Category Archives: pro-capitalist

“Speaking Truth To Power”: Why It Sucks as a Political Program

In this essay we will attempt to explain why the working class needs to have its own, independent, revolutionary socialist workers party, by comparing what we would have if we had our own workers party as opposed to what we have if we just “speak truth to power”.

We don’t like to “talk down” to people.  We ourselves are not so “high up” that we could “talk down” to people even if we wanted to!  But we have to face the reality that the US working class is by far the most backward working class in the industrialized world, politically.  The US is the only major industrialized nation that does not have a mass “socialist” or “communist” party.  This means that the US working class has never risen to the level of complete working-class-consciousness; it has been stuck at the “trade-union-consciousness” stage of development since the early 1900s.  The main reason for this is that the workers of the USA have been brainwashed by the capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for servants in the Democratic Party and in the trade unions to believe that “socialism is bad” and “capitalism is good” – and that the class interests of workers and capitalists are one and the same!  This widely-held belief among US workers  in the identity of interests of capitalists and workers would make workers in every other industrialized country – and many so-called “third world” countries – shake their heads in disbelief.   This decades-long brainwashing of the working class has made it impossible for even intelligent people like Edward Snowden to simply  tell the difference between a communist and a fascist!

Brilliant whistleblower Edward Snowden displays the typical crippled political consciousness of the working class in the USA.

If Edward Snowden can’t tell the difference between Mao – a lifelong member of the Communist Party – and Hitler – who was never a member of any socialist organization ever and who incinerated tens of thousands of communists and socialists in his death camps (and Snowden’s a relatively educated US worker) you get a good basic idea of just how ignorant US workers are when it comes to politics.  This state of political ignorance among the US working class bore its most malignant fruit ever when the workers of the USA voted for a worker-hating billionaire for President – thinking that, somehow, a disgusting greedhead racist pig like Donald Trump would fight for the rights of workers! But that is getting off the track of our basic lesson plan on PoliSci101 as taught by a revolutionary worker!  Our subject today is not Donald Trump but one of the big political swindles going on in the so-called workers movement of the US, namely the “need” to “speak truth to power”.  What in hell does this political phrase “Speak Truth To Power” really mean?  And if it seems to you like we are “talking down” to you maybe it only seems that way because you, worker of the USA, have a vastly exaggerated sense of your own political wisdom, which, in fact, you do not possess AT ALL!  This is why you keep on voting this year for the Democrats and next year for the Republicans and still can’t understand why your lives aren’t getting better.    So please read on and see if you learn something.

“Speaking Truth to Power!” Sounds good, doesn’t it? Or maybe it should be like this: “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” Even better, right? It’s like a demand now. Or how about: “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!”. Now THAT is a revolutionary slogan! But let’s go all out and say we are “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” Take THAT, “powers that be”!

No matter how you write it; no matter how you say it, it means just one thing: “we accept the status quo; we know that there is a power up there somewhere and it is often against us; but if we just let those rightful “powers that be” hear our demands, they will become afraid of us and will do what we demand of them.”

As revolutionary Trotskyists, we study political speech scientifically. Everyone knows that all words have specific meanings; and that political words have special political meanings. But what most workers are only dimly aware of is that when political words are combined into political phrases by the enemies of the working class, those meanings are distorted, falsified and turned into lies. A clever phrase like “speak truth to power” is made to sound militant and revolutionary when in fact it is servile and cowardly – anything but revolutionary. Yet so-called “revolutionaries” seem to *love* the phrase “speak truth to power”. This is just one of the signs that they are fake-revolutionaries.

When political words are combined into phrases their meanings become (usually) more complex. It is our job as Trotskyist political scientists to deconstruct these slippery phrases used by fake-revolutionaries and other defenders of the capitalist system and to clearly show to the working class how these clever phrases are used to rip the working class off. And today’s lesson will show that the seemingly radical and revolutionary phrase “speak truth to power” contains a complete reformist political program that completely disarms the working class politically and hands it over to its mortal enemy, the capitalist class, bound and gagged!

So let’s analyze this political formula: “speak” “truth” “to” “power”. Break it down into its component parts. “Speak”: means of course to address something to someone else. We speak to communicate ideas. That part is straightforward.

The next word describes what we should say: “truth”. The working class is basically honest; when it addresses individuals or groups of individuals we as workers like to have the truth on our side and we also like our leaders to speak the truth to us and to whomever we ask them to address on our behalf. “Speak truth”. Very nice, nothing to oppose there. So far this phrase seems to be OK. And so is “Speak truth to”. Obviously if we are going to speak truth we must speak it to… someone.

“Speak truth” to whom? To whom will we address our speech? To “power”. What is “power”? Obviously, if we are going to “speak truth to” power, then “power must be a thing, some kind of material entity. You do not “speak truth to” the dog or to the birds in the trees, or to the sky; you speak truth to a person or persons. So this word “power” must be a noun, correct? Who constitutes this “power” we wish to address?

The Merriam-Webster English dictionary defines the word “power” in this way:

1 power

noun, often attributive pow·er \ˈpau̇(-ə)r\

1. a : (1) ability to act or produce an effect (2) : ability to get extra-base hits (3) : capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect
b: legal or official authority, capacity, or right
2. a : possession of control, authority, or influence over others b : one having such power; specifically a sovereign state c : a controlling group; establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be
d archaic: a force of armed men; e: chiefly dialectal; a large number or quantity
3. a : physical might b : mental or moral efficacy c : political control or influence
4. powers plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
5. a : the number of times as indicated by an exponent that a number occurs as a factor in a product 5 to the third power is 125; also : the product itself 8 is a power of 2 b : cardinal number 2
6. a : a source or means of supplying energy; especially : electricity b : motive power c : the time rate at which work is done or energy emitted or transferred
7 : magnification
8. scope
9 : the probability of rejecting the null hypothesis in a statistical test when a particular alternative hypothesis happens to be true
Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/power

Looking at this list of the many definitions of the word “power”, we see that we can immediately eliminate several of these: 1a; 2a and e; 3; and the mathematical and parametrical references of 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. That leaves us with these:

1. b: legal or official authority, capacity, or right
2. b : one having such power [over others – refers to definition 2a – IWPCHI]; specifically a sovereign state c : a controlling group; establishment —often used in the phrase the powers that be
d archaic: a force of armed men
Now in the case of “speaking truth to power” as it relates to the “archaic” definition of “a force of armed men”; it is interesting that in the dictionaries of the capitalist period this is considered to be no longer valid. But of course the “forces of armed men” are not the “power” we are addressing when we use the phrase “speaking truth to power”. Everyone knows that the police are the armed fist of “power” but not “power” itself. The police are merely the pawns of those “in power” and are ordered to do their dirty work by “power”.
That leaves us with “legal or official authority”; “one having such power over others”; a “controlling group or establishment”. This must be the “power” we are “speaking truth to”.
The first thing that strikes a revolutionary Trotskyist when analyzing this term “power” as it applies to the “establishment” that runs the city, state or nation is that it is a very vague term that does not correctly describe the true nature of this “power”. As revolutionary Marxists, we understand that the real “power” in any capitalist country like the United States is held in the hands of the “capitalist class”. So why, we ask, did the people who came up with the phrase “speak truth to power” deliberately choose the vague term “power” instead of the more scientifically precise and correct term “capitalist class”?
The reason is simple: they do not want to use the more precise and scientific term because if they did then they would be revealed to be revolutionary Marxists and not the simple reformists that they actually are. If you use the precise, scientific Marxist language, you will be labeled by the “powerful” capitalist class as a “commie”; and the reformists who created this wonderfully vague demand to “speak truth to power” DON’T WANT THEIR CAPITALIST MASTERS TO MISIDENTIFY THEM AS MARXIST REVOLUTIONARIES! At the same time these reformists wish to trick YOU the workers into believing that they are “radical” and adventurous by “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!”
Let’s look a bit closer at this tricky bit of verbal posturing encompassed by the seemingly innocuous phrase “speak truth to power”, designed to make the reformist mice look like LIONS to the uninitiated (though at the same time providing a wink and a nod to the “powerful” that says “don’t worry, we’re not going to go beyond merely “speaking truth to power!”).
Every revolutionary Trotskyist “speaks truth” to every worker she or he talks to; it is our tradition, it is our job, it is our promise to you and it has always been the #1 rule of revolutionary Marxism: to never lie to the working class. But to “power”? Well, there are certainly times when it is NOT wise to “speak truth to power”; like when you are organizing a union in a non-union shop; or when a capitalist asks you how you like working for his company.
Only cowering slaves take the position that they must always “speak truth to power”. They rat out their fellow workers in order to ingratiate themselves with the capitalists. They always tend to lie to their fellow workers and to tell the truth as they understand it to their masters.
So why do the reformists try to inculcate in the minds of the working class that they must always “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER”? Whose side are they on: the side of the workers or the side of the capitalists?
But isn’t it OK in a demonstration, say, in Washington, D.C. to come right out and make our demands, to honestly and openly address our grievances to “the powers that be”? Of course it is. BUT FOR REVOLUTIONARY TROTSKYISTS, “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER” IS NOT AN END IN ITSELF! We don’t just “speak truth to power” and then go home, grinning like idiots because “we really told them off this time, didn’t we”? IF ALL WE DO IS “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER” WE HAVEN’T DONE A DAMNED THING AT ALL! We are still “power”-less workers who have merely addressed our pitiful grievances to “the powers that be” (who, in the case of the vast majority of mass demonstrations in Washington, D.C. make certain to leave town well in advance of the Big Demo)! If all we do is “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!” … and then the “power” tells us to go fuck ourselves…? What do we do when this “power” answers our honest appeal with rubber bullets, tear gas and even live ammunition? Do we keep on crawling and begging the “legitimate powers that be” to accept our humble petitions like the peasants did in Tsarist Russia, crawling on their knees to the Tsar’s palaces to present their petitions, hats-in-hands – only to be shot down like dogs by the Tsarist military? Are we workers today more or less cowardly than our peasant ancestors?
As for the reformists like Cornel West and Bernie Sanders who love to look tough in front of the workers by “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” – that is all they intend to do! They “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!” morning, noon and night – and “power” ignores them and even laughs in their faces! Why can “power” do this? Because so long as the working class idiotically contents itself with merely “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” and does not go on to organize a revolutionary workers party that will lead the fight to actually “TAKE POWER OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE CAPITALIST CLASS AND PLACE IT IN THE HANDS OF THE WORKING CLASS THROUGH WORKERS SOCIALIST REVOLUTION”, the “power” will keep right on enjoying its rights and privileges and its massive wealth – stolen from us! – and will never lose even one night’s sleep! So long as the working class keep following the reformist cowards and political idiots who will NEVER go beyond “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” – nothing… absolutely NOTHING will change unless the “power”-ful capitalist class “feels” like it’s a good idea.
We just had a great example of this with the “Fight For $15” campaign in Illinois. These reformists – completely tied to the apron strings of the Democratic Party – adopted a slogan that is so lame that it is amazing and it proves that they are 100% in favor of the capitalist system. For the better part of two decades now, every scientific study of the minimum wage in Illinois has stated that in order for the workers in Chicago to live like human beings, they must make at least $25/hour. This has been studied for EVER! So why do these reformist cowards who organized the “Fight For $15” (there is a misuse of the word “fight” if we ever saw one!) crawl on their knees begging the “powers that be” for a mere $15 – ten dollars an hour LESS than what is necessary for workers to live decently in this Democratic Party-run death trap for the working class?
The answer is simple: these people who are running the “Fight for $15” are more interested in trying to look “reasonable” to the “powers that be” among the Illinois capitalist class than they are in honestly and courageously demanding that the working class of Illinois get PAID ENOUGH MONEY TO LIVE ON! These reformist cowards who run the misnamed “Fight For $15” (which should be called “Get Down On Your Knees And Beg For $15”) are trying to show how loyal and responsible they are as defenders of the capitalist system by not making the – to the capitalist class – unreasonable demand (!) that Illinois workers get paid enough money to actually barely keep their heads above water! By making their demand so low, they tried to “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!” – but not so as to alarm anyone in the filthy rich capitalist class! The leaders of “Fight For $15” hope that if they behave themselves and can prove to the capitalist class that they can keep the “demands” of the workers well under what the capitalist class deems to be “reasonable” then they might some day be rewarded with a state senator’s job or a well-paid spot in the House of Representatives or Senate! They are interested in furthering their POLITICAL CAREERS AS LIBERAL DEMOCRATS – not in fighting for actual living wages for workers!
So they crawled through Chicago and crawled to Springfield and crawled back through Chicago again and even went to Washington D.C. and crawled there as well – always “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” but never backing that up by ORGANIZING A REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY!
So what did the “powers that be” do with the all-too-“reasonable” “demand” of the “Fight For $15”?
Billionaire Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner used their petition for toilet paper and he vetoed the legislation “demanding” the starvation minimum wage of $15/hour!
So NOW what will the apostles of “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” do? They “SPOKE TRUTH TO POWER!” – and “power” told them to go get fucked! Will the “Fight for $15” people now raise their demand to “Fight for $16” or to “Fight for $25” (which is the MINIMUM of what the minimum wage MUST BE in Illinois if we want workers to live like human beings and not from paycheck-to-paycheck)? Will they continue to hide under the skirts of the Democrats, who, when they ran the State House in Springfield worked overtime to keep their piddling minimum wage always well below the rate of inflation? Or will the reformist cowards who run “Fight For $15” finally stop their phony charade and just go work for the Democrats or go get real jobs?
Who cares what they do? A reformist is as a reformist does; and these dyed-in-the-wool reformist Democrats will never amount to anything! All they can do is lead workers into the dead-end of voting for the Democrats – that is their role in this life.
Lastly we ask you, young (or old) worker: when will YOU finally realize that merely “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER!” has never and will never change anything and start to organize a revolutionary socialist party that seeks to get rid of a capitalist “power” that doesn’t care if you live or die and to replace that “power” with a revolutionary socialist workers government?
The working class does not need pro-capitalist intermediaries in the Democratic or Republican parties to represent us – FALSELY! – in the local, state and national governmental bodies! We need OUR OWN party 100% financed by, organized by and led by WORKERS that represents the political and economic interests of the WORKING CLASS only! Once we have such a party, we will be able to stop merely “SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER”; we will be on our way to WORKERS POWER IN A WORKERS GOVERNMENT where we the workers – who make up the vast majority of the population in EVERY country – will decide how the wealth WE CREATE gets distributed! We will no longer have to endlessly beg our wealthy capitalist masters for a few crumbs!

