Category Archives: Leon Trotsky

Fascism: What it Is and How to Fight It

Fascist scum surround small group of antifascist protestors at Univ. of VA, Charlottesville on 11 Aug 2017.

In the aftermath of the monstrous fascist mobilization in Charlottesville, VA this past weekend, we are searching the archives of Marxism for the most important writings on the subject of how to effectively fight the fascist menace.  The New York Times reports that the fascists, emboldened by their “victory” in Charlottesville are now planning to run for political offices across the nation, primarily under the banner of the Republican party.

We have sought from the inception of our organization to impart to the workers of the US the vital importance of organizing a revolutionary vanguard party of the working class as the indispensable weapon of self-defense of the workers against the capitalist system and against its fascist attack dogs.  Without a political party of our own, the working class is left to stand by, impotently begging the paid agents of the capitalist class in both the Republican and Democratic parties to “do the right thing” for the workers.  This cowardly posture of “speaking truth to power” effectively eliminates the working class – the vast majority of the population in any capitalist country – to sitting on the political sidelines as the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class rob us blind and pave the road for a fascist regime in which the workers organizations will be completely destroyed.  Under fascism, there will be no future for the trade unions or for any working class revolutionary organization of any kind.  Unless we build a revolutionary workers party that has as its ultimate goal the overthrow of the capitalist class and its decrepit, dying capitalist economic system which is the growth medium in which fascism thrives, the working class is doomed to destruction.  The experiences of workers in Italy and Germany under their fascist regimes provide ample evidence of this reality.

All that being said, we must make clear that the Trump administration, though it has fascists in its top positions is NOT A FASCIST GOVERNMENT!  If the Trump government was fascist, we would not be able to write and publish this article, and anti-fascists would not be able to march against the fascist hordes as they did in Charlottesville this past weekend.  We would all be in concentration camps – or dead!   It is imperative that workers understand the qualitative difference between a conservative, worker-hating capitalist political party and its state and a fascist party and its state.  The Trump administration is a neo-fascist bourgeois government, not a FASCIST government.  We can see even now the tremendous splits that have taken place within the Trump administration over the events in Charlottesville.  Even the hideous Confederacy-apologist Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has come out publicly denouncing the fascist mobilization in Charlottesville: this would not happen in a fascist government.

But the fascists are inside the Republican party and are preparing to take it over.  They are supported financially by the most right-wing elements of the US capitalist class who are tired of having their hands tied by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights when they would like to just go out and smash every union and socialist/communist/anarchist political organization in the land!  It is this powerful but still minority fascist fringe of the US capitalist class that is pushing the nation towards fascism.  They have a large portion of the ruling class, the cops and courts and military on their side.  BUT THEY HAVE NOT TAKEN POWER YET.  If we confuse the semi-fascist Trump with the REAL fascist threat we will be directing our defensive attacks at the puppet rather than at the master.  We saw who the fascists are this weekend.  They are the usual scum: the Klan, the Nazis organized by David Duke and all of that syphilitic gutter scum attached to them like lampreys on a shark.  THESE ARE THE FASCISTS WE MUST CONFRONT AND DEFEAT.  They are organizing their ignorant hordes of lumpen and petty-bourgeois thugs to rampage across the campuses and cities and towns across the USA this fall.  We can and we must organize now to overwhelm them numerically whenever and wherever they appear, and we must ignore the appeals from their allies in the Democratic and Republican parties and among the clergy of all denominations who tell us to “turn the other cheek” against those who seek to kill us!  The working class must be organized through the trade unions into massive, highly disciplined battalions trained and led by union members who are military veterans to defend ourselves effectively in a military fashion against the nazi gangs.  If we do this – and ONLY if we do this can we send these fascist scum scurrying back to the holes they emerged from! The next time these filth try to organize a torchlight parade they must be crushed by the full weight of the integrated working class!  The next time they try to launch a provocation in broad daylight as they did in Charlottesville they must be met with the full weight of the entire integrated working class, led by strong, determined trade union contingents and they must be crushed!  They must have their heads acquainted with the pavement and be sent crawling home to lick their wounds.  This is the only “debate” the fascists understand!

Workers must come to understand the scientific, revolutionary Trotskyist definition of what fascism is and what it isn’t and what must be done to stop it.  If we do not understand fully what we are up against, where it comes from and who supports it we are powerless to stop it.  So in the interest of furthering your education on the subject of fascism, we offer these insights from the revolutionary leader Leon Trotsky.  If you have questions or comments on this material you can post your comments here and we will be happy to respond; otherwise contact us directly at iwpchi@gmx.com.

Workers of the World – Unite to Smash Fascism!

-IWPCHI

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Excerpts from Leon Trotsky’s writings on fascism and how to fight it.  We have lightly edited Trotsky’s polemics in order to bring them up-to-date for the present situation in the US without (we hope) dulling in the slightest way their surgically sharp edge. Our edits are in brackets [ ].  — IWPCHI

“The [people of the United States] for a long time thought that Fascism had nothing whatever to do with them. They had a republic in which all questions were dealt with by the sovereign people through the exercise of universal suffrage. But on [August 11th and 12th, 2017], several thousand Fascists […]  armed with [shields, clubs and firearms descended on Charlottesville, Virginia]. What does tomorrow hold?

Of course in [the United States], as in certain other European countries (England, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries), there still exist parliaments, elections, democratic liberties, or their remnants. But in all these countries the class struggle is sharpening, just as it did [in the 1920s and 1930s] in Italy and Germany. Whoever consoles himself with the phrase, “[The United States] is not Germany”, is hopeless. In all countries the same historic laws operate, the laws of capitalist decline. If the means of production remain in the hands of a small number of capitalists, there is no way out for society. It is condemned to go from crisis to crisis, from need to misery, from bad to worse. In the various countries the decrepitude and disintegration of capitalism are expressed in diverse forms and at unequal rhythms. But the basic features of the process are the same everywhere. The bourgeoisie is leading its society to complete bankruptcy. It is capable of assuring the people neither bread nor peace. This is precisely why it cannot any longer tolerate the democratic order. It is forced to smash the workers by the use of physical violence. The discontent of the workers and peasants, however, cannot be brought to an end by the police alone. Moreover, it is often impossible to make the army march against the people. It begins by disintegrating and ends with the passage of a large section of the soldiers over to the people’s side. That is why finance capital is obliged to create special armed bands, trained to fight the workers just as certain breeds of dog are trained to hunt game. The historic function of Fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.

“The Fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie [small businesspeople]. The [small business owner] has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other. Its dissatisfaction, indignation and despair are diverted by the Fascists away from big capital and against the workers. It may be said that Fascism is the act of placing the petty bourgeoisie at the disposal of its most bitter enemies. In this way big capital ruins the middle classes and then with the help of hired Fascist demagogues incites the despairing petty bourgeois against the worker. The bourgeois régime can be preserved only by such murderous means as these. For how long? Until it is overthrown by proletarian revolution.
[Source: Leon Trotsky, “Whither France?”, November, 1934]

” The capitalists arrive at Fascism not at their own whim, but through necessity: they cannot any longer preserve the private ownership of the means of production save by directing an offensive against the workers, save by strengthening the oppression, by sowing misery and despair around them. At the same time, fearing the inevitable resistance on the part of the workers, the capitalists, through the medium of their agents, arouse the petty bourgeoisie against the proletariat and, while accusing the latter of prolonging and aggravating the crisis, they finance Fascist gangs to annihilate the workers. Should the resistance of the workers to the offensive of capital increase on the morrow, should the strikes become more frequent and important, Fascism […] will not evaporate but instead grow with redoubled force. The growth of the strike movement will impel the mobilization of strikebreakers. All the ‘patriotic’ thugs will participate in the movement. Daily attacks against the workers will be put on the order of the day. To close our eyes to this is to walk toward certain defeat.

