Category Archives: History

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]

DEFEND NORTH KOREA! DPRK Slams U.S. Human Rights Record, Citing Racism, Slavery, Child Abuse

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, known in the US as simply “North Korea”) slammed the US’ human rights record recently, calling out the US Government for its blatant hypocrisy regarding human rights in the US and wherever the US military has launched attacks against countries around the world.

Writing back on 28 February, the Korean Central News Agency (the official DPRK news website) accused the US of being the “world’s worst human rights abuser”, citing the US’ long record of racism and traffic in human flesh which “began with black slave trade”.

“Last year the U.S. released a ‘report on world’s human traffic in 2016’ in which it slandered 188 countries and regions, blaming them for failing to combat flesh traffic. Not content with this, the U.S. went the lengths of mapping out a list of such countries.
“There is no such country as the U.S. where human existence and security are not guaranteed and even the elementary rights of human beings are being violated blatantly.
“The U.S. is a cesspool of crimes and a veritable hell where grisly human rights abuses and bloody man-killing are rampant. It came into being through bloody man-killing and exists by dint of human rights abuses.

“The U.S. is only the country where children without their protectors are thrown behind bars for an indefinite period. About 70 000 children met such fate in 2014 only.
“It is shameless for such country to talk about international law and standards and pull up most of the countries in the world over their ‘human rights situation.'”

The full text of the KCNA article is reprinted below.

The complete political disorientation of the Kim Jong-Il-led DPRK leadership is shown in this article by their uncritical citation of a statement from the viciously anti-woman, anticommunist and antigay Iranian government regarding the US human rights record.  For alleged communists to needlessly make common cause with one of the most hideously backward and anti-worker regimes on the face of the planet merely in order to “buttress” a political attack against the USA’s human rights record is absurd.  It is a fine example of how once a “revolutionary socialist” leadership abandons the fundamental principles of revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist internationalism in favor of the utopian programme of “building socialism in one country” their ability to even distinguish friend from foe is completely lost.

While we do not agree with the Stalinist politics of the North Korean DPRK leadership, which long ago abandoned the fundamental tenets of Marxism/Leninism by repudiating the idea of building  revolutionary socialist political parties around the world dedicated to the global overthrow of the capitalist system in favor the utopian idea of building socialism in half a country, we defend the Stalinized North Korean workers state – despite its obvious and major flaws – as an important and historic conquest of the workers of Korea and of the world.  As Trotsky pointed out: if revolutionary socialist and anarchist workers refuse to defend existing victories of the working class they will never be able to conquer new ones.  Heroic North Korea stands today as the last nation in the world where the capitalist classes have been completely kicked out and are unable to exploit a single North Korean worker!  This is precisely why the United States and its capitalist allies in the UN hate North Korea and want to see it destroyed.  We desire to help build the political leadership necessary to launch a Trotskyist workers socialist political revolution inside the DPRK to replace the hereditary Kim Il Sungist/Stalinist bureaucracy with a true proletarian democracy that fights to defend socialism in North Korea, while simultaneously fighting against capitalist restoration in all the other Maoist/Stalinist degenerated workers states, from China to Cuba.

There has historically always been a strong internationalist current in the Korean communist movement, which was fully expressed by the heroic exiled Korean communist worker-leaders of the 1930s who provided crucial leadership for the Chinese working class in the workers movement of China back when Korea was occupied by the Japanese.  Today as the disgusting fake-communist Chinese “Communist Party” leadership slowly restores capitalism to China, stuffing its leaders’ pockets with money and sending the children of the fake-Communist Party leaders to study capitalist business practices in places like Harvard Business School, they stoop so low as to threaten to refuse to defend their brave sisters and brothers in North Korea from US attacks!  Overthrowing what is left of the gains of the Chinese Revolution is the Number One priority of US imperialism; the US seeks to split China away from North Korea by bribing the top Chinese “Communist Party” leaders with cold, hard cash.  The workers of China must oust the betrayers in the fake-“Chinese Communist Party” leadership and replace these cat’s paws of world capitalism with a revolutionary socialist leadership dedicated to defending and extending the historic gains of the Chinese workers and peasants socialist revolution! The restoration of capitalism in China – like the restoration of capitalism in the countries of the former USSR – will be a huge disaster for the workers and peasants of China and of the whole world! The capitalist world has barely recovered from its last great global crisis and is now staggering towards its next great economic collapse.  There is no future for the workers of the world under capitalism other than a future of endless wars, more poverty and more environmental and human degradation!  Every TRUE communist knows this fact down to the marrow of their bones!  A “communist party” that seeks “peaceful coexistence” with a capitalist world that must overthrow every gain of the working class in order to survive is not a “communist party” at all but is in fact a nest of conspiring counterrevolutionaries poised to betray the working class in exchange for the biggest bribes they can get from the capitalists!  The pro-capitalist leadership of the Chinese “Communist Party” must be arrested and thrown in jail – overthrown – by the workers of China in a pro-socialist Trotskyist political revolution before those fake-Communists sell China to the highest bidder!  China must DEFEND THE DPRK FROM EVERY ATTACK LAUNCHED AGAINST IT BY US IMPERIALISM!  The US and its capitalist allies are not potential “friends” of the Chinese working class but are their mortal enemies and future hangmen!

Likewise, we call for the DPRK to return to the road of Lenin and Trotsky and away from the death trap of the counterrevolutionary Stalinist and Maoist programme of abandoning internationalist Marxism in favor of building socialism in one country.  The Korean workers revolution led by the great revolutionary leader Kim Il-Sung has sacrificed to much in the cause of the workers and peasants of the world to be sqandered away by the politically disoriented Stalinist epigones of the “Juche Idea” – which is nothing but a Korean version of the counterrevolutionary Stalinist doctrine of “building socialism in one country” that led directly to the Stalinists’ betrayal of the workers of the USSR. DPRK workers: return to the road of revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist internationalism!

The workers of the US and the entire capitalist world must defend our sister and brother workers in North Korea from the continuous death threats issued by US imperialism and its UN/EU/NATO allies.  US: Hands Off North Korea and China!  US OUT OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA NOW!

-IWPCHI

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

True Colors of U.S. as World’s Worst Human Rights Abuser

Pyongyang, February 28 (KCNA) — The U.S. has come under fire by the international community for its human rights abuses revealed one after another.
Quoting the results of the recent survey made by Polaris, the national human traffic survey institution, UPI disclosed that the flesh traffic increased 35.7 percent in the U.S. last year over that in the previous year.
It said that more than 7 572 cases of flesh traffic were reported in California, Texas, Florida, etc., terming them “a form of modern-day slave system.”
Seyed Ali Khamenei, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, referred to the fact that a five-year-old boy was detained with his hands manacled in the U.S. some time ago, saying that this shows the present “human rights situation in the U.S.”
All facts go to clearly show before the world once again the true colors of the U.S. as the worst human rights abuser.
Last year the U.S. released a “report on world’s human traffic in 2016” in which it slandered 188 countries and regions, blaming them for failing to combat flesh traffic. Not content with this, the U.S. went the lengths of mapping out a list of such countries.
There is no such country as the U.S. where human existence and security are not guaranteed and even the elementary rights of human beings are being violated blatantly.
The U.S. is a cesspool of crimes and a veritable hell where grisly human rights abuses and bloody man-killing are rampant. It came into being through bloody man-killing and exists by dint of human rights abuses.
It has a history of the most cursed and disgraceful flesh traffic in the world.
Its history began with black slave trade and is still known as the world’s worst country in flesh traffic. 100 000 to 500 000 fall victim to the flesh traffic for slave labor every year and 100 000 children are forced into prostitution annually.
The U.S. is only the country where children without their protectors are thrown behind bars for an indefinite period. About 70 000 children met such fate in 2014 only.
It is shameless for such country to talk about international law and standards and pull up most of the countries in the world over their “human rights situation.”
The U.S. is loudmouthed about “defence of human rights” and “equality for all” world-wide but it can never cover up its true colors as the world’s worst human rights abuser.
The U.S. “human rights” campaign will never work on any country. -0-

100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution: Voices of the Revolution – March, 1917

Selections from the excellent book “Voices of Revolution” by Mark D. Steinberg, Translated by Marian Schwartz; Yale University Press, 2001

Edited by IWPCHI

We present these selections from the massive outpouring of appeals, declarations, poems, essays and songs written by Russian people from all walks of life in response to the long-awaited overthrow of the hated Tzarist regime. These are representative of the political level of the Russian working class, peasantry and soldiery in the days immediately after the February revolution. – IWPCHI

Historical period: March, 1917

[The following poem was written by Mikhail Serafimovich, a private in the Reserve Cavalry]

I most humbly ask the gentlemen editors if you might not find a way to put the verse copied out below in your newspaper.