Workers of the World Unite! Dump the Republicrats and Build A Revolutionary Trotskyist Workers Party and Fight For A Workers’ Government!

–IWPCHI

 

 

 

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NY Times Slanders Bolsheviks as “German Agents”: Bolshevik Party Was Funded By Russian Workers

The New York Times – the “newspaper of record” for the US’ east coast capitalist class – has always hated the workers movement.  As part of the US capitalist class’ bought-and-paid-for press, the editors of the Times have consistently excoriated the US workers movement from the time of its inception in the early 19th century to the present day.  They hate the working class and all it stands for and they go so far as to never credit the communist workers movement with any of its many achievements in the USA, from its creation of the modern civil rights movement to its leadership of the CIO during the major class battles of the 1930s that made the trade union movement a force that the US capitalist class had to reckon with.  The New York Times never mentions “communism” or “communists” in anything other than a bad light; even their obituaries of people whose fame was largely due to their prominent role as communsit writers, actors or artists is completely obscured by the editors of the Times.  As a “newspaper of record” it is actually busily falsifying the historical record to expunge any positive contributions attributable to communist activists.  Hey, we don’t call it “the bourgeois press” for nothing.

The New York Times even pretends that he working class – the largest class of human beings in any capitalist society – does not even exist in the USA!  And whenever a major news story occurs in which union workers are involved, the Times never interviews any trade union leader to get her or his version of what happened – even though the union’s perspective on the event is critically important insider information necessary to have in order to understand what exactly happened.

The US’ “newspaper of record” – the New York Times – hates the workers movement so much that they assert that in the USA, the working class doesn’t even exist. Source: NY Times

2017 being the 100th anniversary of the heroic Russian Revolution led by Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, the capitalist press is attempting to once again slander the revolution in order to (hopefully) dissuade the 2017 US working class from taking the time to go back and revisit the background of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.  In the US especially, the working class have been taught from the cradle that “communism is bad” and “capitalism is good”.  The fact is that the Russian Revolution of 1917 for the very first time ever created a workers state where the working class was the ruling class, and the capitalist exploiting class was abolished.  It is for this reason only that the bourgeois press of 2017 seeks to bury the memory of the great 1917 Bolshevik workers socialist revolution under a mountain of lies and slander.

This is why the New York Times has decided – as part of a new feature they dub “The Red Century” – to drag the old rotten chestnut of the myth of the passage of Lenin and a party of Bolshevik leaders across wartime Europe from Switzerland to Russia in a “sealed train” to carry out order paid for with “German gold” – out of the dustbin of history and regurgitated it in order to slander the Bolsheviks once again.

The ancient lie that Lenin’s Bolsheviks were “German agents” was never believed by anyone – including the agents of the bourgeois press – back at the time of the revolution.  The political exile Lenin accepted the Germans’  offer of safe passage of himself and his comrades from Switzerland to Russia in the midst of the carnage of WWI so that he and his comrades could take their rightful places as leaders of their parties’ factions in the new government that emerged upon the collapse of the hideous Tsarist regime had nothing at all to do with accepting a role as an agent of the Kaiser’s Germany: the Kaiser, desperate to extricate his regime from a war in which, with the impending entry of the USA into the conflict, could only end in his regime’s defeat, was grasping at straws by the spring of 1917.  Lenin’s Bolsheviks had righteously opposed WWI from its very beginning, and had called for the defeat of the Tsarist war machine and for workers revolution throughout Europe to end the war and overthrow capitalism which had created the conditions that led to the war.  The Kaiser in his vast ignorance and desperation only comprehended that the Bolsheviks had pledged that if they became the ruling power in Russia that they would immediately take steps to pull Russia out of the war; that was all that he cared about.  He saw the possibility of a Russian pullout from participation in WWI as an opportunity for his regime to reallocate his  military forces from the Eastern Front to the Western.  He eagerly lunged for what he believed was a slim chance of victory offered to him by the stupid Bolshevik party and their utopian dream of a socialist revolution in Tsarist Russia.  Never in his wildest dreams did the Kaiser believe that the Bolsheviks would actually follow through on the political program of socialist revolution which the Bolsheviks had expounded since the collapse of the Second International in August, 1914.  Wilhelm granted the Bolsheviks safe passage to Russia in the desperate hope that the Bolsheviks would take Russia out of the war; he calculated that if that happened, he could reallocate his military forces to the west where once he crushed the French and English he would have ample time to crush the Bolsheviks as well.  Lenin knew this from day one and he did not hesitate to take up the Germans’ offer.  “The capitalists will sell the rope that will be used to hang them” was one of Lenin’s basic beliefs; and the Germans’ shortsighted  offer to send Marxist revolutionaries to Russia to overthrow the Tsar in order to obtain a military benefit from a Russian socialist revolution was and is one of the most asinine moves ever made by a ruling monarch.  When Lenin arrived in Russia in April of 1917 he immediately organized his party to not only overthrow the Tsarist regime, but to take power in the name of the Russian working class and peasantry.  This was far more than the Kaiser had bargained for; and the victorious Russian Revolution of 1917 not only knocked the crowns off the heads of the Russian autocrats: it very quickly led to the collapse of the German monarchy as well.  No serious historian would state in 2017 that the Bolsheviks were nothing but “agents of the Kaiser”.  If that was true, what did the Bolsheviks do to defend their “benefactor” when he was facing his own deposition?  In fact, the Bolsheviks did all they could to hasten the collapse of Kaiserdom, organizing a revolutionary Bolshevik party in Germany with express orders to overthrow the capitalist system in Germany as soon as possible.  The Kaiser’s fate was sealed the moment he gave Lenin and his Bolshevik comrades safe passage to Russia in the vain hope that the collapse of Tsarism would lead to the building of a bulwark of support for Kaiserdom!  What a stupid ass he was!  Within a year after October 1917 the Kaiser was forced to abdicate his throne by the revolutionary workers of Germany. inspired by the Bolshevik Revolution!

The whole idea that the Bolshevik Party was funded by “German Gold” is refuted in the following article of 1914, in which Lenin lays out precisely where the financial support of the Bolshevik Party was coming from at that time.  The Bolshevik Party – like all Marxist parties around the world in 1917 – received the vast majority of its’ funding from party membership dues and from sales of the party newspaper.  In this article, Lenin breaks down the revenue his party was receiving in 1914 from the sales of the Bolshevik press and also breaks down what sections of Russian society were actively supporting the Bolshevik Party.  “German gold” was NEVER an important source of Bolshevik finances, ever in the history of the Bolsheviks.  Their money came primarily from the industrial workers of the major industrial centers of Tsarist Russia: from the trade unionists working in the big factories in Russia’s major cities.  The following article was filched from marxists.org.

