Category Archives: Capitalist Swindles

DOCUMENTS: All the Depositions in the Tesla Shareholders Litigation case

[UPDATE (31 October 2019): We are now in the process of breaking out each of the individual depositions so you can just download whichever one you’re looking for instead of having to download the entire sets of depositions and then plow through 800 pages to get to what you want.]

Note by Iwpchi: Thanks to https://www.plainsite.org for obtaining and archiving these *very interesting* documents! They have a lot more if you’d like to learn more about the extent of the Tesla/SolarCity securities fraud case here:

https://www.plainsite.org/dockets/32atfyhh5/delaware-court-of-chancery/in-re-tesla-motors-inc-stockholder-litigation/

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

Delaware Court of Chancery
Case No. 12711-VCS
In Re Tesla Motors, Inc. Stockholder Litigation

Document 328, Attachment 1

[Exhibits 1-7]

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

Exhibit 1: Hayden Barnard (founder, Paramount Solar; former Chief Revenue Officer, SolarCity)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 1_Hayden Barnard

Relevant emails:

  1.  Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Emails_Exhibit 19_Hayden Barnard (TESLA 3404-3405)
  2. [Not located] (TESLA 412642)
  3. Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Emails_Exhibit 44_Hayden Barnard (TESLA 8245-8246)

*******

Exhibit 2: Gregory Bilicic (Investment banker, Lazard Freres & Co., hired by SolarCity to represent them in the negotiations with Tesla, who were interested in taking over SC)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 2_Gregory Bilicic

Relevant emails and documents:

  1.  [Exhibits 1-11 not located]
  2.  Exhibit 12:  Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Emails_Exhibit 81_TESLA 1882_Exhibit 12_Gregory Bilicic  (Exhibit 81 TESLA 1882)

[Note: It appears that most of these documents have been withheld at the request of Lazard (presumably because they contain information that pertains to Lazard’s own confidential institutional communications which are deemed not relevant to the pertinent legal issues in the Tesla Stockholders Litigation itself (too bad because they would undoubtedly be juicy indeed). It’s important to remember that this proceeding is held under the jurisdiction of the Delaware Chancery Court system; it’s not a regular criminal court proceeding, so the rules of evidence and discovery are presumably not the same as in the latter.  If these emails and documents are included with the materials published so far by PlainSite, we have not been able to locate them. – IWPCHI]

*******

Exhibit 3: Brad Buss (former CFO, SolarCity; former CFO, Board of Directors, Tesla)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 3_Brad Buss

Miscellaneous documents:

  1. Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Emails_Exhibit 73_TESLADIR 57808_Brad Buss (Brad Buss, “SolarCity Corporation Termination Certification”, 17 March 2016)

*******

Exhibit 4: Toby Corey (former Chief Revenue Officer, SolarCity)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 4_Toby Corey

*******

Exhibit 5: Robyn Denholm (Chairman, Tesla Board of Directors)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 5_Robyn Denholm

*******

Exhibit 6: Antonio Gracias (Lead Independent Director, Tesla Board of Directors)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 6_Antonio Gracias

*******

Exhibit 7: Donald R. Kendall, Jr. (Former member, Solar City Board of Directors)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 7_Donald Kendall Jr

 

Complete set in the original single document format from PlainSite:

Exhibits 1-7: Depositions of Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm et al

 

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

Delaware Court of Chancery
Case No. 12711-VCS
In Re Tesla Motors, Inc. Stockholder Litigation
Document 328, Attachment 2

[Exhibits 8-14]

*******

Exhibit 8: Courtney McBean (Lawyer, in Charge of team from Evercore which had been hired by Tesla to advise/represent them on acquisition of Solar City)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 8_Courtney McBean

*******

Exhibit 9: Elon Musk Vol I (CEO, Tesla; CEO, CTO, SpaceX; co-founder, Chairman of Board, SolarCity) (Deposition given Saturday, June 1 2019)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 9_Elon Musk_Vol I

Relevant emails and documents:

