Category Archives: Union News

Chicago’s Democratic Party-Controlled Union “Leadership”: No-shows at Huge #FightFor15 Union Rally in Chicago

Huge Midwest Rally for the #FightFor15 Kicks Off – 23 May 2017. Of course no one gave a moment’s thought to picketing the huge building in the background that houses the racist, capitalist Democratic Party criminals who run Chicago like a slave plantation.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

(23 May 2017) –  There was a large and very spirited rally of thousands of union workers from across the Midwest held in Chicago today in support of the #FightFor15 movement.  Unions from Kansas City, Cleveland, and Detroit all showed up in large numbers; but there was one group conspicuously missing: the unions from Chicago itself!  They were M.I.A.  And not one Chicago politician or Chicago AFL-CIO union piecard dared to mount the speakers’ platform at the end of the rally, either.  Frankly, we don’t think anyone missed them; but their absence was an insult to the thousands of mostly black (and Hispanic) workers from throughout the Midwest who spent hours on buses traveling to Chicago to attend the rally, who probably expected to be welcomed by their union sisters and brothers here in Chicago.  Sadly, almost certainly due to Chicago Democratic Party machinations, it was not going to happen.  The so-called “friends of labor” Democrats are scared to death of any manifestation of class solidarity among workers from across the region; and they’ll do anything to prevent “their” Chicago unions from meeting union militants from other Democratic Party-controlled cities in the Midwest.  To the Democrats, union solidarity spells “big trouble down the line.”

Kansas City, Presente! (Photo by IWPCHI)

Detroit union workers brought a large contingent of the pride of black Detroit and their fine banner. (Photo by IWPCHI)

This is a small part of the large group of trade unionists from Cleveland. (Photo by IWPCHI)

The rally was directed by the Democrats leading the AFL-CIO unions that participated (particularly the Service Employees Industrial Union (SEIU); the main targets of their anger were (of course) Donald Trump and the McDonald’s Corporation, which has been fighting against #FightFor15 ever since the campaign was launched.  But for whatever reason the Democratic Party-controlled Chicago unions were complete no-shows at the march and on the podium at the end of the rally.  We attended the march and rally and did not see a single Chicago union banner!  What a disgrace!

Hispanic workers from Chicago and throughout the Midwest were well represented – as usual! (Photo by IWPCHI)

The rally assembles at Daley Plaza, 23 May 2017. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Our very modest abilities to intervene politically in the rally were limited by our organization’s small size;  our slogans were: “Dump the Democrats and Build A Workers Party” and “$15 an HR?  NOT ENOUGH!  We Need a $25 an HR Min. Wage in Chicago!”

Why “dump the Democrats”?  Because the Democrats are one of the two political parties owned and operated by the US big business interests – the capitalist class – who create their wealth by robbing workers of the product of workers’ labor.  In the capitalist system, all profits are squeezed from the labor of the workers; the capitalists are always trying to devise new ways to increase their profits by cutting wages and benefits  and by eliminating as many workers as possible and making the remaining workers do their own  jobs as well as the jobs of those who were fired.

“Get up! Get Down! Chicago Is a Union Town!” Yes it is but thanks to the Democrat-controlled union “leadership” you’ll rarely see Chicago union workers hitting the streets – especially when union sisters and brothers from throughout the Midwest are in town. (Photo by IWPCHI)

March assembly point: ready to hit the streets of Chicago. (Photo by IWPCHI)

The Democratic Party politicians are essentially hired directly by the capitalists through campaign contributions to those politicians.  All Democratic Party politicians get the majority of their campaign funding from the capitalist bosses.  This means that the loyalty of the Democratic party politicians – just like the Republican politicians – it to the capitalist class, not the working class.  The Democrats are the bought-and-paid-for representatives of the capitalist class just as the Republican Party politicians are.

As workers, members of the working class, we can not expect to have our  interests represented by politicians who are in the pay of the capitalists who exploit us!  That is why we place so much importance on the slogan “build a workers party”.  In order for the workers to have honest political representation at city hall, the state house, and in Congress, we have to create workers parties of, by and for the working class that are completely independent of the capitalist class in every way.  If we want to have control of the direction taken by local, state and national government, we must build workers parties based on the trade union membership and fully funded by the workers through donations and party dues payments (just like union dues).  The US working class is 175 million strong; if each worker gave just one dollar a month to an independent workers party, we’d have enough money to run candidates for every local, state and national representative body and soon WE would be deciding what legislation gets passed and what legislation gets dumped in the trash where it belongs!  Until the working class builds its own fully independent workers parties, working people will continue to have to beg the bought-and-paid-for politicians owned by our class enemies – the capitalists – to toss us a few crumbs every once in a while!

Communities United contingent gets ready to march. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Ready to roll! “Whose streets? OUR STREETS!” (Photo by IWPCHI)

“There is power in a union”. Yes but not when the union is on a leash held by the capitalist class through the agency of the Democratic Party. Dump the Democrats and Build a Workers Party! (Photo by IWPCHI)

That is why we have created the Independent Workers Party; we want to be YOUR party.  It is 100% independent of the capitalist class and is fully funded by workers.  As it grows, it will train its members in working-class history and prepare rank-and-file workers to become the honest political leaders the working class desperately needs in order to fight for workers’ rights until we become the majority party in the US and then we can give the entire capitalist system the funeral it has deserved for more than a century and create a revolutionary socialist workers government!  A workers government would pass a modern workers Constitution and Bill of Rights that would “outlaw” racism, sexism, homelessness, poverty and war.  Food, clothing, housing, education and medical care would become permanent “inalienable rights”.  No one could ever be evicted from their home for inability to pay the rent; no one could be denied medical treatment or food because they couldn’t afford it.  College education would be free.  Workers who lost their jobs would get 100% of their pay as unemployment benefits until they got back to work.  Daycare services would be free and available 24/7/365.  This is what 21st century socialism looks like!

Heading north on Michigan Avenue towards the Chicago River – and Trump Tower. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Trump Tower. Chicago home of the new Killer Clown in the White House. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Why do we say “$15 an HR? NOT ENOUGH”?  Because $15/hr is not enough money to live on in any major US city!  Economists say that in order for anyone to be making enough money to live comfortably, their rent should not be more than roughly 1/3 of their monthly take-home pay.  In Chicago, a decent 3-bedroom apartment (for a family with 2 kids) in one of the better neighborhoods costs $1500/mo or more (not including utilities!).  This means that a worker needs to make approximately $4500/mo or $1125/wk., which amounts to approximately $28.25 an hour!  So how can anyone pretend that a $15 minimum wage is going to be anywhere near enough to provide a decent standard of living for a person supporting a spouse and 2 kids?

A few years ago, a group of researchers calculated the minimum wages necessary for workers to live decently in every state in the US.  Here are their results:

Wages necessary to afford just a 2-bedroom apartment in the USA; these figures are several years old. The figures are statewide averages and do not show the much higher “housing wages” necessary to live decently in big cities like Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles.

With the rate of inflation running at around 2% a year, real wages are steadily declining unless workers receive at least the same percentage in a pay raise.  We say that not only is $15/hr not enough for Chicago; but unless the minimum wage is backed up by a full cost-of-living increase indexed to inflation annually, any increase in the minimum wage will quickly be eroded as inflation eats away at the new wage.