“‘Do you mean to say […] that there must be no resistance?” No. It is necessary to resist.

“We are [not] adherents of that school which thinks that the best means of safety lies in silence, retreat and capitulation. ‘Don’t provoke the enemy!’ ‘Do not defend yourselves!’ ‘Don’t arm yourselves!’ ‘Roll over on your backs and play dead!’  Theoreticians from among this school of strategy should be sought not among ourselves but among the editors of [the bourgeois and fake-socialist press].  It is necessary for the workers to resist if they do not wish to be annihilated. But in that case no reformist and pacifist illusion is permissible. The struggle will be ferocious. It is necessary to foresee beforehand the inevitable consequences of resistance and to prepare for them.

“By its present offensive the bourgeoisie invests with a new and incommensurably more acute character the relation between the economic conditions and the social situation of capitalism in decay. Just so, the workers must invest their defence with a new character which corresponds to the methods of the class enemy. In defending ourselves against the economic blows of capital, we must know how to defend at the same time our organizations against the mercenary gangs of capital. It is impossible to do this save by means of the workers’ militia.

“In particular we must say to the trade unions: comrades, your branches and your publications will be pillaged, your organizations reduced to dust, if you do not immediately proceed to the formation of trade-union defence squads (“trade-union militia”), if you do not demonstrate by actions that you will not surrender a single inch of Fascism without a struggle.”

[Source:  Leon Trotsky, “Once Again, Whither France? Part I” March, 1935

“The armed organization of the proletariat [scientific term for ‘working class’], which at the present moment coincides almost entirely with the defence against Fascism, is a new branch of the class struggle. The first steps here too will be inexperienced and maladroit. We must expect mistakes. It is even impossible to escape completely from provocation. The selection of the cadres will be achieved little by little and this all the more surely, all the more solidly, as the militia is closer to the factories where the workers know one another well. But the initiative must necessarily come from above. The party can and must provide the initial cadres. The trade unions must also take to this same road – and they will inevitably take it. The cadres will become fused and strengthened all the more rapidly as they meet with an increasing sympathy and increasing support within the workers’ organizations, and afterwards within the masses of the toilers.

“What are we to say about those gentlemen who, in the guise of sympathy and support, vilify and poke fun at or, worse yet, depict to the class enemy the detachments of working-class self-defence as detachments of ‘insurrection’ and of ‘putsch’? […] It is impossible to give these gentlemen any other name save that of direct enemies of the proletarian revolution.”

[[Source: Leon Trotsky, “Once Again, Whither France? Part II” March, 1935

— IWPCHI

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100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution: Trotsky on the Doomed Tsar and Tsarina

We present here the background to the great Russian Revolution of 1917 on its hundredth anniversary – as told by one of its chief organizers: Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky’s “History of the Russian Revolution” is not only a great read: it is also an almost unique first-person account of a great revolution as told by one of its chief organizers.  It is almost unique among the histories of any revolution.  Most revolutionary leaders never lived to write their own history of the revolutions they led.  So from that standpoint alone, Trotsky’s “History” is of inestimable value – especially to workers who want to know the truth about the Bolshevik Revolution.

As part of our series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the very first successful communist-led workers revolution we present to our readers this excerpt from “The History of the Russian Revolution” by Leon Trotsky.  In it we will get a glimpse of the wonderful regime that was brutally destroyed by the extremists of the Bolshevik Party, led by Lenin and Trotsky.  This chapter that describes the repulsive chaRracters of the Tsar and Tsarina are among our favorite written works in any genre of literature.  This version of the book comes from the Marxists.org website at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/ch04.htm   In the US we are taught to have sympathy for the executed Tsar and his family.  The hideousness of the regime is fully explored in this essay; workers who study the history of the disgusting Romanov dynasty will come to understand after reading this essay that this Tsarist regime deserves absolutely no sympathy at all.  Enjoy!

—IWPCHI

Leon Trotsky

The History of the Russian Revolution

Volume One: The Overthrow of Tzarism


Chapter 4
The Tzar and the Tzarina

 

This book will concern itself least of all with those unrelated psychological researches which are now so often substituted for social and historical analysis. Foremost in our field of vision will stand the great, moving forces of history, which are super-personal in character. Monarchy is one of them. But all these forces operate through people. And monarchy is by its very principle bound up with the personal. This in itself justifies an interest in the personality of that monarch whom the process of social development brought face to face with a revolution. Moreover, we hope to show in what follows, partially at least, just where in a personality the strictly personal ends – often much sooner than we think – and how frequently the “distinguishing traits” of a person are merely individual scratches made by a higher law of development.

Nicholas II inherited from his ancestors not only a giant empire, but also a revolution. And they did not bequeath him one quality which would have made him capable of governing an empire or even a province or a county. To that historic flood which was rolling its billows each one closer to the gates of his palace, the last Romanov opposed only a dumb indifference. It seemed as though between his consciousness and his epoch there stood some transparent but absolutely impenetrable medium.

People surrounding the tzar often recalled after the revolution that in the most tragic moments of his reign – at the time of the surrender of Port Arthur and the sinking of the fleet at Tsushima, and ten years later at the time of the retreat of the Russian troops from Galicia, and then two years later during the days preceding his abdication when all those around him were depressed, alarmed, shaken – Nicholas alone preserved his tranquillity. He would inquire as usual how many versts he had covered in his journeys about Russia, would recall episodes of hunting expeditions in the past, anecdotes of official meetings, would interest himself generally in the little rubbish of the day’s doings, while thunders roared over him and lightnings flashed. “What is this?” asked one of his attendant generals, “a gigantic, almost unbelievable self-restraint, the product of breeding, of a belief in the divine predetermination of events? Or is it inadequate consciousness?” The answer is more than half included in the question. The so-called “breeding” of the tzar, his ability to control himself in the most extraordinary circumstances, cannot be explained by a mere external training; its essence was an inner indifference, a poverty of spiritual forces, a weakness of the impulses of the will. That mask of indifference which was called breeding in certain circles, was a natural part of Nicholas at birth.

The tzar’s diary is the best of all testimony. From day to day and from year to year drags along upon its pages the depressing record of spiritual emptiness. “Walked long and killed two crows. Drank tea by daylight.” Promenades on foot, rides in a boat. And then again crows, and again tea. All on the borderline of physiology. Recollections of church ceremonies are jotted down in the same tome as a drinking party.

In the days preceding the opening of the State Duma, when the whole country was shaking with convulsions, Nicholas wrote: “April 14. Took a walk in a thin shirt and took up paddling again. Had tea in a balcony. Stana dined and took a ride with us. Read.” Not a word as to the subject of his reading. Some sentimental English romance? Or a report from the Police Department? “April 15: Accepted Witte’s resignation. Marie and Dmitri to dinner. Drove them home to the palace.”

