Category Archives: EU

Zika Virus: Capitalist Press Spreads Inaccurate, Fear-Mongering Unscientific Information [UPDATED 17 Apr 2016]

Countries with reported cases of Zika virus as of December 2015.

Countries with reported cases of Zika virus as of 4 December 2015.  Source: ECDC, “Rapid Risk Assessment: Zika virus epidemic in the Americas: potential association with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome -10 December 2015”

[UPDATE (17 April, 2016): The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have now BOTH announced that they believe that the latest scientific evidence DOES IMPLY THAT A CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ZIKA VIRUS INFECTION AND BIRTH DEFECTS EXISTS.  We agree with this statement made by World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan: “Though the association [between Zika virus infection and birth defects] is not yet scientifically proven, [researchers have] concluded that there is now scientific consensus that Zika virus is implicated in these neurological disorders. The kind of urgent action called for by this public health emergency should not wait for definitive proof.” We plan to write a new article incorporating this latest information; in the meantime you can review the latest announcements here:

World Health Organization (WHO): (22 March 2016)  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/zika-update-3-16/en/

WHO:  Zika Virus – Questions and Answers  http://www.who.int/features/qa/zika/en/

CDC:  (April 13, 2016)  http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/t0414-zika-update.html

New England Journal of Medicine:  (April 13, 2016)  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsr1604338

—IWPCHI]

[Author’s note: this article, though slightly revised today, Mar 15th was originally written on 3 February 2015.  In a fit of uncharacteristic timidity we hesitated in publishing it due to the rather broad declarations made by the author, who is not a medical professional.  Having seen very little to date in the scientific literature that contradicts the gist of the author’s arguments we have decided to “let this bird fly”. We have appended links to latest peer-reviewed preliminary studies on Zika virus released this past week by the New England Journal of Medicine.  – IWPCHI]

As usual, the bourgeois press are eagerly trumpeting the latest health scare news in order to increase their profits, with little or no regard for the accuracy of their statements about the disease or the impact their horror stories will have on the public.

We were doubtful about the first scare stories we heard late last year (2015) as they were big on spreading fear and contained little useful information – as usual. It seems that it is beyond the ability of the capitalist press to report any science story without gross distortion of the facts or, in the case of “emerging diseases”, scare-mongering. But after all, the purpose of the capitalist press is not to educate but to make money. And so we are being bombarded by a flood of absurd and inaccurate fear-inducing articles about Zika virus and its possible effects.  We hope that this article will shed some light on the subject.

Our research into this topic took us to the websites of the New York Times, the Guardian (UK), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as a number of scientific papers on the subject. The links you’ll find throughout the article will take you to many of the sources we used to compile this review of the current status of the Zika virus epidemic.

No scientific evidence exists at this time proving a link between Zika virus and microcephaly

We are happy to report that our investigation of the Zika virus reveals little that should terrify anyone. A Zika virus infection almost never leads to death; in Brazil, where somewhere between 440,000 and 1,300,000 cases of Zika virus infection are belived to have occurred in 2015, fewer than a dozen people had died as of 30 November 2015.  [Source: ECDC – Zika virus epidemic in the Americas 10 December 2015 (see pages 3 and 8)]  Only an estimated 1 in 5 people who are exposed to the virus will even develop any noticeable symptoms! The Zika infection itself usually causes either no symptoms at all or mild illness (such as fever, rash and sometimes vomiting) and is over without any lasting complications usually in less than 2 weeks after onset of symptoms. In other words: Ebola it ain’t!

The loudly and irresponsibly spread stories comparing Zika virus to AIDS and linking Zika virus infections in Brazil to birth defects including microcephaly are – so far as we can determine at this time – utterly without foundation.

A note about how science suffers in the hands of the capitalists

All of these organizations are products of capitalist society and bourgeois science. They exhibit all the weaknesses inherent in all governmental and corporate endeavors in the “for-profit” capitalist world. The governmental and quasi-governmental scientific organizations of the capitalists are forced to justify their existence and the expenditures made in their support to a capitalist ruling class that would much prefer to keep the money in their own pockets rather than spend it on scientific inquiry. In order to keep the government channeling money into their bureaucracies, even “scientists” running organizations like the World Health Organization must remind the world from time to time just how important it is to keep the funding flowing in their direction. Epidemics like Ebola and Zika virus can be expected to be exploited for this purpose by national and international health organizations as well as by the for-profit news media. This is why we often see the supposedly “impartial” scientific bodies of the capitalist world exaggerating or understating the dangers of emerging diseases – depending on which way the political winds are blowing in the capitalist nation-states in which these scientific organizations are based.

