Category Archives: The March to World War Three

How A Propaganda War Between the USA and China Precipitated the Great Coronavirus Scare of 2020 and the Worst Economic Crisis in the History of Capitalism

It was every bureaucrat’s nightmare: you are responsible for the well-being of tens of millions of workers in one of the most densely populated major metropolitan areas in the world: Wuhan, China. It’s just weeks before the entire nation goes on its annual New Years Festival holiday: the Chinese equivalent of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year rolled up into one of the world’s great cultural festivals. And now, on 29 December 2019, a small group of scientists is telling you that there is a new virus circulating in the city and unless you shut down the New Years celebrations immediately, and the entire city transportation system – planes, trains and automobiles – perhaps millions of people will die.

Like all bureaucrats everywhere, your immediate first concern is… for your career. Are you being set up by one of your political rivals? Why do YOU have to be the one to make this decision? What if you screw it up? Your career will be ruined and you and your family will be instantly turned into social pariahs. How do you get out from under this monumental responsibility with your career intact? Wait a minute: the scientists are probably wrong! How do they know how many people will die from this new virus?

“How many people have this virus right now?” you ask.

“Forty, maybe fifty people. But we’re still tracing their closest contacts and testing them, too, to see if they have it.”

You want me to shut down this whole city over 50 people sick with the flu? The New Year’s festival is only two weeks from now! You’re crazy! Go back and double check your research and make sure you know what you’re talking about.”

This was the most likely origin of the “cover-up” of the Chinese Communist Party’s early response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As soon as the existence of the “novel coronavirus” was announced to the world, the capitalist world’s anti-communist propaganda operations swung into action, denouncing the Chinese Communist Party for “covering up” knowledge of the virus for weeks and of “silencing critics who tried to warn” the world. Immediately the emergence of the new virus became part of the New Cold War between the USA and China and their respective propaganda operations. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party had been down this road before with the SARS virus, in which they had been caught trying to cover up the seriousness of that outbreak. This time they were not going to hand the Americans and the rest of the capitalist world another propaganda coup against them.

Within days, the existence of the virus and of the fact that it was a new coronavirus was confirmed. By December 31 Chinese health authorities began to transfer patients to a special hospital in Wuhan used to treat people with highly contagious diseases. They tracked down all the close social contacts of the 50 or so people who had tested positive for the new virus and had begun to focus on a popular live animal market in Wuhan city where most of the first patients had either worked or shopped frequently.

The Chinese Communist Party decided early on that they were going to be as open as possible in making timely announcements to the world as their knowledge of the seriousness of the outbreak grew. They immediately informed the World Health Organization of the existence of the virus and within two weeks had isolated it and published the first scientific report describing the virus and the early knowledge of its origin and its virulence and dangerousness in detail.

All over the world, from every anti-communist media outlet to propaganda agents working Twitter and Facebook for the US government, brutal criticism of the Chinese response to the virus outbreak was launched in a 24/7 barrage combining some truth with lies, including faked photographs and videos. “China Is the Sick Man in Asia” screamed a headline in the Wall St. Journal; Chinese diplomats and government officials denounced what they called a vicious, racist attack on their country and its people.

Under tremendous pressure from a profoundly negative “world public opinion” which had been orchestrated by US and other western capitalist nations’ propaganda operations, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party decided to throw all caution to the wind and take the most drastic steps possible in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the virus. They shut down the live animal market and its surroundings in Wuhan; and then as the number of people infected continued to climb, and the first deaths began to occur, they steadily expanded the shutdown of Wuhan’s economy to the entire surrounding province of Hubei, comprising some 58 million people. Soon it was announced that all large public gatherings in Hubei province were canceled and the New Years festivities were shut down. Schools and universities were closed and then workplaces. The huge regional airport – a transportation hub comparable in national importance to Atlanta’s or Chicago’s in the USA – was closed, and then the railways and the roads. The entire province was placed under lockdown; no one could enter or leave the area. Workers were told that the nation was “at war” with the COVID-19 virus and that it was a matter of national pride that everyone accede to the strict quarantine rules without fail. People who were caught trying to drive out of town were arrested and their vehicles were impounded. It was one of the most rapid and comprehensive efforts in world history of any government to stop the spread of a contagious disease. And for the people of China it had become a national crusade and a patriotic duty to do all possible to stop the spread of the virus and to help their sisters and brothers in Wuhan. It showed how quickly a socialist planned economy in a one-party state can respond to a national health crisis.

What had started off as a golden opportunity for the US and the rest of the world’s capitalist governments to “prove” the superiority of the capitalist system over socialism was turning into quite the opposite. The stunning, rapid response and the drastic measures immediately taken and imposed with a minimum of opposition from the Chinese workers of the Communist Party’s health initiative was proving the superiority of the socialist system! As the World Health Organization and scientists and politicians around the world praised the Chinese Government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the anti-communist propaganda operations reeled in stunned shock as their initially successful efforts to control the “spin” on the story lost traction and were hurled back by the power of the Chinese response.

Beyond the exchange of heated words between the US Government of Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping, little was being done outside of China to stop the inevitable spread of COVID-19 to the rest of the world. Modern transportation networks accelerate the spread of contagious diseases: what took months to occur during the bubonic plague in the 14th century – a world where the fastest mode of transportation was a sailing ship powered by prevailing winds – now takes only days. It’s quite likely that by the time Chinese doctors had even started to realize what was going on, the virus had already been carried from Wuhan to other countries by infected airline passengers. By the time that western airlines finally stopped all flights to and from China – weeks after the outbreak had been announced – the viral cat was well out of the bag. There was no stopping the global spread of COVID-19 now; and it was just a matter of time before new outbreaks began in major cities all over the world.

In the western capitalist world, anti-communist political leaders chortled at the way the Chinese Communist Party had been forced to shut down the world’s second largest economy because of the falsely-alleged Chinese affinity for exotic foods like “bat wing soup”. They wasted weeks of time in which they could have been preparing their own national response to the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 by spending their days spreading false and malicious rumors as to how the virus originated in wild animal markets in China and from restaurants serving exotic animals for food. Meanwhile, the virus was reaching their own nations – and their national health systems – “socialized” or not – were about to face one of their severest tests in their history.

Instead of using the nearly two months of advance notice of the impending spread of the COVID-19 epidemic from China to the the rest of Asia, then to the USA, Europe and the rest of the world to stockpile the medical equipment that would be necessary in order to slow the spread of the illness in their own nations, the capitalist world’s politicians did… nothing. They ridiculed China for “bungling” the initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak and allowed their national propaganda networks to redouble their efforts to portray the COVID-19 outbreak as a signal “failure” of the “inferior” socialist economic system, and portrayed the very same Chinese police-state actions that the western nations themselves would soon be forced to impose on their workers as “communist totalitarianism”.

This shopworn, lying anti-communist propaganda, disinterred from its “Cold War” “end of history” grave for the purposes of a “New Cold War” had been made necessary by socialist China’s amazing economic performance of the past 40 years, in which it has steadily risen above every capitalist nation on the planet except for the USA (which it is due to surpass within the next 5 years). Increasingly struggling to maintain its “capitalism is better than socialism” narrative in the face of China’s historically unsurpassed economic growth and massive destruction of domestic poverty rates, the US and the rest of the stagnant and even retrograde capitalist world is forced to grasp at ever thinner and thinner straws.

What’s a capitalist politician to do in the face of this challenge from “Communist” China? Well, in the case of the COVID-19 epidemic it appears that their “solution” is to run around like headless chickens for a while, then copy everything China did to bring its COVID-19 epidemic under control. Thanks to events having proven that the initial slant of western propaganda vilifying China’s draconian (perhaps unnecessarily so) but successful efforts to contain the spread of the virus, it has now become politically impossible in the West for politicians to adopt measures any less draconian.

This is particularly ironic since the death toll from China’s and the rest of Asia’s COVID-19 epidemics proved to be comparable to the “mere” common flu, which killed as many or more people in every nation on Earth during the 2019-2020 flu season – as it usually does. “You can’t compare COVID-19 to the ‘common flu’!” screamed the “scientific experts” of the capitalist world, who have spent decades pretending that the annual death toll from the common flu (tens of thousands a year in the USA) was ignorable because it was, apparently, an act of god or something. “COVID-19 is different!” they howled in unison at anyone who dared to point out the obvious contradiction between their perpetually laissez-faire attitude to the massive death toll from the “common flu” compared to their raving lunatic response to this new one. The massive over-reaction was the predictable political response of the rabid anti-communists of the western capitalist bourgeois “democracies” who found themselves compelled, in the wake of “Communist” China’s overwhelming public success at fighting COVID-19, to attempt to “show those commies” up by adopting even more stringent measures that would quickly shut down the world economy – in spite of the daily receipt of data from the global COVID-19 outbreak that clearly showed that it was nothing more than a very nasty flu.

Marxists have always pointed out that one of the greatest areas of superiority of revolutionary Marxist philosophy is our adherence to the “dialectical method” of reasoning, a comprehensive way of looking at every phenomenon in its ever-changing totality rather than using the antique preferred bourgeois methodology of Aristotelian logic, which sees everything as a series of static episodes which can be extracted from an ongoing event and looked at as something finite rather than as a mere snapshot of a dynamic and evolving process of evolution. This narrow-minded approach was evident in almost every “scientific expert”’s wild and crazy public pronouncements on the subject of COVID-19. People who spend their entire professional lives examining life processes through a microscope should not be expected to take the lead on issues involving public policy, where macroeconomic effects of public policy have the potential to kill not just tens of thousands but tens or even hundreds of millions. But they irresponsibly rushed to the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis, brandishing their unpublished theses on the virus, terrifying the world with Cassandra-like predictions of millions of deaths if the global economy was not shut down immediately.

In the USA, scientific cretins like Dr. Anthony Fauci, “a consummate politician” as the New York Times described him, who, as arch-anti-communist US President Ronald Reagan’s point man on AIDS stayed infamously asleep while the “gay plague” raged through the gay communities of the USA in the early ‘80s, was placed in charge of the US Government response to COVID-19. He and his colleagues, apparently utterly blind and ignorant of any subject outside of their chosen specialties of virology and epidemiology, but rising to the occasion of the propaganda imperatives of the “New Cold War” went before the news cameras and breathlessly informed the scientifically illiterate US public that, unless the US economy was shut down immediately, perhaps millions of US workers would die from the “deadly” COVID-19 virus. “Only if these measures – far more outrageous than anything done by those commies in China are taken and taken right away without any hesitation or even a pause for thoughtful consideration” their message seemed to say, “will we avoid a death toll comparable to that of the 1918 flu pandemic”.

That flu pandemic, which occurred in the wake of what was at that time the bloodiest world war in human history, killed “anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million” people. In other words we have no idea how many people it actually killed. If it killed “17 million” out of an “estimated 500 millions” who were infected with it globally, then the case-fatality rate would only be around 3.4% If it killed 100 millions, then the CFR would be 20%. That’s quite an error bar, indicative of the fact that no one knows how many people actually died from it. But it doesn’t take a genius of the level of an Einstein to notice that medical science has come quite a long way in the past 102 years. Virology was in its infancy back then; and the terrible trauma of WWI to millions of people all over Europe – trauma that simply DOES NOT EXIST in the USA or Europe or in China in 2020 – must have increased that death toll tremendously.

