In the Wake of Charlottesville: US Working Class Must Organize Now to Smash the Fascist Threat

We mourn the murder of our brave working-class sister Heather Heyer, run down by a fascist coward as she participated in the massive antifascist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017.

We salute all the heroic workers who confronted one of the largest manifestations of fascist scum to dare to walk the streets of the USA in decades.  The workers of Charlottesville gave a pretty good account of themselves in standing up to the fascist provocation of this past weekend.  But we must do better next time; we have allowed the fascist scum to take the life of one of our bravest sisters – Heather Heyer.  As we join with her family and friends in mourning the murder of this courageous woman at the hands of a deranged fascist, we vow that her murder will not go unavenged.  That she should have lost her life to a fascist coward is a tragedy and a disgrace to the workers movement of the USA!  Dozens of other antifascist workers were left with more or less serious injuries as well.  This did not have to and should not have happened!  We need to organize, organize, organize!

If this weekend’s major battle in the ongoing class war between capital and labor  that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia proves anything at all it proves that the fascist threat here in the USA is not fictional or the product of paranoid elements of the far-left but is a very real and present danger to the forces of the integrated working class of the US.

How the hell did this happen? WHERE were the unions? Fascist scum march virtually unopposed in classic Nazi torchlight parade through campus of University of Virginia, Charlottesville, on night of 11 August 2017.  Photo: Shurtleff, Charlottesville ‘Daily Progress’.

That the fascists were able to successfully carry out a classic, Nazi-style racist torchhlight parade on the campus of the University of Virginia virtually unopposed on Friday, August 11, 2017 is a disgrace to the working class of Charlottesville, all of Virginia and the entire USA – ourselves included.  Where were the battalions of union workers when this deadly provocation occurred?  Where were the students?  Where were the communists, socialists and antifa?  It was because this racist provocation was carried out with virtually no opposition on Friday night that the fascist scum were emboldened to launch an even larger provocation on Saturday, which culminated in one of their vermin using his car to run down dozens of workers prematurely celebrating their “victory” over the fascist scum, killing one of our brave sisters.  If the torchlight parade had been confronted by thousands of trade unionists from Washington, D.C. and throughout the region – and stomped into the ground – the murder of our brave sister, paralegal worker Heather Heyer – would probably never have occurred.  The full responsibility for her death, and for the large number of antifascist protestors who were injured falls on all of us, and on the lack of a properly organized and led antifascist response to the Klan/Nazi provocation, particularly on Friday night but also on Saturday.  If the working class forces had been well-led and deployed in an organized fashion, the only blood that would have been spilled would have been that of the Klan/Nazi vermin themselves.

Small group of brave antifascist protestors allow themselves to be completely surrounded by fascist mob on campus of University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 11 August 2017 – like a scene from Germany in 1933!  HOW did this happen? Photo: Alejandro Alvarez

On Saturday, the antifascist forces, atomized and poorly led, took on the much better organized and better armed fascist forces, who generally maintained a level of military discipline that the antifascist forces did not display.  Individual antifascists attacked groups of fascists and got beaten down.

In a well-organized and led antifascist demonstration, individual activists would not be left isolated so fascists can attack them with impunity. This man is lucky he wasn’t murdered by the fascist scum.  Photo: @zdroberts

This should not happen in a well-organized anti-fascist rally.  The Klan and Nazis are rabid, psychotic killers who are known for their tactics of ganging up on isolated individuals.  They must be confronted by well-organized battalions of union workers who are capable of both self-defense and powerful offensive assaults on the fascist gangs.  The fascists can not be defeated by loosely-knit groups of worker-militants confronting the fascists individually.  The liberals and anarchists who try to substitute themselves for disciplined battalions of union workers will get their asses beat by the fascists whose military posture and superior weaponry allowed to them by their allies in the police forces.  And every time the antifascist forces get beaten down by the fascists it emboldens the fascists to attack again and again.  To successfully smash the fascists, the working class must be organized into large battalions of union workers whose integrated membership, when it stomps the fascists, will send a powerful message to the white supremacist scum that their “good old days” are long gone – and they aren’t coming back.  The fascists’ “heads must be acquainted with the pavement” in Trotsky’s memorable phrase.  Anything less than a complete rout of the fascist forces must be looked upon as a lost opportunity to send these racist scum scurrying back into the holes they crawled out of.

It has been reported that the antifascist demonstrators were prematurely “celebrating” their “victory” over the fascist gangs when the psychotic nazi drove his car right into a contingent of socialist workers – from behind, of course.  The demonstrators should have been on high alert, not “celebrating”;  what were their parade marshals doing?  Did they even have any?  So long as live fascists remained in the area the parade marshals should have been on the lookout for random attacks from the fascists – and the cops.  That a crazed nazi was able to drive his car right into the midst of the demonstration is proof that whoever were in charge of the demonstration at the point where the attack occurred were asleep at their posts!  Your lack of preparation and watchfulness cost that young woman her life, comrades!  Do not ever forget this!  And how the fuck is it that this fascist pig who ran down dozens of antifascist protestors lived to go to jail where he was photographed with not a scratch on his face?

How the fuck did this fascist pig – James Alex Fields, Jr. – walk away from the scene of the murder of Heather Heyer unscathed?  Photo: Charlottesville Police Dept.

The revolutionary socialist movement of which we are a part has been calling on the working class to organize revolutionary socialist workers parties in order to build up the revolutionary leadership that can smash fascism in the egg and that can lead the powerful integrated US working class to the ultimate victory of overthrowing the capitalist class and their system which is the growth medium for these fascist scum.  The capitalist system needs the fascists as their front-line extra-legal attack dogs carrying out the wholesale physical assaults on the working class that the cops would love to do but can not do without giving the whole game of the capitalist class away.  The fascists are sponsored by the most rabid anti-communist elements of the capitalist class and are being trained to launch deadly assaults on the most self-sacrificing elements of the workers movement.  Today, they drive a car into a contingent of socialists; tomorrow they intend to attack union meetings and, once they have terrorized the unions into submission to rampage through the major cities of the USA.  If we don’t crush these scum now when they are relatively small it is just a matter of time before we have thousands of fascists marching down the streets of New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles – to name but a few.

After the Civil War, the Democratic Party was led by American racists in order to smash the enfranchisement of black workers after the destruction of the Confederacy in the Civil War.  To expect the Democrats to be the leaders of an anti-fascist struggle is as idiotic as expecting angels to come down from heaven to save us from the fascist scum.  The Democratic Party has never once organized an effective antifascist rally anywhere in the USA; it has always been the revolutionary socialists who have done so.  The Democrats and Republicans are the bought-and-paid-for servants of the US capitalist class which is organizing the fascists as we write this.  The Democrats run the racist police departments of the USA which have been shooting black workers like dogs; Democratic Party States Attorneys have refused to indict their Killer Kops of Kapital and when they have been forced to bring charges they always seem to find a way to lose the case!  It is up to the working class to immediately organize its own political parties, 100% independent of any kind of support from or for the capitalist class as the necessary precursor to waging effective class warfare to crush the fascist scum in the egg.  If we do not successfully do this, we will see the fascist gangs growing larger and becoming bolder and bolder until the probability of a fascist takeover of the US Government becomes a certainty.  Anyone who vacillates in the face of this mortal threat to every decent working class man, woman and child in this country is a traitor to the working class!  The unions must be mobilized to bring their power in full force to smash this growing menace. If the pro-Democratic Party misleadership of the unions refuses to do so, it must be kicked out and replaced by intelligent, militant workers who understand the existential threat represented by the rise of fascism in the USA.  The next time we confront these fascist scum we must drive them so far into the ground that they dare not show their faces again.

If you agree with us, join us!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

 

 

 

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On Anniversary of US War Crimes Against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Trump Threatens to Nuke North Korea

Source: Asahi Shimbun

Once again the United States Government – a ruthless, racist dictatorship of the numerically tiny WASPy US capitalist class, representing less than 10% of the US population – is threatening to use its nuclear arsenal to annihilate a tiny country of non-white people.  On the anniversary of two of the worst war crimes in world history, committed by the US against the Japanese workers on August 7th and 9th, 1945 – the completely unjustifiable nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which killed over 200,000 people – the ignorant, criminal real-estate swindler President of the United States, Donald Trump threatened tiny North Korea with nuclear annihilation for daring to defend itself from US imperialism.

The dark green area is North Korea. The smaller the country, the more the cowardly US capitalist class wants to attack it. [Source: Wikipedia]

Still humiliated by the fact that tiny socialist North Korea has not only successfully defended itself against the most powerful military on Earth for over 50 years, and that it has now – in spite of brutal economic sanctions – been able to deploy an effective nuclear deterrent which has stopped US invasion plans dead in their tracks – the racist worker-hating real estate swindler President of the United States Donald Trump has “gone ballistic” this week.  After the North Koreans once again successfully tested a long-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and then – after the US flew nuclear-armed stealth bombers right along the North Korean border (just imagine how the US would react if the Russians or Chinese did this along the US border!) – the North Koreans threatened to use their nukes to defend themselves against the US if they dared to attack the North, Trump lost his tiny, money-worshipping, college-student-robbing mind.  Speaking like the filthy rich lunatic that he is at a press conference called to discuss the “opioid crisis” in the USA (held, characteristically, at “Trump National Golf Club” in Bedminster, NJ) he blurted out:  “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He [North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un] has been very threatening beyond a normal state. And as I said, they will be met with fire, fury, and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”  [Source: “Remarks by President Trump Before a Briefing on the Opioid Crisis”, 8 August 2017, whitehouse.gov]   We’re certain that Trump could not have been more dimly aware of the effect such a monstrous threat would have on US allies like Japan, which was in the middle of the annual commemoration of the US nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when notorious racist Trump threatened a similar attack on a neighboring Asian country!  If the US nuked North Korea – guess where the fallout would be likely to land?  To put it mildly, the South Korean and Japanese workers are not amused.