The goal of the Democrats and Republicans, working together to represent the best interests of the capitalists who paid them to run for office, is to take their sweeeet time before they raise the minimum wage.  By the time they finally pass the $15 minwage for the country (if they ever do that) it have depreciated so much that it will not be enough to sustain a small family at all.  When the greedheads like McDonald’s Corporation claim that workers are being “too greedy” asking for $15/hr, they are consciously lying.  They know that in fact $15/hr is easily doable – which is why the Democratic Party-affiliated #FightFor15 organization is supporting the inadequate demand of a mere $15/hr.  But they intend to draw out the implementation of this badly needed minimum wage increase for as long as they can, so their wealthy benefactors can rake in their megaprofits for as long as possible before the minwage increase hits them in their pockets!

Heading up N. LaSalle Dr. towards the Rock and Roll McDonald’s for the rally. Taken from the back end of the march, showing the huge numbers of workers who participated.  The cross-street closest to us in this photo is Kinzie; obviously the march stretches down four to six city blocks.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Arriving at the “Rock and Roll McDonald’s” in Chicago. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Workers were only allowed to stand on two sides of the McDonald’s building, and were not allowed to block the entrances or exits.  The McDonald’s was closed during the rally. Oh, yeah: did we mention that it rained like hell for most of the march?  No? Well it rained like hell for most of the march – but like good union workers everywhere, these Midwestern trade unionists were prepared for any eventuality.  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Chicago Police blocked the exits… (Photo by IWPCHI)

…and entrances to the McDonald’s building – this car appeared to be an employee leaving the site. (Photo by IWPCHI)

Speakers addressed the rally from the back of a flatbed truck. (Photo by IWPCHI)

It appeared that this speaker read a statement from “Patriotic Millionaires” in “support” of the #FightFor15 campaign! Workers, who make up around 75% of the US population, do not need the “help” of millionaires – “patriotic” or otherwise – who represent less than 7% of the population.  (All we must ask of the millionaires is that they please don’t try to stand in the road in front of the workers movement lol)  (Photo by IWPCHI)

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry was the only top trade union official who addressed the crowd. All of the Chicago union “leaders” seemed to have boycotted the event. A disgrace for them and “their” unions! (Photo by IWPCHI)

SEIU President Mary Kay Henry gave a rousing speech in which she denounced McDonalds’ corporate greed and pledged that her union, at least, would stand up to defend US workers and also staunchly defend immigrant and refugee rights.  Immigrant and refugee rights are indeed under severe attack from the Trump administration – just as they were under the Obama administration.  This too proves that the differences between the Democrats and Republicans are far outweighed by the similarities.  In the final analysis, the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same capitalist coin.  Workers must never allow our enemies in the capitalist class (and their government stooges) to divide the working class aginst itself.  We say: “Full citizenship rights for all immigrants and refugees – NOW!”  Immigrants and refugees are the allies of the US working class, not our enemies.  Our enemies are the in the US capitalist class which exploits all workers and attempts to create divisions amongst workers in every way they can: along religious, ethnic, sexual and every other line.  Unions are our first line of defense against this crap.  “An injury to one is an injury to all!  Workers of the World, Unite!”

— Independent Workers Party – Chicago

 

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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Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence – Transcript

We publish here our transcription of the post-performance address given on behalf of the cast and writers of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on 18 November 2016.  We produced it from the New York Times video copy of the event.  Though it appears that actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the address on behalf of the cast and writers of the show, made somewhat more extensive remarks, the video ends before he appears to finish his statement.  We have been unable to find a copy of the video which shows the entire event through to the cast walking off the stage.

Many people on the Internet are decrying the fact that actors would dare to break the “fourth wall” between the audience and the performers in a stage performance in this manner and act as if this has never been done before.  Actually it has happened on many occasions, particularly before and after performances.  Also there have been commentators who seem to believe that the address to Pence was some kind of rude political attack intended to embarrass or humiliate Pence.  In reality, Mr. Dixon took great pains to stop any booing of Pence at the beginning of the address and delivered the address in a very respectful if direct manner.  The video shows that if anyone objected to the cast addressing Pence so directly they were in the minority: the vast majority of the audience cheers loudly in favor of the political points that are made.

The political points made by Dixon on behalf of the cast simply consist of pathetic appeals to a man who has been appointed Vice-President by the new President-elect Trump who is busy assembling the whitest, most male-dominated Presidential cabinet in almost 40 years!  “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir ” said Dixon.

What a fine example of the impotent method of political shucking and jiving (preferred by US liberals) of “speaking truth to power” in the manner of an obedient if somewhat uppity servant who first declares his respect for the person he is addressing and then makes a pathetic plea to the King’s representative for compassion and understanding of the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and dispossessed – just as it would have been done during the historic period in which ‘Hamilton’ is set!   The US working class is almost 200 million strong… yet once again we see a de facto representative of the US working class approaching his “social betters” – the capitalist class representative Pence, representing a mere 10% of the US population at best! – hat in hand, pathetically begging our “masters” to treat us kindly… rather than taking the revolutionary road of standing up and overthrowing the racist ruling capitalist class of the USA that Trump and Pence represent!  The numerically tiny US capitalist class who fantasize about returning the USA to the “Good Old Days(TM)” of genocide against the Native Americans and the theft of their lands, white supremacy, total subordination of women to “the menfolk”, slavery and child labor and the ruthless crushing of every attempt of the workers and slaves to fight for their “inalienable rights” that existed – then and now – only on paper!   The fact is that the integrated US working class in 2016 and our immigrant sisters and brothers have no rights that the capitalist class is “bound to respect”; and the fact that the US capitalist class has seen fit to allow Donald Trump and his gang of white supremacist scum to occupy the highest office in the land proves this point beyond doubt!  Anyone who can’t see this is either willfully blind or an imbecile.

What the US working class needs is not shameful “representatives” who present shamefully weak petitions to the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class but heroic revolutionaries like Lenin’s Bolsheviks who presented their petitions to the Tsar and his hangmen on the ends of bayonets!  These scum who want to impose a racist, capitalist, white supremacist pig like Trump as President of the United States are throwing down a gauntlet to the working classes of the US and the world!  “If you don’t like living in our racist, white supremacist, anti-union America you can get the hell out of ‘our’ country!” they declare!  And they are preparing to unleash their fascist shock troops to intimidate and terrorize those who dare to oppose them!  The rising US fascist threat must be crushed in the egg; it will take a militant, Trotskyist-led workers movement to do it – and the US working class have barely begun that tremendous work!  Don’t you think it’s high time you got off your knees and started to fight for your rights, sister and brother workers instead of begging your mortal enemies to love you and respect you?