It is indeed depressing to see the “scientific experts” of the capitalist world brandishing their vapid non-dialectical Aristotelian reasoning, vituperatively screaming at us in one breath that “you can’t compare the ‘common flu’ to COVID-19!” and then in their very next breath to hear them blithely compare the COVID-19 virus to the virus that caused the 1918 pandemic! And yet they did this and continue to do it to this day, despite the fact that the epidemic in China has apparently ended with a death toll of merely 3200 people and that it has signs of having reached its peak in Italy, where 95% of the approximately 8000 deaths so far were of people over 65 and in extremely poor health! That 8,000 figure is also important to remember, by the way: it’s the number of deaths that occur on average every flu season in Italy from… you guessed it! The “common flu”!

In the UK another scientific cretin named Dr. Neil Ferguson and a team of thick-headed microscope-gazers were able to bum’s rush the British Government into abandoning their very reasonable limited quarantine proposals in favor of shutting down the entire UK economy by pushing their non-peer-reviewed study of the possible death toll from COVID-19 rising to 510,000 in the UK and over 2,000,000 in the USA if their complete shutdown of the UK economy was not immediately adopted without any public discussion at all – AFTER it had become apparent that the death tolls in the densely-populated area around the megametropolis of Wuhan, China were not even going to reach 5,000! Yet somehow these scientific cretins – who, if they could only pry their eyes away from their calculators and microscopes long enough, might see that the real-world COVID-19 pandemic was shaping up to be far less apocalyptic than their “calculations” had predicted! So we had yet another example of why “scientific experts” should remain in an “advisory” capacity as part of a governmental panel studying the effectiveness of various options to be taken in response to an epidemic rather than the ONLY VOICE THAT IS HEARD when these situations arise!

This is because shutting down the world economy has the potential to lead to the deaths of many millions of workers all over the world. It is inexcusable to allow the virologists and epidemiologists to take the lead in the response to an epidemic for the sole reason that their proposals will be narrowly tailored to the end result of the stopping of the spread of the virus – and that’s all! The knock-on human impact of the “side effects” of a global economic shutdown are entirely invisible to these people as it is completely outside of their narrow focus of their studies! They literally can’t see the human race for all the virus particles! They are utterly blind to the macroeconomic impact of their proposals. To them, “stopping the virus” is the be-all and end-all of their work. If the virus is stopped before it infects “x” number of people then it will save “x” number of lives, period! They will declare victory and return to their microscopes! But outside their labs in the ivory towers in which they reside, there will be massive human suffering caused not by COVID-19 but by the draconian and absolutely UN-NECESSARY response to what has turned out to be “just a nasty flu virus” with a case-fatality rate comparable to that of the “common flu”!

But it’s almost too late to turn back now. All the anti-communist politicians, most of whom are themselves nothing but Wall St. crooks and swindlers or the partners of such are THEMSELVES scientifically illiterate and completely happy to pass on the responsibility for the response to the COVID-19 epidemic to the scientists! If they turn out to be wrong, these bureaucrats – capitalist “kleptocrats” is a better description of them – can wash their hands of the whole disaster and say “we were grievously misinformed by the scientific community as to how we should have responded”. In the meantime, they have “shown the commies” how tough they are by… launching torpedo after torpedo into the world economy. Thus the propaganda war between the capitalist world and the “Communist” Chinese has completely made it impossible for the politicians of the capitalist west to do anything other than to destroy the world economy in order to “win” what has become a “New Cold War” political pissing contest – from which “Communist China” will almost certainly emerge victorious because socialism works!

The Real Disaster in the Capitalist World Begins Now

As the Chinese economy quickly returns to normal – something that can be done quickly in a socialist “command economy” run by the Communist Party of China, which has finally, after decades of bumbling, stumbled onto a successful method of organizing and running a mixed socialist planned economy – the economies of the capitalist world are in complete crisis mode. The idiotic wholesale shutting down of the capitalist world economy (merely to prolong for a few months the end-of-lives of a few thousand very ill octogenarians) has already led to unemployment levels far higher than were seen in the Great Depression. The longer the global capitalist economy is shut down, the more massive and lasting damage will be done to the working class and the small businesspeople. A one-month shutdown of the US economy will lead to the wiping out of hundreds of thousands of marginal small business operations, in turn leading to the permanent elimination of a couple of million jobs. Larger retail operations like Sears and so many others which had been hanging on by a thread will likely also receive their death-blow, wiping out hundreds of thousands of more jobs. Long-term unemployment and the suffering caused by it in terms of lives and marriages ruined, people made homeless, suicides and domestic violence will take a massive toll not just in the US but throughout the capitalist world. Tens of millions of workers are suffering already due to unemployment and the sudden elimination of their incomes. This economic crisis is going to kill far more people than COVID-19 did.

The economists seem to have lost their minds as well. They seem to believe that they can simply print trillions of dollars and distribute them to the businesses and workers without harming the value of the dollar. The extremely experimental “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT) is leaping from the printed page to reality with no drug test and no background check involved! These crazy bastards are launching a macroeconomic experiment the likes of which has never been seen before. Where it will lead is anyone’s guess: but I’m guessing that, as with many “new paradigms” we’ve seen since the dot-com-bust where it was asserted that the alarms rung by “old school” economists could be safely ignored – this time around as well, the “old school” economic “dogma” of what happens when you print dollars by the trillions and dump them into the money supply all at once will reassert themselves with a quickness. And all this wild-eyed economic and social experimentation is being done over a virus which as we see with every new report of the mortality statistics right up to the moment I’m writing this – appears to be literally “nothing more than a nasty flu”!

The revolutionary socialists of the world have been warning workers since the 1840s that there is no future for the working class under the capitalist system, and that continuing to support capitalist politicians and the rotten capitalist economic system will cost the working classes their lives. Since that time we have seen two world wars in which tens of millions of workers were butchered, and still the working classes of most countries have resumed their places as exploited cogs in the capitalist machine. Instead of building revolutionary socialist workers parties to lead us out of the dead end of late capitalism and into a promising socialist future, the working class has, time and again, returned to the voting booths to pull the lever for the lying capitalist politicians. In the 2020 elections in the USA we see the workers doing it yet again. Stupid is as stupid does, as the saying goes. The longer you allow the capitalists to remain in power the closer you are bringing yourselves and all those you love to the brink of total destruction. Either the working class will rise up and fight for its rightful place as the organizers of a new socialist world or we will be annihilated in yet another World War. The decision rests in the hands of each and every worker on this planet. We hope you’ll join us in building an egalitarian socialist world where the endless crises and wars of the late capitalist period will be brought to a permanent end.

Dump the Republicrats! Build A Workers Party! Fight For A Workers Government! Fight For A Socialist Future!

—IWPCHI

Chicago Marches to Oppose U.S. War Moves Against Iran, 4 January 2020

Photoessay: Chicago’s progressive and socialist left turns out to demonstrate against the impending war against Iran on Saturday, January 4, 2020. The demonstration was organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; dozens of organizations from Christian peace groups and Filipino left parties to revolutionary Maoists, and Trotskyists participated.  The demo was held just across the Chicago River from Trump Tower. At its peak, we estimate that the demonstration was several thousand strong.

Conspicuously absent were Chicago’s powerful trade unions, whose pro-capitalist Democratic-Party-subservient “leadership” *never* dares to bring their members into contact with the socialist left at events like this, quite correctly fearing that if they did, “their” members would be “led astray” and never again be happy, complacent & obedient pro-capitalist Democratic Party sheep.

The demonstration begins, 4 January 2020 at about 11:45AM. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, 4 January 2020, 12 Noon, photo by IWPCHI.

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, Wacker and Wabash Ave’s, 4 January 2020, approx. 12 noon. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #3. Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Presente! Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Rally across river from Trump Tower #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave., #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #3. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed #1. Photo by IWPCHI

 

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed. By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #4.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave., shutting down traffic on both sides #5.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  A few minutes later the police apparently arrested a person or persons, or at least attempted to (this was the only instance of a confrontation between the cops and the demonstrators we witnessed).  The crowd started chanting : “Let him (or “them”) go!”  Photo by IWPCHI

—– IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Navy to Climate Change Deniers: “You’re In Denial” (Updated 13 October 2019)

[This page was updated on 13 October 2019; scroll down for the updated info – IWPCHI]

 

The next time you are told by some scientifically illiterate blowhard that global warming/climate change is #FakeNews, show them this:  the U.S. Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030”.

Published by the U.S. Navy’s “Task Force Climate Change”, it describes the strategic opportunities and threats that are emerging in the polar regions as the polar ice caps shrink due to… you guessed it! Climate change!  Even the most obtuse opponent of environmentalism will be hard-pressed to deny that maybe… just maybe… the climatologists and long-term defense planners working for the U.S. Navy know what they’re talking about.

Climate change is real; it’s been confirmed and reconfirmed by scientists – and military strategists – working for affected nation-states all over the Earth.  To deny this is to declare yourself to be beyond the reach of logic and scientific reasoning, period.  That doesn’t mean that we have to believe everything the most alarmist of the environmentalists say; it means we have to face facts no matter how unpleasant or counter-intuitive they may seem to be and prepare to face these challenges head-on as they are confirmed to be real and not merely normal and temporary fluctuations in climatic data. The capitalists are salivating over their fantasies of how to profit from the human misery and mass migrations sure to be caused as low-lying coastal areas are flooded over the next several decades. As US and NATO imperialist military planners strive to take advantage of global warming in order to find new ways to launch attacks against their opponents – threatening WWIII – workers must realize that there literally is no future for them under the capitalist system. We workers need to take power out of the hands of the capitalist greedheads and into our own hands so we can create a socialist future for the workers of the world, free from capitalist exploitation, needless human suffering and war.

— IWPCHI

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UPDATE:

We have found a few new sources of information on the massive, rapid warming trend in the polar regions of Earth, and the US Navy’s response to this phenomenon.

First, we researched the history of submarine surfacings at the geographic North Pole.  The first submarine to do so was the USS Skate, on 17 March, 1959.  Since that time, a number of surface ships and submarines have operated on the open surface waters at the North Pole.

The US Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap”, published in February of 2014, was, due to the rapidly warming conditions at the poles, updated again in 2017.  The update (which we found freely available online) is in the form of a slideshow entitled “The US Navy and the Arctic”; you can download a copy of it from our website by clicking on this link.

This is the slide we found to be most shocking as it reveals the rapid decline of the permanent sea ice present in the north polar region today, and the incredible rate of reduction in that sea ice which is expected to open up new trans-polar shipping routes for at least several weeks a year by 2025!

US Navy – Arctic Ice Coverage – 2012-2030.

