Category Archives: Science

Charles Darwin on the Evolution of Religious Belief

Portrait of Charles Darwin by Oscar Rejlander, ca. 1871

From Darwin’s “The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex” (Chapter III, “Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower
Animals” – 2nd Ed., Revised,  A. L. Burt, New York, 1890(?))

[NB:  This book, published in 1871, – like nearly all books on sociology and anthropology written in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries – contains terminology that is very harsh to modern ears.  Darwin was not a racist; he considered all human beings on the planet to be part of the human race, regardless of skin color or stage of cultural development.  Neither did he look down upon what he and other scientists of his time called “savage” or “barbarian” tribes of human beings.  Still, he was a man of his times, and he represents a stage in the evolution of anti-racist thought; for example,  as enlightened as he was for a man of his time on the subject of race, he thought nothing of drawing a direct comparison between the thought processes of human beings living in a state of  “savagery” and the thought processes of his dog.    At the same time he, like many others – particularly pioneering American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) – understood that the ancestors of all “civilized” people in the more advanced “civilized” nations had lived for a long time in a state of “savagery” characterized by very rudimentary development of culture compared to the modern nation-states.  They saw in the primitive cultures of “savage” tribes a vision of what their own ancestors must have lived like.  Morgan, in his excellent book “Ancient Society: Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery, through Barbarism to Civilization” (1877) –  developed a theory that all modern human civilizations had passed through a series of evolutionary stages (as the subtitle of the book states quite clearly).  That there were tribes in existence in 1870 which reflected all of these stages of development was a profound scientific discovery and provided a powerful proof of the evolution of human society.  Today, modern sociologists and anthropologists recognize the truth of Morgan’s analysis of the evolution of human civilization, but use terms that are less politically loaded with what many people – incorrectly, in the cases of Morgan and Darwin – perceive to be a blatant racism on the part of the scientists who originated the older terminology.  Used in the proper purely scientific manner of Morgan and Darwin “savage” “barbarian” and “civilized” are seen in their correct light as stages of development of the human race which make no assertion as to the intellectual superiority or inferiority of the human beings found at any stage of this evolutionary ladder.  Morgan’s pioneering work deeply influenced both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels;  his book “Ancient Society” was among the principal works which inspired Marx to prepare notes for what would eventually become, after Marx’s death, Engels’ “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State”, which quotes Morgan’s work extensively.  Darwin’s major works deeply influenced Marx and Engels from the time of their initial publication: “Only 1,250 copies of the first edition of On the Origin of Species were printed, and they all sold in one day. One of those who obtained a copy was Friedrich Engels.”(1)  Everything written by Marx and Engels after the publication of “Origin of Species” in 1859 was thoroughly influenced by Darwin’s theory of evolution.  When Marx finished “Capital” in 1867 he sent Darwin an inscribed copy of the first edition(1); Darwin’s work is referenced (sometimes extensively) in “The Part Played by Labour In The Transition From Ape to Man” (1876), “Anti-Duhring” (1877), “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific” (1880), “Dialectics of Nature” (1883) and the aforementioned “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” (1884).

[UPDATE: Thanks to the Internet, we’ve been able to locate almost every journal article and book Darwin cites in his footnotes to this article.  Since we found two errors in his citations which might well have made it extremely difficult for researchers and historians of science to locate these works, it is even possible that we are the first researchers to have found at least these two previously misidentified sources.

– IWPCHI]

NOTES:  (1)  “Marx, Engels… and Darwin?” by Ian Angus, International Socialist Review (November 2010)

Excerpt from “Descent of Man”, Chapter III, “Comparison of the Mental Powers of Man and the Lower Animals”:

Belief in God – Religion. — There is no evidence that man was aboriginally endowed with the ennobling belief in the existence of an Omnipotent God. On the contrary there is ample evidence, derived not from hasty travelers, but from men who have long resided with savages, that numerous races have existed, and still exist, who have no idea of one or more gods, and who have no words in their
languages to express such an idea.(1) The question is of course wholly distinct from that higher one, whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the universe; and this has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.
If, however, we include under the term “religion” the belief in unseen or
spiritual agencies, the case is wholly different; for this belief seems to be universal with the less civilized races.  Nor is it difficult to comprehend how it
arose. As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence.  As Mr. M’Lennan (2) has remarked, ” Some explanation of the phenomena of life, a man must feign for himself, and to judge from the universality of it, the simplest hypothesis, and the first to occur to men, seems to have been that natural phenomena are ascribable to the presence in animals, plants, and things, and in the forces of nature, of such spirits prompting to action as men are conscious they themselves possess.” It is also probable, as Mr. Tylor has shown, that dreams may have first given rise to the notion of spirits; for savages do not readily distinguish between subjective and objective impressions. When a savage dreams, the figures which appear before him are believed to have come from a distance, and to stand over him; or “the soul of the dreamer goes out on its travels, and comes home with a remembrance of what it has seen.”(3)  But until the faculties of imagination, curiosity, reason, etc., had been fairly well developed in the mind of man, his dreams would not have led him to believe in spirits, any more than in the case of a dog.
The tendency in savages to imagine that natural objects and agencies are animated by spiritual or living essences, is perhaps illustrated by a little fact which I once noticed: my dog, a full-grown and very sensible animal, was lying
on the lawn during a hot and still day; but at a little distance a slight breeze occasionally moved an open parasol, which would have been wholly disregarded by the dog had any one stood near it. As it was, every time that the parasol slightly moved the dog growled fiercely and barked.  He must, I think, have reasoned to himself in a rapid and unconscious manner that movement without
any apparent cause indicated the presence of some strange living agent, and that no stranger had a right to be on his territory.
The belief in spiritual agencies would easily pass into the belief in the existence of one or more gods. For savages would naturally attribute to spirits the same passions, the same love of vengeance or simplest form of justice, and the same affections which they themselves feel.

“Fuegian Wigwams at Hope Harbour in the Magdalen Channel”  Illustration from King, P. P. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the first expedition, 1826-30, under the command of Captain P. Parker King, R.N., F.R.S. London: Henry Colburn.

The Fuegians appear to be in this respect in an intermediate condition, for when the surgeon on board the “Beagle” shot some young ducklings as specimens York Minster declared in the most solemn manner: ” Oh, Mr. Bynoe, much rain, much snow, blow much;” and this was evidently a retributive punishment for wasting human food.  So again he related how, when his brother killed a ” wild man,” storms long raged, much rain and snow fell.  Yet we could never discover that the Fuegians believed in what we should call a God or practiced any religious rites; and Jemmy Button, with justifiable pride, stoutly maintained that there was no devil in his land.  This latter assertion is the more remarkable, as with savages the belief in bad spirits is far more common than that in good ones.

FUEGIA BASKET, 1833. JEMMY’S WIFE, 1834. JEMMY IN 1834. JEMMY BUTTON IN 1833. YORK MINSTER IN 1832. YORK IN 1833. From FitzRoy, R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle's circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-36, under the command of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy, R.N. London: Henry Colburn.

FUEGIA BASKET, 1833. JEMMY’S WIFE, 1834.
JEMMY IN 1834. JEMMY BUTTON IN 1833.
YORK MINSTER IN 1832. YORK IN 1833. From FitzRoy, R. 1839. Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-36, under the command of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy, R.N. London: Henry Colburn.

The feeling of religious devotion is a highly complex one, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of dependence(4), fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps other elements.  No being could experience so complex an emotion until advanced in his intellectual and moral faculties to at least a moderately high level. Nevertheless, we see some distant approach to this state of mind in the deep love of a dog for his master, associated with complete submission, some fear, and perhaps other feelings.  The behavior of a dog when returning to his master after
an absence, and, as I may add, of a monkey to his beloved keeper, is widely different from that toward their fellows.  In the latter case the transports of joy appear to be somewhat less, and the sense of equality is shown in every action. Prof. Braubach goes so far as to maintain that a dog looks on his master as on a god.(5)
The same high mental faculties which first led man to believe in unseen
spiritual agencies, then in fetichism, polytheism, and ultimately in monotheism, would infallibly lead him, as long as his reasoning powers remained poorly developed, to various strange superstitions and customs.  Many of these are terrible to think of — such as the sacrifice of human beings to a blood-loving god; the trial of innocent persons by the ordeal of poison or fire, witchcraft, etc.
— yet it is well occasionally to reflect on these superstitions, for they show us what an infinite debt of gratitude we owe to the improvement of our reason, to science, and to our accumulated knowledge.  As Sir J. Lubbock(6)  has well observed, ” it is not too much to say that the horrible dread of unknown evil hangs like a thick cloud over savage life and embitters every pleasure.”  These miserable and indirect consequences of our highest faculties may be compared with the incidental and occasional mistakes of the instincts of the lower animals.

NOTES:

(1) See an excellent article on this subject by the Rev. F. W. Farrar,
in the “Anthropological Review,” Aug., 1864, p. 217. [Note by IWPCHI: this part of this footnote is inaccurate: the actual publication this appeared in was “The Journal of the Anthropological Society of London”, Vol. 2 (1864), pp. ccxvii-ccxxii, “On the Universality of Belief in God, and in a Future State”];  For further facts see Sir J. Lubbock, “Prehistoric Times, “.3d edit., 1869, p. 564; and especially the chapters on Religion in his ” Origin of Civilization,” 1870.
(2) “The Worship of Animals and Plants”,” in the ” Fortnightly Review,” Oct. 1, 1869, p. 422.
(3)  Tylor, “Early History of Mankind,” 1865, p. 6. See also the three striking chapters on the Development of Religion, in Lubbock’s “Origin of Civilization,” 1870. In a like manner Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his ingenious essay in the “Fortnightly Review ” (May 1, 1870, p. 535), accounts for the earliest forms of religious belief throughout the world, by man being led through dreams, shadows, and other causes, to look at himself as a double essence, corporeal
and spiritual. As the spiritual being is supposed to exist after death and to be powerful, it is propitiated by various gifts and ceremonies, and its aid invoked. He then further shows that names or nicknames given from some animal or other object, to the early progenitors or founders of a tribe, are supposed after a long interval to represent the real progenitor of the tribe; and such animal or object is
then naturally believed still to exist as a spirit, is held sacred, and worshiped as a god. Nevertheless I cannot but suspect that there is a still earlier and ruder stage, when anything which manifests power or movement is thought to be endowed with some form of life, and with mental faculties analogous to our own.