During ceremonies, commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the US nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, “[a]tomic bomb survivor Koichi Kawano put Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the spot by asking him sternly, ‘What country’s prime minister are you? Are you going to abandon us?'”  The right-wing scumbag Abe’s has openly defended Trump’s nuclear threat against North Korea and he and his government was denounced by the Japanese “Hibakusha” (nuclear bomb survivors) for refusing to sign the UN “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” back in July.

“A petition compiled by five hibakusha groups in Nagasaki and submitted to Abe also read, ‘It is extremely regrettable that (when the nuclear weapons prohibition treaty was adopted at the United Nations), representatives of Japan, the only country that suffered atomic bombings in a war, were not there. We, hibakusha in Nagasaki, strongly protest against the government with burning anger.’

“In the ceremony held prior to the meeting to mark the 72nd anniversary, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue also said in the city’s Peace Declaration, ‘I urge the Japanese government to reconsider the policy of relying on the [US’] nuclear umbrella.’ Hibakusha applauded the declaration.

“Shigemitsu Tanaka, 76, vice chairman of the council of atomic bomb sufferers in Nagasaki, complained about the way in which government officials always repeat the same platitudes.

“‘They could have brought a tape recorder with them,’ he said.

“Tamashii Honda, 73, chairman of the association of bereaved families of atomic bomb victims in Nagasaki, said, ‘Japan should talk to the United States in a forceful manner.'”  [Source:  Asahi Shimbun, “A-bomb survivor asks Abe, ‘What country’s leader are you?’” 10 August 2017]

In South Korea, an editorial in the Dong-A-Ilbo bluntly pointed out the fact that it is the constant war provocations launched against it by the US military forces in South Korea and Guam that provoked the North’s visceral reaction:

“[T]he North had never specifically stated where to attack on the continental U.S. The U.S. military operates a launching base in Guam for strategic weapons and long-range strategic bombers that will fly to the Korean Peninsula in an emergency, a pain in the ass to the North.

[…]

“The extended deterrence of the U.S. lies at the foundation of the trust among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, and if the trust vanishes, it will lead to weakening of the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. and the alliance among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Against the backdrop, South Korea and Japan will start considering nuclear armament and China’s influences will increase. Probably, this is what the North is hoping for.

“Hawkish politicians in the U.S. talk about a war on the Korean Peninsula at the expense of mass civilian sacrifice in two Koreas.”

[Source:  Dong-A-Ilbo, “North Korea should not be a game changer”  10 August 2017]

The Joongang Daily of Seoul also cited US war provocations against N. Korea as legitimate complaints, publishing a photo of two US Air Force B1-B Lancer stealth nuclear bombers flying on a mission from Guam across the Korean Peninsula just miles from the North Korean border on 8 August 2017:

Source: Source: Joongang Ilbo, Seoul, S. Korea

Idiotically, Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson – another arrogant member of the US capitalist ruling class, with an estimated net worth of $245 million – when asked by a reporter if the workers of the US should be worried about the escalating threats against North Korea stated:  “I think Americans should sleep well at night”!  Tell that to the tens of thousands of US soldiers stationed in S. Korea and on Guam, and to their families back home!  And of course he doesn’t give a damn about whether or not Korean or Japanese workers sleep well at night – to Tillerson and the rest of the filthy rich US capitalist class they’re all just expendable pawns in the US capitalist chess game being played against the working classes of the world.

A Brief History of the Korean War

The US capitalist class and its government is terrified that the tiny, defiant North Korean workers state has in its possession a modest but strategically significant nuclear arsenal fully capable of short-range defense of its country from US military aggression.  Since 1945, the United States has engaged in one military threat after another against the North Koreans and was responsible for launching the Korean War – a 3-year shooting war which left over 36,000 US, an estimated 3 million Korean civilians and soldiers and as many as 900,000 Chinese soldiers dead!  The Korean War was an imperialist war crime launched by the US capitalist class in order to “save Korea for capitalist exploitation”.  It was a failed attempt to crush the working class and peasant revolution that swept the entire Korean peninsula in the wake of the defeat of Japanese fascism which had brutally occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945.  At the end of the war, the Korean peninsula was partitioned along an arbitrarily-selected demarcation line into a northern, Soviet Union-controlled zone and a southern US-controlled zone.  In the North, the Korean communists who had been the leading forces in the long struggle against the Japanese fascist occupation took power; in the South, the Korean communists created workers and peasants committees that seized power in all the cities and towns throughout the south.  But instead of allowing the Korean workers and peasants to create their own working class and peasant based government, the United States created a puppet South Korean client state composed of right-wing Korean exiles living in the USA as well as thousands of Koreans who had collaborated with the fascist Japanese occupying forces!  When the “South Korean” workers and peasants rose up against this US puppet government of fascist scum, the US and their fascist “South Korean” allies slaughtered them!

In 1949, the Chinese workers and peasants – aided by a strong contingent of Korean communist leaders in the Chinese Communist Party – overthrew capitalism in China in the great Chinese Revolution.  Now, the North Koreans were backed not just by the tremendous power of the USSR, but by the brand-new power of the revolutionary Chinese working class and peasantry.   With the US puppet government in “South Korea” slaughtering communists all over the country and with negotiations getting nowhere between the North and South over repatriation of imprisoned and tortured communists in the South, tensions rose to the breaking point.  Both the North and South had long engaged in small-scale cross-border attacks, with the US military actively involved in the military operations of the puppet “South Korean” military forces.  On 25 June, 1950 the North Korean forces, having endured years of provocations, launched a massive invasion of the South, seeking to complete the struggle which they had fought for since 1910: to bring the Korean peninsula under Korean rule.  If it hadn’t been for the presence of US imperialist forces being deployed into the Korean peninsula – where they clearly did not and do not belong – the Korean War would have been over in just a few weeks.  Instead, the war dragged on for 3 years, with the US involvement increasing rapidly to the point where the US ended up dropping more bombs on Korea than they deployed in all of WWII.  In just three years the US had killed an estimated 3 million Koreans plus nearly 1 million Chinese soldiers who had fought to defend their Korean working class and peasant sisters and brothers.  The US bombing was so savage that not a single building over two stories tall was said to have been left standing between Seoul and the Chinese border.  US forces committed many atrocities against Korean civilians, slaughtering thousands simply because the style of clothing they wore was supposedly indicative of their allegiance to the North.  One of the US war crimes, committed against defenseless South Korean civilians hiding from attacking US forces at the No Gun Ri bridge has become world-renowned for its senseless brutality – but it was just one of many, many others.

This 2008 photo shows a concrete abutment outside one of the twin underpasses of the No Gun Ri railroad bridge, where investigators’ white paint identifies bullet marks and embedded fragments from U.S. Army gunfire in the 1950 massacre of South Korean refugees trapped beneath the bridge. Others are similarly marked inside the tunnel. Still other evidence lies beneath the level of the road, built years after the killings.
한국어: 노근리 양민 학살이 벌어진 다리 밑 사진. 총알 자국이 하얀 원으로 그려져 있다.     Photo by Cjthanley   Source: Wikipedia, “No Gun Ri Massacre”

The slaughter unleashed against the Korean workers and peasants by US imperialism was the direct precursor to the equally hideous Vietnam War in which another 3 million workers and peasants were slaughtered by the US.  But unlike the Vietnam War, which was ended by agreements negotiated in 1975, the Korean War never ended!  Since 1953 an armed truce has left the North and South in a state of war, with North Korea’s once stalwart defenders in the USSR now gone and a pro-capitalist criminal Chinese “Communist Party” leadership gradually backing away from its long-time ally.  Now, tiny North Korea – a nation-state with a population of just 25 million (roughly equal to that of Texas), whose land area equals the size of Pennsylvania, with an estimated gross domestic product equivalent to that of Vermont! – is left to defend itself almost alone – and is obscenely being portrayed as a “military threat” to the United States! 

It is a savage example of the extent to which the US working class has been brainwashed by the wall-to-wall propaganda of the US imperialist bourgeois press that today, in spite of all the physical and historical evidence to the contrary, US workers believe that NORTH KOREA – poses some kind of existential threat to the USA – and not the other way around!

In order for the numerically insignificant US capitalist class to rule the world they must make sure that not even the tiniest nation-state obtain the only modern military weapon capable of effectively defending any nation-state from attack by a larger imperialist power: intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the “homeland” of any aggressor nation.  North Korea – a small workers state that overthrew capitalist class rule in 1946 – has developed its own nuclear capability and has recently completed real-world tests of its own continental – not “inter”continental – ballistic missiles (CBMs, not ICBMs); it has previously tested nuclear weapons.  Experts now believe that North Korea possesses a handful of nuclear bombs and that is well on its way to developing and deploying long-range ballistic missiles – although whether or not North Korea has the technology to combine the two elements into an effective nuclear ICBM capability remains an open question.  So far, the North Koreans have not tested a single long-range ICBM; their long-range missiles might be able to barely reach cities in Alaska, according to military experts – but no one knows for sure because the North Koreans have never actually proven this capability.  They still have to prove that they can protect any nuclear warhead on one of their missiles from the intense battering encountered by an ICBM when it makes its re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere on the way to the target.  So all the US blathering over the “threat” posed by the North Korean mini-arsenal is just that: scare-mongering propaganda designed to frighten US workers into supporting the US capitalist class revenge fantasy against the workers of North Korea.