The World Health Organization was severely criticised for its slow response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. That is a major reason why we think they may be “bending the stick too far” in the opposite direction, overreacting to an alleged microcephaly “epidemic” which is in fact merely coincident to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. As with everything else, greed-based capitalism poisons scientific inquiry and the news media reportage on scientific topics. The scientific truth is buried under political and economic imperatives of a profit-mongering ruling class that places its own petty self-interest above all else. Political appointees to important governmental posts responsible for the health of millions or even billions of people have proven over and over again to have placed their careers ahead of the public welfare. We’ve seen this with the AIDS epidemic, the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, the Ebola outbreak, the Flint, Michigan (USA) water scandal, the “debate” over global warming and now once again with the Zika virus.

Added to this weakness inherent in bourgeois press reportage on scientific subjects in general and the motivations behind the sensationalist claims made by national and international medical organizations we must add the current hatred of the United States Government and its proxies for the government of Brazil, which is partner to a new economic union of the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (known collectively as the “BRICS” nations) which represent a serious threat to the current domination of the world’s economy by the United States.  Elements of the Zika virus hysteria appear to be motivated by the US desire to do anything it can do to weaken the government of Brazil economically (Brazil of course being the “B” in “BRICS”).  By exaggerating the impact of Zika virus the US hopes to reduce tourism to Brazil, in particular during the upcoming Olympic Games to be held there this year, thereby putting severe economic pressure on the increasingly unstable current left-reformist capitalist government of Dilma Rousseff of the corruption plagued and grossly misnamed “Partido dos Trabalhadores” (“PT”: in English: “Workers Party”).  This campaign by the US and European press is already bearing its malignant effects; sales of tickets to this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro are reportedly going very poorly, and tourism is generally down as well.

The longer the working class allows the capitalist greedheads to run the world, with each passing day the more serious become the environmental and economic problems we all have to face. It is just a matter of time before these idiots destroy the planet through a combination of wars, epidemics and environmental destruction.  While workers pretend that there is nothing they can do to change the world, the capitalists, constantly focusing on satisfying their mad lust for money, will make our lives more and more difficult to bear.  With their new, idiotic campaign against Zika virus, they have undertaken to pointlessly scare the crap out of the world’s expectant mothers over something which has been demontrated for decades to be relatively harmless.

As a revolutionary Trotskyist political party we are not here to make money selling newspapers – we are here to tell the working class the truth about what is going on in the world as best as we can. We don’t benefit by spreading scare-stories like the bourgeois press does; that is one of the benefits of having a political party like ours solely dedicated to defending the rights and interests of the working class.  Sensationalizing such an important story would only bring discredit upon our political party – we have nothing to gain from such chicanery.  So here’s what we’ve been able to discover so far about Zika virus and its alleged link to microcephaly.

Brief historical background on Zika virus

Millions of people have been infected by Zika virus since 1947 and NEVER had there been a related outbreak of microcephaly reported anywhere – until late last year. Is there any reason to believe that something new is happening with Zika virus all of a sudden?  We think it is unlikely.  We could be wrong – we’re not doctors or virologists, and viruses can undergo evolutionary changes that transform harmless viruses into very dangerous forms.  Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often – if it did, the human race would have been wiped out long ago. 

The Zika virus was first detected in Uganda in 1947; starting in 1951 the virus was detected in humans throughout Africa and, later on, in Asia. In Nigeria in the late ’60s – early ’70s it was found that antibodies produced in response to Zika virus infection were present in the blood samples of 40% of the people tested – meaning that human exposure to the virus was extremely common and that chances of long-term survival after exposure were very high. [Source: Edward B Hayes – Zika Virus Outside Africa]  During all this time that the virus was causing illness in human beings in many countries on two continents NO ONE reported cases of birth defects caused by the virus, nor were there any accompanying epidemics of microcephaly reported anywhere until in the recent Brazilian outbreak of 2015.  In a Zika virus epidemic in French Polynesia during 2013-14 there were reports of Zika virus illness accompanied by the development of Guillain-Barre syndrome  but those reports have not yet been confirmed as it is quite difficult to diagnose accurately.

News reports from Brazil, where an apparent epidemic of cases of microcephaly is now occurring, have screamed that the Zika virus is responsible for these microcephaly cases. BUT AS OF THIS WRITING, THERE IS NOT A SHRED OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE INDICATING THAT ZIKA VIRUS INFECTION CAUSES BIRTH DEFECTS IN HUMANS!  Something very unusual appears to be happening in Brazil… but it’s so very new that scientists simply don’t yet know what exactly is going on with the apparent birth defect outbreak there.  A closer look at the evidence indicates that the reported microcephaly outbreak may be greatly overstated.

