Category Archives: World

239th Anniversary of US Declaration of Independence: US Working Class Has Little to Celebrate

Even in the relatively affluent suburbs of the USA, like Glenview, IL - located just outside Democratic Party-run and financially tottering Chicago - if you want to have a Fourth of July celebration you have to cough up some dough, because the greedy capitalist class won't foot the bill any more. [Photo by IWPCHI]

Even in the relatively affluent suburbs of the USA – like Glenview, IL, located just outside Democratic Party-run and financially tottering Chicago – if you want to have a Fourth of July celebration you’d better dig deep into your own pockets, because the greedy capitalist class won’t foot the bill any more. [Photo by IWPCHI]

Today on the Fourth of July we honor the revolutionary worker- and farmer- heroes of 1776 by honoring the revolutionary workers of 2015 who suffer in prison and exile for daring to fight for the rights of every working man and woman on this planet.

There are two kinds of workers in the world: wage-slaves and revolutionaries. In 2015, as in every era of human history, the mass of working people is composed of the wage-slaves, who sullenly bear their burdens like the downtrodden slaves they are, lashing out at anyone who tries to organize a slave rebellion and who slavishly place themselves at the service of their capitalist masters no matter how humiliating or savage the requests may be. Only at times of actual revolutionary struggle do these people attempt to finally cast off their chains and join in the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the ruling class – and then only if the odds of success are heavily on the side of the revolutionaries. It has ever been thus and it will ever be this way. This article is addressed to the revolutionary-minded workers of the United States and throughout the world who hate the capitalist status quo and who will NOT be mindlessly waving the flag on this 239th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. They will be mindful of the vast and widening gulf that exists between the largely empty promises of 1776 and the current realities of a US government run by a greed-drunk capitalist class whose regime grows more and more monstrously oppressive with each passing hour.

The annual celebrations in honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 are being conducted in their usual senseless manner this year – but with an ironic twist. The ruling capitalist class, which sees no point in spending their hard-stolen money on such frivolities as education for the nation’s children, has apparently lost interest even in providing the ‘bread and circuses’ they once deemed essential for the maintenance of class peace between the millions of exploited wage- and debt-slaves and their exploiters. Today the once sacred budget appropriations for celebrations of the 4th of July have been placed on the chopping block; if you want to have a big 4th of July fireworks display, forget it – there’s not enough tax revenue left in the coffers of our cities and towns to be able to afford such an extravagance – the capitalists’ hired politicians and their co-conspirators have stolen it all. Increasingly, workers – even in the more affluent towns like Glenview, IL are going around hat-in-hand begging the citizens to donate money if they want to see any fireworks on the nation’s birthday!

Parades roll on full of fresh-faced military “heroes” the most recently-minted of which have only achieved the destruction of several small and poorly-defended nation-states, having left nothing but corpses, chaos and hatred for the United States in their wake. Many of these young men and women will not be marching in today’s parades – because it is no longer possible for them to do so; they have been horribly maimed while fighting in US imperialism’s endless and unwinnable “War on Terror”(TM). Now they have a new fight ahead of them: the struggle to survive, to obtain the health care and family services they desperately need, and which a money-grubbing US government doles out to them with an eye-dropper – if they can “qualify” for any assistance at all. Once a soldier is no longer able to physically defend the overseas investments of the US capitalist class, the capitalists discard them like an old pair of army boots. Yet every major sporting event and every Fourth of July parade, every newscast you’ll see today and millions of fatuously “patriotic” advertisements include a bombastic and idiotic salute to the nation’s military “heroes” freshly returned from one-sided “battlefields” where the only sacrifices being made are on the side of those wantonly attacked by the United States Government.  Crowds of stupefied American wage-slaves cheer as these veterans are trotted out for the national photo ops all over the nation, and then sent back home to figure out how the hell they are going to find a job so they can keep a roof over the heads of their families.   Almost completely ignored are the tens of thousands of homeless US veterans  who will be out there panhandling at these very parades that pretend to honor them; for these homeless veterans of America’s many, many wars, these Fourth of July celebration’s of America’s hometown military heroes must seem like deliberate mockery.

Military jets fly over baseball parks from coast to coast, prompting “oohs and ahhs” from the throng of stupid American wage-slaves idiotically applauding machines designed to do nothing but blast human beings into tiny pieces – bought and paid for with the workers own hard-earned tax money. Meanwhile, our cities are mismanaged,  looted by the politician-hirelings of capital and driven into bankruptcy;

US citizens across the nation are being denied access to a basic human need – water –  because they can’t afford to pay the water bill; racist cops shoot down citizens for no reason and get away with it and the US president declares to the world that he has a “right” to order the assassination of anyone who he deems to be a “terrorist” – even if they are a U.S. citizen! Happy Fourth of July! Wave a flag, dummies!

Meanwhile, more and more of the actual heroes who have risked their lives and fortunes trying to expose the horrendous crimes being committed by an increasingly deranged US capitalist class and its hirelings are being framed up on bogus criminal charges, convicted – by juries composed of cowards who will never rise to the level of the women and men they are sitting in judgment of, and thrown into the notoriously overcrowded and violent hellhole prison system for years or even decades. Brave men and women like Jason and Jeremy Hammond and  Chelsea Manning languish in prison; courageous people like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks have their lives turned upside down for exposing the crimes and endless lies of the US Government; true working-class heroes like Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal have been brutalized, imprisoned and live under a sentence of death issued by the ruthless and bloodthirsty US capitalist class that seeks to destroy all who dare to oppose it. These are a mere handful of the cases we could cite; what about the millions like Tim Tyler who languish in US prisons, victims of the idiotic “War on Drugs”(TM)? And still tens of millions of US worker-slaves stand dumbly by waving their flags and doing nothing to stop these outrages! Wage-slaves who refuse to come to the defense of those who risk their lives in our behalf do not deserve to breathe the same air as these imprisoned and exiled worker-heroes!

Millions of US workers are unemployed – some for so long that they are no longer even being counted by the government as “unemployed” any more ; more than half of all US public school children live in poverty; the world’s largest prison population languishes in some of the most brutal prisons in the “civilized” world; immigrant workers are being brutalized in prison camps where small children are imprisoned along with their mothers

the children beg visiting US politicians – whose colleagues wrote the laws under which they are imprisoned – to help free them; US citizens – particularly those who “happen to be black” are being shot to death by the nation’s police on a daily basis and never prosecuted for their crimes; US politicians, in the wake of the latest racist atrocity – this time in Charleston, S.C. – proclaim to the world that their love for their “southern heritage” demands that the racist Confederate flag of the southern slavocracy should be flown proudly across the USA, inspiring more members of the deranged racist lunatic fringe of the United States to commit more atrocities – it is hard to understand what it is that we have reason to celebrate on this July 4, 2015.

An 8-year-old Mexican girl handed this drawing to a US Congressman inspecting a detention center housing "illegal" immigrant mothers and their children.