On the day of the decision to dissolve the Duma, when the court as well as the liberal circles were going through a paroxysm of fright, the tzar wrote in his diary: “July 7. Friday. Very busy morning. Half hour late to breakfast with the officers … A storm came up and it was very muggy. We walked together. Received Goremykin. Signed a decree dissolving the Duma! Dined with Olga and Petia. Read all evening.” An exclamation point after the coming dissolution of the Duma is the highest expression of his emotions. The deputies of the dispersed Duma summoned the people to refuse to pay taxes. A series of military uprisings followed: in Sveaborg, Kronstadt, on ships, in army units. The revolutionary terror against high officials was renewed on an unheard-of scale. The tzar writes: “July 9. Sunday. It has happened! The Duma was closed today. At breakfast after Mass long faces were noticeable among many … The weather was fine. On our walk we met Uncle Misha who came over yesterday from Gatchina. Was quietly busy until dinner and all evening. Went padding in a canoe.” It was in a canoe he went paddling – that is told. But with what he was busy all evening is not indicated. So it was always.

And further in those same fatal days: “July 14. Got dressed and rode a bicycle to the bathing beach and bathed enjoyably in the sea.” “July 15. Bathed twice. It was very hot. Only us two at dinner. A storm passed over.” “July 19. Bathed in the morning. Received at the farm. Uncle Vladimir and Chagin lunched with us.” An insurrection and explosions of dynamite are barely touched upon with a single phrase, “Pretty doings!” – astonishing in its imperturbable indifference, which never rose to conscious cynicism.

“At 9:30 in the morning we rode out to the Caspian regiment … walked for a long time. The weather was wonderful. Bathed in the sea. After tea received Lvov and Guchkov.” Not a word of the fact that this unexpected reception of the two liberals was brought about by the attempt of Stolypin to include opposition leaders in his ministry. Prince Lvov, the future head of the Provisional Government, said of that reception at the time: “I expected to see the sovereign stricken with grief, but instead of that there came out to meet me a jolly sprightly fellow in a raspberry-coloured shirt.” The tzar’s outlook was not broader than that of a minor police official – with this difference, that the latter would have a better knowledge of reality and be less burdened with superstitions. The sole paper which Nicholas read for years, and from which he derived his ideas, was a weekly published on state revenue by Prince Meshchersky, a vile, bribed journalist of the reactionary bureaucratic clique, despised even in his own circle. The tzar kept his outlook unchanged through two wars and two revolutions. Between his consciousness and events stood always that impenetrable medium – indifference. Nicholas was called, not without foundation, a fatalist. It is only necessary to add that his fatalism was the exact opposite of an active belief in his “star.” Nicholas indeed considered himself unlucky. His fatalism was only a form of passive self-defence against historic evolution, and went hand in hand with an arbitrariness, trivial in psychological motivation, but monstrous in its consequences.

“I wish it and therefore it must be —,” writes Count Witte. “That motto appeared in all the activities of this weak ruler, who only through weakness did all the things which characterised his reign – a wholesale shedding of more or less innocent blood, for the most part without aim.”

Nicholas is sometimes compared with his half-crazy great-great-grandfather Paul, who was strangled by a camarilla acting in agreement with his own son, Alexander “the Blessed.” These two Romanovs were actually alike in their distrust of everybody due to a distrust of themselves, their touchiness as of omnipotent nobodies, their feeling of abnegation, their consciousness, as you might say, of being crowned pariahs. But Paul was incomparably more colourful; there was an element of fancy in his rantings, however irresponsible. In his descendant everything was dim; there was not one sharp trait.

Nicholas was not only unstable, but treacherous. Flatterers called him a charmer, bewitcher, because of his gentle way with the courtiers. But the tzar reserved his special caresses for just those officials whom he had decided to dismiss. Charmed beyond measure at a reception, the minister would go home and find a letter requesting his resignation. That was a kind of revenge on the tzar’s part for his own nonentity.

Nicholas recoiled in hostility before everything gifted and significant. He felt at ease only among completely mediocre and brainless people, saintly fakers, holy men, to whom he did not have to look up. He had his amour propre, indeed it was rather keen. But it was not active, not possessed of a grain of initiative, enviously defensive. He selected his ministers on a principle of continual deterioration. Men of brain and character he summoned only in extreme situations when there was no other way out, just as we call in a surgeon to save our lives. It was so with Witte, and afterwards with Stolypin. The tzar treated both with ill-concealed hostility. As soon as the crisis had passed, he hastened to part with these counsellors who were too tall for him. This selection operated so systematically that the president of the last Duma, Rodzianko, on the 7th of January 1917, with the revolution already knocking at the doors, ventured to say to the tzar: “Your Majesty, there is not one reliable or honest man left around you; all the best men have been removed or have retired. There remain only those of ill repute.”

All the efforts of the liberal bourgeoisie to find a common language with the court came to nothing. The tireless and noisy Rodzianko tried to shake up the tzar with his reports, but in vain. The latter gave no answer either to argument or to impudence, but quietly made ready to dissolve the Duma. Grand Duke Dmitri, a former favourite of the tzar, and future accomplice in the murder of Rasputin, complained to his colleague, Prince Yussupov, that the tzar at headquarters was becoming every day more indifferent to everything around him. In Dmitri’s opinion the tzar was being fed some kind of dope which had a benumbing action upon his spiritual faculties. “Rumours went round,” writes the liberal historian Miliukov, “that this condition of mental and moral apathy was sustained in the tzar by an increased use of alcohol.” This was all fancy or exaggeration. The tzar had no need of narcotics: the fatal “dope” was in his blood. Its symptoms merely seemed especially striking on the background of those great events of war and domestic crisis which led up to the revolution. Rasputin, who was a psychologist, said briefly of the tzar that he “lacked insides.”

This dim, equable and “well-bred” man was cruel – not with the active cruelty of Ivan the Terrible or of Peter, in the pursuit of historic aims – What had Nicholas the Second in common with them? – but with the cowardly cruelty of the late born, frightened at his own doom. At the very dawn of his reign Nicholas praised the Phanagoritsy regiment as “fine fellows” for shooting down workers. He always “read with satisfaction” how they flogged with whips the bob-haired girl-students, or cracked the heads of defenceless people during Jewish pogroms. This crowned black sheep gravitated with all his soul to the very dregs of society, the Black Hundred hooligans. He not only paid them generously from the state treasury, but loved to chat with them about their exploits, and would pardon them when they accidentally got mixed up in the murder of an opposition deputy. Witte, who stood at the head of the government during the putting down of the first revolution, has written in his memoirs: “When news of the useless cruel antics of the chiefs of those detachments reached the sovereign, they met with his approval, or in any case his defence.” In answer to the demand of the governor-general of the Baltic States that he stop a certain lieutenant-captain, Richter, who was “executing on his own authority and without trial non-resistant persons,” the tzar wrote on the report: “Ah, what a fine fellow!” Such encouragements are innumerable. This “charmer,” without will, without aim, without imagination, was more awful than all the tyrants of ancient and modern history.

The tzar was mightily under the influence of the tzarina, an influence which increased with the years and the difficulties. Together they constituted a kind of unit – and that combination shows already to what an extent the personal, under pressure of circumstances, is supplemented by the group. But first we must speak of the tzarina herself.

Maurice Paléologue, the French ambassador at Petrograd during the war, a refined psychologist for French academicians and janitresses, offers a meticulously licked portrait of the last tzarina: “Moral restlessness, a chronic sadness, infinite longing, intermittent ups and downs of strength, anguishing thoughts of the invisible other world, superstitions – are not all these traits, so clearly apparent in the personality of the empress, the characteristic traits of the Russian people?” Strange as it may seem, there is in this saccharine lie just a grain of truth. The Russian satirist Saltykov, with some justification, called the ministers and governors from among the Baltic barons “Germans with a Russian soul.” It is indubitable that aliens, in no way connected with the people, developed the most pure culture of the “genuine Russian” administrator.