We must alert our working class readers to the fact that we have been studying the works of Lenin for 30 years and that we have NEVER found even a trace of duplicity or shady deaking in the writings of this heroic leader of the workers of the world.  Lenin’s writings can be taken at face value: he dedicated his entire life to fighting for the emancipation of the workers of the world from the misery of wage-slavery.  You will search in vain for another person who dedicated his or her life more selflessly to the service of he workers of the world.  In Lenin, the workers of he world of the 21st century will find an honest and stalwart advocate.

— IWPCHI

V.I. Lenin –  “The Working Class and Its Press”


Published: Trudovaya Pravda Nos. 14 and 15, June 13 and 14, 1914.
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works.


There is nothing more important to class-conscious workers than to have an understanding of the significance of their movement and a thorough knowledge of it. The only source of strength of the working-class movement—and an invincible one at that—is the class-consciousness of the workers and the broad scope of their struggle, that is, the participation in it of the masses of the wage-workers.

The St. Petersburg Marxist press, which has been in existence for years, publishes exclusive, excellent, indispensable and easily verifiable material on the scope of the working-class movement and the various trends predominating in it. Only those who wish to conceal the truth can ignore this material, as the liberals and liquidators do.

Complete figures concerning the collections made for the Pravdist (Marxist) and liquidationist newspapers in St. Petersburg for the period between January 1 and May 13, 1914, have been compiled by Comrade V.A.T.[3] We publish his table below in full, and shall quote round figures in the body of this article as occasion arises, so as not to burden the reader with statistics.

The following is Comrade V.A.T.’s table. (See pp. 364–65.) First of all we shall deal with the figures showing the number of workers’ groups. These figures cover the whole period of existence of the Pravdist and liquidationist newspapers. Number of workers’ groups:

 
Supporting
the Pravdist
newspapers
Supporting
the liquida-
tionist
newspapers
For 1912 . . . . . . . . . . 620 89
For 1913 . . . . . . . . . . 2,181 661
1914, from Jan. 1 to May 13 . 2,873 671
  Total 5,674 1,421

 

Collections for Marxist (Pravdist) and liquidationist newspapers in St. Petersburg from January 1 to May 13, 1914
Collections
made by
St. Petersburg Moscow Provinces Total
Pravdist Liquidationist Pravdist Liquidationist Pravdist Liquidationist Pravdist Liquidationist
No.[1] rubles[2] No. Rubles No. Rubles No. Rubles No. Rubles No. Rubles No. Rubles No. Rubles
Workers’
groups . .
2,024 13,943.24 308 2,231.98 130 865.00 25 263.52 719 4,125.86 338 2,800.62 2,873 18,934.10 671 5,296.12
Total from
non-workersincluding:
325 1,256.92 165 1,799.40 46 260.51 24 1,137.30 332 1,082.79 230 2,113.90 713 2,650.01 453 6,759.77
Student and
youth groups
26 369.49 19 292.13 8 119.30 3 21.00 20 162.13 23 317.09 54 650.92 45 630.22
Groups of
“adherents”,
“friends”,
etc.
8 164.00 14 429.25 6 42.10 5 892.00 28 252.72 35 1,129.35 42 458.82 54 2,450.60
Other groups 2 8.00 6 72.60 1 2.00 30 115.29 24 113.52 33 125.29 30 186.12
Individuals 281 650.96 120 966.72 29 63.61 14 197.30 221 332.05 132 443.80 531 1,046.62 266 1,608.32
Unspecified 8 64.47 6 38.70 2 33.50 2 26.50 33 220.60 16 110.14 43 318.57 24 175.34
From abroad 10 49.79 34 1,709.17
Total . . 2,349 15,200.16 473 4,103.38 176 1,125.51 49 1,400.82 1,051 5,208.65 568 4,914.52 3,586 21,584.11 1,124 12,055.89
1 /

 

The total number of groups is 7,095. Of course, there are groups which made several collections, but separate data for these are not available.

We see that only one-fifth of the total number of workers’ groups are in sympathy with the liquidators. In two-and-a-half years, Pravdism, Pravdist decisions and Pravdist tactics have united four-fifths of Russia’s class-conscious workers. This fact of workers’ unity can well bear comparison with the phrases about “unity” uttered by the various grouplets of intellectuals, the Vperyodists, Plekhanovites, Trotskyists, etc., etc.

Let us compare the figures for 1913 and 1914 (those for 1912 are not comparable, because Pravda appeared in April, and Luch five months later). We shall find that the number of Pravdist groups has grown by 692, i. e., 31.7 per cent, whereas the liquidationist groups have gone up by 10, i. e., 1.5 per cent. Hence, the workers’ readiness to support the Pravdist newspapers has grown 20 times as last as their readiness to support the liquidationist newspapers.

Let us see how the workers in various parts of Russia are divided according to trend:

 
per cent of total workers’ groups
{
Pravdist Liquidationist
St. Petersburg . . . . . 86 14
Moscow . . . . . . . . 83 17
Provinces . . . . . . . 68 32

The inference is clear: the more politically developed the masses of the workers are, and the higher their level of class-consciousness and political activity, the higher is the number of Pravdists among them. In St. Petersburg the liquidators have been almost completely dislodged (fourteen out of a hundred); they still have a precarious hold in the provinces (32 out of 100), where the masses are politically less educated.

It is highly instructive to note that figures from an entirely different source, namely, those giving the number of workers’ delegates elected during the Insurance Board elections, tally to a remarkable degree with those of the workers’ groups. During the election of the Metropolitan Insurance Board, 37 Pravdist and 7 liquidationist delegates were   elected, i. e., 84 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. Of the total number of delegates elected, the Pravdists constituted 70 per cent (37 out of 53), and at the election of the All-Russia Insurance Board they obtained 47 out of 57, i. e., 82 per cent. The liquidators, non-party people and Narodniks form a small minority of workers, who still remain under bourgeois influence.

To proceed. The following are interesting figures on the average amounts collected by workers groups:

 
Average amounts collected by work
ers’ groups
Pravdist (rubles) Liquidationist
(rubles)
St. Petersburg . . . . . 6.88 7.24
Moscow . . . . . . . . 6.65 10.54
Provinces . . . . . . . 5.74 8.28
Whole of Russia . . . . 6.58 7.89

The Pravdist groups show a natural, understandable and, so to speak, normal tendency: the average contribution from the average workers’ group rises with the increase in the average earnings of the working masses.

In the case of the liquidators, we see, apart from the spurt in the Moscow groups (of which there are only 25 in all!), that the average contributions from the provincial groups are higher than those from the St. Petersburg groups! How are we to explain this odd phenomenon?

Only a more detailed analysis of the figures could provide a satisfactory reply to this question, but that would be a laborious task. Our conjecture is that the liquidators unite the minority of the higher-paid workers in certain sections of industry. It has been observed all over the world that such workers cling to liberal and opportunist ideas. In St. Petersburg, the longest to put up with the liquidators were the printing workers, and it was only during the last elections in their Union, on April 27, 1914, that the Pravdists won half the seats on the Executive and a majority of the seats for alternate members. In all countries the printers are most inclined towards opportunism, and some grades among them are highly paid workers.