An 8-year-old Mexican girl named “Helen” handed this drawing to a US politician inspecting a detention center in California housing “illegal” immigrant mothers and their children. It reads: “I want to be free”. Source: ilw.com, “House Democrats Recap Trip to Family Detention Facilities”, 24 June 2015 (see link above)

It has been 239 years since this nation’s founders declared independence from Great Britain and launched their revolution to “free” the oppressed white, male property-owners of colonial America from their British overlords. It was indeed a bold move and inadvertently set in motion the global chain of events that would almost completely wipe out feudalism in the world within 100 years – a major step forward for the human race and one the revolutionary socialist movement has always honored. In 2015 it is easy to see that, then and now, that group of courageous yet fatally flawed bourgeois revolutionaries made promises they never intended to make good on for anyone but themselves and their friends. To celebrate their revolution 238 years after the fact takes no courage at all; and it requires that we ignore a mountain of evidence proving that the progressive aspects of the US capitalist class were discarded by the ancestors of those revolutionists more than a century ago. This generation of capitalists don’t even want to shell out money for the fireworks displays and parades held in honor of their own ancestors! It really is a sad spectacle for a revolutionary worker to behold!

The success of the “American Experiment” that has been celebrated every Fourth of July since 1776 – in spite of the fact that the “freedom” gained by the US Revolution was only really gained by a tiny minority of rich, white men – has long since lost its golden halo. The United States capitalist class hasn’t done anything “revolutionary” or hugely progressive since the Reconstruction period unless a gun was being held to its collective head in the form of an enraged and fighting working class that wasn’t going to take anything but “yes” for an answer. Immediately after the American Revolution, women, slaves and the rest of the toiling classes were all left essentially right where they were before the revolution began! Every political gain made by blacks, women and the working class since then was gained only after prolonged and bloody struggle against the cabal of rich, white men by and for whose sole benefit the revolution was fought. Every major social gain since Reconstruction has been made on the initiative of the working class itself – the ruling capitalist class has fought us tooth and nail and all along the line. The struggle for the 8-hour day; the right of women to vote; the right of unions to organize; the right to withhold our labor-power in order to win better wages and working conditions (the right to strike); civil rights for blacks and LBGT people were all opposed by the capitalist class and their political parties and cops and courts. Workers blood has been shed in every one of these struggles before the capitalist class finally gave in and grudgingly made the necessary concessions – and then only in order to prevent the workers impulse towards revolution from reaching the boiling point. The plans of the ruling capitalist class are well-laid and made with their long-term objectives always in mind. The entrenched bourgeoisie of the United States consists of those who made their family fortunes stealing land from the Native Americans and selling it to the immigrants streaming in from all over the globe; their wealth is hereditary and they have been part of the US ruling class in some cases since their ancestors landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620! They have a lot of experience in these matters and know full well that any concessions they make to the workers today can eventually be clawed back once the temperature of the working class eventually cools off – as it inevitably does unless kept red hot via the work of a revolutionary vanguard party.

The American Revolution of 1776 was not as wildly popular as we have been led to believe. Every flag-waving moron in the USA who defends the racist, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-worker status quo in the USA today wants you to believe that if he or she was alive in 1776, they’d not have hesitated to attack the status quo under British rule! It’s so easy for them to say now, isn’t it? Defense of the American Revolution in 2015 risks not a hair on the head of anyone wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes. But that was NOT the case in 1776. Then, to take up arms against the “legitimate forces of law and order” – the British – was an act of treason punishable by death! So only about a third of the workers and farmers of 1776 actually had the guts to take up arms and join the army of Washington. And he had a hell of a time keeping an army in the field because the war was so unpopular. At Valley Forge, as the Americans were unable to procure food or decent clothing or bedding for the revolutionary troops, the local farmers of Pennsylvania were smuggling cattle, and all kinds of foodstuffs and homemade goods – to the British in Philadelphia! Washington had to send out detachments of troops to intercept the steady stream of vitally needed food and other goods that were being sold by Americans to the British, who paid them in good English money instead of the worthless money issued by the Continental Congress! These flag-waving patriots who bellow their love for the revolutionaries of 1776 while threatening to murder worker-revolutionaries of 2015 are cowards who would have been waving the British flag in 1776 just as these shameless American neo-fascists wave the US flag now! Who are they kidding? If they are such valiant defenders of our “freedoms” why do they refuse to lift a finger or donate a penny to the defense of people like  Edward Snowden, whose “crime” in the eyes of the capitalist class – exposing the fact that the US’ National Security Agency is spying on every human being on the planet, including US citizens –  is no crime at all in the eyes of worker-revolutionaries? These people who wrap themselves in the flag today will NEVER fight for even the rights of their own children against their capitalist masters – they are too craven and cowardly to ever fight the “powers that be” – and if they were around back in 1776 you can be sure that, just as they do today, they would have taken up their position in defense of the strongest party – the British – and would have been counted among the Tories, hated by all the revolutionaries of the 1770s!

Historians tell us that the American Revolution was not wildly popular at all and that only about a third of the population in 1776 actually supported the Revolution in ways that mattered – in 1775-1781 – and even those weak numbers rose and fell parallel to the successes and failures of the revolutionary struggle. I has never been easy to take a stand against the powerful monied interests that rule over us – the work we do is not for the faint of heart or for the flag-waving coward! Those courageous women and men who took up arms to overthrow the British monarchy did so selflessly – and because they mistakenly believed that those ringing words, those freedom-promising principles announced to the world in the heroic language of the Declaration of Independence were meant for THEM and not just for the handful of rich white men leading the revolution. Like the confused women and men in the US military today, the worker-heroes of the American Revolution risked their lives and their meager fortunes in order to defend the glorious ideals that the government leaders pretended would be available to all should their side emerge victorious from the war. It was only after the revolution, when the American revolutionary leaders “forgot” to add a Bill of Rights to the US Constitution that the workers discovered with horror that they had been robbed of the fruits of the years of labor in the service of the Revolution. Then, as the new nascent capitalist masters proved to be every bit as arrogant and oppressive to the working class and yeomanry as the British had been, a new wave of revolutionary struggles broke out – first, Shays’ Rebellion, then the Whiskey Rebellion and, later, Fries’ Rebellion all reflected the anger of the workers and farmers of the new nation who felt that their rights were being trampled on by the new rulers of the young United States of America just as they had been by the British. Their working class aspirations were crushed by the infant US capitalist class and their leaders were hunted down like dogs, tried and hanged or imprisoned. And thus began the long struggle for worker rights under the then-emerging capitalist dictatorship that continues to this day.

At the top of the political and economic pyramid of the United States in 2015 sits a small cabal of primarily rich, white men whose ancestors, in many cases, led the Revolution and made their fortunes thereby. What a clever gang of lawyers those original founders were! Somehow they managed to lead a successful bourgeois revolution whose stated aim was to bring into existence a “free nation” dedicated to the principle “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – but which “somehow” ended up only creating “freedom” for less than a tenth of the population, while making chattel slavery the law of the land! Only a gang of very clever lawyers could pull off such a scam! All of us who were not born rich or white or male have been fighting for OUR freedom without cessation since 1776 and we still haven’t reached our goal! Our ancestors worked as slaves, as indentured servants as brutally exploited factory workers, fought in all the wars waged under the Stars and Stripes, yet we still must struggle to keep a roof over our heads while the tiny gang of rich white men live lives of unbelievable luxury – and every year on the 4th of July, all of us, worker and capitalist, rich and poor, are supposed to join hands and sing hosannas to the glorious revolution of 1776! A revolution our worker and farmer ancestors fought in over two hundred years ago and which millions of us to this day have have only barely been able to enjoy a fraction of the fruits of! It’s taken us two hundred years of constant class warfare to force our rich masters to bestow upon us third-rate rat-infested public housing housing, health care on the installment plan and food stamps. “Hooray for the Fourth of July!”