This is no time for presenting timid petitions to King Drumpf I, but for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will fight for an egalitarian socialist workers republic to replace this deeply corrupt, senile, revanchist, racist dinosaur US capitalist class and its rotten economic system that is threatening to destroy the unity of the world’s working classes and even the entire planet!  You want your rights as citizens to be defended now and forever more?  Then stop begging your enemies to do it for you and prepare to create a revolutionary workers government under which your “inalienable rights” – which exist only on paper under capitalism – to become full and permanent under a workers’ republican government!  When we say that “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!” we are not just spouting a slogan: we are stating a harsh fact, one which you had better come to understand before it’s too late.  To limit the US working class – 200 million strong – to the pathetic role of merely “speaking truth to power” – the alleged “power” of at most 30 million greedhead capitalists – is to accept the status of loyal slaves and to make it a permanent fact of our political lives!  What could be more cowardly?  We don’t want to petition “King Trump” or merely to “speak truth to power” to his flunky ministers like Pence: we want to overthrow the despotic racist regime itself:  Trump and his entire rotten class and their capitalist system.   If the revolutionaries of 1776 had stupidly limited their struggle to merely “speaking truth to power” we’d still be living under a monarchy!  But they were NOT cowards; they were not content to “keep their place” as loyal subjects of the King, being forced to accede to his every decree and command like stupid slaves!  We need to build a political party of the working class that is energised by the same kind of revolutionary spirit that animated the likes of immigrant political theoretician Thomas Paine, Daniel Shays, John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the communist men and women who fought to build the US trade unions and the civil rights movement in the 1930s!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

— IWPCHI

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

NY Times Video – Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Addresses VP Elect Mike Pence After Performance – Complete transcript by IWPCHI, with notes in brackets by IWPCHI.

[Transcribed by IWPCHI from NY Times video of event. Speech delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon]

[Cast on stage taking final bows. Wild applause and cheering. Pence not visible during video.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening [light laughter throughout audience] And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments [one or two people boo, and apparently derisive comments anticipating tenor of speech can be heard] … there’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen; there’s nothing to boo here [light applause] we’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a little message for you sir [Dixon reaches for prepared address in his pocket] and we hope that you will hear us out. [Opens up paper with prepared address and prepares to read it] … and I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and Tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, O.K.? [Reads: audience completely silent] ‘Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical”. We really do. We, sir – we – are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us [applause and cheering, some boos] our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. [Audience silent again]. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of *all* of us. [Cheering] *All* of us. [Loud, sustained applause and cheering from audience. No booing. Dixon continues through loud applause:] Again we truly thank you for sharing this show: this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [Loud applause and cheering. Video ends.]

IWPCHI

 

Labor Day 2016: “Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

The following selection from the labor press of the AFL back in 1904 will show that there once was a time when even the class-collaborationist and hidebound AFL of Samuel Gompers understood – in direct contradiction to the fundamental belief of today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” – that the interests of labor and capital were fundamentally opposed to each other.  “Let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class.” So spoke the AFL back in 1904!

This article, which makes an eloquent plea for the necessity of the establishment of an independent labor press if the cause of the working class was to be fairly represented in the mass media, was written 112 years ago – and for the most part could have been written yesterday.  The need for such a press is just as important today as it was then, although in 1904 there were dozens of labor papers in existence scattered throughout the US.  In 2016, apart from the revolutionary socialist press that fights for the cause of the working class – but is almost completely ignored by the mass of slavish US workers – there is no labor press at all.  This is because the pro-capitalist AFL-CIO, whose affiliated locals once recognized the need for and published dozens of such papers, is now led by such a gang of housebroken puppets of the capitalist class that this crying need of the working class goes totally unanswered.   ———— IWPCHI

From the ‘Ohio Valley Worker’ – the ‘Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.’ [Kentucky and Indiana, USA] – Volume I, Number 33, 10 September 1904

INDEPENDENT LABOR PRESS A NECESSITY

Labor Given the Knife by the Great Molders of Public Opinion.

The Workers Must Establish and Maintain Their Own Press If They Expect to be Properly Represented.

No argument is needed to convince the intelligent observer of passing events of the growing need of a labor press that has no entangling alliances with any of the agencies which have undertaken the task of emasculating the labor unions or destroying them entirely. The most superficial reader of the daily press is quick to notice the manner in which the news agencies of the world are continuously and forever giving Labor the worst of it in every conceivable manner. The Associated Press, the chief news-gathering agency in America, is made up of one or more daily papers in the various cities of the country, and the stuff put upon the wires and known as the Associated Press dispatches is usually gleaned from the matter prepared for these local papers. Very often a proof of the matter set up for the daily papers is supplied the [sic – IWPCHI] Associated Press correspondent, and often, without any corrections or changes whatever, the matter is telegraphed all over the country and appears in all papers receiving the press report as Associated Press dispatches.

The foregoing recital is made for the purpose of showing that, while the Associated Press if damned for false stories, especially in nearly all cases where there is a strike or other controversy between Capital and Labor, in reality the blame rests upon the daily papers, whose reporters, acting under instructions, have juggled the facts so as to make it appear that Labor is wrong and that the employers are persecuted saints. To be sure, the daily paper merely serves its master in this. It looks to the “business interests,” the banks, corporations, manufacturers, and large employers of labor generally for its support. And, obeying the impulse to defend the class-interest of the element to which it belongs, the daily paper uses all its powers to thwart organized labor, confuse the union membership, and help the employers to a victory that means no improvement in the condition of the workers.

The facts above stated are so patent, and are being more and more recognized by wage-earners, as the days come and go, that we deem an extended mention thereof to be superficial were it not for the moral the story contains.

Under the circumstances what is Labor to do? Must it docilely submit to the fate of inaction? Shall it cower and cringe before the public gaze because it has been lied about and vilified – and whipped back to the factory, shop or mill through the misrepresentation of men in control of the daily press, whose economic interests are opposed to those of the workers? No! There is a better solution of the problem. The thing to do is to build up a LABOR press – owned by Labor and controlled by Labor. Through your own press, fellow-workers, you may become powerful, but not otherwise. With a medium that is under your ownership and control your organization may become a power not now more than dreamed of. To establish and make secure such a Labor press is the duty of the hour. You must have your own medium to give utterance to your demands, crystallize the sentiment that may be created in your favor, and finally do battle for you in every conflict in which you may be engaged.

THE WORKER is the only paper within several hundred miles of Louisville that is organized and established on the right basis. It is the only one that is democratically owned by the forces of Labor, and therefore is the only medium through which the favors of those friendly to Labor ever reach the point for which they are intended. It is the only genuine Labor paper.

Everyone who reads the Louisville daily papers will recall that within the past couple of years they vied with each other in their efforts to get up a union labor department. Regularly each week a column or two was devoted to the news of the unions. Where are these departments now? When they have not entirely disappeared they have dwindled to virtually nothing. This is a manifestation of the studied purpose of the Employers’ Association and all its friends to give no recognition to organized labor except to oppose and belittle this great movement. A representative of one of the daily papers, in a semi-confidential manner, gave the writer the tip several months ago that from that time on there would be less labor union news in the city daily papers than has been customary to give. Events have proven that he knew whereof he spoke. Labor is to be ignored – or, if given any consideration at all, it is to be given the knife.

Again, let the unions understand that they may expect nothing of value from their natural enemies – and in the final analysis the whole question is sifted down to and rests upon and is controlled by the economic interests of the employing class as opposed to those interests of the working class. We do not blame the employers for defending their interests, but the workers MUST awaken to a proper defense of THEIR interests, and this can be done only by and through the press which they own and control, and not through the press that almost without exception gives Labor the hot end of it in every great issue and on every great question.

Set up and support your own press and keep it true to its purpose. Therein lies your only safeguard, fellow-unionists.

[Emphasis given in capitalized words in original – IWPCHI]

Labor Day, 2016: Once Upon A Time, The US Had “Labor Newspapers”… Lots of Them

On this “Labor Day” weekend we are reminded of the terrible state of the union movement in the USA.  Under the pro-capitalist leadership of the AFL-CIO since the anti-communist witch-hunts led by Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy back in the ’50s drove the commies out of the unions, the percentage of the US working class holding union cards has steadily dwindled.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and trotskyist leadership; collapsed when "Reds" were driven out of unions in late 1940s.

