Category Archives: Capitalist Swindles

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

Democratic Socialists of America: “Democratic” Party? Yes; Pro-US Imperialism? Yes; “Socialist”? Not So Much

In the United States things are often sold under false labels – especially when it comes to politics. SOURCE: dsausa.org

6 AUGUST 2017 – This weekend, Chicago, IL has had the “honor” of hosting what has been billed as the largest convention of socialists in the history of the United States.  Please believe us when we say we wish that was actually the case.  While it is indeed true that thousands of mostly young working-class youth and college students flocked to the 3-day soiree of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in the hope that the DSA represents a fighting socialist alternative to the Wall St. owned-and-operated Democratic Party, we are obliged to be the bearers of bad news: the Democratic Socialists of America are actually nothing less than a left cover for that Democratic Party you have grown to hate with a passion.

In order for the class interests of the working class to be represented at city hall, in the state legislatures or in the national legislature a true working class party must first be created that is completely funded by and led by a revolutionary socialist workers party that is 100% independent from the capitalist system and its class representatives.  That means that not one penny of funding for that workers party can be derived from donations from the capitalist class or any of their many front groups.  If the workers do not organize a workers party of their own, they have no way to independently put forward a working class program or to participate in local, state or national politics at all and must instead be reduced to begging other parties’ politicians to throw a few legislative crumbs to the workers once in a while (which is the case right now in the USA).  A real workers party must be a party of, bay and for the workers, which fights for the rights of the working class in the USA and internationally; it must not defend the capitalist system – which is fundamentally based on the exploitation of the working class – in any way, shape or form.  It must not support the cops, the criminal justice system or the military forces of the imperialist United States of America at all.  The ultimate goal of an actual revolutionary socialist workers party is not to keep the decrepit and senile, racist, warmongering, exploitative capitalist system alive and to patch it up so it can stagger forward until it finally launches World War III; the ultimate goal of a revolutionary socialist workers party is to overthrow the capitalist class and their system and to put the working class in power.  THAT is the program of revolutionary socialism: it was the program of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky – and it is the program of the Independent Workers Party of Chicago.  That is what the word “independent” means in our name: complete independence from the influence of bourgeois ideology and complete dedication to the fight for the emancipation of the working classes of the world through workers socialist revolution.

For the leaders of the Democratic Socialists of America, this program of complete independence of their party from the forces of capitalism is anathema.  The DSA is a thoroughly class-collaborationist pressure group (“we are not a political party” they declare) literally steeped in the reactionary, pro-capitalist principles of the Second International – the renegades from Marxism who betrayed the working class in 1914 by repudiating the program of revolutionary class struggle in favor of defending “their own” bourgeoisie by voting for war credits in their respective countries, which drove the working classes of the world into bloody conflict against each other in World War I.

The DSA wants you to believe that its party represents the ideals of the great US socialist leader Eugene Debs, who went to jail for his stalwart opposition to WWI.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The DSA’s leadership and its program has ALWAYS repudiated what Eugene Debs stood for; they have been supportive of the United States Government since the Democratic Socialists Organizing Committee (DSOC – immediate predecessor of the DSA) was founded by Michael Harrington in 1973.  From the very beginning, Harrington declared to the world that the new party was dedicated to the principle that “the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party.”  This is the bright red-white-and-blue thread that runs throughout the program of the DSA from 1973 to this very day.  The DSA was founded on the principle of reforming the capitalist system to make it “more democratic”, not in overthrowing it.  Harrington to the day he died worked assiduously to defend US imperialism against the degenerated Stalinist workers states of the USSR, Cuba and China – and the DSA even went so far as to support the United States capitalist class in their genocidal Vietnam War!  Harrington and the DSA always urged their party’s members to vote for the Democrats – and his ideological children like Cornel West follow in his footsteps, urging youth to vote for the fake socialist (and real Democrat) Bernie Sanders in the last presidential election!  If you are a young worker or student who hates the Democratic Party of war criminals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the DSA is not an organization you want to be a member of!

We do not expect nor do we want you to take our word for this; as Lenin said “in politics, anyone who ‘takes another’s word for it’ is a hopeless idiot.”  And if you are looking for alternatives to the Democratic Party and the capitalist system you are obviously not a “hopeless idiot”.  You want answers and you want the truth and you deserve both.  One of the hallmarks of a true Trotskyist party like ours is that we are dedicated to the principle of telling the working class the truth no matter how painful it may be – even about our own party.  Our goal is to win over the trust of the working class by steadfastly telling the truth about the capitalist system and the capitalist class and its many devious ways of entrapping workers politically.  The DSA is one of those political traps laid for the unsuspecting workers who are just starting to check out the various socialist parties and  who are trying to sort the real socialists from the fake ones.  Unfortunately there are quite a few political parties that call themselves socialists and even revolutionary socialists who are in fact anything but what they pretend to be.  To help you do this we are going to use the written program and the public statements of the DSA’s leadership itself.  This is how Trotskyists determine the class nature of a political movement.

If we visit the DSA’s website at http://www.dsausa.org/, we can begin to see immediately that the DSA is a reformist organization, not an actual alternative to the Democratic Party at all:

Trotskyists analyze the writings of our political opponents to determine what they really stand for politically. The DSA reveals its true nature right on the front page of its website. SOURCE: dsausa.org

“Continue the political revolution!”  What does this refer to?  Obviously, it refers to the phony “political revolution” the reformists falsely claim was led by the Democrat Bernie Sanders during the last US Presidential election, in which Sanders played the old “bait-and-switch” con, pretending to run for President on a “socialist” party program in order to lure unsuspecting youth into the Democratic Party’s circus tent, only to abandon his campaign and to throw his support to the hideous Hillary Clinton.  This was no “revolution”: it was a cheap con game which has been played over and over by the Democrats.  Jesse Jackson perfected this scam back in the late ’70s and early ’80s.  We spent a great deal of time during the election warning Sanders supporters that they were being played.

A lot of Sandernistas hated us then for telling the truth about the phony Sanders campaign; but when he pulled the old switcheroo just as we predicted we had a good number of them come back and admit that we had told the cold truth – just as we promise we will always do to the very best of our ability.  It was a tough lesson in the sleazy, underhanded methods the capitalist-owned politicians work their campaigns.

What else can we learn from just this first glimpse of the DSA’s website?  Take a closer look at this “Who we are & what we do” paragraph:

A closer examination reveals some surprises: the DSA is *not* a political party!  This means that the DSA relegates itself to the status of a mere pressure group on – guess who? – the Democratic Party!  SOURCE: dsausa.org

Every word of this declaration tells a Marxist volumes about what the DSA is and what it isn’t.  “Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few”.  Here is what they mean with the missing words put back in the sentence:  “Democratic Socialists believe that both the existing capitalist economy and the existing bourgeois democratic society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few capitalists.”  This means that the DSA is a reformist, and pro-capitalist organization, and not revolutionary or even socialist at all.  They don’t explicitly say it (because that would give the game away) but they are clearly talking about not the organization of a better, socialist, future society but are speaking in the present tense – they are describing the fact that it is their program to limit their demands to mere reforms of the capitalist system.   And since racism, poverty, homelessness and war are all endemic to the capitalist system – as anyone can easily prove by examining the existence of ALL of these horrors in EVERY capitalist nation-state on Earth – when the DSA declares that it merely seeks to reform capitalism instead of overthrowing it they are declaring to the world that as far as they are concerned, racism, poverty, homelessness and war have always been part of the human condition and always will be – and so the best we can hope for is to put a few bandages on these gaping wounds of the capitalist system and hope for the best!