  1.  Exhibit 1: Elon Musk SolarCity Shareholders Litigation Deposition Vol I, pg 18_Exhibit 1_detail 10-Q 30sep2016
  2.  Exhibit 2:

 

*******

Exhibit 9: Elon Musk Vol II (Deposition given Sat. Aug. 24, 2019)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 9_Elon Musk_Vol II

*******

Exhibit 10: Kimbal Musk (Elon Musk’s brother; Member, Board of Directors, Tesla)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 10_Kimbal Musk

*******

Exhibit 11: Lyndon Rive (Cousin of Elon and Kimbal Musk; co-founder, CEO of SolarCity)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 11_Lyndon Rive

*******

Exhibit 12: Tanguy Serra (former COO, President, and CFO of SolarCity)
Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 12_Tanguy Serra

*******

Exhibit 13: Ira Ehrenpreis

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 13_Ira Ehrenpreis

*******

Exhibit 14: Jason Wheeler

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Deposition_Exhibit 14_Jason Wheeler

*******

Complete set in the original single document format from PlainSite:

Exhibits 8-14: Depositions of Courtney McBean, Elon Musk et al

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

Delaware Court of Chancery
Case No. 12711-VCS
In Re Tesla Motors, Inc. Stockholder Litigation
Document 338, Attachment 4

[Exhibit 75]

*******

Exhibit 75: Radford Small (CFO, SolarCity; VP of Global Capital Markets, Tesla)

Tesla Shareholders Litigation_Depositions_Exhibit 75_Radford Small

Book Review: “Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors”, by Edward Niedermeyer

Book Review:

Ludicrous, by Edward Niedermeyer. It will not take you 14 days to read this book! Not speed-readers, we knocked it off quite enjoyably in a few hours.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆  Three Red Stars – Recommended

“Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors”
by Edward Niedermeyer
Published 2019 by Ben Bella Books, Dallas TX
275 pages, Hardcover
Review by Iwpchi

We were pleased to see at our local library what – so far as we know – is the first critical look at Tesla Motors and its truly “ludicrous” billionaire “visionary genius(TM)”-in-chief Elon Musk.  Edward Niedermeyer’s new book is a brief overview of the trials and tribulations of Tesla Motors from its founding in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning right up until 2018. Written in an easily-accessible journalistic prose, it’s a quick read – we knocked it off easily in a few hours without skipping through it and enjoyed every bit of it.  Unfortunately, for those of us who have been following the Tesla saga in real-time the past several years, the book has little that is new beyond what will be familiar to the thriving, well-informed and highly critical online #TSLAQ community.  For the Teslarati, who have been drinking the Kool-Aid spewing forth from Tesla’s well-organized and effective public relations office (via Reddit, Twitter, Tesla Motors Club and quasi-official Tesla fanzines like Electrek) the book will provide perhaps the first eye-opening glimpse of the grim reality behind the carefully stage-managed dog- and-pony-shows endlessly being presented to the public by Tesla and its P.T. Barnum-like con-man CEO Elon Musk.

Though the book is an entertaining read, it does have its shortcomings: first of all, it is not an exhaustive study of the company at all, either from an economics or any other standpoint.  Those books will undoubtedly be coming along later (we’re looking at you, Charley Grant lol!); this one is merely an introduction for the curious layman who wants a look behind the shaky walls and flimsy tents of Elon Musk’s Potemkin auto manufacturing debacle.  For instance: very little is said about the very poor and unsafe working conditions at Tesla’s various factories that were the direct result of billionaire Musk’s vast ignorance of and contempt for standard safety practices in modern manufacturing facilities.  Even the well-known and confirmed story that Musk would not allow the typical “safety yellow” paint to be used as warning markings for dangerous areas in his factories (which is the standard practice in factories throughout the USA and the world)  “because he doesn’t like the color yellow” was left out – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  The book also does not give us any hard data on the human cost of Musk’s disregard for safe workplace practices in terms of actual injuries and/or fatalities at his various manufacturing facilities – data that we imagine the United Auto Workers Union – busy trying to unionize Musk’s factories – would be only too happy to have provided.

