Category Archives: Pop Culture

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

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

Grampaaaaa!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Long pause.]

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

Frozen waffles! Hahahahahahahahaaaaa! That’s stupid!

[Long pause]

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, right. So how did it end?

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

So then what happened?

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

No way!

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

But that wasn’t true!

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

So how did it end then?

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

You mean on Twitter, don’t you grampa?

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

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

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

Then what happened grampa?

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

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

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

Oh no! What happened?

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

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

[Long pause]

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

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

Who told you that?

Mrs. Schofield!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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