If our conclusion about the minority of the workers, the labour aristocracy, being in sympathy with the liquidators   is merely conjectural, there can be no doubt whatever where individuals are concerned. Of the contributions made by non-workers, more than half came from individuals (531 out of 713 in our case, 266 out of 453 in the case of the liquidators). The average contribution from this source in our case is R.1.97 whereas among the liquidators it is R.6.05!

In the first case, the contributions obviously came from lower-paid office workers, civil servants, etc., and from the petty-bourgeois elements of a semi-proletarian character. In the case of the liquidators, however, we see that they have rich friends among the bourgeoisie.

These rich friends from among the bourgeoisie take still more definite shape as “groups of adherents, friends, etc.” These groups collected R.458.82 for us, i. e., two per cent of the total sum collected, the average donation per group being R.10.92, which is only half as much again as the average donation of workers’ groups. For the liquidators, however, these groups collected R.2,450.60, i. e., over 20 per cent of the total sum collected, the average donation per group being R.45.39, i. e., six times the average collected by workers’ groups!

To this we add the collections made abroad, where bourgeois students are the main contributors. We received R.49.79 from this source, i. e., less than one-fourth of one per cent; the liquidators received R.1,709.17, i. e., 14 per cent.

If we add up individuals, “adherents and friends”, and collections made abroad, the total amount collected from these sources will be as follows:

Pravdists—R.1,555.23, i. e., 7 per cent of the total collections.

Liquidators—R.5,768.09, i. e., 48 per cent of the total collections.

From this source we received less than one-tenth of what we received from the workers’ groups (R.18,934). This source gave the liquidators more than they received from the workers’ groups (R.5,296)!

The inference is clear: the liquidationist newspaper is not a workers’ but a bourgeois newspaper. It is run mainly on funds contributed by rich friends from among the bourgeoisie.

As a matter of fact, the liquidators are far more dependent upon the bourgeoisie than our figures show. The Pravdist newspapers have frequently published their financial re ports for public information. These reports have shown that our newspaper, by adding collections to its income, is paying its way. With a circulation of 40,000 (the average for May 1914), this is understandable, in spite of confiscations and a dearth of advertisements. The liquidators, however, published their report only once (Luch No. 101), showing a deficit of 4,000 rubles. After this, they adopted the usual bourgeois custom of not publishing reports. With a circulation of 15,000, their newspaper cannot avoid a deficit, and evidently this is covered again and again by their rich friends from among the bourgeoisie.

Liberal-labour politicians like to drop hints about an “open workers’ party”, but they do not like to reveal to genuine workers their actual dependence upon the bourgeoisie! It is left for us, “underground” workers, to teach the liquidator-liberals the benefit of open reports…

The overall ratio of worker and non-worker collections is as follows:

 
Collected by Out of every ruble collected for
Pravdist
newspapers
Liquidationist
newspapers
Workers . . . . . 87 kopeks 44 kopeks
Non-workers . . . 13 ” 56 ”
  Total 1.00 ruble 1.00 ruble

The Pravdists get one-seventh of their aid collections from the bourgeoisie and, as we have seen, from its most democratic and least wealthy sections. The liquidationist undertaking is largely a bourgeois undertaking, which is supported only by a minority of the workers.

The figures concerning the sources of funds also reveal to us the class status of the readers and buyers of the newspapers.

Voluntary contributions are made only by regular readers, who most intelligently sympathise with the trend of the given newspaper. In its turn, the trend of the given news paper willy-nilly “adapts itself” to the more “influential” section of its reading public.

The deductions that follow from our figures are, first, theoretical, i. e., such as will help the working class to understand the conditions of its movement, and secondly, practical deductions, which will give us direct guidance in our activities.

It is sometimes said that there is not one working-class press in Russia, but two. Even Plekhanov repeated this statement not long ago. But that is not true. Those who say this betray sheer ignorance, if not a secret desire to help the liquidators spread bourgeois influence among the workers. Long ago and repeatedly (for example, in 1908 and 1910), the Party decisions clearly, definitely, and directly pointed to the bourgeois nature of liquidationism. Articles in the Marxist press have explained this truth hundreds of times.

The experience of a daily newspaper, which openly appeals to the masses, was bound to disclose the real class character of the liquidationist trend. And that is what it did. The liquidationist newspaper has indeed proved to be a bourgeois undertaking, which is supported by a minority of the workers.

Moreover, let us not forget that almost up to the spring of 1914 the liquidationist newspaper was the mouthpiece of the August bloc. It was only lately that the Letts with drew from it, and Trotsky, Em-El, An, Buryanov and Yegorov have left, or are leaving, the liquidators. The break-up of the bloc is continuing. The near future is bound to reveal still more clearly the bourgeois character of the liquidationist trend and the sterility of the intellectualist grouplets, such as the Vperyodists, Plekhanovites, Trotskyists, etc.

The practical deductions may be summed up in the following points:

1) 5,674 workers’ groups united by the Pravdists in less than two-and-a-half years is a fairly large number, considering the harsh conditions obtaining in Russia. But this is only a beginning. We need, not thousands, but tens of thousands of workers’ groups. We must intensify our activities tenfold. Ten rubles collected in kopeks from hundreds of workers are more important and valuable, both from the ideological and organisational point of view, than a hundred rubles from rich friends among the bourgeoisie.   Even from the financial aspect, experience goes to prove that it is possible to run a well-established workers’ newspaper with the aid of workers’ kopeks, but impossible to do so with the aid of bourgeois rubles. The liquidationist under taking is a bubble, which is bound to burst.

2) We lag behind in the provinces, where 32 per cent of the workers’ groups support the liquidators! Every class-conscious worker must exert every effort to put an end to this lamentable and disgraceful state of affairs. We must bring all our weight to bear in the provinces.

3) The rural workers are apparently still almost untouched by the movement. Difficult as work in this field may be, we must press forward with it in the most vigorous manner.

4) Like a mother who carefully tends a sick child and gives it better nourishment,, the class-conscious workers must take more care of the districts and factories where the workers are sick with liquidationism. This malady, which emanates from the bourgeoisie, is inevitable in a young working-class movement, but with proper care and persistent treatment, it will pass without any serious after effects. To provide the sick workers with more plentiful nourishment in the shape of Marxist literature, to explain more carefully and in more popular form the history and tactics of the Party and the meaning of the Party decisions on the bourgeois nature of liquidationism, to explain at greater length the urgent necessity of proletarian unity, i. e., the submission of the minority of the workers to the majority, the submission of the one-fifth to the four-fifths of the class-conscious workers of Russia—such are some of the most important tasks confronting us.

Notes:

[1] Number of collections. —Lenin

[2] Sums collected (rubles) —Lenin

[3] V. A. T.—initials of V. A. Tikhomirnov, a member of the Pravda staff.