It is the duty of every class-conscious revolutionary socialist worker on this planet to oppose every attempt by any imperialist capitalist state to overthrow any workers state – from North Korea to China to Cuba and Vietnam.  The revolutionary victories achieved by the workers and peasants in these successful revolutions – though under attack now by the fake-“communist” parties running all of these bureaucratically deformed workers states – represent the high-water mark of the long struggle of workers and peasants to emancipate ourselves from brutal exploitation by the capitalist classes of the world.  As Trotsky explained when talking about the defense of the USSR – now no longer in existence thanks to the betrayals of the Stalinists – “Those who cannot defend old victories will never achieve new ones”.   The US attacks on North Korea are part of their long-range goal to roll back the gains of EVERY workers and peasants revolution!  They have their sights set on launching capitalist restoration through counter-revolution in China as their main objective; that is why it is so criminal for the leadership of the pro-capitalist Chinese “Communist Party” to conspire with the US Government to sell North Korea down the river!  That is why we say: Defend North Korea!  US Imperialism: Keep Your Bloody Hands Off the World!  And this is why we say that the top priority for US workers right now is to join us in building a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will organize the overthrow of the most despotic and bloodthirsty terrorist organization in the world: the US capitalist class.   Until the workers do this, the US capitalist class and their military machine will go on threatening and murdering thousands of workers each and every year.  Unless the US working class rises up and puts an end to the bloody class rule of its capitalist “masters” the workers of the whole world will have to join together to crush US imperialism – destroying every major US city in the process, just as was done to Nazi Germany in 1945!

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

Democratic Socialists of America: “Democratic” Party? Yes; Pro-US Imperialism? Yes; “Socialist”? Not So Much

In the United States things are often sold under false labels – especially when it comes to politics. SOURCE: dsausa.org

6 AUGUST 2017 – This weekend, Chicago, IL has had the “honor” of hosting what has been billed as the largest convention of socialists in the history of the United States.  Please believe us when we say we wish that was actually the case.  While it is indeed true that thousands of mostly young working-class youth and college students flocked to the 3-day soiree of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in the hope that the DSA represents a fighting socialist alternative to the Wall St. owned-and-operated Democratic Party, we are obliged to be the bearers of bad news: the Democratic Socialists of America are actually nothing less than a left cover for that Democratic Party you have grown to hate with a passion.

In order for the class interests of the working class to be represented at city hall, in the state legislatures or in the national legislature a true working class party must first be created that is completely funded by and led by a revolutionary socialist workers party that is 100% independent from the capitalist system and its class representatives.  That means that not one penny of funding for that workers party can be derived from donations from the capitalist class or any of their many front groups.  If the workers do not organize a workers party of their own, they have no way to independently put forward a working class program or to participate in local, state or national politics at all and must instead be reduced to begging other parties’ politicians to throw a few legislative crumbs to the workers once in a while (which is the case right now in the USA).  A real workers party must be a party of, bay and for the workers, which fights for the rights of the working class in the USA and internationally; it must not defend the capitalist system – which is fundamentally based on the exploitation of the working class – in any way, shape or form.  It must not support the cops, the criminal justice system or the military forces of the imperialist United States of America at all.  The ultimate goal of an actual revolutionary socialist workers party is not to keep the decrepit and senile, racist, warmongering, exploitative capitalist system alive and to patch it up so it can stagger forward until it finally launches World War III; the ultimate goal of a revolutionary socialist workers party is to overthrow the capitalist class and their system and to put the working class in power.  THAT is the program of revolutionary socialism: it was the program of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky – and it is the program of the Independent Workers Party of Chicago.  That is what the word “independent” means in our name: complete independence from the influence of bourgeois ideology and complete dedication to the fight for the emancipation of the working classes of the world through workers socialist revolution.

For the leaders of the Democratic Socialists of America, this program of complete independence of their party from the forces of capitalism is anathema.  The DSA is a thoroughly class-collaborationist pressure group (“we are not a political party” they declare) literally steeped in the reactionary, pro-capitalist principles of the Second International – the renegades from Marxism who betrayed the working class in 1914 by repudiating the program of revolutionary class struggle in favor of defending “their own” bourgeoisie by voting for war credits in their respective countries, which drove the working classes of the world into bloody conflict against each other in World War I.

The DSA wants you to believe that its party represents the ideals of the great US socialist leader Eugene Debs, who went to jail for his stalwart opposition to WWI.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  The DSA’s leadership and its program has ALWAYS repudiated what Eugene Debs stood for; they have been supportive of the United States Government since the Democratic Socialists Organizing Committee (DSOC – immediate predecessor of the DSA) was founded by Michael Harrington in 1973.  From the very beginning, Harrington declared to the world that the new party was dedicated to the principle that “the left wing of realism is found today in the Democratic Party.”  This is the bright red-white-and-blue thread that runs throughout the program of the DSA from 1973 to this very day.  The DSA was founded on the principle of reforming the capitalist system to make it “more democratic”, not in overthrowing it.  Harrington to the day he died worked assiduously to defend US imperialism against the degenerated Stalinist workers states of the USSR, Cuba and China – and the DSA even went so far as to support the United States capitalist class in their genocidal Vietnam War!  Harrington and the DSA always urged their party’s members to vote for the Democrats – and his ideological children like Cornel West follow in his footsteps, urging youth to vote for the fake socialist (and real Democrat) Bernie Sanders in the last presidential election!  If you are a young worker or student who hates the Democratic Party of war criminals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the DSA is not an organization you want to be a member of!

We do not expect nor do we want you to take our word for this; as Lenin said “in politics, anyone who ‘takes another’s word for it’ is a hopeless idiot.”  And if you are looking for alternatives to the Democratic Party and the capitalist system you are obviously not a “hopeless idiot”.  You want answers and you want the truth and you deserve both.  One of the hallmarks of a true Trotskyist party like ours is that we are dedicated to the principle of telling the working class the truth no matter how painful it may be – even about our own party.  Our goal is to win over the trust of the working class by steadfastly telling the truth about the capitalist system and the capitalist class and its many devious ways of entrapping workers politically.  The DSA is one of those political traps laid for the unsuspecting workers who are just starting to check out the various socialist parties and  who are trying to sort the real socialists from the fake ones.  Unfortunately there are quite a few political parties that call themselves socialists and even revolutionary socialists who are in fact anything but what they pretend to be.  To help you do this we are going to use the written program and the public statements of the DSA’s leadership itself.  This is how Trotskyists determine the class nature of a political movement.

If we visit the DSA’s website at http://www.dsausa.org/, we can begin to see immediately that the DSA is a reformist organization, not an actual alternative to the Democratic Party at all:

Trotskyists analyze the writings of our political opponents to determine what they really stand for politically. The DSA reveals its true nature right on the front page of its website. SOURCE: dsausa.org

“Continue the political revolution!”  What does this refer to?  Obviously, it refers to the phony “political revolution” the reformists falsely claim was led by the Democrat Bernie Sanders during the last US Presidential election, in which Sanders played the old “bait-and-switch” con, pretending to run for President on a “socialist” party program in order to lure unsuspecting youth into the Democratic Party’s circus tent, only to abandon his campaign and to throw his support to the hideous Hillary Clinton.  This was no “revolution”: it was a cheap con game which has been played over and over by the Democrats.  Jesse Jackson perfected this scam back in the late ’70s and early ’80s.  We spent a great deal of time during the election warning Sanders supporters that they were being played.

A lot of Sandernistas hated us then for telling the truth about the phony Sanders campaign; but when he pulled the old switcheroo just as we predicted we had a good number of them come back and admit that we had told the cold truth – just as we promise we will always do to the very best of our ability.  It was a tough lesson in the sleazy, underhanded methods the capitalist-owned politicians work their campaigns.

What else can we learn from just this first glimpse of the DSA’s website?  Take a closer look at this “Who we are & what we do” paragraph:

A closer examination reveals some surprises: the DSA is *not* a political party!  This means that the DSA relegates itself to the status of a mere pressure group on – guess who? – the Democratic Party!  SOURCE: dsausa.org

Every word of this declaration tells a Marxist volumes about what the DSA is and what it isn’t.  “Democratic Socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few”.  Here is what they mean with the missing words put back in the sentence:  “Democratic Socialists believe that both the existing capitalist economy and the existing bourgeois democratic society should be run democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few capitalists.”  This means that the DSA is a reformist, and pro-capitalist organization, and not revolutionary or even socialist at all.  They don’t explicitly say it (because that would give the game away) but they are clearly talking about not the organization of a better, socialist, future society but are speaking in the present tense – they are describing the fact that it is their program to limit their demands to mere reforms of the capitalist system.   And since racism, poverty, homelessness and war are all endemic to the capitalist system – as anyone can easily prove by examining the existence of ALL of these horrors in EVERY capitalist nation-state on Earth – when the DSA declares that it merely seeks to reform capitalism instead of overthrowing it they are declaring to the world that as far as they are concerned, racism, poverty, homelessness and war have always been part of the human condition and always will be – and so the best we can hope for is to put a few bandages on these gaping wounds of the capitalist system and hope for the best!

We don’t want to go on like this all day long; this article is getting to be too long already.  So we will cut to the most revealing self-exposure of their fundamental commitment to the US capitalist class and the capitalist system that the DSA website proudly announces to the world.

One of our discoveries in the past year has been that practically every single charity group and non-governmental organization (NGO) in the United States and around the world is actually funded by some capitalist class-run charity or foundation or other!  From the fake environmentalist organization 350.org (funded and run by the oil company money of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) to the “Black Lives Matter”-allied  “Black Youth Project” are actually sponsored by major capitalist foundations and charitable organizations – and guess what?  SO IS THE DSA!  Amazing but true!  We just found this out today ourselves and we can hardly believe how easy it was, once again, for us to discover this fact.