We don’t want to go on like this all day long; this article is getting to be too long already.  So we will cut to the most revealing self-exposure of their fundamental commitment to the US capitalist class and the capitalist system that the DSA website proudly announces to the world.

One of our discoveries in the past year has been that practically every single charity group and non-governmental organization (NGO) in the United States and around the world is actually funded by some capitalist class-run charity or foundation or other!  From the fake environmentalist organization 350.org (funded and run by the oil company money of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) to the “Black Lives Matter”-allied  “Black Youth Project” are actually sponsored by major capitalist foundations and charitable organizations – and guess what?  SO IS THE DSA!  Amazing but true!  We just found this out today ourselves and we can hardly believe how easy it was, once again, for us to discover this fact.

All of these fake NGOs have two things in common: they are funded by the capitalist class, and they OPPOSE THE FORMATION OF A THIRD POLITICAL PARTY IN THE USA!  Why? Because the capitalists who fund these organizations have a wonderful phony “two-party system” here in the US already – and they OWN BOTH OF THE PARTIES!  The US capitalist class thinks that “democracy” is the cat’s ass – so long as THEY run all of the political parties themselves!  They know that as soon as the working class organizes a successful workers party, their days of class rule will be numbered!  So they make DAMNED SURE that NO ONE runs so much as an NGO unless THEY sponsor it!

How did we do it?  EASY!  Every NGO website – well almost every one – some of them hide the identity of their financial supporters for very good reasons – but nearly every one of them has a section or two on their website that reveals who their primary staff and chief advisers and donors are.  We’ll show you how to do this with the DSA website and then you can try it on any NGO website you can find.  You’ll quickly see that all reformist roads lead to the corporate boardrooms of the USA’s Fortune 500 companies!

OK.  DSA website, homepage.  Sometimes this info is located at the top of the page, sometimes at the bottom of the page; sometimes in both locations.  But you usually can navigate to the sponsor pages through the tabs or buttons at the top of the homepage.  Here they are on the DSA website:

As usual, if you want to know who runs the show at ANY organization, you have to follow the money!  Which button will reveal the truth about who funds the DSA?

Let’s click on the “About DSA” button:

Nope. Looks like the wrong page, although this certainly reinforces our characterization of the DSA as pro-capitalist and reformist. Apparently the DSA wants to wait until the capitalist system dies a natural death – hopefully before WWIII occurs.  What if we look at the bottom of the page…?

This is all very interesting and reveals that our original evaluation of the DSA as pro-capitalist and reformist was right on the money.  But where is the financial info?  Let’s take a glance at the bottom of the page.  Hmm.  Lots of white space… doesn’t look promising… wait!  We may be on to something!  BINGO!  “The DSA Fund”!

Here it is – the DSA Fund – a 501c3 swindle. Like most NGOs, this link is hidden all the way at the bottom of the page where very few people will notice it.

This looks promising!  But before we click on the link, check out that disclaimer in tiny lawyer’s print at the very bottom of the page:

DSA professes it was ‘Shocked! Shocked!’ to “discover” that it somehow shared the same website developer – revealingly named “NationBuilder” (thus dovetailing with DSA’s political strategy for the capitalist USA) – as the Trump campaign. They promise to fix this sometime soon.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to do it!

That is rich isn’t it?  So the tail of the Democratic Party donkey – the DSA – hired the same people to develop their organization’s website as did the Trump campaign.  How eerily similar to the Hillary campaign’s brilliant strategy to build up Trump during the primaries – so that they would have an opponent that would be easier to defeat!  How’d that work out for them?  It would be hilarious… if so many workers lives did not hang in the balance.

OK let’s click on the “DSA Fund” link and see where it takes us…

Let’s see – we found the Fund – where are the financials? Let’s check the “Donate” button…

Click on that “Donate” button and…

There’s nothing here! No list of sponsors, just a desperate claim that they really really never take money from corporations or from the government. Let’s keep looking.

Well we seem to have come to an end.  There are no financials on the website!  No IRS statements as to who gets paid how much and who made the top donations – no transparency at all!  They claim that all their funding comes from memberships.  “We receive no corporate sponsorships or government money”.  Keep that claim in mind as we continue our search.

Let’s see if we can find a list of their top staff and advisers and see if we can find any clues as to who’s really running the show at DSA.

If we go back to the home page and click on the “Resources and tools” button what do we get?

Another dead end. Nothing here. Let’s take a look at the bottom of the page…

Hmm.  we didn’t notice this before: in the red box to the right… “Our Leadership and Structure”.  Click on that link…

Nice! Here’s a list of the famous Democratic Party stalwarts who are “Honorary Chairs” of the DSA. Ex-CIA agent Gloria Steinem; Cornel West, famous pal of US war criminal Barack Obama; and other fascinating loyal servants of the US capitalist class.

This is all fascinating and completely predictable – though you might wonder why the DSA keeps the leading lights of their organization hidden under such a huge barrel!  Why don’t they have this list of the most famous people in their organization on the masthead of their homepage?  Probably because it would let all the young workers and students know right away that the DSA is a cozy home for some of the most tiring, long-sold-out Democratic Party donkeys of all time – like the famous Democratic Party donkey Cornel West and the execrable “ex”-CIA “asset” and forever Democrat Gloria Steinem.

Good old Cornel West, ‘secret’ DSA member and open, fawning sycophantic fanboy of then-future US war criminal Barack Obama, shucks and jives for Obama at Harlem’s Apollo Theater during Obama’s first election campaign.

… and here’s West again during the second Obama run for President… only this time he’s being slapped down by his Commander-in-Chief for West’s tepid criticism of war criminal Obama. After this public slapdown, West sulkily started to denounce Obama saying he was “disappointed” in him.  In this picture you can almost actually see the moment when West’s little Obama-worshipping heart breaks into a million little piecesCornel West’s hopelessly compromised political compass can’t find political magnetic North.

OK, well, this is all in good fun.  Oh… by the way… are you surprised we called Gloria Steinem a CIA agent?  This famous bourgeois feminist proudly admitted it and you can read all about her “work” for the Agency in books like “The Mighty Wurlitzer” by Hugh Wilford.  And you can read about it  here and here  as well.  Or maybe just watch this:

So beware, young socialist workers and students in the DSA: your organization has as one of its leading lights a “former” CIA agent who actually ratted out socialist students to the CIA – setting them up for political persecution, torture or murder when they returned to their respective countries!