But why did the people repay with such open hatred a tzarina who, in the words of Paléologue, had so completely assimilated their soul? The answer is simple. In order to justify her new situation, this German woman adopted with a kind of cold fury all the traditions and nuances of Russian mediaevalism, the most meagre and crude of all mediaevalisms, in that very period when the people were making mighty efforts to free themselves from it. This Hessian princess was literally possessed by the demon of autocracy. Having risen from her rural corner to the heights of Byzantine despotism, she would not for anything take a step down. In the orthodox religion she found a mysticism and a magic adapted to her new lot. She believed the more inflexibly in her vocation, the more naked became the foulness of the old régime. With a strong character and a gift for dry and hard exaltations, the tzarina supplemented the weak-willed tzar, ruling over him.

On March 17, 1916, a year before the revolution, when the tortured country was already writhing in the grip of defeat and ruin, the tzarina wrote to her husband at military headquarters: “You must not give indulgences, a responsible ministry, etc. … or anything that they want. This must be your war and your peace, and the honour yours and our fatherland’s, and not by any means the Duma’s. They have not the right to say a single word in these matters.” This was at any rate a thoroughgoing programme. And it was in just this way that she always had the whip hand over the continually vacillating tzar.

After Nicholas’ departure to the army in the capacity of fictitious commander-in-chief, the tzarina began openly to take charge of internal affairs. The ministers came to her with reports as to a regent. She entered into a conspiracy with a small camarilla against the Duma, against the ministers, against the staff-generals, against the whole world – to some extent indeed against the tzar. On December 6, 1916, the tzarina wrote to the tzar: “… Once you have said that you want to keep Protopopov, how does he (Premier Trepov) go against you? Bring down your fist on the table. Don’t yield. Be the boss. Obey your firm little wife and our Friend. Believe in us.” Again three days late: “You know you are right. Carry your head high. Command Trepov to work with him … Strike your fist on the table.” Those phrases sound as though they were made up, but they are taken from authentic letters. Besides, you cannot make up things like that.

On December 13 the tzarina suggest to the tzar: “Anything but this responsible ministry about which everybody has gone crazy. Everything is getting quiet and better, but people want to feel your hand. How long they have been saying to me, for whole years, the same thing: ’Russia loves to feel the whip.’ That is their nature!” This orthodox Hessian, with a Windsor upbringing and a Byzantine crown on her head, not only “incarnates” the Russian soul, but also organically despises it. Their nature demands the whip – writes the Russian tzarina to the Russian tzar about the Russian people, just two months and a half before the monarchy tips over into the abyss.

In contrast to her force of character, the intellectual force of the tzarina is not higher, but rather lower than her husband’s. Even more than he, she craves the society of simpletons. The close and long-lasting friendship of the tzar and tzarina with their lady-in-waiting Vyrubova gives a measure of the spiritual stature of this autocratic pair. Vyrubova has described herself as a fool, and this is not modesty. Witte, to whom one cannot deny an accurate eye, characterised her as “a most commonplace, stupid, Petersburg young lady, homely as a bubble in the biscuit dough.” In the society of this person, with whom elderly officials, ambassadors and financiers obsequiously flirted, and who had just enough brains not to forget about her own pockets, the tzar and tzarina would pass many hours, consulting her about affairs, corresponding with her and about her. She was more influential than the State Duma, and even that the ministry.

But Vyrubova herself was only an instrument of “The Friend,” whose authority superseded all three. “… This is my private opinion,” writes the tzarina to the tzar, “I will find out what our Friend thinks.” The opinion of the “Friend” is not private, it decides. “… I am firm,” insists the tzarina a few weeks later, “but listen to me, i.e. this means our Friend, and trust in everything … I suffer for you as for a gentle soft-hearted child – who needs guidance, but listens to bad counsellors, while a man sent by God is telling him what he should do.”

The Friend sent by God was Gregory Rasputin.

“… The prayers and the help of our Friend – then all will be well.”

“If we did not have Him, all would have been over long ago. I am absolutely convinced of that.”

Throughout the whole reign of Nicholas and Alexandra soothsayers and hysterics were imported for the court not only from all over Russia, but from other countries. Special official purveyors arose, who would gather around the momentary oracle, forming a powerful Upper Chamber attached to the monarch. There was no lack of bigoted old women with the title of countess, nor of functionaries weary of doing nothing, nor of financiers who had entire ministries in their hire. With a jealous eye on the unchartered competition of mesmerists and sorcerers, the high priesthood of the Orthodox Church would hasten to pry their way into the holy of holies of the intrigue. Witte called this ruling circle, against which he himself twice stubbed his toe, “the leprous court camarilla.”

The more isolated the dynasty became, and the more unsheltered the autocrat felt, the more he needed some help from the other world. Certain savages, in order to bring good weather, wave in the air a shingle on a string. The tzar and tzarina used shingles for the greatest variety of purposes. In the tzar’s train there was a whole chapel full of large and small images, and all sorts of fetiches, which were brought to bear, first against the Japanese, then against the German artillery.

The level of the court circle really had not changed much from generation to generation. Under Alexander II, called the “Liberator,” the grand dukes had sincerely believed in house spirits and witches. Under Alexander III it was no better, only quieter. The “leprous camarilla” had existed always, changed only its personnel and its method. Nicholas II did not create, but inherited from his ancestors, this court atmosphere of savage mediaevalism. But the country during these same decades had been changing, its problems growing more complex, its culture rising to a higher level. The court circle was thus left far behind.

Although the monarchy did under compulsion make concessions to the new forces, nevertheless inwardly it completely failed to become modernised. On the contrary it withdrew into itself. Its spirit of mediaevalism thickened under the pressure of hostility and fear, until it acquired the character of a disgusting nightmare overhanging the country.

Towards November 1905 – that is, at the most critical moment of the first revolution – the tzar writes in his diary: “We got acquainted with a man of God, Gregory, from the Tobolsk province.” That was Rasputin – a Siberian peasant with a bald scar on his head, the result of a beating for horse-stealing. Put forward at an appropriate moment, this “Man of God” soon found official helpers – or rather they found him – and thus was formed a new ruling class which got a firm hold of the tzarina, and through her of the tzar.

From the winter of 1913-14 it was openly said in Petersburg society that all high appointments, posts and contracts depended upon the Rasputin clique. The “Elder” himself gradually turned into a state institution. He was carefully guarded, and no less carefully sought after by the competing ministers. Spies of the Police Department kept a diary of his life by hours, and did not fail to report how on a visit to his home village of Pokrovsky he got into a drunken and bloody fight with his own father on the street. On the same day that this happened – September 9, 1915 – Rasputin sent two friendly telegrams, one to Tzarskoe Selo, to the tzarina, the other to headquarters to the tzar. In epic language the police spies registered from day to day the revels of the Friend. “He returned today 5 o’clock in the morning completely drunk.” “On the night of the 25-26th the actress V. spent the night with Rasputin.” “He arrived with Princess D. (the wife of a gentleman of the bedchamber of the Tzar’s court) at the Hotel Astoria.”…And right beside this: “Came home from Tzarskoe Selo about 11 o’clock in the evening.” “Rasputin came home with Princess Sh- very drunk and together they went out immediately.” In the morning or evening of the following day a trip to Tzarskoe Selo. To a sympathetic question from the spy as to why the Elder was thoughtful, the answer came: “Can’t decide whether to convoke the Duma or not.” And then again: “He came home at 5 in the morning pretty drunk.” Thus for months and years the melody was played on three keys: “Pretty drunk,” “Very drunk,” and “Completely drunk.” These communications of state importance were brought together and countersigned by the general of gendarmes, Gorbachev.