(4) See an able article on the “Physical Elements of Religion,” by Mr. L. Owen Pike, in ” Anthropolog. Review,” April, 1870, p. 63. [Note by IWPCHI: another error in this footnote: the journal is actually “”The Journal of the Anthropological Society of London” and the actual title is “On the Psychical Elements of Religion” ]

(5) “Religion, Moral, etc., der Darwin’schen Art-Lehre,” 1869, s.53. It is said
(Dr. W. Lauder Lindsay, “Journal of Mental Science,” 1871, p. 43), that Bacon long ago, and the poet Burns, held the same notion.
(6)  “Prehistoric Times,” 2d. edit., p. 571. In this work (p. 571) there will be found an excellent account of the many strange and capricious customs of savages.

 

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Physicist Stephen Hawking Defended “Socialized” Health Care Over US-style For-Profit System

Prof. Stephen Hawking presenting keynote address before an audience at the Royal Society of Medicine’s “Talk NHS” forum, London, England, 19 August 2017. (Screenshot from RSM video by IWPCHI)

Astrophysicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking was globally renowned as a brilliant scientist and tremendously courageous and heroic human being; and these attributes were expressed through his life-long political activism as well.   A citizen of the UK, he was a supporter of the bourgeois-reformist Labour Party.

His Wikipedia entry lists his political interests as encompassing everything from nuclear disarmament and environmentalism (he supported Al Gore in 2000) to opposing the Gulf War to supporting the academic boycott of Israel.   During the 2016 presidential elections in the US he opposed Donald Trump.  And in the final year of his life he was preparing to participate in a legal case in which he planned to defend the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) against moves by the Tory government of Theresa May to privatize it.

Last August, Hawking gave the keynote address at London’s Royal Society of Medicine  as part of a symposium called “Talk NHS: A Public Debate on the Past, Present and Future of the NHS”.   In it he described the long, debilitating progression of the disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) which robbed him first of his ability to walk, then to feed himself and eventually almost completely paralyzed him and left him unable to talk – and how, thanks to the UK’s NHS, he was able not just to survive but to take a leading role in making the many tremendous discoveries in cosmology that made him famous.

We publish here our own transcription of the last third of his 19 August 2017 Royal Society of Medicine keynote address in which he defends the NHS and states his principled opposition to the privatized health care system of the United States.  (In the video we linked to above, this part of his speech starts at approximately 22:22).

In an effort to “prove” to US workers in favor of it that “socialized medicine doesn’t work”, the US capitalist “Investor’s Business Daily” published an article claiming that Stephen Hawking had denounced the NHS.  The IBD’s plan misfired when Hawking responded angrily and publicly against this falsification of his actual political stand in favor of univesral health care.

At the time of his death he was preparing to defend the NHS against Tory health minister (and serial Hawking nemesis) Jeremy Hunt in a court hearing.

As socialists, we agree with Professor Hawking that a for-profit health care system is inherently less efficient and cost-effective than a “socialized” state-run system, due to the fact that, as he says, “the more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow, and the more expensive health care becomes.”  Under a truly socialist system, even greater efficiencies can be obtained as all large-scale enterprises would be democratically run for the benefit of the entire working class, rather than for the financial benefit of a tiny minority of capitalists.  Not only the hospitals need to be “socialized” but the pharmaceutical industry as well as all the companies that manufacture everything needed for patient care, from syringes to MRI machines.  “Universal health care” programs must always exist under capitalism at the mercy of the willingness of the capitalist class to fund them; only while the working class can maintain sufficient political pressure to force the capitalists to do so will those programs remain in existence.  As capitalism goes through its inevitable “boom-and-bust” cycles, workers will be forced by the capitalists to suffer cuts to the health care programs and other vital social programs  in “bad” economic times, and must then fight like hell in “good” economic times to have the cuts restored.  This pointless back-and-forth toying with the vital needs of the working class will continue until it is resolved permanently in favor of the working class majority through a socialist revolution that places the working class permanently in power.

— IWPCHI

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

Professor Stephen Hawking – ‘Talk NHS’ Keynote Lecture

Transcript starts at 22:22

[…]

So you see that I have had a lot of experience of the NHS; and the care I received has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the Universe.

Sometimes I have had to challenge medical opinion to get the care I need; but the important thing is that the principles of the NHS mean that there is good care available and that it is provided at the point of need to everyone without regard for personal circumstance or ability to pay. These are the principles of universal and comprehensive provision on which the NHS was founded.

It is important that care is available without any of the added burdens for people that come with private health insurance. To be able to access that care from doctors in hospitals without having to go through an intermediary in the form of an insurance company, or deal with massive amounts of paperwork – before and after – is crucial to good health. [Applause]

My team and I have had experience of dealing with health insurance companies in the U.S.; and that experience shows that a health insurance company will try its best not to pay.

As well as my direct experiences, I have medically-trained nursing staff in my care team; and so I hear about changes in the NHS through them. I am aware of the increase in private provision of care – and the inefficiency that causes. The huge increase in the use of private agency staff, for example, inevitably means that money is extracted from the system as profit for the agency, and increases costs for the whole country.

Personally, I have had an unhappy experience with an American-owned, profit-driven nursing agency. They were eager for my custom, but made a number of errors and withdrew their service at short notice after eight months.

In September 2016, together with Professor Robert Winston and Professor Neena Modi, President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, I co-signed a letter to the Guardian newspaper calling for health care policy to be based on peer-reviewed research and proper evidence. [Applause]

The specific issue on which the letter was based was the so-called “weekend effect”. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt had claimed that thousands of patients die unnecessarily because of poor hospital care at the weekend. He used this as an argument that we need to implement a “seven-day-a-week NHS”.

I had mixed feelings about the issue. Having spent a lot of time in the hospital, I would like there to be more services available in hospitals at weekends. It has been frustrating for me personally when everything slows down at the weekend in hospital. Also, it seems possible that some patients spend more time in hospital than is necessary because certain diagnostic tests can only be done on weekdays. So, in principle, a seven-day service could be of benefit to patients, and to the NHS as a whole.

However, any change like this must be properly researched, its benefits over the current system must be argued for and evidence for them presented, and the implementation properly planned, costed, and the necessary resources provided. If there are no more doctors and nurses, for example, then a seven-day NHS will necessarily mean fewer staff and a worse service on weekdays.

There has been no proper due diligence done in the case of the so-called “seven-day NHS” – and that was the whole point of our letter and the reason I signed it. Let me quote from the letter, as it illustrates a further point I want to make.  We wrote:

“The evidence for these claims is not supported by reliable research. Of the eight papers cited by Hunt, only four are peer-reviewed […]  Three use data from the same population and are not independent, with just two from the last decade. The remainder are not peer-reviewed medical literature, [and are only] opinion pieces […] Critically, when his claims began, at least 13 independent, peer-reviewed papers were available to the Secretary of State that refute his definition of a ‘weekend effect’.

“Hunt has ‘cherry-picked’ research…”

Speaking as a scientist, “cherry-picking” evidence is unacceptable. [Applause] When public figures abuse scientific argument – citing some studies but suppressing others to justify policies that they want to implement for other reasons – it debases scientific culture. One consequence of this sort of behavior is that it leads ordinary people to not trust science at a time when scientific research and progress is more important than ever given the challenges that we face as a human race.

There are two ways to think about a national health care system: one is that the most humane and civilized system is one in which all people are provided for equally based only on their needs no matter who they are, rich or poor, young or old. I believe this and have made public statements that we must prevent the establishment of a “two-tier” system with the best medicine for the wealthy and an inferior service for the rest.

The other way to think is that a health care system needs to be organized in the most efficient way, so that there is as little waste of labor and resources as possible.

International comparisons indicate that the most efficient way to provide good health care is for services to be publicly-funded and publicly-run. [Applause] The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow, and the more expensive health care becomes. For that reason I have also made public statements that the NHS must be preserved from commercial interests and protected from those who want to privatise it.

So, these two things coincide: the most humane system is the most efficient system. This means that when politicians and private health care industry lobbyists claim that “we can not afford the NHS”, this is the exact inversion of the truth. [Applause] We can not afford not to have the NHS. A publicly-provided, publicly-run system is the most efficient and therefore a more cost-effective way to provide good health care for all.

What is to be done? A physicist like me analyses a system in terms of levels of approximation. The NHS and the question of how to provide good-quality health care to everyone is hugely complex; that doesn’t mean that we can not understand it in broad terms.

To a first approximation, then, one can see the situation facing health care in this country in terms of forces with different interests. The future will be determined by the relative strength of those forces. On the one hand there is the force of the multi-national corporations which are driven by their profit motive. In the U.S., where they are dominant in the health care system, the corporations make enormous profits, health care is not universal, and is hugely more expensive for the outcomes than in the UK. We see that the direction in the UK is towards the U.S.-style insurance system, run by the private companies – and that is because the balance of power right now is with the private companies.

On the other hand, there is the force of the public and of democracy. Opinion polls consistently show that the majority of the public agrees with me and is in favor of a publicly-provided NHS, and opposes privatisation and a “two-tier” system. So the public already supports the core principles of the NHS as the fairest system; and so what the public needs is the knowledge that this is also the most efficient and cost-effective system.

As I understand, many here today – including a group called “Bring Back the NHS” – are part of a growing movement to empower the public with exactly that knowledge as the NHS reaches its seventieth birthday next year.

Thank you for listening.

[Applause. Standing ovation.]