As we obtain more information on this subject we’ll add it to this article.

The Science of Human Memory: Why Christine Blasey Ford’s 40-Year-Old Accusations Are No Longer Credible

When it comes to human memory, scientists speak not of its “reliability” but of its “fallibility”.  Under capitalism, which embraces superstitious belief and “common sense” while denigrating scientific knowledge, the generally scientifically illiterate working class is left to fend for itself when it comes to seemingly “deeply controversial” issues – like whether or not the 40-year-old memories of a person can be relied upon as an accurate record of their early-life traumas. In fact, as we clearly establish in this article, there is no scientific “controversy” in regard to the fallibility of human memory over time: human memory is nothing like a documentary record by which events in a person’s life can be recalled precisely as they happened – even by the very person who lived the experience.  Even worse, the passage of time and the acquisition of new life experiences cause human memories to be continuously revised and reconstructed. 
We oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court due to his well-documented extreme conservatism and hostility to women’s rights; but neither he nor anyone else should be compelled to submit to a public interrogation regarding unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations from almost 40 years ago that were never brought to trial in a court of law.  We have nothing against Christine Blasey Ford, but unfortunately for her the time for her to bring her assault allegations forward was 36 years ago; the passage of nearly four decades has rendered her accusations, in our opinion, inadmissible in a court of law due to the scientifically proven fact that human memories – even of traumatic events like sexual assault – degenerate over time.  This underscores the vital importance of sexual assault victims coming forward to report the crimes committed against them at the earliest possible opportunity. – IWPCHI

The nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh was brought to a screaming halt this past month by the sudden emergence of one Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with an accusation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her some 36 years ago.  This explosive accusation – coming as it has against a prospective Supreme Court Justice in the wake of the #MeToo hysteria – has brought his confirmation hearings to a halt. Kavanaugh’s political and judicial record is that of a consistently right-wing, anti-worker and anti-woman conservative bent.  The battle lines for and against his confirmation for the Supreme Court have been drawn on strict partisan lines, with the Republicans and Democrats engaging in a shit-slinging contest like two troops of caged monkeys, with both sides cynically using the issue of women’s rights like a crude weapon in their political knife fight. The process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice has become not a careful assessment of the nominee’s qualifications as a jurist but a brutal running of a political gauntlet where as much salacious dirt as possible is either dug up from the youthful indiscretions the nominee may have engaged in – or the Congressional Inquisition just makes up as much damaging slander as they can and then hurls it in the face of the nominee, hoping that he or she will withdraw their candidacy for the Court rather than continue to be publicly humiliated by the Congressional cretins of both parties.  The nomination process has become so vicious that it is hard to imagine why any decent, qualified candidate for a Supreme Court nomination would put themselves and their families through the character assassination and humiliation of the process. Into the hellish partisan maelstrom of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings sailed one Christine Blasey Ford this past month, with top Democratic Party sponsorship and an explosive story to tell.  Revealed to the nation at the 11-th hour of the confirmation hearings by the Democrats, Blasey Ford launched her broadside of 40-year-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh using the too-credulous bourgeois press to leak out at least two different versions of her tale of “abuse” allegedly at the hands of a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh and (depending on the version leaked out) either one or four co-conspirators.  Her accusations – which were not reported to the police at the time of the alleged assault, and were reportedly not told to anyone at all until she revealed them to a marriage-counselling therapist in 2012, immediately were taken up by the bourgeois feminist #MeToo lynch mob which shrieked in unison that they believed every word Blasey Ford said – even before she actually published a coherent full version of her story.  The Congressional Democrats, who have been steadily destroying womens’ rights by degree for decades now, and terrified by the threat posed by the loose cannons of the #MeToo movement, who have been destroying the careers of the guilty and the innocent with glee, cynically supported Blasey Ford in a bid to pose as “the defenders of womens’ rights” as opposed to the Kavanaugh-backing Republicans who seem to be just as cynically utilizing the #MeToo phenomenon to pose as the defenders of the rights of the accused to a presumption of innocence – a fundamental principle of U.S. law won at the time of the American Revolution which they have been busy heaping contempt upon for decades.  It is a sorry spectacle symptomatic of the long degeneration of the political consciousness of the US capitalist class reflected in their bought-and-paid-for political parties, which have all grown steadily more and more depraved since the last dying gasp of the revolutionary bourgeoisie was breathed during the brief Reconstruction period immediately after the U.S. Civil War. With the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings brought to a screaming halt by the accusations leveled by Blasey Ford, and a large percentage of the populace finding her last-minute allegations more than a little bit suspicious politically, the Democrats and Republicans hunkered down and started digging up “evidence” to refute the “evidence” being put forward by Blasey Ford. The Republicans behind Kavanaugh produced a signed petition of hundreds of women friends of Kavanaugh who vouched for his deep love of children, women, apple pie and all things good; the Democrats came forward with a signed petition from the Friends of Blasey Ford vouching for her teenaged chastity and her all-around honesty, love of truth and all things good.  Kavanaugh denied Blasey Ford’s accusations; a few of Blasey Ford’s friends came forward to claim that they now remembered her telling them of the alleged sexual assault way back 40 years ago while howling partisan mobs vented their respective spleens across social media.  The Democrats called for an FBI investigation of the allegations and/or for the allegations to be probed publicly by the Congressional committee overseeing the Supreme Court nomination process. Calls for a full-on public spectacle in which Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford would testify before Congress on national television as to their respective 40-year-old memories of the incident (or non-incident) in lieu of an actual trial before a jury of Kavanaugh’s peers came shrieking down from the Democratic Party side, with the rabid “Start By Believing” forces of the crazed #MeToo legions in battle formation.  Anyone daring to publicly doubt the actual probative value that could be expected from such a pointless “he said/she said” trial by public opinion was declared to be “obviously” a woman-hating apologist for the rapists.  Such is the level of political discourse in the “Land of the Free(TM)” these days. Yet we did dare to ask: what is the value of 40-year old accusations in a court of law?  Is it possible for someone’s 40-year-old memories to be credible enough to destroy a person’s career or even to be used to convict that person and send them to prison for decades?  Most importantly: what does science teach us about the reliability of human memory over time? We had read over the past several decades many scientific articles on the fallibility of human memory in relation to “eyewitness testimony” – which was once believed to be the most reliable evidence that could be admitted in a legal proceeding, but which now has been scientifically proven to be highly malleable and utterly unreliable.  Irked by a Tweet posted by a Democratic Senator throwing shade on anyone who would express skepticism about the timing and inherent value of 40-year-old anecdotes of sexual impropriety seemingly very conveniently recalled just in time to derail a highly contested nomination to the Supreme Court, we responded by performing a simple Internet Search for the terms “reliability of human memory” – and we immediately found, on an Internet portal linked to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a half-dozen scientific studies and reviews of recent scientific research on human memory.  The results are not good for Blasey Ford and her shrill #MeToo friends. Human memory is not just fallible, it is highly unreliable even in the short-term, and becomes more and more unreliable over time.  The human memory is not, as many people believe, like a digital security camera video recording that can be rewound and replayed over and over again without any loss of detail at all; it is more like a very sketchy and incomplete series of snapshots that are modified by human life experiences that preceded and which occurred after any event we can “remember”.  In marked contrast to what “common sense” beliefs exist in the minds of most people, science has learned over the past 40 years that human memory is nothing like computer memory AT ALL.  There is simply no justification for the #MeToo crowd’s mantra that, especially in sexual assault cases, we should always “Start By Believing” – especially when the accusations were not reported until years or decades afterwards.  Even a delay of as little as a few hours can lead to profound modifications of human “memories”. We were initially driven to look for the science behind human memory thanks to this annoying Tweet by U.S. Senator Mark Warner:

The problem is, of course – as former Virginia Governor and now-Senator Warner, a Harvard-educated lawyer should know – that if Christine Blasey Ford were to take her 40-year-old allegations to any prosecutor in the country it is highly unlikely that they would spend five minutes investigating the case, precisely because the allegations are 40 years old!  There is no physical evidence that is known to exist in the case; it highly unlikely that any new and credible evidence could be collected after the passage of nearly 40 years; the witnesses (if any are still alive and still sentient) would be difficult and perhaps very expensive to find; and if they were found, their 40-year-old memories of the event would be completely useless in a court of law anyway due to current scientific knowledge about the profound fallibility of human memory over time.  Sen. Warner and his many lawyer-colleagues in the Senate and in Congress should know this; and many undoubtedly do know it.  But instead of acting like leaders who will take this as a “teachable moment” and use it to educate the public as to why 40-year-old memories of an alleged sexual assault victim shouldn’t be used in a court of law except as a weak buttress for physical evidence that a crime was committed; instead of educating the public that this case reaffirms the absolute necessity for victims of sexual assaults to report the crime as soon as possible after it occurs while their memory of the details are as valid as they’ll ever be, the Democrats and Republicans are consciously refusing to do any such thing.  They clearly prefer to make their cheap political attacks against their opponents in an effort to jockey for some imaginary “moral high ground” they can stand on when they run for re-election. In Warner’s case it is certain that he knows all about how profoundly the growing body of scientific evidence on the fallibility of human memory has forced major changes in the admissibility of eyewitness and other forms of human memory evidence in the law courts of the nation.  While Governor of Virginia he commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt in a highly controversial case in which the credibility of eyewitness testimony was a central issue (Warner – according to his Wikipedia entry – also “denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor”).  Yet instead of utilizing his own personal knowledge of the science of the fallibility of human memories or of the many U.S. Government-funded scientific studies available to educate people about the importance of timely reporting of sexual assaults and other crimes due to the increasing fallibility of human memory over time, Warner chose to remain silent and let the lynch mobs gather up their stocks of torches and pitchforks.  What could be more contemptible than to withhold such information from an increasingly frenzied populace? Then again, Virginia Democrats know a thing or two about how to direct a lynch mob from behind the scenes so that they cannot be held personally responsible for the work of the madmen – and women – they set in motion.  Virginia is, after all, the historical home of “Lynch’s Law”, named after slave owner Charles Lynch, a former member of Virginia’s House of Burgesses, Revolutionary War officer and later a State Senator. We sent Sen. Warner a dozen Tweets featuring lengthy excerpts from two or three of these scientific studies we found on a US-Government-run science website; of course neither he nor anyone on his staff bothered to respond to any of our messages.  Why haven’t any Senators or Congressmen been spreading this important, often taxpayer-funded research on the fallibility of human memory in order to educate the public as to why it’s not a good idea to allow 40-year-old undocumented accusations based upon the 40-year-old memories of a single human being to derail the nomination of someone with a well-documented legal history and no criminal record to the Supreme Court?  It’s undoubtedly because they feel that they can make more money and further their careers more effectively by lies and disinformation to be spread far and wide. Here is the first scientific study we sent to Sen. Warner. As with all of the studies we cite below, the most surprising thing that comes across is how diametrically opposed the scientific understanding of the nature of human memory is to the widely held (including by us, originally) “common sense” notion of the fundamental long-term reliability of memory, especially of traumatic experiences:

The link to the study we cited is here:  “The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom” Here are a couple of excerpts from this study:

Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

There really is no dispute among scientists when it comes to the reliability of human memory; in fact, there is so much consensus that scientists tend to speak not in terms of the “reliability” of human memory but in terms of its “fallibility”.