It has been reported that Gloria Steinem tried to recruit the DSA’s Michael Harrington to join her CIA operation but for some reason he declined.  We wonder: what made Steinem think Harrington was good CIA material?  Had her CIA handlers asked her to attempt to recruit him?  In “The Mighty Wurlitzer” Hugh Wilford says that Harrington had originally been penciled in as one of four CIA recruits being sent to disrupt the USSR-sponsored Vienna Youth Festival that was held in Austria in July of 1959 (fellow anti-communist and future National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski would have been one of his traveling companions).  Harrington suspected that the free trip  being dangled in front of him by the physically attractive Steinem was being bankrolled by the U.S. State Department, which in his mind would have been a deal too good to pass up.  Wilford quotes Harrington as saying, cryptically: “Had I dreamed that the CIA was involved there would have been no issue.”  After discussing the opportunity with the leaders of the Socialist Party’s youth group (of which Harrington was then a member) it was decided that, after all, “Lenin had accepted railroad transportation from the Kaiser when he went from Switzerland to Russia in 1917” – so he should accept the offer from the “State Department” while making it clear that he would criticize both the capitalist and communist bloc nations at the festival.  “The offer of help was withdrawn formally” Harrington said, “and I paid my own way, having nothing to do with what turned out to be the CIA’s dirty games.” (Source for Harrington quotes and description of Steinem and Brzezinski’s activities: “The Mighty Wurlitzer” by Hugh Wilford; Harvard University Press, 2008, pages 141-148)

That may be the truth or may not be.  But it still doesn’t explain why the fully exposed ex-CIA agent Steinem is given a leading role in the DSA of 2017 as one of its celebrity members.  Her role at the Vienna Youth Festival is well-known: she coordinated the anticommunist propaganda operation via her CIA-front news organization the “Independent Research Service”.  Meanwhile her fellow CIA plant Brzezinski – a Polish nationalist – enjoyed himself by strutting through the USSR section of the festival deliberately bumping into Russians and yelling “Out of my way, Russian pig!” in an attempt to provoke a fight between the Russian and Polish delegates.  Steinem was a crucial part of a typical CIA dirty tricks team out to do all it could to disrupt a youth festival – but that only endears Steinem to the anti-communist DSA leadership all the more.

You campaigned for Hillary? No problem: the DSA welcomes you with open arms!  Hillary really stood up for the rights of workers by backing her husband’s “get tough on crime” legislation that destroyed the lives of millions of black and Hispanic workers and their kids and by overseeing the destruction of Libya as Secretary of State.  Whatever you say, Delores.

Lifelong Democrat and United Farm Workers union leader Dolores Huerta – who counts among her BFFs war criminals Bill and Hillary Clinton – is also listed as a DSA celebrity.  She has spent her entire life luring workers into the clutches of their enemies in the Democratic Party – from vicious anti-communist Robert F. Kennedy to vicious war criminal Barack Obama to vicious war criminal Hillary Clinton – Huerta has campaigned for all of them.  Huerta and UFW leader Cesar Chavez led farm workers in endless capitalist-friendly grape boycotts rather than lead hard class struggle on behalf of farm laborers in California, even going so far as to organize anti-immigrant picket lines that physically attacked migrant farm workers and reporting “illegal” workers to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service!  THIS is why the worker-hating Democratic Party politicians love having their photos taken with Dolores Huerta!

What else did we find out?  Well, he won’t  mention that he’s a DSA member in his own political autobiography but ‘secret’ DSA member Harold Meyerson –  editor of the liberal rag “The American Prospect” (which he co-founded with Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich) – is on the list as well.  If he’s not a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, who is?

But let’s get back to who actually funds the DSA.  Remember how the DSA claimed that they never took money from corporations or governments?  Well, they lied.  Since 1980 the DSA has organized several major public conferences that were financed not by membership dues but by some infamous US Government-backed foundations like the “German Marshall Fund” whose current board of directors includes the former head of the US Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former CIA head Michael Morell.  We know these guys weren’t sitting on the board of the German Marshall Fund back in 1980 – god knows what US government criminals were – but it is a true sign of the depravity of the leadership of the DSA today that they proudly and fondly brag about their connection with this sinister organization even to this day.

DSA still brags about how its 1980 conference – which featured such repulsive Cold Warriors as former French “Socialist” President Francois Mitterrand and German Social-Democratic Party Chancellor Willy Brandt – and was financed by the “German Marshall Fund” which is an organization that is so close to the CIA it is indistinguishable from it to this very day.

“Democratic Socialists of America Fund (DSA Fund) endeavors to demonstrate how an awareness of social democratic and democratic socialist values and policies would strengthen the quality of policy debates in the U.S. The Fund also works to introduce young activists to the history and traditions of democratic socialism […]  In December 1980, IDS organized a three-day conference, ‘Eurosocialism and America’ that brought over 2000 U.S.-based activists to D.C. to meet with the leaders of social democratic and democratic socialist political movements from Europe and the developing world to explore how democratic socialist policy alternatives could benefit the U.S. Speakers included Willy Brandt, Francois Mitterrand, Olaf Palme [sic], and Michael Manley. Temple University Press published a volume of conference papers. The German Marshall Fund supported the organizing of the conference with a grant of $95,000.”

What a rogues’ gallery!  What a fine example of “democratic socialist values” are embodied in such hideous creatures from the black lagoon of the Second International as Francois Mitterrand,  and Willy Brandt!  And if that is not enough, the DSA accepted a grant from the “German Marshall Fund” – one of the most right-wing organizations in Washington D.C. which is today populated with such stellar proponents of “democratic socialist values” as

German Marshall Fund Advisory Council Member: former US Dept. of Homeland Security honcho Michael Chertoff.  SOURCE:

former Dept. of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff and

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol, ex-CIA chief Michael Morell: these are the kinds of people the DSA “socialists” call their friends. SOURCE: German Marshall Fund/Alliance For Securing Democracy website.

former CIA head Michael Morell!   If the DSA had any decency they would have buried the memory of this monstrous gathering of Cold War criminals out in their political back 40.  But no; there it is, proudly placed on their website in 2017 as the pinnacle of their past achievements as an organization!

Now we know that back in 1980 these people were not heading up the GMA/AFSD Advisory Council.  But the organization hasn’t changed its stripes, just its personnel.  At the time that the DSA accepted the grant from the German Marshall Fund it was headed by one Robert Gerald Livingston: a lifelong servant of the US capitalist class and its imperialist government who had worked on Nixon’s National Security Council under then- Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1972/73 – at the time when Kissinger and the CIA were working hand-in-glove with Chilean General Augusto Pinochet and his fascist allies to overthrow the “socialist” government of Salvador Allende.  During that coup – and the subsequent political terrorism against leftist and union workers that followed it – tens of thousands of people were murdered.   But what did that mean to Cold Warrior/State Department Socialist Michael Harrington?  When it comes to defending the capitalist system from actual revolutionary socialists the DSA is more than willing to throw down with some of the most vicious enemies of the working class.

We don’t have time to research the rest of the organizations that have funded the DSA’s proudest achievements of the past 40 years; now that you see how we ran down all this information on the funding of fake NGOs like the DSA maybe you can take a whack at uncovering some more of their strange bedfellows.  All we can say to those of you who are considering the DSA as a potential viable alternative to predatory capitalism is: you are wasting your time.  If you really want to fight for the interests of the working class get in touch with us.

—  IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago’s Democratic Party-Controlled Union “Leadership”: No-shows at Huge #FightFor15 Union Rally in Chicago

Huge Midwest Rally for the #FightFor15 Kicks Off – 23 May 2017. Of course no one gave a moment’s thought to picketing the huge building in the background that houses the racist, capitalist Democratic Party criminals who run Chicago like a slave plantation.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

(23 May 2017) –  There was a large and very spirited rally of thousands of union workers from across the Midwest held in Chicago today in support of the #FightFor15 movement.  Unions from Kansas City, Cleveland, and Detroit all showed up in large numbers; but there was one group conspicuously missing: the unions from Chicago itself!  They were M.I.A.  And not one Chicago politician or Chicago AFL-CIO union piecard dared to mount the speakers’ platform at the end of the rally, either.  Frankly, we don’t think anyone missed them; but their absence was an insult to the thousands of mostly black (and Hispanic) workers from throughout the Midwest who spent hours on buses traveling to Chicago to attend the rally, who probably expected to be welcomed by their union sisters and brothers here in Chicago.  Sadly, almost certainly due to Chicago Democratic Party machinations, it was not going to happen.  The so-called “friends of labor” Democrats are scared to death of any manifestation of class solidarity among workers from across the region; and they’ll do anything to prevent “their” Chicago unions from meeting union militants from other Democratic Party-controlled cities in the Midwest.  To the Democrats, union solidarity spells “big trouble down the line.”

