Category Archives: History

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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Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence – Transcript

We publish here our transcription of the post-performance address given on behalf of the cast and writers of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on 18 November 2016.  We produced it from the New York Times video copy of the event.  Though it appears that actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the address on behalf of the cast and writers of the show, made somewhat more extensive remarks, the video ends before he appears to finish his statement.  We have been unable to find a copy of the video which shows the entire event through to the cast walking off the stage.

Many people on the Internet are decrying the fact that actors would dare to break the “fourth wall” between the audience and the performers in a stage performance in this manner and act as if this has never been done before.  Actually it has happened on many occasions, particularly before and after performances.  Also there have been commentators who seem to believe that the address to Pence was some kind of rude political attack intended to embarrass or humiliate Pence.  In reality, Mr. Dixon took great pains to stop any booing of Pence at the beginning of the address and delivered the address in a very respectful if direct manner.  The video shows that if anyone objected to the cast addressing Pence so directly they were in the minority: the vast majority of the audience cheers loudly in favor of the political points that are made.

The political points made by Dixon on behalf of the cast simply consist of pathetic appeals to a man who has been appointed Vice-President by the new President-elect Trump who is busy assembling the whitest, most male-dominated Presidential cabinet in almost 40 years!  “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir ” said Dixon.

What a fine example of the impotent method of political shucking and jiving (preferred by US liberals) of “speaking truth to power” in the manner of an obedient if somewhat uppity servant who first declares his respect for the person he is addressing and then makes a pathetic plea to the King’s representative for compassion and understanding of the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and dispossessed – just as it would have been done during the historic period in which ‘Hamilton’ is set!   The US working class is almost 200 million strong… yet once again we see a de facto representative of the US working class approaching his “social betters” – the capitalist class representative Pence, representing a mere 10% of the US population at best! – hat in hand, pathetically begging our “masters” to treat us kindly… rather than taking the revolutionary road of standing up and overthrowing the racist ruling capitalist class of the USA that Trump and Pence represent!  The numerically tiny US capitalist class who fantasize about returning the USA to the “Good Old Days(TM)” of genocide against the Native Americans and the theft of their lands, white supremacy, total subordination of women to “the menfolk”, slavery and child labor and the ruthless crushing of every attempt of the workers and slaves to fight for their “inalienable rights” that existed – then and now – only on paper!   The fact is that the integrated US working class in 2016 and our immigrant sisters and brothers have no rights that the capitalist class is “bound to respect”; and the fact that the US capitalist class has seen fit to allow Donald Trump and his gang of white supremacist scum to occupy the highest office in the land proves this point beyond doubt!  Anyone who can’t see this is either willfully blind or an imbecile.

What the US working class needs is not shameful “representatives” who present shamefully weak petitions to the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class but heroic revolutionaries like Lenin’s Bolsheviks who presented their petitions to the Tsar and his hangmen on the ends of bayonets!  These scum who want to impose a racist, capitalist, white supremacist pig like Trump as President of the United States are throwing down a gauntlet to the working classes of the US and the world!  “If you don’t like living in our racist, white supremacist, anti-union America you can get the hell out of ‘our’ country!” they declare!  And they are preparing to unleash their fascist shock troops to intimidate and terrorize those who dare to oppose them!  The rising US fascist threat must be crushed in the egg; it will take a militant, Trotskyist-led workers movement to do it – and the US working class have barely begun that tremendous work!  Don’t you think it’s high time you got off your knees and started to fight for your rights, sister and brother workers instead of begging your mortal enemies to love you and respect you?