In Chicago, it was announced this week that yet another round of savage budget cuts will be made to the already vastly underfunded Chicago Public Schools. The filthy rich capitalist class has decided that it makes no sense to spend “their” money (which they stole from us) to educate our children whom they never intend to employ, ever! So every year they cut back on education – to them it’s nothing but a bad investment! “Where” – the dull-witted among us ask “is their patriotism?” The fact is that the only thing the capitalists pledge allegiance to is their bank accounts! All they care about is: “how much money is in my bank accounts?” and “is the pile growing or shrinking”? All that wealth was derived from the labor of workers somewhere – either in the United States or somewhere else in the world – and they have no intention of allocating any more of it than is absolutely necessary in order to make those piles of cash of theirs keep on growing. They couldn’t care less about the future of us, or our kids!

So where is the outrage of the working class of the United States? We would think that when the capitalists start attacking your CHILDREN you’d start paying attention and get off your fat asses and start fighting for your kids’ futures! Yet that is simply not happening. Apparently, American workers have become so fat, lazy, apathetic and cowardly that even when the capitalist class and their government attack your CHILDREN you just mumble “oh well, you can’t fight City Hall” and go to the fridge for another beer! What the hell is wrong with you? Your hard-earned money has been taken from you in the form of taxes and spent – not to educate your children or to make your lives and theirs better – it has been taken and used to create a vast war machine which has as its primary purpose the defense of the overseas investments of the tiny U.S. capitalist class! Your sons and daughters have been sent overseas to butcher your fellow workers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere; many of them have come back physically and/or mentally maimed, unable to function as complete human beings and lead normal lives. Your sons and daughters in the US military have left a trail of destruction of whole nations, where the conditions of life now are far worse than they were under the dictators whose regimes our children were sent to overthrow! By the work of your military “heroes” the name of “American” has become a sort of curse in the mouths of decent human beings all over the world! Cities, towns and villages lie in ruins – destroyed by your sons and daughters; parents have had to bury their infant children by the tens of thousands; other children have been left orphaned thanks to the work of the US military – and for what? For whose benefit? For the benefit of that tiny gang of greedheads on Wall St. whose investments around the world are threatened by any kind of opposition, whether it comes from the heads of competing nation-states or individual U.S. citizens!

What is there to celebrate? The working class of the United States has not ONE representative in the US Senate or House of Representatives! Not one! Each and every politician in the national government of BOTH political parties is owned and operated by that same tiny cabal of capitalists who run the banks, insurance, pharmaceutical, energy and telecommunications companies and the defense contractors who make the weapons being used by OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS to butcher our working-class sisters and brothers around the world! This is the true state of things in the “free” “democratic” United States of America on the 4th of July 2015!

The police forces of the United States – paid for, as everything else is paid for in this country, by taxes squeezed from the working class – seem to have been given orders to shoot to kill any worker who dares to stand up for her or his rights. Even little children are gunned down as if they were a nuisance animal by police forces that are looking more and more like occupying troops in a foreign country. The US citizens are their “enemy”! Hardly a day goes by without another disgusting murder of an unarmed citizen by a police officer somewhere in the USA. Black people, as usual, are their favorite “prey”. These racist cops in the US major cities are all being run by a political party that styles itself as “the party of labor”! Our so-called trade union “leaders” take our union dues and lavish it on this “party of labor” – the Democratic Party – telling us that we must go to the polls and vote for the Democrats because they are the “lesser of two evils” – as if the purpose of a modern “democracy” is to provide the working class with a choice between “firing squad” or “lethal injection”! And you are so stupid, dear brother and sister workers, that you actually BELIEVE this to be ‘the best of all possible worlds” and act as if you – all 300 million of you! – were “powerless to do anything” to change the way this country is run!

The fact of the matter is that the United States of America has always been a hellhole for black and minority workers, for immigrants and for the poor of all “races” from 1776 to today! And yet here you are, in 2015, with the Internet at your fingertips and cell phones in your pockets, cars in your driveways and credit cards in your hands, sitting around telling yourselves that you are powerless to do anything!

In order to fight racism we need to have a political party of by and for the working class that has as one of its fundamental principles the idea that racism must be driven out of existence permanently. We need a government that fights racism, not a government that defends it and uses it to divide and conquer us! In every capitalist country in the world we see racist capitalist governments attacking minority workers, scapegoating scapegoating immigrants for the joblessness created by the capitalist system itself to hold down wages; attacking striking workers and students protesting austerity programs imposed on them by the capitalists; using racist ideology to divide the working class against itself! This is not just happening in the United States! We must come to understand that it is the capitalist system itself and the capitalist class of the United States that are our enemies; not the Muslim or Mexican immigrants; not the Chinese or Indian workers but the greedy scumbags on Wall St. are the common enemy of the workers! This is not and will never be the program of the so-called “friends of labor”:Democratic Party, whose politicians are now going around defending “southern heritage” and the Confederate flag as merely expressions of the “free speech rights” of racist rats like Dylann Roof and his kind!   A workers government will not allow mentally ill people like Dylann Roof to walk the streets seeking people to attack; a workers government will FINISH THE CIVIL WAR by overthrowing the racist capitalist class of the United States and by throughly cleaning up every nest of Ku Klux Klan and Nazis we can find, so that never again will there be another atrocity like that which took place in Charleston, S.C. Under capitalism, these racists are protected and even given police badges and allowed to run police departments in our major cities! This will be IMPOSSIBLE under a workers government! The “free speech rights” of the Klan and nazis will be abolished under a workers government! The Democrats and the capitalist mouthpieces in the bourgeois press claim that if we smash the Nazis and Klan and outlaw their organizations and their “right” to spread racist lies we will somehow be destroying civilized society! This is just their back-door way of defending the racists whom they keep in reserve to attack the workers movement whenever we try to organize ourselves across racial lines. The Klan and Nazis are the attack dogs of the capitalist class – and the “friends of Labor” – the Democrats – use the code words of “southern heritage” and “free speech rights” to DEFEND the fascists like Dylann Roof. Under a workers government, people like Roof will be placed in insane asylums and taken out of circulation so they can’t poison the minds of any other young people.

The Democratic Party – Enemies of Labor

The Democrats put on a fine dog-and-pony show over the anti-worker “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP) agreement, first pretending to vote against it in a fake “rebellion” “opposing” Obama and then turning around and passing it in a flurry of activity that took all the US union misleaders totally by surprise!  The AFL-CIO’s own website has still not recovered from their embarrassment to issue a statement on the vicious bitch-slapping they received from the Democrats on TPP!  But what can they say?

30 June 2015: Obama signs "Fast Track" into law, surrounded by his criminal co-cospirators and cracks "This is so much fun we should do it again!" Source: AFP-JIJI via japan Times

30 June 2015: Obama signs “Fast Track” into law surrounded by his criminal co-conspirators and cracks “This is so much fun, we should do it again!” Source: AFP-JIJI via japan Times

The Japan Times described the scene as “friend of labor” Obama was signing the “Fast Track” legislation surrounded by a joyful gang of capitalist criminals whose capitalist masters will undoubtedly reward them richly for this magnificent gift:

“As Obama signed the legislation, using a set of 20 commemorative pens set out for the ceremony, he remarked: “This is so much fun, we should do it again!”