Greed-based Capitalism Is Destroying the World; Why Workers Socialist Revolution Is Our Only Hope for Survival

Just as it is difficult to get people to read the warning labels on over-the-counter medications – a self-imposed ignorance which leads to the deaths of 100,000 US citizens a year – it’s very difficult to get people to read anything about socialism, which is the cure for the ills of greed-based capitalist society.  Even though the capitalist system is, as you read this, doing all it can to prepare to incinerate the planet in a nuclear World War III, still you refuse to read the warning labels  socialists like us have been writing in opposition to capitalism since 1848.  The capitalist system is killing you slowly now but will – unless you do something about it, sister and brother workers – will be killing you at a much faster rate very, very soon.  We know that you have been “taught” by the capitalist class that socialism is bad for you and greed-based capitalism is the best of all possible worlds.  Please just take a couple of minutes to allow the socialist opposition to make a few observations about the state of the world in 2016 for your consideration.  We’ll try not to bore you to death.  The re-runs of “M.A.S.H.”, “Andy Griffith”, “The Jeffersons” and “Bernie Mac” can wait. (For those of you who think we’re being condescending, watching “The Magnificent Ambersons” or “Do The Right Thing” for the umpteenth time is just as pointless).

Human society has reached that impasse at which we must break from our past and boldly stride forward down a different road if we are to survive the nuclear age. It is probable that all advanced civilizations are faced with the same dilemma: once the civilization is technically capable of harnessing the power of the atom, does it transition to a regime in which that power is put to the service of that civilization or is it used to destroy that civilization? Of course this depends on the political and economic stage reached by a given society at the time during which the power of the atom is harnessed. Tragically for the human race, the capitalist world reached this stage just before the socialist world; the capitalists immediately seized the opportunity to murder 200,000 Japanese workers – largely to intimidate the USSR and prove that the capitalist USA had the Bomb and were crazy enough to use it. A society that achieves this power, if it is an egalitarian society, can make the transition through the nuclear stage of development without destroying itself. A society that is based on selfishness and greed, and divided into constantly warring nation-states has very little likelihood of making a successful transition through the nuclear minefield. In the USA and Europe, the working class has abandoned its historic leadership role that it must take upon itself if the human race is to survive. We are letting people whose love for money over all else has so deranged their minds that they have become utterly irresponsible and pose a threat to the future existence of the human race. Will we allow our human civilization to be sacrificed on the altar of Mammon? Are we that stupid? The selfish greedy capitalists who own and operate the nuclear arsenals of the “Free World(TM)” are the LEAST CAPABLE of leading the human race through this stage of human evolution; they are the MOST LIKELY to plunge this planet into a nuclear war from which human civilization may not survive. We have let the greedheads and militarists call the shots and run the tables for far too long; this is why so much of the wealth of the capitalist world is being spent not on cures for cancer or to end human suffering in the world but to create military arsenals capable of destroying the planet many times over. It is our sincere and deeply-held belief that unless the working class seizes these weapons of mass destruction from the hands of the mass-murdering capitalist classes who have proven time and time again their willingness to use their wealth and military power to plunge the entire planet into barbarism the human race will not survive the challenge it has set for itself in negotiating a safe passage through the nuclear abyss.

Why Socialism?

1) Revolutionary socialism – the most modern and principled variation is the Trotskyism we represent – is a political philosophy that posits that all working women and men all over the world are sisters and brothers and that all workers should unite and fight to overthrow the capitalist system that is organized to systematically rob the working class blind. The capitalists in the USA, whose massive wealth was initially based on the system of slavery and a racist ideology of “white supremacy” that was devised in order to justify the enslavement of people of color ridiculed this fundamental idea of the Marxists as being utopian and not based on what the capitalist called the scientific principles of “Eugenics”. DNA research has proven the Marxists were right; Eugenics now stands as a totally discredited pseudo-science. Still, to this day, the capitalist world is dominated by a tiny class of filthy rich white men who believe that they are racially superior to everyone else on the planet and who believe that they have the “right” to rule the world. What does this mean? It means that the current division of the world into competing nation-states led by “racially superior” minorities (in Europe and the USA, rich white men) is a gross injustice and a fraud being perpetrated against the workers of the world. The racist ideologies that are the fundamental basis of fascism lie in tatters, utterly destroyed by modern genetic science. The workers of the world ARE sisters and brothers, yet are driven by the capitalists of the world to mistrust and hate each other and organized into armies to kill one another. Revolutionary socialism is the ONLY political philosophy that stands unalterable opposed to this state of things – which is why we are proud not only to call ourselves anti-capitalists but revolutionary socialists – Trotskyists.

Socialism is a political philosophy that seeks to create a far more democratic society than is possible or has ever been created under capitalism. Socialism dedicates itself to organizing the global economy for the benefit of the vast majority of the world population: the working class and peasantry. We have as our goals the complete eradication of hunger, homelessness, racism and sexism from the face of the Earth. We seek to create an economy that fully funds human needs, and that GUARANTEED all the fundamental needs of the human race for food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. Capitalism does not and can not provide such a guarantee. Anyone who tells you that capitalism can do this is a liar.

The challenges that face the human race today are enormous and can only be effectively dealt with on a global scale in a spirit of international fraternity and cooperation. The capitalist world, organized as it is into competing capitalist nation-states, infused with nationalism and led in each state by a tiny cabal of ultra-rich greedy individuals is NOT capable of tackling these tremendous challenges to the future survival of the human race. We stand at the juncture of two roads; one leads to a potentially prosperous socialist future in which a unified human race harnesses all its strengths – human and economic – to tackle these issues. The other road is the road of capitalism and after 400 years of evolution of the capitalist system we already know what we can expect if we stay on this road: small wars growing into bigger wars and then World Wars. The next world war could put an end to the existence of human civilization. Either the human race is going to develop an economic basis for an egalitarian socialist future or the promise of humanity will end most likely in a global nuclear conflagration. WE MUST EVOLVE BEYOND CAPITALISM! It is a matter of life and death not just for the human race but also perhaps for the planet itself. Socialism will take the wealth now being squandered on armies and gold-plated toilets for the rich and put it to use increasing the standard of living of all the people in the world, starting by eliminating once and for all hunger in the world and providing decent clothing, housing. education and health care for all the world’s people. Capitalism has had more than 300 years to do this and has failed miserably.

2) Capitalism is inherently undemocratic. Boasting of being more democratic than socialist countries it is in fact not even close to being as egalitarian and democratic as socialist countries of Cuba China, USSR and North Korea and Vietnam. The US capitalist class is only about 3% of the US population but possesses more than half of the national wealth. How can this state of things be called “democratic”? When result of 250 years of capitalist “democracy” in the USA results in 10% of the population owning 75% of the national wealth, obviously this is nothing even CLOSE to being a democracy. The thoroughly fraudulent nature of bourgeois democracy is fully exposed by the enormously unequal distribution of wealth in even the most “”advanced” capitalist nation-states. The capitalists and their apologists never tire of cynically asking the world “why is there so much violence in our society”? Well when they force 75% of the population to fight over a mere 25% of the national wealth, of course there will be violent conflict. Aside from the revolutionary socialists, no political force in the capitalist world – including the fake-socialists of the 2nd International like Bernie Sanders – wants to change the status quo because all of the pro-capitalist politicians and propagandists defending capitalism are profiting from it personally. And a great many of them are envious of the ultra-rich and harbor delirious dreams of some day reaching the top of the capitalist pyramid.

3) Capitalism is killing the planet. The climate crisis facing the world today simply can not be dealt with on a nation-by-nation basis under an economic system that rewards selfishness instead of generosity and international co-operation. The capitalists of the world are all out to rip each other off and to trick their competition into cutting deals that largely benefit only themselves. This kind of vicious “look out for #1” philosophy is what lies behind all the attempts by wealthy people to bastardize scientific research on climate change in order to buy themselves a few more years of stuffing their bank accounts with cash derived from environmentally destructive capitalist enterprises. All these people care about is money; this places the welfare of the entire population of the planet in the hands of a few million greed-infected mentally ill capitalist profiteers.

4) Capitalism is retarding the pace of advancement in science. In seeking always as their primary life-goal to stuff their bank accounts with cash by any means necessary, the capitalists only wish to invest in projects designed to increase their wealth by the largest margin possible. Large-scale scientific projects that seek simply to increase human understanding of the universe are, to the capitalists, a waste of time and money. Therefore incredible amounts of scientific research that would bring about a greater understanding of our place in the Universe are put off while all the capitalists invest trillions of dollars on the “next big profit-making bubble”. Reduplicating efforts to invest in mining in order to profit from the growth of the Chinese economy, the capitalists wasted billions developing environmentally destructive strip-mining operations which then went immediately bankrupt when Chinese economy experienced an entirely predictable periodic correction. Meanwhile scientists seeking funding for important research projects on everything from studying gravitational waves to a cure for cancer must go around hat in hand begging for funds. They are forced to spend almost as much time on seeking funding as they spend actually doing research. This is depriving the human race from the benefits of research that should – and would be under socialism – fully funded by the government.

5) Capitalism is killing people. Hundreds of millions of workers in the capitalist nation-states of our planet are going hungry every day and starving to death because for the capitalists it is just not profitable enough to feed them. Like everything else under capitalism, that which does not make a capitalist richer fast enough is going to not receive investment dollars. In always seeking the greats profit margins possible the capitalist class denies basic human needs to more than one third of the global population. This state of affairs is completely unacceptable to only one political force in the world: the communists. The capitalist class and its acolytes never tire of coming up with all kinds of bullshit reasons why it is just not possible at this time to feed the world. They tell us that eliminating hunger is not possible! That’s a lie. They tell us that ending warfare is not possible; that, too is a lie. The reason warfare exists is as yet another profit-making enterprise for the capitalist class. War is extremely profitable; there is hardly anyone among the stockholding class that doesn’t have at least some kind of investment in an enterprise that manufactures the weapons of war, or which makes its money rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by the endless for-profit wars created by the capitalist class. The capitalists make money destroying people and infrastructure via warfare; and they make money repairing the damage they caused – nice, eh? Yet you, the workers of the world, not only stupidly allow them to force you to provide the finance through your taxes for these profitable wars; you also willingly send your sons and daughters to do the killing and destroying for them. If the capitalist class deserves condemnation for its bloodthirsty ways, can you, who finance their wars and provide the soldiers for the wars be let off the hook for doing so? We think not. Until each and every one of you understands that by supporting the capitalist system as you do, the blood of the millions of workers being butchered and starved by YOUR GOVERNMENTS is on YOUR HANDS TOO! You cannot hide from this fact, sister and brother workers of the US and the NATO countries!