Kansas City, Presente! (Photo by IWPCHI)

Detroit union workers brought a large contingent of the pride of black Detroit and their fine banner. (Photo by IWPCHI)

This is a small part of the large group of trade unionists from Cleveland. (Photo by IWPCHI)

The rally was directed by the Democrats leading the AFL-CIO unions that participated (particularly the Service Employees Industrial Union (SEIU); the main targets of their anger were (of course) Donald Trump and the McDonald’s Corporation, which has been fighting against #FightFor15 ever since the campaign was launched.  But for whatever reason the Democratic Party-controlled Chicago unions were complete no-shows at the march and on the podium at the end of the rally.  We attended the march and rally and did not see a single Chicago union banner!  What a disgrace!

Hispanic workers from Chicago and throughout the Midwest were well represented – as usual! (Photo by IWPCHI)

The rally assembles at Daley Plaza, 23 May 2017. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Our very modest abilities to intervene politically in the rally were limited by our organization’s small size;  our slogans were: “Dump the Democrats and Build A Workers Party” and “$15 an HR?  NOT ENOUGH!  We Need a $25 an HR Min. Wage in Chicago!”

Why “dump the Democrats”?  Because the Democrats are one of the two political parties owned and operated by the US big business interests – the capitalist class – who create their wealth by robbing workers of the product of workers’ labor.  In the capitalist system, all profits are squeezed from the labor of the workers; the capitalists are always trying to devise new ways to increase their profits by cutting wages and benefits  and by eliminating as many workers as possible and making the remaining workers do their own  jobs as well as the jobs of those who were fired.

“Get up! Get Down! Chicago Is a Union Town!” Yes it is but thanks to the Democrat-controlled union “leadership” you’ll rarely see Chicago union workers hitting the streets – especially when union sisters and brothers from throughout the Midwest are in town. (Photo by IWPCHI)

March assembly point: ready to hit the streets of Chicago. (Photo by IWPCHI)

The Democratic Party politicians are essentially hired directly by the capitalists through campaign contributions to those politicians.  All Democratic Party politicians get the majority of their campaign funding from the capitalist bosses.  This means that the loyalty of the Democratic party politicians – just like the Republican politicians – it to the capitalist class, not the working class.  The Democrats are the bought-and-paid-for representatives of the capitalist class just as the Republican Party politicians are.

As workers, members of the working class, we can not expect to have our  interests represented by politicians who are in the pay of the capitalists who exploit us!  That is why we place so much importance on the slogan “build a workers party”.  In order for the workers to have honest political representation at city hall, the state house, and in Congress, we have to create workers parties of, by and for the working class that are completely independent of the capitalist class in every way.  If we want to have control of the direction taken by local, state and national government, we must build workers parties based on the trade union membership and fully funded by the workers through donations and party dues payments (just like union dues).  The US working class is 175 million strong; if each worker gave just one dollar a month to an independent workers party, we’d have enough money to run candidates for every local, state and national representative body and soon WE would be deciding what legislation gets passed and what legislation gets dumped in the trash where it belongs!  Until the working class builds its own fully independent workers parties, working people will continue to have to beg the bought-and-paid-for politicians owned by our class enemies – the capitalists – to toss us a few crumbs every once in a while!

Communities United contingent gets ready to march. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Ready to roll! “Whose streets? OUR STREETS!” (Photo by IWPCHI)

“There is power in a union”. Yes but not when the union is on a leash held by the capitalist class through the agency of the Democratic Party. Dump the Democrats and Build a Workers Party! (Photo by IWPCHI)

That is why we have created the Independent Workers Party; we want to be YOUR party.  It is 100% independent of the capitalist class and is fully funded by workers.  As it grows, it will train its members in working-class history and prepare rank-and-file workers to become the honest political leaders the working class desperately needs in order to fight for workers’ rights until we become the majority party in the US and then we can give the entire capitalist system the funeral it has deserved for more than a century and create a revolutionary socialist workers government!  A workers government would pass a modern workers Constitution and Bill of Rights that would “outlaw” racism, sexism, homelessness, poverty and war.  Food, clothing, housing, education and medical care would become permanent “inalienable rights”.  No one could ever be evicted from their home for inability to pay the rent; no one could be denied medical treatment or food because they couldn’t afford it.  College education would be free.  Workers who lost their jobs would get 100% of their pay as unemployment benefits until they got back to work.  Daycare services would be free and available 24/7/365.  This is what 21st century socialism looks like!

Heading north on Michigan Avenue towards the Chicago River – and Trump Tower. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Trump Tower. Chicago home of the new Killer Clown in the White House. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Why do we say “$15 an HR? NOT ENOUGH”?  Because $15/hr is not enough money to live on in any major US city!  Economists say that in order for anyone to be making enough money to live comfortably, their rent should not be more than roughly 1/3 of their monthly take-home pay.  In Chicago, a decent 3-bedroom apartment (for a family with 2 kids) in one of the better neighborhoods costs $1500/mo or more (not including utilities!).  This means that a worker needs to make approximately $4500/mo or $1125/wk., which amounts to approximately $28.25 an hour!  So how can anyone pretend that a $15 minimum wage is going to be anywhere near enough to provide a decent standard of living for a person supporting a spouse and 2 kids?

A few years ago, a group of researchers calculated the minimum wages necessary for workers to live decently in every state in the US.  Here are their results:

Wages necessary to afford just a 2-bedroom apartment in the USA; these figures are several years old. The figures are statewide averages and do not show the much higher “housing wages” necessary to live decently in big cities like Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles.

With the rate of inflation running at around 2% a year, real wages are steadily declining unless workers receive at least the same percentage in a pay raise.  We say that not only is $15/hr not enough for Chicago; but unless the minimum wage is backed up by a full cost-of-living increase indexed to inflation annually, any increase in the minimum wage will quickly be eroded as inflation eats away at the new wage.

The goal of the Democrats and Republicans, working together to represent the best interests of the capitalists who paid them to run for office, is to take their sweeeet time before they raise the minimum wage.  By the time they finally pass the $15 minwage for the country (if they ever do that) it have depreciated so much that it will not be enough to sustain a small family at all.  When the greedheads like McDonald’s Corporation claim that workers are being “too greedy” asking for $15/hr, they are consciously lying.  They know that in fact $15/hr is easily doable – which is why the Democratic Party-affiliated #FightFor15 organization is supporting the inadequate demand of a mere $15/hr.  But they intend to draw out the implementation of this badly needed minimum wage increase for as long as they can, so their wealthy benefactors can rake in their megaprofits for as long as possible before the minwage increase hits them in their pockets!