“The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom_Common misunderstandings about memory” Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Here is the second scientific paper we sent to Sen. Warner:

Memory development: implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom (Abstract) by M.L. Howe, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 Dec;14(12):869-76. doi: 10.1038/nrn3627. Epub 2013 Oct 30.
Unfortunatley, like most scientific papers, this one is behind a paywall (reminding us of Aaron Swartz’ fight to make all scientific publications available for free to the public, for  which he was threatened with prosecution and driven to suicide). Presumably, Sen. Warner has access to all of these databases and could, if he cared to, provide this information to the public.

We kept searching until we could find a scientific paper that wasn’t being embargoed from public view by the capitalists’ greed.  Right away we found this:

The paper is available in full here: “The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences.” Here are some excerpts, which we also Tweeted to Sen. Warner:

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Abstract) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott                                      Memory. 2015;23(5):633-56. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709. Epub 2015 Feb 23

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Excerpt 1) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This paper, by the way, is not an assertion of the two authors’ own personal prejudices regarding human memory; it’s a review of many decades of published scientific research on the subject:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 2 by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633 – 656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” Excerpt 3 – “Children as Eyewitnesses” by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section on the false testimony of very young children is somewhat off-topic but has broad implications as to the gullibility of adults, including cops, judges and the press when it comes to the irrational “Start By Believing” paradigm being pushed by the bourgeois feminists of the #MeToo movement; it also goes a long way towards combatting the widespread and faulty “common sense” notion that “children would never lie about something as serious as sexual assault”:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 4 – Children as Eyewitnesses (cont’d) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott,  Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633–656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Here the authors make mention of one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice ever to occur in the US since the Salem Witch Trials (which also featured outrageous accusations that had no evidence to back them up except for the “eyewitness testimony” of children): the McMartin Preschool Case:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 5 – Children as Eyewitnesses – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section of the study gets into the subject matter of the Blasey Ford vs. Kavanaugh controversy:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 6 – Historic Sexual Abuse – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 7 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 8 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

But what about the widely-touted concept of “repressed memories” that can be “recovered” through therapy?  Does that concept have any scientific validity?  It does not:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 9 – Is there a special case for repressed memories? – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Yet another scientific article we found sheds more light on how easily adult memories can be modified and false ideas easily implanted – especially by those whom we tend to trust implicitly, like doctors, therapists and scientists:

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – Introduction” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – How Memory Distortions Occur” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Clearly, there exists a massive amount of scientific research indicating that the longer a person waits to report a crime, the more unreliable their testimony will be, regardless of the intensity of the lived experience of the traumatic event.  To suggest that the public should simply “Start By Believing” a 40-year-old recollection of an event as if it was akin to a dashboard camera recording of an event – as the #MeToo crowd wishes us to do – is to commit a major error of judgement that flies in the face of the current state of our scientific knowledge of the fallibility of human memory.  It is in our opinion a highly suspicious aspect of the way the Democrats wish to conduct the Kavanaugh hearings that they will seek to do away with Kavanaugh’s right to a fair trial in a court of law with a highly prejudicial kangaroo court proceeding in which the public’s willingness to believe the charges brought against him will hinge solely on the quality of the live performance of Blasey Ford as she details her ancient, sensationalized charges of serious sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh; charges that in a court of law he would not even be required to personally refute but which in this rigged forum he will be forced to attempt to convincingly sway “public opinion”.  By ignoring the science, the Democrats are consciously stacking the deck against Kavanaugh in a vicious manner reminiscent of the proceedings of the Holy Inquisition. As much as we oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, we must vehemently protest against the use of such medieval methods of character assassination as are about to be used in these hearings.  Blasey Ford, by waiting 40 years to bring her charges against Kavanaugh, and by choosing not to pursue them in a court of law where there are rules of evidence to follow has chosen to pursue an avenue of attack for which there is no possible defense that can be effectively utilized by Kavanaugh.  We say she should not be allowed to testify at all, as her method of attack was outlawed long ago when we jettisoned medieval methods of legal procedure in favor of the far more rational evidence-based system of justice, in which innocence is presumed until an accused person is proven guilty in a trial before a jury of one’s peers, which was one of the great gains of the American Revolution.  These rights of the accused must not be allowed to be abandoned for the purpose of winning a political battle – even one as important as the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.

To us as revolutionary Trotskyists the entire sordid episode illustrates our long-held saying that the choice that confronts the workers of the world is: socialism or barbarism.  The US capitalist class, hanging onto power by a toenail, with the youth of the USA clamoring for “socialism”, and unable to rig national elections anymore (as the victory of Trump over their bought-and-paid-for preferred candidate Clinton shows)  is becoming more and more deranged and unhappy with their pretended fealty to democratic process and the rule of law; and now their wholly-owned political pawns are throwing out such “outdated junk” of the American Revolution as the presumption of innocence of the accused and the entire idea of majority rule.  But then that is nothing new; from the time of the American Revolution, it was never the intention of the US ruling class to allow (in slave-rapist Jefferson’s memorable phrase) the “swinish multitude” to rule.  Only a workers socialist revolution can bring about a more democratic society than the burgeoning police state we have now; and to achieve a more democratic, egalitarian society will require a workers socialist revolution led by a Leninist vanguard party of professional socialist revolutionaries.  Those of you who want to create a positive future for the workers of the USA and the world should get in touch with us so we can begin building such a party, without which the working class can’t move one inch forward.

— IWPCHI

The Origins of the Korean War As Revealed in US and N. Korean Documents: Vol. I

We are pleased to be able to bring to our readers a selection of key declassified US “intelligence” agency documents relating to the early years of the US involvement in the partitioning of the Korean peninsula and the setting up of a vicious fascist dictatorship in South Korea composed of former Korean traitors who collaborated with the Japanese occupation forces from 1910 to 1945.

Our first offering is a 1947 US “Central Intelligence Group” document that lays out the naked truth about why the US interposed itself in Korean affairs at the end of WWII.  The opening three paragraphs of this document comprise one of the most astoundingly frank and hypocritical statements of purpose ever elucidated by any government ever.  They completely expose the self-serving criminality that existed from the very beginning of US capitalist class involvement in Korea, which ultimately led to the murders of approximately 3 million Koreans and a state of war that has existed since 1950 – in order to “save face” for the US capitalist class.

We hope to locate and publish a collection of US and North Korean documents that demonstrate the deep cynicism and criminality of the US intervention in Korea along with the North Korean responses to it.  If you have any access to documents from the 1945-1950 era relating to the Korean War we would be happy to add them to our collection and to publish them if possible.  We hope that you find these documents to be as enlightening as we have.

We are deeply indebted to Professor Bruce Cumings of the University of Chicago for his excellent series of books on North Korea and for the bibliographies and references included in his books; thanks to his careful and diligent scholarship we were able to search for and find copies of these vitally important documents pertaining to the origins of the Korean War.

DEFEND NORTH KOREA!  US OUT OF ASIA NOW!

— IWPCHI

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Document 1:  Korea SR-2 1947_CIA-RDP78-01617A001400030001-2

Document 2: Kim Il-Sung: Expose and destroy ‘anti-trusteeship’ plot of US and S Korea_00000301_1Jan1946

 

Defend North Korea! N. Korean Account of Why They Developed Their Nuclear Arsenal

We are pleased to republish an account from the North Korean press celebrating their historic launching this past July 4th of an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead as a major step forward in the development of a nuclear arsenal capable of effectively responding to any attack launched against North Korea by US imperialism or its allies.

The excerpts here come from the September 2017 edition of “Korea Today”,  a monthly newsmagazine available online here along with many other books, pamphlets and periodicals about the so-called “mysterious Hermit Kingdom”.

It is amazing how well the US propaganda operations run by the US government and its auxiliaries in the bourgeois press manage to give the impression that it is impossible to know what is going on in North Korea due to the nation’s alleged “secretive nature” when in fact North Korea publishes several newspapers and periodicals in multiple languages and makes them available to the world for free via several websites.

In the article we feature below you will get a brief description of the long and vicious history of US government threats of nuclear annihilation that the North Korean workers state has been subjected to from 1945 until the present day.  The Korean War has never ended – it continues as an “armistice” between the North and South – but that state of affairs would have ended decades ago if US imperialism allowed the North and South to solve their own political and economic differences in their own way.  Instead, a state of war has been kept alive by the worker-hating anticommunist government of the USA.  The United States and its puppet government in South Korea stage continuous military provocations right up to the North Korean border which always include “simulated” attacks with sorties of stealth bombers capable of carrying multiple nuclear weapons each.  Imagine what the reaction would be if China and Mexico carried out simulated invasions of Texas from the south complete with land, air and naval forces right up against the US border!  That is the kind of constant provocation the North Korean people have to endure year after year.  The racist US government thinks nothing of risking the lives of millions of South Koreans – supposedly their allies – by these endless attempts to get North Korea to react militarily to these naked provocations.

The massive propaganda machine owned and operated by the US capitalist class portrays the government of Kim Jong-Un as “crazy” for wanting to possess nuclear weapons!  What is “crazy” about any small nation wanting to effectively defend its right to exist using the most modern weaponry available to it – especially when it is being continuously threatened with complete annihilation by a much larger country that not only has a vastly larger nuclear arsenal but is the ONLY nation on Earth ever to actually USE nuclear weapons against civilians… and when the nation that is continually threatening it with a nuclear holocaust has already murdered 3 million Koreans?  The fact is that the North Koreans would be crazy not to develop a defensive nuclear arsenal!  This obvious truth should be clear to any thinking human being.

The UN is a den of capitalist thieves run by the world’s most dangerous terrorist state: the United States of America

Instead of condemning the US and South Korea for wantonly provoking war year after year through their threatening behavior, the UN obscenely imposes economic sanctions on the VICTIMS of the nuclear terrorism of the US!  We say: drop all the sanctions against North Korea now!  US OUT OF SOUTH KOREA AND ALL OF ASIA!  North Korea has the right to defend itself by any means necessary against the massive nuclear arsenal of US imperialism and its allies!

As revolutionary socialists we are duty-bound to defend every conquest made by the working classes of the world against any attempt by the capitalists to attack them.  Every revolutionary socialist worker must defend all of the socialist workers states which came into existence through the incredibly difficult and bloody struggles against the forces of world imperialism throughout the 20th century.  Literally millions of Korean workers and peasants gave their lives fighting to free their nation first from the savagely repressive Japanese occupation and then from the even more savage US occupation and war which took the lives of some 3 million Korean and Chinese workers.  We stand side-by-side with the North Korean workers against our common enemy: the US capitalist class and its UN/NATO allies.  We salute our North Korean sisters and brothers for their valiant decades-long struggle against US imperialism and defend their right to possess the most modern weaponry that is necessary to prevent the blood-soaked US capitalist class from making yet another attempt to drown the Korean socialist workers revolution in blood.  US imperialism: hands off North Korea!  For the revolutionary socialist reunification of the Korean peninsula!