We would also have liked to have seen a chapter on the other even more egregious examples of Musk’s much ballyhooed (and basically non-existent) “Visionary Genius(TM)”: his many silly projects and other corporate entities, like his asinine “Hyperloop” and his ridiculous “Boring Co.” boondoggle.  They’re mentioned, but only in passing.  Musk creates these phony companies and then promotes them in the manner of a classic American huckster whenever there is a need to distract the public from the latest torrent of bad publicity threatening to topple his rickety Rube Goldberg-like pyramid of financially co-dependent companies. To the general public, poorly-educated as it is by the vastly underfunded US capitalist public school system, these laughably improbable corporations and their idiotic and non-existent products – like Solar City’s fake “Solar Roof tiles” – seem like the products of a God-like visionary who thinks big and whose amazing scientific knowledge and engineering prowess will usher in the 22nd century 80 years early. To actual scientists and engineers, (and to us), all that Musk has demonstrated to the world is that he is – like almost all of his top capitalist class brethren – a personal-greed-motivated ass-clown who has *no* engineering experience or skills, a superficial understanding of basic scientific and engineering concepts (at best) and who just goes around making absurd shit up all the time – like his laughable, impractical and (at this time) technologically impossible plans to “colonize” and even “terraform” Mars.  Elon Musk is nothing but a con man who has erected one of the world’s greatest Ponzi schemes nakedly in front of the eviscerated US government agencies charged with enforcing laws against corporate fraud and the entire world; Musk’s bald stupidity when it comes to the brutal fundamental realities of basic capitalist economics will undoubtedly lead to the spectacular collapse of his cockamamie empire – including his one viable company, SpaceX.  Musk will probably walk away from the collapse of his empire with enough of his ill-gotten gains to maintain quite a luxurious lifestyle for the rest of his life; but the tens of thousands of workers whose hard labor under brutal conditions actually made him all his billions will be thrown out of work and their lives irreparably damaged because they had faith in this billionaire asshat to provide them and their families with long-term financial stability.  This we do not find to be the least bit amusing.  It is why we say that the capitalist system must be overthrown and replaced with a planned socialist economic system if the working class wants to be able to provide for their families for the long term – or even to survive at all, as the “visionary geniuses” of the capitalist class intend to replace as many workers with robots as possible the minute the technology comes available (which will begin to happen in earnest within our lifetimes).

Edward Niedermeyer was not out to bring down Elon Musk and his Chaplinesque car company when he wrote this book, although he tells us that as soon as he began writing critical articles about Tesla and Musk he came under a company-directed smear campaign orchestrated by Tesla and Musk (which is the standard operating procedure for that shameless “visionary genius(TM)” Musk and his co-conspirators). And his book fails to utilize all the currently available material that could bring Musk’s phony empire crashing down to Earth, or to develop any new material that is unknown to the well-informed #tslaq-ers. But for the general reader who has yet to explore the tawdry shucking-and-jiving going on behind the curtain at P.T. Musk’s sleazy corporate chicanery-factories, it will be a very informative and enjoyable read.

If the workers of the world want to find heroes, they need to look elsewhere than among the world’s greedhead capitalist classes, who are only out to rob the working classes of the world blind.  The heroes of the future who will save the workers from being phased-out entirely will either come from within the working class or they will not come at all.  Elon Musk is just the latest example of the tired cliche of the wealthy hero who so loves mankind that he utilizes all his wealth to bring about positive change for the entire human race.  That has always been a capitalist myth and will always be a capitalist myth; and it will continue to fool the gullible until the working class realizes that only we the workers ourselves have a vested interest in creating a better future for the entire human race.

– Iwpchi

The US Capitalist Class is the #1 State Sponsor of Terrorism in the World; Defend Venezuela, Defeat US Imperialism!

