We expect to receive quite a bit of criticism for our recent article’s characterization – honest and, we believe, truthful as it is – of the US working class as an enormous herd of stupid-ass wage-slaves. Yet we strongly believe that there is really no other way to describe this cowardly U.S. herd of worker-sheep, 200 million weak, that has allowed one of the most despotic and murderous ruling classes in the history of the world to rule over them, shearing them at will, while simultaneously robbing, torturing and murdering the rest of the human race.
We must point out that we always admit that – apart from those of us in the Trotskyist movement (and the revolutionary socialist movement in general) who were lucky enough to have had parents who were themselves revolutionary workers – all of us were dumbass wage-slaves in our political youth. That includes the writer of this article! No worker who was not born into a family of revolutionary socialists can be said to have been a revolutionary from day one. And all of us who were not “red-diaper babies” started off as dumb wage-slaves, but at some point in our lives, we either realized or had some revolutionary socialist point out to us just how goddamned ignorant and stupid we were. Unlike the herds of worker sheep, we decided that we did not want to remain an ignorant worker-sheep, we wanted an education in the history of the long struggle of our worker-ancestors to free our class from the chains of exploitation.
Wisdom begins when a person first acknowledges his or her own vast ignorance and then determines to do all she or he can to eradicate that condition through a determined study of history, science, and politics. No one can even begin to become wise until he or she admits honestly to themselves just how ignorant they truly are. Ignorance, fortunately, is 100% curable through education. This is why we take the time to write articles about modern revolutionary socialism – Trotskyism. We have tremendous faith in the potential of the now-slavish US working class to snap itself out of its self-imposed state of apathy and ignorance, throw off its chains of servitude and begin to tread the road to becoming revolutionary socialist worker-heroes. If we didn’t believe that this transformation was possible, we wouldn’t be Trotskyists.
Communist revolutionaries do not come down to Earth in spaceships or miraculously descend from heaven riding rainbow-colored unicorns. We were – most of us – born to working-class parents who worked all their lives as stupid wage-slaves, inculcating in us faith in the capitalist system and the phony democracy of the United States. We, like you, were brainwashed to salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and respect the police and the government as our protectors – all the bullshit that is driven into the skulls of the children in every capitalist nation-state by every wage-slave parent in the capitalist world.
Going into high school we were completely ignorant of even the simple fact that we lived in a capitalist world! We knew nothing of what capitalism was, and had no idea that we were members of a “working class” fated to spend our lives as wage-slaves working to make a tiny, ruling capitalist class wealthier every hour we worked. No one is more stupid than we were in those days; no one more ignorant. But having never met a revolutionary socialist worker, how could we have been anything but stupid?
It wasn’t until we started meeting well-educated professionals of the middle class – college professors at Harvard Business School; physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project, for example, and well-educated communist youth our own age – that we came to fully realize how bad our own public-school education was compared to what these people had experienced. They knew all about subjects of vital importance to the survival of the human race of which we knew almost nothing! It was only then, by realizing how very dumb WE were that we were able to begin our lifelong effort to remove what we now realized was our own shameful and embarassing state of ignorance. That sudden self-consciousness of our own vast ignorance was our first step on the road to enlightenment; our education has never ceased from that day to this and it never will. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we read, we will never know everything there is to know about the world. That acute consciousness of our own ignorance continually impels us to keep studying and working to obtain an education comprehensive enough to be of value to you, our working-class sisters and brothers, in the struggle to free us all from the horrors of the capitalist system: its endemic poverty, homelessness, racism and endless war that profits the few at the expense of billions of workers.
The political and economic system which we all live under here in the US – capitalist bourgeois democracy – can best be described as a perfected system for robbing the huge US working class blind for the benefit of the tiny US capitalist class. We came to this understanding through the study of Marxism, which alone teaches workers not only that they can fight successfuly against this brutal wage-slavery system, but can overthrow it and replace it with a far more fair and democratic society under a scientifically planned socialist economy.