Source: Reuters via the Japan Times, “Obama inks ‘fast-track’ trade bills but says tough talks lie ahead before TPP is reality”, 30 June 2015]

You have to stop believing the lies of the fake worker-leaders who tell you that the Democrats are the party of labor.  No “party of labor” would even attempt to pull off a robbery of the working class like the one the Democrats just committed on TPP. Expecting the Democratic Party politicians – who owe their seats in Congress to the rich people who financed their campaigns – to fight against the interests of the capitalists who own them is like expecting the small lampreys that live by attaching themselves to the bodies of enormous Whale Sharks to swallow the shark whole!  It ain’t gonna happen!  The working class needs its OWN party, its OWN political leaders who owe their positions only to the workers and owe the capitalists not one thin dime!  Until we have such a party, the working class of the United States will continue to see its standard of living decimated by the capitalists who are “running the tables” of the world unopposed with the help of the bribed officials at the AFL-CIO and their employees in the Democratic Party!

Another big lie that you must stop believing is that the rich people are sooo powerful and we workers are so weak! The opposite is true: the working class creates ALL the wealth in a capitalist country – and we make up the vast majority of the population! We have the power to shut down the US economy completely simply by refusing to work; our sons and daughters essentially run the US war machine as well!  A workers government would by its very nature be a really democratic government, a real case of “majority rule”. Right now the US Government is essentially owned and operated by a cabal of filthy rich capitalists who make up less than a tenth of the population; this isn’t a democracy, it’s an autocracy! Its the dictatorship of the capitalist class! The capitalist class owns and operates BOTH the Republican and the Democratic Parties. They pre-select who we will get to vote for by allocating their campaign donations only to those candidates who are most willing to carry out the orders of the capitalists. There is absolutely nothing democratic about how the presidential, senatorial or Congressional candidates are chosen: they must pass the test of the capitalist class first – only then will their campaigns be funded.

How do we get from here to there? First we must build ourselves a revolutionary workers party that refuses to take even a penny in funding from the capitalist class. A party completely funded by the workers and beholden only to the working class! The Democratic Party is entirely owned and operated by the capitalist class. Hillary Clinton, like Barack Obama, like all the others are EMPLOYEES of the capitalist class – these politicians go around begging for campaign donations from the capitalists who own this planet and they offer their services to the capitalists in exchange for those campaign donations. A revolutionary workers party would raise its funds from membership dues and donations from the workers who make up the vast majority of the population. The active working class in the US is about 170,000,000 strong! If only half of that number sent in a dollar a month, our party could run candidates in all 50 states in its first year! This is what we must do!

This means, sisters and brothers that until we create a revolutionary workers party that represents only the interests of the working class, THE CAPITALIST CLASS WILL CONTINUE TO WIN EVERY ELECTION as they have been doing since 1776!

Capitalism Must Die so that the Working Class May Live!  Break with the Democrats – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party to Fight for a Workers Government!

– IWPCHI

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Why Socialism? Part One

Q: Why does the Trotskyist Independent Workers Party of Chicago call for a workers socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist class and its capitalist system and to replace it with an egalitarian workers socialist republic?

A: At the root of all social ills and evils is the capitalist class and its anarchic economic system, which is designed to exploit the many (theworking class) for the benefit of the few (the capitalist class).

Poverty; war; homelessness; police brutality; racial and sexual discrimination; all of these are caused by the normal workings of the capitalist system, an economic and political system designed to facilitate the systematic exploitation of the world’s natural resources and the labor power of its’ human population.

Capitalist economies are designed to funnel the profits created by the exploitation of human beings and natural resources into the hands of a tiny minority of people who run the world’s economic and political systems for their own selfish ends.  Only about 170,000 people on planet Earth are the richest people, capable of spending $150 million on a single painting and still having more than enough money left over to live like kings and queens.  ALL of their wealth is derived from the exploitation and superexploitation of workers, who make up the vast majority of the world’s population.

The capitalist system is based firmly on the “nuclear family”: one male and one female (or, now, two female or two male) wage- and debt-slaves raise the next generation of wage- and debt-slaves for future exploitation by future generations of capitalists.  The wage-slave parents carry out their responsibilities of inculcating in the heads of their children respect for the capitalist system and its police and military forces, and a robust belief that “our country” is better than all the other countries and must be defended at all costs.  Hatred of various despised races and religions is handed down, generation after generation, all to the benefit of the capitalist class, which can thereby organize the workers into military units to go anywhere in the world to defend the domestic and foreign investments of the capitalist masters.  The work of feeding, clothing, sheltering and health care of the young wage-slaves is financed using the wages and debt incurred by the parents, which is another huge gift to the capitalist class, as it means that the wages paid out by capitalists on the one hand are almost entirely returned to the capitalists through the economic activity of the wage- and debt-slave parents.  In the modern era, the capitalists have found that it is a far more effective method of social control to “pay” workers by extending them credit, rather than by actually paying wages.  This keeps the wage slaves drowning in debt, which forces them to work harder and longer every year to keep their heads from going deeper under water than they already are.  The proof that this system works effectively at brainwashing the wage- and debt- slaves into defending their own exploitation can perhaps best be seen here in the United States, where the vast majority of the heavily indebted wage- and debt-slaves are convinced that they are enjoying a “freedom” not to be surpassed anywhere in the world.

To call countries like the United States “democracies” is the capitalist class’ idea of a good joke.  They have successfully conned millions of wage- and debt-slaves (collectively known as “the working class”) into believing that they actually have a role to play in deciding which gang of politicians hired by the capitalists will get to “run the country” over a set period of time.  In fact, in “bourgeois democracies” like the USA and Great Britain, the working class plays almost no role at all in making such decisions.  It is the tiny minority of the capitalist class who finance every major political campaign and who decide well in advance of any election which party politician will be hired to do the bidding of the capitalist class.  Any politician deemed to be insufficiently loyal to the capitalist class, insufficiently dedicated to the continued existence of the capitalist system, will find him or herself unable to raise the funds necessary to get their name on the ballot.

The current US presidential campaign is a perfect case in point:  Hillary Clinton has raised over $1,000,000,000.00 for her Presidential run already.  She did not get the vast majority of that money from the working class: she was given it by the richest 1% of US citizens – the capitalist class.  And that money comes with a lot of strings attached: Ms. Clinton has made binding promises to each and every major donor to her campaign that whatever it is that they want done under  Clinton presidency will get done whether it is politically popular among the workers or not.

In every capitalist country in the world the capitalist class wields its massive wealth to sabotage any attempt made by the workers to fight for their rights, even to the extent of creating phony “political activism” NGOs and other organizations that pretend to defend worker rights but which invariably actually are financed by and therefore beholden to the capitalist class.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, 360.org and the Tor Project – to name but a few – are all firmly in the pockets of the big capitalists.  They will never, ever do either of two things: 1) oppose the “right” of capitalists to exploit workers and to amass tremendous private fortunes and 2) during times of “class peace” they will NEVER form any political party in opposition to the political parties of the capitalist class or to oppose the fundamental class interests of the capitalists.