This is no time for presenting timid petitions to King Drumpf I, but for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will fight for an egalitarian socialist workers republic to replace this deeply corrupt, senile, revanchist, racist dinosaur US capitalist class and its rotten economic system that is threatening to destroy the unity of the world’s working classes and even the entire planet!  You want your rights as citizens to be defended now and forever more?  Then stop begging your enemies to do it for you and prepare to create a revolutionary workers government under which your “inalienable rights” – which exist only on paper under capitalism – to become full and permanent under a workers’ republican government!  When we say that “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!” we are not just spouting a slogan: we are stating a harsh fact, one which you had better come to understand before it’s too late.  To limit the US working class – 200 million strong – to the pathetic role of merely “speaking truth to power” – the alleged “power” of at most 30 million greedhead capitalists – is to accept the status of loyal slaves and to make it a permanent fact of our political lives!  What could be more cowardly?  We don’t want to petition “King Trump” or merely to “speak truth to power” to his flunky ministers like Pence: we want to overthrow the despotic racist regime itself:  Trump and his entire rotten class and their capitalist system.   If the revolutionaries of 1776 had stupidly limited their struggle to merely “speaking truth to power” we’d still be living under a monarchy!  But they were NOT cowards; they were not content to “keep their place” as loyal subjects of the King, being forced to accede to his every decree and command like stupid slaves!  We need to build a political party of the working class that is energised by the same kind of revolutionary spirit that animated the likes of immigrant political theoretician Thomas Paine, Daniel Shays, John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the communist men and women who fought to build the US trade unions and the civil rights movement in the 1930s!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

— IWPCHI

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NY Times Video – Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Addresses VP Elect Mike Pence After Performance – Complete transcript by IWPCHI, with notes in brackets by IWPCHI.

[Transcribed by IWPCHI from NY Times video of event. Speech delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon]

[Cast on stage taking final bows. Wild applause and cheering. Pence not visible during video.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening [light laughter throughout audience] And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments [one or two people boo, and apparently derisive comments anticipating tenor of speech can be heard] … there’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen; there’s nothing to boo here [light applause] we’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a little message for you sir [Dixon reaches for prepared address in his pocket] and we hope that you will hear us out. [Opens up paper with prepared address and prepares to read it] … and I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and Tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, O.K.? [Reads: audience completely silent] ‘Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical”. We really do. We, sir – we – are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us [applause and cheering, some boos] our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. [Audience silent again]. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of *all* of us. [Cheering] *All* of us. [Loud, sustained applause and cheering from audience. No booing. Dixon continues through loud applause:] Again we truly thank you for sharing this show: this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [Loud applause and cheering. Video ends.]

IWPCHI

 

Capital hand in hand with Labor! As true in 1899 as it is today.

Capital hand in hand with labor! by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing "labor" to a rock.

“Capital hand in hand with labor!  “If there is anything the matter with Trusts the Republican Party can be relied upon to fix it.” — Hanna.” by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing “labor” to a rock.  Source: Library of Congress

 

We are pleased to present to you our dear readers this political cartoon from 1899 extolling the warm relationship of capital and labor as partners with identical interests.  Our “friends” at the AFL-CIO headquarters  will undoubtedly be upset to see their “partners” the capitalists portrayed in such a harsh light.  It gets harder and harder every day for them to sell their lie that workers and their exploiters are natural allies; we are so happy to make their work just that much more difficult.

The cartoon was created by Horace Taylor on 13 November 1899 and shows John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust political fixer Mark Hanna of the Republican Party “shaking hands” in partnership with a worker.  The Library of Congress lists this artwork as part of their collection, but for some strange reason they do not offer a color reproduction (or any downloadable high-resolution image) of this honest depiction of the true relationship between capital and labor.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Workers of the world, Unite!

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

— IWPCHI

 

Defend North Korea! N. Korean Bureaucratic Workers State Carries Out Another Successful Nuclear Test

On 9 September, seismic sensors around the world detected what appeared to be an earthquake of magnitude 5.0 on the Korean peninsula in North Korea.  It was determined to have been not an earthquake but a nuclear explosion – an underground nuclear test carried out by the North Korean bureaucratic workers state as part of their ongoing efforts to develop an effective nuclear deterrent to oppose US imperialist plans to destabilize and overthrow the North Korean workers state.

As Trotskyists we have always defended those countries in which the capitalist class and their economic system have been overthrown and replaced with a planned socialist economy.  While we oppose the Stalinist, Maoist and Il Sungist bureaucracies that have usurped political power from the working class in all these states and call for workers political revolution to depose the bureaucracies and to establish true workers democracies, we defend unconditionally all these workers states against imperialist attack.  In a war between North Korea and its puppet client state S. Korea, we would call for the defeat of the US.  This is why we say: Defend North Korea!  US/UN/NATO hands off the Korean Peninsula!