Distribution of microcephaly cases in Brazil as of 28 November 2015. Source: ECDC

Distribution of microcephaly cases in Brazil as of 28 November 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC

Notified - NOT confirmed - cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil, 2010 - 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC

Notified – NOT confirmed – cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil, 2010 – 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC  Scary-looking graph – but over half (66%) of the reported cases of microcephaly examined so far turned out to have been falsely diagnosed, according to Brazilian health authorities quoted in the New York Times (see story below).

Over half of reported microcephaly cases in Brazil proven to have been wrongly diagnosed so far

The hysteria generated in Brazil by the idiot bourgeois press in their lust for profits has led to overstating of the number of actual cases of microcephaly in newborn Brazilian babies. The New York Times reported this past week that in well over half (462 out of 700 cases, or 66%) of the reported cases of microcephaly either no microcephaly was found, or it was equally likely to have been caused by something other than an infection like alcohol or drug abuse by the mother during pregnancy” according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.

Microcephaly is not always easy to diagnose in newborns, as many children are born with slightly smaller heads; in some cases, the parents themselves simply have slightly smaller skull sizes in comparison to the “average” – which is, by itself, not indicative of any brain abnormality at all. The “average” human skull is the median size between the largest and smallest – there is variation in human beings’ “normal” skull sizes. Except in extreme cases it is often necessary to wait for some time – months – before it becomes clear that a baby’s growth rate is not progressing normally.  Since many of the people whose babies are suspected of suffering from microcephaly are poor, their ability to obtain the proper medical care necessary to provide an early and accurate diagnosis is lacking – thanks to the crappy capitalist system which only provides quality health care to those who can pay for it.

Microcephaly cases in Brazil concentrated in northeastern provinces

The current hysteria over Zika and the perceived increase in Microcephaly cases in Brazil may well be leading to overdiagnosis of microcephaly by overly cautions medical personnel. It would be more accurate to say that what we are seeing in Brazil is not necessarily an increase in microcephaly, but an increase in the number of cases diagnosed as microcephaly.   Only time will tell how many actual cases there are.  As these suspected cases of microcephaly are studied over the next few months, it is highly likely that many of the babies will turn out to be developing normally.  It is crucially important at this stage of the investigation into this apparent unaccountable increase in microcephaly cases that all potential causes are looked into, not just Zika virus.  The distribution of microcephaly cases may be indicative of regional exposure to environmental toxins, contaminated food or milk or water or any number of other things.   Focusing solely on Zika could prove to be a costly mistake if it turns out that something else is causing the alarming rise in microcephaly cases.

SOMETHING is going on in northeastern Brazil which is causing a significant number of babies to be born with measurably smaller skulls.  The fact that never before have there been reports of increased incidence of microcephaly accompanying Zika infection – even after hundreds of millions of people having been exposed to it – is very good news and hopefully this long-term trend of no Zika virus-microcephaly link will continue.

 The Brazilian government seems to be focusing on eradication of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. This may turn out to be a waste of time and money as well as a wild goose chase that may have deleterious impacts on the environment. A very broad investigation encompassing all possible ways that pregnant women whose babies are confirmed to have microcephaly may have been exposed to chemicals or toxins known to cause such birth defects must be undertaken. It appears to us to be doubtful that Zika virus is in fact the cause of any actual microcephaly outbreak taking place in Brazil.

Adding to our suspicions that the world is going off on a wild goose chase is the latest data coming in from an even more recent outbreak of Zika infection in Brazil’s next-door neighbor, Colombia. There, additional thousands of people have come down with Zika virus illness – but as yet, thankfully! – no increase in the number of microcephaly cases has been reported there so far (as of 3 February 2016).  That is very good news!

Since the virus and its infection run their course so quickly it is impossible to say for certain whether or not a woman was infected with the Zika virus during her pregnancy unless blood and perhaps even spinal fluid samples were taken from her during the time she was suffering from a Zika infection. Reports that Brazilian women had been infected with Zika virus during their pregnancies were often based on surveys conducted with the women after they have given birth – months after their alleged Zika-related illness may or may not have occurred. It’s quite possible that many of these women whose babies have been born with severe birth defects and who THINK they may have been exposed to Zika virus during their pregnancy were not in fact exposed to the virus while they were pregnant. The media-induced hysteria could be creating create “false memories” in people who are only now, retrospectively “remembering” experiencing symptoms of the disease that were caused by other things.

