on to say that in 2014, the AbM leadership made yet another rotten bloc with the pro-capitalist opposition party “Democratic Alliance”:

“[A]t the Abahlali baseMjondolo ‘Unfreedom Day’ rally held in Kwa-Mashu on 27 April 2014, the movement’s President Sbu Zikode announced that they ‘would abandon’ their No Land, No House, No Vote campaign and cast a ‘strategic vote’ in the May 7 elections.  A few days later Zikode signed a pact with the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), stating that ‘We encourage our comrades and our membership to vote for the Democratic Alliance so that we can get rid of corruption. Zikode clarified that ‘Abahlali are not joining DA or any political party. We will remain independent from all kinds of mainstream political parties. But this time around it’s a tactical partnership where the aim is to really get rid of the party that has become a threat to the society’.”

This kind of politically unprincipled “supra-class” orientation almost always results – as in this case – with that organization’s leadership jumping in bed with the capitalists via “temporary” support to one or another bourgeois political party.  The AbM’s leadership has, by supporting the Democratic Alliance, taken sides with the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary working class – which is precisely the wrong side of the barricades to be on if they were truly seeking a comprehensive solution to the problem of homelessness.

Workers who want to really change the world need to build a revolutionary socialist workers party that has a revolutionary socialist political programme and a leadership of professional revolutionaries dedicated to carrying out that programme.  Every single successful workers revolution in history was led by some variation of a revolutionary socialist Leninist vanguard party.  From the Russian revolution to the Vietnamese revolution this has been the case.  Every other kind of “revolutionary” political formation that has attempted to lead a workers revolution against capitalism has failed – especially anarchism!  It is a waste of time for the working class to attempt to utilize “revolutionary tools” which have NEVER WORKED BEFORE.  The Independent Workers Party seeks to build the Leninist/Trotskyist political party we need in order to lead workers to a successful overthrow of the decrepit capitalist system which has proven over and over to have absolutely no future to offer to the workers of the world other than environmental degradation, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, starvation and war.

— IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

US Workers: This 4th of July Let’s Honor Our Immigrant and Refugee Ancestors By Defending Today’s Immigrants and Refugees

On the Fourth of July, American workers celebrate the great victory of the “American people” over the British monarchy in the American Revolution, which was officially launched on this day in 1776 with the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence.  This victory – which was not completed until 5 long and bloody years of revolutionary struggle in which perhaps a third of the able-bodied men and women of the infant United States participated on the revolutionary side.

In this time in which the nation has given its consent to the US capitalist class and its government to brutalize immigrant workers to the point of savagely tearing babies out of the arms of their mothers and separating them, in some cases, permanently, we would do well to remember on the Fourth of July that ours is a nation whose existence would never have been possible if not for the selfless sacrifice of thousands of immigrants – legal and “illegal” – who participated in the Revolutionary War.  Spanish, Canadian, Irish, German, Polish and French workers (to name only a few of the national origins of the foreign-born workers who participated) fought for – and many gave their lives for – the revolutionary victory.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for the assistance of professional German and Polish soldiers, and the massive and crucial French intervention, it’s very likely that Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and all the rest of the Founding Fathers would lie in traitors’ graves in England – and we’d be singing “God Save the Queen” to this day.

The ratio of American soldiers to the French who fought at the 1781 Battle of Yorktown which decided the outcome of the Revolution was roughly 1:1 (counting the decisive 29 French ships-of-the-line that truly sealed the fate of British Lord Cornwallis and his men).  Though black workers – free and slave, fought on both sides in the Revolution, most blacks sided with the Americans – in spite of the fact that, to the eternal shame of the USA, it was the British and not the Americans who offered emancipation to the American slaves who defected and fought on the British side.  If the American Revolution was fought in the name of “freedom” it was for the freedom of the slave owners and mercantilists to ruthlessly exploit and enslave workers, not for the freedom of the workers, black or white.  After the American Revolution, approximately 80% of the adult population was disenfranchised because they were either women, slaves or were too poor to meet the property qualifications necessary in order to vote.