 Source: Marxists Internet Archive at https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/jun/14.htm

US “Intel” Report on “Putin-Ordered” “Hacking of US Election”: Same Lies, Shouted Louder This Time

Last week the badly misnamed United States “Intelligence Community”, whose repeated massive failures to do their “jobs” have resulted in (to name just the two most infamous) the attack on 9/11 and the monstrous war against Iraq, released a pathetic evidence-free 25-page report attempting once again to link the Russian government of Vladimir Putin directly to alleged attempts by his government to interfere and even to “hack” the US electoral process in the 2016 US Presidential election.  Not surprisingly, once again they failed to produce even the slightest evidence to back their outrageous claims against Russia – an extremely dangerous attempt to essentially assert that an act of war has been committed by the Russian Government against the USA.  In their mad determination to maintain their military and economic hegemony over the entire world, the US capitalist class and their government – who can’t even run a medium-sized city like Detroit without fucking it up – think that they have the “right” to run the entire planet as their very own combination slave plantation and personal piggy bank.  Angered at their inability to add Syria to the long list of Middle Eastern nation-states they have turned into free-fire zones (thanks largely to Russia’s military support for the brutal Assad regime), the United States capitalist class seems to have given their bought-and-paid-for Senators and Congressmen and the lame-duck Obama Administration the green light to launch a propaganda war against Russia that seems intended to start WWIII!  Fortunately for the world, Vladimir Putin’s government has not responded to the “lesser evil” Democrat Obama’s attacks in kind.

Having just had their asses handed to them in the recent US Presidential elections (in spite of their spending a couple of billion dollars to make their pet Hillary the first female President) the US capitalist class is in a rage.  Rodham Clinton – the heavy favorite to win the latest phony presidential “election” in the USA – had her coronation rudely canceled, not by WikiLeaks, not by the “evil empire”of Putin, but by the Libertarian and Green Parties, who, by securing over 5% of the vote in key states handed Donald Trump the electoral votes he needed to win.  But this reality can not be acknowledged by the US capitalist class because to admit that it was the poorly-funded third parties right here in the USA that annulled their supposedly magical money-power to elect whomever they choose to the highest office in the land means that they must admit that the days of dead-end two-party politics, controlled entirely by the wealthiest 10% of US citizens is OVER.  So, to cover up the fact that the suposedly invincible US capitalist class is losing control over its own fake “democracy” in the US, they have promulgated the Big Lie that it was the evil Russian Putin who “stole the election” which the US greedhead class thought they had once again bought for themselves “fair and square”.

The Obama Administration and their Republican allies in Congress are shouting in unison that WikiLeaks and Putin conspired to “hack” the US electoral process.  This ridiculous assertion falls on its face at the very first hurdle.  There is not the tiniest bit of evidence that WikiLeaks has colluded with the Russians in any way, and the US “Intelligence Community” reports have not provided a shred of actual evidence proving this assertion.  Likewise, they have not been able to find any kind of “smoking gun” evidence proving that the Russians did anything other than publicly avow their preference for a Trump victory over Clinton, for a vast number of very good reasons.  Hillary Clinton’s brutal record of destabilizing the entire Middle East and their sinister support for the Nazi-ridden, anti-Russian government of the Ukraine while she was Secretary of State alone provide enough plainly justifyable reasons why the Russians would prefer Anyone But Clinton.  But Trump’s wholly unsolicited public statements of admiration for the autocrat Putin gave the Russians plenty of reasons to prefer a Trump win.  Politicians, governments and media pundits all over the world picked their favorite candidates and publicly stated their preferences.  What makes Putin and his nation’s propagandists doing the same thing so special?  When the United States wants to make its preferences known in foreign elections it finds many ways to do it – publicly and privately – and makes no bones about it, unless the US “Intelligence Community” decides an assassination or two are in order, of course.

Did the Russians hack Hillary Clinton’s illegal, secret and poorly defended email server and those of her campaign manager John Podesta and others and turn over the docs to WikiLeaks  to use against Hillary Clinton as the US Government claims? According to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, the answer is an emphatic “no”.

(Watch the full interview below:)

During an interview with right-wing blowhard Sean Hannity broadcast on Hannity’s TV show last week, Assange repeatedly denied that WikiLeaks received the Podesta or Clinton emails “from any state party”.  Hannity pounded away on this point, asking Assange several times from several different angles during the interview to deny that there was any Russian Government link to the WikiLeaks revelations that proved so damaging to Clinton’s Presidential cakewalk; and every time he did, Assange firmly stated that there was no Russian government involvement in the leaks.

So, who should we believe: the US Government or Julian Assange?  Assange has a long record for telling the truth; the US Government “Intelligence” agencies have a much longer record of systematically lying to the public and even lying under oath during Congressional testimony!  Not surprisingly, current polls show that in spite of years of a massive US Government-orchestrated propaganda campaign to discredit WikiLeaks as an organization and Assange personally, a large percentage of the US population trusts Assange and WikiLeaks more than they trust the US Government officialdom!  This, too is another sign that the ability of the US capitalist class to fool the US working class with their endless pro-capitalist propaganda and lies is wearing thin.  The Internet in general, and courageous hackers, whistleblowers and information outlets like WikiLeaks have made it very difficult for any government to successfully lie to its own citizens for any length of time.  The exposes of their lies occur almost immediately as soon as the words trill off their lying tongues, entirely bypassing what has been for more than a century the carefully constructed and fraudulent “impartial” bourgeois press’ self-imposed pro-government censorship.  The top bourgeois press mouthpieces of the US capitalist class – the New York Times and the Washington Post – have in recent weeks been repeatedly caught spreading lying pro-government propaganda within 24 hours of the attempt.  The US capitalist class (less than 10% of the US’ ~4.5% of the world population) which thinks it can run the world in its own greedy self-interest – in the name of “Democracy”(TM), of course! – is rapidly losing control of its home wage-slave plantation.  And so the capitalists, always living in mortal fear that their long-exploited worker-victims will finally wise up to their tricks are losing their minds, lashing out at the Russians in a desperate attempt to cover up the fact that the “all-powerful” US capitalist class can’t even rig their own domestic elections any more!

The new “Intelligence” report is based upon alleged “evidence” of Russian tampering with US elections developed by three US intelligence agencies: the US Government’s political police (the Federal Bureau of Investigation – FBI); the foreign intelligence, propaganda and assassinations branch of the US Government (the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency – CIA); and the communications spy agency known as the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).  In spite of this the report is supposed to be evidence of openness and transparency in the US Government (try not to laugh).  In fact, the only thing about it that is “open and transparent” is that it is an open and transparent attempt to lie once again to the world – and especially to the workers of the USA – that the Russians essentially made Donald Trump President of the United States!  If you believe that whopper, we have a small herd of unicorns we’d like to sell you!  (They lay golden eggs!)

The Intel report (link available at end of article) is supposed to be identical to the “top secret” report given to US Assassin-in-Chief Obama… but with all the actual alleged “evidence” stripped out of it.  So, once again, the US working class and the entire world is supposed to “take the US Government’s word for it” that the evidence actually exists.  The problem is that these scumbags have lied to the UN, their NATO allies, the entire world to justify their massive crimes against humanity, like the murderous and unprovoked war against Iraq which cost that nation the lives of well over a million of its citizens and reduced it to a state of barbarism – all so the US capitalist class and their British co-conspirators could stuff their pockets with profits stolen from the Iraqi oil fields.  No one in their right mind would believe a thing the US Government says after the debacle over their fraudulent claims of Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of “mobile bioweapon labs” and an arsenal of “weapons of mass destruction” that turned out to be entirely imaginary.