The bloom of Raputin’s influence lasted six years, the last years of the monarchy. “His life in Petrograd,” says Prince Yussupov, who participated to some extent in that life, and afterward killed Rasputin, “became a continual revel, the durnken debauch of a galley slave who had come into an unexpected fortune.” “I had at my disposition,” wrote the president of the Duma, Rodzianko, “a whole mass of letters from mothers whose daughters had been dishonoured by this insolent rake.” Nevertheless the Petrograd metropolitan, Pitirim, owed his position to Rasputin, as also the almost illiterate Archbishop Varnava. The Procuror of the Holy Synod, Sabler, was long sustained by Rasputin; and Premier Kokovtsev was removed at his wish, having refused to receive the “Elder.” Rasputin appointed Stürmer President of the Council of Ministers, Protopopov Minister of the Interior, the new Procuror of the Synod, Raev, and many others. The ambassador of the French republic, Paléologue, sought an interview with Rasputin, embraced him and cried, “Voilà, un véritable illuminé!” hoping in this way to win the heart of the tzarina to the cause of France. The Jew Simanovich, financial agent of the “Elder,” himself under the eye of the Secret Police as a nightclub gambler and usurer – introduced into the Ministry of Justice through Rasputin the completely dishonest creature Dobrovolsky.

“Keep by you the little list,” writes the tzarina to the tzar, in regard to new appointments. “Our friend has asked that you talk all this over with Protopopov.” Two days later: “Our friend says that Stürmer may remain a few days longer as President of the Council of Ministers.” And again: “Protopopov venerates our friend and will be blessed.”

On one of those days when the police spies were counting up the number of bottles and women, the tzarina grieved in a letter to the tzar: “They accuse Rasputin of kissing women, etc. Read the apostles; they kissed everybody as a form of greeting.” This reference to the apostles would hardly convince the police spies. In another letter the tzarina goes still farther. “During vespers I thought so much about our friend,” she writes, “how the Scribes and Pharisees are persecuting Christ pretending that they are so perfect … yes, in truth no man is a prophet in his own country.”

The comparison of Rasputin and Christ was customary in that circle, and by no means accidental. The alarm of the royal couple before the menacing forces of history was too sharp to be satisfied with an impersonal God and the futile shadow of a Biblical Christ. They needed a second coming of “the Son of Man.” In Rasputin the rejected and agonising monarchy found a Christ in its own image.

“If there had been no Rasputin,” said Senator Tagantsev, a man of the old régime, “it would have been necessary to invent one.” There is a good deal more in these words than their author imagined. If by the word hooliganism we understand the extreme expression of those anti-social parasite elements at the bottom of society, we may define Rasputinism as a crowned hooliganism at its very top.

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

We republish our response to Ross Wolfe’s

Fidel Castro on the Frankfurt School

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

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

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

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

which is included in IDOM.

— IWPCHI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

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The USA Now Has A President That Perfectly Reflects the “Soul” of It’s Demoralized, De-Unionized Heartland

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” – Sir Winston Churchill

“Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite.”  (Every nation gets the government it deserves.)  – Joseph de Maistre

“This whole election is being rigged. The whole thing is one big fix. One big ugly lie. It’s one big fix.” – Donald Trump

“Even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day.” – Anonymous

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States came as a shock to many observers around the world.  Professional political pollsters, particularly, were exposed as the charlatans they are by their wildly inaccurate predictions made through the last weeks of the campaign.  The New York Times, America’s “Newspaper of Record” dropped all pretense of “journalistic objectivity” to campaign furiously for the hideous Democratic Party candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, turning their newspaper into a de facto arm of the Clinton campaign.

The NY Times and almost all other major bourgeois press outlets railed 24/7 against the equally repulsive Republican candidate, slumlord and swindler of small businessmen and working class college hopefuls Donald Trump, piling up devastating evidence of his contempt for women, handicapped people and immigrants in particular.  In spite of the damning audio recordings and accusations of several women of his misogynist tendencies broadcast on all news media for the final weeks of the campaign, Hillary Clinton was unable to put Trump in her rear-view mirror.  Trump, just a day before the election, still trailed Clinton by just 4 percentage points in the WSJ’s polls.

The pinnacle of pro-Clinton propaganda was reached on November 3 when the magazine “The Atlantic” published an incredible puff piece on Clinton that will stand for all time as one of the most  hilariously fatuous and wildly inaccurate pieces of political journalism ever penned.  Written by Chimamanda Adichie (seemingly while curled up comfortably  in Hillary’s lap), it was entitled “What Hillary Clinton’s Fans Love About Her”:

“We do not see, often enough, the people who love Hillary Clinton, who support her because of her qualifications rather than because of her unqualified opponent, who empathize with her. Yet millions of Americans, women and men, love her intelligence, her industriousness, her grit; they feel loyal to her, they will vote with enthusiasm for her.

“Human beings change as they grow, but a person’s history speaks to who she is. There are millions who admire the tapestry of Hillary Clinton’s past: the first-ever student commencement speaker at Wellesley speaking boldly about making the impossible possible, the Yale law student interested in the rights of migrant farmworkers, the lawyer working with the Children’s Defense Fund, the first lady trying to make health care accessible for all Americans […]

“There are people who love how cleanly she slices through policy layers, how thoroughly she digests the small print […]

“They have confidence in her. There are people who rage at the media on her behalf, who see the coverage she too often receives as unfair. There are people who in a quiet, human way wish her well. There are people who, when Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to be president of the United States, will weep from joy.

“Hillary Clinton was guilty immediately when she stepped into the view of the American public as the first lady of Arkansas. She was a lawyer full of dreams. She had made sacrifices for the man she loved, waived her plans, and moved to his state. But she also dared to think herself her husband’s equal, to assume herself competent enough to take on expanding access to healthcare and reforming the Arkansas public education system […]”.

“Because she is already considered guilty in a vague and hazy way, there is a longing for her to be demonstrably guilty of something. Other words have been repeated over and over, with no context, until they have begun to breathe and thrum with life. Especially “emails.” The press coverage of “emails” has become an unclear morass where “emails” must mean something terrible, if only because of how often it is invoked.

“The people who love Hillary Clinton know that the IT system at the State Department is old and stodgy, nothing like a Blackberry’s smooth whirl. Hillary Clinton was used to her Blackberry, and wanted to keep using it when she became secretary of state…”

It has to be read to be believed.  How much does it cost to hire someone to write sickening, fawning garbage like that?  How can an editor with any sense at all dare to present such a thing to the public?

The constant stream of evidence of Hillary Clinton’s willing servility towards the US capitalist class brought forth by the WikiLeaks organization was like a firehose of condemnation turned against Clinton for the final month of the campaign.  Hacked emails spirited from her top campaign manager John Podesta’s computers revealed how the Clinton camp’s near-total control of the primary election machinery of the Democratic Party had sabotaged the chimerical Bernie Sanders campaign from day one.  The WikiLeaks document trove also detailed how the Clintonites had conspired to use their agents in the US bourgeois press to build up the weakest of the Republican candidates so as to provide Hillary with the weakest possible opponent from the Republicans’ Augean stable of rotten, greed-driven swine.  Many commentators have awarded the laurel wreath to WikiLeaks for torpedoing the Hillary Clinton campaign with their steady drip of exposures of the criminality of Hillary Clinton and her family’s deeply corrupt Clinton Foundation, awash in barely concealed campaign donations from some of the most reactionary regimes on the planet.  But WikiLeaks’ efforts, though significant, were not responsible for the humiliation Clinton suffered at the sweaty, grasping hands of Donald Trump.