As the criminal government of the US capitalist class reveals its latest sanguinary plot to overthrow the elected government of Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, we present the formerly “secret” US Special Forces manual on How To Overthrow Governments The US Capitalist Class Sees as a Threat to Its Continued Domination of the World.  OK that’s what its title *should* be, not what it is.  But seriously, this manual describes in detail the arrogant imperialist attitude of the numerically tiny US capitalist class that seeks to rule the world – in the name of “Democracy(TM)”, of course!  The US capitalist class, which lives in the same kind of endless fear of a workers socialist revolution that plagued the slave-owning “Founding Fathers(TM)” back in the day, can not allow the working class to take power in even the tiniest of nation-states.  They figure that if the workers ever prove to the world that they can run a country better than the capitalists can, and in a more egalitarian fashion, distributing the wealth of the nation better than the 85% (for the top 15%)-15% (for the “bottom 85%) “split” typical of capitalist states, then it will be the beginning of the end for them. So, every time a new government attempts to adopt even the slightest tinge of socialism, the US Government – wholly owned and operated solely by and in the interest of the richest 15% of Americans – immediately begins to plan the overthrow of that government.  But that doesn’t mean a simple invasion, like in the olden days; now it means a whole panoply of sub-military measures, ranging from propaganda campaigns and street thuggery against the “enemy” political party and its activists all the way up to economic sanctions, financing the political opposition and assassinating the leaders of the “hostile” political party or parties – which generally are working-class or pro-working-class parties.  Brutal military dictatorships and monarchies have always found friends in Washington; the working class has always found its most implacable enemies there. Of course, the US capitalist class aren’t Nazis! Not at all! They provide this service this all in the name of “Freedom(TM)” and “Democracy(TM)”! (That’s all part of the psychological warfare techniques they use: they scream about “Russian meddling” in US elections to cover up their own massive “meddling” in other nations – including “regime changes” a.k.a. “coups d’etat.”

To a capitalist, the only kind of “Freedom(TM)” that matters is the freedom of a capitalist to buy low, sell high and rob as many workers as possible for as long as possible. Anyone who dares to interfere in their wholesale robbery of the world’s workers has got to go!  Yesterday it was Castro and Qaddafi; today it’s Kim Jong-un and Nicolas Maduro who are being made to wear the “black hats”.  It’s not an easy trick to pull off while the US capitalist class – unlike Qaddafi, Kim, Maduro and Castro – has implanted its military forces in over 180 nation-states around the world and is busy slaughtering workers 24/7/365.  The use of mass media to keep the workers in a state of fear and confusion is all spelled out in this “unconventional warfare” manual, which should be called: “How to Overthrow Governments For Personal Profit While Making It Look Like You’re Doing the World A Huge Favor”.

Read this and see how many of these vicious and highly undemocratic techniques you can identify being used against governments all over the world; from Syria to Venezuela, Nicaragua to North Korea!  And consider the “democratic” nature of such nuggets of US capitalist class wisdom as “[Unconventional Warfare] is specifically focused on leveraging the unwillingness of some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo or ‘whatever political outcome the belligerent governments impose, arbitrate, or negotiate.'”

Don’t forget: this is “The Best of All Possible Worlds(TM)” – according to the US capitalist class!  Any worker or politician anywhere who dares to think that the capitalist status quo is *not* “the best of all possible worlds” is an “enemy” and a “traitor” (to the capitalists) and must be “neutralized” in the name of “Freedom(TM)” and “Democracy(TM)”!  Got it?

This manual comes to us thanks to the hard and self-sacrificing work of Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks.  Thanks to them we get to see right straight through the disgusting hypocrisy of the US capitalist class and their repulsive worker-hating government.  It’s way past time the workers of the USA dumped the twin parties owned and operated by the US capitalist class and we built ourselves a strong revolutionary socialist workers party to lead the fight to seize power from the hands of the capitalist few and put it into the hands of the working-class majority.  Get off your asses and join us already!  What are you waiting for? World War Three?  By then it will be too late.