Even this near-total control of the political and economic systems is not enough for the top capitalists, whose massive wealth alienates them more and more from the working classes of the world: they are not surprisingly terrified of the workers someday organizing themselves to topple the capitalist class from its increasingly precarious position atop the social pyramid.  This is why the capitalist class of the US, for example – in spite of decades of statistics showing a long-term decrease in violent crimes – has demanded that its hired politicians allocate more and more money to the military and police forces whose real role is not “to protect and serve” ALL classes of people, but, in the final analysis, to protect and serve the 1% of the wealthiest from the justified rage of the oppressed workers.

This is why, as more and more wealth has been squeezed out of the blood, bone and sinew of the working class and transferred to a smaller and smaller percentage of the capitalist class we have seen a concomitant increase in police and military brutality across the capitalist world.  The United States Government – wholly owned and under the direction of the US capitalist class – has even re-legalized torture and the right of the principal political representative of the capitalist class – the President of the United States – to order the extralegal assassination of US citizens who dare to oppose the class interests of the leaders of the US capitalist class.  Police brutality is not an aberration under the capitalist system, as the reformists dutifully and continually teach the workers; it is the norm and the necessary corollary of an economic and political system which ruthlessly exploits the many for the benefit of fewer and fewer.

Also in contradiction to what the reformists preach, environmental degradation and war are also symptoms of “normal” conditions of life under the throughly irrational capitalist system.  In their mad, global quest for more and more wealth, the capitalists must search in nation-states not their own for opportunities to enrich themselves, which brings them face-to-face with three sources of opposition: the raw materials they seek are in the possession and under the control of another nation’s capitalist class, and those raw materials are being worked by that nation’s workers.  The capitalist class of major imperialist countries first attempts to arrange a business deal with their competitor capitalists in that foreign nation-state under which the imperialist power gets the majority of the profits.  If the capitalist class of that minor nation-state proves to be unwilling to allow this to happen, then the imperialist power unleashes its secret police forces as well as its banking power to try to engineer a political change inside the target country that benefits the US capitalist class.  They will attempt to purchase politicians and capitalists; if that fails to work, the CIA will assassinate the obstreperous opponent of the US capitalist class.  If that fails, then they send in the Marines and overthrow the government under some phony pretext.

The military forces of a capitalist state do not defend the “national interests”, as the bourgeois press owned by the capitalist class would have us believe: they defend the foreign investments of the US capitalist class, making it “safe” for US capitalists to risk their stolen wealth by opening mines, oil fields and agricultural lands to their untrammelled exploitation.  If workers in these targeted countries rise up in revolt against the oppressive governments forced upon them and supported by US political and military intervention, the US capitalist class, through its secret police agencies and its military discover who the uppity slaves are among the workers and order their hirelings in that targeted country to arrest, torture and imprison those rebels – or they just have them murdered, or have the CIA/Navy Seals/Special Forces do it for them.

Lastly, the capitalist system is an ad-hoc system, under which, since every billionaire is free to invest his or her stolen wealth as he or she sees fit, no one is in control of the economy.  It lurches forward, propelled only by the blind lust for personal wealth of the capitalists.  Occasionally, opportunities arise to obtain superprofits in one or another economic sphere: it might be the spice trade in one era, oil production and distribution in another or even real estate.  Once it becomes clear to the smaller capitalists that the big capitalists have created a “bull market” in a certain economic area (let’s say real estate), hundreds of billions of dollars are rerouted from other spheres of exploitation and into the “booming” real estate sphere – and an economic crisis is precipitated.  As more and more investors seek to enrich themselves in this one area of the economic “boom”, prices begin to rise far beyond the intrinsic value of the property in demand, until the economic bubble bursts, causing extensive damage to the national or even the global economy.  Since no government in any capitalist state actually has anything like real “control” of the economy, the politicians and bankers find themselves unable to repair the damage they themselves created due to their unquenchable greed.  In the end it is the working class that is made to pay for the damage: social spending is cut and taxes are raised to plug up the financial holes created by the blowout of the speculative bubble.  And then the cycle begins anew.

To Be Continued – IWPCHI

 

“Cowards of the Pen” Censor Dissent, Prepare World’s Couch Potatoes for WWIII Fryolator

As we have been surfing the net, we obviously often come across news articles that are just begging us to post a comment in the comments section.  The commentary is either going nowhere or there are a series of witty stupid one-liners where some intelligent discussion should appear.  So we try to encourage a broader discussion by letting people know that:

1) the capitalist regime is not “the best of all possible worlds” nor must we suffer it to continue to exist and;

2) by explaining how we workers might all get together and create societies far more egalitarian and fun for ourselves and future generations to enjoy by abolishing the capitalist system worldwide and replacing the current regime of warring capitalist nation states with peaceful, egalitarian workers republics.

The pro-capitalist media is supposed to uphold standards of openness and freedom of expression which, we are endlessly told, does not exist in “communist” countries like China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea.  However, in reality, the capitalist news media censors itself and the commentaries it allows to appear on their websites in order to keep the “news” and the parameters of its discussion well within limits which the bourgeoisie finds to be “acceptable”.  This is elementary knowledge for Marxists like us, and is why we speak of the press utilizing the scientific terminology developed by the Marxist movement over the past 150 years, which strips away all the thick greasepaint capitalism uses to hide its true, hideous reality.  That’s why we don’t speak of the “mainstream media” or “MSM” as the pro-capitalist liberals and right-wing anti-MSMers do: we call it out as the “capitalist press” or “bourgeois press”, because that’s what it is.  The major media outlets in capitalist countries, being owned by capitalists, are not “objective” but espouse the political, economic and social philosophy of the capitalist class itself.

That’s why even such supposedly upstanding news organizations like Reuters censor our posts when we submit them to their websites.  They would prefer that the very name of socialism or communism never be uttered on their sites, unless it is to disparage those philosophies and everyone who has ever or who does today have anything good to say about socialism.

Late last year, we submitted the following comment to a Reuters news story carried on their own website on December 12th under the title  “North Korea launches rocket, raising nuclear arms stakes” :

“Congratulations to North Korea on their successful satellite launch!  Here’s hoping that this will give the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys in Japan and Seoul reason to back down off their war provocations on the Korean peninsula.  But we doubt it.
“The billionaires’ bought-and-paid-for capitalist press pretends that the missile programs of North Korea pose a major threat to ‘world peace’ while the U.S. military operates in 173 countries and slaughters civilians from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Iraq and threatens to destroy Iran and North Korea with the US’ MASSIVE nuclear arsenal.
“The possession of nuclear weapons by small states like Iran and North Korea has been made a matter of life or death by the very real and continual nuclear blackmail being waged against these states and all the world’s nations by the ACTUAL ‘biggest threat to world peace’: the blood-soaked capitalist class of the United States, guilty of genocide of the Native Americans, the death of hundreds of thousands of Africans in the slave trade, 300 years of slavery by which the ‘great families’ of the US made their fortunes, and their bloody wars to steal northern Mexico, to seize Cuba, to murder the Philippine nationalists in the 1890s, to back up brutal military dictatorships throughout Central and South America, the napalming of ‘every village in North Korea’ during the Korean War – and other crimes too numerous to fit the space given here.  Only a workers revolution in the United States which disarms this ruthless capitalist class can begin the process by which the world can truly enjoy peace for the first time.
US/NATO: Hands off North Korea!  Workers of the World, Unite!”