Only by overthrowing the global greed-based individualistic capitalist system and replacing it with a cooperative rationally-planned global egalitarian democratic socialist system can we finally harness the full potential of the human race and tackle the global climate crisis that threatens the future existence of our human family. Trying to deal with global problems in a world made up of competing capitalist nation states constantly trying to rob each other blind is not going to work! Time is not on our side, sisters and brothers! We must immediately start organizing the revolutionary socialist political parties of the working class that are essentially necessary to the successful overthrow of rapacious global capitalism. If we fail to do this, we will be bequeathing our children a future of endless war over everything from water to oil. This hideous capitalist future that rises up like a spectre before us is not a fait accompli. We must make the effort necessary to tear ourselves away from the endless entertainments the capitalist provide us to keep us distracted while they plunder the planet and murder our working-class sisters and brothers all over the globe. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WAKE UP AND GET THIS PROJECT GOING? Every day of delay is making the cost of undoing the damage being inflicted by the capitalists that much higher! The Democrats are owned and operated by the capitalists; so are, of course, the Republicans. We need new parties of by and for the working class and we need them now! There are some that are existing and others like ours that aer just getting started. But thanks to the Internet we can get new working-class political parties up and running and financed in just a few months. THE FUTURE IS NOW! THERE IS NO FUTURE FOR THE WORKING CLASS UNDER THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM! CAPITALISM MUST DIE SO THAT THE WORKING CLASS MAY LIVE! WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

IWPCHI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—IWPCHI]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brief historical background on Zika virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Microcephaly cases in Brazil concentrated in northeastern provinces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—IWPCHI

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

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

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

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

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

How a Former “Stupid Worker-sheep” (the author) Became a Revolutionary Socialist Worker

US Household Debt to GDP, 1952-2015. Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Household Debt to GDP, 1952-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

We expect to receive quite a bit of criticism for our recent article’s characterization – honest and, we believe, truthful as it is – of the US working class as an enormous herd of stupid-ass wage-slaves. Yet we strongly believe that there is really no other way to describe this cowardly U.S. herd of worker-sheep, 200 million weak, that has allowed one of the most despotic and murderous ruling classes in the history of the world to rule over them, shearing them at will, while simultaneously robbing, torturing and murdering the rest of the human race.

We must point out that we always admit that – apart from those of us in the Trotskyist movement (and the revolutionary socialist movement in general) who were lucky enough to have had parents who were themselves revolutionary workers – all of us were dumbass wage-slaves in our political youth. That includes the writer of this article! No worker who was not born into a family of revolutionary socialists can be said to have been a revolutionary from day one. And all of us who were not “red-diaper babies” started off as dumb wage-slaves, but at some point in our lives, we either realized or had some revolutionary socialist point out to us just how goddamned ignorant and stupid we were. Unlike the herds of worker sheep, we decided that we did not want to remain an ignorant worker-sheep, we wanted an education in the history of the long struggle of our worker-ancestors to free our class from the chains of exploitation.

US Personal Income, 1959-2015. Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Personal Income, 1959-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

Wisdom begins when a person first acknowledges his or her own vast ignorance and then determines to do all she or he can to eradicate that condition through a determined study of history, science, and politics. No one can even begin to become wise until he or she admits honestly to themselves just how ignorant they truly are. Ignorance, fortunately, is 100% curable through education. This is why we take the time to write articles about modern revolutionary socialism – Trotskyism. We have tremendous faith in the potential of the now-slavish US working class to snap itself out of its self-imposed state of apathy and ignorance, throw off its chains of servitude and begin to tread the road to becoming revolutionary socialist worker-heroes. If we didn’t believe that this transformation was possible, we wouldn’t be Trotskyists.

Communist revolutionaries do not come down to Earth in spaceships or miraculously descend from heaven riding rainbow-colored unicorns. We were – most of us – born to working-class parents who worked all their lives as stupid wage-slaves, inculcating in us faith in the capitalist system and the phony democracy of the United States. We, like you, were brainwashed to salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and respect the police and the government as our protectors – all the bullshit that is driven into the skulls of the children in every capitalist nation-state by every wage-slave parent in the capitalist world.

US Wage and Salary Growth, 1960-2015 Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Wage and Salary “Growth”, 1960-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

Going into high school we were completely ignorant of even the simple fact that we lived in a capitalist world! We knew nothing of what capitalism was, and had no idea that we were members of a “working class” fated to spend our lives as wage-slaves working to make a tiny, ruling capitalist class wealthier every hour we worked. No one is more stupid than we were in those days; no one more ignorant. But having never met a revolutionary socialist worker, how could we have been anything but stupid?

It wasn’t until we started meeting well-educated professionals of the middle class – college professors at Harvard Business School; physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project, for example, and well-educated communist youth our own age – that we came to fully realize how bad our own public-school education was compared to what these people had experienced. They knew all about subjects of vital importance to the survival of the human race of which we knew almost nothing! It was only then, by realizing how very dumb WE were that we were able to begin our lifelong effort to remove what we now realized was our own shameful and embarassing state of ignorance. That sudden self-consciousness of our own vast ignorance was our first step on the road to enlightenment; our education has never ceased from that day to this and it never will. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we read, we will never know everything there is to know about the world. That acute consciousness of our own ignorance continually impels us to keep studying and working to obtain an education comprehensive enough to be of value to you, our working-class sisters and brothers, in the struggle to free us all from the horrors of the capitalist system: its endemic poverty, homelessness, racism and endless war that profits the few at the expense of billions of workers.

US Personal Savings Rate, 1959-2015 Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Personal Savings Rate, 1959-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

The political and economic system which we all live under here in the US – capitalist bourgeois democracy – can best be described as a perfected system for robbing the huge US working class blind for the benefit of the tiny US capitalist class. We came to this understanding through the study of Marxism, which alone teaches workers not only that they can fight successfuly against this brutal wage-slavery system, but can overthrow it and replace it with a far more fair and democratic society under a scientifically planned socialist economy.

Wage-slaves who have never studied Marxism spend their entire lives fighting to survive in a world they only dimly understand. Economic crises leading to unemployment, wars, crime – all these things seem to them to be acts of a cruel fate that no one understands and that no one has – or can have – control over. But the ruling capitalist class has been taught to think differently, because they and their families have been, in most cases, the power behind the US presidency since the end of the American Revolution. The capitalist ruling class IS largely in control of their own fate and have learned precisely what they have to do, through centuries of trial and error, to keep the worker-sheep just barely happy enough to not rise up in revolt against their systematic exploitation by the capitalists. By carefully mis-educating “their” worker-sheep through the school system and mass media, the capitalist class teaches their victims to believe that the capitalist system is “the best of all possible worlds” and that resistance to it is futile.

The communists on the other hand, teach us the opposite: that capitalism is a fundamentally exploitative system designed to continually rob the workers from cradle to grave for the benefit of – in the case of the “egalitarian” USA – 3% of the population. Capitalism is NOT “the best of all possible worlds” – it is merely the latest stage of development in the long history of class struggle between workers and their exploiters. The communists point out the absurdity of the capitalists lie that they preside over a democracy. What kind of democracy is it that diverts 90% of the nation’s wealth to just 10% of the citizenry and forces what the capitalist class so charmingly calls “the bottom 90%” to divide among themselves a mere 25% of the national wealth? There is absolutely nothing even remotely “democratic” about such a system!

When we were still stupid wage-slaves, the Trotskyists confronted us with the fact that the world was on the brink of a nuclear WWIII. If this war was to occur it was possible, the “commies” told us, that the global destruction of the nation states of the world would be so comprehensive that the human race would be driven back into the stone age! Understandably, this got even our attention; and when we began to look into the issue we found that not only were the “reds” telling us the truth, but we found that the Pentagon believed that it could “win” a nuclear war! On a radio station one day we heard an interview with the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The interviewer, discussing the Reagan Administration’s belligerent talk about military confrontation with the USSR, made the then-common remark to him that “of course, nuclear war is unthinkable”. The general replied: “I get paid to think otherwise”. This made a deep impression; up to that point we had been taught to believe that our wise political and military leaders would NEVER dream of leading us into a nuclear war. It was subsequently revealed that US military planners during the Reagan era believed that the US could “bounce back” from a full-scale nuclear war with the USSR so long as no more than around 60% of the US population was killed! This information led to the realization that it was literally a matter of life and death to start studying world politics as soon as possible. This kind of “revelation” – so plentiful in those years of Reaganite insanity is what spurred on our transition from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary socialist workers.

The transition we experienced from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary workers was on the level of the famous scene in “Wizard of Oz” where the film changes from black and white to Technicolor. Suddenly we were made aware of our working class place in the world; that having been born into working-class families we were literally born one one side of a class line; on the other side of that line were the greedy, tiny capitalist class and their cops, courts, jails, news media and military, prepared to break us down as soon as we were old enough to enter the workforce from rebellious youth to obedient worker-sheep. The study of Marxist dialectics provided us with the tools we needed to analyze the world we lived in and to measure, quite accurately, the class orientation of any political party or carefully disguised messages in capitalist propaganda; it enabled us to see clearly who were the true allies of the working class and who were our mortal enemies. That Marxist toobox we were given by our revolutionary socialist teachers alone is a gift so powerful that we would not part with it for anything; it cuts through all the capitalists’ bullshit that constantly baffles, confuses and misleads every worker-sheep who believes he or she has no “need” for Marxism. Without Marxism a worker-sheep is just a lamb unknowingly making a journey through the slaughterhouse of capitalism.