“Long live free Russia.”

The joyous cry floods my soul—-

“Long live our freedom,”

The red flag stills my heart.

A leaden weight has fallen,

The world dreams a shining dream…

I’m young again, my body drunk,

My soul replete with feelings.

With feelings as vast and endless

As drops in the cup of the sea.

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

The Russian National Hymn

(to the tune of “How Glorious Is Our Lord in Zion”)

Blessed is the Father of all

The God of Gods inscrutable!

Who creates from nothing, from mortal life,

Joyous souls immutable.

Blessed too are all the nations

And every living creature,

Wondrous nature’s emanations,

And matter inanimate of feature.

[…]

Blessed is our Holy Rus—-

Our family of nations, tribes,

Our homeland with its bounds unloosed,

Its freedom and its law prescribed.

Blessed is the new republic

Of our cherished nation’s power,

With a leader now elected

By this huge dear land of ours.

[…]

[Signed]

Muzhik Mikula

March 1917

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

“To the Fallen Freedom Fighters” by metalworker Demian Semyonov

To the Fallen Freedom Fighters

Memory eternal to all who have fought.

For freedom through great tribulation!

The blood they sacrificed has bought

This sacred freedom for our nation.

Much they suffered, their needs subdued,

Awaiting the dawn with freedom’s hope …

For naught their pleas and howls flew

To the ear of the tyrant, to the Tsar’s own throne

[…]

Our pleas for bread they would not abide,

and instead of bread sent bayonets, lead!

In sacrifice too many comrades died …

But they tore the crown from the despot’s head.

In our hour of trial, you did not despair,

You sallied forth with naked chest…

May the earth be a bed as soft as air!

[…]

Please put the attached poem in the newspaper.

D. Semyonov

At your service

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

[Note: The Tzarist government, in its dying days, attempted to excuse its own vast incompetence and inability to provide the soldiers at the front with even basic supplies, from boots to bullets, by blaming the shortages on the long-suffering armament factory workers who had gone on strike for higher wages

in order to feed themselves and their families. By doing this they tried to get the soldiers to attack the rebellious workers instead of the government that was actually responsible for the shortages. The workers in the factories vigorously denounced this attempt and sought successfully to appeal directly to the soldiers themselves in explaining what was really going on. – IWPCHI]

“Appeal to soldiers from the workers of the A. M. Ouf machine, metal and engineering factories, Petrograd (28-29 March, 1917)”

“We, the workers of the Ouf factory, in a gathering of eight hundred people, loudly protest the disgraceful and insolent agitation aimed at us, the workers, by dark and ignorant persons. We declare that we and the soldiers have common interests; there are no enemies among us, for we are all the working class. This lie is coming not from our camp, for it is bubbling up in an underhanded way, from underground, fearful of just retribution.

Comrade soldiers! The slander that is coming out of our enemies’ camp must be stopped immediately. We must declare that workers and soldiers are one and that we will not allow our enemies to sow enmity between us. […] We declare that our comrade soldiers and we workers shall henceforth fight for our interests— the interests of the working people. And to our enemies, who are attempting to divide us, we loudly declare, “No! Stand back! For you are our enslavers, for you are living off our labor, you are breathing through us, and it’s you who depend on us, not we on you.”

[…]

In their speeches in response, the soldiers’ representatives assured the workers that the army does not believe the foul slander of the bourgeois press and that the soldiers know the secret purpose of this slander— to make the workers and the soldiers quarrel […]

100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 – As it Happened: Lenin and Trotsky Respond to News of February 1917 Revolution and Abdication of the Tzar

Wikipedia caption:  “A demonstration of workers from the Putilov plant in Petrograd (modern-day St. Petersburg), Russia, during the February Revolution. The left banner reads (misspelt*) “Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland”; the right banner, “Increase payments to the soldiers’ families – defenders of freedom and world peace”.  Both refer to the economic toll the First World War was having on civilian life.  Unknown [photographer] – State museum of political history of Russia. 1 February 1917″

Inspired by the “Disunion” series produced by the New York Times to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the US Civil War, we are going to attempt to publish a daily account of the historic events that led up to the first successful workers revolution in world history – the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia – in the words of its principal leaders and the shocked and terrified capitalist classes of the world and their respective bourgeois presses.

There were in fact not one but two revolutions that took place in Russia in 1917: the first one, in February, brought to power a bourgeois government made up chiefly of wealthy landlords and aristocrats who had prospered under Tzarism.  [When the February revolution occurred, many of those who would become the top leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution were in exile: as you will see from the documents reproduced below, Lenin was in Zurich, Switzerland and Trotsky was in New York City (they immediately made plans to return to Russia)].  The second, Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 overthrew that government and replaced it with a workers and peasants’ government based on elected workers, soldiers and peasants’ “soviets” (councils) led by that time largely by the Bolsheviks and supported by all the other revolutionary socialist, anarchist and leftist peasant-based parties and groups.

There has never been a party of honest and courageous revolutionary leaders so universally vilified and slandered as the leaders of the Bolshevik party were (and are to this day!) by the capitalists of the world and their paid liars in their bourgeois press.  Workers who have been taught to hate the Bolsheviks should carefully read these documents written by the great Bolshevik leaders and examine them for any traces of duplicity or double-dealing behind the backs of the workers and peasants of Russia.  Good luck finding any!  There has never been a political party in the history of the world more honest and transparent than Lenin’s Bolshevik Party of 1917! And you will undoubtedly be surprised to read Lenin’s repeated statements urging the immediate “arming of the workers” to defend the Revolution from those who wanted to restore the Tzar to his throne!

Led chiefly by Lenin and, later on, Leon Trotsky and a brilliant team of lifelong revolutionary socialists (almost all of whom had “graduated” from more or less lengthy terms of imprisonment in the brutal jails and Siberian prison camps of the universally despised Tzarist regime) the Bolsheviks fought against a rip tide of slander and calumny from their political opponents inside Russia and throughout the world. The trials that the Bolsheviks went through from April to November of 1917 would have utterly destroyed an organization that was not as battle-hardened and politically brilliant as were Lenin’s Bolsheviks.  Through the tumultuous spring and summer of 1917 the Bolsheviks went from being heroes to having their party members beaten to death in the streets to winning over the workers and soldiers exhausted by the brutal role they were forced to play in WWI as cannon fodder for the Germans on the Eastern Front – to victory in the October Revolution.  It is one of the most amazing stories in the history of the world and one that every revolutionary worker should take the time to study again and again to prepare herself for the many traps and subterfuges used by the various parties that pretend to fight for the workers but who ultimately prove to be the most ardent defenders of the capitalist system in the final analysis.