Intensive studies of the apparrent microcephaly epidemic are underway now and we expect that the scientists investigating this mysterious outbreak of birth defects will be able to determine its cause over the next year.  At this time there is no reason for pregnant women to fear for the health of their babies due to the spread of the Zika virus. Health agencies are urging women living in or traveling to countries where the Zika virus outbreak is ongoing to take basic precautions to prevent exposure to the mosquitoes that carry the virus.  Since the mosquitoes that carry the virus are active in the daytime as well as night, pregnant women are urged to use insect repellent all day as well as mosquito netting while sleeping or resting.   

Based on our survey of the available literature from the WHO, PAHO, and the CDC and ECDC there is no solid scientific evidence at this time indicating that Zika virus definitely causes microcephaly or Guillain-Barre syndrome. The Zika virus has infected millions of people all over the world since the late 1940s and has proven so far to be as harmless as the common cold for the vast majority of people who are exposed to it. Zika is nowhere near as dangerous as “Ebola”.  There is at this time absolutely no reason for people to panic over the spread of this relatively innocuous virus.  We advise people to continue to monitor the situation as it develops over the next year.  Panicking does no one any good – unless you happen to be an owner of a print or broadcast media empire – or the head of state of a declining imperialist power like the United States.

—IWPCHI

[UPDATE 15 Mar 2016:  The latest information on the developments in Brazil relating to the Zika virus and its possible links to microcephaly cases that we have found was published over the past two weeks in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The titles and links are available below.  — IWPCHI

“Zika Virus Associated with Microcephaly” (reporting on ONE confirmed case);  New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Mar 2016

“Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro – Preliminary Report” NEJM 4 Mar 2016.  This article relates the findings of the first 88 pregnant women who have been enrolled in a study of the effect of Zika virus in them and their babies.  While prenatal ultrasound exams indicated microcephaly in 4 of the 88 babies examined so far, those results were only confirmed in just one case; two predicted cases of microcephaly based on ultrasound proved UNFOUNDED at birth.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, "Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro - Preliminary Report", 4 March 2016 NEJM (4 Mar 2016) at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1602412#t=article

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, “Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro – Preliminary Report”, 4 March 2016
NEJM (4 Mar 2016) at
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1602412#t=article

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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

 

In Wake of “Charlie Hebdo” Murders – Capitalist Media, Nationalists, Fascists, Liberals Spread Twin Lies of “Christianity Under Attack” and “Imminent Islamicisation”

The enemy of the working classes of Europe and the US are not our working-class sisters and brothers of the “Muslim world”: the mortal enemies of the working class are the bloodthirsty capitalist classes of Europe, the US and the Middle East who are committing mass murder against our working-class Muslim and Arab sisters and brothers every day! US/UN/NATO: Out of the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria! Keep your bloody hands off the world! Workers of the world: let’s unite and overthrow our capitalist masters; for international workers socialist revolution! Oppose anti-immigrant attacks scapegoating immigrant workers for the many failures of the capitalists and their crumbling greed-based economic system! For full citizenship rights for all immigrants! Unions: Create antifascist workers defense guards to crush the fascist vermin in the egg! Build a revolutionary internationalist workers party to fight for a global socialist workers republic!

– IWPCHI

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

11 January 2015

This past week, a pair of self-proclaimed “defenders of the Prophet Muhammad” stormed into the editorial offices of vulgar, anticlerical French “satire” magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and murdered a dozen members of the editorial, creative and security staffs. Absurdly driven to commit multiple murders by Hebdo‘s childishly insulting satirical portraits of the Prophet Muhammad and His followers, two lunatic religious fanatics who happened to be Muslim, utterly opposed to any concept of “freedom of expression” when it comes to their own religion, sought to “redeem” what they believed to be the sullied name of Islam by butchering a handful of cartoonists! Even Hollywood couldn’t invent such an outlandish tale – such are the sad realities of life on our Planet Earth in the 21st century under the auspices of a global police state “led” by the financially and morally bankrupt “civilized, Christian” United States of America and the EU!

The way these Islamic fundamentalist wackos act, one might think that Islam was a religious sect so frail and poised on the brink of extinction that creating and broadcasting a popular satirical sketch of the faith on Saturday Night Live might be all it would take to consign it to the long list of once-popular religious faiths that have vanished from the face of the Earth. In fact, Islam needs no repulsive mock-hero heretic-killers to “defend” it: with over 1.8 billion women and men counting themselves among the followers of the Prophet Muhammad, the religion is today the second-largest in the world, only slightly behind Christianity – and growing rapidly.  But of course, rational thought is now and always has been alien to the fanatics of every religion that ever existed; these are not the kind of people who allow objective reality to intrude upon their infinitesimally narrow world-views.