We waited for an hour or so to see our comment duly posted on the Reuters site while other peoples’ comments, made long after ours, were posted, one after the other.  Irritated, but not at all surprised by this, we wrote to the Reuters editorial staff to ask if we had somehow fallen afoul of their “comments policy” and if so, what could we do to correct the situation?  They assigned us #23036 to our complaint and pretended that they would get back to us.

Here is the response from Reuters:

[From:] Karen Pastor, Thomson Reuters

December 12, 2012 02:58 pm
User photo
Iwpchi
  • Hello:It would appear that there was no specific reason why this comment was censored by your moderators, since you responded to our inquiry with a boilerplate answer. If this is not the case, please explain why our comment was not posted on your site; otherwise we will have to assume that it was censored for its political content.Thanks,Independent Workers Party of Chicago
December 13, 2012 08:53 pm
User photo
Karen Pastor

Thomson Reuters
  • Hello,According to our editorial team, we can’t find it. It’s nowhere in our system.
    Please try again.Regards,
    Reuters.com Team
December 20, 2012 08:11 am
****************
And, in fact, it turns out that the article we posted our comment to as well as our comment has been sent “down the memory hole”, because it is nowhere to be found on the Reuters website!

Really, what is there for them to explain?  Our comment violated several financial and ideological underpinnings of their business and their friends’ businesses, not to mention providing a searing indictment of the world’s most powerful capitalist ruling class, and so, it had to be, and was, dutifully censored by Reuters’ very own quisling employees who care more for their own job security than they do for those highly touted principles of the “free press” they were taught in the capitalists’ own journalism schools.  See how that works?

If you still don’t get it, check out the “comments policy” explanation given by Dean Wright, written back on 27 Sept. 2010 when he still worked at Reuters:

“Toward a More Thoughtful Conversation on Stories”

“Visitors to this space may recall that I wrote this summer about the issues Reuters and other news organizations face in dealing with reader comments on stories.

“I’ve become increasingly concerned about the quality of discourse in comments on news stories on Reuters.com and on other major news sites.  On some stories,  the “conversation”  has been little more than  partisans slinging invective at each other under  the cloak of anonymity.  I believe our time-challenged, professional readers want to see a more rewarding conversation—and my colleagues who lead Reuters.com are introducing a new process for comments that I believe will help bring that about.  […]  Let me introduce Richard Baum, Reuters Global Editor for Consumer Media, to tell you about the new process:

[Richard Baum continues:]

“Like many major news publishers, we’ve agonized over how to balance our enthusiasm for reader comments on stories with our belief that few people would benefit from a free-for-all. Most of our readers respect our request for comments that “advance the story,” by submitting relevant anecdotes, links and data or by challenging our reporting when they think we’ve fallen short of our editorial standards. It’s rewarding, sometimes even exhilarating, to see the way our audience builds on our coverage.

“Where we struggle is with comments that we believe contribute nothing useful to the conversation. I’m not talking about obscenities and spam — we have software that aims to block the publication of those — but something more subjective. Most of our readers are business professionals who value their time highly. [emphasis added – IWPCHI] We believe they want comments that are as rewarding to read as they are to write. The challenge is how we deliver that experience in a way that doesn’t delay the publication of good comments nor use up resources that might be better deployed on other parts of the site.

[…] Here are some examples of the type of comments that fall foul of our moderators:
– racism and other hate language that isn’t caught by our software filters
– obscene words with letters substituted to get around the software filters
– semi-literate spelling; we’re not looking for perfection, but people shouldn’t have to struggle to determine the meaning
– uncivil behavior towards other commentators; debate is welcome, schoolyard taunts are not
– incitement to violence
– comments that have nothing to do with the story
– comments that have been pasted across multiple stories
– comments that are unusually long, unless they’re very well written
– excessive use of capital letters

“Some of the guidelines for our moderators are hard to define precisely.  [You mean to say: utterly subjective? – IWPCHI] Mocking of public people can be fair sport, for example, but a moderator that has just approved 30 comments calling someone an idiot can rightly decide that there’s little incremental value in publishing the 31st. When we block comments of this nature, it’s because of issues of repetition, taste or legal risk, not political bias.

“Until recently, our moderation process involved editors going through a basket of all incoming comments, publishing the ones that met our standards and blocking the others. (It’s a binary decision: we don’t have the resources to edit comments.)

“This was unsatisfactory because it delayed the publication of good comments, especially overnight and at weekends when our staffing is lighter.

“Our new process grants a kind of VIP status on people who have had comments approved previously. When you register to comment on Reuters.com, our moderation software tags you as a new user. Your comments go through the same moderation process as before, but every time we approve a comment, you score a point.

“Once you’ve reached a certain number of points, you become a recognized user. Congratulations: your comments will be published instantly from now on. Our editors will still review your comments after they’ve been published and will remove them if they don’t meet our standards. When that happens, you’ll lose points. Lose enough points and you’ll revert to new user status.

“The highest scoring commentators will be classified as expert users, earning additional privileges that we’ll implement in future. You can see approval statistics for each reader on public profile pages like this, accessed by clicking on the name next to a comment.

“It’s not a perfect system, but we believe it’s a foundation for facilitating a civil and rewarding discussion that’s open to the widest range of people. Let me know what you think.”

Here’s what some Reuters readers “thought” about that statement:

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

Mar 3, 2012
6:45 pm UTC

This is a typical elitist attitude towards writing and publication. Censorship at its most foul. If we don’t like what you say then we won’t publish it. I guess the 1st ammendment is only for them.

*************
Mar 4, 2012
10:53 am UTC

I took the time and agreed to share my yahoo information with rueters in order to post and I’m looked down upoon because its my first comment. gee I hope I earn enough points so I can state my opion. sorry that new commenters aren’t worthy, maybe if we only use your website and build up enough comments on articles that we don’t really care about we will have enough points to be able to make a comment, great system hope it works out for you.

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

Mar 5, 2012
10:00 am UTC

“Most of our readers are business professionals who value their time highly. We believe they want comments that are as rewarding to read as they are to write.” Well let me ask you this: How much “time” does it take a bussiness proffessional [sic – IWPCHI] to NOT read a comment, to simply skip over it if they are not interested? As you may have gathered by the majority of comments – no one here is buying your lame excuses for censoring the comments section. The only fair thing to do is allow all comments (with the exception of spam, and profanity maybe) or do away with the comments section all together.

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

Mar 5, 2012
2:40 pm UTC

A VIP preference for commenting smacks of censorship. It’s one thing to eliminate comments that are not tasteful but when it’s clear the comment is civil and informed -why the delay? In the end you’ll end up loosing some of the most interesting people
who come to your site.

[End of examples – IWPCHI]

Well, of course, it’s not about providing an open discussion at all: it’s about providing an environment that their most important readers – “business professionals” – with a product that they will enjoy reading.  Everyone else can take their commentary elsewhere.  Very democratic, eh?