Predictably, this latest successful nuclear test carried out by the Pyongyang government – the largest so far, and apparently evidence that the North Koreans may have successfully developed a small nuclear warhead that can be deployed on North Korea’s ballistic missiles – has caused the US capitalist class, its anti-communist government and its owned-and-operated propaganda outlets to scream bloody murder.  The US capitalist class is still furious that, despite their unleashing of mass-murder during the Korean War – in which as many as 3 million Koreans were murdered – the US was forced to accept the partitioning of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a bastion of socialism in the new nation of North Korea.  The US capitalist class seeks to reverse the historic victory of the North Korean working class over US imperialism by imposing brutal economic sanctions against this tiny country that has never threatened the US in any way – except by denying the US capitalist call the “right” to brutally exploit and squeeze profits from the North Korean working class.  We say: End the sanctions against North Korea now!

The rabidly hostile US government propaganda being spread by all US mass media outlets against the North Koreans’ obvious right to defend their country reveals the depth of US government control of the supposedly “free press” in the USA.  The North Koreans are not delusional when they claim that their development of a nuclear arsenal is vitally necessary in order to protect their working class from annihilation at the hands of the most blood-drenched capitalist regime in world history: the USA.  The US committed mass-murder on the Korean peninsula during the Korean War, deliberately slaughtering millions of peasants and civilians.  US military war criminals bragged about their having bombed Korea so thoroughly that not one building over 2 stories tall was left standing from the Chinese border to the border of the artificially created South Korean US puppet state.  The only way for North Korea to effectively defend their nation-state from the serial mass-murderers in Washington, D.C. is to develop a nuclear deterrent.  We salute the North Korean bureaucratized workers state on their historic achievement of the development of their nuclear arsenal.

The Korean War never actually ended – it ended in an armistice – and the US has continuously launched provocations against the North Koreans through endless military “war games” carried out right on the border of North Korea.  Some of the recent US threats carried out in these military exercises included flying numerous B-52s in simulated nulear bombing runs aimed directly at the North Korean border which veered away from their bombing runs just before entering North Korean airspace!  Just imagine what the US’ reaction would be if Russia or China carried out such activities in the coastal waters of Alaska!  This constant state of threats to blow away North Korea in a  full-scale invasion underscores not just the North Koreans right to defend themselves by any means necessary but the absolute necessity of their developing the only kind of military deterrent the US seems to understand: a nuclear arsenal.

The “lesser evil” Democratic Party – like the Republican Party, wholly owned and operated by the US capitalist class – goes literally ballistic every time North Korea tests a new weapons system.  Having created a situation in which North Korea must spend a huge proportion of their national wealth on military weapons, the US and its equally repulsive allies excoriates North Korea for imposing “starvation conditions” on their own population!  Then, to turn the screws even tighter, the Democratic Party administration of war criminal Barack Obama – and the obviously already “elected” Hillary Clinton – hypocritically utilize the North Koreans’ wholly justified imposed necessity for military spending as “justification” for the imposition of even more stringent economc sanctions against North Korea!  Meanwhile the Maoists in Beijing, whose fake “Communist Party” bureaucracy is slowly restoring capitalism in China – refuses to tell the US to back off or lose their assets in China.  China must defend North Korea at all costs!  The US attacks against North Korea are ultimately aimed at the overthrow of the Chinese bureaucratized workers state – in fact that is the primary target of the US in its imperialist “pivot to Asia”!

We call for workers political revolution in North Korea because we understand that, as with the Stalinists who proved to be the gravediggers of the USSR when they sold out the world’s first union of socialist republics, the bizarre nationalist  Il Sungist hereditary socialist bureaucracy is incapable of defending the North Korean workers state indefinitely.  Once the Stalinists gave up the revolutionary Marxist principle of internationalism in favor of building “socialism in one country” the USSR was doomed to suffer the restoration of capitalism.  In order for socialism to be truly successful and to develop into actual communism, capitalism must first be overthrown throughout the world.  The Stalinists and Maoists as well as the Il Sungists have abandoned revolutionary Marxist internationalism in favor of seeking an unattainable “peaceful coexistence” with the capitalist world.  Having done that, all they can do is to slowly surrender the historic gains of their workers revolutions to the imperialists in exchange for “peace”.  This piecemeal selling off of state assets to the capitalists leads to the development of a capitalist class inside the workers states, and to the wholesale corruption and bribery of state officaldom.  Unless the working classes of the workers states overthrow the bureaucracies in these bureaucratized workers states in a pro-socialist workers political revolution and return to the road of Lenin and Trotsky, capitalism will be restored in all of these workers states.  That – as with the collapse of the Soviet Union – would be a tremendous defeat for the workers of the world.  We call for Trotskyist workers political revolution in North Korea and all the workers states!