Union membership rose vertically in 1930s under anti-capitalist Communist and Trotskyist leadership; collapsed when “Reds” were driven out of unions in late 1940s.  Wealth distribution towards top of income pyramid shows distinct inverse relationship to percentage of workers in higher-paid union jobs. Anticommunist, pro-capitalist AFL-CIO “leadership” has overseen 65 years of almost unbroken failure to organize the unorganized.  Time to dump these bums and build a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership in the unions!

Today’s AFL-CIO “leadership” regales the membership with the lie that “the interests of labor and capital are one and the same”.  Look at point one in the following AFL-CIO handout:

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about "unity of interests" of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these "labor lieutenants of capital" at the helm?

Pro-capitalist AFL-CIO spreads lies about “unity of interests” of capital and labor. Is it any wonder that union membership has fallen off a cliff with these “labor lieutenants of capital” at the helm?  Every word of this document is pure bullshit, sowing illusions that workers can get a fair deal under the capitalist system.

It wasn’t always this way.  In the late 19th and the early years of the 20th century US workers and their union leaders understood that the interests of capital and labor were directly COUNTERPOSED and IRRECONCILABLE.  Union leadership in those days was full of anarchists, socialists and (after 1917) Communists inspired by the Bolshevik Russian Revolution.  Though the top AFL-CIO leaders like Sam Gompers were hidebound pro-capitalist quislings, many of the local unions had more left-leaning leaders who taught that the working class could expect nothing but a knife in the back from the capitalist class – and their media outlets, which in the early days of the union movement before radio and television meant just one thing: the newspapers.  And so, in order for the truth about the union movement to be broadcast to the masses, the socialist parties and later on the AFL-CIO itself began publishing newspapers telling the workers’ side of the story.  From union and socialist and anarchist strongholds like the lumber and mining unions in the Pacific Northwest to the shores of the Atlantic, union newspapers were created.  Where once the US produced perhaps dozens of daily socialist, anarchist and trade-unionist newspapers none are in existence today.   Outside of the important revolutionary socialist papers that struggle to obtain the support of the slavish, pro-capitalist US working class of today (and can only publish weekly or biweekly or monthly as a result) the US has not a single pro-union daily newspaper!  What is wrong with this country and its working class?   Here is a selection of papers we ran across today as we checked out the archives at  Newspapers.com:

The Knights of Labor, Richmond, Virginia, 1886: “That is the Most Perfect Government in Which An Injury To One Is the Concern Of All.”

Richmond, VA K of L paper_'The Labor Herald'_ 17jul1886

The Knights of Labor were originally organized as a secret society at a time when union organizing was punished as a “conspiracy” of labor against the “rightful rulers” of the USA.  Having just emerged from secrecy in 1886 during the rapid rise of the “Eight-Hour Day” movement, the K of L were driven back underground in the wake of the vicious anti-union attacks led by the US capitalist class and their press in revenge for the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago that took place in May of 1886.

Mt. Vernon, Illinois “Progressive Farmer” of the Farmer’s Mutual Benefit Association (FMBA), 1895

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

Farmers across the US were forced to band together in the wake of economic crises of the late 1800s that resulted from land speculation and droughts that ruined the rural economy and kept farmers at the mercy of bankers, grain speculators and railroads. (Some things never change!) The Farmers Mutual Benefit Association, though not a trade union, was formed and published newspapers across the Midwest.

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

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Even small towns like Elwood, Indiana had their own labor papers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany and Jeffersonville Indiana’s “Ohio Valley Worker”, 1904: “The Official Paper of the Federated Trades Council of Louisville, Trades and Labor Council of New Albany, Central Labor Union of Jeffersonville.”

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of.

Perhaps in response to the spread of popular daily papers being published all over the Midwest in the wake of major union organizing efforts at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the AFL began to publish their own papers, with a far more leftist slant than their leadership in Washington, D.C. would have approved of. This one features a poem dedicated to Socialist Party leader Eugene V. Debs.

 

Greensboro, North Carolina “Labor News”, 1908: “Organ of the State Federation of Labor.  Endorsed by Greensboro Trades Council.  Motto: Organization, Education And Elevation.”

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist "public opinion".

The less-than-inspiring motto of this AFL paper demonstrates a more conservative political philosophy and an appetite for seeking the approval of pro-capitalist “public opinion”.

 

Everett, Washington “Washington Socialist”, 1914: “Workers Of The World, Unite!  You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains.  You Have A World To Win.”

A revolutionary socialist newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti war articles rail against WWI: "[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class."

A revolutionary Socialist Party newspaper of 1914 pulls no punches about where it stands. Anti-war articles rail against WWI: “[We] deplore the fact that the wage class of Europe have allowed themselves to be lured to the battlefield to be slaughtered for the benefit of the master class…the proletariat have no country, but are and should be citizens of the world, and that they have therefore but ONE enemy, the capitalist class…”

Decatur, Illinois “Labor World”, 1915:  “The Paper That Won’t Be Muzzled… Endorsed By The Trades And Labor Assembly”

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WWI saw the US working class, which had initially completely opposed any involvement in the “War to end all wars”, being driven by the jingoist press into joining in the effort to defeat “the Hun”.  The Socialist movement, led in many midwestern cities by German workers, was attacked for its principled anti-war stance for being “pro-German”.  This placed the editors of newspapers on the defensive throughout the period of build-up to the entry of the US into the war until the anti-communist Palmer Raids shut down many of these papers in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917.

 

Everett, Washington “Northwest Worker”, 1917:  “Official Organ of the Socialist Party of Snohomish and Stevens Counties… Spokesman for the Only Useful Class in Society – The Working Class”

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By 1917, the US had been transformed by 3 years of incessant warmongering from the capitalist press from a nation utterly opposed to entry into WWI to a nation eager to plunge into the worst bloodbath in world history to that time.  Working-class papers that had held to their anti-war principles were severely attacked in print and in public.  The Socialist Party openly hails the bourgeois-democratic revolution that had taken place in Russia in February of 1917, toppling the hated Czar from his throne.

 

Cincinnati, Ohio “Labor Advocate”, 1917: “A Paper Without A Muzzle For All Who Toil… Property and Official Organ of the Building Trades Council of Cincinnati and Vicinity… Independent… Non-Partisan”

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from "the Hun". Touting in its masthead the slogans "Independent" and "Non-Partisan" it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

Pro-capitalist AFL newspaper pushes pro-war propaganda, using a front-page cartoon of a German soldier butchering a (probably Belgian) woman with a babe in her arms. The dear American Mother urges her sons to take up the sword to defend the innocent woman from “the Hun”. Touting in its masthead the slogans “Independent” and “Non-Partisan” it urges its readers to take a very partisan stance in the mass slaughter of WWI.

 

Duluth and Superior, Minnesota “Labor World”, 1918:  “For Social Justice, Economic Reform, And Political Progress”

The motto says it all: this paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor "peace" and mere "political progress", not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the "working class" but of the "consuming class".

The motto says it all: this AFL paper is pro-capitalist and reformist, seeking labor “peace” and mere “political progress”, not revolution. The blurb in the upper-left corner of the masthead, addressed to potential business advertisers, states that the people who read this paper are not of the “working class” but of the “consuming class”.