Post-election, the Clintonites desperately sought to lay the blame for their candidate’s stunning defeat at the feet of Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and of Gary Johnson of the Libertarians – both of whom did, indeed, to their credit, succeed in taking a great many votes away from the Democrats and the Republicans.  The Democratic apologists’ shrill condemnations of the third parties for having the nerve to actually run candidates for real against their pre-selected winner of the Presidential race demonstrates better than any communist polemic the utter fraud that is the US political system.  Third party candidates, it seems, can exist, but not if they will actually participate in the final vote.  They are supposed to run during the primaries only, in order to give the completely phony US democracy a thin veneer of legitimacy, and then fold up their tents like dutiful and loyal servants of the two “major” “official” political parties of the US.

Donald Trump won a great deal of support from the mostly white, male working class that elected him by blathering about how the US election process is “rigged”.  Here Trump simply pointed out the obvious, while omitting the most important aspect of the rigged nature of the US political system: it is indeed rigged – to benefit people like him.  Wealthy white males have always been at the pinnacle of US politics since the wealthiest man in the young USA – George Washington – ran for president.  Donald Trump stands elected as US President not in spite of the fact that the US elections are rigged but because they are rigged to benefit white men of his social class: the capitalist class.

Hillary Clinton was defeated because she was a monstrous candidate obviously completely in the pockets of the Wall St. bankers and brokers who had paid her millions of dollars for speeches in which she told them exactly what they wanted to hear from a politician running for president.   Clinton lost because she’s a vicious, heartless, murderous, grasping beast who clearly would do anything – a-ny-thing – to become President of the United States.  To raise money for her election as the champion of women all over the world she openly sold herself not just to the US capitalist class but to some of the most disgusting women-hating regimes on the face of the Earth – like Saudi Arabia – for cold, hard cash.  She and her cohorts – whom she praised in her concession speech as representing “the best” the US has to offer – conspired to deny millions of Democratic Party voters the right to fully participate in the Democratic primary when her campaign deliberately and calculatedly plotted to destroy the candidacy of fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders.  The contempt of her co-conspirators for fair play in a political contest between loyal Democratic Party flacks was so boundless that she left nothing to chance in elbowing her way to the Democratic nomination, even to the extent of having her agents in the news media obtain debate questions in advance of the phony “debates” between herself and Sanders.

Hillary Rodham Clinton lost because she was a far less convincing liar than the real estate huckster Donald Trump.  The only people she told the truth to were the 1-percenters who run the USA and whose money and support she needed to obtain in order to become their anointed presidential candidate in 2016.  For a couple hundred thousand dollars a pop, she made speech after speech to the kings of Wall St., promising them in no uncertain terms that if they backed her they’d be running the tables in Washington for yet another four years.

WikiLeaks provided us with all of the damning evidence of the contents of Hillary Clinton’s highly-paid speaking tours of the halls of actual political power in the US’ phony democracy – which Clinton herself wisely refused to release to the public.  In a speech given to the Goldman Sachs AIMS Alternative Investments Symposium on 24 October 2013 Hillary told her sponsors: “It’s still happening, as you know. People are looking back and trying to, you know, get compensation for bad mortgages and all the rest of it in some of the agreements that are being reached. There’s nothing magic about regulations, too much is bad, too little is bad. How do you get to the golden key, how do we figure out what works? And the people that know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry.” In other words, if anything is wrong with Wall St., it should be the Wall St. insiders who decide how to fix it, she sang to her paying audience of top capitalists.  To Clinton, the millions who make up the US working class are nothing but an ignorant herd of meddling outsiders.

The more Hillary Clinton appeared in public, the more convinced prospective voters became convinced of her vast insincerity in espousing her fake concern for the plight of working-class families in the US struggling to keep a roof over their families’ heads.  No one believed a thing she said; no one was convinced that she had any other motive for becoming President other than pure egotistical self-aggrandizement and of course to stuff her and her family’s pockets with money by doing favors for everyone who had bankrolled her campaign, from Goldman Sachs to the government of Saudi Arabia.  Hillary Clinton seemed to represent everyone EXCEPT the vast working class majority that makes up the citizenry of every capitalist nation-state including the “classless” “egalitarian” USA.

Hillary Clinton’s pretense of being the #1 champion of women’s rights simply by becoming the first female president of the United States was exposed for the fraud it was by the WikiLeaks revelations that the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from reactionary woman-hating regimes throughout the Muslim world, like Saudi Arabia, whose government she made sure was showered with military supplies used to support the even more reactionary and anti-woman cretins of ISIL/ISIS when she was Secretary of State.  Hillary was never a champion of anyone other than Hillary.  Electing Hillary Rodham Clinton President would have done no more to advance the cause of women than did the election of the Afghan-mullah-loving Margaret Thatcher.  No intelligent person in the world doubts that a woman can run a major modern nation-state.  The United States lost its chance to be the first to have a female head of state decades ago.  Hillary Clinton would have been as big a disaster for the advancement of women’s rights as President as she was as Secretary of State.

Paradoxically, it seems to many, the workers of the US – primarily white males but also a surprising number of white women and a large percentage of US Hispanics and even black workers – were convinced that the bombastic, racist, neofascist huckster real estate swindler Donald Trump was the candidate that truly represented their best interests.  This may seem paradoxical but in reality there is no paradox.  In Donald Trump a large percentage of the US working class finds a mirror image of their racist, greedy, narcissistic selves.  After decades of attacks on the workers’ movement that has driven millions of workers out of the trade unions, the entire concept of the superiority of collective struggle of the working class has been subsumed under a tidal wave of capitalist propaganda and a brutal driving down of wages and benefits for the working class of the USA.  This conscious destruction of the workers’ movement by the US capitalist class and their criminal co-conspirators in the AFL-CIO hierarchy has led to a complete collapse of working class solidarity and its replacement by a “look out for #1” mentality that apes the self-aggrandizing, selfish Ayn Rand-inspired Libertarian ideology of increasing numbers of the capitalist class themselves.  The corruption of the bourgeoisie and their systematic corruption of the bribed trade union bureaucracy that has hamstrung every attempt by the working class at successful collective struggle to defend workers interests over the past 40 years has led inexorably to the corruption of the morals of the working class itself.  “Fuck the next guy – I’m going to get mine first” has become the “philosophy” of a large percentage of the US working class; and so they have ditched the idea of collective struggle through trade union organization and have raised up on their shoulders the hideous caricature of  the “self-made man”: Donald Trump, a billionaire born with a golden spoon in his mouth who never gave a shit about the working class in his entire disgusting money-grubbing life.

Donald Trump perfectly reflects the moral bankruptcy of the US ruling capitalist class in general as well as a similar degeneracy that has mushroomed among a large and growing section of the increasingly desperate and demoralized US working class that has seen its standard of living steadily hammered down year after brutal year since the late 1960s.  With trade union membership in steady decline, the working class has become imbued with the corrupt Libertarian philosophy of the capitalist class that sees poor people as “freeloaders” and unionized workers as “overpaid” and pampered privileged parasites on the national economy.  “Selfishness is the highest virtue” taught the cheap Hollywood screenwriter Ayn Rand; this vicious “philosophy” is at the root of supposedly “egalitarian” Libertarian politics, and has been embraced and proselytized by millions of desperate workers.  Unionized  nurses, teachers and city workers and poor people of every race – but particularly blacks and immigrants –  have become the enemy of the massively non- and even anti-union US working class, egged on by bought-and-paid-for pro-capitalist demagogues from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump.  The US capitalist class and their news media outlets have convinced a large majority of the demoralized US working class that it is not the billionaire capitalist who is the source of the workers’ misery, but the immigrant worker crossing the Mexican border to try to make a decent living for his or her family.  It is not the swindling bankers who have robbed the workers of their income but the black workers on welfare who are doing it.  Never mind that all economic data proves that none of these racist lies are true.  This racist propaganda, spewed by Republican and Democratic politicians and by the US news media for decades has done its nefarious work.  Now we have begun to see the emergence of the fascist scum from the margins of US society starting to become emboldened by hearing their racist ideology parroted by “mainstream” politicians like Trump and seeing their racist “solutions” to the “immigrant problem” put into practice by the Democratic Obama Administration.