In order to give the North Koreans the opportunity to have their side of the story told, we republish the “official” announcement of the North Korean government press regarding their latest nuclear test as well as another Korean Central News Agency report issued on Sept. 9th.

Defend North Korea!  US/UN/NATO hands off North Korea! Drop the Sanctions against North Korea now!

— IWPCHI

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[Source for both articles:  http://www.kcna.kp]

DPRK Succeeds in Nuclear Warhead Explosion Test

Pyongyang, September 9 (KCNA) — The Nuclear Weapons Institute of the DPRK made public the following statement Friday:
Scientists and technicians of the DPRK carried out a nuclear explosion test for the judgment of the power of a nuclear warhead newly studied and manufactured by them at the northern nuclear test ground under the plan of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) for building strategic nuclear force.
The Central Committee of the WPK sent warm congratulations to nuclear scientists and technicians of the northern nuclear test ground on the successful nuclear warhead explosion test.
The nuclear test finally examined and confirmed the structure and specific features of movement of nuclear warhead that has been standardized to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets of the Hwasong artillery units of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army as well as its performance and power.
It was confirmed through the results of analysis of the test that the measured values including explosion might and the nuclear material usage coefficient conformed with the calculated values and that there was no radioactive materials leakage during the test and, therefore, no adverse impact on the ecological environment of the surroundings.
The standardization of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power with a firm hold on the technology for producing and using various fissile materials. This has definitely put on a higher level the DPRK’s technology of mounting nuclear warheads on ballistic rockets.
The nuclear warhead explosion test is a demonstration of the toughest will of the WPK and the Korean people to get themselves always ready to retaliate against the enemies if they make provocation as it is part of practical countermeasures to the racket of threat and sanctions against the DPRK kicked up by the U.S.-led hostile forces who have gone desperate in their moves to find fault with the sovereign state’s exercise of the right to self-defence while categorically denying the DPRK’s strategic position as a full-fledged nuclear weapons state.
The DPRK will take further measures to bolster the state nuclear force in quality and quantity for safeguarding its dignity and right to existence and genuine peace from the U.S. increasing threat of a nuclear war. -0-
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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Blasts Anti-DPRK Invective of U.S. Official

Pyongyang, September 9 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the Institute for American Studies of the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK gave the following answer to the question raised by KCNA Friday in connection with the fact that the deputy security advisor of the National Security Council of the White House again made remarks slandering the DPRK:
The deputy security adviser at a press conference in Vientiane spouted vituperations that they will have to be more awakened to implement sanctions against north Korea, adding that if north Korea abandons nuclear and ballistic missile programme, the U.S. may think over.
It is the shining fruition of the self-reliance and self-development that the DPRK ranked itself with dignity among the military powers, being possessed of perfect nuclear attack capabilities despite the toughest sanctions of the U.S.-led hostile forces.
The U.S. intensified hostile policy and hideous nuclear threat and blackmail only resulted in making the DPRK bolster its nuclear attack capabilities in a phased way.
The U.S. desperate moves for unilaterally putting sanctions and stifling the DPRK are a hideous crime against humanity aimed at subversion of a social system of a sovereignty country as they violate the right to development and existence of the country.
The U.S.-touted UN Security Council’s “resolutions on sanctions” against the DPRK assume the nature of reprisal banned by international law and, therefore, they are nothing but criminal documents devoid of impartiality, lawfulness and morality.
The U.S. is calling for tightening sanctions and pressure on the DPRK while trying to deploy THAAD in south Korea but it is nothing but a sigh of losers taken aback by the tremendous military capabilities of the DPRK.
The DPRK’s line of simultaneously developing the two fronts is a strategic line to be constantly held fast to as long as the imperialists’ nuclear threat and arbitrary practices go on, and if one thinks the DPRK can change its road, it is a pipedream.
The U.S. should never underestimate the tremendous mental power and inexhaustible might of the DPRK. The U.S. will be made to clearly see how the DPRK rises imposingly out of chains of sanctions, blockade and pressure. -0-

Labor Day 2016: “Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

The following selection from the labor press of the AFL back in 1904 will show that there once was a time when even the class-collaborationist and hidebound AFL of Samuel Gompers understood – in direct contradiction to the fundamental belief of today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” – that the interests of labor and capital were fundamentally opposed to each other.  “Let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class.” So spoke the AFL back in 1904!