What the new. slightly less-censored report DOES demonstrate is that the one branch of the US’ so-called “intelligence community” that would have been able to obtain bona fide “smoking gun evidence” of Putin having ordered the hacking of the US elections – the US National Security Agency – HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE SUCH EVIDENCE!  In fact, out of the three major US intel agencies whose assessments of the results of the entirety of their agencies’ collective massive spying operations being waged against Russia 24/7/365 led to the “overall” conclusion that the Russian Government was involved in “hacking the US elections”, it is the NSA that has the lowest level of confidence in the “evidence”!

It is typical in these types of validity assessments of “intelligence community” research on a subject that each agency report the level of confidence it has in its own assessment.  There are huge internal fights over these characterizations of the validity of the ‘evidence” presented.  In the run-up to the Iraq War, a significant number of CIA analysts fought to have their low opinion of the quality of the “evidence” for the existence of Saddam’s “WMD” arsenal and his attempts to obtain nuclear-weapons-grade materials brought to the attention of then-President Bush via the multi-intel-agency assessments of the Iraq WMD evidence.  Their criticisms were censored out of the report given to President Bush at the insistence of their own agency heads and key Administration officials hell-bent on war.  So any time we see, especially in a “declassified” document like this latest one an assertion from one of the key intel agencies that their level of confidence in the validity of the conclusions of the report differ from that of the other agencies, we take notice of that.  In this latest report, it is the agency that would most likely be the one whose intrusive spying operations would produce such evidence (involving the precise type of hacking of government agencies and politicians emails that the US Government is hypocritically whining about the Russians having done to them!) asserts that in at least one key conclusion of the report, the NSA has only “moderate confidence” in the “evidence”!

NSA not convinced Russians conspired to help Trump win election via campaign of disinformation disparaging Clinton. Source: Office of Director of National Intelligence: "Intelligence Community Assessment - Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections", 6 January 2017 (Emphasis added by IWPCHI)

NSA not convinced Russians conspired to help Trump win election via campaign of disinformation disparaging Clinton. Source: Office of Director of National Intelligence: “Intelligence Community Assessment – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”, 6 January 2017, p. ii (Emphasis added by IWPCHI)

The report gives us a helpful graphic which shows how to interpret the meaning of what a SpySpeak “moderate level of confidence” actually means in common English:

ODNI report defines "levels of confidence" - Source: ODNI report, ibid., p 13.

ODNI report defines “levels of confidence” – Source: ODNI report, ibid., p 13.

So now we can see that a “moderate level of confidence” in the evidence – as asserted by the NSA’s analysts regarding one of the central claims of the report – means “even odds” that the information is either a) true or b) pure horseshit.  The brain trust at NSA were unable to decide which.

So we know from this supposedly “unanimous” intel assessment that in at least one key aspect of the conclusions there was a significant difference of opinion so great that the less-confident section of the NSA analysts insisted that their lack of confidence be openly stated in the report.  This was probably not something that was very easy to have included in a declassified report that was being used as propaganda to demonstrate complete confidence in the allegations against the Russians; and was almost certainly insisted upon as a condition of the NSA agreeing to put their stamp of approval of the US Intel collective’s “high confidence” in the assertions made in the report.  The claim that all three agencies were “unanimous” in their “high confidence” of the assertions made based on the “evidence” of Russian tampering with US elections… was itself a lie!

Quel surprise!: the US Government continues to lie to the world and especially to the working class of the USA, who must be kept in a state of fear and confusion at all times regardless of how stupid it makes the population of the USA look to the rest of the world and how venal and ruthless it makes the US government look.  What else is new?

The fact is that the US capitalist class and its “intelligence agencies” are engaged in funneling money to military leaders and politicians and buying journalists in every nation in the world 24/7/365.  Everything the US is hypocritically whining about the Russians having done to them the US  Government has done in every country in the world, from the Dominican Republic to Germany.  The CIA doesn’t stop at merely disseminating pro-US propaganda to bolster the foreign dictators the US supports; hires thugs to beat up communist and socialist political party workers; it trains death squads to kill union leaders and political activists of the working class;  and it does not to hesitate to ‘interfere” in foreign elections using every tool from slander to assassination to “eliminate” political leaders it does not like in a continuous effort to “defend American interests” (read: foreign investments by the US capitalist class) in every country on Earth.  The revelation by Edward Snowden of the US’ massive spying operations being waged by the US Government against its own allies, which include hacking into the cell phones of leaders and even of collecting DNA specimens from UN representatives shows that all of this reckless anti-Russian propaganda is nothing but a case of “the pot calling the kettle ‘black'”.  Only here in the USA, where the slavish US wage/debt/credit slaves keep themselves safely uninformed about what their own ruling class’ government is up to, does this thoroughly hypocritical campaign of lies carry any weight.  The workers all over the rest of the world laugh out loud in the face of the US Government’s massive shedding of crocodile’s tears over “poor little USA” merely having its own elections tampered with by the preferred news media outlet of Russia, when what the United Styates routinely does to interfere in foreign elections is far worse – by several orders of magnitude!  The wailing of US Government officials over “Russian tampering” in the 2016 US election is really too ridiculous for words!

The US “intel community” report also expresses the US capitalist class’ fury at the fact that it no longer can control the news being presented to the US working class via their wholly-owned-and-operated de facto government propaganda outlets of the domestic US bourgeois press.  They are particularly furious that the Russians have created a TV station that is popular in the USA and which boldly dares to disseminate pro-Russian propaganda – just as the US and the UK capitalist class governments do via Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America, the BBC, CNN and a host of other propaganda outlets!  It is quite amusing to hear the United States Government bleat about how “Russia Today”‘s US-focused “RT” network is spreading pernicious lies (actually mostly the truth) about the US Government to US workers when the US has been doing the opposite thing (spreading mostly lies) to the Russians since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917!  It is hilarious to hear the Big Criminals of the US capitalist class crying about how the Little Criminals in the Russian Government have “stolen” what they have always believed to be the US’ proprietary propaganda methods and are now using them to undermine US workers’ alleged “confidence in the US Government” precisely the same way that the US propaganda outlets have done and continue to do to Russia, Syria, China, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea and every other regime they do not like!  Poor babies!

The fact is that the coronation of the US capitalist class candidate of choice the bought-and-paid-for shill of Wall St., Hillary Rodham Clinton was torpedoed not because too many US voters were brainwashed by watching (mostly truthful) RT exposes – based on the WikiLeaks and other revelations – of the undemocratic methods Hillary Rodham Clinton was using against the Bernie Sanders campaign to secure her nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate.  Hillary Rodham Clinton was defeated because enough voters were convinced of her corruption and venality, her bloodthirstiness, her unsuitability to hold the nation’s highest office that a couple million of them in key states voted for third-party candidates because they found her simply to be repulsive!  Clinton had her candidacy torpedoed not by “Russian spies” or by Julian Assange but by the exposing of her coquettish courting of Wall St. speculators and bankers and other corporate criminals.  The US citizens who are so fed up with the same old bullshit from the Democrats and the Republicans that enough of them voted for Libertarian and Green Party candidates to shoot Clinton’s Presidential hopes to tatters – hopefully once and for all time!