 

Wilmington, North Carolina “Union Labor Record”, 1918:  “The Medium of Organized Labor and Guardian of the Workingman’s Interest.  Endorsed by the North Carolina State Federation of Labor.”

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By the end of 1918, the US working class – outside of a few strongholds of internationalist socialism — has been stampeded into supporting the US drive to enter WWI.  This southern AFL paper decries war profiteering while trumpeting a “united war work drive”.

 

Everett, Washington “Labor Journal”, 1922: “Official Paper Everett Central Labor Council… Published In The Interest Of Organized Labor”

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Another pro-capitalist AFL paper, featuring the uplifting, inspiring saying (in the face of a mass lockout of workers by the railroad barons): “In the struggle between poverty and talent, poverty generally triumphs.”

The AFL-CIO unions today publish not newspapers but newsletters for their membership only, featuring self-aggrandizing pabulum about how great the local piecards are… and of course the death notices… and large displays of US flags everywhere – along with attacks on the Republicans and lists of “friends of Labor” Democrats to vote for in the upcoming elections.  No wonder the AFL-CIO is going down the tubes with this pathetic, pro-capitalist leadership!  If we want to see the union membership rise again like it did in the 1930s, we need to kick out the pro-capitalist labor fakers and replace them with a revolutionary Trotskyist class-struggle leadership that fights not just for “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” but for workers socialist revolution in the USA and around the world!  There will not be any dancing in the streets after WWIII, sisters and brothers.

Workers of the World, Unite!  Capitalism Must Die So The Working Class May Live!

—IWPCHI

239th Anniversary of US Declaration of Independence: US Working Class Has Little to Celebrate

Even in the relatively affluent suburbs of the USA, like Glenview, IL - located just outside Democratic Party-run and financially tottering Chicago - if you want to have a Fourth of July celebration you have to cough up some dough, because the greedy capitalist class won't foot the bill any more. [Photo by IWPCHI]

Even in the relatively affluent suburbs of the USA – like Glenview, IL, located just outside Democratic Party-run and financially tottering Chicago – if you want to have a Fourth of July celebration you’d better dig deep into your own pockets, because the greedy capitalist class won’t foot the bill any more. [Photo by IWPCHI]

Today on the Fourth of July we honor the revolutionary worker- and farmer- heroes of 1776 by honoring the revolutionary workers of 2015 who suffer in prison and exile for daring to fight for the rights of every working man and woman on this planet.

There are two kinds of workers in the world: wage-slaves and revolutionaries. In 2015, as in every era of human history, the mass of working people is composed of the wage-slaves, who sullenly bear their burdens like the downtrodden slaves they are, lashing out at anyone who tries to organize a slave rebellion and who slavishly place themselves at the service of their capitalist masters no matter how humiliating or savage the requests may be. Only at times of actual revolutionary struggle do these people attempt to finally cast off their chains and join in the revolutionary struggle to overthrow the ruling class – and then only if the odds of success are heavily on the side of the revolutionaries. It has ever been thus and it will ever be this way. This article is addressed to the revolutionary-minded workers of the United States and throughout the world who hate the capitalist status quo and who will NOT be mindlessly waving the flag on this 239th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. They will be mindful of the vast and widening gulf that exists between the largely empty promises of 1776 and the current realities of a US government run by a greed-drunk capitalist class whose regime grows more and more monstrously oppressive with each passing hour.

The annual celebrations in honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 are being conducted in their usual senseless manner this year – but with an ironic twist. The ruling capitalist class, which sees no point in spending their hard-stolen money on such frivolities as education for the nation’s children, has apparently lost interest even in providing the ‘bread and circuses’ they once deemed essential for the maintenance of class peace between the millions of exploited wage- and debt-slaves and their exploiters. Today the once sacred budget appropriations for celebrations of the 4th of July have been placed on the chopping block; if you want to have a big 4th of July fireworks display, forget it – there’s not enough tax revenue left in the coffers of our cities and towns to be able to afford such an extravagance – the capitalists’ hired politicians and their co-conspirators have stolen it all. Increasingly, workers – even in the more affluent towns like Glenview, IL are going around hat-in-hand begging the citizens to donate money if they want to see any fireworks on the nation’s birthday!

Parades roll on full of fresh-faced military “heroes” the most recently-minted of which have only achieved the destruction of several small and poorly-defended nation-states, having left nothing but corpses, chaos and hatred for the United States in their wake. Many of these young men and women will not be marching in today’s parades – because it is no longer possible for them to do so; they have been horribly maimed while fighting in US imperialism’s endless and unwinnable “War on Terror”(TM). Now they have a new fight ahead of them: the struggle to survive, to obtain the health care and family services they desperately need, and which a money-grubbing US government doles out to them with an eye-dropper – if they can “qualify” for any assistance at all. Once a soldier is no longer able to physically defend the overseas investments of the US capitalist class, the capitalists discard them like an old pair of army boots. Yet every major sporting event and every Fourth of July parade, every newscast you’ll see today and millions of fatuously “patriotic” advertisements include a bombastic and idiotic salute to the nation’s military “heroes” freshly returned from one-sided “battlefields” where the only sacrifices being made are on the side of those wantonly attacked by the United States Government.  Crowds of stupefied American wage-slaves cheer as these veterans are trotted out for the national photo ops all over the nation, and then sent back home to figure out how the hell they are going to find a job so they can keep a roof over the heads of their families.   Almost completely ignored are the tens of thousands of homeless US veterans  who will be out there panhandling at these very parades that pretend to honor them; for these homeless veterans of America’s many, many wars, these Fourth of July celebration’s of America’s hometown military heroes must seem like deliberate mockery.

Military jets fly over baseball parks from coast to coast, prompting “oohs and ahhs” from the throng of stupid American wage-slaves idiotically applauding machines designed to do nothing but blast human beings into tiny pieces – bought and paid for with the workers own hard-earned tax money. Meanwhile, our cities are mismanaged,  looted by the politician-hirelings of capital and driven into bankruptcy;

US citizens across the nation are being denied access to a basic human need – water –  because they can’t afford to pay the water bill; racist cops shoot down citizens for no reason and get away with it and the US president declares to the world that he has a “right” to order the assassination of anyone who he deems to be a “terrorist” – even if they are a U.S. citizen! Happy Fourth of July! Wave a flag, dummies!

Meanwhile, more and more of the actual heroes who have risked their lives and fortunes trying to expose the horrendous crimes being committed by an increasingly deranged US capitalist class and its hirelings are being framed up on bogus criminal charges, convicted – by juries composed of cowards who will never rise to the level of the women and men they are sitting in judgment of, and thrown into the notoriously overcrowded and violent hellhole prison system for years or even decades. Brave men and women like Jason and Jeremy Hammond and  Chelsea Manning languish in prison; courageous people like Julian Assange of WikiLeaks have their lives turned upside down for exposing the crimes and endless lies of the US Government; true working-class heroes like Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal have been brutalized, imprisoned and live under a sentence of death issued by the ruthless and bloodthirsty US capitalist class that seeks to destroy all who dare to oppose it. These are a mere handful of the cases we could cite; what about the millions like Tim Tyler who languish in US prisons, victims of the idiotic “War on Drugs”(TM)? And still tens of millions of US worker-slaves stand dumbly by waving their flags and doing nothing to stop these outrages! Wage-slaves who refuse to come to the defense of those who risk their lives in our behalf do not deserve to breathe the same air as these imprisoned and exiled worker-heroes!