— IWPCHI

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Click here for your copy of “Korea Today” Number 9 (Sept 2017)

 

 

Leon Trotsky: The Workers’ Militia And Its Opponents (1934)

As we’ve been going through the always inspiring and illuminating writings of Bolshevik revolutionary and founder of the Red Army Leon Trotsky searching for works that can illustrate the need for multiracial union-based workers defense squads to beat back the rising tide of fascism in the US, we have been learning and re-learning so much that it is amazing.  So many of the 1930s-era arguments against the creation of a workers militia to smash fascism are being repeated almost word-for-word every day on Twitter!  We know that in the USA, thanks to advertising and television and its inducement of short-attention-spans in way too many workers here, the idea that something written about political events of 70 years ago could remain relevant in 2017 seems absurd.  You want “NEW!” and “IMPROVED!” political science, right?  But just as the works of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein are still considered to be among the finest examples of scientific writing on their subjects to date, so it goes with political science.  And as it is absolutely necessary for a doctor or a physicist to study the history of developments in her field of expertise in order to more fully understand the modern approaches and discoveries, in political science we can obtain a wealth of vitally important information from the writings of the top revolutionaries of the past two centuries and apply that information directly to today’s political challenges.  It may come as a surprise, but the fundamental class structure of a capitalist state hasn’t changed much in the past 175 years or so: we still have the working class majority, a smaller petit-bourgeoisie (middle class small business owners) and a relatively tiny capitalist class to whom the majority of the national wealth is funneled year after year.  The actors change but the roles do not; petit-bourgeois politicians and businesspeople have the same complaints and roles in 2017 as they had in 1917 – with relatively minor differences in scenery and plot.  It’s like seeing a modern production of a Mozart opera, in which the clothing of the 1700s is replaced by hip-hop fashion: it looks very different but the music and lyrics remain the same.  And we are sure that our very perceptive readers will find themselves surprised to hear Trotsky, writing in 1934 (in this case) making incisive comments which, if the names of the old politicians were replaced with current US politicians, you would imagine the article was written last week.

In political science, the famous warning that “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” carries full force.  We assure those of you who laugh at us for using the events of 1934 as a warning in 2017 that you ignore these works at your peril.  The options for modern politicians – working class, petit-bourgeois and bourgeois – have NOT changed in the past century.  If the working class does not overthrow capitalism in 2017, and the fascists are allowed to grow, the result will be largely the same as what occurred in Germany in 1933.  The USA has a whole slew of would-be Hitlers jockeying to reprise his role in the 2017 production of “The Collapse of Bourgeois Democracy”.  The working class has its own contingent of feckless, class-collaborationist fake-socialists and pro-capitalist trade union “leaders” eager to show what they can bring to the roles of Scheidemann and Noske.  Today’s anarchists have their Bakunins, Berkmans, Makhnos and Goldmans; and the revolutionary socialists have their own up-and-coming Stalins, Kollontais, Lenins, Maos, Guevaras, and Trotskys.  All of these actors will be vying for the hearts and minds of the masses of workers, without whom there will be no play. 

“History repeats itself: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.” We do not intend to fall into the same traps that our ancestors fell into; more than that – we do not intend to lead YOU into those same traps YOUR ancestors fell into!   So that we do not do so, we must study the development of the various class forces in the past who were faced with essentially the same collapse of bourgeois democracy and essentially the same rise of fascism we are facing today around the capitalist world.  In Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s the Communist Party refused to make a united front with the Social Democrats and form armed workers brigades capable of smashing Hitler’s gangs, paving the way for the rise of Nazi Germany.  Fascism then rose in France as well, paving the political road to the wartime Nazi-collaborationist Vichy government.  Why did bourgeois democracy fail throughout Europe in the 1930s?  Was the rise of fascism inevitable?  Is it inevitable now?  By studying the historical record of the workers movement as it struggled to overcome the obstacles hurled into its path during the interwar period of 1918 -1939 we can answer these questions. These tragic errors of the 20th century need not – and must not be – repeated in the 21st century.

— IWPCHI

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THE WORKERS’ MILITIA AND ITS OPPONENTS

From Whither France?, 1934

To struggle, it is necessary to conserve and strengthen the instrument and the means of struggle — organizations, the press, meetings, etc.  Fascism [in France] threatens all of that directly and immediately.  It is still too weak for the direct struggle for power, but it is strong enough to attempt to beat down the working-class organizations bit by bit, to temper its bands in its attacks, and to spread dismay and lack of confidence in their forces in the ranks of the workers.

Fascism finds unconscious helpers in all those who say that the “physical struggle” is impermissible or hopeless, and demand of Doumergue the disarmament of his fascist guard.  Nothing is so dangerous for the proletariat, especially in the present situation, as the sugared poison of false hopes.  Nothing increases the insolence of the fascists so much as “flabby pacificism” on the part of the workers’ organizations.  Nothing so destroys the confidence of the middle classes in the working-class as temporizing, passivity, and the absence of the will to struggle.

Le Populaire [the Socialist Party paper] and especially l’Humanite [the Communist Party newspaper] write every day:

“The united front is a barrier against fascism”;
“the united front will not permit…”;
“the fascists will not dare”, etc.

These are phrases.  It is necessary to say squarely to the workers, Socialists, and Communists: do not allow yourselves to be lulled by the phrases of superficial and irresponsible journalists and orators.  It is a question of our heads and the future of socialism.  It is not that we deny the importance of the united front.  We demanded it when the leaders of both parties were against it.  The united front opens up numerous possibilities, but nothing more.  In itself, the united front decides nothing.  Only the struggle of the masses decides.  The united front will reveal its value when Communist detachments will come to the help of Socialist detachments and vice versa in the case of an attack by the fascist bands against Le Populaire or l’Humanite.  But for that, proletarian combat detachments must exist and be educated, trained, and armed.  And if there is not an organization of defense, i.e., a workers’ militia, Le Populaire or l’Humanite will be able to write as many articles as they like on the omnipotence of the united front, but the two papers will find themselves defenseless before the first well-prepared attack of the fascists.

We propose to make a critical study of the “arguments” and the “theories” of the opponents of the workers’ militia who are very numerous and influential in the two working-class parties.

“We need mass self-defense and not the militia,” we are often told.

But what is this “mass self-defense” without combat organizations, without specialized cadres, without arms?  To give over the defense against fascism to unorganized and unprepared masses left to themselves would be to play a role incomparably lower than the role of Pontius Pilate.  To deny the role of the militia is to deny the role of the vanguard.  Then why a party?  Without the support of the masses, the militia is nothing.  But without organized combat detachments, the most heroic masses will be smashed bit by bit by the fascist gangs.  It is nonsense to counterpose the militia to self-defense. The militia is an organ of self-defense.

“To call for the organization of a militia,” say some opponents who, to be sure, are the least serious and honest, “is to engage in provocation.”

This is not an argument but an insult.  If the necessity for the defense of the workers’ organizations flows from the whole situation, how then can one not call for the creation of the militia?  Perhaps they mean to say that the creation of a militia “provokes” fascist attacks and government repression.  In that case, this is an absolutely reactionary argument.  Liberalism has always said to the workers that by their class struggle they “provoke” the reaction.

The reformists repeated this accusation against the Marxists, the Mensheviks against the Bolsheviks.  These accusations reduced themselves, in the final analysis, to the profound thought that if the oppressed do not balk, the oppressors will not be obliged to beat them.  This is the philosophy of Tolstoy and Gandhi but never that of Marx and Lenin.  If l’Humanite wants hereafter to develop the doctrine of “non-resistance to evil by violence”, it should take for its symbol not the hammer and sickle, emblem of the October Revolution, but the pious goat, which provides Gandhi with his milk.

“But the arming of the workers is only opportune in a revolutionary situation, which does not yet exist.”

This profound argument means that the workers must permit themselves to be slaughtered until the situation becomes revolutionary.  Those who yesterday preached the “third period” do not want to see what is going on before their eyes. The question of arms itself has come forward only because the “peaceful”, “normal”, “democratic” situation has given way to a stormy, critical, and unstable situation which can transform itself into a revolutionary, as well as a counter-revolutionary, situation.  This alternative depends above all on whether the advanced workers will allow themselves to be attacked with impunity and defeated bit by bit or will reply to every blow by two of their own, arousing the courage of the oppressed and uniting them around their banner.  A revolutionary situation does not fall from the skies.  It takes form with the active participation of the revolutionary class and its party.

The French Stalinists now argue that the militia did not safeguard the German proletariat from defeat.  Only yesterday they completely denied any defeat in Germany and asserted that the policy of the German Stalinists was correct from beginning to end.  Today, they see the entire evil in the German workers’ militia (Roter Frontkampferbund) [i.e., Red Front Fighters: Communist-led militia banned by the social- democratic government after the Berlin May Day riots of 1929].  Thus, from one error they fall into a diametrically opposite one, no less monstrous. The militia, in itself, does not settle the question.  A correct policy is necessary. Meanwhile,the policy of Stalinism in Germany (“social fascism is the chief enemy”, the split in the trade unions, the flirtation with nationalism, putschism) fatally led to the isolation of the proletarian vanguard and to its shipwreck.  With an utterly worthless strategy, no militia could have saved the situation.

It is nonsense to say that, in itself, the organization of the militia leads to adventures, provokes the enemy, replaces the political struggle by physical struggle, etc.  In all these phrases, there is nothing but political cowardice.

The militia, as the strong organization of the vanguard, is in fact the surest defense against adventures, against individual terrorism, against bloody spontaneous explosions.

The militia is at the same time the only serious way of reducing to a minimum the civil war that fascism imposes upon the proletariat.  Let the workers, despite the absence of a “revolutionary situation”, occasionally correct the “papa’s son” patriots in their own way, and the recruitment of new fascist bands will become incomparably more difficult.

But here the strategists, tangled in their own reasoning, bring forward against us still more stupefying arguments. We quote textually:

“If we reply to the revolver shots of the fascists with other revolver shots,” writes l’Humanite of October 23 [1934], “we lose sight of the fact that fascism is the product of the capitalist regime and that in fighting against fascism it is the entire system which we face.”

It is difficult to accumulate in a few lines greater confusion or more errors. It is impossible to defend oneself against the fascists because they are — “a product of the capitalist regime”. That means, we have to renounce the whole struggle, for all contemporary social evils are “products of the capitalist system”.

When the fascists kill a revolutionist, or burn down the building of a proletarian newspaper, the workers are to sigh philosophically: “Alas! Murders and arson are products of the capitalist system”, and go home with easy consciences. Fatalist prostration is substituted for the militant theory of Marx, to the sole advantage of the class enemy. The ruin of the petty bourgeoisie is, of course, the product of capitalism. The growth of the fascist bands is, in turn, a product of the ruin of the petty bourgeoisie. But on the other hand, the increase in the misery and the revolt of the proletariat are also products of capitalism, and the militia, in its turn, is the product of the sharpening of the class struggle. Why, then, for the “Marxists” of l’Humanite, are the fascist bands the legitimate product of capitalism and the workers’ militia the illegitimate product of — the Trotskyists? It is impossible to make head or tail of this.