Workers in the USA have been taught from birth to hate the “commies” and especially the Russian communist leaders; Lenin being falsely portrayed as the founding father of loathsome Stalinism – which he most certainly was not!  In fact, Lenin was quite possibly the most honest and trustworthy leader that the working class ever had.  His mantra was the same as that of Marx, Engels and entirely within the best traditions of the workers’ movement from its earliest days: to tell the truth to the workers and peasants, no matter how unpleasant it may be.  Far from working hand-in-hand with Stalin, Lenin had decided to initiate a vigorous struggle against Stalin and his growing arrogant bureaucracy in the months before his death.  This struggle was continued by Trotsky after Lenin’s untimely death; and that struggle involved a huge section of the Communist Party of the USSR known as the “Left Opposition” and was not defeated by the Stalinists until the 1930s – after the Stalinists had murdered almost to the last man and woman everyone who had led the Bolshevik Party to victory in 1917 as well as all of the leading ‘left Oppositionists” – including the man who originated our political movement, Leon Trotsky, murdered by a Stalinist assassin in Mexico in 1940.  It is not for nothing that those of us in the Trotskyist movement call Stalin and his vicious bureaucratic clique “the gravediggers of the Revolution”.

Stalin organized the show trials and ordered the murders of most of the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Source: Marxists Internet Archive

We’re going to start our series just before the legendary wartime rail journey made across a bleeding Europe by the Bolshevik leaders-in-exile who were given safe passage by the Germans in a “sealed train” in the desperate hopes of the German staff that these anti-Tsarist revolutionaries would pull Russia out of the war, enabling the Germans to transfer thousands of troops from the Eastern to the Western front.  They got their wish – but the victory of the Bolsheviks led not to a German victory in WWI but directly to the collapse of the German monarchy and the initiation of the first in a long series of attempts at workers revolution in Germany the very next year – the heroic Spartacist Uprising, ruthlessly suppressed by the German Social Democrats (SPD).

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was a tremendous defeat for the working class not just in the USSR but internationally; it set the stage for the precipitous collapse of workers’ living standards inside the former Soviet Union and gave the green light to a resurgent US imperialism to launch their ill-fated wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East.  We seek to build a revolutionary socialist workers party that learns the lessons of 1917 as well as the brutal and tragic rise and collapse of Stalinism from 1927-1989 as we try to prevent WWIII through workers socialist revolution in the USA and around the world.  Long Live the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917!

We hope you enjoy this series and we welcome your comments and any supplementary material you would like to send to us to publish along with it.

— IWPCHI

[Note: Until the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, Russia and other countries where the Orthodox Church was the “official” church used an “old style” Julian calendar that was 13 days out of sync with the “new style” European calendar.  Dates given in these articles will show first the original “old style” date and then the “new style” date in parentheses.  Thus the Russian “October Revolution” of 25 October 1917 (old style) took place for most of the world on 7 November 1917 (new style). In this document, note that Lenin, writing from exile in Switzerland uses the “new style” calendar dates. – IWPCHI]

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

Lenin and Trotsky respond to the news of the February 1917 Revolution and the Abdication of the Tsar:

Document 1:

V. I. Lenin
Draft Theses, March 4 (17), 1917[1]

Information reaching Zurich from Russia at this moment, March 17, 1917, is so scanty, and events in our country are developing so rapidly, that any judgement of the situation must of needs be very cautious.

Yesterday’s dispatches indicated that the tsar had already abdicated and that the new, Octobrist-Cadet government[2] had already made an agreement with other representatives of the Romanov dynasty. Today there are reports from England that the tsar has not yet abdicated, and that his whereabouts are unknown. This suggests that he is trying to put up resistance, organise a party, perhaps even an armed force, in an attempt to restore the monarchy. If he succeeds in fleeing from Russia or winning over part of the armed forces, the tsar might, to mislead the people, issue a manifesto announcing immediate conclusion of a separate peace with Germany!

That being the position, the proletariat’s task is a pretty complex one. There can be no doubt that it must organise itself in the most efficient way, rally all its forces, arm, strengthen and extend its alliance with all sections of the working masses of town and country in order to put up a stubborn resistance to tsarist reaction and crush the tsarist monarchy once and for all.

Another factor to bear in mind is that the new government that has seized power in St. Petersburg, or, more correctly, wrested it from the proletariat, which has waged a victorious, heroic and fierce struggle, consists of liberal bourgeois and landlords whose lead is being followed by Kerensky, the spokesman of the democratic peasants and, possibly, of that part of the workers who have forgotten their internationalism and have been led on to the bourgeois path. The new government is composed of avowed advocates and supporters of the imperialist war with Germany, i.e., a war in alliance with the English and French imperialist governments, a war for the plunder and conquest of foreign lands—Armenia, Galicia, Constantinople, etc. [See Note 3 at end of this first document – IWPCHI]

The new government cannot give the peoples of Russia (and the nations tied to us by the war) either peace, bread, or full freedom. The working class must therefore continue its fight for socialism and peace, utilising for this purpose the new situation and explaining it as widely as possible among the masses.

The new government cannot give the people peace, because it represents the capitalists and landlords and because it is tied to the English and French capitalists by treaties and financial commitments. Russian Social-Democracy must therefore, while remaining true to internationalism, first and foremost explain to the people who long for peace that it cannot be won under the present government. Its first appeal to the people (March 17) does not as much as mention the chief and basic issue of the time, peace. It is keeping secret the predatory treaties tsarism concluded with England, France, Italy, Japan, etc. It wants to conceal from the people the truth about its war programme, the fact that it stands for continuation of the war, for victory over Germany. It is not in a position to do what the people so vitally need: directly and frankly propose to all belligerent countries an immediate ceasefire, to be followed by peace based on complete liberation of all the colonies and dependent and unequal nations. That requires a workers’ government acting in alliance with, first, the poorest section of the rural population, and, second, the revolutionary workers of all countries in the war.

The new government cannot give the people bread. And no freedom can satisfy the masses suffering from hunger due to shortages and inefficient distribution of available stocks, and, most important, to the seizure of these stocks by the landlords and capitalists. It requires revolutionary measures against the landlords and capitalists to give the people bread, and such measures can be carried out only by a workers’ government.

Lastly, the new government is not, in a position to give the people full freedom, though in its March 17 manifesto it speaks of nothing but political freedom and is silent on other, no less important, issues. The new government has already endeavoured to reach agreement with the Romanov dynasty, for it has suggested recognising the Romanovs, in defiance of the people’s will, on the understanding that Nicholas II would abdicate in favour of his son, with a member of the Romanov family appointed regent. In its manifesto, the new government promises every kind of freedom, but has failed in its direct and unconditional duty immediately to implement such freedoms as election of officers, etc., by the soldiers, elections to the St. Petersburg, Moscow and other City Councils on a basis of genuinely universal, and not merely male, suffrage, make all government and public buildings available for public meetings, appoint elections to all local institutions and Zemstvos, likewise on the basis of genuinely universal suffrage, repeal all restrictions on the rights of local government bodies, dismiss all officials appointed to supervise local government bodies, introduce not only freedom of religion, but also freedom from religion, immediately separate the school from the church and free it of control by government officials, etc.

The new government’s March 17 manifesto arouses the deepest distrust, for it consists entirely of promises and does not provide for the immediate carrying out of a single one of the vital measures that can and should be carried out right now.

The new government’s programme does not contain a single word on the eight-hour day or on any other economic measure to improve the worker’s position. It contains not a single word about land for the peasants, about the uncompensated transfer to the peasants of all the estates. By its silence on these vital issues the new government reveals its capitalist and landlord nature.

Only a workers’ government that relies, first, on the overwhelming majority of the peasant population, the farm labourers and poor peasants, and, second, on an alliance with the revolutionary workers of all countries in the war, can give the people peace, bread and full freedom.

The revolutionary proletariat can therefore only regard the revolution of March 1 (14) as its initial, and by no means complete, victory on its momentous path. It cannot but set itself the task of continuing the fight for a democratic republic and socialism.

To do that, the proletariat and the R.S.D.L.P. must above all utilise the relative and partial freedom the new government is introducing, and which can be guaranteed and extended only by continued, persistent and persevering revolutionary struggle.