This article, which makes an eloquent plea for the necessity of the establishment of an independent labor press if the cause of the working class was to be fairly represented in the mass media, was written 112 years ago – and for the most part could have been written yesterday.  The need for such a press is just as important today as it was then, although in 1904 there were dozens of labor papers in existence scattered throughout the US.  In 2016, apart from the revolutionary socialist press that fights for the cause of the working class – but is almost completely ignored by the mass of slavish US workers – there is no labor press at all.  This is because the pro-capitalist AFL-CIO, whose affiliated locals once recognized the need for and published dozens of such papers, is now led by such a gang of housebroken puppets of the capitalist class that this crying need of the working class goes totally unanswered.   ———— IWPCHI

From the ‘Ohio Valley Worker’ – the ‘Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.’ [Kentucky and Indiana, USA] – Volume I, Number 33, 10 September 1904

INDEPENDENT LABOR PRESS A NECESSITY

Labor Given the Knife by the Great Molders of Public Opinion.

The Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented.

No argument is needed to convince the intelligent observer of passing events of the growing need of a labor press that has no entangling alliances with any of the agencies which have undertaken the task of emasculating the labor unions or destroying them entirely. The most superficial reader of the daily press is quick to notice the manner in which the news agencies of the world are continuously and forever giving Labor the worst of it in every conceivable manner. The Associated Press, the chief news-gathering agency in America, is made up of one or more daily papers in the various cities of the country, and the stuff put upon the wires and known as the Associated Press dispatches is usually gleaned from the matter prepared for these local papers. Very often a proof of the matter set up for the daily papers is supplied the [sic – IWPCHI] Associated Press correspondent, and often, without any corrections or changes whatever, the matter is telegraphed all over the country and appears in all papers receiving the press report as Associated Press dispatches.

The foregoing recital is made for the purpose of showing that, while the Associated Press if damned for false stories, especially in nearly all cases where there is a strike or other controversy between Capital and Labor, in reality the blame rests upon the daily papers, whose reporters, acting under instructions, have juggled the facts so as to make it appear that Labor is wrong and that the employers are persecuted saints. To be sure, the daily paper merely serves its master in this. It looks to the “business interests,” the banks, corporations, manufacturers, and large employers of labor generally for its support. And, obeying the impulse to defend the class-interest of the element to which it belongs, the daily paper uses all its powers to thwart organized labor, confuse the union membership, and help the employers to a victory that means no improvement in the condition of the workers.

The facts above stated are so patent, and are being more and more recognized by wage-earners, as the days come and go, that we deem an extended mention thereof to be superficial were it not for the moral the story contains.

Under the circumstances what is Labor to do? Must it docilely submit to the fate of inaction? Shall it cower and cringe before the public gaze because it has been lied about and vilified – and whipped back to the factory, shop or mill through the misrepresentation of men in control of the daily press, whose economic interests are opposed to those of the workers? No! There is a better solution of the problem. The thing to do is to build up a LABOR press – owned by Labor and controlled by Labor. Through your own press, fellow-workers, you may become powerful, but not otherwise. With a medium that is under your ownership and control your organization may become a power not now more than dreamed of. To establish and make secure such a Labor press is the duty of the hour. You must have your own medium to give utterance to your demands, crystallize the sentiment that may be created in your favor, and finally do battle for you in every conflict in which you may be engaged.

THE WORKER is the only paper within several hundred miles of Louisville that is organized and established on the right basis. It is the only one that is democratically owned by the forces of Labor, and therefore is the only medium through which the favors of those friendly to Labor ever reach the point for which they are intended. It is the only genuine Labor paper.