Wage-slaves who have never studied Marxism spend their entire lives fighting to survive in a world they only dimly understand. Economic crises leading to unemployment, wars, crime – all these things seem to them to be acts of a cruel fate that no one understands and that no one has – or can have – control over. But the ruling capitalist class has been taught to think differently, because they and their families have been, in most cases, the power behind the US presidency since the end of the American Revolution. The capitalist ruling class IS largely in control of their own fate and have learned precisely what they have to do, through centuries of trial and error, to keep the worker-sheep just barely happy enough to not rise up in revolt against their systematic exploitation by the capitalists. By carefully mis-educating “their” worker-sheep through the school system and mass media, the capitalist class teaches their victims to believe that the capitalist system is “the best of all possible worlds” and that resistance to it is futile.
The communists on the other hand, teach us the opposite: that capitalism is a fundamentally exploitative system designed to continually rob the workers from cradle to grave for the benefit of – in the case of the “egalitarian” USA – 3% of the population. Capitalism is NOT “the best of all possible worlds” – it is merely the latest stage of development in the long history of class struggle between workers and their exploiters. The communists point out the absurdity of the capitalists lie that they preside over a democracy. What kind of democracy is it that diverts 90% of the nation’s wealth to just 10% of the citizenry and forces what the capitalist class so charmingly calls “the bottom 90%” to divide among themselves a mere 25% of the national wealth? There is absolutely nothing even remotely “democratic” about such a system!
When we were still stupid wage-slaves, the Trotskyists confronted us with the fact that the world was on the brink of a nuclear WWIII. If this war was to occur it was possible, the “commies” told us, that the global destruction of the nation states of the world would be so comprehensive that the human race would be driven back into the stone age! Understandably, this got even our attention; and when we began to look into the issue we found that not only were the “reds” telling us the truth, but we found that the Pentagon believed that it could “win” a nuclear war! On a radio station one day we heard an interview with the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The interviewer, discussing the Reagan Administration’s belligerent talk about military confrontation with the USSR, made the then-common remark to him that “of course, nuclear war is unthinkable”. The general replied: “I get paid to think otherwise”. This made a deep impression; up to that point we had been taught to believe that our wise political and military leaders would NEVER dream of leading us into a nuclear war. It was subsequently revealed that US military planners during the Reagan era believed that the US could “bounce back” from a full-scale nuclear war with the USSR so long as no more than around 60% of the US population was killed! This information led to the realization that it was literally a matter of life and death to start studying world politics as soon as possible. This kind of “revelation” – so plentiful in those years of Reaganite insanity is what spurred on our transition from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary socialist workers.
The transition we experienced from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary workers was on the level of the famous scene in “Wizard of Oz” where the film changes from black and white to Technicolor. Suddenly we were made aware of our working class place in the world; that having been born into working-class families we were literally born one one side of a class line; on the other side of that line were the greedy, tiny capitalist class and their cops, courts, jails, news media and military, prepared to break us down as soon as we were old enough to enter the workforce from rebellious youth to obedient worker-sheep. The study of Marxist dialectics provided us with the tools we needed to analyze the world we lived in and to measure, quite accurately, the class orientation of any political party or carefully disguised messages in capitalist propaganda; it enabled us to see clearly who were the true allies of the working class and who were our mortal enemies. That Marxist toobox we were given by our revolutionary socialist teachers alone is a gift so powerful that we would not part with it for anything; it cuts through all the capitalists’ bullshit that constantly baffles, confuses and misleads every worker-sheep who believes he or she has no “need” for Marxism. Without Marxism a worker-sheep is just a lamb unknowingly making a journey through the slaughterhouse of capitalism.
Marxism is not a philosophy based on lies; it is a philosophy based on political science in which the “science” part is taken very seriously. Marxism is based on a careful study of the long history of the struggles of the workers and peasants of the world to free themselves of a system of slavery and exploitation. Marxism, you are told – by the capitalists who hate it because it would take away their money and power and give it to you – is a load of lies and propaganda. In fact the opposite is true; revolutionary Marxism is the honest study of how the working class can free itself from a future of racism, war, exploitation and misery at the hands of the capitalist class and its state. The most honest people who ever lived were the best Marxist theoreticians: Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky; yet the capitalists tell you that their writings are full of lies and deceit. In fact, we can confidently tell you in all honesty that you will search in vain in the writings of Marx, Engels Lenin and Trotsky for any hint of an attempt to decieve the workers. Their chief principle was: “NEVER LIE TO THE WORKERS”. They kept that promise; after 30 years of reading their works we have been unable to find even one instance of them ever consciously attempting to “trick” or lie to anyone. There is absolutely nothing for you to fear from studying the works of these great working-class leaders; neglecting to read their most important works robs you of any chance you have of ever fully understanding the world you live in.