The truth about the present government and its real attitude on pressing issues must be made known to all working people in town and country, and also to the army. Soviets of Workers’ Deputies must be organised, the workers must be armed [emphasis added – IWPCHI]. Proletarian organisations must be extended to the army (which the new government has likewise promised political rights) and to the rural areas. In particular there must be a separate class organisation for farm labourers.

Only by making the truth known to the widest masses of the population, only by organising them, can we guarantee full victory in the next stage of the revolution and the winning of power by a workers’ government.

Fulfilment of this task, which in revolutionary times and under the impact of the severe lessons of the war can be brought home to the people in an immeasurably shorter time than under ordinary conditions, requires the revolutionary proletarian party to be ideologically and organisation ally independent. It must remain true to internationalism and not succumb to the false bourgeois phraseology meant to dupe the people by talk of “defending the fatherland” in the present imperialist and predatory war.

Not only this government, but even a democratic bourgeois republican government, were it to consist exclusively of Kerensky and other Narodnik and “Marxist” social-patriots, cannot lead the people out of the imperialist war and guarantee peace.

For that reason we cannot consent to any blocs, or alliances, or even agreements with the defencists among the workers, nor with the Gvozdyov-Potresov-Chkhenkeli Kerensky, etc., trend, nor with men who, like Chkheidze and others, have taken a vacillating and indefinite stand on this crucial issue. Those agreements would not only inject an element of falseness in the minds of the masses, making them dependent on the Russian imperialist bourgeoisie, but would also weaken and undermine the leading role of the proletariat in ridding the people of imperialist war and guaranteeing a genuinely durable peace between the workers’ governments of all countries.
Notes

[1] The first news of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia reached Lenin on March 2 (15), 1917. Reports of the victory of the revolution and the advent to power of an Octobrist-Cadet government of capitalists and landlords appeared in the Zürcher Post and Neue Zürcher Zeitung by the evening of March 4 (17). Lenin had drawn up a rough draft of theses, not meant for publication, on the tasks of the proletariat in the revolution. The theses were immediately sent via Stockholm to Oslo for the Bolsheviks leaving for Russia.

[2] Lenin uses the appellation Octobrist-Cadet to describe the bourgeois Provisional Government formed at 3 p.m. on March 2 (15), 1917 by agreement between the Provisional Committee of the State Duma and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The government was made up of Prince G. Y. Lvov (Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior), the Cadet leader P. N. Milyukov (Minister of Foreign Affairs), the Octobrist leader A. I. Guchkov (Minister of War and Acting Minister of the Navy) and other representatives of the big bourgeoisie and landlords. It also included A. F. Kerensky, of the Trudovik group, who was appointed Minister of Justice.

The manifesto of March 4 (17) mentioned by Lenin later on was originally drawn up by Menshevik members of the Petrograd Soviet Executive Committee. It set out the terms on which the Executive was prepared to support the Provisional Government. In the course of negotiations with the Duma Committee, it was revised by P. N. Milyukov and became the basis of the Provisional Government’s first appeal to the people.

[3]  From Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Organisations https://www.marxists.org/glossary/orgs/p/r.htm#provisional-government

Provisional Committee

On February 27 (March 12), 1917, the Duma is called into session on the appeals of Councillor of State Rodzianko, who is desperately trying to save the Empire despite the extraordinary momentum of the February Revolution. At 4pm the Duma resolves to create the Provisional Committee of the State Duma. Its members are among the biggest landowners and most wealthy capitalists in Russia:

M.V. Rodzianko (Octobrist); V.V. Shulgin; V.N. Lvov; I.I. Dmitryukov (Octobrist); S.I. Shidlovsky (Octobrist); M.A. Karaulov; A.F. Kerensky (Labour Party); A.I. Konovalav (Progressive); V.A. Rzhevsky (Progressive); A.A. Bublikov (Progressive); P.N. Milyukov (Cadet); N.V. Nekrasov (Cadet); and N.S. Chkheidze (Menshevik).

The Committee discusses whether they should assume power over the country, filling up the vacuum caused by the revolution and the Tsar’s ineptitude. The Committee denies the move, and resolves that it must somehow save the Tsar. The Committee resolves that the only path towards this is to share power between Tsar and a new Prime Minister. [It was suggested to the Tzar that he should resign in favor of his son in order to give the new government a veneer of what to the new government appeared to be the necessary “legitimacy”! – IWPCHI] The despondent Tsar refused this offer. The Committee then asks his brother Mikhail to assume the throne, who also refuses.

On the following day, left without any other option, the Committee assumes power over the government. Along with the Petrograd Soviet, the Committee creates a new Provisional Government.

Provisional Government

Russian government established after the February Revolution of 1917 and lasting until the October Revolution of 1917.

The provisional government was born by decision of the Duma, which on the 27th of February, formed the Provisional Committee of Duma Members. The committee consisted of 12 members, chaired by Mikhail Rodzyanko (Octobrist), and was mostly made up of members of the Progressive Bloc, though it included two Socialists: Alexander Kerensky and Nikolai Chkheidze.

By March 1, the commandant of the Palace Guard at Tsarskoe Selo, and hundreds of high ranking officers announced their support for the provisional committee; the workers’ and soldiers’ revolution of February sent the monarchist officers a clear message: support for the Tsar would no longer be tolerated. The Provisional Committee attempted to gain legal legitimacy through the Tsar, but when Nicholas II refused, the committee assumed power.

Later in the day, the Committee asked the Ispolkom of the Petrograd Soviet for its support. The Ispolkom, without consulting the Soviet, presented an eight point programme, its conditions for support of the government:

1. Amnesty for all political prisoners
2. The right to speak, assemble, and strike
3. Equality for all nationalities, religions, and social origins.
4. Convocation of the Constituent Assembly
5. Police organs to be replaced by militia whose officers were elected
6. New elections to the soviets
7. Military units that participated in the Revolution not be sent to the front
8. Off duty-soldiers to receive temporary status as civilians

The programme was neither accepted nor declined, but ‘taken into consideration’; the Committee largely considering it consistent with their aims. A day after the Ispolkom presented it to the Provisional Committee, it asked the Petrograd Soviet to approve it, though the Soviet responded by pressing the demand that a “supervisory committee” be elected to serve as the correspondent to the Provisional Committee.

On March 2, 1917, the Provisional Committee became the Provisional Government. Pavel Milyukov picked the members of the new cabinet.

Chairman and Minister of the Interior: Prince G. E. Lvov
Minister of Foreign Affairs: P. N. Milyukov
Minister of Justice: A. F. Kerensky
Minister of Transport: N. V. Nekrasov
Minister of Posts and Telegraphs: I. G. Tsereteli
Minister of Trade: A. I. Konovalov
Minister of Public Education: A. A. Manuilov
Minister of War: A. I. Guchkov
Minister of Agriculture: A. I. Shingaryov
Minister of Treasury: M. I. Tereschenko
Minister of State Accounts: I. V. Godnev
Minister of Religion: V. N. Lvov

The Imperial family was arrested on the following day, March 3, 1917 […] The Ministers of the Provisional Government fled the country [after the Bolsheviks seized power in October], some of whom later assisted the United States, France, Britain, and Japan in the invasion of the R.S.F.S.R. during the Civil Wars of 1918-1922.

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Published: First published in 1924 in Lenin Miscellany II. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 23, pages 287-291.
Translated: M. S. Levin, The Late Joe Fineberg and Others
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2002 (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Source: “Marxists Internet Archive” at https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/mar/04.htm#fwV23E122

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

Document 2:

Leon Trotsky
OUR REVOLUTION
Two Faces
(Internal Forces of the Russian Revolution)
(March 1917)

Published in New York on March 17, 1917

Let us examine more closely what is going on.

Nicholas has been dethroned, and according to some information, is under arrest. The most conspicuous Black Hundred leaders have been arrested. Some of the most hated have been killed. A new Ministry has been formed consisting of Octobrists, Liberals and the Radical Kerensky. A general amnesty has been proclaimed.