All of these fake NGOs have two things in common: they are funded by the capitalist class, and they OPPOSE THE FORMATION OF A THIRD POLITICAL PARTY IN THE USA!  Why? Because the capitalists who fund these organizations have a wonderful phony “two-party system” here in the US already – and they OWN BOTH OF THE PARTIES!  The US capitalist class thinks that “democracy” is the cat’s ass – so long as THEY run all of the political parties themselves!  They know that as soon as the working class organizes a successful workers party, their days of class rule will be numbered!  So they make DAMNED SURE that NO ONE runs so much as an NGO unless THEY sponsor it!

How did we do it?  EASY!  Every NGO website – well almost every one – some of them hide the identity of their financial supporters for very good reasons – but nearly every one of them has a section or two on their website that reveals who their primary staff and chief advisers and donors are.  We’ll show you how to do this with the DSA website and then you can try it on any NGO website you can find.  You’ll quickly see that all reformist roads lead to the corporate boardrooms of the USA’s Fortune 500 companies!

OK.  DSA website, homepage.  Sometimes this info is located at the top of the page, sometimes at the bottom of the page; sometimes in both locations.  But you usually can navigate to the sponsor pages through the tabs or buttons at the top of the homepage.  Here they are on the DSA website:

As usual, if you want to know who runs the show at ANY organization, you have to follow the money!  Which button will reveal the truth about who funds the DSA?

Let’s click on the “About DSA” button:

Nope. Looks like the wrong page, although this certainly reinforces our characterization of the DSA as pro-capitalist and reformist. Apparently the DSA wants to wait until the capitalist system dies a natural death – hopefully before WWIII occurs.  What if we look at the bottom of the page…?

This is all very interesting and reveals that our original evaluation of the DSA as pro-capitalist and reformist was right on the money.  But where is the financial info?  Let’s take a glance at the bottom of the page.  Hmm.  Lots of white space… doesn’t look promising… wait!  We may be on to something!  BINGO!  “The DSA Fund”!

Here it is – the DSA Fund – a 501c3 swindle. Like most NGOs, this link is hidden all the way at the bottom of the page where very few people will notice it.

This looks promising!  But before we click on the link, check out that disclaimer in tiny lawyer’s print at the very bottom of the page:

DSA professes it was ‘Shocked! Shocked!’ to “discover” that it somehow shared the same website developer – revealingly named “NationBuilder” (thus dovetailing with DSA’s political strategy for the capitalist USA) – as the Trump campaign. They promise to fix this sometime soon.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for them to do it!

That is rich isn’t it?  So the tail of the Democratic Party donkey – the DSA – hired the same people to develop their organization’s website as did the Trump campaign.  How eerily similar to the Hillary campaign’s brilliant strategy to build up Trump during the primaries – so that they would have an opponent that would be easier to defeat!  How’d that work out for them?  It would be hilarious… if so many workers lives did not hang in the balance.

OK let’s click on the “DSA Fund” link and see where it takes us…

Let’s see – we found the Fund – where are the financials? Let’s check the “Donate” button…

Click on that “Donate” button and…

There’s nothing here! No list of sponsors, just a desperate claim that they really really never take money from corporations or from the government. Let’s keep looking.

Well we seem to have come to an end.  There are no financials on the website!  No IRS statements as to who gets paid how much and who made the top donations – no transparency at all!  They claim that all their funding comes from memberships.  “We receive no corporate sponsorships or government money”.  Keep that claim in mind as we continue our search.

Let’s see if we can find a list of their top staff and advisers and see if we can find any clues as to who’s really running the show at DSA.

If we go back to the home page and click on the “Resources and tools” button what do we get?

Another dead end. Nothing here. Let’s take a look at the bottom of the page…

Hmm.  we didn’t notice this before: in the red box to the right… “Our Leadership and Structure”.  Click on that link…

Nice! Here’s a list of the famous Democratic Party stalwarts who are “Honorary Chairs” of the DSA. Ex-CIA agent Gloria Steinem; Cornel West, famous pal of US war criminal Barack Obama; and other fascinating loyal servants of the US capitalist class.

This is all fascinating and completely predictable – though you might wonder why the DSA keeps the leading lights of their organization hidden under such a huge barrel!  Why don’t they have this list of the most famous people in their organization on the masthead of their homepage?  Probably because it would let all the young workers and students know right away that the DSA is a cozy home for some of the most tiring, long-sold-out Democratic Party donkeys of all time – like the famous Democratic Party donkey Cornel West and the execrable “ex”-CIA “asset” and forever Democrat Gloria Steinem.

Good old Cornel West, ‘secret’ DSA member and open, fawning sycophantic fanboy of then-future US war criminal Barack Obama, shucks and jives for Obama at Harlem’s Apollo Theater during Obama’s first election campaign.

… and here’s West again during the second Obama run for President… only this time he’s being slapped down by his Commander-in-Chief for West’s tepid criticism of war criminal Obama. After this public slapdown, West sulkily started to denounce Obama saying he was “disappointed” in him.  In this picture you can almost actually see the moment when West’s little Obama-worshipping heart breaks into a million little piecesCornel West’s hopelessly compromised political compass can’t find political magnetic North.

OK, well, this is all in good fun.  Oh… by the way… are you surprised we called Gloria Steinem a CIA agent?  This famous bourgeois feminist proudly admitted it and you can read all about her “work” for the Agency in books like “The Mighty Wurlitzer” by Hugh Wilford.  And you can read about it  here and here  as well.  Or maybe just watch this:

So beware, young socialist workers and students in the DSA: your organization has as one of its leading lights a “former” CIA agent who actually ratted out socialist students to the CIA – setting them up for political persecution, torture or murder when they returned to their respective countries!

It has been reported that Gloria Steinem tried to recruit the DSA’s Michael Harrington to join her CIA operation but for some reason he declined.  We wonder: what made Steinem think Harrington was good CIA material?  Had her CIA handlers asked her to attempt to recruit him?  In “The Mighty Wurlitzer” Hugh Wilford says that Harrington had originally been penciled in as one of four CIA recruits being sent to disrupt the USSR-sponsored Vienna Youth Festival that was held in Austria in July of 1959 (fellow anti-communist and future National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter Zbigniew Brzezinski would have been one of his traveling companions).  Harrington suspected that the free trip  being dangled in front of him by the physically attractive Steinem was being bankrolled by the U.S. State Department, which in his mind would have been a deal too good to pass up.  Wilford quotes Harrington as saying, cryptically: “Had I dreamed that the CIA was involved there would have been no issue.”  After discussing the opportunity with the leaders of the Socialist Party’s youth group (of which Harrington was then a member) it was decided that, after all, “Lenin had accepted railroad transportation from the Kaiser when he went from Switzerland to Russia in 1917” – so he should accept the offer from the “State Department” while making it clear that he would criticize both the capitalist and communist bloc nations at the festival.  “The offer of help was withdrawn formally” Harrington said, “and I paid my own way, having nothing to do with what turned out to be the CIA’s dirty games.” (Source for Harrington quotes and description of Steinem and Brzezinski’s activities: “The Mighty Wurlitzer” by Hugh Wilford; Harvard University Press, 2008, pages 141-148)

That may be the truth or may not be.  But it still doesn’t explain why the fully exposed ex-CIA agent Steinem is given a leading role in the DSA of 2017 as one of its celebrity members.  Her role at the Vienna Youth Festival is well-known: she coordinated the anticommunist propaganda operation via her CIA-front news organization the “Independent Research Service”.  Meanwhile her fellow CIA plant Brzezinski – a Polish nationalist – enjoyed himself by strutting through the USSR section of the festival deliberately bumping into Russians and yelling “Out of my way, Russian pig!” in an attempt to provoke a fight between the Russian and Polish delegates.  Steinem was a crucial part of a typical CIA dirty tricks team out to do all it could to disrupt a youth festival – but that only endears Steinem to the anti-communist DSA leadership all the more.

You campaigned for Hillary? No problem: the DSA welcomes you with open arms!  Hillary really stood up for the rights of workers by backing her husband’s “get tough on crime” legislation that destroyed the lives of millions of black and Hispanic workers and their kids and by overseeing the destruction of Libya as Secretary of State.  Whatever you say, Delores.

Lifelong Democrat and United Farm Workers union leader Dolores Huerta – who counts among her BFFs war criminals Bill and Hillary Clinton – is also listed as a DSA celebrity.  She has spent her entire life luring workers into the clutches of their enemies in the Democratic Party – from vicious anti-communist Robert F. Kennedy to vicious war criminal Barack Obama to vicious war criminal Hillary Clinton – Huerta has campaigned for all of them.  Huerta and UFW leader Cesar Chavez led farm workers in endless capitalist-friendly grape boycotts rather than lead hard class struggle on behalf of farm laborers in California, even going so far as to organize anti-immigrant picket lines that physically attacked migrant farm workers and reporting “illegal” workers to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service!  THIS is why the worker-hating Democratic Party politicians love having their photos taken with Dolores Huerta!

What else did we find out?  Well, he won’t  mention that he’s a DSA member in his own political autobiography but ‘secret’ DSA member Harold Meyerson –  editor of the liberal rag “The American Prospect” (which he co-founded with Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor Robert Reich) – is on the list as well.  If he’s not a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, who is?

But let’s get back to who actually funds the DSA.  Remember how the DSA claimed that they never took money from corporations or governments?  Well, they lied.  Since 1980 the DSA has organized several major public conferences that were financed not by membership dues but by some infamous US Government-backed foundations like the “German Marshall Fund” whose current board of directors includes the former head of the US Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former CIA head Michael Morell.  We know these guys weren’t sitting on the board of the German Marshall Fund back in 1980 – god knows what US government criminals were – but it is a true sign of the depravity of the leadership of the DSA today that they proudly and fondly brag about their connection with this sinister organization even to this day.