National origin of American forces at Yorktown, 1781. Source: Wikipedia, "Siege of Yorktown)

National origin of “American” forces at Yorktown, 1781. Source: Wikipedia, “Siege of Yorktown)

It is disheartening to say the least that so many US workers today have fallen for the lie that the USA is being “threatened” by the influx of immigrants fleeing oppression in other countries – in many cases, fleeing oppressive governments backed by or installed by the United States.  In a nation composed entirely of immigrants who came to this country fleeing oppression (or perhaps fleeing a death sentence for one of the more than 200 crimes for which a worker could be put to death in England in the early 1700s), it is a disgrace and an insult to the memory of our immigrant ancestors that we should be slamming the door of refuge in the face of workers seeking sanctuary in the United States today.  As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let’s remember where all of our families came from – and why – and dedicate ourselves to standing up for the rights of ALL immigrants, not just immigrant children.  This country has more than enough resources to easily absorb millions of new immigrants every year.  It is not the immigrants who threaten the precarious economic basis for our families, half of which are living from paycheck to paycheck just one step ahead of the bill collectors.  The reason why US workers must struggle to make ends meet has absolutely *nothing* to do with the immigrants: it has *everything* to do with the fact that the wealthiest 15% of the US population has robbed the US working class blind since 1781 to the point where, today, that 15% owns 85% of the national wealth while the remaining 85% of the population is left to fight each other over the remaining 15% of national wealth. It is capitalism which is killing us, not the immigrants.

Wealth Shares by Wealth Percentile, 1989-2013

Wealth Shares by Wealth Percentile, 1989-2013.  The struggle of US workers to make ends meet has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with the brutally undemocratic distribution of wealth under the capitalist system in the USA (the distribution of wealth in Europe is essentially the same) .  The top 3% possess ~53% of the US national wealth; the next 7% possess ~22%. The “bottom 90%” are left to fight over just 25% of the US national wealth.  To call capitalism a “democratic” system is to play a cruel joke on the human race.  Source: Federal Reserve Board

Immigrant workers are not criminals: they are our working-class sisters and brothers!  For Full Citizenship Rights for ALL immigrants!  Build a workers party and fight for a workers government that will overthrow the long, brutal reign of the capitalist class that robs us blind!

—- IWPCHI

 

 

Frederick Douglass: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” (5 July 1852)

Abolitionist publisher, editor and orator Frederick Douglass, 1848 (daguerreotypist unknown)

Abolitionist publisher, editor and orator Frederick Douglass, 1848 (daguerreotypist unknown)

Once again we are happy to present, in honor of the victory of the American Revolution that proved once and for all time that the world could do quite well without Kings and Queens to rule over us, one of the greatest speeches ever given by a US citizen on the Fourth of July: Frederick Douglass’ outstanding 5 July 1852 denunciation of the massive hypocrisy of the United States – which nominally stands for “freedom and democracy” but which in fact – to this day – actually stands for neither of these things.

Today, African-American workers are still fighting, literally, for their lives against an American capitalist system which brutalizes them from the womb to the grave.  While the racist US capitalist class in the person of their perfect representative – Donald Trump – pretend that the USA is a “post-racial society”, infant mortality for black children and black mothers is a national disgrace and a national tragedy; while the US capitalist class sells military equipment to local police forces all over the USA, the killer cops gun down unarmed workers regardless of age, sex or race (but primarily black workers) and, usually, are never even charged with a crime.  The gross hypocrisy of the racist US capitalist class is alive and nauseatingly “well” 166 years after Douglass gave this speech and 153 years after the US Civil War (temporarily) smashed the slaveocracy.  Racism has always been “American as apple pie” from the genocide against the Native Americans to the slave trade and today, when a racist billionaire can be elected President even after he slanders the nation of Mexico as “rapists” and pursues a brutal racist crackdown on brown-skinned and Muslim worker-immigrants and refugees seeking sanctuary in the USA.