The bourgeois press and the capitalist-financed nationalist and fascist political parties of Europe and the Christian “West” wasted no time in latching on to the Hebdo murders as “proof” that Islam is not, as its adherents claim, “a religion of peace” – like what, Christianity? – but is in fact a religion whose believers, secretly or openly, espouse the doctrine that all who do not accept Muhammad as being a prophet of God are heretics who should be put to the sword. If all Muslims actually did believe this to be true, the world’s 1.8 billion followers of Muhammad would have finished off the world’s 2.2 billion Christians long ago. Of course none of the claims of fascists that the “Hebdo” killers represent “Islam” are based in reality; nor do the resulting frantic and opportunistic cries of the fascists in opposition to the imaginary threat of imminent “Islamicization” have any basis in reality outside of their own appetite to acquire state power for themselves, after which their supposedly much less murderous “Christian” nation-states would presumably embrace the entire world in their egalitarian, peace-loving arms.  Which is what would happen if these “civilized, Christian” fascists came to power, right?

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The propagandists of the endless “War on Terror” led by the United States capitalist class and their allies in NATO are portraying the conflict as one in which a “civilized” Christian world “dedicated” to the defense of freedom of religion and freedom of speech is being wantonly attacked by those in the Muslim world, who all – openly or secretly – seek to impose their world-view and religious beliefs upon the Christian world by force.  Anyone who can take even a cursory glance at the centuries-long history of conflict between Islam and Christianity can see what a farce it is for the “Christian West” to pose in the robes of the “messenger of peace” Jesus Christ. “Christian Europe” fired the first shots in this war during the Crusades long ago, and engaged at that time in brutal, unprovoked attacks on the then relatively far more “civilized” and tolerant Muslim world in which the Christians gave no quarter to the “heretic” Muslim masses, man, woman or child. European Crusaders – (very much like today’s US/NATO crusaders) – bragged in letters they sent back home of heroic “battles” in which they slaughtered unarmed civilians seeking shelter inside Mosques until the blood ran ankle-deep. This was back when their primary weapons were hand-held; swords, spears and clubs; their heavy weaponry consisted of wooden siege engines and catapults.  The only difference between the “civilizing forces” of the “Christian world” of then and now is to be found in their modern capacity to kill far more people in far less time without necessarily having to even personally be on the same continent as their victims!

The Crusader-fanatics of the “civilized, Christian” world of the Middle Ages, who all believed that by forcing their own religious belief system upon the Muslim world through their own Medieval version of NATO-style terrorism they were doing “God’s Work”, find their spiritual descendants in mirror image in the Muslim “terrorists” of today; they can find their predecessors among the religions fanatics of every major religion going all the way back before the dawn of written history.  Killing in the name of religion wasn’t invented by the Muslims on September 11, 2001, nor was it invented by the Christians in the Middle-Ages. And in recent years it hasn’t been the “terrorists” of the “Muslim World” that have been responsible for the vast majority of the indiscriminate slaughtering of non-combatant men, women and children with impunity – as those keeping body counts for both “teams” know all too well.  It is the so-called “civilized, Christian World” that has been at work torturing and butchering Muslims from Egypt to Indonesia for most of the 20th and all of the 21st centuries. It’s only in the last 40 years or so that the “Muslim World” has begun to organize to fight back effectively. In this as well, we see a parallel with the Crusades: after initially being taken by surprise by the unprovoked and furious assaults that came out of Europe over the most flimsy pretexts, the Muslim world organized itself and counterattacked, eventually driving the Christians not just back to the borders of their own countries but driving Christian Europe almost to the brink of its own extinction. It wasn’t until the 1600’s that the wave of Muslim conquest in Europe fell back, receding eventually to its present-day borders in Eastern Europe, Turkey, to the Levant and the shores of North Africa.

When the “civilized” Christian world reconquered its territory in places like Spain and Italy, the “civilized” Christians didn’t create new polities where religionists of all kinds were welcome to worship as they pleased; the Christians either forced Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity, drove them out of the country – or burned them at the stake! “Christian civilization” only allowed the freedom of worship to those who were Catholic – everyone else was a heretic who could be set upon, beaten or lynched at any time. When these same “civilized Christians” first journeyed to the New World, they brought their “one, true faith” with them; and their God, in their rather convenient interpretation of His will as revealed through the  events that were to follow, seemed to smile indulgently upon their mindless butchery of the “heathen” native populations – a butchery that was carried out largely with the consent and acquiescence of the Catholic – and later, the Protestant – clergy. Millions were slaughtered or enslaved by these “civilized” Christians over the next 400 years. When the native populations proved to be unwilling to be used as forced labor on the slave plantations of the “civilized Christians”, these followers of Jesus Christ started kidnapping African “heathen” and selling them into slavery. The number of Africans who died on the slave ships taking them into captivity is unknown but believed to be at least 2 million.