Marxism is not a philosophy based on lies; it is a philosophy based on political science in which the “science” part is taken very seriously. Marxism is based on a careful study of the long history of the struggles of the workers and peasants of the world to free themselves of a system of slavery and exploitation. Marxism, you are told – by the capitalists who hate it because it would take away their money and power and give it to you – is a load of lies and propaganda. In fact the opposite is true; revolutionary Marxism is the honest study of how the working class can free itself from a future of racism, war, exploitation and misery at the hands of the capitalist class and its state. The most honest people who ever lived were the best Marxist theoreticians: Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky; yet the capitalists tell you that their writings are full of lies and deceit. In fact, we can confidently tell you in all honesty that you will search in vain in the writings of Marx, Engels Lenin and Trotsky for any hint of an attempt to decieve the workers. Their chief principle was: “NEVER LIE TO THE WORKERS”. They kept that promise; after 30 years of reading their works we have been unable to find even one instance of them ever consciously attempting to “trick” or lie to anyone. There is absolutely nothing for you to fear from studying the works of these great working-class leaders; neglecting to read their most important works robs you of any chance you have of ever fully understanding the world you live in.

Ah, the life of a wage slave is not pleasant once you know how badly you're getting screwed by your capitalist "friends". Recent Trends in WEALTH Distribution in USA, 1989-2013. Federal Reserve Bulletin, p. 11.

Ah, the life of a wage slave is not pleasant once you know how badly you’re getting screwed by your capitalist “friends”.   Recent Trends in WEALTH Distribution in USA, 1989-2013. Federal Reserve Bulletin, p. 11.

Ignorance may be bliss; but its results are anything but blissful. To blindly fight against forces you don’t understand; to count your mortal enemies (like the police, or the Democrats) as your friends; to believe the lies taught to you by those who are systematically robbing you; this is the fate of the uneducated worker-sheep who thinks that Marxism is a waste of his or her time. An ignorant worker-sheep won’t even know how fucked it is until it is in the slaughterhouse chute heading towards the capitalist at the end of the line wielding a stun gun and a razor-sharp knife.

Until we came to realize how ignorant we were and took steps to do something to cure our ignorance we remained stupid wage-slaves. You will not obtain a revolutionary Marxist education by watching the entertainment products produced by your capitalist masters which are designed to confuse and mislead you. You will not find trustworthy political leaders in the parties that are owned and operated by your capitalist masters, either. If you want to know how to avoid your inevitable date with the capitalist with the stun gun and knife, young sheep, you have only one way to go: start studying revolutionary Marxism today! It will open your eyes to the reality of the life of a worker-sheep in a capitalist nation-state. The writings of the great revolutionary Marxists are some of the greatest achievements of human thought ever produced, and we’re not just saying that because we’re socialists; these were brilliant men and women who dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of the working class. Their writings are of such inestimable valuable to any worker who wants to not just understand the world but to change it for the better that it is impossible to exaggerate their worth.

How ignorant is the average worker-sheep of the USA? So ignorant that the vast majority don’t even consider themselves to be members of the “working class”; they all think that because they have signed up to be whores for a banker-pimp through the mortgage loans they’ve taken on, that makes them “middle class”! They think that the police are here to “serve and protect” the worker-sheep! They think that the capitalist state is a “neutral arbiter” of disputes between the worker-sheep and the capitalists with sledgehammers! They think that the Democratic or Republican parties – both of which are owned and operated by the capitalist class – are their political allies! They think that they “don’t need” to create a true working class party to represent them at the local, state, and national level – the parties bought-and-paid-for by their capitalist enemies are good enough for them! They think that the US military is “defending” them by murdering their working-class brothers and sisters all over the world! THAT’S how dumb the average US worker-sheep is! The revolutionary socialist workers – thanks to their Marxist education – KNOW all of these things are monstrous lies.

Only a truly stupid person would choose for themselves and their children lives as “worker-sheep” instead of a life as a revolutionary socialist worker who fights to free the working class from a life of wage-slavery. That is what we mean when we say that there are two kinds of workers in the world: stupid worker-sheep and revolutionary socialist workers. Which do you want to be?

US Corporate Profits, 1950-2015 Source:TradingEconomics.com

US Corporate Profits, 1950-2015.   Source:TradingEconomics.com

Here is a short list of articles and pamphlets by some of the greatest working-class leaders in world history that you NEED to read if you want to no longer count yourself among the ignorant and/or stupid wage-slave worker-sheep.

Don’t be embarassed if you have to read this stuff a couple of times before you “get it”. This is so far from the lying capitalist propaganda you’ve been accustomed to reading that it may prove to be difficult to fully grasp the first time around. We’ve read these things multiple times and have found that we learn some new detail every time we re-read them. Revolutionary Marxism is a scientific discipline which, like all scientific disciplines, requires study; it’s a combination of work and pleasure. It’s thoroughly rational but, like algebra or physics, it’s not “common sense”; some of it is quite counter-intuitive. A determined slow-to-average reader can read all of these pamphlets, at their leisure, in no more than a couple of weeks. These links will take you to the Marxists.org website where you can read them all – for free!

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto

Leon Trotsky:  Ninety Years of the Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx:   Value, Price and Profit

Vladimir Lenin:  The State

Lenin:  The State and Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg:  Reform or Revolution

Engels:  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Unions Organize “Get Out the Vote” Campaigns for Racist, Union-hating Democratic Party Owned and Operated by the Capitalist Class

US union membership as pct of total employed 1983-2013 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Three decades of failure: This is what pro-capitalist AFL-CIO’s support for the Democrats has done for the US working class.  US union membership as pct of total employed 1983-2013 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the run-up to the elections this November we are seeing more and more Tweets from US trade unions urging workers to “get out the vote” and desperately explaining to their members how critically important it is to support the Democratic Party – the “party of Labor” – or else the Republicans will control Congress and then… what, exactly?

As part of the revolutionary socialist Trotskyist movement we understand that the way to determine whether or not a political party supports or opposes the class interests of the workers is to examine the leadership and program of that party to see which side of the class line that organization lives on.  In the case of the Democratic Party, it’s an easy call: the Democrats are every bit as pro-business and anti-worker as the Republicans.  They actively seek – and receive – the financial support of major US corporations, banks and Wall St. speculators just as the Republicans do.   Pro-Democrat liberal author Gore Vidal described the US political system as a one-party system with two right wings, which is exactly the case.  Both political parties are owned and operated by the same filthy rich members of the US capitalist class, who hedge their investments in politics by purchasing all the politicians from both parties.  What the working class needs in order to effectively operate politically in a capitalist nation state like the US is to have its very own independent party of the working class – financed and led by working class leaders who refuse to take money or accept favors of any kind from the capitalist class.  Of course, this is precisely what the US capitalist class and their political gangsters in the Democratic and Republican parties have always literally killed in order to keep from happening.  What most workers don’t understand is that the so-called leaders of the US trade union movement, the vast majority of whom are themselves pro-capitalist and in the pay of the capitalist class one way or another, have absolutely no intention of ever allowing “their” workers to form a working class political party separate from the Democratic Party.  That is why so many unions have special clauses in their bylaws that specifically ban communists and those who call for the overthrow of the capitalist system from union membership.  You can be a Nazi and be in the union; you can be a Klan member; but you can’t be a commie!  That’s because neither the Klan or the Nazis represent a threat to the class rule of the capitalist class; only the communists do.

By now, any typically brainwashed pro-Democrat worker is probably thinking: “ah, that’s just the same old garbage the commies have always spouted!  Where’s the proof?”  They and you have never seen it, because the pro-capitalist news media – also controlled by the capitalist class – as well as your own union leaders keep this information hidden from you so that they can get you to vote for and continue to profit from the very same capitalist system that forces each and every member of the US working class to remain a loyal, flag-waving debt- and wage-slave.

Who really owns and runs the Democratic Party: the working class or the capitalist class?  Do the leaders of the Democratic Party derive their key support from you, the workers manning their phone banks or do they derive it from the 1% who own most of the wealth in the US and who systematically rob you blind at work, school and everywhere you go?  We’ll get to that shortly – but first here’s a bit of the history of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has for decades been trying to shed its rather recently and quite falsely acquired liberal, pro-worker image and to replace it with a more vicious pro-business program so as to successfully compete for national offices against the Republicans.  The idea that the Democratic Party is a “friend of labor” has always been a lie – the Democratic Party was in fact the party not of “labor” but of the slaveholding southern aristocracy that led the Confederate States of America.  After the slaveocracy lost the Civil War, they patched things up with the northern industrialists who led the Union forces against them and quickly led the fight to smash any attempt to allow the newly-freed slaves to attain equal rights with whites.  The men who became the leaders of the Democratic Party  during the short-lived Reconstruction era  were often Ku Klux Klan members or sympathisers who hailed and alibied the torture and murder of  thousands of men and women who had gone South after the war to attempt to build schools and social service organizations to help the emancipated slaves take their rightful place in the political and social life of the nation.  The “Ku Klux Conspiracy” as it was called by the Radical Republican-led Reconstruction Congress that investigated it was a widespread conspiracy of pro-Confederacy southerners (Democrats) who drove freed blacks back into conditions of life just as brutally oppressive as had existed under slavery  – the Jim Crow system.

After the Civil War black workers began to participate for the first time in the political life of the nation – not as Democrats but as Republicans.  Until the late 1930s when the tepidly pro-labor New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was promulgated – solely in order to prevent the rapidly growing, communist-led Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions from leading a workers revolution – you couldn’t hardly find a black Democrat in the United States!  The massive union organizing drive of the 1930s, often led by communists, caused the populist northern leaders of the Democratic Party to shift rapidly to the left in order to keep their positions as leaders of the political machines in cities like Chicago, New York and Boston; but they never stopped trying to crush the workers movement.

In 1938 leading Democrats in Congress formed the Dies Committee.  This cabal of red-baiting, worker-hating servants of the capitalist class originally pretended that it would “democratically” hunt down “extremists” of all kinds – reds, Nazis and Klansmen.  But it was run by two virulently racist Dixiecrats  – one from Texas (Congressman Martin Dies, Jr.) and one from Mississippi (Congressman John E. Rankin) – who quickly decided that it wasn’t necessary to go after the Klan after all because, as Rankin later put it: ” “the KKK is an old American institution.”