Heading up N. LaSalle Dr. towards the Rock and Roll McDonald’s for the rally. Taken from the back end of the march, showing the huge numbers of workers who participated.  The cross-street closest to us in this photo is Kinzie; obviously the march stretches down four to six city blocks.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Arriving at the “Rock and Roll McDonald’s” in Chicago. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Workers were only allowed to stand on two sides of the McDonald’s building, and were not allowed to block the entrances or exits.  The McDonald’s was closed during the rally. Oh, yeah: did we mention that it rained like hell for most of the march?  No? Well it rained like hell for most of the march – but like good union workers everywhere, these Midwestern trade unionists were prepared for any eventuality.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Chicago Police blocked the exits… (Photo by IWPCHI)

…and entrances to the McDonald’s building – this car appeared to be an employee leaving the site. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Speakers addressed the rally from the back of a flatbed truck. (Photo by IWPCHI)

It appeared that this speaker read a statement from “Patriotic Millionaires” in “support” of the #FightFor15 campaign! Workers, who make up around 75% of the US population, do not need the “help” of millionaires – “patriotic” or otherwise – who represent less than 7% of the population.  (All we must ask of the millionaires is that they please don’t try to stand in the road in front of the workers movement lol)  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry was the only top trade union official who addressed the crowd. All of the Chicago union “leaders” seemed to have boycotted the event. A disgrace for them and “their” unions! (Photo by IWPCHI)

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry gave a rousing speech in which she denounced McDonalds’ corporate greed and pledged that her union, at least, would stand up to defend US workers and also staunchly defend immigrant and refugee rights.  Immigrant and refugee rights are indeed under severe attack from the Trump administration – just as they were under the Obama administration.  This too proves that the differences between the Democrats and Republicans are far outweighed by the similarities.  In the final analysis, the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same capitalist coin.  Workers must never allow our enemies in the capitalist class (and their government stooges) to divide the working class aginst itself.  We say: “Full citizenship rights for all immigrants and refugees – NOW!”  Immigrants and refugees are the allies of the US working class, not our enemies.  Our enemies are the in the US capitalist class which exploits all workers and attempts to create divisions amongst workers in every way they can: along religious, ethnic, sexual and every other line.  Unions are our first line of defense against this crap.  “An injury to one is an injury to all!  Workers of the World, Unite!”

— Independent Workers Party – Chicago

 

100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution: Trotsky on the Doomed Tsar and Tsarina

We present here the background to the great Russian Revolution of 1917 on its hundredth anniversary – as told by one of its chief organizers: Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky’s “History of the Russian Revolution” is not only a great read: it is also an almost unique first-person account of a great revolution as told by one of its chief organizers.  It is almost unique among the histories of any revolution.  Most revolutionary leaders never lived to write their own history of the revolutions they led.  So from that standpoint alone, Trotsky’s “History” is of inestimable value – especially to workers who want to know the truth about the Bolshevik Revolution.

As part of our series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the very first successful communist-led workers revolution we present to our readers this excerpt from “The History of the Russian Revolution” by Leon Trotsky.  In it we will get a glimpse of the wonderful regime that was brutally destroyed by the extremists of the Bolshevik Party, led by Lenin and Trotsky.  This chapter that describes the repulsive chaRracters of the Tsar and Tsarina are among our favorite written works in any genre of literature.  This version of the book comes from the Marxists.org website at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/ch04.htm   In the US we are taught to have sympathy for the executed Tsar and his family.  The hideousness of the regime is fully explored in this essay; workers who study the history of the disgusting Romanov dynasty will come to understand after reading this essay that this Tsarist regime deserves absolutely no sympathy at all.  Enjoy!

—IWPCHI

Leon Trotsky

The History of the Russian Revolution

Volume One: The Overthrow of Tzarism


Chapter 4
The Tzar and the Tzarina

 

This book will concern itself least of all with those unrelated psychological researches which are now so often substituted for social and historical analysis. Foremost in our field of vision will stand the great, moving forces of history, which are super-personal in character. Monarchy is one of them. But all these forces operate through people. And monarchy is by its very principle bound up with the personal. This in itself justifies an interest in the personality of that monarch whom the process of social development brought face to face with a revolution. Moreover, we hope to show in what follows, partially at least, just where in a personality the strictly personal ends – often much sooner than we think – and how frequently the “distinguishing traits” of a person are merely individual scratches made by a higher law of development.

Nicholas II inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire, but also a revolution. And they did not bequeath him one quality which would have made him capable of governing an empire or even a province or a county. To that historic flood which was rolling its billows each one closer to the gates of his palace, the last Romanov opposed only a dumb indifference. It seemed as though between his consciousness and his epoch there stood some transparent but absolutely impenetrable medium.

People surrounding the tzar often recalled after the revolution that in the most tragic moments of his reign – at the time of the surrender of Port Arthur and the sinking of the fleet at Tsushima, and ten years later at the time of the retreat of the Russian troops from Galicia, and then two years later during the days preceding his abdication when all those around him were depressed, alarmed, shaken – Nicholas alone preserved his tranquillity. He would inquire as usual how many versts he had covered in his journeys about Russia, would recall episodes of hunting expeditions in the past, anecdotes of official meetings, would interest himself generally in the little rubbish of the day’s doings, while thunders roared over him and lightnings flashed. “What is this?” asked one of his attendant generals, “a gigantic, almost unbelievable self-restraint, the product of breeding, of a belief in the divine predetermination of events? Or is it inadequate consciousness?” The answer is more than half included in the question. The so-called “breeding” of the tzar, his ability to control himself in the most extraordinary circumstances, cannot be explained by a mere external training; its essence was an inner indifference, a poverty of spiritual forces, a weakness of the impulses of the will. That mask of indifference which was called breeding in certain circles, was a natural part of Nicholas at birth.

The tzar’s diary is the best of all testimony. From day to day and from year to year drags along upon its pages the depressing record of spiritual emptiness. “Walked long and killed two crows. Drank tea by daylight.” Promenades on foot, rides in a boat. And then again crows, and again tea. All on the borderline of physiology. Recollections of church ceremonies are jotted down in the same tome as a drinking party.

In the days preceding the opening of the State Duma, when the whole country was shaking with convulsions, Nicholas wrote: “April 14. Took a walk in a thin shirt and took up paddling again. Had tea in a balcony. Stana dined and took a ride with us. Read.” Not a word as to the subject of his reading. Some sentimental English romance? Or a report from the Police Department? “April 15: Accepted Witte’s resignation. Marie and Dmitri to dinner. Drove them home to the palace.”

On the day of the decision to dissolve the Duma, when the court as well as the liberal circles were going through a paroxysm of fright, the tzar wrote in his diary: “July 7. Friday. Very busy morning. Half hour late to breakfast with the officers … A storm came up and it was very muggy. We walked together. Received Goremykin. Signed a decree dissolving the Duma! Dined with Olga and Petia. Read all evening.” An exclamation point after the coming dissolution of the Duma is the highest expression of his emotions. The deputies of the dispersed Duma summoned the people to refuse to pay taxes. A series of military uprisings followed: in Sveaborg, Kronstadt, on ships, in army units. The revolutionary terror against high officials was renewed on an unheard-of scale. The tzar writes: “July 9. Sunday. It has happened! The Duma was closed today. At breakfast after Mass long faces were noticeable among many … The weather was fine. On our walk we met Uncle Misha who came over yesterday from Gatchina. Was quietly busy until dinner and all evening. Went padding in a canoe.” It was in a canoe he went paddling – that is told. But with what he was busy all evening is not indicated. So it was always.