All these are facts, big facts. These are the facts that strike the outer world most. Changes in the higher government give the bourgeoisie of Europe and America an occasion to say that the revolution has won and is now completed.

The Tzar and his Black Hundred fought for their power, for this alone. The war, the imperialistic plans of the Russian bourgeoisie, the interests of the Allies, were of minor importance to the Tzar and his clique. They were ready at any moment to conclude peace with the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs, to free their most loyal regiment for war against their own people.

The Progressive Bloc of the Duma mistrusted the Tzar and his Ministers. This Bloc consisted of various parties of the Russian bourgeoisie. The Bloc had two aims: one, to conduct the war to a victorious end; another, to secure internal reforms: more order, control, accounting. A victory is necessary for the Russian bourgeoisie to conquer markets, to increase their territories, to get rich. Reforms are necessary primarily to enable the Russian bourgeoisie to win the war.

The progressive imperialistic Bloc wanted peaceful reforms. The liberals intended to exert a Duma pressure on the monarchy and to keep it in check with the aid of the governments of Great Britain and France. They did not want a revolution. They knew that a revolution, bringing the working masses to the front, would be a menace to their domination, and primarily a menace to their imperialistic plans. The laboring masses, in the cities and in the villages, and even in the army itself, want peace. The liberals know it. This is why they have been enemies of the revolution all these years. A few months ago Milyukov declared in the Duma: “If a revolution were necessary for victory, I would prefer no victory at all.”

Yet the liberals are now in power – through the Revolution. The bourgeois newspaper men see nothing but this fact. Milyukov, already in his capacity as a Minister of Foreign Affairs, has declared that the revolution has been conducted in the name of a victory over the enemy, and that the new government has taken upon itself to continue the war to a victorious end. The New York Stock Exchange interpreted the Revolution in this specific sense. There are clever people both on the Stock Exchange and among the bourgeois newspaper men. Yet they are all amazingly stupid when they come to deal with mass-movements. They think that Milyukov manages the revolution, in the same sense as they manage their banks or news offices. They see only the liberal governmental reflection of the unfolding events, they notice only the foam on the surface of the historical torrent.

The long pent-up dissatisfaction of the masses has burst forth so late, in the thirty-second month of the war, not because the masses were held by police barriers-those barriers had been badly shattered during the war – but because all liberal institutions and organs, together with their Social-Patriotic shadows, were exerting an enormous influence over the least enlightened elements of the workingmen, urging them to keep order and discipline in the name of “patriotism.” Hungry women were already walking out into the streets, and the workingmen were getting ready to uphold them by a general strike, while the liberal bourgeoisie, according to news reports, still issued proclamations and delivered speeches to check the movement, – resembling that famous heroine of Dickens who tried to stem the tide of the ocean with a broom.

The movement, however, took its course, from below, from the workingmen’s quarters. After hours and days of uncertainty, of shooting, of skirmishes, the army joined in the revolution, from below, from the best of the soldier masses. The old government was powerless, paralyzed, annihilated. The Tzar fled from the capital “to the front.” The Black Hundred bureaucrats crept, like cockroaches, each into his corner.

Then, and only then, came the Duma’s turn to act. The Tzar had attempted in the last minute to dissolve it. And the Duma would have obeyed, “following the example of former years,” had it been free to adjourn. The capitals, however, were already dominated by the revolutionary people, the same people that had walked out into the streets despite the wishes of the liberal bourgeoisie. The army was with the people. Had not the bourgeoisie attempted to organize its own government, a revolutionary government would have emerged from the revolutionary working masses. The Duma of June 3rd would never have dared to seize the power from the hands of Tzarism. But it did not want to miss the chance offered by interregnum: the monarchy had disappeared, while a revolutionary government was not yet formed. Contrary to all their part, contrary to their own policies and against their will, the liberals found themselves in possession of power.

Milyukov now declares Russia will continue the war “to the end.” It is not easy for him so to speak: he knows that his words are apt to arouse the indignation of the masses against the new government. Yet he had to speak them – for the sake of the London, Paris and – American Stock Exchanges. It is quite possible that he cabled his declaration for foreign consumption only, and that he concealed it from his own country.

Milyukov knows very well that under given conditions he cannot continue the war, crush Germany, dismember Austria, occupy Constantinople and Poland.

The masses have revolted, demanding bread and peace. The appearance of a few liberals at the head of the government has not fed the hungry, has not healed the wounds of the people. To satisfy the most urgent, the most acute needs of the people, peace must be restored. The liberal imperialistic Bloc does not dare to speak of peace. They do not do it, first, on account of the Allies. They do not do it, further, because the liberal bourgeoisie is to a great extent responsible before the people for the present war. The Milyukovs and Gutchkovs, not less than the Romanoff camarila, have thrown the country into this monstrous imperialistic adventure. To stop the war, to return to the ante-bellum misery would mean that they have to account to the people for this undertaking. The Milyukovs and Gutchkovs are afraid of the liquidation of the war not less than they were afraid of the Revolution.

This is their aspect in their new capacity, as the government of Russia. They are compelled to continue the war, and they can have no hope of victory; they are afraid of the people, and people do not trust them.

This is how Karl Marx characterized similar situation:

“From the very beginning ready to betray the people and to compromise with the crowned representatives of the old regime, because the bourgeoisie itself belongs to the old world; keeping a place at the steering wheel of the revolution not because the people were back of them, but because the people pushed them forward; … having no faith in themselves, no faith in the people; grumbling against those above, trembling before those below; selfish towards both fronts and aware of their selfishness; revolutionary in the face of conservatives, and conservative in the face of revolutionists, with no confidence in their own slogans and with phrases instead of ideas; frightened by the world’s storm and exploiting the world’s storm, – vulgar through lack of originality, and original only in vulgarity; making profitable business out of their own desires, with no initiative, with no vocation for world-wide historic work … a cursed senile creature condemned to direct and abuse in his own senile interests the first youthful movements of a powerful people, – a creature with no eyes, with no ears, with no teeth, with nothing whatever, – this is how the Prussian bourgeoisie stood at the steering wheel of the Prussian state after the March revolution.”

These words of the great master give a perfect picture of the Russian liberal bourgeoisie, as it stands at the steering wheel of the government after our March revolution. “With no faith in themselves, with no faith in the people, with no eyes, with no teeth.” … This is their political face.

Luckily for Russia and Europe, there is another face to the Russian Revolution, a genuine face; the cables have brought the news that the Provisional Government is opposed by a Workmen’s Committee which has already raised a voice of protest against the liberal attempt to rob the Revolution and to deliver the people to the monarchy.

Should the Russian Revolution stop to-day as the representatives of liberalism advocate, to-morrow the reaction of the Tzar, the nobility and the bureaucracy would gather power and drive Milyukov and Gutchkov from their insecure ministerial trenches, as did the Prussian reaction years ago with the representatives of Prussian liberalism. But the Russian Revolution will not stop. Time will come, and the Revolution will make a clean sweep of the bourgeois liberals blocking its way, as it is now making a clean sweep of the Tzarism reaction.

Source: Marxists Internet Archive at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1918/ourrevo/ch09.htm

CIA’s Outsourcing of Torture: Mitchell, Jessen and Associates and the Murder of Gul Rahman

cia-timeline-of-the-day-gul-rahman-was-murdered-at-a-cia-black-site-prison

We present to our readers a selection of recently released CIA documents relating to the CIA’s outsourcing of torture to a private consulting firm, Mitchell, Jessen and Associates.  The documents were apparently obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through a Freedom of Information Act request to the CIA.  The full set of 764 pages was uploaded to the “DocumentCloud” website by Charles Savage of the New York Times on 19 January 2017.  This original full set of documents can be obtained from our own website here:  cia-documents-from-aclu

Our selection featured here is

cias-outsourcing-of-torture_-mitchell-jessen-and-assoc_and-killing-of-gul-rahman_from-764pg-aclu-foia-docs

This 20-page document describes the CIA’s outsourcing of torture initially to a pair of US psychologists: James Elmer Mitchell  and  John “Bruce” Jessen.  This dynamic duo later formed a partnership –  the consulting firm of Mitchell, Jessen and Associates.