— Iwpchi

“Army Special Operations Forces: Unconventional Warfare” manual_us-fm3-05-130

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

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

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”

 

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

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.”

 

 

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

 

 

Twitter Censorship hits @IWPCHI and @FoWLChi

Twitter’s automated algorithm-based “quality control” system lays another egg.

Since 10 March 2018 our @IWPCHI Twitter account has been blocked by Twitter.  They claim that it is because our account has exhibited “automated behavior” – which is absolutely not true.  As anyone knows who has ever engaged us in conversation via our Twitter account, whenever we are online on Twitter we are “live” and have engaged commenters on our Tweets in sometimes quite extensive conversations.  There is simply no basis for their assertion that we have used some kind of automated program on Twitter.

Here is our latest reply to the Twitter machine:

Twitter’s censors seem to focus on excluding opponents of the US capitalist state. They seek to punish their customers for their own failure to effectively combat fake bot accounts which they have allowed to proliferate in the hundreds of millions on Twitter – thereby making their service seem far more popular than it is.

This censorship is also being experienced by our sister organization “Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago” who are also locked out of their account – for the third time – by the Twitter censorbots.

Twitter has built its Internet empire on fake accounts, which it has allowed to proliferate on its network since day 1; and recently, when the New York Times exposed the existence of perhaps hundreds of millions of fake Twitter accounts created by the “follower fraud” company “Devumi”, Twitter pretended to be “shocked, shocked!” that such things were going on in their little Internet Disneyland.

But, of course this is precisely how Twitter became the social media juggernaut it now is.

Now, to “rectify” their self-made crisis of confidence in their fraudulent follower base among their valued corporate customers, Twitter is seeking to “verify” the accounts of obviously legitimate customers by demanding that they divulge their phone numbers – or be locked out of Twitter forever.  For political activists, the prospect of having to reveal their identity to Twitter is tantamount to revealing it to the US government (which can obtain the information from Twitter simply by demanding it) and, potentially, to all those who oppose their activism in the event that Twitter – like far more “secure” organizations before them – gets hacked.  By forcing political activists living under repressive governments to divulge their personal phone numbers, Twitter is placing those people at risk of severe repercussions – including death – should those governments ever obtain Twitter’s database of personal customer information.  To say that the new Twitter policy of requiring every customer to provide a phone number is reckless is to make an extreme understatement of the issue.

Of course, Twitter is hiding the true reason for its new censorship campaign behind the absurd claim of the US capitalist class that their chosen candidate Hillary Clinton was soundly beaten in 2016 and Donald Trump elected President solely due to “Russian meddling” in social media – particularly Twitter.  They want us to believe that the flag-waving pro-US right-wing anticommunist (and in many cases outright US nativist fascist) supporters of Trump were all actually “Manchurian Candidate” voters under the spell of Vladimir Putin and a handful of pro-Putin trolls pushing Trump as the lesser evil candidate.  They expect us to believe that everyone who voted for Trump is a “traitor” in thrall to Putin!  What a load of crap!  And Twitter’s new campaign of rampant censorship is, we are supposed to believe, simply a reaction to this Russian “meddling” on Twitter. Twitter pretends that it can’t tell the difference between Russian bot Twitter accounts created in 2016 from legitimate Twitter accounts created long before Trump was even considering a run for the Presidency.  They can’t distinguish – they have no reliable method to tell the difference between Russian botnets and, say, the @IWPCHI or @FoWLChi accounts!  The “Russian bot crisis” – caused by Twitter’s own incompetence at monitoring its own network thus becomes an excuse for rampant censorship of their network.  Hillary Clinton was reported to have employed hundreds of thousands of fake Twitter accounts during the 2016 campaign… has she had her account locked out? No.  Donald Trump is a serial violator of the Twitter “Terms of Service”: has he had his Twitter account locked out?  No.  Only the accounts of working-class opponents of the Democratic Party – right and left – seem to be worthy of the automated Twitter censor’s hammer.  What a surprise!