This 2016 US Presidential election shows to us that the US working class, in its present disorganized and demoralized state, with no revolutionary socialist leadership to speak of, with the trade union movement in free-fall and supporting the same anti-immigrant proposals as the racists, stands ready to fall victim to fascism in all its savagery.  Prepared by two decades of nearly non-stop war against Middle Eastern and Asian countries with large Muslim populations, the US working class has in large numbers become utterly intolerant of Muslims – who make up nearly a third of the world’s population.  Driven to a mad fury by the neofascist slogans “Make America Great Again” and a fulsome hatred of immigrants not seen in the USA since the days of the “Know-Nothings” the USA looks to us in 2016 like Germany circa 1938.  Millions of US workers have degenerated morally into vicious, greedy, racist and desperate thugs who don’t give a shit HOW MANY people the US military slaughters so long as the price of gasoline stays below $5 a gallon.  Trump’s election isn’t an aberration: it’s the culmination of decades of attacks on the working class and minorities by the Republicans; and even more so by the “friends of labor” Democrats like Bill and Hillary Clinton, whose racist program to “end welfare as we know it” and whose “truth in sentencing” laws fostered decades of brutalization and victimization of black and Hispanic workers.  Seeing no way out of the “hope”-less and “change”-less blind alley into which the Democrats under Barack Obama have led them, and seeing the promising futures and those of their children and grandchildren melt away as their wages and benefits decline, the white working class is embracing neofascist ideology and striking out on the road towards an American Fascism that could well lead inexorably – and rapidly – towards World War Three.  The only way to prevent this descent of the US into the very same abyss that destroyed Germany in just 12 years of unparalleled savagery is for the working class to be won over to the program of revolutionary Trotskyism which alone can overthrow the racist, exploitative capitalist system and to replace it with an egalitarian working class socialist republic.  Only a party such as this can organize the working class to effectively smash the growing fascist menace being unleashed by the US capitalist class, hell-bent on global domination.  This is the kind of political party we hope to build in the coming years right here in the belly of the U.S. imperialist beast.

If that section of the US working class that continues to fight for the rights of immigrants and minorities does not immediately stop tilting at the windmills of impotent “speaking truth to power” and begin to organize a fight to take power directly into the hands of the working class itself, fascism will soon triumph in the USA.  Only a powerful working class force like the communist movement proved capable of effectively fighting fascism in the 1920s and 1930s.  It was the communist-led Resistance movements of Europe that led the opposition to fascism during Hitler’s bloody reign of terror; it was the USSR that finally crushed the “Thousand-Year Reich” and that drove Hitler and his inner circle to suicide in their hole in the ground in Berlin.  It was the heroic communists of Asia – particularly China and Korea – who led the victory over Japanese fascism and, immediately afterward, to new victories over world capitalism and US imperialism.  Those heroic communist movements were successful in spite of the crippling effects of their Stalinist and Maoist bureaucratic leaderships which usurped political power from the working class and led their revolutions into nationalist dead ends from which they still haven’t escaped.  A new Trotskyist movement in the USA is the only hope the working class has of creating a militant and positively creative force that can unite workers of all races, creeds and ethnic backgrounds into a revolutionary force that can crush any and all fascist opposition and lead a truly egalitarian revolutionary workers movement like the one led by Lenin and his Bolsheviks after WWI.  “The capitalist system must die so that the working class may live” is our slogan.  “The capitalist system must die so that fascism can never rise again” must be the principle upon which the now decrepit US workers movement rallies itself around in a massive fight to restore the power of the communist-led US workers movement of the 1930s.  Failure to achieve these goals will lead to the triumph of fascism in the USA and ultimately to the total destruction of the US by the combined forces of the entire world, which will unite to smash US fascism just as they smashed the fascism of the German, Italian and Japanese Nazis in the ’40s.

Time is running out for the US working class to organize itself and turn the direction of the US around into the direction of workers socialist revolution.  Join with us to build a socialist future for the workers of the world through the overthrow of a capitalist system that threatens to plunge the planet into a war that will kill tens or even hundreds of millions of workers and that could damage the planet beyond repair.  The victory of Donald Trump is a clarion call to all workers in the USA to begin immediately to take up the tremendous tasks that face the US working class to build the revolutionary workers party that will lead the American Socialist Revolution in the USA , throughout the Americas and around the world.

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

Leon Trotsky Gives the Best Explanation Ever of Dialectical Materialism

We present to our readers what is probably the best, most concise and easy to follow explanation of what exactly is the essence of Marxist dialectics – the philosophy of dialectical materialism.  Suffice it to say that any worker who tries to comprehend political science without the benefit of the materialist Marxist dialectic will find herself in a world of confusion – like the bourgeois philosophers, economists and political scientists themselves.

What is the use of studying Marxism and Marxist dialectics?  It is quite simply a matter of life and death for the working class.  For example:  revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyists understand that capitalist society is a class society and is divided primarily into two classed: the capitalist class of exploiters and the working class of the exploited.  The class interests of these two classes are irreconcilably counterposed to each other.  There can be no “peace” between these two classes since the capitalists must ruthlessly exploit the workers in order to maintain their massive wealth, and the capitalist class state maintains an enormous repressive apparatus of cops, courts, jails and the military to crush the workers every time the workers try to fight for their rights.

When a political party rejects the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning, it loses its compass and can no longer find its way in the world; it can no longer serve as a revolutionary leadership for the working class.  A tragic example of this can be found in the Colombian Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo (FARC–EP),  (FARC for short).  This formerly formally “Marxist” political party has just concluded a “peace” agreement with the murderous Colombian capitalist class.  They have told their members that “peace” between the exploiters and exploited is possible under capitalism and they have declared to the world that they have achieved a “peace” agreement with the same politicians and government that has murdered tens of thousands of workers and peasants in the past century.  In fact the ex-Marxist renegades of FARC who, up until a few years ago, felt it was absolutely necessary to organize a revolutionary army in order to defend themselves from the Colombian capitalist class death squads and military forces has now become so disoriented since they have abandoned the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning that they are ordering their members to SURRENDER THEIR WEAPONS TO THE U.N. as part of this “peace” swindle!  Needless to say, the Colombian capitalist class has absolutely no intention of giving up THEIR weapons – or the weapons in the possession of their death squads either!   The last time FARC tried to obtain a “peace” agreement with the Colombian capitalist class and run candidates in “free and democratic elections, dozens of their leaders and at least 4 to 6 THOUSAND of their sympathisers and party members were murdered by the Colombian military and death squads organized and financed by the capitalists and big landlords! FARC has learned nothing from this tragic failure of their party leadership, and in 2016, having abandoned revolutionary Marxism (and by extension the Marxist dialectical method of reasoning that would have prevented them from making the same hideous mistake twice in just thirty years), they have betrayed the Colombian workers and peasants once again.  THAT is what happens to fake “Marxists” – and, more tragically, to the workers who follow them – when they abandon the Marxist method of dialectical materialism! (We have repeatedly tried to warn FARC away from concluding a “peace” agreement with the capitalists and away from agreeing to disarm, to no avail.)