SERE training camp at Fort Bragg. Captain Michael Kearns, Psychologist Bruce Jessen (right). SOURCE: Michael Kearns, Truthout.org, via Wikipedia

SERE training camp at Fort Bragg. Captain Michael Kearns, Psychologist Bruce Jessen (right). SOURCE: Michael Kearns, Truthout.org, via Wikipedia

According to the financial statements given by the CIA in the ACLU document trove, between 2001 and 2009, Mitchell and Jessen were paid $74,633,075.75 to teach “enhanced interrogation” methods to CIA operatives as well as, apparently guards and officers from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.  Mitchell and Associates had, at the time these documents were created, approximately 80 employees all “certified” to provide “expert” torture-enhanced interrogations as well as torture consulting services to the US military and the CIA.

Jessen was involved in the design and execution of the interrogation plan used against suspected  Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin operative Gul Rahman.   Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin is named after its leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a deranged Islamic fundamentalist once the darling of the US Government back when he was fighting the USSR-backed moderate Afghan Government in the late 1970s and early ’80s.  Once the Stalinist misleaders of the USSR pulled out of Afghanistan in an attempt to placate an increasingly belligerent US capitalist class, Hekmatyar began to turn on his erstwhile allies in the US.  The US policy of financing the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in order to use it as a battering ram against Soviet Central Asia and western China was a short-term solution that has turned into a long-term disaster for the US and especially for the women workers of the Near and Middle East.  The chickens came home to roost on 9/11 as another darling of Reagan-era anti-Sovietism, Osama Bin Laden, launched the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Our party is inspired by the work of the International Communist League/Spartacist League whose brilliant analysis and defense of of the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan stands as one of the greatest political achievements of the Trotskyist movement in history.  When the Sparts said “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan” in defense of the reformist pro-Soviet government that was trying to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century by fighting to end such horrors of Afghan tribal society as the buying and selling of brides and horrific enslavement of women, the entire reformist left howled in unison with the US and world imperialism, which backed the Afghan mullahs like Hekmatyar and Bin Laden.  We urge our readers to check out these brilliant writings of the Spartacist League/ICL on Afghanistan from 1979-80:17 November 1978. Sparts demonstrate what Trotskyist leadership is all about with crystal-clear analysis of Iranian Islamic counter-revolution.

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/workersvanguard/1978/0219_17_11_1978.pdf

Trotskyists principled internationalist Leninist defense of USSR intervention in Afghanistan.

Trotskyists of Spartacist League/ICL’s principled internationalist defense of USSR and its intervention in Afghanistan, Winter 1979-80.

 

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/spartacist-us/1972-1980/0027-0028_Winter_1979-80.pdf

Though there have been calls from several quarters to have these “war on terror” criminals brought to justice, as of this writing they are walking the streets as free men, enjoying the fruits of their labor in the service of the US capitalist class.  On 13 October 2015, the ACLU filed this lawsuit on behalf of the estate of Gul Rahman against Mitchell and Jessen:  salim_v-_mitchell_-_complaint_10-13-15

With bipartisan support among Democrats and Republicans for the aims and methods of the US “War on Terror” (which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people) and a long-standing refusal of either party to bring anyone involved in the CIA torture program up on criminal charges, it seems to us highly unlikely that Mitchell or Jessen – or any of their many US government collaborators – will see the inside of a well-deserved prison cell anytime soon.

The only way that the war criminals in the service of the US capitalist class will ever see justice is if the US working class overthrows this bloodthirsty ruling class and takes power into the workers’ own hands.  This will require a socialist revolution led by a Trotskyist vanguard party that creates an egalitarian socialist workers republic which will see to it that these criminals are brought face to face with a jury of their victims.  Donald Trump – a full-fledged representative of the venal, greed-mad US capitalist class, has repeatedly announced to the world his fondness for torture – a sentiment that would have shocked the “Founding Fathers” of the United States, whose bourgeois-revolutionary founding documents officially denounced “cruel and unusual punishments” like torture as a hideous relic of medieval barbarism and sought to end its practice for all time.  It is a sign of the depth of the degeneracy of the 21st-century heirs of Washington and Jefferson that the topmost representative of their class now threatens to “make torture great again”.

For decades the Trotskyists have warned the workers that if the working classes of the world do not organize themselves and overthrow the capitalist system, the result will be a descent into a barbarism even worse than that created by the world’s capitalist classes in World Wars I and II.  The time for the working class to organize for this final struggle against the last class of exploiters is getting short.  We must build revolutionary socialist workers parties NOW and put an end to the savagery of the capitalist system before it plunges the planet into a nuclear World War III in which the world – and for the first time the continental US – will see total destruction of its major cities and of hundreds of millions of workers.  This does not have to happen!

Workers of the World Unite!  Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

IWPCHI

 

Putin and Wikileaks Didn’t “Hack” US Presidential Election: Clinton A Lousy Candidate Defeated at Polls By 3rd Parties

The bourgeois press is at it again.

This time they are peddling one of the biggest US Government propaganda stories ever deliberately disseminated inside the USA: that the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin “hacked” “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM), throwing the election to their B.F.F. Donald Trump.

First of all it is the very height of hypocrisy for the United States Government to bitch and moan about how some third country intervened in the sacred territory of the US electoral process.  The United States Government has intervened, systematically, in every foreign election in practically every nation in the world since at least WWII, using its Central Intelligence Agency to do everything from hiring fascist goons to beat up leftists campaigning for working-class party candidates to assassinating heads of state!  In its massive, decades-long and ongoing campaigns to rig foreign elections in favor of those candidates who would protect the overseas investments of US capitalists, succeeding US imperialist governments of both Democrats and Republicans have rigged elections, bribed legislators, hired journalists to spread lies about candidates, hired thugs to attack opposition political leaders and their supporters, hired assassins to murder candidates and have hired entire military leaderships to overthrow their own “democratically-elected” governments and unleash murderous attacks on working-class parties, killing hundreds of thousands of workers all over the world, from Indonesia to El Salvador.  Edward Snowden, ex-CIA and NSA contract worker, through WikiLeaks, has proven to the world the extent of US Government spying on political leaders all over the world, from its opponents at the UN to its allies such as Angela Merkel in Germany.  The information acquired through the massive NSA spying apparatus is used to inform US government policy vis-a-vis these competing nation-states’ capital;ist classes and to identify and promote those politicians who are most willing to support the US capitalist class’ economic political and military objectives inside those countries and around the world.  For the US government – owned and operated by the top 10% of wealthy capitalists in the US – to complain about the immorality of Russia allegedly intervening in a US election is like listening to a convicted mass murderer complain about the shabby morals of his convicted mob hitman cellmate.

The mass propaganda operation being directed right now by the US Government of Democrat Barack Obama against Russia is intended primarily for domestic consumption.  Everyone in the rest of the world laughs at the obvious hypocrisy of the US Government; only in the USA are the workers so thoroughly uninformed about the long and inglorious record of massive US intervention in the electoral processes of other countries.  The purpose of the propaganda is to deflect growing unrest among the workers of the USA at their steeply declining standards of living into a campaign against the “evil empire” of Russia – the US government, of course, always being “the good guys”.