“We have to deal with the whole system,” we are told.

How? Over the heads of human beings? The fascists in the different countries began with their revolvers and ended by destroying the whole “system” of workers’ organizations. How else to check the armed offensive of the enemy if not by an armed defense in order, in our turn, to go over to the offensive.

L’Humanite now admits defense in words, but only in the form of “mass self-defense”. The militia is harmful because, you see, it divides the combat detachments from the masses. But why then are there independent armed detachments among the fascists who are not cut off from the reactionary masses but who, on the contrary, arouse the courage and embolden those masses by their well-organized attacks? Or perhaps the proletarian mass is inferior in combative quality to the declassed petty bourgeoisie?

Hopelessly tangled, l’Humanite finally begins to hesitate: it appears that mass self-defense requires the creation of special “self-defense groups”. In place of the rejected militia, special groups or detachments are proposed. It would seem at first sight that there is a difference only in the name. Certainly, the name proposed by l’Humanite means nothing. One can speak of “mass self-defense” but it is impossible to speak of “self-defense groups” since the purpose of the groups is not to defend themselves but the workers’ organizations. However, it is not, of course, a question of the name. The “self-defense groups”, according to l’Humanite , must renounce the use of arms in order not to fall into “putschism”. These sages treat the working-class like an infant who must not be allowed to hold a razor in his hands.  Razors, moreover, are the monopoly, as we know, of the Camelots du Roi [French monarchists grouped around Charles Maurras’ newspaper, Action Francaise, which was violently anti-democratic], who are a legitimate “product of capitalism” and who, with the aid of razors, have overthrown the “system” of democracy.  In any case, how are the “self-defense groups” going to defend themselves against the fascist revolvers? “Ideologically”, of course. In other words: they can hide themselves.  Not having what they require in their hands, they will have to seek “self-defense” in their feet.  And the fascists will in the meanwhile sack the workers’ organizations with impunity.  But if the proletariat suffers a terrible defeat, it will at any rate not have been guilty of “putschism”.  This fraudulent chatter, parading under the banner of “Bolshevism”, arouses only disgust and loathing.

[NOTE: “The Third Period”: According to the Stalinist schema, this was the “final period of capitalism”, the period of its immediately impending demise and replacement by soviets. The period is notable for the Communists’ ultra-left and adventurist tactics, notably the concept of social-fascism.]

During the “third period”  of happy memory — when the strategists of l’Humanite were afflicted with barricade delirium, “conquered” the streets every day and stamped as “social fascist” everyone who did not share their extravagances — we predicted: “The moment these gentlemen burn the tips of their fingers, they will become the worst opportunists.”  That prediction has now been completely confirmed.  At a time when within the Socialist Party the movement in favor of the militia is growing and strengthening, the leaders of the so-called Communist Party run for the hose to cool down the desire of the advanced workers to organize themselves in fighting columns.  Could one imagine a more demoralizing or more damning work than this?

In the ranks of the Socialist Party sometimes this objection is heard: “A militia must be formed but there is no need of shouting about it.”

One can only congratulate comrades who wish to protect the practical side of the business from inquisitive eyes and ears.  But it would be much too naive to think that a militia could be created unseen and secretly within four walls.  We need tens, and later hundreds, of thousands of fighters.  They will come only if millions of men and women workers, and behind them the peasants, understand the necessity for the militia and create around the volunteers an atmosphere of ardent sympathy and active support.  Conspiratorial care can and must envelop only the technical aspect of the matter.  The political campaign must be openly developed, in meetings, factories, in the streets and on the public squares.

The fundamental cadres of the militia must be the factory workers grouped according to their place of work, known to each other and able to protect their combat detachments against the provocations of enemy agents far more easily and more surely than the most elevated bureaucrats.  Conspirative general staffs without an open mobilization of the masses will at the moment of danger remain impotently suspended in midair.  Every working-class organization has to plunge into the job.  In this question, there can be no line of demarcation between the working-class parties and the trade unions.  Hand in hand, they must mobilize the masses.  The success of the workers’ militia will then be fully assured.

“But where are the workers going to get arms” object the sober “realists” — that is to say, frightened philistines — “the enemy has rifles, cannon, tanks, gas, and airplanes. The workers have a few hundred revolvers and pocket knives.”

In this objection, everything is piled up to frighten the workers.  On the one hand, our sages identify the arms of the fascists with the armament of the state.  On the other hand, they turn towards the state and demand that it disarm the fascists. Remarkable logic!  In fact, their position is false in both cases.  In France, the fascists are still far from controlling the state.  On February 6, they entered in armed conflict with the state police.  That is why it is false to speak of cannon and tanks when it is a matter of the immediate armed struggle against the fascists. The fascists, of course, are richer than we.  It is easier for them to buy arms.  But the workers are more numerous, more determined, more devoted, when they are conscious of a firm revolutionary leadership.

In addition to other sources, the workers can arm themselves at the expense of the fascists by systematically disarming them.

This is now one of the most serious forms of the struggle against fascism.  When workers’ arsenals will begin to stock up at the expense of the fascist arms depots, the banks and trusts will be more prudent in financing the armament of their murderous guards.  It would even be possible in this case — but in this case only — that the alarmed authorities would really begin to prevent the arming of the fascists in order not to provide an additional sources of arms for the workers.  We have known for a long time that only a revolutionary tactic engenders, as a by-product, “reforms” or concessions from the government.

But how to disarm the fascists?  Naturally, it is impossible to do so with newspaper articles alone.  Fighting squads must be created.  An intelligence service must be established.  Thousands of informers and friendly helpers will volunteer from all sides when they realize that the business has been seriously undertaken by us.  It requires a will to proletarian action.

But the arms of the fascists are, of course, not the only source.  In France, there are more than one million organized workers.  Generally speaking, this number is small.  But it is entirely sufficient to make a beginning in the organization of a workers’ militia.  If the parties and unions armed only a tenth of their members, that would already be a force of 100,000 men.  There is no doubt whatever that the number of volunteers who would come forward on the morrow of a “united front” appeal for a workers’ militia would far exceed that number.  The contributions of the parties and unions, collections and voluntary subscriptions, would within a month or two make it possible to assure the arming of 100,000 to 200,000 working-class fighters.  The fascist rabble would immediately sink its tail between its legs.  The whole perspective of development would become incomparably more favorable.

To invoke the absence of arms or other objective reasons to explain why no attempt has been made up to now to create a militia, is to fool oneself and others. The principle obstacle — one can say the only obstacle — has its roots in the conservative and passive character of the leaders of the workers’ organizations.  The skeptics who are the leaders do not believe in the strength of the proletariat.  They put their hope in all sorts of miracles from above instead of giving a revolutionary outlet to the energies pulsing below.  The socialist workers must compel their leaders to pass over immediately to the creation of the workers’ militia or else give way to younger, fresher forces.

A strike is inconceivable without propaganda and without agitation.  It is also inconceivable without pickets who, when they can, use persuasion, but when obliged, use force.  The strike is the most elementary form of the class struggle which always combines, in varying proportions, “ideological” methods with physical methods.  The struggle against fascism is basically a political struggle which needs a militia just as the strike needs pickets.  Basically, the picket is the embryo of the workers’ militia.  He who thinks of renouncing “physical” struggle must renounce all struggle, for the spirit does not live without flesh.

Following the splendid phrase of the great military theoretician Clausewitz, war is the continuation of politics by other means.  This definition also fully applies to civil war.  It is impermissable to oppose one to the other since it is impossible to check at will the political struggle when it transforms itself, by force of inner necessity, into a political struggle.

The duty of a revolutionary party is to foresee in time the inescapability of the transformation of politics into open armed conflict, and with all its forces to prepare for that moment just as the ruling classes are preparing.

The militia detachments for defense against fascism are the first step on the road to the arming of the proletariat, not the last. Our slogan is:

“Arm the proletariat and the revolutionary peasants!”

The workers’ militia must, in the final analysis, embrace all the toilers.  To fulfill this program completely would be possible only in a workers’ state into whose hands would pass all the means of production and, consequently, also all the means of destruction — i.e., all the arms and the factories which produce them.

However, it is impossible to arrive at a workers’ state with empty hands.  Only political invalids like Renaudel can speak of a peaceful, constitutional road to socialism. The constitutional road is cut by trenches held by the fascist bands. There are not a few trenches before us.  The bourgeoisie will not hesitate to resort to a dozen coups d’etat aided by the police and the army, to prevent proletariat from coming to power.

[NOTE: Pierre Renaudel (1871-1935): Prior to WWI, socialist leader Jean Jaures’ righthand man and editor of l’Humanite. During the war, a right-wing social patriot. In the 1930s, he and Marcel Deat led revisionist “neo-socialist” tendency. Voted down at the July 1933 convention, this tendency split from the Socialist Party. After the fascist riots of February 6, 1934, most of the “neos” joined the Radical Party, the main party of French capitalism.]

A workers’ socialist state can be created only by a victorious revolution.

Every revolution is prepared by the march of economic and political development, but it is always decided by open armed conflicts between hostile classes.  A revolutionary victory can become possible only as a result of long political agitation, a lengthy period of education and organization of the masses.

But the armed conflict itself must likewise be prepared long in advance.

The advanced workers must know that they will have to fight and win a struggle to the death. They must reach out for arms, as a guarantee of their emancipation.

[Source: https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm#p1   Corrected and emphasis added in bold type by IWPCHI]

 

Leon Trotsky: “For a Workers’ United Front Against Fascism” (1931)

The events of this past week in Charlottesville, VA have led us to call for the immediate formation of multiracial, union-based workers militias to smash the fascist threat now feeling the wind under its wings thanks to the support of the US’ new racist, immigrant-hating real-estate swindler president Donald “Andrew Johnson” Trump.

If the US Government is going to allow armed white supremacist scum to parade in the streets of US cities threatening to murder antifascist protestors then the working class must be organized to defend itself with the very same weaponry that is being brandished by the fascists.  We call for the immediate formation of  union-based workers defense guards.   Led by military vets who are union members these powerful workers battalions can harness the creative energy of the entire multiracial US working class to provide a reliable, trustworthy and  disciplined defense against the rise of the fascist scum, and can easily overwhelm any fascist mobilization that dares to make the mistake of attempting to march in the multiracial bastions of US trade unionism: our major US cities.