Having grudgingly tolerated the existence of communist-led unions during WWII when those unions were enforcing a no-strike pledge in the vital (and hugely profitable) war industries, as soon as  the war was brought to a close by Democrat Harry Truman’s repulsive and militarily unnecessary use of the A-bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these Democratic Party political swindlers undertook to drive the communists out of the unions, eviscerating their militant leadership (this is a major reason why trade union membership peaked as a percentage of the total US working class around 1948).  Changing the name of the Dies Committee to the  “House Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC), a series of bipartisan anti-communist witchhunts were organized.  This committee, too, was loaded with “pro-labor” Dixiecrats and northern Democrats.  Between 1945 and 1963 when HUAC was most active, 4 out of 5 of its chairmen were Democrats.

Need more information about the fake pro-labor history of the Democrats?  Infamous and widely-hated Wisconsin Republican  Joseph McCarthy, who led a parallel Senate anti-communist witch-hunting committee called the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), found powerful support for his activities among many US Catholics – including an up-and-coming Massachusetts family:

From Wikipedia: “McCarthy established a bond with the powerful Kennedy family, which had high visibility among Catholics. McCarthy became a close friend of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., himself a fervent anti-Communist, and was a frequent guest at the Kennedy compound […] He dated two of Kennedy’s daughters […] and was godfather to Robert F. Kennedy’s first child, Kathleen […] John F. Kennedy, who served in the Senate with McCarthy from 1953 until the latter’s death in 1957, never attacked McCarthy […] When a speaker at a February 1952 Final club dinner stated that he was glad McCarthy had not attended Harvard […] an angry [JFK]  jumped up, denounced the speaker, and left the event.”

Liberal demigod and arch-anticommunist Robert F. Kennedy infamously attacked major trade unions as being “gangster controlled” throughout the late 50s (as chief counsel for McCarthy’s PSI) and early ’60s (as his brother John’s Attorney General), leading attacks especially against the Teamsters union headed at the time by Jimmy Hoffa.  So much for the history of the “pro-labor” Democrats!

Who owns and operates the Democratic Party Today?

Far from being a “party of labor” today’s Democratic Party is more and more nakedly seeking to drive the liberals and pro-union forces out of the party and replace them and their money with cold, hard cash direct from the top capitalists – the one-percenters.

This isn’t something new.   In an article written in 2001 for “The American Prospect” entitled  “How the DLC Does It”,  Robert Dreyfuss exposed the phoniness of the Democratic Party’s pretense of being “the party of labor” by exposing the true nature of what were then called “the Democratic Leadership Council”:

“Freeing Democrats from being, well, Democrats has been the Democratic Leadership Council’s mission since its founding 16 years ago by Al Gore, Chuck Robb, and a handful of other conservative, mostly southern Dems as a rump faction of disaffected elected officials and party activists. Producing and directing the DLC is Al From, its founder and CEO, who’s been the leader, visionary, and energizing force behind the New Democrat movement since Day One. A veteran of the Carter White House and Capitol Hill, where he’d worked for Louisiana Representative Gillis Long and served as executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, From helped build the Committee on Party Effectiveness, a forerunner of the DLC, in the early 1980s. To From, a key rationale for establishing the DLC in those days was to protect the Democrats’ eroding bastion in the South against mounting Republican gains, and indeed one of the DLC’s chief projects in the 1980s was to create and promote the Super Tuesday primary across the South, aimed at enhancing the clout of southern Dems in selecting presidential candidates.

“Privately funded and operating as an extraparty organization without official Democratic sanction, and calling themselves ‘New Democrats,’ the DLC sought nothing less than the miraculous: the transubstantiation of America’s oldest political party. Though the DLC painted itself using the palette of the liberal left–as ‘an effort to revive the Democratic Party’s progressive tradition,’ with New Democrats being the ‘trustees of the real tradition of the Democratic Party’–its mission was far more confrontational. With few resources, and taking heavy flak from the big guns of the Democratic left, the DLC proclaimed its intention, Mighty Mouse–style, to rescue the Democratic Party from the influence of 1960s-era activists and the AFL-CIO, to ease its identification with hot-button social issues, and, perhaps most centrally, to reinvent the party as one pledged to fiscal restraint, less government, and a probusiness, pro–free market outlook.

“It’s hard to argue that they haven’t succeeded.”

Dreyfuss goes on to describe how the DLC worked for Bill Clinton by convincing corporate America that the era of “New Deal Democrats” was over:

“[T]he DLC message of pro-market moderation is just what organized business wants to hear. From its modest beginnings–with a start-up budget of just $400,000 in its first year, cobbled together at fundraisers starring Robb, former President Jimmy Carter, and K Street Democratic eminence Bob Strauss–the DLC patiently cultivated wealthy individuals and corporate backers. By 1990 the combined DLC-PPI operation boasted revenues of $2.2 million, a big chunk of which came from a single source, New York hedge fund operator Michael Steinhardt, who pledged $500,000 a year for three years […]

“One by one, Fortune 500 corporate backers saw the DLC as a good investment. By 1990 major firms like AT&T and Philip Morris were important donors. Indeed, according to Reinventing Democrats, Kenneth S. Baer’s history of the DLC, Al From used the organization’s fundraising prowess as blandishment to attract an ambitious young Arkansas governor to replace Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia as DLC chairman. Drawing heavily on internal memos written by From, Bruce Reed, and other DLCers, Baer says that the DLC offered Clinton not only a national platform for his presidential aspirations but ‘entree into the Washington and New York fundraising communities.’  Early in the 1992 primaries, writes Baer, ‘financially, Clinton’s key Wall Street support was almost exclusively DLC-based,’ especially at firms like New York’s Goldman, Sachs.

“The DLC’s investment in Clinton paid off, of course, after the 1992 election. Not only did the DLC bask in its status as idea factory and influence broker for the White House, but it also reaped immediate financial rewards. One month after the election, Clinton headlined a fundraising dinner for the DLC that drew 2,200 to Washington’s Union Station, where tables went for $15,000 apiece. Corporate officials and lobbyists were lined up to meet the new White House occupant, including 139 trade associations, law firms, and companies who kicked in more than $2 million, for a total of $3.3 million raised in a single evening. The DLC-PPI’s revenues climbed steadily upward, reaching $5 million in 1996 and, according to its most recent available tax returns, $6.3 million for 1999. ‘Our revenues for 2000 will probably end up around $7.2 million,’ says Chuck Alston, the DLC’s executive director.”

 

Today, of course, the Democratic Party’s fundraising from corporate donors far exceeds these paltry numbers.

Want some more proof that the Democratic Party is not the “party of labor”?  OK, check out this more recent analysis of today’s Democratic Party from four years ago:

“As Congress entered the final weeks of its struggle to overhaul regulation of Wall Street in May, several hundred friends and colleagues slipped out of Washington for a private weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Most were lobbyists for large banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurance companies, and big-ticket trade groups. However, 28 were members of Congress, and 29 were legislative staffers, all part of a coalition of House Democrats with a business-friendly agenda.

“The retreat was held in honor of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 69 lawmakers whose close relationship with several hundred Washington lobbyists has made their organization one of the most successful political money machines since the Republican K Street Project collapsed in 2007. In the past year and a half, New Democrats have pulled in more than $18 million in campaign contributions from their lobbyist fundraising network. The lobbyists, in turn, have mingled with lawmakers and their staffers at least 850 times during fundraising events and informal get-togethers.

“When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 they promised to usher in a new era that would end the excesses of what they labeled a Republican ‘culture of corruption.’ One of their prime targets was the K Street Project, in which the Republican congressional leadership placed political operatives in lobbying jobs so they could direct money from big business to GOP campaigns in exchange for access to lawmakers for their clients. The project collapsed after Democrats assumed power and several Republican congressmen, staffers, and lobbyists were convicted on corruption charges.

[…]

“Today, however, many of the same techniques and tactics that formed the basis of the K Street Project are still in use, this time by Democrats.”

[Source: ProPublica, “The New Democrats: The Coalition Pharma and Wall Street Love” by Sebastian Jones and Marcus Stern, 25 October 2010]

The article helpfully offered readers such multimedia features as  “Is Your Member of Congress a New Democrat?”  and  “Inside the New Democrats’ $18 Million Fundraising Network” (which now sadly returns a 500 error).

Need something more recent?  No problem!  Vice News has this, published just last May:

“Looking for the fight over the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in the waning days of the Obama administration? Next Tuesday morning, take the elevator to the eighth floor of a downtown Washington, DC, building and step into the offices of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the premier lobbying group for some of the largest fracking companies in the world.

“While much of the talk about a progressive revival revolves around populist figures like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Elizabeth Warren, there are other, better funded efforts afoot. Corporate titans from finance to natural gas to big retail to telecom are attempting to steer the party, and as the midterms shape up, these interests are pushing to ensure they continue to have wide sway over America’s only viable outlet for center-left expression at the polls. Which brings us to the latest venture in corporate-centered party-building and the group hosting a chat in ANGA’s headquarters: The NewDEAL.

[…]

“This NewDEAL has little in common with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal platform, which pledged to save capitalism from itself by cracking down on predatory banking institutions and restoring workplace rights for Americans. No, this NewDEAL is a 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy nonprofit, a tax vehicle which allows campaign activity without disclosure of donors, and its name is an acronym for ‘Developing Exceptional American Leaders.’

“The group, touted as a platform to ‘highlight rising pro-business progressives,’ is led by Democrats who have made a name for themselves by bucking the populist trend. They include NewDeal co-chair Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, whose zeal for the charterization of public schools and love of Wall Street makes him indistinguishable from many across the aisle. The other co-chair, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, has staked a position in his state’s energy wars as a staunch defender of drillers.

“VICE has obtained a ‘supporter list’ showing donors of the NewDEAL, which reads like a who’s who of corporations seeking government access: Comcast, Fluor, Merck, Microsoft, New York Life, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Verizon, Wal-Mart, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, among others, including, of course, the host of Tuesday’s event, ANGA.”