And further in those same fatal days: “July 14. Got dressed and rode a bicycle to the bathing beach and bathed enjoyably in the sea.” “July 15. Bathed twice. It was very hot. Only us two at dinner. A storm passed over.” “July 19. Bathed in the morning. Received at the farm. Uncle Vladimir and Chagin lunched with us.” An insurrection and explosions of dynamite are barely touched upon with a single phrase, “Pretty doings!” – astonishing in its imperturbable indifference, which never rose to conscious cynicism.

“At 9:30 in the morning we rode out to the Caspian regiment … walked for a long time. The weather was wonderful. Bathed in the sea. After tea received Lvov and Guchkov.” Not a word of the fact that this unexpected reception of the two liberals was brought about by the attempt of Stolypin to include opposition leaders in his ministry. Prince Lvov, the future head of the Provisional Government, said of that reception at the time: “I expected to see the sovereign stricken with grief, but instead of that there came out to meet me a jolly sprightly fellow in a raspberry-coloured shirt.” The tzar’s outlook was not broader than that of a minor police official – with this difference, that the latter would have a better knowledge of reality and be less burdened with superstitions. The sole paper which Nicholas read for years, and from which he derived his ideas, was a weekly published on state revenue by Prince Meshchersky, a vile, bribed journalist of the reactionary bureaucratic clique, despised even in his own circle. The tzar kept his outlook unchanged through two wars and two revolutions. Between his consciousness and events stood always that impenetrable medium – indifference. Nicholas was called, not without foundation, a fatalist. It is only necessary to add that his fatalism was the exact opposite of an active belief in his “star.” Nicholas indeed considered himself unlucky. His fatalism was only a form of passive self-defence against historic evolution, and went hand in hand with an arbitrariness, trivial in psychological motivation, but monstrous in its consequences.

“I wish it and therefore it must be —,” writes Count Witte. “That motto appeared in all the activities of this weak ruler, who only through weakness did all the things which characterised his reign – a wholesale shedding of more or less innocent blood, for the most part without aim.”

Nicholas is sometimes compared with his half-crazy great-great-grandfather Paul, who was strangled by a camarilla acting in agreement with his own son, Alexander “the Blessed.” These two Romanovs were actually alike in their distrust of everybody due to a distrust of themselves, their touchiness as of omnipotent nobodies, their feeling of abnegation, their consciousness, as you might say, of being crowned pariahs. But Paul was incomparably more colourful; there was an element of fancy in his rantings, however irresponsible. In his descendant everything was dim; there was not one sharp trait.

Nicholas was not only unstable, but treacherous. Flatterers called him a charmer, bewitcher, because of his gentle way with the courtiers. But the tzar reserved his special caresses for just those officials whom he had decided to dismiss. Charmed beyond measure at a reception, the minister would go home and find a letter requesting his resignation. That was a kind of revenge on the tzar’s part for his own nonentity.

Nicholas recoiled in hostility before everything gifted and significant. He felt at ease only among completely mediocre and brainless people, saintly fakers, holy men, to whom he did not have to look up. He had his amour propre, indeed it was rather keen. But it was not active, not possessed of a grain of initiative, enviously defensive. He selected his ministers on a principle of continual deterioration. Men of brain and character he summoned only in extreme situations when there was no other way out, just as we call in a surgeon to save our lives. It was so with Witte, and afterwards with Stolypin. The tzar treated both with ill-concealed hostility. As soon as the crisis had passed, he hastened to part with these counsellors who were too tall for him. This selection operated so systematically that the president of the last Duma, Rodzianko, on the 7th of January 1917, with the revolution already knocking at the doors, ventured to say to the tzar: “Your Majesty, there is not one reliable or honest man left around you; all the best men have been removed or have retired. There remain only those of ill repute.”

All the efforts of the liberal bourgeoisie to find a common language with the court came to nothing. The tireless and noisy Rodzianko tried to shake up the tzar with his reports, but in vain. The latter gave no answer either to argument or to impudence, but quietly made ready to dissolve the Duma. Grand Duke Dmitri, a former favourite of the tzar, and future accomplice in the murder of Rasputin, complained to his colleague, Prince Yussupov, that the tzar at headquarters was becoming every day more indifferent to everything around him. In Dmitri’s opinion the tzar was being fed some kind of dope which had a benumbing action upon his spiritual faculties. “Rumours went round,” writes the liberal historian Miliukov, “that this condition of mental and moral apathy was sustained in the tzar by an increased use of alcohol.” This was all fancy or exaggeration. The tzar had no need of narcotics: the fatal “dope” was in his blood. Its symptoms merely seemed especially striking on the background of those great events of war and domestic crisis which led up to the revolution. Rasputin, who was a psychologist, said briefly of the tzar that he “lacked insides.”

This dim, equable and “well-bred” man was cruel – not with the active cruelty of Ivan the Terrible or of Peter, in the pursuit of historic aims – What had Nicholas the Second in common with them? – but with the cowardly cruelty of the late born, frightened at his own doom. At the very dawn of his reign Nicholas praised the Phanagoritsy regiment as “fine fellows” for shooting down workers. He always “read with satisfaction” how they flogged with whips the bob-haired girl-students, or cracked the heads of defenceless people during Jewish pogroms. This crowned black sheep gravitated with all his soul to the very dregs of society, the Black Hundred hooligans. He not only paid them generously from the state treasury, but loved to chat with them about their exploits, and would pardon them when they accidentally got mixed up in the murder of an opposition deputy. Witte, who stood at the head of the government during the putting down of the first revolution, has written in his memoirs: “When news of the useless cruel antics of the chiefs of those detachments reached the sovereign, they met with his approval, or in any case his defence.” In answer to the demand of the governor-general of the Baltic States that he stop a certain lieutenant-captain, Richter, who was “executing on his own authority and without trial non-resistant persons,” the tzar wrote on the report: “Ah, what a fine fellow!” Such encouragements are innumerable. This “charmer,” without will, without aim, without imagination, was more awful than all the tyrants of ancient and modern history.

The tzar was mightily under the influence of the tzarina, an influence which increased with the years and the difficulties. Together they constituted a kind of unit – and that combination shows already to what an extent the personal, under pressure of circumstances, is supplemented by the group. But first we must speak of the tzarina herself.

Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador at Petrograd during the war, a refined psychologist for French academicians and janitresses, offers a meticulously licked portrait of the last tzarina: “Moral restlessness, a chronic sadness, infinite longing, intermittent ups and downs of strength, anguishing thoughts of the invisible other world, superstitions – are not all these traits, so clearly apparent in the personality of the empress, the characteristic traits of the Russian people?” Strange as it may seem, there is in this saccharine lie just a grain of truth. The Russian satirist Saltykov, with some justification, called the ministers and governors from among the Baltic barons “Germans with a Russian soul.” It is indubitable that aliens, in no way connected with the people, developed the most pure culture of the “genuine Russian” administrator.

But why did the people repay with such open hatred a tzarina who, in the words of Paléologue, had so completely assimilated their soul? The answer is simple. In order to justify her new situation, this German woman adopted with a kind of cold fury all the traditions and nuances of Russian mediaevalism, the most meagre and crude of all mediaevalisms, in that very period when the people were making mighty efforts to free themselves from it. This Hessian princess was literally possessed by the demon of autocracy. Having risen from her rural corner to the heights of Byzantine despotism, she would not for anything take a step down. In the orthodox religion she found a mysticism and a magic adapted to her new lot. She believed the more inflexibly in her vocation, the more naked became the foulness of the old régime. With a strong character and a gift for dry and hard exaltations, the tzarina supplemented the weak-willed tzar, ruling over him.