Millions of US workers are unemployed – some for so long that they are no longer even being counted by the government as “unemployed” any more ; more than half of all US public school children live in poverty; the world’s largest prison population languishes in some of the most brutal prisons in the “civilized” world; immigrant workers are being brutalized in prison camps where small children are imprisoned along with their mothers

the children beg visiting US politicians – whose colleagues wrote the laws under which they are imprisoned – to help free them; US citizens – particularly those who “happen to be black” are being shot to death by the nation’s police on a daily basis and never prosecuted for their crimes; US politicians, in the wake of the latest racist atrocity – this time in Charleston, S.C. – proclaim to the world that their love for their “southern heritage” demands that the racist Confederate flag of the southern slavocracy should be flown proudly across the USA, inspiring more members of the deranged racist lunatic fringe of the United States to commit more atrocities – it is hard to understand what it is that we have reason to celebrate on this July 4, 2015.

An 8-year-old Mexican girl handed this drawing to a US Congressman inspecting a detention center housing "illegal" immigrant mothers and their children.

An 8-year-old Mexican girl named “Helen” handed this drawing to a US politician inspecting a detention center in California housing “illegal” immigrant mothers and their children. It reads: “I want to be free”. Source: ilw.com, “House Democrats Recap Trip to Family Detention Facilities”, 24 June 2015 (see link above)

It has been 239 years since this nation’s founders declared independence from Great Britain and launched their revolution to “free” the oppressed white, male property-owners of colonial America from their British overlords. It was indeed a bold move and inadvertently set in motion the global chain of events that would almost completely wipe out feudalism in the world within 100 years – a major step forward for the human race and one the revolutionary socialist movement has always honored. In 2015 it is easy to see that, then and now, that group of courageous yet fatally flawed bourgeois revolutionaries made promises they never intended to make good on for anyone but themselves and their friends. To celebrate their revolution 238 years after the fact takes no courage at all; and it requires that we ignore a mountain of evidence proving that the progressive aspects of the US capitalist class were discarded by the ancestors of those revolutionists more than a century ago. This generation of capitalists don’t even want to shell out money for the fireworks displays and parades held in honor of their own ancestors! It really is a sad spectacle for a revolutionary worker to behold!

The success of the “American Experiment” that has been celebrated every Fourth of July since 1776 – in spite of the fact that the “freedom” gained by the US Revolution was only really gained by a tiny minority of rich, white men – has long since lost its golden halo. The United States capitalist class hasn’t done anything “revolutionary” or hugely progressive since the Reconstruction period unless a gun was being held to its collective head in the form of an enraged and fighting working class that wasn’t going to take anything but “yes” for an answer. Immediately after the American Revolution, women, slaves and the rest of the toiling classes were all left essentially right where they were before the revolution began! Every political gain made by blacks, women and the working class since then was gained only after prolonged and bloody struggle against the cabal of rich, white men by and for whose sole benefit the revolution was fought. Every major social gain since Reconstruction has been made on the initiative of the working class itself – the ruling capitalist class has fought us tooth and nail and all along the line. The struggle for the 8-hour day; the right of women to vote; the right of unions to organize; the right to withhold our labor-power in order to win better wages and working conditions (the right to strike); civil rights for blacks and LBGT people were all opposed by the capitalist class and their political parties and cops and courts. Workers blood has been shed in every one of these struggles before the capitalist class finally gave in and grudgingly made the necessary concessions – and then only in order to prevent the workers impulse towards revolution from reaching the boiling point. The plans of the ruling capitalist class are well-laid and made with their long-term objectives always in mind. The entrenched bourgeoisie of the United States consists of those who made their family fortunes stealing land from the Native Americans and selling it to the immigrants streaming in from all over the globe; their wealth is hereditary and they have been part of the US ruling class in some cases since their ancestors landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620! They have a lot of experience in these matters and know full well that any concessions they make to the workers today can eventually be clawed back once the temperature of the working class eventually cools off – as it inevitably does unless kept red hot via the work of a revolutionary vanguard party.

The American Revolution of 1776 was not as wildly popular as we have been led to believe. Every flag-waving moron in the USA who defends the racist, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-worker status quo in the USA today wants you to believe that if he or she was alive in 1776, they’d not have hesitated to attack the status quo under British rule! It’s so easy for them to say now, isn’t it? Defense of the American Revolution in 2015 risks not a hair on the head of anyone wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes. But that was NOT the case in 1776. Then, to take up arms against the “legitimate forces of law and order” – the British – was an act of treason punishable by death! So only about a third of the workers and farmers of 1776 actually had the guts to take up arms and join the army of Washington. And he had a hell of a time keeping an army in the field because the war was so unpopular. At Valley Forge, as the Americans were unable to procure food or decent clothing or bedding for the revolutionary troops, the local farmers of Pennsylvania were smuggling cattle, and all kinds of foodstuffs and homemade goods – to the British in Philadelphia! Washington had to send out detachments of troops to intercept the steady stream of vitally needed food and other goods that were being sold by Americans to the British, who paid them in good English money instead of the worthless money issued by the Continental Congress! These flag-waving patriots who bellow their love for the revolutionaries of 1776 while threatening to murder worker-revolutionaries of 2015 are cowards who would have been waving the British flag in 1776 just as these shameless American neo-fascists wave the US flag now! Who are they kidding? If they are such valiant defenders of our “freedoms” why do they refuse to lift a finger or donate a penny to the defense of people like  Edward Snowden, whose “crime” in the eyes of the capitalist class – exposing the fact that the US’ National Security Agency is spying on every human being on the planet, including US citizens –  is no crime at all in the eyes of worker-revolutionaries? These people who wrap themselves in the flag today will NEVER fight for even the rights of their own children against their capitalist masters – they are too craven and cowardly to ever fight the “powers that be” – and if they were around back in 1776 you can be sure that, just as they do today, they would have taken up their position in defense of the strongest party – the British – and would have been counted among the Tories, hated by all the revolutionaries of the 1770s!

Historians tell us that the American Revolution was not wildly popular at all and that only about a third of the population in 1776 actually supported the Revolution in ways that mattered – in 1775-1781 – and even those weak numbers rose and fell parallel to the successes and failures of the revolutionary struggle. I has never been easy to take a stand against the powerful monied interests that rule over us – the work we do is not for the faint of heart or for the flag-waving coward! Those courageous women and men who took up arms to overthrow the British monarchy did so selflessly – and because they mistakenly believed that those ringing words, those freedom-promising principles announced to the world in the heroic language of the Declaration of Independence were meant for THEM and not just for the handful of rich white men leading the revolution. Like the confused women and men in the US military today, the worker-heroes of the American Revolution risked their lives and their meager fortunes in order to defend the glorious ideals that the government leaders pretended would be available to all should their side emerge victorious from the war. It was only after the revolution, when the American revolutionary leaders “forgot” to add a Bill of Rights to the US Constitution that the workers discovered with horror that they had been robbed of the fruits of the years of labor in the service of the Revolution. Then, as the new nascent capitalist masters proved to be every bit as arrogant and oppressive to the working class and yeomanry as the British had been, a new wave of revolutionary struggles broke out – first, Shays’ Rebellion, then the Whiskey Rebellion and, later, Fries’ Rebellion all reflected the anger of the workers and farmers of the new nation who felt that their rights were being trampled on by the new rulers of the young United States of America just as they had been by the British. Their working class aspirations were crushed by the infant US capitalist class and their leaders were hunted down like dogs, tried and hanged or imprisoned. And thus began the long struggle for worker rights under the then-emerging capitalist dictatorship that continues to this day.