We’ll skip a bit of the long, bloody history of “civilized Christianity” to take a look at how the “civilized Christians” of Europe and the Americas have treated the Muslim and Arab populations of the world since at least the late 1400s. Colonizing the whole of Africa and the Middle East, as well as large parts of Asia and India, these “civilized Christians” enslaved, tortured and murdered their way to the seizure of the most valuable lands, raw materials and human labor of two and a half entire continents. Tribal communities were summarily driven off lands they had occupied for millennia; nation-states that had existed for as long or longer were cut up like so much cloth and distributed to the “civilized, Christian” European plunderers, out to stuff their pockets with gold – by any means necessary.

After World War I, these emissaries from “civilized, Christian” Europe sat down in drawing-rooms and pored over maps of the Middle East and North Africa, chopping up the regions into gerrymandered nation-states ruled over by colonial governments or satraps who plundered these new nation-states wantonly. Anyone who tried to oppose them faced beatings, torture, long-term imprisonment, assassination or execution. These policies continued throughout the 20th century and continue to the present day, in which the massive war machines of “Christian, civilized” USA, UK, France, Germany, the rest of the NATO states and their local proxies have tortured, murdered and bombed civilian populations from Gaza to Iraq to Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over a million and a half Iraqis alone have been murdered in TWO major wars in the past 20 years – wars inflicted upon the people of Iraq by the “Christian, civilized” United States of America. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the “Christian, civilized” US President Bush authorized mass bombings of civilian areas in Iraq and Afghanistan, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children as well as the mass torturing of thousands more; “Christian, civilized” President Obama has authorized remote-controlled drone attacks that have killed thousands of women and children as well as the assassinations of hundreds of men whose only “crime” was simple association with “suspected terrorists”.

In spite of all of this well-known and massive human carnage committed by “civilized, Christian” Europe and the USA against the Muslim world, we are supposed to believe that it is not the Muslims that are being subjected to mass murder at the hands of the “Christian world” but vice versa! What could be more absurd? The US and its NATO allies have mass-murdered well over – WELL over! – 1.5 MILLION Arab and Muslim people in the past 20 years alone!  The “civilized, Christian” world hails the soldiers who committed these monstrous crimes as “heroes”; the churches of the US and Europe sing hosannas to their memories every Sunday and sports stadiums full of brainwashed “civilized, Christian” citizens salute the military organizations that plan and carry out these mass-murders every day; but when a handful of religious fanatics claiming to represent Islam kill a dozen “civilized, Christian” satirists, it’s the crime of the century – and “proof” that Islam, not Christianity is the religion of fanatical murderers!

This monstrous falsification of the historical record is presented to us 24/7 via the “civilized Christian” bourgeois press, which simply ignores the entire history of the “civilized, Christian” world and its many many crimes committed against Muslims all over the globe, and spreads the lie that these obviously retaliatory strikes were “unprovoked attacks”! They tell us with straight faces that the very existence of “civilized, Christian” Europe is at stake unless… more massive military assaults are unleashed against the “uncivilized Muslim world”!  As if we, the “swinish multitude” of “dumb workers” are unable to remember the history of the past 50 years, and the war crimes we and our children were forced to commit as conscript soldiers in the imperialist armies!

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Do not misunderstand us: the senseless and cowardly murders of the “Charlie Hebdo” staff are repulsive to us and to every decent human being on this planet of every religious stripe – or lack thereof. The “Hebdo” killers represent the very real threat that exists, incredibly, here in the 21st century from the religious fanatics of EVERY organized religion, whose most deranged and fanatical followers think nothing of butchering men, women and children – without regard to the religions of their victims – in the name of their completely imaginary “gods”!  The threat to human civilization is not just coming from Muslim religious nuts; Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist religious zealots – to name but a few – have all committed mass murders in the past 20 years – with the forces of the supposedly “civilized, Christian” West responsible for the vast majority of murders of civilians by far.  The religious zealots of the world can be expected to continue to keep on killing “heretics” until the working class creates a real 21st-century civilization in which the basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and health care – including mental health care – are guaranteed to all; and until the workers of the world overthrow the warmongering capitalist class and put an end to their phony “War on Terror”!  Only once all human needs are being met in an egalitarian socialist future will the futile practice of begging “God” for food, water, shelter and everything else no longer be necessary for the long-suffering workers of this tragic human race.   Only then will we see religious extremism “wither away” – finally – after thousands of years in which organized religion and its most fanatical adherents have caused at least as much human suffering as they have managed, with their meagre superstitious methods – to relieve.  The inauguration of that glorious religious-zealot-free future will definitely require the overthrow of the greed-based capitalist system, in which religion is a necessary prop keeping the system from toppling over.  The capitalist classes of the US and EU are right now seeking to destabilize the “Muslim world” in order to facilitate massive profit-stealing via their seizure of the easy pickings of the Middle Eastern oil fields.  They plan to lock down the entire planet in a global police state run by the USA and their (for the time being) junior partners in the EU.  It’s in the best interests of the workers of the world to stop the capitalists before they kill again.  No one else can do it.