DSA still brags about how its 1980 conference – which featured such repulsive Cold Warriors as former French “Socialist” President Francois Mitterrand and German Social-Democratic Party Chancellor Willy Brandt – and was financed by the “German Marshall Fund” which is an organization that is so close to the CIA it is indistinguishable from it to this very day.

“Democratic Socialists of America Fund (DSA Fund) endeavors to demonstrate how an awareness of social democratic and democratic socialist values and policies would strengthen the quality of policy debates in the U.S. The Fund also works to introduce young activists to the history and traditions of democratic socialism […]  In December 1980, IDS organized a three-day conference, ‘Eurosocialism and America’ that brought over 2000 U.S.-based activists to D.C. to meet with the leaders of social democratic and democratic socialist political movements from Europe and the developing world to explore how democratic socialist policy alternatives could benefit the U.S. Speakers included Willy Brandt, Francois Mitterrand, Olaf Palme [sic], and Michael Manley. Temple University Press published a volume of conference papers. The German Marshall Fund supported the organizing of the conference with a grant of $95,000.”

What a rogues’ gallery!  What a fine example of “democratic socialist values” are embodied in such hideous creatures from the black lagoon of the Second International as Francois Mitterrand,  and Willy Brandt!  And if that is not enough, the DSA accepted a grant from the “German Marshall Fund” – one of the most right-wing organizations in Washington D.C. which is today populated with such stellar proponents of “democratic socialist values” as

German Marshall Fund Advisory Council Member: former US Dept. of Homeland Security honcho Michael Chertoff.  SOURCE:

former Dept. of Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff and

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol, ex-CIA chief Michael Morell: these are the kinds of people the DSA “socialists” call their friends. SOURCE: German Marshall Fund/Alliance For Securing Democracy website.

former CIA head Michael Morell!   If the DSA had any decency they would have buried the memory of this monstrous gathering of Cold War criminals out in their political back 40.  But no; there it is, proudly placed on their website in 2017 as the pinnacle of their past achievements as an organization!

Now we know that back in 1980 these people were not heading up the GMA/AFSD Advisory Council.  But the organization hasn’t changed its stripes, just its personnel.  At the time that the DSA accepted the grant from the German Marshall Fund it was headed by one Robert Gerald Livingston: a lifelong servant of the US capitalist class and its imperialist government who had worked on Nixon’s National Security Council under then- Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1972/73 – at the time when Kissinger and the CIA were working hand-in-glove with Chilean General Augusto Pinochet and his fascist allies to overthrow the “socialist” government of Salvador Allende.  During that coup – and the subsequent political terrorism against leftist and union workers that followed it – tens of thousands of people were murdered.   But what did that mean to Cold Warrior/State Department Socialist Michael Harrington?  When it comes to defending the capitalist system from actual revolutionary socialists the DSA is more than willing to throw down with some of the most vicious enemies of the working class.

We don’t have time to research the rest of the organizations that have funded the DSA’s proudest achievements of the past 40 years; now that you see how we ran down all this information on the funding of fake NGOs like the DSA maybe you can take a whack at uncovering some more of their strange bedfellows.  All we can say to those of you who are considering the DSA as a potential viable alternative to predatory capitalism is: you are wasting your time.  If you really want to fight for the interests of the working class get in touch with us.

—  IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic FAIL – Big “Surprise”: Republicans, Democrats Betray Workers, Refuse to Vote for Repeal of Obamacare Ripoff

Giving the game away: Republican Senator John McCain tells reporter to “wait for the show” as he walks onto US Senate floor to vote down Republicans’ promise to US workers to shut down ripoff Obamacare swindle.   Credit: guardian.com/us

Forget the ridiculous, breathless stories spewing from the bourgeois news media about the alleged “drama” that took place in the US Senate last night. Forget about the “heroic” stand taken by the deeply cynical Sen. John McCain, who, like a Roman Emperor, cast his vote against his own party’s most important promise to the workers of the United States during the election last year. Just before the vote, as he was making his way to the Senate floor to cast what was to be the deciding vote torpedoing the primary reason why the Republicans took over control of the Congress and the White House last year.  McCain  told a reporter who eagerly asked what he was going to do to “wait for the show”.  And that is precisely what it was that was going down in the Senate last night: like a bad sitcom, the latest, sickening episode of “Washington Swamp Farce”, in which the lives of 200 million Americans were sacrificed at the altar of American Capitalism so that the health care industry could be assured of a monstrously profitable swindle of the American public.

The scene was repulsive: not one representative of the US working class was present to cast a vote for or against legislation that held the lives of the entire working class in the balance. Every Senator there was a hired lackey of his or her state’s capitalist class, a bought and paid for servant of the 3% of the population who own over 50% of the national wealth. Many of the men and women in the room casting votes were themselves members of that wealthy capitalist elite, and when they were done voting they had done absolutely nothing to change the current swindling Obamacare ripoff which is literally forcing US workers – on pain of fines and possible imprisonment – to buy expensive health care plans they cannot afford to use. In the boardrooms of the Pharmaceutical companies and HMO’s there was rejoicing and the champagne no doubt flowed freely: the investments they had made on their bought-and-paid-for politicians had paid off once again. In the houses and apartment of the working class there were tears being shed and fists being clenched: “the bastards fucked us again!”  There would be no repeal of the Obamacare program which has destroyed what little savings millions of people could afford to scrape together even after working one, two or even three jobs; they would continue to be forced to buy health insurance they could not afford due to the ever-increasing premiums and could not afford to use because of the absurdly high deductibles built in to their diabolical insurance plans.

How could this come to pass – in a country that never tires of bragging to the world that it has the most fair, free and democratic political system ever devised? How can hundreds of millions of workers be completely locked out of the debate on something as vitally important to ourselves as health care for our children and our families?

The reason this happened is that almost alone among industrialized nations the United States working class has allowed itself to be tricked into believing that it did not need to build its own working class political parties in order to have working class interests protected. From the union misleadership of the AFL-CIO to the pro-Democratic and pro-Republican Party preachers in the pulpits of churches around the nation, workers have been brainwashed to believe that all they had to do was to vote for the “friends of labor” in one of these two parties and everything would be taken care of. “Sure”, they said, “we might have to make a trip or two to Washington in large numbers to put the ‘fear of God’ into those slimy politicians, but so long as we do that, we can ‘force’ them to do what we elected them to do”.

These liars, who profit from this two-party system through bribes and pathetic social service handouts from the politicians, have led the working class of the United States into a dead end politically. Thanks to our following their bad advice, all we can do when something as important as the future lives of our children is being debated in the legislative bodies of the land is sit in front of the TV, fingers crossed, hoping and praying that “this time” these bribed, corrupt politicians won’t sell us out. But they do, over and over and over again. And again the hucksters load us on to buses and send us to Washington to impotently “speak truth to power”; and again we are ignored by the politicians who prove to us again and again that they do not feel that they owe their jobs to the workers who voted them into office but to the rich capitalists who bought their votes when they financed their campaigns.

The United States is the only major industrialized nation-state in the world in which the working class have not one representative at the state or national level of government sworn to defend the interests of the working class unto death.  What kind of parties will make such a vow to the workers? Only the revolutionary socialist workers parties.  That is because only the revolutionary socialists have consistently been at the forefront of every struggle in the fight for the rights of workers ever since capitalism began to overthrow feudalism back in the late 1700s.  In every important fight for workers rights – the eight-hour day, the right to form unions, the right for women and people of color to be counted as human beings, the opposition to slavery, the right to free speech and association, compulsory socialized education for children, the end to child labor and the right to bear arms – and free nationalized health care for all – it has been the working class, led by revolutionary socialists that have forced the government to adopt these demands and to make them the law of the land.  There is simply NO OTHER WAY for the working class to have their rights turned into law unless we build workers parties to take over governmental power and force these issues in the legislative bodies of the land! Until the workers of the United States realize this their future will remain in the hands of this cabal of capitalist greedheads who play with our lives like little girls and boys play with dolls and toy soldiers.

In every single major industrialized nation in the world the working class has built its own political parties: socialist parties, communist parties, dedicated (more or less – but that’s ANOTHER story) to defending the rights of the working class first, foremost and under all conditions! And in every one of the major industrialized states of the world the workers through their independent political struggle and the building of these parties has been able to force the capitalist class to disgorge a portion of the national wealth and to dedicate it to a state-run socialized health care system in which every citizen gets cradle-to-grave health care FOR FREE! The cost of the insurance is of course derived from income taxes; but since it is a nationalized plan it is kept partially insulated from the capitalists insane lust for huge profits. This is why health care in countries with socialized medical care is so inexpensive compared to the tremendous ripoff of Obamacare. NO ONE in Europe or Canada or Cuba or China has to pay thousands of dollars in deductibles to have major health issues taken care of. NO ONE in these countries is forced to pay sky-high prices for life-saving medicine! And it is because of the tremendous pressure brought upon those capitalist classes of those countries by the workers organized into socialist and communist workers parties that this is the case. If they did not have a militant revolutionary working class movement organized into political parties and threatening to take over the government on behalf of the workers if their demands were not met, every one of these countries’ workers would be in the same boat we are now here in the USA. US workers have got to understand that until we build our own revolutionary socialist workers parties and until we start sending working-class representatives into the state and national legislative bodies we will continue to be ignored by the capitalist class and their corrupt, bribed political lackeys! It should be obvious even to a dog that it is better to represent yourself in Congress than to have some bought-and-paid-for rich asshole pretend to represent you.