[Source: Vice News, “The Democratic Party’s Future is Awash in Dark Money”  by Lee Fang, 16 May 2014]   Sadly, Vice did not decide to share that ‘supporter list’ with their readers.

Wow!  Bet those AFL-CIO “get out the vote” organizers didn’t tell you that the “party of labor” was taking big bucks from Wal-Mart!  Say it ain’t so, ghost of Joe McCarthy!

Working class people hustling votes for the Democrats reminds us of the slaves who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War: a tragic reminder of what happens in the absence of revolutionary leadership of the kind that can be found not among the pro-capitalist misleaders of today’s AFL-CIO trade unions but among the ranks of the revolutionary Trotskyist movement.   This is because it is a fact that revolutionary consciousness does not arise spontaneously in the minds of the working class – it has to be brought from without by professional revolutionaries schooled in the history and art of revolutionary theory and tactics, just as workers can’t come to comprehend  advanced physics just by sitting around watching apples fall out of trees:

“The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labor legislation, etc. The theory of socialism […] grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals. By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement; it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of thought among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia […]  [T]here can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement. This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians […]; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of ‘literature for workers’ but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature. It would be even truer to say ‘are not confined’, instead of ‘do not confine themselves’, because the workers themselves wish to read and do read all that is written for the intelligentsia, and only a few (bad) intellectuals believe that it is enough ‘for workers’ to be told a few things about factory conditions and to have repeated to them over and over again what has long been known.   [T]he only choice is — either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology […]  Without a strong organization skilled in waging political struggle under all circumstances and at all times, there can be no question of that systematic plan of action, illumined by firm principles and steadfastly carried out, which alone is worthy of the name of [revolutionary socialist – IWPCHI] tactics”.

[Source:  Lenin, “What is to be Done?” Emphasis in original]

In short: in order to lead the fight for workers rights the working class needs its own party, a revolutionary workers party that fights intransigently for the objective of a post-capitalist socialist workers government.  The Democratic Party is not a “party of labor” – it is a CAPITALIST party dedicated to the cause of sweet-talking the workers into accepting concessions acceptable to their capitalist masters rather than fighting for the overthrow of the capitalist class,  their wholly-owned subsidiary the Democratic Party and the entire capitalist economic system!  It should be obvious to even a dog that any support given by any working woman or man to the Democratic Party is a betrayal of the working class and a gift to the capitalists, who will return the favor back-handedly: with more exploitation, more unemployment, more war and the resulting destruction of our working-class sisters and brothers and eventually the entire planet.  Stop knocking on those doors for the benefit of those who rob you every day!  Stop calling up your fellow wage-slaves and urging them to vote for the paid lackeys of your common slavemasters!  Break forever with the capitalist class and the Democratic Party!  Break away from the capitalist system once and for all and take off your chains and start fighting for your rights as workers!  Stop supporting the mass murder of your brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Gaza and all over the world!  WAKE UP, FELLOW WORKERS AND UNITE AGAINST OUR COMMON ENEMY: THE CAPITALIST CLASS, THEIR POLITICIANS AND THEIR “LABOR LIEUTENANTS”!  FREE YOURSELVES FROM WAGE AND DEBT SLAVERY!

IWPCHI

50th Anniversary of the Day “The Chickens Came Home to Roost”: Lee Harvey Oswald Speaks

Oh, we’ve had about enough of this nauseating tribute to the late-and-not-at-all-great John F. Kennedy’s assassination!  He was a crappy president who was a staunch anticommunist; he tried to drown the Cuban revolution in blood; then he launched the escalation of the Vietnam War into the long-running crime against humanity that it became (again due to his knee-jerk anticommunism); then he and his brother Bobby nearly plunged the planet into World War III over a handful of Soviet nukes in Cuba.  His “Justice” Department was busy trying to crush the civil rights movement (the FBI was unleashed against Martin Luther King and the Freedom Riders while his brother was Attorney General); JFK was a monumental turd!  Malcolm X was right when he stated to the press, who had asked him what he thought about the assassination, that  “President Kennedy never foresaw that the chickens would come home to roost so soon…Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they always made me glad.”

We couldn’t have put it better.

This week we stumbled across a copy of the New York Times’ version of the much-reviled Warren Committee Report on the Kennedy Assassination, published one month less than a year after Kennedy got what was coming to him.

It’s an interesting book in a historical sense, and it has a section that we thought you might find interesting – Appendix XI – a collection of the reports of interviews held by the Dallas cops, the FBI, the Secret Service and the US Postal Inspector with Lee Harvey Oswald.

Of course, everyone knows that Oswald denied that he had anything to do with either the shootings at Dealey Plaza or the killing of the Dallas cop later that day.  But there is a wealth of information in these interviews that make them interesting reading – including the fact that the FBI had been hounding Oswald and his wife for weeks BEFORE the assassination – they had him under close surveillance since his return from Russia after an abortive attempt at defection.

Oswald also states that he had seen several men – his coworkers and bosses – at the Texas School Book Depository handling a rifle in the days before the Kennedy assassination.  He also burst out in indignation when he was presented with the famous photo of himself holding a rifle in one hand and a copy of the Trotskyist newspaper “The Militant” in the other, denouncing the photo as an obvious fake.  It’s well worth taking a look at – and it’s food for thought that the cops immediately pounced on Oswald and never really seemed to bother to look at anyone else as a suspect in this crime, in a city and region of the US that harbored thousands of men and women who hated Kennedy’s guts for a multitude of reasons.

Enjoy!

WarrenreportAppendixXI_OswaldInterrogations

 

“Bolivarian Revolution” of Hugo Chavez: Pompous but Accurate Name for Pro-Capitalist Bourgeois Reformism

Venezuela is still reeling from the death of Hugo Chavez, the beloved self-styled “socialist” leader of the “Bolivarian Revolution”.  Having raised up the long-held hopes of the impoverished and hideously exploited Venezuelan workers, peasants and indigenous peoples that, finally, their deliverance from capitalist wage-slavery was at hand, Chavez and his fellow “leaders” of the “Bolivarian Revolution” squandered 14 YEARS of opportunities to overthrow the capitalist system in Venezuela and replace it with a socialist workers republic, instead opting for timid reforms of capitalism and leaving the capitalist class deprived of only a fraction of their wealth and the workers and peasants mired in somewhat less desperate poverty.

At a meeting held at the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) office in Chicago, Illinois this weekend, two representatives of the “Bolivarian Revolution” from the Venezuelan consulate pleaded for “more time” to gradually expropriate more capitalist private property when our reporter pointedly asked them “when are you going to overthrow capitalism?”

“We have nationalized perhaps 30 per cent [of the capitalists’ property] so far.  I personally hope that we will be able to move more in that direction in the future” said the Venezuelan government representative at the meeting in response to our question.  “It will take time”.

Well, time is exactly what the leaders of the bourgeois reformist “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution ain’t got.  With the United States disengaging its imperialist military forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, over 300,000 US troops are being paid to do nothing right now – and that’s something the capitalists hate more than anything.   There are more than a few “investors” on Wall St. and lobbyists for multinational corporations in Washington D.C. who think that the US has been neglecting affairs in “its own backyard” for far too long.  In the past 15 years or so, left-liberal and pseudo-socialist governments have won national elections in Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela – something that the US would never have allowed to happen 30 or 40 years ago.  These governments have pretended to be “socialist” in order to win the support of the masses, and have instituted mild reforms of capitalism after years of being “in power”.  Of course, under capitalism, a class society, all “power” resides in the hands of the bankers and big capitalists, who possess the actual “power” no matter who sits in the ceremonial “Presidential palace”.  So long as those “socialists” do not tamper with the capitalists’ “inalienable” property rights, the capitalist class may decide to tolerate them – for a time.  But as soon as the economy starts to sputter or the “socialists” get it into their reformist heads to “nationalize” major industries or to prevent the capitalists from extracting profits from the toil of the workers, then the capitalists’ toleration for the trappings of bourgeois democracy begins to wear thin.  And this is precisely what is happening in Venezuela today.  “Time” is precisely what the fake-socialist leaders of the “Bolivarian Revolution” do not have, having already squandered 14 YEARS worth of it.

Like the monumental blowhard and military incompetent coward for whom their “Bolivarian Revolution” is aptly named, the Chavistas do not deserve to be called “revolutionaries” in anything other than words.  In a revolution, it is deeds that matter, and here, as with the legend surrounding the cowardly dictatorial Simon Bolivar, the followers of Hugo Chavez come up far short of their bombastic rhetoric.  In 14 years, the Chavistas have enacted nothing more than mere minor ameliorations of the grinding poverty suffered by the workers and peasants of Venezuela for centuries.   Far from having enacted permanent changes to the economic system in Venezuela, the Chavistas have aimed only to reform the capitalist system, and have left the Venezuelan capitalist class and their vast holdings of wealth squeezed from the blood of the Venezuelan workers entirely intact.   This ruling class, having been humiliated by their inability to overthrow the opera bouffe “revolutionary” Hugo Chavez in a coup, have been licking their wounds and preparing for a comeback.  Their candidate in the elections that will be held next month has already declared that, if he wins, he will immediately rescind all support to Cuba, whose economy is hugely dependent on heavily-subsidized oil exports from Venezuela, very commendably offered to Cuba by Chavez while his party was “in power”.    Of course, Capriles knows that it would be folly to announce BEFORE the elections that he intends to overturn ALL of the Chavez-era reforms if he wins.  But that will undoubtedly happen.  Thus have the Chavistas pissed away the most promising opportunity for the overthrow of capitalism in a major country since Chile’s Salvador Allende traveled the same reformist road to his own – and his country’s – doom in 1973.

This weekend’s fete at PSL headquarters was intended to polish the credentials of Chavez who the PSL described in their email invitation to the event thusly:

“Latin American revolutionary and president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.