There is really no need for an introduction or explanation of this material except to say that it is part of the series of Trotsky’s letters and essays that make up the book “In Defense of Marxism” which was published (and continues to be published) by Pathfinder Press;  our version comes from the Marxist Internet Archive and was proofread and checked with our edition of “In Defense of Marxism” (3d edition), Pathfinder Press, 1981.  We have edited it slightly; where excisions have been made we place the following: […].

— IWPCHI

Leon Trotsky: The ABC of Materialist Dialectics

[…]

The dialectic is neither fiction nor mysticism, but a science of the forms of our thinking insofar as it is not limited to the daily problems of life but attempts to arrive at an understanding of more complicated and drawn-out processes. The dialectic and formal logic bear a relationship similar to that between higher and lower mathematics.

I will here attempt to sketch the substance of the problem in a very concise form. The Aristotelian logic of the simple syllogism starts from the proposition that “A” is equal to “A.” This postulate is accepted as an axiom for a multitude of practical human actions and elementary generalizations. But in reality “A” is not equal to “A.” This is easy to prove if we observe these two letters under a lens – they are quite different from each other. But, one can object, the question is not of the size or the form of the letters, since they are only symbols for equal quantities, for instance, a pound of sugar. The objection is beside the point; in reality a pound of sugar is never equal to a pound of sugar – a more delicate scale always discloses a difference. Again one can object: but a pound of sugar is equal to itself. Neither is this true – all bodies change uninterruptedly in size, weight, color, etc. They are never equal to themselves. A sophist will respond that a pound of sugar is equal to itself “at any given moment.” Aside from the extremely dubious practical value of this “axiom,” it does not withstand theoretical criticism either. How should we really conceive the word “moment”? If it is an infinitesimal interval of time, then a pound of sugar is subjected during the course of that “moment” to inevitable changes. Or is the “moment” a purely mathematical abstraction, that is, a zero of time? But everything exists in time; and existence itself is an uninterrupted process of transformation; time is consequently a fundamental element of existence. Thus the axiom “A” is equal to “A” signifies that a thing is equal to itself if it does not change, that is, if it does not exist.

At first glance it could seem that these “subtleties” are useless. In reality they are of decisive significance. The axiom “A” is equal to “A” appears on one hand to be the point of departure for all our knowledge, on the other hand the point of departure for all the errors in our knowledge. To make use of the axiom “A” is equal to “A” with impunity is possible only within certain limits. When quantitative changes in “A” are negligible for the task at hand then we can presume that “A” is equal to “A.” This is, for example, the manner in which a buyer and a seller consider a pound of sugar. We consider the temperature of the sun likewise. Until recently we considered the buying power of the dollar in the same way. But quantitative changes beyond certain limits become converted into qualitative. A pound of sugar subjected to the action of water or kerosene ceases to be a pound of sugar. A dollar in the embrace of a president ceases to be a dollar. To determine at the right moment the critical point where quantity changes into quality is one of the most important and difficult tasks in all the spheres of knowledge including sociology.

Every worker knows that it is impossible to make two completely equal objects. In the elaboration of bearing-brass into cone bearings, a certain deviation is allowed for the cones which should not, however, go beyond certain limits (this is called tolerance). By observing the norms of tolerance, the cones are considered as being equal. (“A” is equal to “A.”) When the tolerance is exceeded the quantity goes over into quality; in other words, the cone bearings become inferior or completely worthless.

Our scientific thinking is only a part of our general practice including techniques. For concepts there also exists “tolerance” which is established not by formal logic issuing from the axiom “A” is equal to “A,” but by dialectical logic issuing from the axiom that everything is always changing. “Common sense” is characterized by the fact that it systematically exceeds dialectical “tolerance.”

Vulgar thought operates with such concepts as capitalism, morals, freedom, workers’ state, etc. as fixed abstractions, presuming that capitalism is equal to capitalism, morals are equal to morals, etc. Dialectical thinking analyzes all things and phenomena in their continuous change, while determining in the material conditions of those changes that critical limit beyond which “A” ceases to be “A”, a workers’ state ceases to be a workers’ state.

The fundamental flaw of vulgar thought lies in the fact that it wishes to content itself with motionless imprints of a reality which consists of eternal motion. Dialectical thinking gives to concepts, by means of closer approximations, corrections, concretizations, a richness of content and flexibility; I would even say a succulence which to a certain extent brings them close to living phenomena. Not capitalism in general, but a given capitalism at a given stage of development. Not a workers’ state in general, but a given workers’ state in a backward country in an imperialist encirclement, etc.

Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar thinking in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. Hegel in his Logic established a series of laws: change of quantity into quality, development through contradictions, conflict of content and form, interruption of continuity, change of possibility into inevitability, etc., which are just as important for theoretical thought as is the simple syllogism for more elementary tasks.

Hegel wrote before Darwin and before Marx. Thanks to the powerful impulse given to thought by the French Revolution, Hegel anticipated the general movement of science. But because it was only an anticipation, although by a genius, it received from Hegel an idealistic character. Hegel operated with ideological shadows as the ultimate reality. Marx demonstrated that the movement of these ideological shadows reflected nothing but the movement of material bodies.

We call our dialectic, materialist, since its roots are neither in heaven nor in the depths of our “free will,” but in objective reality, in nature. Consciousness grew out of the unconscious, psychology out of physiology, the organic world out of the inorganic, the solar system out of nebulae. On all the rungs of this ladder of development, the quantitative changes were transformed into qualitative. Our thought, including dialectical thought, is only one of the forms of the expression of changing matter. There is place within this system for neither God, nor Devil, nor immortal soul, nor eternal norms of laws and morals. The dialectic of thinking, having grown out of the dialectic of nature, possesses consequently a thoroughly materialist character.

Darwinism, which explained the evolution of species through quantitative transformations passing into qualitative, was the highest triumph of the dialectic in the whole field of organic matter. Another great triumph was the discovery of the table of atomic weights of chemical elements and further the transformation of one element into another.

With these transformations (species, elements, etc.) is closely linked the question of classification, equally important in the natural as in the social sciences. Linmeus’ system (18th century), utilizing as its starting point the immutability of species, was limited to the description and classification of plants according to their external characteristics. The infantile period of botany is analogous to the infantile period of logic, since the forms of our thought develop like everything that lives. Only decisive repudiation of the idea of fixed species, only the study of the history of the evolution of plants and their anatomy prepared the basis for a really scientific classification.

Marx, who in distinction from Darwin was a conscious dialectician, discovered a basis for the scientific classification of human societies in the development of their productive forces and the structure of the relations of ownership which constitute the anatomy of society. Marxism substituted for the vulgar descriptive classification of societies and states, which even up to now still flourishes in the universities, a materialistic dialectical classification. Only through using the method of Marx is it possible correctly to determine both the concept of a workers’ state and the moment of its downfall.

All this, as we see, contains nothing “metaphysical” or “scholastic,” as conceited ignorance affirms. Dialectic logic expresses the laws of motion in contemporary scientific thought. The struggle against materialist dialectics on the contrary expresses a distant past, conservatism of the petty bourgeoisie, the self-conceit of university routinists and … a spark of hope for an after-life.

=== FINITO===