Everyone who reads the Louisville daily papers will recall that within the past couple of years they vied with each other in their efforts to get up a union labor department. Regularly each week a column or two was devoted to the news of the unions. Where are these departments now? When they have not entirely disappeared they have dwindled to virtually nothing. This is a manifestation of the studied purpose of the Employers’ Association and all its friends to give no recognition to organized labor except to oppose and belittle this great movement. A representative of one of the daily papers, in a semi-confidential manner, gave the writer the tip several months ago that from that time on there would be less labor union news in the city daily papers than has been customary to give. Events have proven that he knew whereof he spoke. Labor is to be ignored – or, if given any consideration at all, it is to be given the knife.

Again, let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class. We do not blame the employers for defending their interests, but the workers MUST awaken to a proper defense of THEIR interests, and this can be done only by and through the press which they own and control, and not through the press that almost without exception gives Labor the hot end of it in every great issue and on every great question.

Set up and support your own press and keep it true to its purpose. Therein lies your only safeguard, fellow-unionists.

[Emphasis given in capitalized words in original – IWPCHI]

Labor Day, 2016: Once Upon A Time, The US Had “Labor Newspapers”… Lots of Them

On this “Labor Day” weekend we are reminded of the terrible state of the union movement in the USA.  Under the pro-capitalist leadership of the AFL-CIO since the anti-communist witch-hunts led by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy back in the ’50s drove the commies out of the unions, the percentage of the US working class holding union cards has steadily dwindled.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and trotskyist leadership; collapsed when "Reds" were driven out of unions in late 1940s.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and Trotskyist leadership; collapsed when “Reds” were driven out of unions in late 1940s.  Wealth distribution towards top of income pyramid shows distinct inverse relationship to percentage of workers in higher-paid union jobs. Anticommunist, pro-capitalist AFL-CIO “leadership” has overseen 65 years of almost unbroken failure to organize the unorganized.  Time to dump these bums and build a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership in the unions!

Today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” regales the membership with the lie that “the interests of labor and capital are one and the same”.  Look at point one in the following AFL-CIO handout:

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about "unity of interests" of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these "labor lieutenants of capital" at the helm?

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about “unity of interests” of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these “labor lieutenants of capital” at the helm?  Every word of this document is pure bullshit, sowing illusions that workers can get a fair deal under the capitalist system.

It wasn’t always this way.  In the late 19th and the early years of the 20th century US workers and their union leaders understood that the interests of capital and labor were directly COUNTERPOSED and IRRECONCILABLE.  Union leadership in those days was full of anarchists, socialists and (after 1917) Communists inspired by the Bolshevik Russian Revolution.  Though the top AFL-CIO leaders like Sam Gompers were hidebound pro-capitalist quislings, many of the local unions had more left-leaning leaders who taught that the working class could expect nothing but a knife in the back from the capitalist class – and their media outlets, which in the early days of the union movement before radio and television meant just one thing: the newspapers.  And so, in order for the truth about the union movement to be broadcast to the masses, the socialist parties and later on the AFL-CIO itself began publishing newspapers telling the workers’ side of the story.  From union and socialist and anarchist strongholds like the lumber and mining unions in the Pacific Northwest to the shores of the Atlantic, union newspapers were created.  Where once the US produced perhaps dozens of daily socialist, anarchist and trade-unionist newspapers none are in existence today.   Outside of the important revolutionary socialist papers that struggle to obtain the support of the slavish, pro-capitalist US working class of today (and can only publish weekly or biweekly or monthly as a result) the US has not a single pro-union daily newspaper!  What is wrong with this country and its working class?   Here is a selection of papers we ran across today as we checked out the archives at  Newspapers.com:

The Knights of Labor, Richmond, Virginia, 1886: “That is the Most Perfect Government in Which An Injury To One Is the Concern Of All.”

Richmond, VA K of L paper_'The Labor Herald'_ 17jul1886

The Knights of Labor were originally organized as a secret society at a time when union organizing was punished as a “conspiracy” of labor against the “rightful rulers” of the USA.  Having just emerged from secrecy in 1886 during the rapid rise of the “Eight-Hour Day” movement, the K of L were driven back underground in the wake of the vicious anti-union attacks led by the US capitalist class and their press in revenge for the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago that took place in May of 1886.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois “Progressive Farmer” of the Farmer’s Mutual Benefit Association (FMBA), 1895

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. (Some things never change!) The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association, though not a trade union, was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

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Even small towns like Elwood, Indiana had their own labor papers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany and Jeffersonville Indiana’s “Ohio Valley Worker”, 1904: “The Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of. This one features a poem dedicated to Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs.