This speech – 166 years after it was given – still provides the working class with a valuable understanding of the true nature of the US capitalist state and the ruling-class origins of today’s renascent American fascism. In 2018, as in 1852, it is up to the working class to dedicate our lives to the fight to smash racism and the capitalist system that perpetuates it.  So long as the tiny minority of racist capitalists rule, they will find it necessary to buttress their usurpation of power and wealth by fomenting racism among the workers.  In order to maintain their class domination they will continue to try to spread racist ideology thereby making it as difficult as possible for workers to join hands across all racial, ethnic and religious lines as sisters and brothers in struggle to overthrow them.  Only by becoming intelligent anti-racist activists can the working class organize effective political parties of the working class capable of putting an end to a capitalist system that offers the working class a future of nothing but more racism, more poverty, and more war.   The working class must dump the political parties owned and operated by the capitalist classes and create class-independent political parties 100% financed by and run solely in the class interests of the racially integrated US working class.

—- IWPCHI

The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro

Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say that I am to deliver a Fourth of July Oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for me. It is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable-and the difficulties to he overcome in getting from the latter to the former are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birth day of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. l am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young.-Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is, that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would certainly prove nothing as to what part I might have taken had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated, by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

“Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, there fore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history-the very ring-bolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ring-bolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day-cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness. The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interest – the nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, un folded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national poetry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait-perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and His cause is the ever-living now.

Trust no future, however pleasant,
Let the dead past bury its dead;
Act, act in the living present,
Heart within, and God overhead.

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men shout-“We have Washington to our father.”-Alas! that it should be so; yet it is.

The evil, that men do, lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.-The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They ac knowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may con sent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding.-There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave-trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words from the high places of the nation as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the Jaws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our doctors of divinity. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish them selves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon all those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass with out condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-curdling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul The crack you heard was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shock ing gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me, citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed cash for Negroes. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners; ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number has been collected here, a ship is chartered for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep, still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead, heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Is this the land your Fathers loved,
The freedom which they toiled to win?
Is this the earth whereon they moved?
Are these the graves they slumber in?

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason and Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women and children, as slaves, remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner, and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your law-makers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there is neither law nor justice, humanity nor religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world that in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America the seats of justice are filled with judges who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding the case of a man’s liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were nor stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise, and cummin”-abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal!-And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to so licit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox to the beautiful, but treacherous, Queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country (with fractional exceptions) does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, implies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love, and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe of mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation-a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea’ when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in its connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday School, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery, and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds, and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land have, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.2

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn; Samuel J. May, of Syracuse; and my esteemed friend (Rev. R. R. Raymond) on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that, upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in Eng land towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and re stored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high religious question. It was demanded in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, the Burchells, and the Knibbs were alike famous for their piety and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable instead of a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from oppression in your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation-a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against the oppressor; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare before the world, and are understood by the world to declare that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens, I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad: it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. it fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement; the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet you cling to it as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that, the right to hold, and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped

To palter with us in a double sense:
And keep the word of promise to the ear,
But break it to the heart.

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest impostors that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq. by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but interpreted, as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gate way? or is it in the temple? it is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can any where be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, commonsense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of slavery, is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the Constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tells us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.

“The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated.-Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!
When from their galling chains set free,
Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny
Like brutes no more.
That year will come, and freedom’s reign.
To man his plundered rights again
Restore.

God speed the day when human blood
Shall cease to flow!
In every clime be understood,
The claims of human brotherhood,
And each return for evil, good,
Not blow for blow;

That day will come all feuds to end,
And change into a faithful friend
Each foe.

Source:  http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/douglassjuly4.html

Some Things Never Change: Mr. Dooley Examines Opposition to New Immigration to the USA (1902)

When it comes to the tricks and false logic – not to mention outright racism – used by the US capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for politicians in order to deflect attention away from their naked robbery of the working class by telling workers that “it’s all the immigrants’ fault”, nothing ever seems to change.  The capitalist class keeps telling the same old tired lies about how the lives of workers would be absolutely marvelous if only it wasn’t for the immigrants coming in and  messing things up – and the most ignorant workers keep on believing this nonsense.  It’s a lot easier for a slavish worker to attack a defenseless immigrant mother than it is to stand up for workers rights against the cops, courts and prisons of the capitalist class that are the actual source of the worker’s misery.