“He also led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society, redistributing resources in Venezuela to the benefit of the masses of working and poor people. Since his untimely death, millions of Venezuelans, Cubans and people around the world have paid homage to his legacy. Some 33 heads of state and representatives of 50 governments attended Chávez’s funeral.

“The massive outpouring in Venezuela is not just an expression of deep sentiment for a fallen leader. The cries of “We are Chávez!” and “Chávez Vive!” are a resounding commitment by the people: they are more determined than ever to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.

“Join us at this public forum to commemorate Chavez’s legacy and discuss how to build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States.”

You can fault the PSL leadership for a lot of things, but, so far as we can see, you can’t fault them for being dishonest.  Although they do hallucinate when they call Chavez a “revolutionary”, they quite accurately describe the poverty of the results of his faux “revolution”: he has not overthrown capitalism, the PSL admits (by omission) – he has merely “led Venezuela in an effort to build a better society”.  That is the textbook definition of – not revolution – but reformism.  Chavez, the PSL says “led a life of dedication to the struggle of the people of Latin America for independence and self-determination.”  Independence from what?  The US?  The Venezuelan ambassador’s representative at the PSL’s meeting admitted that “around 50%” of Venezuela’s foreign trade is with the US.  In fact, he decried that fact that their economy was, after 14 years, still too dependent on trade with the US.  But that wouldn’t change even if Venezuela DID overthrow capitalism.  Who else would buy their oil?  An isolated workers state like Venezuela would be in that case would be forced to trade with capitalist countries until capitalism was overthrown in all those countries – and only then could you talk about the “political” independence of Venezuela – but not “economic” independence!  No country in the world is both “politically” and “economically” independent of the rest of the world.  And under world socialism, not only would nations not be “independent” of each other, they would be thoroughly integrated in a global socialist economy and, hopefully, in a political way as well, as equals, brothers and sisters, for the first time since the human race left Africa 100,000 years ago!  North Korea has “achieved” the most thorough political and economic “independence” from the rest of the world, with Iran not far behind!  Are their precarious situations desirable?  No!

And what the hell does “self-determination” mean?  What country, in a capitalist world run by the big banks in the US and Europe can claim to be a “self-determining” (is that a word?) economic or political entity?  Until capitalism is overthrown worldwide, every capitalist and “socialist”! – country is not master of its own fate!  Every socialist worthy of the name should understand this!  Every country under capitalism is bound together in a web of competing nation-states endlessly squabbling over everything from the demarcation of their borders with neighboring states to the life and death struggle for access to resources necessary for those countries’ economies to prosper!   “Self-determination” is a term that means only one thing in a case like Venezuela’s: it means that the Venezuelan leadership of the “Bolivarian [non-] Revolution” can make political error after error and can pursue a thoroughly reformist bourgeois – as opposed to revolutionary socialist – program as long as they want, because NO ONE IN THE REVOLUTIONARY SOCIALIST WORKERS MOVEMENT HAS THE ‘RIGHT’ TO CRITICIZE their leadership’s stalwart defense of capitalist private property!  The only “role” revolutionary Marxists are allowed to play vis-a-vis Venezuela, according to the PSL, is merely to “build solidarity with the struggle for Latin American self- determination within the United States”!

In fact, the representative from the Venezuelan consulate told our reporter as much in his remarks.

We should back up here and set the scene for our readers so they can see how this was done in a very subtle way.  There were two representatives present from the Venezuelan consulate, if we are not mistaken.  One spoke fluent English and had probably spent a great part of his life in the United States.  The other had a very good command of English but was not fluent – and it was THIS man who gave the presentation on Venezuela’s behalf!

We wish we could speak Spanish as well as this man spoke English; but the fact was that he often struggled during his presentation to find the precisely right words to express various political nuances.  We ask you to have this in mind when we relate this response to our question to him.  We did not record the speech and the Q and A session electronically, although someone videotaped the presentations and at least part of the discussion afterwards.  But we did take some notes, and present them here.

During the question and answer session at the end of the Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative’s presentation, our reporter rose and made approximately the following statement “You consider yourselves to be revolutionaries and socialists, correct?  You have been in power for 14 years: when are you going to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?  You seem to believe that you have plenty of time to do this.  But while you are waiting, the capitalist class of Venezuela is regrouping and preparing to return to power.  Already Capriles has announced that, if he wins the elections, he will cut off all aid to Cuba.  After all the Cubans have done for the world, do they deserve that?  What kind of socialist revolutionaries allow all their work to be overturned as a result of a bourgeois democratic election?  The Venezuelan capitalist class is not going to sit around and wait while you play games with their private property rights.  And there are more than a few people in Washington who think that the United States Government has been neglecting ‘its own backyard’ for far too long now.  If you don’t overthrow capitalism now, you will end up like Allende’s forces in Chile in the 1970s.  Time is not on your side.  So when do you plan to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela?”  Or words to that effect.  As we say, the exchange was videotaped, so hopefully it will soon be on YouTube or the PSL’s excellent website.

The Venezuelan Ambassador’s rep made a long rambling response to the effect that they needed “more time”; that it is easy for people outside Venezuela to make criticisms and to demand that the Venezuelans “overthrow capitalism NOW”.  And the he said, directly addressing our reporter (who is “white”): (in this case, we have an exact quote:) “When you evaluate from dogma or theory, you have a checklist [and you just go down your checklist ticking the ‘revolutionary’ boxes – ed].  The truth is, we have been, with our mistakes, we have been giving power to people.  It takes to reality and to our times.  We are not in the times of Marx or in the times of [Allende?].  Sometimes I feel that criticism comes from supremacist perspective. [emphasis added – ed]”. 

Our reporter definitely got the message that maybe the reason that our reporter and our party were so “quick” to criticise the “Bolivarian Revolution” was because we were racists who thought the Venezuelans were stupid!

Of course, this man who did not possess the fluency in English of his compatriot sitting right next to him throughout this meeting can now say that he was misquoted or misunderstood by us.  And that may be true.  But this “misunderstanding” would not have occurred if the OTHER representative of the Venezuelan government – the one who spoke seemingly flawless English – had given the presentation instead.  “The right to self-determination” is here taken completely out of its Leninist context – where it refers to the right of independent nation-states to secede from countries that are, essentially, holing national minorities in political and economic bondage – and turns it into a demand for a “criticism-free-zone” where fake-socialist “revolutionaries” can spout all kinds of political nonsense in defense of their stalwart determination NOT to overthrow the capitalist system.

“Theory is important, but we cannot be kidnapped by theory” the Venezuelan ambassador’s representative stated.  But the “Bolivarian Revolution” HAS been “kidnapped by theory” – the erroneous theory that it is “impossible to overthrow capitalism in Venezuela at this time”!

[The Venezuelan Ambassador’s representative was a very nice and thoughtful, eloquent man, as you would expect an ambassador’s rep to be.  He patiently listened to our comment and responded very honestly and without rancor.  We would be happy to discuss these matters with him at any time; there was no anger or vituperation in the course of our conversation with him.  We don’t want people to get the wrong impression from our criticism here that our interaction at the meeting was harsh in any way; it was not.  We shook hands and conversed with him after the meeting as well.]

Political errors may seem small and even trivial to those who haven’t studied the history of the workers movement, where seemingly “trivial” errors, once committed, oftentimes lead to enormous difficulties or even the failure of an entire revolution, resulting in the mass executions of not just the erring political leaders but the very best self-sacrificing revolutionary elements of the working class and peasantry as well.  A good analogy might be this: if you are trying to send a spacecraft to Mars from Earth, an error in the trajectory of that launch by as little as 0.00000001% might seem “trivial”; but unless that original trajectory error is corrected during passage to Mars, that spacecraft is going to miss the planet by maybe a half-million miles and will be lost in interstellar space forever – or crash into the planet. (Something very much along these lines happened to NASA’s  “Mars Climate Orbiter” back in 1998 when a simple failure to properly covert the stupid United States’ archaic English units to Metric units of measurement caused the loss of a $600-million-dollar space mission!)  These small errors of trajectory add up quickly, and this is as true in politics as it is in astrophysics.  Only difference is: in politics, the price is paid with workers’ LIVES.  This is something that far too many self-styled “revolutionary leaders” “forget” to include in THEIR political “calculations”.

In the case of the “Bolivarian Revolution” their “trajectory error” is this: they never “aimed” their revolution to overthrow capitalism in the first place!  That’s why, after 14 years, they STILL haven’t overthrown capitalism!  It’s not a mere “trajectory error”: their program never included “the overthrow of capitalism in a socialist workers revolution” at all, and all the apostles of Hugo Chavez among the “socialist” parties all over the world have “failed to notice” this simple fact.  In the place of this glaring “trajectory error” of the Chavistas, these fake-“socialist leaders” of the left – the PSL not least among them – have substituted, not the “trajectory correction” of criticism, but the abandonment of their responsibility to point out this fatal “error” to their Venezuelan comrades, on the grounds that, due to the Venezuelans’ “right to self-determination” no corrections to the false trajectory of the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” are permissible – especially if those corrections come from outside the Chavista party in Venezuela!  So, all we are permitted to do is to stand by and cheer as we watch the “Bolivarian [non-]Revolution” sail off into interstellar space, missing its “target” by half a million miles or more!  Bye!  Don’t forget to write!  What bullshit!

Thank god that this is not how the scientists at  NASACERN or researchers in any other branch of the “hard” sciences operate!  They allow their “comrades” to freely criticise their work and to notify them if, at any time, they find errors of ANY magnitude in their calculations!  Only in the political sphere are we supposed to keep our mouths shut when we see our comrades headed off in the wrong direction, perhaps to their executions!  And they call themselves scientific Marxists, do these leaders of the PSL and others who declare this idiotic moratorium on criticism in the name of “the right to self-determination”!  It is the purest nonsense, thoroughly unscientific, and therefore utterly sub-Marxist!

We’ll have more to say about our discussion with the representatives of the Venezuelan Ambassador in another article.

For the Overthrow of the Capitalist System in Venezuela and Around the World!  Workers of the World, Unite!

IWPCHI