And the US working class has been brainwashed there, too, by the same trade union and religious swindlers to believe that “socialism is bad” and that “capitalism is good”. Well we just saw what a capitalist-owned and operated Senate whose members worship capitalism above all else think about workers’ right to health care! They think it’s a joke! What will the AFL-CIO union piecards and the sky pilots of our land tell us to do now? They will tell you to get on yet another bus and take yet another trip to Washington to once again stand in front of an empty White House and an abandoned Congress and yell at the deaf, empty buildings: this is what their political program of “speaking truth to power” consists of! Nothing could make the capitalists happier than if we take their advice and continue to limit all working class political activity to this impotent, idiotic “program” of “speaking truth to power”! The capitalists love it! They are laughing all the way to the bank (to deposit the money they’ve stolen from us through taxes and raw capitalist exploitation of workers) – and back again!

“Speaking truth” to a “power” that isn’t listening is useless because by following this idiotic advice we have allowed the greedy capitalist class to LOCK US OUT of the legislative bodies at the state and national levels! By not building working class parties and financing them ourselves and dedicating our lives to the conquest of political power by the working class we have allowed our voices to become COMPLETELY IGNORABLE.

The only time these bought-and-paid-for political servants of the 1% deign to “hear” us is at election time. We should say the only time they deign to PRETEND to hear us is at election time; and they hate the fact that every four or six years they have to go through the motions of pretending to care what we have to say just so they can con enough of us to vote for them so they can go back to Washington and start filling their, their friends and their capitalist masters’ pockets with our hard-earned tax money! Every four or six years they must put on – as John McCain revealed again last night – “a show” so they can fool enough of us to cast ballots for them… so that they can then go serve their true masters who financed their campaigns for them. They capitalists buy the politicians’ offices for them through campaign donations and then promise them tremendous riches once the voters throw the bums OUT of office so long as the politicians serve their masters well while they are IN office. And serve them well they do, as we all saw in the disgusting, cynical, stage-managed “Republicrat Brothers Three-Ring Political Circus” we saw last night – with John McCain as ringmaster! What a great “show” it was: truly “the greatest ‘show’ on Earth”! Weren’t you all impressed by it? It made us want to puke. And the pure propaganda coming out of the capitalist news media today portraying this repulsive spectacle as some kind of “high political drama” with an outcome “no one could have predicted” makes us want to puke some more. But they have had quite a few of you fooled haven’t they? Well it is time for you to wake the fuck UP sisters and brothers because until you do we are all going to continue to get raped by these swindling pirates of the capitalist class! Our lives and the lives of our children are at stake! We can not afford to continue going through the motions of this asinine pantomime democracy where the vast majority of the citizens – the working class – are relegated to the politically castrating “programme” of “speaking truth to power”! Only complete idiots would continue to run on this exercise wheel of this fake democracy like a herd of gerbils. It’s high time that we as workers got off our knees and stood up like the women and men that we are and threw off this yoke of fealty to two political parties that are dedicated to the crushing of our unions, our families and ourselves! We need to throw off our loyalty to a capitalist system that only promises us lower wages, declining standards of living and endless war for the benefit of a handful of wealthy families. We desperately need to start TODAY to build up the decent revolutionary socialist workers parties that exist here in the US – and there are two or three that are worthy of our support right now – or, if we are not satisfied with those parties, to build new ones like our own Independent Workers Party. Until we have the courage to take that bold step we will remain a nation of hamsters on 250 million exercise wheels running faster and faster every year in the delusional hope that if we run fast enough, we’ll eventually escape from our self-imposed political cages.

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

USS Fitzgerald “Cloaked” and Unidentifiable to ACX Crystal at Time of Collision; 7 Sailors Sacrificed By Panicked Commanders of Fitzgerald

YOKOSUKA, Japan (June 17, 2017) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter Burghart/Released)

ACX Crystal as she appeared on 13 Nov 2012. Credit: mgklingsick@aol.com via vesselfinder.com

 

The bourgeois press of the United States has been characterizing the bizarre collision at sea last month between an advanced US Navy destroyer and a 730-foot-long container ship as a result of human error – on the side of the cargo ship, of course – claiming that the cargo ship was running on autopilot at the time of the collision.  The seemingly inexplicable collision of the two ships – the Navy’s modern 505-foot-long $1.5 billion-dollar Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62)  and the 730-foot-long container ship  MV ACX Crystal  while operating in busy shipping lanes “about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan” at approximately 1:30 AM Japan time on June 17th – has naval experts around the world scratching their heads trying to figure out how such an incident could happen.

A Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, damaged by colliding with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald, is seen off Izu Oshima island, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo June 17, 2017. Credit: Kyodo/via REUTERS

View of stateroom of USS Fitzgerald’s Commander Bryce Benson after the collision w ACX Crystal.   Credit: Photographer unknown

Multiple reports from international news agencies as well as from the captain of the cargo ship himself indicate that the US Navy version of how the accident occurred is a tissue of lies; that in fact he was on the bridge at the time of the collision cargo; that his ship had the right-of-way; and that he and his crew frantically tried to signal the USS Fitzgerald right up to the time of the collision. More importantly, it appears that the Fitzgerald’s second-in-command who was in charge of navigation of the ship at the time of collision (the captain inexplicably never left his stateroom to take command of the ship as the ACX Crystal approached on a collision course) appears to have panicked, and in a tragic decision to prevent what he or she believed to be the imminent sinking of the Fitzgerald – ordered the bulkhead doors locked – behind which 6 injured Navy sailors and one rescuer were desperately fighting for their lives. It was this decision that sealed their fate.

So once again it looks like the US military’s first impulse when responding to a scandal involving the deaths of US military personnel is to lie and lie again. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has paid any attention to the many blatant lies told by all branches of the US military for as long as it has existed. Their policy is to initially put out a self-serving exculpatory account of any incident involving US forces, only to later modify, and re-modify and retract and then finally months or years later to finally lie again that the original story was not an outright lie, but a result of honest mistakes under time pressure and pressure from the press and families of the victims to say something – which, for some strange reason always results in a monstrous lie being told initially. From the phony propaganda story about how Pat Tillman met his death, to the fake “rescue” of Pvt. Jessica Lynch, to the endless cover-ups of mass murders of civilians in Vietnam, Haiti, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and so many other places – the first instinct of the US military is always to lie to cover up their crimes.  And the USS Fitzgerald incident is shaping up to be just like all the others.

It is widely understood – by people in the US Navy, veterans and commercial ship captains alike – that the Fitzgerald must have been at fault for a number of reasons.  First of all, according to reports of US Navy and commercial shipping professionals,  standard navigational practices require any ship overtaking another ship from the starboard side while both ships are in motion – as the ACX Crystal was doing when it approached the Fitzgerald – has the right of way, and it is incumbent upon the ship being passed to “give way” to the other ship.

Secondly, it is obvious that the much smaller and agile Fitzgerald – equipped as she is with all manner of advanced radar and navigational instruments – should not only have detected the Crystal but should have had plenty of time to maneuver out of the way of the much larger and less maneuverable vessel.  For just these two reasons alone it appeared to almost all observers that the incident was well-nigh unexplainable.

YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 11, 2017) – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel.  (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel A. Taylor/Released by FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs Office)

YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 11, 2017) – The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka to continue repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17 collision with a merchant vessel. FLEACT Yokosuka provides, maintains, and operates base facilities and services in support of U.S. 7th Fleet’s forward-deployed naval forces, 71 tenant commands and 26,000 military and civilian personnel. (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel A. Taylor/Released by FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs Office)

However, our research into this incident has revealed a widely known “secret” about how US Navy vessels routinely operate in international waters that most likely goes a long way toward explaining why the collision – which cost 7 US sailors their lives, injured several others more or less severely and almost led to the complete loss of the $1.5 billion warship – occurred: it is the common experience of commercial ship captains that the US Navy has a policy of running their ships “incognito”; they routinely turn off their “Automated Identification System” (AIS) transponders that identify US Navy ships to other vessels so as to “cloak” their identity from enemy naval vessels – which also makes it impossible for commercial ships to identify and establish direct radio communication with US Navy vessels when they operate in close quarters on the busy sea lanes of the world.   Instead of the captain of the ACX Crystal seeing on his radar the “USS Fitzgerald” – all he saw – if anything – was an unidentifiable blip. And when he and his crew tried frantically to signal the Fitzgerald using lights he was unable to do so.  This fact is borne out by the captured AIS tracks of the ACX Crystal and all the other commercial ships in the area of the collision at the time: the USS Fitzgerald never reveals its location – even an hour after the collision, when the commanding staff of the Fitzgerald apparently believed that the ship was in such serious danger of sinking that they ordered the locking of the bulkhead doors leading to the berths where 7 sailors were desperately fighting for their lives.

We discovered this “open secret” by reading the discussion that followed an article on the incident which was published on the public website of the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI).  The very interesting discussion on the pages of the USNI website demonstrate to us that, to US Navy veterans of all ranks, this incident is a a case of egregious error largely on the part of the officers in charge – not of the Crystal, as the US bourgeois press would have us understand – but of the Fitzgerald.

The first two responses to the June 24 USNI article “Navy Names Former Destroyer Commander to Lead USS Fitzgerald Collision Investigation” by Sam LaGrone set the tone:

“NavySubNuke” leads off with: “There are a number of questions to be answered here – in my mind chief among them is how the Crystal got so close to the ship and yet the CO was still in his rack [in bed – IWPCHI] . That seems to suggest that the bridge team never viewed themselves as being in distress – at least until the collision occurred.”