In the early 1900s, political satirist Finley Peter Dunne, who had started his career working for a number of Chicago newspapers had his most inspired creation, a first-or-second generation Irish-American bartender from Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood – Mr. Dooley – take on the immigration issue.  As you’ll see in this hilarious piece, the arguments used in 2018 against today’s immigrants are the same tired and long-ago-discredited arguments that were common and tiresome already in 1900.  The capitalist class and their racist attack dog politicians and nativist fascists have never been able to come up with a single legitimate reason to oppose new immigration, because there isn’t one.  The scapegoating of immigrants by the capitalists and those who they have “running point” for them by spreading racist lies about the new immigrants has never been very sophisticated in its arguments because the kind of workers who believe this shit have never been very sophisticated in their reasoning.  The immigrant-hating workers of 2018, like their idiot ancestors of 1900 are slaves of the capitalist class, without the guts to fight against the politically powerful capitalist class who are the ACTUAL cause of poverty and unemployment under capitalism; these worker-cowards prefer to use the limited amount of “courage” they possess to attack veiled Muslim women on buses, or half-starved immigrant women and their children who risk their lives to seek refuge here in the USA.  Workers who allow themselves to be used by the capitalist class and their politicians to attack our immigrant sisters and brothers are nothing but traitors to the working class.  They are scabs and proto-fascists, racist scum who will eat all the shit the capitalists can throw on them and then thank their capitalist masters and ask for more.  The capitalists and their racist, immigrant-hating worker-slaves, not the immigrant workers, are the biggest threat to the working class of the USA and the world.  As workers in the USA – and especially union workers – we have to educate ourselves to recognize all the dirty tricks the capitalist class will pull on us in order to keep us divided and conquered.  Anti-immigrant racism is one of the dirtiest tricks in the trick-bag of capitalism; but it’s also one of the easiest to recognize and to defeat.  By standing up for the rights of all immigrants to be treated as our working-class sisters and brothers – which the vast majority of them truly are – the US working class strengthens its power to defend its most vital class interests.  The Independent Workers Party of Chicago – seeks to build a revolutionary socialist Trotskyist political party of the working class that will be completely independent of the capitalist class in every way and that will fight for the rights of the workers in the USA and around the world.  We don’t just want to organize protest against the brutalities being waged against our immigrant and refugee working-class sisters and brothers; we want to elect true worker-representatives to every legislative office in the land so that we can repeal anti-immigrant legislation and to block all attempts by the capitalists and their bought-and-paid-for politicians to pass new anti-worker legislation of any kind.  Once the working class – which represents about 70% of the total US population – takes its rightful place as 70% of the elected representatives in the national government, we will no longer have to beg the capitalist politicians to do us favors – we’ll be writing and passing our own pro-worker legislation.  Eventually we’ll be in a position to democratically decide to put the capitalist system out of our misery permanently by overthrowing the capitalist system and replacing it with an egalitarian revolutionary socialist workers republic.  This is what we’ve got to do… but this will only happen if the working class wants it to happen and joins us in this struggle.  Without a political party of the working class in possession of the majority of the seats of the legislatures of the nation, no effective and enduring political change in favor of the working class can be put forward or guaranteed at all.  Join us!

—- IWPCHI

Note on the text: Mr. Dooley speaks English with a heavy Irish brogue which can be difficult to understand at first; but if you try to sound out the at first seemingly incomprehensible transliteration of the text by speaking to yourself in a heavy Irish accent, you’ll soon find that you can read Dunne’s written “Irish” quite well.  – IWPCHI

Finley Peter Dunne – Mr Dooley’s Observations – Immigration – Link to Full Text .pdf

Finley Peter Dunne - Mr. Dooley's Observations_title page_1902

Finley Peter Dunne – Mr Dooley’s Observations – Immigration

In Spite of Their Electoral Victory Venezuela’s Chavistas Prove Once Again They are Not Revolutionary Socialists