Ignorance may be bliss; but its results are anything but blissful. To blindly fight against forces you don’t understand; to count your mortal enemies (like the police, or the Democrats) as your friends; to believe the lies taught to you by those who are systematically robbing you; this is the fate of the uneducated worker-sheep who thinks that Marxism is a waste of his or her time. An ignorant worker-sheep won’t even know how fucked it is until it is in the slaughterhouse chute heading towards the capitalist at the end of the line wielding a stun gun and a razor-sharp knife.
Until we came to realize how ignorant we were and took steps to do something to cure our ignorance we remained stupid wage-slaves. You will not obtain a revolutionary Marxist education by watching the entertainment products produced by your capitalist masters which are designed to confuse and mislead you. You will not find trustworthy political leaders in the parties that are owned and operated by your capitalist masters, either. If you want to know how to avoid your inevitable date with the capitalist with the stun gun and knife, young sheep, you have only one way to go: start studying revolutionary Marxism today! It will open your eyes to the reality of the life of a worker-sheep in a capitalist nation-state. The writings of the great revolutionary Marxists are some of the greatest achievements of human thought ever produced, and we’re not just saying that because we’re socialists; these were brilliant men and women who dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of the working class. Their writings are of such inestimable valuable to any worker who wants to not just understand the world but to change it for the better that it is impossible to exaggerate their worth.
How ignorant is the average worker-sheep of the USA? So ignorant that the vast majority don’t even consider themselves to be members of the “working class”; they all think that because they have signed up to be whores for a banker-pimp through the mortgage loans they’ve taken on, that makes them “middle class”! They think that the police are here to “serve and protect” the worker-sheep! They think that the capitalist state is a “neutral arbiter” of disputes between the worker-sheep and the capitalists with sledgehammers! They think that the Democratic or Republican parties – both of which are owned and operated by the capitalist class – are their political allies! They think that they “don’t need” to create a true working class party to represent them at the local, state, and national level – the parties bought-and-paid-for by their capitalist enemies are good enough for them! They think that the US military is “defending” them by murdering their working-class brothers and sisters all over the world! THAT’S how dumb the average US worker-sheep is! The revolutionary socialist workers – thanks to their Marxist education – KNOW all of these things are monstrous lies.
Only a truly stupid person would choose for themselves and their children lives as “worker-sheep” instead of a life as a revolutionary socialist worker who fights to free the working class from a life of wage-slavery. That is what we mean when we say that there are two kinds of workers in the world: stupid worker-sheep and revolutionary socialist workers. Which do you want to be?
Here is a short list of articles and pamphlets by some of the greatest working-class leaders in world history that you NEED to read if you want to no longer count yourself among the ignorant and/or stupid wage-slave worker-sheep.
Don’t be embarassed if you have to read this stuff a couple of times before you “get it”. This is so far from the lying capitalist propaganda you’ve been accustomed to reading that it may prove to be difficult to fully grasp the first time around. We’ve read these things multiple times and have found that we learn some new detail every time we re-read them. Revolutionary Marxism is a scientific discipline which, like all scientific disciplines, requires study; it’s a combination of work and pleasure. It’s thoroughly rational but, like algebra or physics, it’s not “common sense”; some of it is quite counter-intuitive. A determined slow-to-average reader can read all of these pamphlets, at their leisure, in no more than a couple of weeks. These links will take you to the Marxists.org website where you can read them all – for free!
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto
Leon Trotsky: Ninety Years of the Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx: Value, Price and Profit
Vladimir Lenin: The State
Lenin: The State and Revolution
Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution