Category Archives: Essays

The Great Coronavirus Scare of 2020: A Comedy in One Act

[Scene: a typical working-class home in the US in 2025, three years after the US workers socialist revolution establishes the United Socialist States of America – from Canada to Chile]

Grampaaaaa!

Hi sweet pea! How was school today? Learn anything interesting?

Uhhh… ummmm… no. Oh, yeah! Today in history class Mrs. Schofield taught us about the Great Coronavirus Scare of 2020! I’m glad I wasn’t born when that happened. The anniversary of it is today! Were you in the Great Coronavirus Scare, grampa?

Oh yes! Those were awful times! I was just about your age when the Coronavirus hit back in ‘20.

Mrs. Schofield said the whole city of Chicago was shut down for almost a month!

The whole COUNTRY was shut down for almost a month! It was terrible! People were out of work, everything shut down. Couldn’t even go out for a cup of coffee or to a restaurant for breakfast. Folks started hoarding toilet paper…

Ha ha ha! That was funny! Boy people sure were stupid back then weren’t they? No one would do that today!

Watch it there, girl! I was alive back then and so was your grandma, and Uncle John and Aunt Mary! WE weren’t ALL stupid as that!

You and Uncle John and Aunt Mary didn’t hoard toilet paper, did you, Grampa?

[Long pause.]

No! Of course we didn’t! But lots of other people did! And they weren’t all stupid! They hoarded water, too. And frozen waffles!

Frozen waffles! Hahahahahahahahaaaaa! That’s stupid!

[Long pause]

That’s not a nice thing to say! That was way back before the Revolution when 75% of the country still believed in angels! We weren’t stupid, we were just ignorant back then. Heck, that was even before we figured out that we could have more than two political parties at a time! We were still stuck voting for the Republicans, then the Democrats, then the Republicans again… heh heh! [Shakes his head sadly]

I’m glad I didn’t live way back then. It must have been terrible! So grampa, how did the Coronavirus Scare finally end?

Well most everyone was scared to death of the virus. All the newspapers back then could print all the lies they could fit on a webpage. There were rumors that 2 million people would die in the USA alone…

TWO MILLION PEOPLE? But grampa, only 25 thousand died in the whole WORLD! And they were mostly really old and really sick before they got the virus! Mrs. Schofield said everyone was sick all the time back then… before we even had Medicare for everyone!

Yes but we didn’t get Medicare for All until after the Revolution. You asked how the Coronavirus Scare ended. That was way before the Revolution.

Oh yeah, right. So how did it end?

Well, we were all so confused by the lies that were being told by the politicians and this gang of thick-headed health-care “experts” scaring us with the idea that if we didn’t shut down the whole world economy we’d lose 500,000 or even 2 million people! They had us running around like chickens with our heads cut off!

So then what happened?

Well the President had just gone on TV to tell us that we were all going to have to stay out of work for as much as four months, and that the unemployment rate was going to be higher than in the Great Depression, and the doctor who was the head of the Centers for Disease Control came on and said if we didn’t all stay in our homes for the next three months straight, two million of us were gonna die!

No way!

Yes, that’s what they told us! And the news kept on telling us every day how many people had died the past 24 hours and the numbers kept on getting higher and higher every day…

But that wasn’t true!

But we didn’t know that at the time, honey! We still trusted the old government! We believed what they told us and didn’t question anything back then. Well, most of us didn’t…

So how did it end then?

Well the news kept saying that hundreds of people were dying in every state and on and on… but then some folks on social media noticed…

You mean on Twitter, don’t you grampa?

Yes on Twitter and some of the others that aren’t around anymore. They noticed that the funeral home parking lots were empty all over the place! If there were all these people dying, why were the funeral homes not running 24 hours a day? So they started asking questions…

Mrs. Schofield said they started to pay attention to the… base fatality rate I think?

Case fatality rates. Yes. We’d just been listening to the “experts” all the time and we hadn’t even tried to question their scary stories. We were so scared that we just believed them and did what they told us to do! But once we started asking questions their whole story started to unravel. Turned out they had been full of beans the whole time! They scared the country so bad the economy was shut down for three weeks and it started a recession that lasted 3 years! And until the debts were repudiated ten years later – at the time of the Revolution – we were still paying them loans off to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars a year!

Then what happened grampa?

Well the word started getting around that the politicians in both parties had been telling us a bunch of nonsense the whole time, and at first a few people started breaking the quarantines and then more and more and then the whole world rose up and told all the politicians to go to Hell!

That was the beginning of the Revolution! I wish I could have been there that day! That must have been fun!

It was fun at first. But then folks got so carried away with themselves that they took their guns out and started shooting them in the air in celebration…

Oh no! What happened?

Well, they killed more people in just a few hours that night than the coronavirus and the flu combined killed that entire year. Killed even more people than died in the Revolution, as it turned out. It was a mess…

That was stupid! You didn’t shoot anyone that night did you grampa?

[Long pause]

No… no… I don’t think so. [Pause] Well, I told you we were ignorant back then! We didn’t know any better! But we finally woke up and a bunch of folks formed some revolutionary socialist workers parties and we ended up kicking all those worthless old capitalist parties to the curb. But that’s an even longer story and it’s time for dinner pretty soon…

That’s when comrades Britney Spears and Russell Brand joined forces and led the Revolution to victory, right, Grampa?

Who told you that?

Mrs. Schofield!

Well that’s the craziest thing I ever… it wasn’t like that at all! Your teacher must be a DemSocialist!

No, she’s with Socialist Alternative… I think. Or maybe Worker’s World. [Looks at the newspaper on the coffee table.]  Grampa… what does “Ip Chee” mean?

IWPCHI? That’s the party that really led the Revolution! Your grandma and I joined back in ‘21. Well, like I said, it’s a long story. I’ll tell you about all that after dinner! We’re having microwave waffles and bottled water and tater tots in celebration of The Day of the Great Awakening!

I love tater tots! Will we have lots of fried baloney too?

It’s The Day of the Great Awakening! Of course there’ll be lots of fried bologna!

And Corn Dogs? Hot Pockets, too? Frozen pizza and Ramen noodles?

Ha ha ha! All you can eat! Last one to the dining room is a rotten old Democrat!

[They run to the dining room, laughing. The End.]

New York Times Censorship: Revolutionary Socialist Ideas Are “Not Fit to Print”

The flagship propaganda outlet for US imperialism, the New York Times, claims to publish “All the News Fit to Print” – which doesn’t include ideas that would lead to the overthrow of their owners in the US capitalist class – the most despotic ruling class in world history.  This is not surprising, and it isn’t “news” to veteran socialists; but it is real and it has to be brought to the attention of the working class and a major campaign by the socialist parties of the United States must be fought to smash the capitalist class’ censorship of public discussion.

The NYT publishes all kinds of pro-regime news, and only very carefully edited exposes of the most flagrant violations of bourgeois etiquette – like the mass torture of prisoners by the US military at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and the global spying scandal revealed by Edward Snowden and the US Government claiming the “right” to assassinate US citizens – make it through their fine sieve of bourgeois propriety.  Even then, the New York Times goes out of its way to allow the United States Government to conduct pre-publication censorship of the Times’ own articles on these subjects.

The words “Communist” and “Communist Party” or even “socialist” rarely find their way into the bourgeois press unless they are being used as pejorative terms. Even in death the Times’ obituary columnists routinely “forget” to mention the fact that the deceased person(s) whose virtues they are forced to extol (due to the departed’s vast contributions to US and/or world culture) was a lifelong communist.  “Not fit to print” apparently.  Musn’t let the children know that there was ever anything good that came from the communist movement!

This amounts to nothing less than a long-running attempt to falsify the historical record.  Actually, almost everything “good” that has happened in the past 150 years (including the US civil war) came about due to the political intervention of the anarchist, socialist and communist movements: the anti-slavery movement, the 8-hour day, equal rights for women, the civil rights movement, the ban on child labor, the imposition of basic safety rules on the job and much, much more.  Nary a one of these reforms originated in the greed-addled brains of the capitalist class.  And it took years of bloody struggle by the socialist workers movement to achieve every reform we take for granted today.  The revolutionary socialist movement is now and has always been a force that looks forward and proposes new ideas that are necessary in order to continuously advance human civilization  – and to keep it from being incinerated by the capitalists in the next big inter-imperialist war.  To attempt to keep socialist ideas out of the public arena in the “Age of the Internet” is akin to the fruitless attempt by the Catholic Church to suppress heliocentrism: it is a thoroughly reactionary censorship that places itself firmly athwart the road of human progress.  This censorship must be overcome, and it will be overcome – by us, and by you, the workers of the world!

So, why would the New York Times go out of its way to deny socialists today access to their Augean “comments” section?  We say it is because their capitalist masters are so very frightened at the appearance of even the tiniest pinhole in their well-grouted pro-capitalist propaganda dikes that they are convinced that allowing the socialists regular access to the public fora they manage could bring their entire rotten, tottering capitalist system crashing to the ground in a matter of weeks.  The capitalist class, in spite of their ruthless shows of “force” enacted all over the world and their endless murderous wars for profits are actually – especially in the case of the US capitalist class – very “thin on the ground” as the saying goes.  The US capitalist class makes up only a tiny fraction of the 4.5% of the world’s population represented by the people of the United States, and they think that they have the “right” to run the whole planet as if it was their rightful possession.  The US capitalists are running scared and are always looking over their shoulders to see if one of the servants is sneaking up on them with a butchers’ cleaver or something.  They can’t sleep – and for good reason.

Like so many other socialist groups, we regularly try to add our revolutionary voices to the cacophony of “inside the box” thinking so tiresomely peddled by the New York Times’ housebroken journalists and editors – and most of their well-trained readers.  The comments section of most New York Times articles are so filled with banalities and Mobius-strip philosophizing that any one of them could be prescribed to any thinking person as a cure for insomnia.  On occasion, we manage to break through the Times’ wall of censorship of revolutionary socialist ideas, but most of the time we don’t.

So, we are going to demonstrate just how extensively the New York Times’ censorship of socialist ideas is by consistently trying to break their blockade on revolutionary ideas by posting to their comments sections of articles on subjects of national and international importance.  When our comments are deemed to be “not fit to print”, we will publish them here, so everyone can see if they think that our ideas deserve to be made part of the national and international discussion of the important topics of the day.  We encourage our readers to do likewise and take some time every day to put your 2 cents in to the discussions going on in every major local and national newspaper.  We simply must not allow the right wing blowhards and partisans of the twin parties of US imperialism: the Democrats and the Republicans – to monopolize the discussion of what must be done to prevent WWIII from happening and about what must be done to create a better future for the working people of the world and for future generations of workers all over the globe.  In Chicago this means that we must all try to post at least one short essay on the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times newspapers, as well as on our local newspapers (Pioneer Press, etc.).  Let’s open up the left side of the political spectrum to public discussion and by doing so smash through the capitalist class’ stranglehold on political thought in the United States.

Workers of the World, Unite!IWPCHI

Conversation With a “Pro-Capitalist” Worker

“You like communism, then?” she asked, more than half incredulously.
“Yeah.  It’s a much fairer system of government, if done right.”
“I disagree.  Our Constitution is the best in the world.  Name one that’s better.”
“Well, the Bolsheviks’ Constitution created after the Russian Revolution of 1917 was way better than ours.”
“Oh, come on.  How so?”
“Well, it gave women equal rights with men.  In the US Constitution women don’t even count as citizens.  They’re not even mentioned!  And the Bolsheviks made it clear that there would be no discrimination based on race or religion, unlike the US Constitution, which was based on slavery.”
“Well ours caught up with theirs soon enough.”
“Ours still isn’t up to where theirs was.  Most rights we take for granted were only added as amendments to the Constitution, like an afterthought.  Imagine!  50% of the population had their rights added as an afterthought! Nowhere in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights does it say that women are recognized as possessing equal rights with men.  And blacks are still technically counted as being less than fully human – that language has been only modified, not stricken from the record.”
“Oh well, the men that wrote our Constitution were great men.”
“The hell you say!  They were slaveowners!  And at the time the Constitution was signed, 70% of the working people were or had been indentured servants!  The Constitution was written by and for white, male property owners – and everyone else was added later as an afterthought.”
“Well under our government you have more freedom.”
“Freedom?  What freedom? You have as much freedom as you can afford.  Homeless people have no freedom; unemployed people have no freedom.  There are tens of millions of unemployed and homeless people in the United States.  If you have no money, you have no freedom; if you have no job, you have no money.   And we are not guaranteed jobs under capitalism, so how much freedom do we really have?  The freedom to kiss your boss’ and your landlords’ ass – or else you’ll be “free” to go live under a bridge!”
“But under socialism you have no incentive to work hard.  No one should be given a home or food or clothing, you should have to work for everything.  And under socialism, where all those things are guaranteed, why would anyone bother to work?”
“And what is the incentive to work under capitalism?  The threat of being thrown into the street penniless to live like a beggar!  Capitalism is a barbaric economic system that systematically robs working people and transfers the profits created by the workers into the hands of the capitalists!  Under socialism, everyone who is physically able to work is given work according to their abilities and qualifications to do it, and in return they will get guaranteed food, clothing, housing, education (including college) and health care.  It’s a much more civilized way of life than life under capitalism where everyone is forced to work or to starve – and you’re not even guaranteed a job.”
“Look, I’d love to talk some more, but I have to get back to work or I’ll get fired.”

IWPCHI

Comrades! We Must Redouble Our Efforts to Raise Money to Fight for the Emancipation of the Working Class!

[The following is a verbatim transcript of the Dear Leader’s most recent speech, graciously given last evening to the assembled comrades of Party Local 1 in Chicago.  All Hail the Dear Leader!]

[Recording begins: “… hey – that guy didn’t ‘Hail the Dear Leader’ loudly enough!  Get him out of here!” [scuffling, doors slamming, muffled cries for help, etc.]

DL: “Good Evenin…” [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE]

DL: “I said, ‘good…” [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE]

DL: “I… [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, CHEERING, CRIES OF JOY, SEVERAL COMRADES FAINT AND HAVE TO BE CARRIED OUT OF THE ROOM]

DL: “Jeezus fucking chr…” [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE]

DL: “ALL RIGHT!  STOP IT ALREADY!  I’VE GOT JUST A COUPLE OF THINGS I’D LIKE TO SAY!  ENOUGH WITH THE BROWN-NOSING!  I HAVEN’T EVEN SAID ANYTHING YET!  JEEZUS!”  [silence] “That’s better.  Damn!” [scattered applause followed by harsh “shushing”]

DL:  “Comrades!  I’m here to spewak with you about our current fundraising campaign for the Independent Workers Party… [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE]”… ah, shit… there they go again… what the fu… KNOCK IT OFF!” [SILENCE]

DL: ” Our party has for the past several months created several campaigns in order to raise much-needed funds for our party activities – money that we need in order to even begin to counter the well-funded round-the-clock propaganda operations of the class enemy. We have created a Cafe Press storefront selling IWPCHI merchandise [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE] – items useful to the proletariat, and at the same time amusing and enlightening the workers and relieving in a small way the daily drudgery of the masses…   [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE] “…at reasonable prices.    We have also created our magnificent WordPress blog [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, JOYOUS PROLETARIAN SHOUTING]”…  Our blog has been a modest success: in every month since we started it, the number of hits has been steadily increasing…  [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE] “… ahhh shit. [whistles “The Internationale” while the applause continues, then subsides]

DL: “Are you gonna keep doing that or will you let me speak? [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, Shouts of “YES!”]  “oh, man…”

DL: ” Comrades, our party has been, for the past several months, trying to utilize a mechanism of funding originally designed by a cabal of capitalist running dogs  to raise money for such things as cute-puppy surgerythe production of ecologically-friendly drinking straws,  and the production and distribution of miniature Dungeons and Dragons figurinesand even the production and distribution of miniature Dungeons and Dragons figurines…   [UPROARIOUS LAUGHTER]” …in order to raise money for our party’s vitally important work.   Don’t laugh, Comrades!  [SILENCE]  These running dogs of US imperialism have raised millions of dollars for these projects and thousands of other frivolous projects just like them.  American workers and workers all over the world have responded to appeals for funding such things as   ‘Orapup’ – a tongue brush for dogs that claims to eliminate canine halitosis…”  [HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER, CHAIRS BEING KNOCKED OVER, COMRADES ROLLING ON THE FLOOR IN UNBRIDLED PROLETARIAN MIRTH] “COMRADES!  The ‘Orapup’ campaign has raised, in just a month, over $41,000 dollars in contributions! [GASPS OF DISBELIEF]
“Yes, comrades, it is true.  And that is not the worst of it.  Our campaigns – we are now in the second fundraising campaign on the “Indiegogo” website – have, in almost 60 days of non-stop campaigning RAISED NOT A SINGLE DOLLAR!” [SHOUTS: ‘NO!’  ‘INCREDIBLE!’  HYSTERICAL SOBBING]  “Yes, it’s true, comrades!  While the running dogs promoting  ‘Hot Guys With Guns’ – Hollywood’s first gay action comedy  have succeeded  in raising over $21,000 for their ridiculous project, which will do nothing for the workers except to distract them from the struggle to overthrow the capitalist system, our campaign – a campaign to start building a working-class political party here in the United States – the belly of the capitalist beast – has not succeeded in raising a single penny! [SHOUTS: NO! IT IS NOT POSSIBLE! GUNSHOTS AS MEMBERS BEGIN TO COMMIT MASS SUICIDE]

DL [ducking behind podium]:”JEEZUS CHRIST!  WHERE DID THOSE GUNS COME FROM!  STOP THEM!  ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?  OH MY GOD!  YOU CRAZY BASTARDS!” [Order is slowly restored.   Dear Leader goes around disarming those comrades who stand holding guns to their temples.  The wounded are cared for; the self-martyred dead are carried to the outside of the conference hall, etc.]

DL: “You crazy bastards!  Jeezus!  Jeezus!  Now, where the hell was I…?” [Comrade in the audience: ‘You were saying that our Indiegogo campaign has been a failure…’]  “Right, right.  Thanks, comrade.  Jeezus!  Fucking crazy bastards!  [Voice: ‘We’re sorry Dear Leader – it won’t happen again!’  Other voices make affirming comments to the first comrade’s statement]  “Good, it better not happen again.  Damn!  You guys are goddamned crazy!”

DL [continuing]: ” It is sadly true, comrades.  Our fundraising campaign has been an abject failure.  How can we hold our heads up and present ourselves as worker-leaders when we can’t even out-compete those who, as I speak to you now,  are raising tens of thousands of dollars  to produce a pair of electric-powered sunglasses that create YouTube videos at the touch of a button!.   [POWERFUL GASPS OF PURE PROLETARIAN DISBELIEF]  “I shit you not, comrades!”  [VOICES: ‘It cannot be!  It is a bourgeois trick!  It is another lie of the capitalist press!’, etc.]

DL: “I am afraid it is all too true, comrades.  All our efforts – nearly 90 vitally important articles infused with fighting proletarian spirit – have not yet encouraged a single donation out of the thousands of website hits our blog has received from oppressed workers all over the globe!”  [VOICES:  NO!]

DL:  “Comrades, we must redouble our efforts to reach the masses.  Of course, our glorious Party will not die if we cannot obtain funding from the workers directly.  We ourselves will contribute the money we earn as workers to keep our party strong… [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE] “…our party leaders have considered this question with all the seriousness they can bring to bear on even the tiniest issue – like whether it is more revolutionary to go to Caribou Coffee instead of Starbucks –  and they have come to the conclusion that our inability to raise the kind of money that a campaign that built a look-alike iPhone case that in fact conceals a powerful stun gun was able to raise may indicate that the workers in the United States simply do not give a shit about the future of their own country enough to support a political party of the working class…” [VOICES: ‘NO!  IT IS NOT POSSIBLE!]  “Yes, it may be the case, comrades.  They are so entranced by their iPhone 5s that were built by virtual slave labor in Maoist China that they can’t be bothered to fight for their own rights…” [VOICES: ‘A LIE!’ ‘You do not mean what you say, Dear Leader!’]  “No, my comrades, it may be true.  Years of playing Nintendo and Wii for hours has turned their will to struggle into a facile yearning for the comforts of a soft couch in front of a large television screen…” [VOICES: ‘NO!  NO!’]

DL:  “I know, it is hard to take, this indifference of the proletarians of the US, who, once organized into fighting battalions could rid the world of the most vicious, bloodthirsty ruling class in world history – has instead settled for fighting computer-generated villains in the latest video games…” [VOICES: ‘They will fight, Dear Leader!  We will organize the working class to break out of their infotainment-induced stupor!’]  “Yes, I know you will try your best, comrades.  But we must stop here and re-analyze our methods.  What can we do to make our campaign more interesting and compelling  for the workers of the world?  What is it that draws their attention to projects like the one that seeks to produce a combination solar lamp and phone charger  that its inventor claims will somehow “improve the lives of millions” while our project, which aims to end the exploitation of man by man all over the world and which seeks to stop the US capitalist class’ insane drive towards World War Three goes completely unfunded?  This utter, abject failure of our fundraising campaigns may in fact prove conclusively that the working class of the US is so completely fucked up that they can’t even mount the most elementary self-defense against their continual degradation under capitalism and the steady decline of their incomes since 1968.   It may take the same kind of intervention by the rest of the world’s workers to overthrow the US Government that it took in the 1940s to crush the repulsive Hitler regime.”
[VOICES: No!  No!]  “Time will tell, comrades.  Time will tell…” [VOICES: ‘They will fight!, etc.]

DL:  “I know they will, comrades, I know they will.  Your confidence in the American working class is an amazing thing to behold in these dark days…

“That is all I have to say today.  Look again at our blog.   Look again at our Indiegogo campaign.   Check out, once again, our party’s online store.  See if you can come up with any way to make these things more interesting to the working class than a campaign to help a Las Vegas hypnotist open a show across the street from the MGM Grand!”  [VOICES: ‘We’ll do it, Dear Leader!  The workers will stand rise up and fight their US imperialist oppressors!’]  “I know you’ll try, comrades.  But Kevin the Hypnotist has raised over $20,000 already…” [The Dear Leader breaks down sobbing and rushes out of the room, followed by the members of the Central Committee. THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, SINGING OF ‘THE INTERNATIONALE’]

IWPCHI

#1 Reason Why Capitalism Must Be Abolished: The Standing Threat of WWIII Under the Greed System

Marxists have long argued that, unless the capitalist system is abolished, the working class of the entire world stands beneath a nuclear-tipped Sword of Damocles at all times. And the current state of the world’s geopolitics underlines this threat. So long as the world is divided up into separate nation states under a system of global competition for raw materials that are becoming scarcer by the hour, the threat of world war looms over all of humanity. The entire human race stands at the edge of a precipice from which the capitalist system threatens to hurl it into the abyss in a paroxysm of greed, nationalism and world-wide nuclear war.

This is clearly shown by the sudden escalation of unrest in the world’s most prolific oil-producing region, the Middle East and its environs. This week, the internal civil war in Syria, egged on by US and NATO imperialist powers through their secret police – the CIA, Mossad, British and French Intelligence services, etc. – and hired proxies on the ground inside Syria threatens to explode out beyond that nation’s borders and into Turkey and possibly northern Iraq and elsewhere.

An overzealous Syrian military unit appears to have shelled positions in Turkey from which the Syrians claim they were being fired upon by Syrian “rebels” fleeing government attacks. The Turks, whose national government is characterized by fierce nationalism and the suppression of its own minority populations – particularly, the Kurdish people of southeastern Turkey and Northern Iraq, obtained permission from its national Parliament to retaliate against Syria. The Turkish retaliation, coming as it does from a NATO member country and having taken place after consultations with the US and other top NATO imperialist nations, immediately poses a threat to China and Russia: two non-NATO states who have been strong supporters of the Syrian government during its civil war. The trip wires have long been set between NATO and its historic enemies: principally the deformed Maoist workers state of China as well as Russia, which, when it was the USSR, was the prime inspiration of the creation of NATO. The Independent Workers Party says: US/NATO Hands Off the World!

The imperialist powers who run NATO – which is primarily a front for US imperialism – are not a force for “good” in the world; NATO is the military alliance of the world’s leading capitalist states, who seek to use their combined military forces to smash worker revolutions wherever they occur. NATO is used to project the military forces of the leading capitalist states – whose citizens comprise far less that 1/5 of the world’s population – across the world, protecting the foreign investments of global bankers and their corporations. Everywhere NATO goes, it brings in its train hideous pro-imperialist exiles, who are so depraved that, in their quest for power and wealth, volunteer to be the front men in puppet regimes to be installed by the NATO forces after military invasions during which hundreds of thousands or even millions of the workers of the invaded countries are slaughtered. Such was the result of the NATO-backed invasion of Iraq; such has been the result of the NATO invasion of Afghanistan; such was the result recently in Libya. Everywhere NATO goes, it brings “profitable” death and destruction of countries – profitable because the bombs and other weapons systems deployed in the war have to be replaced afterwards, and the destroyed cities have to be rebuilt by contractors hired by the NATO imperialist states. Thus capitalism makes war into a never-ending engine of blood-soaked profits for the worlds capitalist class. They don’t care how many workers they slaughter, because to the capitalist class, human life, especially of the poor and the working class, is cheap. The US capitalist class has Grim-reaped hundreds of billions of dollars in profits by blowing up the cities of Iraq and Libya and Afghanistan, rebuilding them – and then blowing them up and rebuilding them again! These bloodthirsty greedheads, who are presently in the process of leasing the White House for the next four years so that one of their very own – vulture capitalist and Mormon Bishop Mitt Romney – can sit in the Oval Office with his hand on the button that could be pushed to launch World War Three. The US capitalist class is tired of having worker-friendly sock-puppets like Barack Obama as their cut-outs pretending to be running the US: now they want to promote as Presidential material a man who has openly stated to the world that he has no use for 45% of the US population, and will not even try to represent their interests.

He is, of course, lying. He really means to say that he has no intention of representing the interests of the US working class, which makes up far more than just 45% of the US population; and, by extension, he tells the capitalists of the world that he has no intention of representing the interests of ANY workers, ANYWHERE! He is a filthy rich greedy vulture capitalist, who made his bones by buying out viable capitalist enterprises, sucking all the exploitable value out of them and then killing them off, throwing thousands of workers out of work and taking the stolen cash and putting it all in his and his co-conspirators’ pockets. It is thievery on a massive scale, and it’s all legal under the rules of US capitalism, where poor people who steal food from supermarkets go to jail, while rich greedheads like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney are hailed as “self-made capitalist success stories”. It truly is a hideous cancer on the world, the cancer called the capitalist system!

“…and then the war came…”

Generations of pro-capitalist historians have spread the lie that wars under capitalism occur by accident; they are “acts of God”; they are “a failure of diplomacy”, etc, etc., ad nauseam. Those of us who have studied the teachings of the great Marxist theoreticians – Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky chief among them – understand that war, under capitalism, and even before capitalism, is never an “accident” but is the product of the expansion of nation states and their quest for more natural resources to feed their expanding economies and the needs of their expanding trading operations. Under capitalism, war is the byproduct of an economic system based on greed and the exploitation of the working class. Capitalism has created productive forces that can produce products in quantities far beyond what can be consumed within the borders of the nation-state in which they are produced. The capitalists then seek markets beyond their borders, where that competing nation’s greedheads are already producing the same products. In order to protect their domestic markets, the capitalists of both nations might initially place tariffs on the importation of their rival capitalists’ goods, so as to make the domestic products cheaper. This angers the other capitalist class, who then place retaliatory tariffs on THEIR competitors’ goods. This back-and-forth economic war can – and often does – lead to actual military forces being sent into the rival capitalists’ territory to “settle” the trade dispute in the more powerful capitalist state’s favor. World Wars I and II were, fundamentally, fought over just such a struggle for raw materials which one or another imperialist nation-state (Germany and Japan, in particular) lacked. The working class of all of these countries was, tragically, forced to go to war to slaughter their fellow workers so that the rich capitalist class could defeat their economic competition. What the workers got out of it was hundreds of millions of their working class brothers and sisters being slaughtered all across the globe.

Today, the worlds’ capitalists are in the run-up to yet another world war. The capitalist economies of the world have already divided up the world among themselves; access to raw materials and markets has also already been divided among them. The only way they can increase their profits now is either to discover new sources of raw materials, or to go somewhere in the world and seize them from one of their imperialist capitalist rivals – or to invade the territory of one of the deformed workers states, like China, and take over their markets and resources. There is no other way out of the world economic depression that the world is now stuck in. Just as in the 1930s, the only way out of this economic impasse for the capitalists is world war.

They do not necessarily sit around and plan such a war over a sumptuous banquet. Economic necessity impels them toward war the way hunger impels a poor man to steal food or money to survive. Feeling threatened by their imperialist erstwhile “allies”, the capitalist class of the various nation-states tell their bought-and-paid-for politicians to increase “defense” spending to “protect the homeland from ‘terrorist attacks'”. Under this thin veil – which of course, does not for a minute fool their imperialist rivals – they begin to arm for war. “Missile defense systems” are built; aircraft carriers, which are only effective as offensive weapons, are designed and constructed; long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles are stockpiled and the old stock replaced with more modern versions; old battleships and submarines are replaced with more powerful modern designs. The raw numbers of such weaponry may decline – this fact will be loudly broadcast to the workers to fool them into believing that the military forces are being “downsized” – but, in fact, these newer weapons are so much more powerful and accurate that half as many of them can cause far more destruction than all the old ones combined. In this way, the trip wires are gradually, unnoticeable set for war. By deploying their navies all over the globe, these competing imperialist states raise the risk of “accidentally” bumping into the “enemy’s” ships. Eventually, the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan.

The run-up to war happens so slowly and incrementally that when it “happens” it “looks” accidental. But the war planners in places like the Pentagon are continually creating and revising plans to “defend US interests” in the event of any contingency imaginable. They are always ready to launch a pre-emptive strike against any competing nation-state. Of course, both sides will be careful to make it look like they were attacked first.

Until the working class of the US rises up and disarms its ruling capitalist class, and our working class brothers and sisters of every other capitalist country in the world do the same, the threat of WWIII will be very real and will be inexorably approaching nearer and nearer. If WWIII occurs, it will be the fault – not so much of the capitalist class that has prepared it and which will launch it – but it will be the fault of the so-called leaders of the worlds workers who have done absolutely NOTHING to stop it. Without revolutionary leadership of the working class there can be no revolution to overthrow capitalism and stop WW III from happening. Revolutions, like wars, do not happen by accident. It takes a highly dedicated revolutionary leadership that has studied and learned the lessons of history  and who have a very clear understanding of what must be done  in order for a  successful workers revolution  to take place.  Revolution, like war, is part science and part art; the consciousness of what the workers need to do does not arise in their minds spontaneously – it must be taught to them by professional revolutionaries, just as the laws of physics do not spontaneously occur to people, but must be taught by highly trained teachers.

Where are those professional revolutionaries now?  They are, sadly, few and far between – especially in precisely those countries where a successful workers revolution is needed most: the United States of America.

The search for the leaders of the Third American Revolution is going on now.  That is what we in the Independent Workers Party of Chicago are attempting to do – organize a vanguard of worker-leaders who can fight for the rights of our class here in the US and rip the guns out of the hands of our blood-thirsty US capitalist class once and for all and place the weapons now being used by the US government to slaughter workers in the hands of the working class here.  Only in this way can we stop WW III from happening.  If we fail, the planet we live on may become something like Mars, a dry desert where, once upon a time, water flowed and life bloomed.  Not just the survival of our children and grandchildren is at stake: the survival of life on Earth is at stake.

It is time, fellow worker, to drive away that apathy and hoplessness that has been driven into your mind over the years of your hard-working life by the pro-capitalist media and join this vital struggle for the future of humankind.  We do not have much time left before the next war “happens”.

IWPCHI

US Rips Off Its Own Workers – Ranks 12th in Minimum Wage, Probably Far Lower

American workers react with skepticism when we say that abolishing capitalism and adopting a rationally planned socialist economic system would be an excellent way to guarantee future generations a future – period.  Having been constantly told that the United States has the highest standard of living in the world, American workers have come to believe this.  The problem is: it isn’t true, and it hasn’t been true for decades.  The fact is, the standard of living for American workers has been in steady decline since the late 1960s.

Just a month ago, we met some folks from Australia who were vacationing here in Chicago.  The woman was from the US originally; she comes back to the US occasionally to visit family.  We asked here if she has ever thought of coming back to the US permanently. “Oh, no”, she replied.  “I could never enjoy the standard of living I’ve become accustomed to in Australia if I moved back to the US.  I’d probably be living with my parents if I moved back here”.

This surprised even us – so we asked for more details.  This woman and her husband have access to much cheaper medical care in Australia than they would have if they lived in the US, she told us.  And the pay in Australia is so much higher than in the US, she said, that though she would like to return to the US to stay close to her elderly parents, she can’t afford to come back.  And then she dropped a bomb on us: “Oh, the wages are much higher in Australia.  The minimum wage is over $16.00 an hour.”

WHAT?  We believed that the Aussie dollar and the US dollar were pretty close in value: that turns out to be absolutely correct.  As of this hour, the exchange rates for the Australian dollar and the U.S.  dollar are:

Australia’s current exchange rate:  1 AUD = 1.0319 USD
1 USD = 0.9691 AUD
Rates updated on Tuesday 02nd of October 2012

[Source: http://www.rateslist.com/exchange-rates/australian-dollar.html%5D

“Crikey!  We ought to head on over to the Australian Embassy and apply for asylum as economic refugees!” we thought!

Imagine how much better life would be for the average worker if the minimum wage here was doubled!  As it should be!

The truth is, life for the average worker in the U.S. is, well… below average.  But how far below average are we when it comes to the minimum wage?

We immediately began looking at the minimum wage rates of the world (well, not exactly immediately… we had a few beers, thought about it, read a couple of books on the Korean War and life in North Korea [not that bad until the USSR collapsed, it turns out]; strolled through the Forest Preserve enjoying the fall foliage, THEN we began looking at minimum wage rates) to see how the US compares with other major industrialized nations.  And just as we expected, the US sucks compared to other countries in its’ “class” when it comes to paying a competitive minimum wage.

Wikipedia!  The first resort of the lazy (and under-employed and paid) journalist once again came to our rescue!   It has a list – a quite incomplete list, but a list – of the minimum wage rates being paid around the world.  Germany is not on the list for some reason – they claim it’s because it’s difficult to calculate, given that every union has its own contract, in which annual wage increases are probably locked in – and the Scandinavian countries aren’t fully represented either.  And even with these shortcomings of the Wikilist of world minimum wages (which should make the US look much better than it is) the U.S. comes in a lousy 12th out of about 150 countries listed.  Wikipedia used a fictional currency called the “international dollar” to compile this list: “For the sake of comparison, an ‘annual wage’ column is provided in International dollars, a hypothetical unit of currency that has the same purchasing power that the U.S. dollar had in the United States in 2009. For calculating the annual wage, the lowest general minimum wage was used.” – [Source: Wikipedia, “List of minimum wages by country”]

Whatever.   Here are the results for the top 14 whose data were available to whomever Wikicompiled the Wikilist:

“Minimum wage rates of the world, annually, in International Dollars [Note: No data are available for Germany, Sweden, Norway, or many other advanced capitalist countries.- IWPCHI]:

1) Netherlands     €1,446.60 per month, €333.85 per week or €66.77 per day for persons 23 and older; between 30-85% of this amount for persons aged 15–22                                                                                                                                                23,029/yr

2) United Kingdom     £6.08 per hour (aged 21 and older), £4.98 per hour (aged 18–20) or £3.68 per hour (under 18 and finished compulsory education)                                                                                                                                                  22,597 /yr

3) [Crikey! Oz came in bleedin’ 3d! -IWPCHI] Australia     606.40 Australian dollars per week; set federally by the Fair Work Australia                                                                                                                                                20,027/yr

4) Luxembourg     €1,801.49 per month for unqualified workers over 18; increased by 20% for a qualified employee; decreased by 20% to 25% in the case of an adolescent worker.                                                                                    19,426/yr

5) Ireland     €8.65 per hour  [That’s  equal to $11.17 an hour in US dollars! – We’re going back to the home country! – IWPCHI]                                                                                                                                                  18,965/yr

6) Belgium     €1,472.40 a month for workers 21 years of age and over; €1,511.48 a month for workers 21 and a half years of age, with six months of service; €1,528.84 a month for workers 22 years of age, with 12 months of service; coupled with extensive social benefits.                                               18,813/yr
7) France     €9.22 per hour [$11.91/hour US – Ooh la la! – IWPCHI]  €1,398.37 per month for 151.67 hours worked (or 7 hours every weekday of the month)   [And don’t forget the free health care program compared to the US’ crappy rip-off of Obamacare – whatever that is – IWPCHI]                                                                                                                                                17,701/yr

8) Canada     set by each province and territory; ranges from C$9.27 to C$11.00 per hour                                                                                                                            16,710/yr

9) New Zealand     NZ$13.50 per hour for workers 18 years old or older, and NZ$10.80 per hour for those aged 16 or 17 or in training; there is no statutory minimum wage for employees who are under 16 years old                                                                                                                                               16,462/yr

10) San Marino  [Who?  Where?  How much does it cost to move there? – IWPCHI]   €7.04 per hour                                                                                       15,707/yr

11) Switzerland     none; however, a majority of the voluntary collective bargaining agreements contain clauses on minimum compensation, ranging from 2,200 to 4,200 francs per month for unskilled workers and from 2,800 to
5,300 francs per month for skilled employees                                                 15,457/yr

12)  United States  [We’re number one!  We’re number one!  USA! USA! US… oh, crap! – IWPCHI]    The federal minimum wage is US$7.25 per hour; states may also set a minimum, in which case the higher of the two is controlling                                                                                                                      15,080/yr

13)  Israel [Just for the hell of it, we thought we’d throw Israel in here so everyone could see how crappy the pay is in Israel.  They rank with the poorest countries in Europe, and have one of the worst, craziest, war-mongering governments in the world on top of it – IWPCHI]     approx. 47.5 pct. of the avg. wage, or 4,100 Israeli new sheqel per month                                                                                                                                                12,493/yr

14) Spain     €744.92 in 12 payments, €638.50 in 14 payments [62]                                                                                                                                                 11,426/yr

?) Mexico     daily minimum wages set annually by law and determined by zone; 57.46 Mexican pesos in Zona A (Baja California, Federal District, State of Mexico, and large cities), 55.84 pesos in Zone B (Sonora, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Jalisco), and 54.47 pesos in Zone C (all other states)                                                                                                                                                1,753/yr

Those stats on Mexico provide a most eloquent explanation for why so many Mexican workers risk their lives every year to come to the US looking for a job – any kind of job.   Wouldn’t you, if you could make almost 10 times as much money a year just by crossing an imaginary line in the sand?

So, fellow American workers:  the next time that some US flag-waving idiot is out on the street chanting “We’re number one!” – leave him alone.  He is to be pitied.   He has no idea what’s going on in the world and how badly “his” government and “his” capitalist class is ripping him and his family off – and it’s probably just as well that it stays that way.   He might come to his senses someday; but, thankfully, the future of the world does not depend on that ever happening.

We haven’t even begun to analyze the horrendously low minimum wages of the poorest countries in the capitalist world.  Suffice it to say that hundreds of millions of our working-class brothers and sisters – and, of course, their families – around the world are living in dire poverty thanks to the greed-based capitalist system.

[Source:  Wikipedia, “List of Minimum Wages by Country” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_minimum_wages_by_country%5D

IWPCHI

Photos from Chicago Teachers Union Rally and March, Union Park, Chicago IL, 15 September 2012

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis addresses CTU members and their supporters at rally in Union Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

Fraternal Order of Police leader, Chicago Police Department Spokesman and professional liar Pat Camden addresses the Chicago Teachers Union rally at Union Park, Chicago, IL 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

Scene from behind the stage at Chicago Teachers Union rally in Union Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

The Chicago Teachers Union’s march to Garfield Park was led by a Chicago High School’s marching band. September 15, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

As you would expect in a union rally of teachers, the protest signs were creative and in many cases, hilarious.

“Godfather”-themed and “You gave us NO Choice” signs at Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“Hey Rahm: Your DNC Speech Sucked”. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“How do you know when Rahm Emanuel is Lying?” Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

This one refers to the way that the political career of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic ended prematurely due to his administration’s poor performance at snow removal during the blizzard of 1979.  There’s also another nice one that says: “Yes, We Are Working Right Now!  The [Lesson Is?] Democracy”:

Comparing the apparently similar trajectories of Mayor Emanuel’s and ex-Mayor Bilandic’s careers. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL, 15 September, 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“What’s Your Super Power?” Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

“Rahm Got Schooled”. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

A contingent of teacher drove all the way from Milwaukee to participate in the rally.  Others came from as far away as Minneapolis and there were some from downstate, other midwestern towns in neighboring states and we heard that there were teachers from Seattle and California in attendance as well.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin teachers in Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI.

Chicago High School marching band leads the Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI.

In a marvelous demonstration of the value of art in the public schools, the Little Village Lawndale High School’s union banner was magnificent!