Once again the Chavistas have won a national election; once again they have won a vote of confidence from the workers and peasants of Venezuela, in spite of all the threats and economic sabotage and misery imposed upon the workers & peasants by US imperialism through its imposition of deadly economic sanctions designed to bring the revolutionary Venezuelan masses to their knees. It is good to see that the Venezuelan capitalist class was so certain that it would be soundly defeated at the polls once again that this time their largest parties refused to even participate in the elections. But the shrinking margin of victory for the Chavistas indicates that the patience of the workers and peasants of Venezuela is wearing thin. The economic crisis precipitated by US imperialist sanctions, designed, as in Chile in 1973, to “make the economy scream” and drive the workers and peasants into ever deeper misery are having their effect on the heroic willingness of the Venezuelan workers and peasants to endure any prolongation of the crisis. If the  economic crisis is not resolved in favor of the workers by the final overthrow of the Venezuelan capitalist class and their system and the establishment of a revolutionary socialist workers republic it is highly likely that the workers and peasants of Venezuela, driven to desperation, will abandon the Chavistas and the counter-revolution will have a golden opportunity to return to power. For 19 years the Chavistas have been squandering one of the most promising opportunities for a workers revolution in the history of the world; neither time nor historical precedent is on their side.

There are a lot of workers around the world who tell us that we are wrong to say that the Chavista government of Nicolas Maduro is not a revolutionary socialist government and that it should be replaced by a truly revolutionary socialist workers government. We say that the Chavistas, by their refusal to unequivocally overthrow capitalism in Venezuela have proved beyond a doubt that they are not revolutionary socialists but are in fact pro-capitalist bourgeois reformists.

The fake-socialists around the world who spout revolutionary Marxist phraseology but who themselves are nothing but pro-capitalist reformists lie to the workers and claim that the Chavistas are carrying out revolutionary reforms; that they are gradually moving in the direction of socialism; that they can not move any faster in the direction of socialism because of the threat of US military intervention – and a lot of other lies besides these. All of this pro-Chavista sycophanterie exposes these cheerleaders for the reformist Chavista movement as what they are: fake-socialists. Those who hide the truth from the eyes of the working class by providing fig leaves to cover the fundamentally pro-capitalist reformist nakedness of the Chavista movement – instead of exposing these pseudo-revolutionary poseurs for what they are – are traitors to the working class and can only serve to prop up the capitalist system – which is precisely what the Chavistas are doing. In spite of the fact that the vast majority of the Venezuelan working class and peasantry are demanding that the Chavistas put an end to the endless conspiracies of the pro-US Venezuelan capitalist class that wants to provoke a US military intervention that will drown the Venezuelan workers movement in blood, the Chavistas continue to play chicken with the counter-revolutionary Venezuelan capitalist class and their ruthless, worker-hating US imperialist masters. The political crisis in Venezuela will not continue to balance itself on the head of a pin for eternity; it has been in that position for almost two decades already. The situation must and will resolve itself in favor of one of the two contending classes engaged in this life-or-death struggle. All historical precedent shows that if the working class proves incapable of building a revolutionary leadership that will take power firmly and permanently into the hands of the workers, the capitalist class will eventually prevail – and the counter-revolution will come back to power over the bones of the workers and peasants.

The proof of the fundamentally reformist nature of the Chavistas is right in front of the eyes of the workers of Venezuela and the entire world. It is not hidden in any way; in fact it declares its existence loudly from the rooftops of the homes of the wealthy neighborhoods all over Venezuela. It’s cacaphonous bleatings are amplified by the bourgeois press of the entire world, 24/7/365! This proof of the Chavista’s deep commitment to the capitalist system despite all their claims to the contrary is embodied in one incontrovertible fact in the shape of the open existence of the counter-revolutionary parties of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie and their ability to agitate and conduct counterrevolutionary propaganda in word and deed, calling for a bloody overthrow of the Venezuelan reformist workers government by US imperialism – an opposition which remains an active and deadly threat to every Venezuelan worker and peasant, and which the Chavistas have steadfastly refused to suppress after 19 years in power!

Any truly revolutionary socialist – in other words, a revolutionary Trotskyist – government would have crushed this pro-US imperialism opposition long ago by outlawing all pro-capitalist political parties and by confiscating their press, radio and TV stations. Only those capitalists who wished to take part in the gradual transition from capitalism to socialism would be allowed to keep their property while that transition was underway. If the Chavistas were actually revolutionary socialists, those members of the capitalist class who dared to come out and organize active propaganda and conspiracies to overthrow the dictatorship of the proletariat would be immediately arrested and would have all of their property confiscated; they would then be put on trial for counterrevolutionary conspiracy against the workers government. They would face a choice: years in prison or exile. Those who were granted the mercy of the workers government and who then returned to counter-revolutionary activity would face more extreme measures which would conclusively put their conspiratorial careers to an end for all time. THIS is how an actual revolutionary socialist Trotskyist government would deal with these social parasites who represent merely the wealthiest 10% of Venezuelan society!

The bourgeois press of the world constantly pushes the lie that the pro-capitalist, pro-US imperialist “opposition” in Venezuela represents a large portion or even a majority of the population of Venezuela. This is a monstrous lie! In fact, the capitalist class and landed aristocracy of Venezuela represents – as in all capitalist countries, including the USA – only a tiny, insignificant minority of the population. This tiny minority of ruthless, arrogant, greed-maddened capitalists and landed aristocracy possesses perhaps 90% of the wealth of the Venezuelan nation. They would prefer that US imperialism invade Venezuela and slaughter every socialist worker and peasant in the nation than to give up even an acre of land or the tiniest fraction of their wealth to the workers and peasants whose labor-power produced that wealth and makes that land productive. The capitalist class of Venezuela is nothing less than a monstrous criminal conspiracy against the workers and peasants of Venezuela; and the Chavistas know it… hell every illiterate peasant in the country knows it to the very marrow of their bones! And yet the Chavistas – 16 years after first coming to power – STILL REFUSE TO OUTLAW THESE CRIMINALS AND CRUSH THEIR OPPOSITION BY SEIZING THEIR MONEY AND THEIR PROPERTY AND OUTLAWING THE PRO-CAPITALIST PARTIES! THIS is why we KNOW that the Chavistas are not socialist revolutionaries but mere craven petit-bourgeois reformists who will NEVER be able to do what is necessary to put an end once and for all to US imperialist threats to invade Venezuela – namely to overthrow the capitalist class and system and to establish the dictatorship of the working class of Venezuela through socialist revolution! There is no alternative to this!

Either the workers will rule or the bourgeoisie will rule. A perpetual continuation of the highly unstable and increasingly precarious status quo is completely impossible: the class struggle must be and will be resolved either in favor of the workers or of the US-backed capitalist class. To imagine a “third way” is possible is to merely kick the can down the road and to pave the way for an inevitable victorious counter-revolutionary bloodbath. The longer the Chavistas allow the Venezuelan capitalist counter-revolution to operate inside Venezuela the more economic sabotage will take place which will continue to drive down economic activity, prolonging and intensifying the economic crisis and increasing the misery of the workers and peasants. Workers and peasants can’t eat revolutionary phraseology and good intentions: they need a revolutionary socialist workers government that puts a decisive end to the counterrevolutionary sabotage of the nation’s economy and that will have the guts to press forward with the final overthrow of the Venezuelan capitalist class and the establishment of a revolutionary socialist workers republic. The longer the economic crisis is allowed to be perpetuated by the capitalist saboteurs and their American co-conspirators, the more the ability of the workers and peasants to put up with this misery will weaken. This is precisely what the Wall Street financier-criminals are counting on! Time is NOT on the side of the Venezuelan working class! If a truly revolutionary socialist political party, armed with a truly revolutionary programme does not supplant the reformist Chavista leadership soon, Venezuela will see the revolutionary tide ebb and the counter-revolution will get the upper hand. Then, a bloodbath will occur in Venezuela as happened in Chile in 1973, and it could be decades or even generations before the Venezuelan workers and peasants are able to make another bid for power.

It is long past the time when the pro-capitalist, pro-US imperialist counter-revolutionary conspiracy of the Venezuelan capitalist class was utterly crushed. The Chavistas obviously don’t have the guts to do it; the workers of Venezuela must waste no time in forming a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party capable of carrying out the tasks of the socialist revolution and of crushing the counter-revolutionary conspiracies of the Venezuelan capitalists and US imperialism permanently. It is literally a matter of life or death for the long-suffering workers and peasants of Venezuela.

— IWPCHI