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The men and women committing the terrorist attacks against civilians “in the name of Islam” no more represent “Islam” than the Christian fundamentalists who bomb abortion clinics and torture and murder as soldiers in the US imperialist military represent “Christianity”, the Hindu fanatics who kill Muslims represent all Hindus or the fascistic, murderous Zionist lunatics represent all Jews.   All religious zealots who murder in the name of their religions are, first of all, INSANE; secondly, they are mere criminals. To elevate the murderers of the  Hebdo staff to the level of “terrorists” who represent the will of millions of Muslims all over the world is to give them far more credit than they deserve. Killing these religious fanatics only turns them into instant martyrs; they should be captured, arrested and tried as common criminals, because that’s what they are. They are criminally insane, with delusions of being “messengers from God” who they truly believe sanctions the murder of non-believers in “His” name.   The fact that people like this still exist in the 21st century is stark testament to the failure of the capitalist system to bring real “civilization” to the world.  It is also a tragic reminder of what happens when the efforts of more than a century and a half by the working classes of the whole world – including our sisters and brothers in the Middle East – to overthrow the capitalist system have been driven back by capitalist classes all too willing to commit any crime against the workers. In order to maintain their class rule and to defend an economic system that has robbed the workers of the world and transferred that stolen wealth into the hands of a tiny number of human beings – who now  possess more than half of the world’s wealth, the capitalists have murdered revolutionary worker-leaders all over the Middle East and Asia, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Sri Lanka to Egypt.   It is capitalism and its endless insane quest for more and more profits that financed Islamic fundamentalism as a force with which to batter the workers movements of the Middle East into submission;  it is the capitalist classes of the US and UK that financed, trained and unleashed these religious fanatics on the world in order to crush the USSR in Afghanistan.

The Soviet Union successfully fought Islamist fundamentalism starting in the 1920s, freeing women throughout Central Asia from the bondage of the chador, the bride price and complete social isolation.  We are proud to have been part of the Trotskyist Spartacist movement that proudly declared “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!” in 1980.  That intervention had the potential to spike resurgent Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan which – had it not been for the CIA’s terrorist training camps that sponsored Osama Bin Laden’s anti-Soviet efforts that eventually drove the USSR out of Afghanistan – might have prevented the rise of fundamentalist Islam throughout the Middle East in the 1980s and ’90s, and the shit-train of human suffering that was ushered in by it.

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In the wake of the “Charlie Hebdo” murders, the long, disgusting history of the brutalities the “civilized, Christian” world has heaped upon the Muslim world have been simply erased from the memory banks of the bourgeois press by the fascist and nationalist apologists for bloodthirsty “Christian civilized capitalism”; the capitalist-owned politicians and media hacks are also spreading the ridiculous fraud of the imminent “Islamicization of Europe” which allegedly threatens to destroy “civilized, Christian European” “principles” of “tolerance” and “love for one another” so close to the bloodless hearts of the warmongering “Christian, civilized” capitalist classes of Europe and the USA! Josef Goebbels would enjoy this spectacle of hypocrisy, wouldn’t he, if he was alive today? Stalin, whose “historians” were so adept at erasing national heroes like Leon Trotsky from the pages and photographs of Soviet newspapers and history books – and whose regime was roundly condemned by the “civilized, Christian” west for doing so! – would enjoy this charade as well!

The fact is that in today’s modern world, human beings can easily move across the face of the planet and are – or should be – free to settle anywhere their hearts desire without any obstacles being placed in their way.  We, as revolutionary Trotskyists, consider all workers to be our brothers and sisters; we repudiate the capitalists’ assertions that foreign-born workers are “aliens” and we fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants!   (Anti-immigrant legislation and propaganda serve to cloak the inherent inability of the capitalist system to provide jobs for all able-bodied workers with the lie that there would be work for everyone if it wasn’t for the immigrants “stealing” “our” jobs!  In fact, the capitalist system, in order to function profitably, maintains a reserve army of the unemployed so as to keep ALL workers’ wages down; the capitalists use the immigrants as scapegoats).