We had the exact same thing happen to us today on the website of “The Independent”, a major bourgeois press newspaper from London.  We wasted our time jumping through the hoops to sign up for permission to comment to a thing called “Disqus”, filed our comment and… waited all day in vain to see it posted.  (The article is entitled  “North Korea’s ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il ‘died in fit of rage over dam that had sprung a leak'”.  The discussion focused around US/NATO-sponsored “Axis of Evil” propaganda over the economic crisis and famine that took place in North Korea in the mid-to-late 1990s after the USSR collapsed and aid to NK was cut off by the repulsive, pro-capitalist Yeltsin regime.  Our comment was:

“Perhaps before you all argue over how it occurred, you should take a look at the Wikipedia article on the  “North Korean famine”. It turns out that the famine was in fact caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union – a historic betrayal of the workers of the USSR and the world by the Stalinist leadership of the USSR – as well as a series of unprecedented massive floods which combined to wipe out North Korean agriculture. On top of that, add the US/NATO countries’ sanctions and you have the North Korean regime – due to circumstances mostly far beyond its control – faced with a very dire situation leading to a tragic outcome.  No nation could pass through economic crises of that magnitude without very serious consequences resulting therefrom.

“As far as the hyperbolic statement that ‘1,000,000 people’ ‘starved to death’ due to this famine: the death toll is simply not known by anyone but the North Koreans. Wikipedia says that figures bandied about range from as few as 200,000 to 3.5 million; but no matter how many people died, the famine was an enormous tragedy for a very heroic country which has suffered tremendously at the hands of Japanese and (later) US imperialism since the 1930s, through absolutely no fault of its own. North Korea has never threatened the US in any way and it does not threaten the US or any other country today – except perhaps South Korea, which, lest we forget, it remains officially at war with.  North Korea, like any other country, has every right to defend itself against military attacks from anyone; but they have a particularly strong case for the right to defend themselves by any means necessary from attacks originating from the two nations which have repeatedly actually slaughtered millions of Korean and Chinese civilians over the past three-quarters of a century: the Japanese and the United States – and the US puppet regime in South Korea.  The US – which hypocritically pretends to mourn for every “poor North Korean” who died in the ’90s famine – ruthlessly butchered hundreds of thousands of Korean civilians, “North” and “South” during the Korean War.  Look up “The Bridge at No Gun Ri” for US soldiers first-hand accounts of how they were ordered to kill civilians in that brutal “forgotten” war.  That was just one of the many war crimes committed by the US against North Korea.  US Generals bragged about how they had napalmed every single village in North Korea from Seoul to the Chinese border, burning hundreds of thousands of civilians to death in the process.  So let’s not hear any more of this tripe about how much the “democracies” of the West care about the quality of civilian life in North Korea.

“It it a far too common practice to ‘forget’ the war crimes committed by one’s ‘own’ country, but never to hesitate to throw around the most outrageous and unfounded accusations against ‘enemy’ countries.

“Read Bruce Cumings’ excellent books ‘North Korea: Another Country’ and ‘The Korean War: A History’
for a very balanced account of recent Korean history and the massive war crimes committed by the Japanese and US against all of Korea from 1931 to the present day.
Independent Workers Party of Chicago
iwpchi.wordpress.com”

Once again, a reasoned, pro-North Korean opinion is effectively censored by the staff of “The Independent”, simply by either deleting the comment or by posting it, perhaps, hours later when the conversation has effectively ended and/or the number of comments has reached such an astronomically high number that it is pointless to even try to read them all.  Censorship accomplished!  Congratulations!  The message is: “The capitalist world is the best of all possible worlds, and there are no alternatives to it!  Obey your masters and  their laws and you will enjoy eternal joy in heaven after you are dead!”

This is why access to the Internet is so important, and why the long-running  US government assault on privacy is so important: by scaring the populace into believing that everything they say or do or read on the Internet will be reviewable at any time by the police agents of the capitalist class and will be used against the workers, the US government hopes that it can scare people away from websites like this one – or at least keep them from having the courage to “like” or comment on these types of sites.

And it works, too, doesn’t it?  It apparently works on most of you who read this blog!  Our website has had several thousand visitors since we established it last spring – and we have a grand total of 34 comments in eight months!

Your ability to speak and think freely is being taken away from you; or, rather, you, by refusing to demand your rights and by refusing to exercise those you do still have, are wantonly abandoning your rights to the capitalist wolves who wish to turn you into an obedient debt peon, because it’s easier to give up your rights than it is to defend them.    And you have no right to surrender these rights without a fight, because your ancestors fought and died for them… and if you won’t defend your rights starting RIGHT NOW, your children and grandchildren will have to fight and die to regain those rights you so slavishly surrender today.   There is no way for you to avoid responsibility for this, sisters and brothers.  If you continue to sit on the sidelines of this battle, watching people like the  Anarchist youth that were sent to jail last year for standing up for YOUR rights get railroaded; if you will sit there like a couch potato and watch WikiLeaks get destroyed by the capitalist state that wants to keep its many crimes hidden from your view;  if you will sit there like a good little consumer and watch Bradley Manning get tortured and then jailed for decades for daring to tell YOU the TRUTH about the US capitalists’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; if you will go to work like a good little wage slave every day and keep your head down and ignore what’s happening to your fellow Chicagoan, Jeremy Hammond, facing decades in jail for the “crime” of exposing how private companies are making billions of dollars by undermining workers organizations fighting for YOUR rights – the number of cases like these have been steadily rising while you’ve been evading your responsibilities, “brothers and sisters”! –  then most assuredly your children and grandchildren will be forced to fight for their lives against a US police state so monstrous it would make George Orwell gasp for air.  And when your children and grandchildren trace back the origins of that police state to YOU and your MULISH INDIFFERENCE to the massive human suffering that took place while your generation was in power… well let’s just say that whenever the subject comes up they will express their tremendous contempt of their cowardly ancestors who bequeathed them such a world and such a monumental struggle and leave it at that.

The time during which this dystopian future can be not just avoided but turned around and a world worthy of bringing children into can be created to replace it is running out quickly.  You’d better get your ass of those couches, potatoes, before they all catch fire under your sorry asses and you become just a few  hundred million burnt french fries in the WWIII Fryolator – which is exactly where we are ALL headed if we workers don’t get off our asses and GET BUSY ORGANIZING OURSELVES to overthrow the capitalist system!

Clicking on the “Like” button is not enough!  Retweeting a post from a revolutionary workers’ website is not enough!  Honking the horn on your mobile couch in impotent faux “solidarity” as you and a car full of your potato-friends zip past a demonstration of worker-activists is NOT ENOUGH!  You must commit yourselves, your lives and your money to this goal of a more just egalitarian society for yourselves and your children or IT WILL NOT COME TO PASS!  Get involved, NOW!

IWPCHI

Militant Class Struggle in India: Workers Strike For Pay, and Respect

In the past week we have come across several articles describing the fight for workers rights in India.  In the interest of enabling our readers and workers all over the world to compare strike tactics and learn what works and what doesn’t, we will always endeavor to present accounts of workers struggles wherever they occur.  We intend to show workers, especially here in the US, that, contrary to the lies spread incessantly by the pro-capitalist trade union leaders of the AFL-CIO unions, it is indeed possible to utilize the “old methods” of building picket lines that scabs can only cross at risk to life and limb – and by doing so, to actually win strikes.