The fact is that the US capitalist class is losing political control of its own country, and has just been handed a partial defeat at the polls in spite of the US capitalists having purchased the election for their loyal servant – Hillary Rodham Clinton – to the tune of a billion dollars or so.  To be sure Donald Trump, being one of their own, will take quite good care of the interests of the 1%ers during the next four years, no doubt about it.  But the US capitalist class is enraged that their chosen candidate Clinton – upon whom they lavished hundreds of millions of dollars of campaign funds – was beaten decisively at the polls by that damned annoying working class, who somehow just could not stomach pulling the lever for as obvious a corrupt tool of the class enemy as Hillary Rodham Clinton.  The more they saw of her the less they liked her; she exudes insincerity when she appears in front of a working class audience, wearing expensive designer clothes in front of working-class audiences struggling to clothe themselves and their kids at resale shops.  For many intelligent workers, fed up with the massive corruption of the two main political parties, the only candidates worthy of their vote were the candidates of the third parties: libertarians, Greens and assorted independents and even socialists and “communists” – and so they voted accordingly.

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the bought-and-paid-for political shill of the US capitalist class.  The bankers and stockbrokers and CEOs and other assorted criminals that bankrolled Clinton are not used to not getting full value (and then some) on their “investments” in the political sphere.  And they are really pissed off that a couple of tiny political parties rendered the hundreds of millions of dollars they spent on Hillary’s coronation useless.  But they can’t admit that they are losing control of a political system that they have had a hammerlock on since George Washington was inaugurated; so they blame, not the third parties… they blame the whistleblowers, and the Russians!  “Putin, with the help of WikiLeaks stole our election!” they scream.   What a massive lie!  But then the USA is a phony democracy in which the working masses are brutally exploited and denied even basic human needs so that the rich can live like kings – and they call it “The Land of the Free”(TM) – so big lies, enormous, monstrous lies are told, must be told, in order to justify the continuation of the myth of “The American Dream”(TM).  US capitalism can’t be maintained in any other way; telling even part of the truth about it shatters it into a million pieces.

One of the biggest stories of “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM) was completely and deliberately buried by the capitalist press: 2016 was the year that the third parties came into their own.  It was the year in which millions of US workers overcame their traditional reluctance to vote for “lost cause” candidates in a Presidential election and voted FOR the third parties.  And it was this vote – which damaged both Trump and Clinton, but mostly Clinton – that overthrew the US capitalist class’ long planned and paid-for coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It really doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this is the case.  The election was lost by Hillary Clinton in a handful of traditional Democratic Party stronghold states.  In the closing weeks of the campaign, when it appeared to the Clinton camp that Hillary’s once-dominant lead over Trump in states like Michigan and Wisconsin was disappearing, HRC was hastily dispatched to kiss as many babies and shake as many hands as she could in those battleground states.  But then a funny thing happened: the more workers got to see her up close, the faster her support eroded.  In retrospect it might have been better for her to stay at one of her million-dollar homes rather than hit the campaign trail in the final weeks: her frantic, insincere pandering turned off precisely those wavering voters it was intended to shore up – and they voted third-party in small but crucially important numbers.

There were six states in which the third-party vote proved crucial to swinging the necessary electoral votes from Clinton to Trump:

Third-Party Candidates Defeated Clinton - Not Putin, Not WikiLeaks

Third-Party Candidates Defeated Clinton – Not Putin, Not WikiLeaks [Credit: IWPCHI]

These numbers tell the entire story.  In these six states – most of which have been Democratic Party strongholds for decades – the vote was almost evenly split between the two candidates of the capitalist-owned-and-operated Democratic and Republican parties.  But enough disaffected Clinton and Republican voters jumped ship to vote for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party or Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party that the vote was flipped in favor of the Republicans.

The Democrats are howling that “third-party voters” are traitors for voting for the candidates of their choice rather than for a candidate – Hillary Rodham Clinton – that they abhorred.  What could be more absurd?  Workers have a right to vote for whomever they wish to vote for.  If your party runs a candidate that they feel does not represent their interests – and Hillary Rodham Clinton, like Donald Trump, certainly does NOT represent the interests of the working class – then those voters have a right to vote for someone else.  In the US – unlike in Europe and much of the world, where Parliamentary systems allow for minor parties to win seats in the national legislatures and to join coalitions in return for influencing major pending legislation  – voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning has long been considered to be “throwing away your vote”.  But this year the level of disgust with the two main parties reached such a level that millions of workers threw off that mental block against voting third-party and voted to break the stranglehold the two main parties have on the national political scene.  We believe it is the beginning of the end for the two-party system in the USA – a vitally important step forward for the working class in the USA.  In fact so long as workers only have two pro-capitalist parties to choose from, the working class can only lose in every election.  This is why we have founded this party: to  build for the working class a party that will defend the interests of the working class in all cases, against all enemies.  If workers want a decent future for their children we must build a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that fights to overthrow the capitalist system of war, poverty, racism and unemployment and replaces it with an egalitarian socialist workers republic in which all the basic human needs – food, clothing, shelter, education and health care – are no longer privileges granted to us – or not – by the wealthy landlord and capitalist class – but are guaranteed to all under a new socialist constitution.

The Democrats also complain about how the Electoral College “ripped off” the voters by giving the election to Trump, who lost the popular vote by several million votes.  It is true that the Electoral College is a rip off, and that it does repudiate one of the principle and supposedly fundamental elements of bourgeois democracy – that every vote counts and that the majority rules by popular consent.  But as revolutionary Trotskyists we must point out: capitalist bourgeois democracy has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “MAJORITY RULE”.  Bourgeois democracy is a form of phony democracy in which the system is rigged to “look” democratic, but in reality it is a mechanism designed to ensure that it is not the majority who rules, but the tiny minority of wealthy capitalists who rule!  The Electoral College WAS DESIGNED PRECISELY TO REPUDIATE the votes of the masses when we vote against the vital private property interests of the capitalist minority.   In other words, the Electoral College system worked as designed – to protect the capitalist aristocracy’s interests against all efforts of the working masses to fully participate in the national government.  Proof of this lies in the fact that, in spite of the fact that the Libertarians, Greens and other parties polled roughly 4-5% of the vote, they won not one seat in either house of Congress!  And so it was a smashing victory once again for the capitalist class of the USA, which won its 45th consecutive Presidential election.  Once again, the working class – which to this day refuses to build itself a workers party worthy of the name – lost a national election.  Yet again we have a government in which the working class – which makes up over 70% of the population – HAS NOT ONE REPRESENTATIVE IN THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!

It is this that the US Government’s propaganda against “Russian hacking” of “The 2016 US Presidential Election”(TM)  is intended to cover up – with a thick, wet blanket of donkey and elephant manure.  The US capitalist class and its paid propagandists in the US press corps do not want you to dwell on the fact that it was the rebellion against the two major US capitalist political parties by ex-Democratic and Republican voters in the form of their vote for third parties that cost Hillary Clinton her coronation.  Because to admit this happened is to point the attention of US workers in the direction of the one possible solution to the steadily declining standard of living that faces them: workers MUST BUILD UP A WORKERS PARTY THAT CAN WIN LOCAL, STATE AND NATIONAL ELECTIONS!  Only this way can we even begin to fight for our rights against the legions of paid lackeys of the rich who are either members of state and national legislatures or lobbying those elected tools of the bourgeoisie.  Only when we have our own revolutionary Trotskyist workers party can we stop merely “speaking truth to power” and finally take power into the hands of the rightful rulers – the true majority – the working class!

—IWPCHI

 

 

For Trotskyist Political Revolution to Defend and Extend the Gains of the Cuban Revolution! A Response to Ross Wolfe

We republish our response to Ross Wolfe’s

Fidel Castro on the Frankfurt School

— a disgusting anti-communist rant slandering late Stalinist revolutionary leader Fidel Castro which he published on his sometimes interesting but ultimately reactionary blog “The Charnel-House”.