The very next comment, responding to the first, by “OldSaltUSNR” replies: “Yep, agreed. It’s not that errors don’t occur, or perhaps in this case, a ‘forced error’ due to the unprofessional navigation of the Crystal, but REDUNDANCY should have prevented this. If you want to ask yourself ‘why didn’t the look out see the cargo ship’s navigation lights bearing down the the ship’, there’s are several understandable explanations for that. If you ask ‘why didn’t the technology detect and warn the Fitz’s bridge crew?’ Things happen there too, e.g. radar clutter, weather, mechanical problems, etc.. But there are also two bridge watchstanders (OOD/JOOD), and CIC tracking contacts. How in the world did all of these redundant systems and procedures fail? New, ‘stealth’ Cargo ships? I agree that they likely never knew it was coming, knew that it was anywhere nearby. I don’t know what the standing orders were, but 2.0NM [NM = nautical mile, equivalent to 1852 meters or 1.1508 statute miles – IWPCHI] to 5NM would be a common distance a Navy C.O. would allow any vessel to approach his ship without being notified. He would have likely been on the bridge if they knew this ship was near and CBDR.” [“Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range”: i.e. on a potential collision course – IWPCHI]

MarlinSpikeMate responds: “’due to the unprofessional navigation of the Crystal’
– Based on what? She collided at the 1630 (UTC) mark, and appears to have made a hard right turn and slowing according to AIS track, eventually to return to the area. A look at the live AIS recording over other traffic further clears up the following courses after the collision. They turn slightly to starboard to go around the Bai Chay Bridge. They wait for Kiso3 to clear their path and then turn 180 around the Bai Chay Bridge and return to the area of the collision. This is no secret or speculation, but observable via the Terr-AIS tracker.
1619 – 1627: SPD: ~18.4kts, Course: 070.
1630 (UTC): SPD: 17.3kts, Course: 088 (APRX Time of IMPACT)
1633: SPD: 11.2kts, Course: 135”

OldSaltUSNR then responds: “Based upon the likely fact that the bridge was unoccupied and the ship on autopilot until at least 30 minutes AFTER the collision in a busy sea lane in the middle of the night, and based on the conjecture that the Crystal was overtaking from abaft the starboard side. Regardless of where it’s plot puts that ship at crossing, it’s STILL burdened, and simply moving to starboard does not make it the privileged vessel. Both vessels, in fact, were equally burdened to avoid collision once they became CBDR, but the Crystal ‘iron mike’ is likely not programmed to understand all of this, which is why the cargo ship is supposed to have a bridge crew 24/7. This isn’t all that speculative, and will be borne out in the investigation – guaranteed. The Fitz’s bridge crew and C.O. will still pay the price for not detecting and avoiding the ‘navigational hazard’, which is what the Crystal for all intents and purposes, was in that shipping channel.”

Then MarlinSpikeMate drops the bomb: “I will address some of these issues but it seems to me you are trying to push a certain narrative of the ACX without much evidence.
“‘likely fact that the bridge was unoccupied’?
“- The evidence would point to the contrary, with the immediately slow down and course change at and immediately following the collision. In fact, I would say this proofs that narrative false. Being both a merchant officer and surface warfare officer, I can tell you that it is extremely unlikely the bridge was unoccupied on the ACX, just as it is extremely unlikely the bridge team on the Fitzgerald was sleeping on watch. I presume you base your reasoning from the 30minutes turn around time, but watch the AIS overlay, and you will see the reason for the track after the collision, as I iterated above.
“When the USS Porter was found almost 100% at fault, the tanker that it collided with did not turn around after it tried to avoid the collision. Why? What assistance did the warship need that a lumbering tanker could provide. If the ship was floundering, sure. But this is not the case in either. Certainly turning around wasn’t the first priority on the ACX Chrystal, as tanks and voids were sounded, and the situation assessed. How do we know this just isn’t another Porter incident? The location of the collision on the STBD side is almost identical. Maybe a BRM breakdown on the Fitzgerald. The ACX was traveling in a strait line for at least an hour before the collision.
“’Regardless of where it’s plot puts that ship at crossing, it’s STILL burdened, and simply moving to starboard does not make it the privileged vessel’
“- Not true, and it all depends on the warships track. It very well could be a crossing situation, placing the blame on the Fitzgerald, but we don’t know their track.
“’Crystal “iron mike” is likely not programmed to understand all of this, which is why the cargo ship is supposed to have a bridge crew 24/7. This isn’t all that speculative, and will be borne out in the investigation – guaranteed.’
“- Not sure you fully understanding ‘iron mike’ auto-pilot and auto-track. All iron mike does is keep the ships heading on a course that you tell it too, just like a helmsman. Without constant adjusting, the ship will not follow the track to make good its needed COG. Iron mike is a helmsman, and thats it. It must have a bridge team to keep it on track. Many warships today use iron mike regularly, such as LCS and Zumwalt. Of course it is not ‘programmed to understand all of this’. It simply steers a course.”
You never can be sure if people identify themselves honestly on discussion boards on any website; but obviously, these writers at the very least are well-versed in naval jargon and standard operating procedures; it would appear to us that they are, in fact, US Navy and commercial shipping vets with decades of combined experience at sea.

This last comment seems to put more than a few dents in the US Navy’s initial lie that the ASX Crystal’s captain was at fault for having no one on the bridge at the time of the collision. This Big Lie pushed by the US Navy is further expounded upon in this 21 June USNI article, also by Sam LeGrone: https://news.usni.org/2017/06/21/investigators-believe-uss-fitzgerald-crew-fought-flooding-for-an-hour-before-distress-call-reached-help
“Investigators now think Crystal was transiting to Tokyo on autopilot with an inattentive or asleep crew when the merchant vessel struck a glancing blow on the destroyer’s starboard side at about 1:30 AM local time on Friday. When the crew of Crystal realized they had hit something, the ship performed a U-turn in the shipping lane and sped back to the initial site of the collision at 18 knots, discovered Fitzgerald, and radioed a distress call to authorities at about 2:30 AM. U.S. Navy officials initially said the collision occurred at around the time of the distress call at 2:30 AM.”
The comments on this article are illuminating as well:
Topnife: “The Navy hasn’t admitted a lot of things about this collision yet:
>> The Fitz was the burdened vessel, according to all the descriptions. It was obliged to keep out of the other ship’s way. How did an Aegis warship maneuver in front of another vessel, against all the rules-of-the-road, with all her radars blazing and a CIC calculating closest point of approach every few seconds.
>> The Fitz’ CO was asleep in his stateroom, right behind the bridge, when the collision occurred! Why had he not been called to the bridge?
>> No word so far, if GQ was called, or a Collision Alarm was sounded. A collision warning might have allowed 7 dead sailors to wake up breathing air, rather than water.
>> Being run down by a 40,000 ton ship should not have been a total surprise to the OOD and bridge watch, or the CIC of a Aegis ship either. No way that someone would not notice a huge ship bearing down on them, even if only for 30 seconds or less, unless someone was asleep on watch.
>> It’s astonishing that all communications assets would be concentrated in just one area of the ship, such that the ship would have been rendered completely silent by a single “hit”.
>> That ship looks “bent”. The damage extended virtually to the keel, and a 40,000 ton ship rode up over it and bore down. Have a look at the pix: the line of the hull is visibly bent. Scratch one DDG.
>> What is happening to the Navy that I love???”
JohnnyG > Topnife
“I quite agree with your estimation of events concerning this tragic collision. Aegis radar touts 360 degree coverage. During normal Ops. “situational awareness” should not be a problem underway. During ANY closing or confrontational situation, the CO must be informed as per SOP. So, what happened?? The other ship had it’s own points of interest in that it’s bridge probably was not manned or had incompetent personnel on watch.”
Kapena16 > Johnny G:
“You’re a fool to make such a comment with no grounds or evidence to know this was the case. Cultivating the idea that civilian ships run around in a high density ship traffic area off the coast of Japan at night like a bunch of mindless robots all by themselves is utter BS and you should know better than to make such a claim. I don’t care how many years in the Navy you MAY have served, even if on the bridge, even if you were qualified OOD. To think this was the case is utter nonsense and you owe a lot more respect to civilian licensed watch standing officers everywhere. News reports today confirm that Captain of the cargo ship says they were attempting to signal and warm the navy ship off. The Navy ship is at fault. Deal with that reality.”

Kapena16 is likely referring to the 26 June Reuters article that broke the story on the first reported account of the incident from the ASX Crystal’s captain:

“Exclusive: U.S. warship stayed on deadly collision course despite warning – container ship captain”
“TOKYO (Reuters) – A U.S. warship struck by a container vessel in Japanese waters failed to respond to warning signals or take evasive action before a collision that killed seven of its crew, according to a report of the incident by the Philippine cargo ship’s captain:
[…]
“The container ship steered hard to starboard (right) to avoid the warship, but hit the Fitzgerald 10 minutes later at 1:30 a.m., according to a copy of Captain Ronald Advincula’s report to Japanese ship owner Dainichi Investment Corporation that was seen by Reuters.
“The U.S. Navy declined to comment and Reuters was not able to independently verify the account.” [Emphasis IWPCHI].