This whole debacle only underscores how impossible it is to expect the capitalist class to create Internet services that provide a forum for democratic debate of issues of vital importance to the working class.  It is simply not in the class interests of the bourgeoisie to provide their wage-slaves opportunities to organize the overthrow of the capitalist system.  Twitter, like Google and Facebook, have rapidly evolved to become virtual extensions of the US government and its intelligence services’ data-mining operations.  That these quasi-governmental capitalist behemoths should engage in rampant censorship of working-class opponents of the capitalist system does not surprise us in the least.

—- IWPCHI

“Fight for $15” “Speaks Truth to Power”; “Power” Says: “Go to Hell!”

The capitalists who run this country – and who own and operate both of the political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – and who also own and operate the Green Party and the Libertarian Party as well – tell you that you should not expect to make a decent living wage while working at a typical service economy job. It was this same capitalist class – or their parents – the capitalists of the last generation – who systematically dismantled the large industries of this country in the 1970s and 1980s – the steel mills – they shut them down; the factories – they shut them down and moved them overseas where the unions were weak and the wages were low. The US capitalist class deliberately destroyed millions of high-paying union jobs here in the USA – and told the workers “oh don’t worry; the economy is just evolving into a service economy – there will be plenty of jobs for everyone.” What they didn’t tell you is that these new jobs would be low-paying and unskilled and that they would be non-union jobs. And now when you demand that you be paid a decent living wage in this new “service economy – they tell you that your demands are unreasonable; that raising the minimum wage will hurt the economy! When you play by the rules that the capitalist class creates to make themselves rich and drive you into poverty you will lose every time. Is $15/hour “unreasonable”? No! In fact, $15 an hour is far too low to be a living wage.

Economists have told us that in order for a person or a family to live decently, to be able to afford to pay for housing, food, clothing, daycare and all the other expenses of life – and now they have added the burden of paying for health care too, something that no workers in any other industrialized country have to pay for – in order for us to live well we should not have to pay more than 25% of our monthly income for housing. Originally, back in the 1970s, the limit was 25% – in the 1980s, when it first became clear even to the government economists that very few people in the US actually paid just 25% of their income on housing – they were paying much more – they raised the limit to 30%. So now they go by this new limit that you should never have to pay more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. And so they took that 30% number and they used it to create what they call a “living wage”: that is: how much money does a worker have to make to be able to pay no more than 30% of his or her given monthly income in any city in the USA? And for Chicago – and this was ten years ago! – they came up with the figure of $20 an hour or something like that. That was 10 years ago – and it was confirmed again in a new study published in 2015! This is true!

In 2015 the “National Low Income Housing Coalition” published a study called “Out of Reach – Low Wages and High Rents Lock Renters Out”.  Now you know that this study’s conclusions must be very reasonable because the study was funded by the banking firm of J.P. Morgan and Chase! In this study, the average housing costs are calculated for every state and every county in every state, and then they determine from what the rent costs for an average two-bedroom apartment in every county and use that figure to determine what the mimimum wage must be in order for workers to not have to pay more than 30% of their income on rent. For Cook County, IL – this was a study published in 2015, so the figures at the time of publication were most likely a year old – they determined that a fair minimum wage for a worker with a small family who needed a two bedroom apartment had to be at least $21.02/hr or $43,720 a year! This is why we in the Independent Workers party of Chicago don’t understand why your leaders are “Fighting for $15” when even J.P. Morgan Chase’s own study says that in order to live like a human being here in Chicago you need to make at least $21/hour! Obviously, the leaders of the “Fight for $15” movement are overly concerned that if they ask for $21 – which is what is actually necessary – they will seem unreasonable to the capitalists. So they are limiting the demand to just $15/hour. Very reasonable, right? They are more concerned about looking reasonable to the billionaires than they are about fighting for you and your families!

The Democrats ho run “Fight for $15” are doing what the US billionaire class hired them to do: keep wages low and profits high. $15/hr minwage is $6 BELOW what J.P. Morgan study said – in 2015 – was minimum wage necessary to live decently in Cook County.   Source: “Out of Reach” p 69.