On March 17, 1916, a year before the revolution, when the tortured country was already writhing in the grip of defeat and ruin, the tzarina wrote to her husband at military headquarters: “You must not give indulgences, a responsible ministry, etc. … or anything that they want. This must be your war and your peace, and the honour yours and our fatherland’s, and not by any means the Duma’s. They have not the right to say a single word in these matters.” This was at any rate a thoroughgoing programme. And it was in just this way that she always had the whip hand over the continually vacillating tzar.

After Nicholas’ departure to the army in the capacity of fictitious commander-in-chief, the tzarina began openly to take charge of internal affairs. The ministers came to her with reports as to a regent. She entered into a conspiracy with a small camarilla against the Duma, against the ministers, against the staff-generals, against the whole world – to some extent indeed against the tzar. On December 6, 1916, the tzarina wrote to the tzar: “… Once you have said that you want to keep Protopopov, how does he (Premier Trepov) go against you? Bring down your fist on the table. Don’t yield. Be the boss. Obey your firm little wife and our Friend. Believe in us.” Again three days late: “You know you are right. Carry your head high. Command Trepov to work with him … Strike your fist on the table.” Those phrases sound as though they were made up, but they are taken from authentic letters. Besides, you cannot make up things like that.

On December 13 the tzarina suggest to the tzar: “Anything but this responsible ministry about which everybody has gone crazy. Everything is getting quiet and better, but people want to feel your hand. How long they have been saying to me, for whole years, the same thing: ’Russia loves to feel the whip.’ That is their nature!” This orthodox Hessian, with a Windsor upbringing and a Byzantine crown on her head, not only “incarnates” the Russian soul, but also organically despises it. Their nature demands the whip – writes the Russian tzarina to the Russian tzar about the Russian people, just two months and a half before the monarchy tips over into the abyss.

In contrast to her force of character, the intellectual force of the tzarina is not higher, but rather lower than her husband’s. Even more than he, she craves the society of simpletons. The close and long-lasting friendship of the tzar and tzarina with their lady-in-waiting Vyrubova gives a measure of the spiritual stature of this autocratic pair. Vyrubova has described herself as a fool, and this is not modesty. Witte, to whom one cannot deny an accurate eye, characterised her as “a most commonplace, stupid, Petersburg young lady, homely as a bubble in the biscuit dough.” In the society of this person, with whom elderly officials, ambassadors and financiers obsequiously flirted, and who had just enough brains not to forget about her own pockets, the tzar and tzarina would pass many hours, consulting her about affairs, corresponding with her and about her. She was more influential than the State Duma, and even that the ministry.

But Vyrubova herself was only an instrument of “The Friend,” whose authority superseded all three. “… This is my private opinion,” writes the tzarina to the tzar, “I will find out what our Friend thinks.” The opinion of the “Friend” is not private, it decides. “… I am firm,” insists the tzarina a few weeks later, “but listen to me, i.e. this means our Friend, and trust in everything … I suffer for you as for a gentle soft-hearted child – who needs guidance, but listens to bad counsellors, while a man sent by God is telling him what he should do.”

The Friend sent by God was Gregory Rasputin.

“… The prayers and the help of our Friend – then all will be well.”

“If we did not have Him, all would have been over long ago. I am absolutely convinced of that.”

Throughout the whole reign of Nicholas and Alexandra soothsayers and hysterics were imported for the court not only from all over Russia, but from other countries. Special official purveyors arose, who would gather around the momentary oracle, forming a powerful Upper Chamber attached to the monarch. There was no lack of bigoted old women with the title of countess, nor of functionaries weary of doing nothing, nor of financiers who had entire ministries in their hire. With a jealous eye on the unchartered competition of mesmerists and sorcerers, the high priesthood of the Orthodox Church would hasten to pry their way into the holy of holies of the intrigue. Witte called this ruling circle, against which he himself twice stubbed his toe, “the leprous court camarilla.”

The more isolated the dynasty became, and the more unsheltered the autocrat felt, the more he needed some help from the other world. Certain savages, in order to bring good weather, wave in the air a shingle on a string. The tzar and tzarina used shingles for the greatest variety of purposes. In the tzar’s train there was a whole chapel full of large and small images, and all sorts of fetiches, which were brought to bear, first against the Japanese, then against the German artillery.

The level of the court circle really had not changed much from generation to generation. Under Alexander II, called the “Liberator,” the grand dukes had sincerely believed in house spirits and witches. Under Alexander III it was no better, only quieter. The “leprous camarilla” had existed always, changed only its personnel and its method. Nicholas II did not create, but inherited from his ancestors, this court atmosphere of savage mediaevalism. But the country during these same decades had been changing, its problems growing more complex, its culture rising to a higher level. The court circle was thus left far behind.

Although the monarchy did under compulsion make concessions to the new forces, nevertheless inwardly it completely failed to become modernised. On the contrary it withdrew into itself. Its spirit of mediaevalism thickened under the pressure of hostility and fear, until it acquired the character of a disgusting nightmare overhanging the country.

Towards November 1905 – that is, at the most critical moment of the first revolution – the tzar writes in his diary: “We got acquainted with a man of God, Gregory, from the Tobolsk province.” That was Rasputin – a Siberian peasant with a bald scar on his head, the result of a beating for horse-stealing. Put forward at an appropriate moment, this “Man of God” soon found official helpers – or rather they found him – and thus was formed a new ruling class which got a firm hold of the tzarina, and through her of the tzar.

From the winter of 1913-14 it was openly said in Petersburg society that all high appointments, posts and contracts depended upon the Rasputin clique. The “Elder” himself gradually turned into a state institution. He was carefully guarded, and no less carefully sought after by the competing ministers. Spies of the Police Department kept a diary of his life by hours, and did not fail to report how on a visit to his home village of Pokrovsky he got into a drunken and bloody fight with his own father on the street. On the same day that this happened – September 9, 1915 – Rasputin sent two friendly telegrams, one to Tzarskoe Selo, to the tzarina, the other to headquarters to the tzar. In epic language the police spies registered from day to day the revels of the Friend. “He returned today 5 o’clock in the morning completely drunk.” “On the night of the 25-26th the actress V. spent the night with Rasputin.” “He arrived with Princess D. (the wife of a gentleman of the bedchamber of the Tzar’s court) at the Hotel Astoria.”…And right beside this: “Came home from Tzarskoe Selo about 11 o’clock in the evening.” “Rasputin came home with Princess Sh- very drunk and together they went out immediately.” In the morning or evening of the following day a trip to Tzarskoe Selo. To a sympathetic question from the spy as to why the Elder was thoughtful, the answer came: “Can’t decide whether to convoke the Duma or not.” And then again: “He came home at 5 in the morning pretty drunk.” Thus for months and years the melody was played on three keys: “Pretty drunk,” “Very drunk,” and “Completely drunk.” These communications of state importance were brought together and countersigned by the general of gendarmes, Gorbachev.