We are presenting the best revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist writings of the great revolutionary leaders of our movement who organized the global fight to smash fascism in the 1930s and 1940s.  It was not the belated Normandy invasion (undertaken only after it was clear that the Nazis would not defeat the USSR as the western imperialists had hoped) but the might of the USSR’s Red Army that crushed the Nazi hordes who tried and failed to overthrow the bureaucratically deformed Stalinist workers state in World War II.  The collapse of the Nazi Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in 1944 proved the inherent superiority of the socialist system – even one so poorly led as the Stalinist USSR was – on the battlefields of Eastern Europe, where the mightiest military force ever deployed by the capitalist world found itself overwhelmed by the superior organizational and economic power of socialism, backed by superior morale and internationalist ideals of global collective struggle to defend the gains of the Bolshevik Revolution.

In this selection, Lenin’s right-hand man during the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917, the organizer and leader of the Red Army and leader of the anti-Stalinist Left Opposition in the Communist Party Leon Trotsky warns German communist workers in 1931 of the impending fascist coup that was bound to occur if the working class did not form an antifascist united front against Hitler and his Nazis.

Writing for the Bulletin of the Opposition in December of 1931, here is Trotsky’s analysis of the situation in Germany.  He accurately predicts that Hitler would provoke a civil war in and then come to power not through bourgeois-democratic means but through a coup.  He talks about the disastrous concept of voting for the “lesser evil” which is so sadly prevalent in the United States today; there is much here that will be food for thought for those who are serious about fighting fascism in 2017.  We hope you find this historical gem from the archives of Trotskyism to be helpful in answering your questions as to what must be done to smash fascism in the here and now.

— IWPCHI

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

For a Workers’ United Front
Against Fascism

Germany is now passing through one of those great historic hours upon which the fate of the German people, the fate of Europe, and in significant measure the fate of all humanity, will depend for decades. If you place a ball on top of a pyramid, the slightest impact can cause it to roll down either to the left or to the right. That is the situation approaching with every hour in Germany today. There are forces which would like the ball to roll down towards the right and break the back of the working class. There are forces which would like the ball to remain at the top. That is a utopia. The ball cannot remain at the top of the pyramid. The Communists want the ball to roll down toward the left and break the back of capitalism. But it is not enough to want; one must know how. Let us calmly reflect once more: is the policy carried on at present by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany correct or incorrect?

What Does Hitler Want?

The fascists are growing very rapidly. The Communists are also growing but much more slowly. The growth at the extreme poles shows that the ball cannot maintain itself at the top of the pyramid. The rapid growth of the fascists signifies the danger that the ball may roll down toward the right. Therein lies an enormous danger.

Hitler emphasizes that he is against a coup d’état. In order to strangle democracy once and for all, he wants to come to power by no other route than the democratic road. Can we seriously believe this?

Of course, if the fascists could figure on obtaining an absolute majority of the votes at the next elections in a peaceful way, then they would perhaps even prefer this road. In reality, however, this road is unthinkable for them. It is stupid to believe that the Nazis would grow uninterruptedly, as they do now, for an unlimited period of time. Sooner or later they will drain their social reservoir. Fascism has introduced into its own ranks such terrific contradictions, that the moment must come in which the flow ceases to replace the ebb. This moment can arrive long before the fascists have united about them even half of the votes. They will not be able to halt for they will have nothing more to look for here. They will be forced to resort to an overturn.

But even apart from all this, the fascists are cut off from the democratic road. The immense growth of the political contradictions in the country, the stark brigands’ agitation of the fascists, will inevitably lead to a situation in which the closer the fascists approach a majority, the more heated the atmosphere will become and the more extensive the unfolding of the conflicts and struggles will be. With this perspective, civil war is absolutely inevitable. Consequently, the question of the seizure of power by the fascists will not be decided by vote, but by civil war, which the fascists are preparing and provoking.

Can we assume even for one minute that Hitler and his counselors do not realize and foresee this? That would mean to consider them blockheads. There is no greater crime in politics than that of hoping for stupidities on the part of a strong enemy. But if Hitler is not unaware that the road to power leads through the most gruesome civil war, then it means that his speeches about the peaceful democratic road are only a cloak, that is, a stratagem. In that case, it is all the more necessary to keep one’s eyes open.

What Is Concealed Behind Hitler’s Stratagem?

His calculations are quite simple and obvious: he wants to lull his antagonists with the long-run perspective of the parliamentary growth of the Nazis in order to catch them napping and to deal them a deathblow at the right moment It is quite possible that Hitler’s courtesies to democratic parliamentarism may, moreover, help to set up some sort of coalition in the immediate future in which the fascists will obtain the most important posts and employ them in turn for their coup d’état. For it is entirely clear that the coalition, let us assume, between the Center and the fascists will not be a stage in the democratic solution of the question, but a step closer to the coup d’etat under conditions most favorable to the fascists.

We Must Plan According to the Shorter Perspective

All this means that even independently of the desires of the fascist general staff, the solution can intervene in the course Of the next few months, if not weeks. This circumstance is of tremendous importance in elaborating a correct policy. If we allow the fascists to seize power in two or three months, then the struggle against them next year will be much harder than in this. All revolutionary plans laid out for two, three, or five years in advance will prove to be only wretched and disgraceful twaddle, if the working class allows the fascists to gain power in the course of the next two, three, or five months. In the polity of revolutionary crises, the calculation of time is of just as decisive importance as it is in war operations.

Let us take another, more remote example for the clarification of our idea. Hugo Urbahns, who considers himself a “Left Communist” declares the German party bankrupt , politically done for, and proposes to create a new party. If Urbahns were right, it would mean that the victory of the fascists is certain. For, in order to create a new party, years are required (and there has been nothing to prove that the party of Urbahns would in any sense be better than Thälmann’s party: when Urbahns was at the head of the party, there were by no means fewer mistakes).

Yes, should the fascists really conquer power, that would mean not only the physical destruction of the Communist Party, but veritable political bankruptcy for it. An ignominious defeat in a struggle against bands of human rubbish – would never be forgiven the Communist International and its German section by the many-millioned German proletariat. The seizure of power by the fascists would therefore most probably signify the necessity of creating a new revolutionary party, and in all likelihood also a new International. That would be a frightful historical catastrophe. But to assume today that all this is unavoidable can be done only by genuine liquidators, those who under the mantle of hollow phrases are really hastening to capitulate like cravens in the face of the struggle and without a struggle. With this conception we Bolshevik-Leninists, who are called “Trotskyists” by the Stalinists, have nothing in common.

We are unshakably convinced that the victory over the fascists is possible – not after their coming to power, not after five, ten, or twenty years of their rule, but now, under the given conditions, in the coming months and weeks.

Thälmann Considers the Victory of Fascism Inevitable

A correct policy is necessary in order to achieve victory. That is, we need a policy appropriate to the present situation, to the present relationship of forces, and not to the situation that may develop in one, two, or three years, when the question of power will already have been decided for a long time.

The whole misfortune lies in the fact that the policy of the Central Committee of the German Communist Party, in part consciously and in part unconsciously, proceeds from the recognition of the inevitability of a fascist victory. In fact, in the appeal for the “Red United Front” published on November 29, 1931, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany proceeds from the idea that it is impossible to defeat fascism without first defeating the Social Democracy. The same idea is repeated in all possible shades in Thälmann’s article. Is this idea correct? On the historical scale it is unconditionally correct. But that does not at all mean that with its aid, that is, by simple repetition, one can solve the questions of the day. An idea, correct from the point of view of revolutionary strategy as a whole, is converted into a lie and at that into a reactionary lie, if it is not translated into the language of tactics. Is it correct that in order to destroy unemployment and misery it is first necessary to destroy capitalism? It is correct. But only the biggest blockhead can conclude from all this, that we do not have to fight this very day, with all of our forces, against the measures with whose aid capitalism is increasing the misery of the workers.

Can we expect that in the course of the next few months the Communist Party will defeat both the Social Democracy and fascism? No normal-thinking person who can read and calculate would risk such a contention. Politically, the question stands like this: Can we successfully repel fascism now, in the course of the next few months, that is, with the existence of a greatly weakened, but still (unfortunately) very strong Social Democracy? The Central Committee replies in the negative. In other words, Thälmann considers the victory of fascism inevitable.

Once Again: The Russian Experience

In order to express my thought as clearly and as concretely as possible I will come back once more to the experience with the Kornilov uprising. On August 26 (old style), 1917, General Kornilov led his Cossack corps and one irregular division against Petrograd. At the helm of power stood Kerensky, lackey of the bourgeoisie and three-quarters a confederate of Kornilov. Lenin was still in hiding because of the accusation that he was in the service of the Hohenzollerns. For the same accusation, I was at that time incarcerated in solitary confinement in Kresty Prison. How did the Bolsheviks proceed in this question? They also had a right to say: “In order to defeat the Korniloviad – we must first defeat the Kerenskiad.” They said this more than once, for it was correct and necessary for all the subsequent propaganda. But that was entirely inadequate for offering resistance to Kornilov on August 26, and on the days that followed, and for preventing him from butchering the Petrograd proletariat. That is why the Bolsheviks did not content themselves with a general appeal to the workers and soldiers to break with the conciliators and to support the red united front of the Bolsheviks. No, the Bolsheviks proposed the united front struggle to the Mensheviks and the Social Revolutionaries and created together with them joint organizations of struggle. Was this correct or incorrect? Let Thälmann answer that. In order to show even more vividly how matters stood with the united front, I will cite the following incident: immediately upon my release after the trade unions had put up bail for me, I went directly to the Committee for National Defense, where I discussed and adopted decisions regarding the struggle against Kornilov with the Menshevik Dan and the Social Revolutionary Gotz [2], allies of Kerensky who had kept me in prison. Was this right or wrong? Let Remmele answer that.

Is Brüning the “Lesser Evil”?

The Social Democracy supports Brüning, votes for him, assumes responsibility for him before the masses-on the grounds that the Brüning government is the “lesser evil.” Die Rote Fahne attempts to ascribe the same view to me – on the grounds that I expressed myself against the stupid and shameful participation of the Communists in the Hitler referendum. But have the German Left Opposition and myself in particular demanded that the Communists vote for and support Brüning? We Marxists regard Brüning and Hitler, Braun included, as component parts of one and the same system. The question as to which one of them is the “lesser evil” has no sense, for the system we are fighting against needs all these elements. But these elements are momentarily involved in conflicts with one another and the party of the proletariat must take advantage of these conflicts in the interest of the revolution.

There are seven keys in the musical scale. The question as to which of these keys is “better” – do, re, or sol – is a nonsensical question. But the musician must know when to strike and what keys to strike. The abstract question of who is the lesser evil – Brüning or Hitler – is just as nonsensical. It is necessary to know which of these keys to strike. Is that clear? For the feeble-minded let us cite another example. When one of my enemies sets before me small daily portions of poison and the second, on the other hand, is about to shoot straight at me, then I will first knock the revolver out of the hand of my second enemy, for this gives me an opportunity to get rid of my first enemy. But that does not at all mean that the poison is a “lesser evil” in comparison with the revolver.