 

Greensboro, North Carolina “Labor News”, 1908: “Organ of the State Federation of Labor.  Endorsed by Greensboro Trades Council.  Motto: Organization, Education And Elevation.”

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist "public opinion".

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist “public opinion”.

 

Everett, Washington “Washington Socialist”, 1914: “Workers Of The World, Unite!  You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains.  You Have A World To Win.”

A revolutionary socialist newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti war articles rail against WWI: "[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class."

A revolutionary Socialist Party newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti-war articles rail against WWI: “[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class…the proletariat have no country, but are and should be citizens of the world, and that they have therefore but ONE enemy, the capitalist class…”

Decatur, Illinois “Labor World”, 1915:  “The Paper That Won’t Be Muzzled… Endorsed By The Trades And Labor Assembly”

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WWI saw the US working class, which had initially completely opposed any involvement in the “War to end all wars”, being driven by the jingoist press into joining in the effort to defeat “the Hun”.  The Socialist movement, led in many midwestern cities by German workers, was attacked for its principled anti-war stance for being “pro-German”.  This placed the editors of newspapers on the defensive throughout the period of build-up to the entry of the US into the war until the anti-communist Palmer Raids shut down many of these papers in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

 

Everett, Washington “Northwest Worker”, 1917:  “Official Organ of the Socialist Party of Snohomish and Stevens Counties… Spokesman for the Only Useful Class in Society – The Working Class”

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By 1917, the US had been transformed by 3 years of incessant warmongering from the capitalist press from a nation utterly opposed to entry into WWI to a nation eager to plunge into the worst bloodbath in world history to that time.  Working-class papers that had held to their anti-war principles were severely attacked in print and in public.  The Socialist Party openly hails the bourgeois-democratic revolution that had taken place in Russia in February of 1917, toppling the hated Czar from his throne.

 

Cincinnati, Ohio “Labor Advocate”, 1917: “A Paper Without A Muzzle For All Who Toil… Property and Official Organ of the Building Trades Council of Cincinnati and Vicinity… Independent… Non-Partisan”

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from "the Hun". Touting in its masthead the slogans "Independent" and "Non-Partisan" it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from “the Hun”. Touting in its masthead the slogans “Independent” and “Non-Partisan” it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

 

Duluth and Superior, Minnesota “Labor World”, 1918:  “For Social Justice, Economic Reform, And Political Progress”

The motto says it all: this paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor "peace" and mere "political progress", not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the "working class" but of the "consuming class".

The motto says it all: this AFL paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor “peace” and mere “political progress”, not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the “working class” but of the “consuming class”.

 

Wilmington, North Carolina “Union Labor Record”, 1918:  “The Medium of Organized Labor and Guardian of the Workingman’s Interest.  Endorsed by the North Carolina State Federation of Labor.”

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By the end of 1918, the US working class – outside of a few strongholds of internationalist socialism — has been stampeded into supporting the US drive to enter WWI.  This southern AFL paper decries war profiteering while trumpeting a “united war work drive”.

 

Everett, Washington “Labor Journal”, 1922: “Official Paper Everett Central Labor Council… Published In The Interest Of Organized Labor”

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Another pro-capitalist AFL paper, featuring the uplifting, inspiring saying (in the face of a mass lockout of workers by the railroad barons): “In the struggle between poverty and talent, poverty generally triumphs.”

The AFL-CIO unions today publish not newspapers but newsletters for their membership only, featuring self-aggrandizing pabulum about how great the local piecards are… and of course the death notices… and large displays of US flags everywhere – along with attacks on the Republicans and lists of “friends of Labor” Democrats to vote for in the upcoming elections.  No wonder the AFL-CIO is going down the tubes with this pathetic, pro-capitalist leadership!  If we want to see the union membership rise again like it did in the 1930s, we need to kick out the pro-capitalist labor fakers and replace them with a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership that fights not just for “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” but for workers socialist revolution in the USA and around the world!  There will not be any dancing in the streets after WWIII, sisters and brothers.

Workers of the World, Unite!  Capitalism Must Die So The Working Class May Live!

—IWPCHI