So the organizers of “Fight for $15” go and bring their very, overly reasonable demand for a statewide $15/hour minimum wage to Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois. Now as we all know, Bruce Rauner is a very wealthy man. He’s not just a millionaire – he’s not even a “hundred-millionaire”! He’s a BILLIONAIRE! He has spent his life robbing the workers of this nation blind so he could have all that money – that is a fact – no one gets to be a billionaire without ripping off a whole lot of people!

And what does Billionaire Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner say to you when you ask him for the very, overly reasonable minimum wage of $15/hour? He tells you to go to hell! Why? Because in his opinion – and in the opinion of the US capitalist class – which makes up less than 5 percent of the US population – it will “ruin the Illinois economy” if millions of Illinoisans get paid just $15/hr. ! “$15/hr is UNREASONABLE” says billionaire Bruce Rauner!

Well that is bullshit! But do you want to know what is really unreasonable and what is really ruining the US and the world economy? What is REALLY unreasonable is that capitalist billionaire Bruce Rauner and his billionaire friends – who together make up only 3% of the US population – own over 50% of the wealth of the USA! The billionaires of the US – and that includes that racist pig president we have now, the friend of the Nazis and enemy of the workers Donald Trump – these billionaires who make up just 3% of the population own over 50% of the national wealth! And does Bruce Rauner think that THAT is unreasonable? NO HE DOESN’T! He thinks that it is fair for 3% to own 50% of the wealth – to him and his capitalist friends, they’re splitting the wealth evenly 50-50: 50% for the 3% who are billionaires and 50% for the other 97% of the US population! And he has the nerve to tell you that your very reasonable demand for just $15/hr is UNREASONABLE and that if it is adopted it will ruin the economy!

The life of a capitalist wage slave is not pleasant once you know how badly you’re getting screwed by your capitalist “friends”. Recent Trends in WEALTH Distribution in USA, 1989-2013. Federal Reserve Bulletin, p. 11.

Bruce Rauner is a liar! When the minimum wage is increased all of that money that gets paid to the workers gets put right back into the economy and makes the economy grow. The more the workers make the better the economy is. For the workers all that money is going to get spent on the necessities of life for ourselves and our families. So when Bruce Rauner or anyone tells you that raising the minimum wage is going to ruin the economy, they are lying! What these lies about raising the minimum wage mean is that these billionaires who own this country and who own and operate both of the political parties in this phony democracy of ours would rather see you all drop dead than give you a living wage so you and your families can live like human beings! And this 3% of filthy rich greedheads will impoverish the entire nation and get away with it because they own and operate the political parties in this country! The fact is that in this phony democracy of ours, the minority rules! The 3% can tell 97% to go to hell and get away with it every time because they own the politicians in all of the major political parties – and then they turn around and call this a democratic system of government!

How is it that just 3% of the population gets to own 50% of the national wealth and gets to deny the vast majority of the population – you, the working class – the right to raise the minimum wage to a reasonable level for survival? They get to do this because YOU the workers – who make up at least 70% of the population – do not have even ONE representative at the state or national levels of government! Every single state rep and state senator – every single representative and senator in Washington – is owned by the billionaires of this country. The billionaires have bought every important politician in the statehouses and in the national government – and you the workers, who make up the vast majority of the population – do not have even ONE representative fighting for your rights! How did this happen and what can you do about it?

It has happened because you have not created your own workers party that is owned and operated by you – instead you have remained loyal to the two parties of big business – the Republicans and especially the Democrats. So when they tell you that you don’t need your own political party, all you need to do is “speak truth to power” power can ignore you, because you do not have even one representative in the state or national governments of this country. Because you the workers have not understood the importance of having your own political party owned and operated by you – a workers party that has the power – because you are the vast majority of the population of this country – to run this nation in YOUR interest – “power” can just ignore you and can continue to run the government in the interests of the 3%.