The misfortune consists precisely of the fact that the leaders of the German Communist Party have placed themselves on the same ground as the Social Democracy, only with inverted prefixes: the Social Democracy votes for Brüning, recognizing in him the lesser evil. The Communists, on the other hand, who refuse to trust either Braun or Brüning in any way (and that is absolutely the right way to act), go into the streets to support Hitler’s referendum, that is, the attempt of the fascists to overthrow Brüning. But by this they themselves have recognized in Hitler the lesser evil, for the victory of the referendum would not have brought the proletariat into power, but Hitler. To be sure, it is painful to have to argue over such ABC questions. It is sad, very sad indeed, when musicians like Remmele, instead of distinguishing between the keys, stamp with their boots on the keyboard.

It is Not a Question of the Workers Who Have Already Left the Social Democracy,
But of Those Who Still Remain With It

The thousands upon thousands of Noskes, Welses, and Hilferdings prefer, in the last analysis, fascism to Communism. [3] But for that they must once and for all tear themselves loose from the workers. Today this is not yet the case. Today the Social Democracy as a whole, with all its internal antagonisms, is forced into sharp conflict with the fascists. It is our task to take advantage of this conflict and not to unite the antagonists against us.

The front must now be directed against fascism. And this common front of direct struggle against fascism, embracing the entire proletariat, must be utilized in the struggle against the Social Democracy, directed as a flank attack, but no less effective for all that.

It is necessary to show by deeds a complete readiness to make a bloc with the Social Democrats against the fascists in all cases in which they will accept a bloc. To say to the Social Democratic workers: “Cast your leaders aside and join our “nonparty” united front” means to add just one more hollow phrase to a thousand others. We must understand how to tear the workers away from their leaders in reality. But reality today is-the struggle against fascism. There are and doubtless will be Social Democratic workers who are prepared to fight hand in hand with the Communist workers against the fascists, regardless of the desires or even against the desires of the Social Democratic organizations. With such progressive elements it is obviously necessary to establish the closest possible contact. At the present time, however, they are not great in number. The German worker has been raised in the spirit of organization and of discipline. This has its strong as well as its weak sides. The overwhelming majority of the Social Democratic workers will fight against the fascists, but – for the present at least – only together with their organizations. This stage cannot be skipped. We must help the Social Democratic workers in action – in this new and extraordinary situation – to test the value of their organizations and leaders at this time, when it is a matter of life and death for the working class.

We Must Force the Social Democracy into a Bloc Against the Fascists

The trouble is that in the Central Committee of the Communist Party there are many frightened opportunists. They have heard that opportunism consists of a love for blocs, and that is why they are against blocs. They do not understand the difference between, let us say, a parliamentary agreement and an ever-so-modest agreement for struggle in a strike or in defense of workers’ printshops against fascist bands.

Election agreements, parliamentary compromises concluded between the revolutionary party and the Social Democracy serve, as a rule, to the advantage of the Social Democracy. Practical agreements for mass action, for purposes of struggle, are always useful to the revolutionary party. The Anglo-Russian Committee was an impermissible type of bloc of two leaderships on one common political platform, vague, deceptive, binding no one to any action at all. The maintenance of this bloc at the time of the British General Strike, when the General Council assumed the role of strikebreaker, signified, on the part of the Stalinists, a policy of betrayal. [4]

No common platform with the Social Democracy, or with the leaders of the German trade unions, no common publications, banners, placards! March separately, but strike together! Agree only how to strike, whom to strike, and when to strike! Such an agreement can be concluded even with the devil himself, with his grandmother, and even with Noske and Grezesinsky. [5] On one condition, not to bind one’s hands.

It is necessary, without any delay, finally to elaborate a practical system of measures – not with the aim of merely “exposing” the Social Democracy (before the Communists), but with the aim of actual struggle against fascism. The question of factory defense organizations, of unhampered activity on the part of the factory councils, the inviolability of the workers’ organizations and institutions, the question of arsenals that may be seized by the fascists, the question of measures in the case of an emergency, that is, of the coordination of the actions of the Communist and the Social Democratic divisions in the struggle, etc., etc., must be dealt with in this program.

In the struggle against fascism, the factory councils occupy a tremendously important position. Here a particularly precise program of action is necessary. Every factory must become an anti-fascist bulwark, with its own commandants and its own battalions. It is necessary to have a map of the fascist barracks and all other fascist strongholds, in every city and in every district The fascists are attempting to encircle the revolutionary strongholds. The encirclers must be encircled. On this basis, an agreement with the Social Democratic and trade-union organizations is not only permissible, but a duty. To reject this for reasons of “principle” (in reality because of bureaucratic stupidity, or what is still worse, because of cowardice) is to give direct and immediate aid to fascism.

A practical program of agreements with the Social Democratic workers was proposed by us as far back as September 1930 (The Turn in the Comintern and the German Situation), that is, a year and a quarter ago. What has the leadership undertaken in this direction? Next to nothing. The Central Committee of the Communist Party has taken up everything except that which constitutes its direct task. How much valuable, irretrievable time has been lost! As a matter of fact, not much time is left. The program of action must be strictly practical, strictly objective, to the point, without any of those artificial “claims,” without any reservations, so that every average Social Democratic worker can say to himself. what the Communists propose is completely indispensable for the struggle against fascism. On this basis, we must pull the Social Democratic workers along with us by our example, and criticize their leaders who will inevitably serve as a check and a brake. Only in this way is victory possible.

A Good Quotation From Lenin

The present-day epigones, that is, the thoroughly bad disciples of Lenin, like to cover up their shortcomings on every occasion that offers itself with quotations – often entirely irrelevant. For Marxists, the question is not decided by a quotation, but by means of the correct method. If one is guided by correct methods, it is not hard also to find suitable quotations. After I had drawn the above analogy with the Kornilov insurrection, I said to myself: We can probably find a theoretical elucidation of our bloc with the conciliators in the struggle against Kornilov, in Lenin. And here is what I actually found in the second part of Volume XIV of the Russian edition, in a letter from Lenin to the Central Committee, written at the beginning of September 1917:

“Even at the present time, we are not duty-bound to support the Kerensky government That would be unprincipled. It is asked: then we are not to fight against Kornilov? Of course we are. But that is not one and the same thing. There is a limit to this; it is being transgressed by many Bolsheviks who fail into ‘conciliationism’ and allow themselves to be driven by the current of events.

“We shall fight, we are fighting against Kornilov, but we do not support Kerensky; we are uncovering his weaknesses. The distinction is rather delicate, but highly important and must not be forgotten.

“What does the change of our tactics consist of after the Kornilov insurrection?

“In this, that we are varying the forms of struggle against Kerensky. Without diminishing our hostility to him even by one single note, without taking back one word from what we have said against him, without giving up the task of overthrowing Kerensky, we say: we must calculate the moment. We will not overthrow Kerensky at present. We approach the question of the struggle against him differently: by explaining the weaknesses and vacillations of Kerensky to the people (who are fighting against Kornilov).”

We are proposing nothing different. Complete independence of the Communist organization and press, complete freedom of Communist criticism, the same for the Social Democracy and the trade unions. Only contemptible opportunists can allow the freedom of the Communist Party to be limited (for example, as in the entrance into the Kuomintang). We are not of their number.

No retraction of our criticism of the Social Democracy. No forgetting of all that has been. The whole historical reckoning, including the reckoning for Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg [6], will be presented at the proper time, just as the Russian Bolsheviks finally presented a general reckoning to the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries for the baiting, calumny, imprisonment and murder of workers, soldiers, and peasants.

But we presented our general reckoning to them two months after we had utilized the partial reckoning between Kerensky and Kornilov, between the “democrats” and the fascists – in order to drive back the fascists all the more certainly. Only thanks to this circumstance were we victorious.

When the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany adopts the position expressed in the quotation from Lenin cited above, the entire approach to the Social Democratic masses and the trade-union organizations will change at once: instead of the articles and speeches which are convincing only to those people who are already convinced without them, the agitators will find a common language with new hundreds of thousands and millions of workers. The differentiation within the Social Democracy will proceed at an increased pace. The fascists will soon feel that their task does not at all consist merely of defeating Brüning, Braun, and Wels, but of taking up the open struggle against the whole working class. On this plane, a profound differentiation win inevitably be produced within fascism. Only by this road is victory possible.

But it is necessary to desire this victory. In the meantime, there are among the Communist officials not a few cowardly careerists and fakers whose little posts, whose incomes, and more than that, whose hides, are dear to them. These creatures are very much inclined to spout ultraradical phrases beneath which is concealed a wretched and contemptible fatalism. “Without a victory over the Social Democracy, we cannot battle against fascism!” say such terrible revolutionists, and for this reason … they get their passports ready.

Worker-Communists, you are hundreds of thousands, millions; you cannot leave for anyplace; there are not enough passports for you. Should fascism come to power, it will ride over your skulls and spines like a terrific tank. Your salvation lies in merciless struggle. And only a fighting unity with the Social Democratic workers can bring victory. Make haste, worker-Communists, you have very little time left!

[Source: https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/germany/1931/311208.htm


Postscript by IWPCHI:

Liberals and fake-socialists denigrate the revolutionary Trotskyists’ adherence to dialectical materialism, the scientific method of analyzing the class basis for every political movement which, if properly utilized in a Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist manner, enables us to predict – not perfectly, but with a high degree of accuracy – the roles which will be played by every political actor presently on the historical stage.  The apologists for bourgeois democracy, lovers of “common sense” laugh at us – but what bourgeois politician, Stalinist blowhard or social democrat in Germany or anywhere else in the world saw as clearly what the future would bring as did Trotsky?  He urged the Communist Party of Germany to abandon their idiotic Stalinist programme that equated the Social Democrats and the Nazis as one and the same; he urged the Communists to form a united front with the Social Democrats against the Nazis.  By the time the CP tried at the last minute to steer the ship of workers revolution away from the fascist shoals lying dead ahead it was too late.  The Stalinized Communist Party of Germany bears a large degree of the blame for the rise of Hitler;  the Stalinized Comintern’s zigzagging political programs of the 1920s and ’30s that had disoriented their party to such a degree had simultaneously created a breach in the working class forces which Hitler was able to bludgeon his way through, enabling his long rise to power.  If we are to successfully stop the rise of fascism in the US today, we must learn the hard lessons of the failure of the revolutionary workers parties to do so in Germany in the 1930s.  We, too can not count on the rise of fascism in the US to be a long, gradual ascent; fascism is far more prone to sudden leaps forward as we saw this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA.  The fascists have leaped far ahead of the level of development of the antifascist forces.  Unless we immediately begin to organize and build revolutionary socialist parties and workers defense brigades to smash the rising fascist threat, we might very well face the same dire penalty our revolutionary worker-ancestors faced in Germany in the 1930s.  Small, disorganized groups of even the bravest anti-fascist workers are no match for heavily-armed fascist killers backed by the cops, courts and government.  We need to organize the power of the entire multiracial US working class to stop the rise of fascism and to fight ultimately to overthrow the capitalist system which gives rise to the fascist gangs.  Once the working class is in power the fascists will be denied the ability to ever raise their heads again, just as the monarchists were never able to show their faces after the American Revolution.