This election, we believe, signals the beginning of the end of the two-party system in the USA and the advent of the rise of third parties capable of winning enough votes from the thoroughly discredited twin parties owned and operated by the US capitalist class to throw every future US election up for grabs.  This is the second time in 20 years that third parties garnered enough votes in key states to completely overthrow the carefully-laid-and-paid-for fraud of a US Presidential election.  Finally, US citizens are starting to vote their conscience rather than just voting for whoever they think will win.  But this passive strategy of voting for whatever half-bright third-party candidate shows up in an election who is not a Democrat or Republican will not magically produce candidates that truly represent the interests of the working class.  The Libertarian Party, for example, is not a pro-working-class party but is in fact a right-wing pro-capitalist party whose ideological ancestry can be traced back to that idiot tool of the capitalist class Ayn Rand – a “philosophy” that seriously asserts that selfishness is among the greatest of all human virtues!  Disgusting!

The Green Party, though espousing a reasonably rational environmental policy (its one “minor” flaw being that it is totally unrealizable under the capitalist system) is itself also a pro-capitalist political party, which means it defends the syatematic exploitation of the vast majority of the population by the numerically tiny capitalist class.  What the working class needs is a REAL workers party, not a vaguely “progressive” party that makes a lot of timid “progressive” noises but which, in the final analysis, defends the capitalist system that ruthlessly robs the working class day-in and day-out.   When the working class of the USA finally realizes that it must create a party of its own, completely independent of the US capitalist class, funded 100% by the working class, staffed by revolutionary Trotskyist workers and dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist system of racism, war, poverty and unemployment, the days of the rule of the exploiters over the exploited will finally come to its long-awaited end.  We’re ready to get this party started when you are, sister and brother workers!  Join us!  If we work hard enough over the next three years we will be able to start replacing the bought-and-paid-for politicians representing the greedy 10%ers with real workers representatives who don’t just want to “speak truth to power” but who want to take power into the hands of the working class directly.  The working class can not have its rights successfully fought for and defended by politicians who owe their political offices to bribes paid them by the capitalists to secure their election.  We must have our own party, our own leaders, answerable only to you the workers and to you alone.  We will take over all local, state and national offices and then we will finally get rid of the capitalist system that enslaves the workers of the entire capitalist world by overthrowing the capitalists’ rotten and corrupt government and replacing it with an egalitarian socialist workers republic.  Only then can we have a government that guarantees our inalienable right to housing, food, clothing, education and health care once and for all time.

–IWPCHI

25-page ODNI Report:  odni_-intel-community-assessment-assessing-russian-activities-and-intentions-in-recent-us-elections-6jan17

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

The bourgeois press is at it again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—IWPCHI

 

 

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

We republish our response to Ross Wolfe’s

Fidel Castro on the Frankfurt School

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

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

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

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

which is included in IDOM.

— IWPCHI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

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Religious and Political Oppression of Workers Takes Similar Forms the World Over – USA No Different

Food for thought:  from Wang Lixiong’s article on Tibet from “New Left Review” March/April 2002

Replace the word: “Tibetan” and “Tibetans” with any other nation or nationality and “Buddhist” with any other religion and the analysis is very nearly unchanged.  The origins of the usefulness of religious mythology in the maintenance of the social status quo is explored; the use of fear of death and of angering the gods by opposing their “divine plan” here in this life is exposed.  Without the intervention of conscious revolutionaries bearing Marxist materialist ideas and ideals, the masses remain trapped by the all-pervasive fear of the gods and of the capitalist state which – in the view of the religious believers of any faith – exists due to the fact that the status quo is ordained by God and cannot – must not –  be opposed.  This is the “slave mentality” that cripples workers and peasants throughout the capitalist world.

—— IWPCHI

“A fear above all others

“One of the unique characteristics of traditional Tibetan society was that, despite a considerable degree of social and economic polarization, there was hardly any history of actual class confrontation. Conflict was generally between upper-class factions, or between Tibetans and other ethnic groups. What explains such an unusual degree of deference and obedience? The answer surely lies in the deeply rooted religious traditions of Tibet. Even if aware of their suppressed and exploited status, the poor would resign themselves to their fate, seeing it as retribution for their previous lives. According to Buddhist doctrine, their hope of freedom from suffering lay entirely in the hereafter: only by resigning themselves to their present condition and enduring its misery might they hope to win the favours of the deities, and the chance of being born into a better afterlife. Any resistance was disobedience to the divine will and would be met with suitable punishment. This staunch belief moulded the Tibetans’ attitude of passive submission. The benefits of reform in this world could never match the happiness of the afterlife; if they committed the crime of ‘defying their superiors’ or ‘enriching themselves with dubious wealth’, the dreadful punishment that awaited them would far outweigh any earthly gains. This was why so many felt uncertain about class struggle…”

[…]

[In this section of Wang Lixiong’s essay, replacing the word “Buddhism” with “capitalism” – the national religion of the USA – you get even more surprising and enlightening results.  — IWPCHI]

“If the highly evolved doctrines of the lamaist tradition are almost impossibly abstruse, the faith of the masses is far more comprehensible. The roots of their intense religiosity lie in the terrors of their natural environment—the explanation, surely, for the extraordinary proliferation of deities and monsters within Tibetan Buddhism, differentiating it from Indian and Chinese variants. Fear is the key factor […] [f]ear provoked awe, and awe gave rise to the totem of deities and monsters:

“The Tibetans were living in a state of apprehension and anxiety. Every perturbation, either physical or spiritual, every illness, every susceptible or dangerous situation, would drive them to search feverishly for its causes, and for preventative measures.

But the search for solutions only reinforced the anxiety: the more thought and explanation was lavished upon it, the deeper it grew. Faced with a fear that they could neither escape nor conquer, Tibetans were in need of a larger fear, clearly defined and structured, one that exceeded all others and which, so long as one obeyed it totally, would keep at bay all the lesser fears, lifting the intolerable psychological burden.

Fear formed the core of the Tibetans’ spiritual world. Only by propitiating their terror, by offering sacrifices to it in complicated ceremonies, by worshipping and obeying it, could one feel safe and free, reassured by its vast dominion and tremendous power. Such a fear already possessed, at a certain level, the nature of divinity; the origins of the vast number of ferocious and terrifying objects worshipped in Tibetan religion—including those of the Bon shamanism that predated the eighth-century introduction of Buddhism from India—can surely be traced back here.  In that frightful environment, humankind can scarcely persevere without some sense of divine guidance and support. From this perspective it might be argued that, even if all other religions were on their way to extinction, the Tibetan creed would probably be preserved to the very last day.

“Tibetan Buddhism exacts an exorbitant price from its followers. The hope of a better life hereafter demands a punishing regime of forbearance, asceticism and sacrifice in the present. Tibetans also have to contribute a considerable part of their personal wealth to religious activity—building monasteries, providing for monks and nuns, performing ceremonies, making pilgrimages and so forth. Under the Dalai Lama’s government, 92 per cent of the budget was devoted to religious expenditure. Even today, according to some estimates, the Tibetans pay about a third of their annual income to the monasteries. This was money that would not be transformed into productive investment nor used to improve the people’s lives. For over a thousand years, the sweat and toil of the Tibetans had gone to encrust the monasteries, while the governing monks formed an enormous parasitic social stratum. […] This unproductive layer was a heavy burden on Tibetan society…”