At the top of the political and economic pyramid of the United States in 2015 sits a small cabal of primarily rich, white men whose ancestors, in many cases, led the Revolution and made their fortunes thereby. What a clever gang of lawyers those original founders were! Somehow they managed to lead a successful bourgeois revolution whose stated aim was to bring into existence a “free nation” dedicated to the principle “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” – but which “somehow” ended up only creating “freedom” for less than a tenth of the population, while making chattel slavery the law of the land! Only a gang of very clever lawyers could pull off such a scam! All of us who were not born rich or white or male have been fighting for OUR freedom without cessation since 1776 and we still haven’t reached our goal! Our ancestors worked as slaves, as indentured servants as brutally exploited factory workers, fought in all the wars waged under the Stars and Stripes, yet we still must struggle to keep a roof over our heads while the tiny gang of rich white men live lives of unbelievable luxury – and every year on the 4th of July, all of us, worker and capitalist, rich and poor, are supposed to join hands and sing hosannas to the glorious revolution of 1776! A revolution our worker and farmer ancestors fought in over two hundred years ago and which millions of us to this day have have only barely been able to enjoy a fraction of the fruits of! It’s taken us two hundred years of constant class warfare to force our rich masters to bestow upon us third-rate rat-infested public housing housing, health care on the installment plan and food stamps. “Hooray for the Fourth of July!”

In Chicago, it was announced this week that yet another round of savage budget cuts will be made to the already vastly underfunded Chicago Public Schools. The filthy rich capitalist class has decided that it makes no sense to spend “their” money (which they stole from us) to educate our children whom they never intend to employ, ever! So every year they cut back on education – to them it’s nothing but a bad investment! “Where” – the dull-witted among us ask “is their patriotism?” The fact is that the only thing the capitalists pledge allegiance to is their bank accounts! All they care about is: “how much money is in my bank accounts?” and “is the pile growing or shrinking”? All that wealth was derived from the labor of workers somewhere – either in the United States or somewhere else in the world – and they have no intention of allocating any more of it than is absolutely necessary in order to make those piles of cash of theirs keep on growing. They couldn’t care less about the future of us, or our kids!

So where is the outrage of the working class of the United States? We would think that when the capitalists start attacking your CHILDREN you’d start paying attention and get off your fat asses and start fighting for your kids’ futures! Yet that is simply not happening. Apparently, American workers have become so fat, lazy, apathetic and cowardly that even when the capitalist class and their government attack your CHILDREN you just mumble “oh well, you can’t fight City Hall” and go to the fridge for another beer! What the hell is wrong with you? Your hard-earned money has been taken from you in the form of taxes and spent – not to educate your children or to make your lives and theirs better – it has been taken and used to create a vast war machine which has as its primary purpose the defense of the overseas investments of the tiny U.S. capitalist class! Your sons and daughters have been sent overseas to butcher your fellow workers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere; many of them have come back physically and/or mentally maimed, unable to function as complete human beings and lead normal lives. Your sons and daughters in the US military have left a trail of destruction of whole nations, where the conditions of life now are far worse than they were under the dictators whose regimes our children were sent to overthrow! By the work of your military “heroes” the name of “American” has become a sort of curse in the mouths of decent human beings all over the world! Cities, towns and villages lie in ruins – destroyed by your sons and daughters; parents have had to bury their infant children by the tens of thousands; other children have been left orphaned thanks to the work of the US military – and for what? For whose benefit? For the benefit of that tiny gang of greedheads on Wall St. whose investments around the world are threatened by any kind of opposition, whether it comes from the heads of competing nation-states or individual U.S. citizens!

What is there to celebrate? The working class of the United States has not ONE representative in the US Senate or House of Representatives! Not one! Each and every politician in the national government of BOTH political parties is owned and operated by that same tiny cabal of capitalists who run the banks, insurance, pharmaceutical, energy and telecommunications companies and the defense contractors who make the weapons being used by OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS to butcher our working-class sisters and brothers around the world! This is the true state of things in the “free” “democratic” United States of America on the 4th of July 2015!

The police forces of the United States – paid for, as everything else is paid for in this country, by taxes squeezed from the working class – seem to have been given orders to shoot to kill any worker who dares to stand up for her or his rights. Even little children are gunned down as if they were a nuisance animal by police forces that are looking more and more like occupying troops in a foreign country. The US citizens are their “enemy”! Hardly a day goes by without another disgusting murder of an unarmed citizen by a police officer somewhere in the USA. Black people, as usual, are their favorite “prey”. These racist cops in the US major cities are all being run by a political party that styles itself as “the party of labor”! Our so-called trade union “leaders” take our union dues and lavish it on this “party of labor” – the Democratic Party – telling us that we must go to the polls and vote for the Democrats because they are the “lesser of two evils” – as if the purpose of a modern “democracy” is to provide the working class with a choice between “firing squad” or “lethal injection”! And you are so stupid, dear brother and sister workers, that you actually BELIEVE this to be ‘the best of all possible worlds” and act as if you – all 300 million of you! – were “powerless to do anything” to change the way this country is run!

The fact of the matter is that the United States of America has always been a hellhole for black and minority workers, for immigrants and for the poor of all “races” from 1776 to today! And yet here you are, in 2015, with the Internet at your fingertips and cell phones in your pockets, cars in your driveways and credit cards in your hands, sitting around telling yourselves that you are powerless to do anything!

In order to fight racism we need to have a political party of by and for the working class that has as one of its fundamental principles the idea that racism must be driven out of existence permanently. We need a government that fights racism, not a government that defends it and uses it to divide and conquer us! In every capitalist country in the world we see racist capitalist governments attacking minority workers, scapegoating scapegoating immigrants for the joblessness created by the capitalist system itself to hold down wages; attacking striking workers and students protesting austerity programs imposed on them by the capitalists; using racist ideology to divide the working class against itself! This is not just happening in the United States! We must come to understand that it is the capitalist system itself and the capitalist class of the United States that are our enemies; not the Muslim or Mexican immigrants; not the Chinese or Indian workers but the greedy scumbags on Wall St. are the common enemy of the workers! This is not and will never be the program of the so-called “friends of labor”:Democratic Party, whose politicians are now going around defending “southern heritage” and the Confederate flag as merely expressions of the “free speech rights” of racist rats like Dylann Roof and his kind!   A workers government will not allow mentally ill people like Dylann Roof to walk the streets seeking people to attack; a workers government will FINISH THE CIVIL WAR by overthrowing the racist capitalist class of the United States and by throughly cleaning up every nest of Ku Klux Klan and Nazis we can find, so that never again will there be another atrocity like that which took place in Charleston, S.C. Under capitalism, these racists are protected and even given police badges and allowed to run police departments in our major cities! This will be IMPOSSIBLE under a workers government! The “free speech rights” of the Klan and nazis will be abolished under a workers government! The Democrats and the capitalist mouthpieces in the bourgeois press claim that if we smash the Nazis and Klan and outlaw their organizations and their “right” to spread racist lies we will somehow be destroying civilized society! This is just their back-door way of defending the racists whom they keep in reserve to attack the workers movement whenever we try to organize ourselves across racial lines. The Klan and Nazis are the attack dogs of the capitalist class – and the “friends of Labor” – the Democrats – use the code words of “southern heritage” and “free speech rights” to DEFEND the fascists like Dylann Roof. Under a workers government, people like Roof will be placed in insane asylums and taken out of circulation so they can’t poison the minds of any other young people.