The Little Village Lawndale High School shows the value of teaching art in the public schools with their awesome union banner. Chicago Teachers Union march to Garfield Park, Chicago, IL. 15 September 2012. Photo by IWPCHI

IWPCHI

Notes on the transition from capitalism to socialism – the gradual abolition of the capitalist system

Notes on the transition from capitalism to socialism – the gradual abolition of the capitalist system

We need to educate the young workers and to bring them aboard the socialist train showing them how the overthrow of capitalism will make life for the working class far less stressful, much more predictable and reliable so they can actually plan for the future of their families and communities without economic crises coming along every decade or so and throwing all their careful planning into the garbage bin.  We aim to create a far more egalitarian and intelligently run society that is a true meritocracy. We have to patiently explain how through the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of a workers democracy we can rise from a corrupt, greed and patronage-ridden system to a system based on full equality of all citizens and put an end to racism, war, poverty and homelessness once and for all.  Instead of everyone chasing dollar bills all their lives, we will finally have as our most important societal tasks not the amassing of personal fortunes at the expense of the vast majority but in bringing the hundreds of millions of our brothers and sisters all over the world out of the crushing poverty that oppresses them under capitalism.  Instead of narrow personal goals, we will take on the tremendous problems that beset the entire planet and harness all the productive resources of a unified world to solve such things as poverty, which under capitalism will never be solved.  In our meritocracy the best trained and qualified workers will get the most responsible jobs and will be held to the highest standards.  These are goals worthy of human beings; capitalism is just a selfish, greed-based system of exploitation of the working class worldwide for the benefit of a handful of families.

The key thing is that the transition from capitalism to socialism must be a TRANSITION, not the sudden “overthrow of capitalism”.  One of the most important lessons of the Russian Revolution is that an economic system cannot be “overthrown” at a single blow – doing such a thing threatens an economic disaster.  Certain things can be seized and nationalized immediately: banks, railroads, electrical generating plants, hospitals, etc.  But even such things as mines and food production must be allowed to run in the old way until the new workers government has got all the reins of the entire economy into its hands and has taught itself how to drive this unwieldy 200,000 mule team of an economy, which in its ad-hoc capitalist, corrupt, conflict-ridden way still successfully distributes such critical items as raw materials and electricity and food to 340,000,000 people 24/7/365.  It is extremely complicated to run an economic engine that is responsible for feeding, clothing, sheltering and caring for 340 million people – the anarchists who jabber about establishing a system of barter or some other ridiculous pie-in-the-sky alternative to capitalism will never be able to run a large city, never mind an entire country.  The responsibility for feeding, clothing and sheltering 340,000,000 people falls upon the revolutionary government at the very moment that they old regime is overthrown; immediately, the workers will look to us and say: “well, you’re the drivers now, where are you going to take us?” And we’d damned well better be able to shoulder this immense responsibility immediately, or the revolution will be doomed.  In fact, it would be better to keep capitalism rather than to overthrow it and put power in the hands of a bunch of irresponsible, economically illiterate fools who think that a revolution gives them a blank check to make wild experiments in the economic management of the nation.  This is not a project to be undertaken by charlatans and fools.

Lenin – as brilliant as he and his Bolsheviks were – was forced to completely reverse the engine of the revolution and to restore elements of capitalism to the USSR’s economy in order to get FOOD and INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION running again.  This was because the Bolsheviks erred in trying to go too far, too fast with the overthrow of the old economy.  TRANSITION will take many years and will take longer in some economically critical areas than in others.  We must allow the process to take as long as necessary, provided that it is made clear that the restoration of capitalist private property is OUT OF THE QUESTION just as the creation of a new monarchy was OUT OF THE QUESTION after the American Revolution.

Also, we have to make it clear to workers that the abolition of capitalist private property DOES NOT MEAN that we will be seizing everyone’s homes and cars and TVs.  It means the nationalization of the largest corporations and industrial enterprises.  Only the extremely wealthy will perhaps have some of their property seized, and even that must be during a transition; we do not intend to make enemies for the revolution any more than is necessary.  Those rich people who do not take up arms against the revolution will be allowed to keep more of their property than those who sabotage the revolutionary transition.  Here too, we could even allow the inheritance of property for a generation or even two before the extraneous wealth of these families would be turned over to the workers state to be put to the use of society in a useful way.

It will be an inexorable transition from capitalism to socialism, in some areas very rapid in pace, in others very slow.  Above all, we do not wish to create jarring upheavals in critically important economic areas upon which the entire population depends for food, clothing and shelter.  The new regime must learn to run the entire country in a professional and responsible way – and this too will require many years of education and practice before the new system will function even as smoothly as the old system did.  We must not place artificial limits on how long this transition should take, nor should we hesitate to speed up the transition in areas where it proceeds smoothly and without disruptions.  It is an extreme example of the dialectical method as applied to the revolutionary transformation of society.

The miscalculation of the Bolsheviks in regard to the peasantry were enormous!  The Bolshevik theory was that the peasants would leap at the opportunity to collectively farm the countryside: big error!  In fact, what every peasant had always dreamed of their whole lives was owning their OWN farm, where they could till their OWN plots of land in their own way with their own animals and their families working it all. This miscalculation of the Bolsheviks cost how many million lives?  Fortunately, in the US, there is no peasantry and the industrialization of farming is extremely advanced.  Without massive government subsidies family farming would have been wiped off the map long ago.  The socialization of food production should be much easier in the US than it was in the USSR; however, we must make certain that THIS is not also a major miscalculation, or we will create the collapse of food production in the US just as the Bolshevik policies created the collapse of food production in the USSR.  This would be a tremendous tragedy were it to occur.  The collapse of food production in the USSR gave a massive impetus to the growth of the Stalinist bureaucracy – in fact, it was the perfect growth medium for that vicious bureaucracy.

Analogy:  We can cross the Grand Canyon in an adventurist, ultra-left way: by just sending millions of people up to the rim of the Grand Canyon and trying to leap across it.  In this way, eventually enough bodies will pile up in the Canyon that we can finally just walk from the South Rim to the North Rim.  OR, we could survey the Canyon, find its narrowest point and then build a bridge across it, in which case – if we do our jobs intelligently and professionally – very few, maybe even not a single person will have to die crossing the Canyon.  Let the wisest among us decide which method is best – the IWP will strongly support the second method.

IWPCHI