The bloom of Raputin’s influence lasted six years, the last years of the monarchy. “His life in Petrograd,” says Prince Yussupov, who participated to some extent in that life, and afterward killed Rasputin, “became a continual revel, the durnken debauch of a galley slave who had come into an unexpected fortune.” “I had at my disposition,” wrote the president of the Duma, Rodzianko, “a whole mass of letters from mothers whose daughters had been dishonoured by this insolent rake.” Nevertheless the Petrograd metropolitan, Pitirim, owed his position to Rasputin, as also the almost illiterate Archbishop Varnava. The Procuror of the Holy Synod, Sabler, was long sustained by Rasputin; and Premier Kokovtsev was removed at his wish, having refused to receive the “Elder.” Rasputin appointed Stürmer President of the Council of Ministers, Protopopov Minister of the Interior, the new Procuror of the Synod, Raev, and many others. The ambassador of the French republic, Paléologue, sought an interview with Rasputin, embraced him and cried, “Voilà, un véritable illuminé!” hoping in this way to win the heart of the tzarina to the cause of France. The Jew Simanovich, financial agent of the “Elder,” himself under the eye of the Secret Police as a nightclub gambler and usurer – introduced into the Ministry of Justice through Rasputin the completely dishonest creature Dobrovolsky.

“Keep by you the little list,” writes the tzarina to the tzar, in regard to new appointments. “Our friend has asked that you talk all this over with Protopopov.” Two days later: “Our friend says that Stürmer may remain a few days longer as President of the Council of Ministers.” And again: “Protopopov venerates our friend and will be blessed.”

On one of those days when the police spies were counting up the number of bottles and women, the tzarina grieved in a letter to the tzar: “They accuse Rasputin of kissing women, etc. Read the apostles; they kissed everybody as a form of greeting.” This reference to the apostles would hardly convince the police spies. In another letter the tzarina goes still farther. “During vespers I thought so much about our friend,” she writes, “how the Scribes and Pharisees are persecuting Christ pretending that they are so perfect … yes, in truth no man is a prophet in his own country.”

The comparison of Rasputin and Christ was customary in that circle, and by no means accidental. The alarm of the royal couple before the menacing forces of history was too sharp to be satisfied with an impersonal God and the futile shadow of a Biblical Christ. They needed a second coming of “the Son of Man.” In Rasputin the rejected and agonising monarchy found a Christ in its own image.

“If there had been no Rasputin,” said Senator Tagantsev, a man of the old régime, “it would have been necessary to invent one.” There is a good deal more in these words than their author imagined. If by the word hooliganism we understand the extreme expression of those anti-social parasite elements at the bottom of society, we may define Rasputinism as a crowned hooliganism at its very top.

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DEFEND NORTH KOREA! DPRK Defends its Right to Nuclear Self-Defense vs. “Nuclear Blackmail” of US Govt.

Voice of Korea website homepage, 17 April 2017

Voice of Korea website homepage, 17 April 2017

[N.B.: The United States and its massive propaganda machine – encompassing much of the world’s bourgeois press – has long been selling the outrageous and obvious lie that tiny North Korea, with its handful of nuclear weapons mounted (so far) only on CONTINENTAL ballistic missiles poses a deadly existential threat to the US and the entire world.  Only the willfully blind would believe this fraudulent claim, especially coming as it does from the US government, which possesses THOUSANDS of nuclear warheads capable of hitting North Korea from land, air and sea-based launch platforms.  The United States murdered an estimated 3 million Koreans in the Korean War, fought by the US capitalist class to prevent the Korean workers from taking power into their own hands and establishing a revolutionary socialist workers government at the end of WWII.  It was only due to the existence of the nuclear arsenal of the USSR that the US was prevented from using nuclear weapons against North Korea and China just as they had against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It was the nuclear arsenal of the USSR and, later, China, that prevented the US from deploying nuclear weapons against the Vietnamese workers during the brutal, barbaric Vietnam War.  Today, despite the massive historical record proving that it has been the USA that poses the greatest threat North Korea – and  to the human race – due to its proven willingness to use nuclear weapons – the world is supposed to believe that the quite reasonable desire of the tiny Stalinist workers state of North Korea to possess a few nukes as self-defense against the massive nuclear-armed US imperialist war machine poses a deadly threat to – the US!  Of course, this is a monstrous lie, as the following declaration of the DPRK’s “Voice of Korea” website makes clear.  Since it is impossible to get the DPRK’s side of the story from any US bourgeois press outlet, we are making an attempt to “break the US propaganda blockade” against the North Korean Stalinized workers state by publishing a few of their statements here on our website.  We say: US HANDS OFF NORTH KOREA! and US GET THE HELL OUT OF ASIA, NOW!

The following unattributed statement was transcribed from an English-language audio recording presented on the “Voice of Korea” website at http://www.vok.rep.kp/CBC/index.php?CHANNEL=6&lang= on 17 April 2017 by IWPCHI. All bracketed phrases were added by us. — IWPCHI]

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“Shamelessness of the United States, Kingpin of Nuclear Proliferation”

Some time ago, the US representative to the United Nations said: “Negotiations on [the] ‘Convention on Banning Nuclear Weapons’ are unrealistic because of the nuclear threat of North Korea”. Taking the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea as the reason why the United States does not take part in the UN conference for negotiations on the Convention on banning nuclear weapons, he said: “Is there anyone who believes that North Korea would agree on banning nuclear weapons? It is impossible to say that the people can be protected in the way of disallowing such countries as the United States – trying to defend peace and security – to have nuclear weapons; and then allowing their opponents to have them.”

It is really a shameless and brigandish sophistry; it is a manifestation of the shameless attempt of the United States to cover up its heinous crimes – the country that is the only user of nukes in the world; a country that has invited worldwide nuclear arms race with nuclear threat and blackmail.

Looking back upon the history of nuclear arms development, the United States and other big powers played the leading role in making international conventions on nuclear weapons and signed them (or not, in their interests), for the purpose of keeping non-nuclear states from possessing nukes. The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea has risen up as a nuclear power in the East to cope with the vicious use of threat of nuclear war, which has lasted tens of years; so it is quite natural for the DPRK not to take part in the UN conference for negotiations on the convention on banning nuclear weapons, which presupposes nuclear renunciation.

The United States is the kingpin of nuclear proliferation, that did not hesitate to impose nuclear calamity upon humanity to realize its ambition for world domination, but trifled international treaties for nuclear disarmament and is conniving at, encouraging and shielding the nuclear arms development of its stooges.

Recently, in the United States (which talked about a ‘nuclear-free world’ more loudly than others) remarks are openly made that the nuclear force of the United States ‘lags behind’ other countries, and nuclear force will be strengthened to keep it in military power. Still advocating ‘peace by strength’, the United States is invariably promoting the modernization of nuclear weapons costing one trillion US dollars (which was accelerated by the former administration) and does not hesitate to maintain that the treaties on nuclear disarmament with other nuclear powers must be abolished.

It is illogical and the acme of shamelessness that such an outrageous nuclear devil slanders the nuclear force of the DPRK – a direct product of [the US’] nuclear blackmail. The United States must clearly know it is an invariable stand of the DPRK that peace and security of the Korean peninsula can be defended only by reliable nuclear deterrence, as long as there exists a nuclear state in hostile relations with the DPRK.

As the nuclear threat and blackmail of the United States and its followers continue, the DPRK will [afford?], expand and strengthen its nuclear force [equal?] to the self-reliant defense capability and pre-emptive striking capacity.

— [Voice of Korea]