Those who yearn for “the good old days” of national isolation, where natural boundaries like mountain ranges and oceans fostered unique cultural identities – as well as hideous economic, political, cultural and intellectual backwardness –  are yearning for a world that is gone and which – happily for the working classes – isn’t coming back.  The population of the United States represents only 4.5% of the world’s population; “White” Europeans are a tiny minority of the global population as well.  The world is moving rapidly in the direction BACK to the status of a much more homogeneous “racial” makeup that ended maybe 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, when the entire human race was just emerging from Africa.  To revolutionary socialists – THIS IS A GOOD THING!  The increased “racial” mixing via intermarriage should eventually destroy every vestige of racist ideology, bringing all the world’s people much closer together again.  Globally, today, believers in Islam make up approximately 25% of the world’s population.  If all our Muslim brothers and sisters were evenly distributed in every nation, 25% of the population of, say, France, would be Muslim.  But that is not the case; French Muslims make up just 7.5% of the entire population of France!  The French nationalists and fascists screaming that France is being “Islamicised” are crying wolf, desperately attempting to hold back an evolutionary trend that can only be brought to a halt through vicious racist immigration quotas that will not stop the natural global migration of our fellow human beings all over the world.  In other nations where the fascists and nationalists are trying to stoke irrational fears of impending “Islamicization”, the Muslim populations as a percentage of the total populations of those countries are as follows:

Germany: 5.0%

UK: 4.6%

US: 0.8%

Sweden: 4.9%

Netherlands: 5.5%

Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country

Obviously, the Muslim immigration to Europe is going to have to increase exponentially in order to simply reach global parity in our lifetimes.  The massive exodus of people from traditionally Muslim countries to Europe has been driven in the first place by the “Global War on Terror”, which has deliberately destabilized majority-Muslim countries merely in order to facilitate the plundering of those nation-states by the US and EU multinational corporations that dictate US/NATO foreign policy and which seek to make profitable investments in the region – without regional strongmen taking their “cut” of the plunder – or threatening to kick the imperialists out on their asses.  The overthrow of capitalism in the US and EU states would lead to the overthrow of the brutal dictatorships in North Africa and the Middle East, which would result in a cessation of immigration to Europe and quite probably the return of many immigrant workers now living in EU countries to the lands of their birth.  To believe that the rapid influx of immigrants from North Africa into Europe due to the “Global War on Terror” is permanent and irreversible is to believe that the highly unstable political and economic status quo in Europe is also “permanent and irreversible”, which is inherently contradictory.  Workers socialist revolution is both possible and desirable – and necessary! – in Europe and everywhere else; and if the working class can make that happen, the likelihood of a long period of peaceful and rational development of the entire human race becomes a probability instead of highly unlikely under a more and more xenophobic and nationalistic capitalism.

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The lies we are having heaped upon us in desperate defense of the tottering capitalist status quo in the EU from the mouths of the bourgeois journalists and the press attaches of the “civilized, Christian” governments of the west require the most strenuous efforts of those of us in the revolutionary socialist workers movement to oppose them and to provide the working classes of the world with the truth about the hideous crimes that the ruling classes of the “civilized, Christian” world have committed against our brother and sister workers in the Muslim world.  The reactionary, anti-immigrant and cynical “Je Suis Charlie” campaigns – orchestrated by the racist and fascist apologists for US/NATO war crimes carried out throughout the Muslim world – must be avoided like the plague by workers all over the world. The capitalist classes of Europe and the Americas are seeking to terrify the working class into giving their approval for more vicious military attacks on our fellow workers in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan – and throughout Europe and the whole world – in order to crush any opposition to the capitalists’ plans to destabilize and re-colonize the Middle East.  The only resource the “civilized, Christian” capitalists care about is the oil under the lands now occupied by our working class brothers and sisters who, in the majority, “happen to be” Muslim. The capitalists know that they will never obtain a green light from the workers to butcher our own Muslim sisters and brothers with impunity until they can turn them in our eyes into cartoonish, hate-filled religious wackos hell-bent on mass murder of civilians in Europe and the Americas. In other words, the capitalist classes that run the US/NATO military murder machine want us to believe that the people of the Middle East are about to do to US what the US and NATO have been doing to THEM all these years, and are using the “Hebdo” murders to justify more war against our sisters and brothers throughout the Muslim world! The enemy of the working classes of Europe and the US are clearly NOT our fellow workers in the Muslim-majority nations; our enemies are the capitalist classes of the entire world who make their billions through the endless mass-murder of their “War on Terror”!

Don’t fall for the lies of the capitalists: our enemies aren’t our sisters and brothers in the “Muslim World” but our capitalist masters here in “civilized, Christian, capitalist” USA and Europe!  Workers of the World, Unite!  For workers socialist revolution in the US, Europe, the Middle East and throughout the capitalist world!

IWPCHI