They tell you that the Democratic Party is “the party of the working class”. Well everyone knows that is a huge lie. If the Democratic Party was “the party of the working class”… when Barack Obama was first elected and came into office in 2009 the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. The Republican Party had been completely discredited in the corrupt swindle of the housing crash of 2008. The Democrats, who controlled the White House, the House and the Senate in Washington could have passed any kind of legislation they wanted to! If they wanted to make the minimum wage $15/hr they could have done it right then and there. But they didn’t: instead, they took out a loan for $1.7 trillion dollars to bail out the banks that had created the housing crash in the first place – and then they stood by and did nothing as millions of people lost their homes. They didn’t even send one banker responsible for this biggest-ever swindle in the history of the world to jail! And they didn’t do a damned thing for the workers in the entire 8 years of Obama’s presidency. The Democratic Party runs most of the major cities in the USA – which means that they run the racist police departments of the USA! It is the racist police run by the Democrats who have been murdering black workers with impunity and getting away with it because Democratic States Attorneys refuse to prosecute the cops even for the most savage crimes against the workers. Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is “the party of the workers” should have their head examined! The Democrats do not now and they never have been “the party of the working class”. Almost every single Democrat and every single Republican in the last analysis is a bought-and-paid-for servant of the billionaire class – the capitalist class of the US.

What can you do about this? It is absolutely necessary – if you want to be able to exercise your rights as the vast majority of the population as workers – you absolutely MUST dump the Democrats and the Republicans and build yourselves a workers party that is 100% funded by you, run by you and operated solely in YOUR class interests. You need a workers party that will lead the fight for a workers government – those who labor should and must rule! That is the kind of party we in the Independent Workers Party of Chicago want to build. It will be a party that is owned and operated by you the working class. It will not represent the capitalist class at all – it will only represent you the workers. But how will we fund this party? It will be funded through your donations and for those who want to be members of the party through your membership dues – just like a trade union. All of the money will be spent on organizing this party and getting as many worker-representatives elected as possible to the local, state and national legislative bodies of this nation. This party will be an actual political party – not just a lame NGO that relegates itself to “speaking truth to power”. The working class will BE the power! We will no longer go around begging the politicians owned and operated by the working class to “do for us”: we will do for ourselves! We will be in a position not to just BEG for a raise in the minimum wage, we will have a majority in the house and senate and we will be able to pass whatever legislation we want. In other words, a workers party will demand that the majority – the working class – must decide how this country is run and will take the power out of the hands of the 3% of greedy billionaires like Bruce Rauner and place it in the hands of the vast majority – you, the working class! We need to throw out of power – permanently – that gang of greedy billionaires that is right now using their Democratic and Republican parties to run this country like a slave plantation!

The revolutionary Trotskyist Independent Workers Party of Chicago says: the organizers of the fight for $15 are being far too reasonable: it costs more than $15/hr to live decently in Chicago. The capitalist system is a system by which the vast majority of the population is robbed blind so a handful of billionaires can live like kings! We do not want to be “reasonable” we want to get rid of the capitalist system before it gets rid of us and our families! In Illinois we need a $25/hr minimum wage – and that minimum wage should be strictly indexed to inflation – and it should be automatically raised each and every year at least 1% above the rate of inflation! Workers should not be made to pay with their lives so that a handful of millionaires and billionaires can steal half of the wealth of the nation and use it to purchase total control of the political system of the nation! We need to make the billionaires pay for the suffering caused by their crumbling capitalist system which robs the poor and gives to the rich; which makes a handful of people obscenely rich and leaves a constantly growing number of millions of workers in poverty!

We’re the Independent Workers Party of Chicago and we say: Dump the Democrats and Build A Workers Party!  Dump the Capitalist System before it dumps you!  Build A Workers Party to fight for a revolutionary Trotskyist workers government!  You can find us at iwpchi.wordpress.com and on Twitter @IWPCHI.   Happy Labor Day Everyone!