The Democratic Party – Enemies of Labor

The Democrats put on a fine dog-and-pony show over the anti-worker “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP) agreement, first pretending to vote against it in a fake “rebellion” “opposing” Obama and then turning around and passing it in a flurry of activity that took all the US union misleaders totally by surprise!  The AFL-CIO’s own website has still not recovered from their embarrassment to issue a statement on the vicious bitch-slapping they received from the Democrats on TPP!  But what can they say?

30 June 2015: Obama signs "Fast Track" into law, surrounded by his criminal co-cospirators and cracks "This is so much fun we should do it again!" Source: AFP-JIJI via japan Times

30 June 2015: Obama signs “Fast Track” into law surrounded by his criminal co-conspirators and cracks “This is so much fun, we should do it again!” Source: AFP-JIJI via japan Times

The Japan Times described the scene as “friend of labor” Obama was signing the “Fast Track” legislation surrounded by a joyful gang of capitalist criminals whose capitalist masters will undoubtedly reward them richly for this magnificent gift:

“As Obama signed the legislation, using a set of 20 commemorative pens set out for the ceremony, he remarked: “This is so much fun, we should do it again!”

Source: Reuters via the Japan Times, “Obama inks ‘fast-track’ trade bills but says tough talks lie ahead before TPP is reality”, 30 June 2015]

You have to stop believing the lies of the fake worker-leaders who tell you that the Democrats are the party of labor.  No “party of labor” would even attempt to pull off a robbery of the working class like the one the Democrats just committed on TPP. Expecting the Democratic Party politicians – who owe their seats in Congress to the rich people who financed their campaigns – to fight against the interests of the capitalists who own them is like expecting the small lampreys that live by attaching themselves to the bodies of enormous Whale Sharks to swallow the shark whole!  It ain’t gonna happen!  The working class needs its OWN party, its OWN political leaders who owe their positions only to the workers and owe the capitalists not one thin dime!  Until we have such a party, the working class of the United States will continue to see its standard of living decimated by the capitalists who are “running the tables” of the world unopposed with the help of the bribed officials at the AFL-CIO and their employees in the Democratic Party!

Another big lie that you must stop believing is that the rich people are sooo powerful and we workers are so weak! The opposite is true: the working class creates ALL the wealth in a capitalist country – and we make up the vast majority of the population! We have the power to shut down the US economy completely simply by refusing to work; our sons and daughters essentially run the US war machine as well!  A workers government would by its very nature be a really democratic government, a real case of “majority rule”. Right now the US Government is essentially owned and operated by a cabal of filthy rich capitalists who make up less than a tenth of the population; this isn’t a democracy, it’s an autocracy! Its the dictatorship of the capitalist class! The capitalist class owns and operates BOTH the Republican and the Democratic Parties. They pre-select who we will get to vote for by allocating their campaign donations only to those candidates who are most willing to carry out the orders of the capitalists. There is absolutely nothing democratic about how the presidential, senatorial or Congressional candidates are chosen: they must pass the test of the capitalist class first – only then will their campaigns be funded.

How do we get from here to there? First we must build ourselves a revolutionary workers party that refuses to take even a penny in funding from the capitalist class. A party completely funded by the workers and beholden only to the working class! The Democratic Party is entirely owned and operated by the capitalist class. Hillary Clinton, like Barack Obama, like all the others are EMPLOYEES of the capitalist class – these politicians go around begging for campaign donations from the capitalists who own this planet and they offer their services to the capitalists in exchange for those campaign donations. A revolutionary workers party would raise its funds from membership dues and donations from the workers who make up the vast majority of the population. The active working class in the US is about 170,000,000 strong! If only half of that number sent in a dollar a month, our party could run candidates in all 50 states in its first year! This is what we must do!

This means, sisters and brothers that until we create a revolutionary workers party that represents only the interests of the working class, THE CAPITALIST CLASS WILL CONTINUE TO WIN EVERY ELECTION as they have been doing since 1776!

Capitalism Must Die so that the Working Class May Live!  Break with the Democrats – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party to Fight for a Workers Government!

– IWPCHI

UPDATE: SOUTH AFRICA: Full text of “Marikana Commission of Inquiry Report” aka the “Marikana Report”

[26 June 2015: This article has been edited to include more complete information about the documents we have published here – IWPCHI]

We publish here the full text of the South African official commission of inquiry into the infamous massacre of striking miners in August, 2012 at Lonmin Mine.

It was released by the “Rand Daily Mail” (RDM) in two parts versions: part one is an introduction a 660-page version of the report, sourced from

Source for version 1 of Marikana Report from RDM_large

Part two, the report itself, is apparently a slightly different version of the same report – it runs to just 646 pages and was sourced from

Source for version 2 of Marikana Report from RDM_large

We have yet to determine what other differences (if any) exist between the two versions beyond a cover page that appears only in version 1.

We have just acquired this via the RDM, which published the full text of S. African President Jacob Zuma’s remarks made upon release of the report as well as the full text of the report itself at http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2015/06/25/marikana-report-the-public-statement.

The Lonmin Massacre proved that there is no future for the workers of South Africa under a pro-capitalist ANC government willing to order the murder of striking workers in order to prove the ANC’s loyalty to the capitalist class of the South African Randlords!  There is no future for the workers of South Africa or any other part of the world under capitalism – only a workers socialist government can create a future for the workers, and only after the overthrow of the capitalist class and their capitalist system, which are based upon the systematic exploitation of billions of workers by the numerically tiny capitalist class.

Workers of the World, Unite!  For workers socialist revolution NOW in South Africa and throughout the capitalist world!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

marikana-report-1

Report of the Marikana Commision [sic-IWPCHI] of Inquiry

 

 

“To A Certain Class of Citizens” (with apologies to Walt Whitman)

[This is a slightly edited version of Walt Whitman’s poem “To a Certain Civilian”, which we would address to all those who denigrate the idea of workers socialist revolution and our project, however modest, to create revolutionary socialist Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist vanguard parties of the working class from Chicago to Kolkata.  We read this today and thought it perfectly captured our attitude to those who sneer at the efforts of those who seek to emancipate the working class from capitalist wage- and debt-slavery worldwide, and also our attitude towards those who attempt to trick the workers into adopting every half-assed form of struggle they can imagine, all the while denigrating and slandering the only method that has ever led to a successful seizure of power and lasting victory by the working class: the Leninist vanguard party.  –  IWPCHI]

“To a Certain Class of Citizens”

Did you ask dulcet rhymes from us?

Did you seek the citizen’s peaceful and languishing rhymes?

Did you find what we sang erewhile so hard to follow?

We were not singing erewhile for you to follow, to

understand – nor are we now;

What to such as you anyhow, such poets as us?  therefore leave

our works,

And go lull yourself with what you can understand, and with

pop-tunes,

For we lull nobody, and you will never understand us.

— (With apologies to and deep respect for Walt Whitman),

IWPCHI