Pretending to be a form of Trotskyism, “State-capitalists” are those who, like the International Socialist Organization (ISO) in the USA, espouse the belief that the USSR, China and all the Stalinist/Maoist workers states (which Trotsky accurately described as “deformed workers states” that should be defended at all costs as historic gains of the workers’ movement) are in fact a new form of capitalist state that should be completely overthrown.  When the USSR collapsed it was one of the greatest defeats the working classes of the world ever suffered; the “State-capitalists” – along with the capitalist classes and the fascists of the world – celebrated its self-immolation.  We warn the workers of the world: those who call themselves “state-capitalists” are among the greatest enemies of the working class and have always proven in the end to be among the staunchest defenders of capitalism as the “lesser evil” in comparison to Stalinism.  They pretend to be Trotskyists but are unalterably opposed to Trotsky’s concept that the USSR was a bloc of bureaucratized, deformed workers states that had overthrown capitalism and therefore should be defended by the Trotskyists worldwide; he called for only a POLITICAL revolution to oust the bureaucracy in favor of a more democratic socialist workers republic.

Ever since the historic workers and peasants revolution led by Lenin’s Bolsheviks in 1917 whether or not they defended the USSR  has been a litmus test for all so-called “Marxist” workers parties.  “Those who can not defend old conquests will never make new ones” is a quote attributed to Trotsky in relation to this controversy.  When the USSR collapsed all the phony “workers parties” in the world celebrated this historic defeat for the workers of the world.  They pretend today that the “Defense of the USSR” is a moot point; in fact, as even such a relatively minor event as the death of Fidel Castro shows, any party’s response to “The Russian Question” (as it was known until the collapse of the USSR) enables us to make a very accurate characterization of the extent of their revolutionary Leninist/Trotskyist principles (or, more often, the lack thereof).

Unfortunately we do not have time to go into this in more detail.  We recommend that you read Trotsky’s  “In Defense of Marxism” (IDOM) which is a series of articles and letters Trotsky wrote attacking the Burnham/Schactman faction in the then-revolutionary Socialist Workers Party (SWP) of the US.  Trotsky succinctly describes the reasons why the USSR had to be defended by revolutionary Marxist/Leninists in  “Again and Once More Again on the Nature of the USSR”

which is included in IDOM.

— IWPCHI

Thank you Ross Wolfe, et al, for once again confirming Trotsky’s warning to workers not to follow the “state-capitalist” road. It leads to outright political disorientation and to counterrevolutionary collaboration with the capitalist class.

Castro was a Stalinist, yes. Like most people on the planet he was not a “red diaper baby”. He was forced to embrace Stalinism when the United States made it clear that there would be no acceptance of the Cuban revolution by the US capitalist class and their allies. Yet Castro must be considered to have been one of the great – if massively contradictory – revolutionary leaders of the 20th century. The Cuban Revolution transformed Cuba from being the “whorehouse of the Caribbean” to being one of the most egalitarian and civilized nation states in the entire Western Hemisphere – indeed, in the world! Even the most cursory comparison between Cuba and Haiti or the Dominican Republic – or even Puerto Rico or vast swathes of the USA – proves the superiority of even a backward Stalinist bureaucratic regime to the typical brutal satrapies of the capitalist nation-states of the region – or even that capitalist monstrosity of monstrosities the United States itself! Anyone who cannot see the tremendous gains the Cuban workers and peasants made under the – (perhaps it would be more precise to call it “Khruschevized”) – Castro regime as compared to what they suffered under the Batista regime is absolutely blind!

Attempting an analysis of the deeply contradictory nature of a phenomenon such as a Stalinized workers state is where the dialectical materialist method proves its indispensability. An analysis of the contradictory nature of a Stalinist workers state cries out for the nuanced and very comprehensive analysis only made possible through use of the dialectical materialist method as taught by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. The death of Castro provides a litmus test of every “Trotskyist”‘s ability to utilize this method of analysis in the same way that a successful solo crossing of the Atlantic by sailboat using only the most essential manual tools for navigation proves the skill of a sailor. You, Ross Wolfe and Ashmeet Teemsha – and all your “State-Capitalist” co-thinkers – have once again failed the test comprehensively. By now you should have learned that your “state-capitalist” analysis of the USSR and its progeny is rotten through-and-through. That you have not done so demonstrates your profound inadequacy as proletarian leadership material. Your chosen vessel – let’s call it “Burnham’s Folly” (with its obviously rotten, worm-eaten hull) – has never made , will never make – it CAN NOT MAKE its pretended destination!

Like all Stalinists, Castro was a man of many contradictions. Pursuing revolutionary socialist reconstruction of the Cuban economy one year and then breaking bread with the Pope the next. Praising Allende one year and standing side-by-side with his murderer and the butcher of the Chilean working class Pinochet later. This is where the anti-Marxist and nationalistic ideology of Stalinism leads: to make unprincipled blocs with the class enemy in all its forms over and over again.

But to claim that Stalinism is entirely counterrevolutionary – as Trotsky patiently explained – is absurd even on the face of things. Capitalism was indeed overthrown in Cuba and a Stalinist bureaucracy erected to defend then gains of that revolution which was, unlike the USSR’s, deformed at birth. The Castroists pursued the typical course of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union which the Cuban Stalinist bureaucracy was modeled after: a zig-zag course full of unprincipled compromises and the occasional outburst of honorable internationalist impulses, as demonstrated in the heroic Cuban effort in Angola. To call Castro and his regime “counterrevolutionary” through and through and to refuse to recognise and defend the very real gains of the Stalinized Cuban Workers and Peasants’ revolution is to make a mockery of Marxist analysis. It is to place oneself FAR OUTSIDE the revolutionary Trotskyist movement and on a trajectory identical to that of arch-counterrevolutionary James Burnham.

In what way are your anti-Castro and anti-Stalinist statements to be distinguished from those of the most virulently anticommunist capitalists, or even the fascists? “Fidel Castro, Sta­lin­ist butcher and en­emy of the work­ers, is dead. [Good fucking riddance.”] The work­ing class won’t be happy un­til the last bur­eau­crat is hung with the in­test­ines of the last cap­it­al­ist.” This is not Trotskyism. It is pure, rabid, emotional anticommunism. Anti-Stalinism taken to an absurd length; where the well-engineered and time-tested tools that enable one to make a rational, carefully considered dialectical materialist analysis are tossed aside and replaced with cheaper, poorly crafted non-dialectical tools that can only create outrageously hysterical emotional outbursts. Using those cheap tools to craft your “analysis” of the Cuban revolution and one of its principal leaders, you find yourselves standing on a creaky platform of your own construction among your co-thinkers in the anti-communist Cuban gusano exile community in places like Miami, Florida; your words and theirs almost identical. You try to win these rotten elements over to your side politically by utilizing their entirely subjective and pro-capitalist analysis of Cuba in place of a scientific, Trotskyist dialectical materialist analysis. And you poison the minds of the workers by pretending to be Marxist revolutionaries – Trotskyists even! – while howling along with the anticommunist mobs chanting slogans indistinguishable from those of even the fascists.

Immediately after Castro died, we warned the working class to keep an eye out for those who are seeking to utilize the death of Fidel Castro as an opportunity for slandering him and the Cuban deformed Stalinist workers state, as these people thereby expose themselves as the mortal enemies of the working class they truly are. You have taken up your rightful position as such enemies of the working class and this lesson must never be – will never be – forgotten by young proletarians who are seeking to lead the workers of the world to the long-delayed (principally by fake-Marxist “leaders” like you!) final victory over the capitalist class. In the last analysis, today’s State Capitalist “Marxists” will prove to be as counterrevolutionary as were all the “state-caps” that came before them. You are headed down the road of the repulsive anticommunist James Burnham, not the road of Lenin and Leon Trotsky. You are well on your way to a rapprochement with “the lesser evil” capitalist class and their bribed lackeys. Some of you made that deal long, long ago and are deliberately trying to destroy the workers movement by spreading your anti-Trotskyist poison. The working class has no use for “leaders” like you! Be on your way! And “good fucking riddance”!

Workers: Defend the Cuban Revolution! For Trotskyist political revolution in Cuba to Defend and Extend the Gains of the Cuban Revolution Throughout the Americas!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

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