Picket lines that allow scabs to cross them with impunity might as well not be set up in the first place.  The whole idea of setting up a picket line is to prevent the company from continuing to operate its business at all.  The question of who actually “owns” the plant is brought to the fore in every strike action – we say that it is the workers who should take ownership of all the factories and kick the capitalists out forever by overthrowing the capitalist system itself, thus eliminating the exploitation of the working class by the tiny minority of rich capitalists.  All the wealth used to build every factory has been obtained in the final analysis by the capitalists’ expropriation of the fruits of the labor of workers somewhere.  That is how “capital” is produced in a modern capitalist economy like the US.  When workers go on strike, their aim must be to halt production at the struck factories completely.  Anything less than that allows the capitalists to continue to fill orders and make profits.  The most successful picket line is one that shuts down a factory 100%.  This means physically preventing scabs, materials and supervisors – and yes, cops – from seizing the plant so that production can be restarted.   The abandonment of militant strike action, in which the laws that protect private property must be broken repeatedly and wantonly if the strike is to be won, has hamstrung every single class battle in the US for decades.  The workers of the US must return to the militant tactics of the 1930s if they want to win strikes – anything less will lead to defeat, as all recent strikes show – including the current Caterpillar strike in Joliet, IL,  where the refusal of AFL-CIO unions to build picket lines no scabs dare to cross is leading inexorably to the defeat of this important working class struggle.

IWPCHI

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

The first incident we came across was described in an article in the New York Times this last week: “Clash at Auto Plant in India Turns Deadly”.

This strike, at the Maruti Suzuki auto plant in Manesar, India, outside of New Delhi, the Indian capital, was triggered by the low wages paid to Indian auto workers at this Japanese carmaker’s factories.  The workers, just like their brothers and sisters in Joliet, IL, have long complained that their wages are not keeping up with inflation, even though the company is making record profits.  The workers also have fought against the company’s practice of hiring them on temporary labor contracts and then laying them off when the work slows down.  Sound familiar?  Over 65% of the workers at this particular plant are “temporary” workers.

On top of these universal worker grievances are added the racist nature of India’s caste system.  At Maruti Suzuki, many workers are “Dalits” – considered by racists in Indian society to be lesser human beings from a a lower caste and once universally considered as “untouchables” – literally these human beings were considered by upper-cast Indians to be so “disgusting” that they would not even touch them.  “Dalits” is the generic name for a large grouping of “lower caste” Indians and are part of the large group of “Scheduled Castes and Tribes” which make up almost a quarter of India’s population.  Major strides have been made in India to abolish the caste system; in 1997 the nation elected Dalit K.R. Narayanan as President. (He served in office until 2002.)

The caste system in India is a combination of repulsive racial and ethnic/religious discrimination handed down to Indian bourgeois society from the old Indian feudal society that existed long before British imperialism colonized India in the 1800s.  There has been a centuries-long struggle to wipe out this hideous caste system – a struggle which goes on to this day.  You can not move from one caste to another: you are born into such-and-such a caste, and you will remain of that caste all your life; it is a hereditary mark either of alleged “superiority” or “inferiority”.

A person deemed to be of a “superior” caste is considered to be “superior” in the same way white planters believed themselves to be superior to black slaves in the US before the Civil War.  Marriage or even socializing between castes is discouraged or in some cases almost unheard of.  This system is so ingrained in Indian society that even some so-called “socialist” and “Communist” leaders of the Indian working class  ignore or downplay this brutal discrimination against their fellow workers.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that workers who have long suffered from such systematic discrimination should become the most self-sacrificing leaders of the workers movement in India.

Supervisors at Maruti Suzuki have repeatedly insulted Dalit workers at this plant.  The workers have long protested this repulsive discrimination.  The strike began, according to the workers, when a supervisor insulted a Dalit; when this worker protested against the discrimination, he was suspended.

“When the union tried to intervene, the company called in ‘hundreds of bouncers on its payroll to attack the workers,’ Ram Meher, the president of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, said in a statement.”

The workers “then blocked managers from leaving, beat them with iron rods, ransacked offices and set fire to parts of the factory.”  In one account of this strike, the supervisor who made the racist insult was killed during the battle between the factory workers, supervisory personnel and security forces.

The company has denied that they did anything wrong, and the Indian government has backed up the company: the leaders of the workers from the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union were forced to go into hiding as the police searched for the “troublemakers” who “caused” the violence.

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

In the second class battle we read of in India (which took place earlier this year) we were struck by the headline:

“Workers lynch factory boss after union leader’s death” which appeared in the Times of India, the nation’s pro-capitalist “newspaper of record”.

Once again, this battle took place when union leader, “M. S. Murali Mohan, a Dalit” was attacked along with a contingent of union workers who had gone to the Regency Ceramics factory to man the picket line at a strike that had been going on there since 1 January 2012.  The bosses called the cops, who immediately came and attacked the trade unionists with rattan canes called “lathis”.  During this police attack, Mohan was beaten severely; he died on his way to the hospital.

Enraged unionists immediately protested their leader’s murder at the police station.  Here is the “Times of India’s” description of what happened next:

“As news of Murali’s death spread, factory workers damaged nearly 50 company cars, buses and trucks and set them on fire. Some private vehicles were also targeted. Residents joined hands with the angry mob of around 600 workers and ransacked the factory. After setting it on fire, they torched an educational institution run by the company, besides burning down a shed.

“Two oil tankers were also gutted, while miscreants looted computers, ceramic tiles and other office material. Some of the workers went to company president K C Chandrashekhar’s house and beat him up with iron rods. He died later in a hospital.”

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Then, last Friday, there was a wildcat strike called by the railroad workers of the Western Railway Motormen Association against “the appointment of two rebel motormen”.  A sickout was called during the afternoon rush hour which resulted in train service being disrupted from 3:30PM until later that evening.  The strike was almost completely successful in shutting down all railway operations.  The union “called off the strike around 8pm after holding talks with WR authorities. But by that time, 50 services had been cancelled and lakhs [thousands] of commuters had suffered.”

Like in the US, there is a law against railroad workers going on strike in India; however, in India it appears that the workers have rendered that particular law as worthless as the paper it’s written on by the simple expedient of… ignoring it!

We recall with great enjoyment how the coal miners of the UMWA did the same thing to the “Taft-Hartley” injunctions that were imposed against the union when they went on strike back during the Carter administration in the 1970s.  Sometimes you just have to break the law in order to build a better society.  You’d think we’d have learned this in the US long ago, with the Civil Rights movement and all.  Yet even today, we are lectured by the phony pro-capitalist union misleaders of the AFL-CIO as to how “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that” because there’s a law against it.  Of course there’s a law against winning strikes!  It’s a capitalist country, not a workers state!  The corporations write the laws and get their hired flunkies in Washington to pass them and make them the “law of the land”.  It’s our duty to smash those anti-worker laws and by doing so show the bosses who’s really boss; because without the working class, they can own all the factories they want, they factories aren’t worth a bucket of spit without workers to run the machinery.

IWPCHI

[Sources: The New York Times; The “Times of India”; Wikipedia.  We would also like to direct your attention to the talkback page of the Wikipedia article on “Caste System in India” for an interesting discussion on how the caste system plays out in modern India and the distinctions between social relations in more liberal urban cities as opposed to the rural areas, where more backward social practices still predominate in many locales.]