But then Kapena16 reveals something else that has gone completely unreported – so far as we know – in the US press: that the Fitzgerald had turned off its AIS and was invisible to the ASX Crystal’s captain and crew at the time of the collision!
“I’ve long since been offended by those (and there are many of them) that make the general claim that the CRYSTAL’s bridge was unmanned or crew was all asleep and the ship was on iron mike or autopilot.
“This commentary follows with the presumption that…”This is a discussion of the facts as we know them, amongst experienced mariners….”
[…]
“We don’t know the all facts… yet. We don’t know squat about the activities aboard the FITZ because the Navy is keeping a tight clamp on their information. We already do know the “statement of facts” made by the vessel Master of the CRYSTAL and, in spite of his recorded statement and his AIS track details and general info the Japanese authorities have released, there are still those who allege the CRYSTAL crew was asleep.
“This allegation is based on pure speculation by (mostly) non-bridge watch standing deck officer qualified individuals who have (likely) zero experience aboard civilian cargo ships. Especially in this area of operation.
“It’s no surprise that commentary on this board leans heavily towards defending the FITZ and laying blame on the CRYSTAL and using the autopilot and being asleep as the primary cause of the collision and burden placed on CRYSTAL crew. No surprise.
“Other boards that are found on primarily civilian maritime industry websites and publications, readers weigh in the opposite direction, blaming the Navy. This would be expected as many (most) of those comments are from mariners with personal experiences at sea with situations involving their own ships and navy ships. So their thought process is obvious.
“Last word…the Navy needs to seriously review their policy of using AIS transponders. The idea that you are ‘cloaking’ your own ship and hiding it from foreign bad guys by simply turning off your AIS (transmit mode), but still using the info gained from it to assist your own bridge team…that thinking is criminal. The families of dead sailors should be looking at this if for no other reason to persuade the Admirals to rethink this policy. I’m not advocating lawsuits and money. I’m an advocate of prevention of real stupid thinking. [IWPCHI emphasis]
“Foreign entities monitor ship movement by simply anchoring their fishing boats outside Yokosuka and watching you guys come and go in broad daylight. Then , technology takes over and satellites overhead of places like Norfolk, Pearl Harbor, and elsewhere are keeping tabs on where you are and what you are doing. We do it. I assume they do it, too.
“Transmitting a basic name (you could use an “alias name” even!) and speed and course (nothing else) would be far better than running around at night (and reduced visibility by day) with no ID to assist other ships that see you, in collision avoidance.
“If nothing else, the collision of the FITZ and the CRYSTAL should prove that point. Seven dead US sailors underscore the importance of changing this ludicrous policy by Navy command.”

A video produced by the website  VesselTracker

seems to confirm what Kapena16 says:  it tracks and displays the AIS information broadcast from every commercial ship in the world’s oceans.  It’s recording of the movements of the ACX Crystal and all nearby ships reveals that the USS Fitzgerald did NOT have her AIS transponder on – not at the time of the collision, and at no time after the collision occurred, either!  [The collision occurs at approximately 1:07 into the video]:

Kapena16 has a lot more to say, and US Navy vets generally agree with him:

“A single tool that has been in place several years now that has made a monumental positive difference in the safe navigation of ALL ships at sea is the Automatic Identity System (AIS) Transponder. Its proper use has removed the necessity to call out on VHF 16 that familiar and desperate sound “Vessel on my port bow, this is the vessel on your starboard bow, Come in!” You’ve just grabbed the attention of probably a dozen ships within 20 miles of you, in a ridiculous effort to avoid a collision. It is likely you have established contact with someone you didn’t intend to and now have set up another vessel for a close call. Or a collision. [Emphasis IWPCHI]

“THIS is why the Captain of the CRYSTAL was shining his light towards the FITZ. An attempt to hail on VHF 16 a vessel that should be giving way, is a last ditch desperate measure.”
“However, when done with the definitive information gleaned from using the AIS and being able to call out a ship by her specific name, it certainly makes hailing one another on VHF 16 a completely different effort.
“The Captain of the ACX CRYSTAL did not have that luxury, since the FITZ chose to leave her AIS transmitter turned off. Like most Navy ships.

“However….the FITZ bridge team likely knew and was monitoring the movements of the CRYSTAL (since so many other navy folks have already told us in numerous commentaries all over the internet) on an AIS screen on her bridge. The Navy chooses to use the AIS system to see others, but NOT reveal her own presence.

“I find it fascinating that the US Navy leadership condones this practice of selective use of the AIS system, under the circumstances that confronted the FITZ that night. In other words, its good for the Navy to receive knowledge that helps Navy ships as the Navy deems fit to do so. But is is a bad policy to allow civilian ships around US Navy ships to have information gained from an AIS signal that may help in safe navigation and collision avoidance.

“What?

“The loss of 7 great American sailors, while they slept, is a tragic waste, given the otherwise peaceful, routine transit their ship was on as they headed back to port at Yokosuka. To be clear, there was no military activity happening at the time of the collision, to warrant the FITZ traveling in ‘stealth mode’. I mean really, do you guys genuinely believe turning your AIS off is really going to prevent the Chinese, Russians, and NORKOS from monitoring your ship’s activities???? Never mind the satellites spying from overhead or the fishermen in boats anchored off Yokosuka Harbor watching the daily arrivals and departures in broad daylight. Its incredulous the Navy still thinks this is an effective method of cloaking your ship’s movements.

I cannot help but wonder if the FITZ had been transmitting some basic data on her AIS…her name, course, and speed… that the officer on watch aboard the CRYSTAL could have routinely called her out on VHF 16 and inquired about her intentions and come to a mutual agreement for safe passage. We wouldn’t have seen a collision, we wouldn’t be discussing the matter. The navy ship and the cargo ship would have passed like thousands of others that early morning. Free and clear by each other.
But that didn’t happen.
What will the US Navy’s Admiral’s staff conclude in an honest ‘lessons learned’ review here?”  [Emphasis throughout by IWPCHI]

 

 

The pro-US military press has also downplayed and obscured the fact that the commanders of the Fitzgerald apparently decided that it was more important to save their ship – and thus, perhaps, their careers – than to save the lives of seven sailors.  Seven men were seemingly deliberately sacrificed by the Fitzgerald’s commanders when they ordered the bulkhead doors sealed and locked, trapping the sailors, who were presumably alive at the time, inside the rapidly flooding berths housing them.  One of the seven dead sailors – identified by the New York Times as “Fire Controlman First Class Gary Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio” – had been in the process of rescuing his fellow sailors trapped in that berth when the decision was made to seal the bulkhead doors behind him; he and 6 of his fellow sailors were later found drowned inside the sealed compartment; there are already well-justified calls for him to be awarded medals of honor for his courageous and selfless actions.  According to a USNI article, “Rehm was set to retire from the Navy this summer”.  The NY Times quotes one of Rehm’s grieving family members as saying: ““Something ain’t right about what they’re saying… we got to get to the bottom of this.” [Source: NY Times,  23 June 2017: “Maritime Mystery: Why A US Destroyer Failed to Dodge A Cargo Ship” by Scott Shane]

 

There are investigations of the “accident” being carried out by US, Japanese and Filipino authorities;  however, the US Navy is refusing to cooperate with the investigations being undertaken by the allied states.   The English-language version of the top Japanese bourgeois press newspaper Asahi Shimbun has reported a Reuters story saying that “[t]he United States will likely bar Japanese investigators from interviewing USS Fitzgerald crew manning the guided missile destroyer when it was struck by a cargo ship in Japanese waters killing seven American sailors, a U.S. Navy official said […] the U.S. navy official, who declined to be identified, said warships were afforded sovereign immunity under international law and foreign investigators were not expected to get access to the U.S. crew.”  [Source: Reuters, via Asahi Shimbun,  30 June 2017: “Official: U.S. may bar Japan from interviewing warship crew”]

If this turns out to be the case, it would be just another example of the arrogance of the military forces of US imperialism as they bludgeon their way across the world’s land, sea and airspaces acting as the self-appointed “world’s policemen”.

The tragic death of 7 US sailors due to the obvious incompetence and panic among the commanders of the Fitzgerald is without parallel in “peacetime” US naval operations.  To callously order the deaths of 7 sailors in order to save a ship that was – in hindsight – in no serious danger of sinking is an error of judgment almost beyond comprehension.  This action of the Fitzgerald’s commanding officers, which has barely been alluded to in the propagandistic US press, will undoubtedly be the most serious charge brought against the commanders of the Fitzgerald.

It will be interesting to see how the US Navy investigation handles this extreme case of official incompetence, misconduct and wanton sacrifice of the lives of US Naval personnel.  There are many questions that remain unanswered – or even unasked by the completely housebroken US press. Was there any attempt made by the central command of the US Navy which presumably monitors all world shipping located near US Naval vessels in real-time to warn the Fitzgerald that it had a huge container ship bearing down upon it?  Were they asleep again, as the U.S. Air Force NORAD command was when the 9/11 attacks unfolded?

It has been reported that the collision caused the complete collapse of the communications infrastructure of the Fitzgerald in a manner so severe as to preclude the Fitzgerald’s crew from issuing any kind of distress call! Incredibly, it is the crew of the Crystal that is being pilloried in the press for not reporting the collision until an hour after it occurred.  How is it possible that a modern US Naval vessel could have all of its communications gear destroyed as a result of an impact on just one side of the vessel?  Aren’t these ships supposed to be ready to fight WWIII?  What did the US taxpayers get for their $1.5 billion: a floating joke?  Was the Fitzgerald – which its commanding officers were so sure was in danger of imminent sinking that they sacrificed the lives of seven crewmembers to “save” her – ever able to send even a simple “S.O.S.”?  If they were, neither the Japanese Navy nor any of the many commercial vessels in the area were apparently able to hear it.

We expect the results of the investigation to be the usual exercise in ass-covering by the U.S. Naval brass, throwing the careers of many lower-ranking personnel overboard.  The commander of the Fitzgerald is certain to be cashiered for this  incident – as well he should be – but the policy of allowing US Naval ships to operate in busy shipping lanes with their identities cloaked to all non-US Navy vessels – which either heavily contributed to or was the primary cause of this in the first place – is not a policy created by the Fitzgerald’s skipper but by the top brass of the US Navy.  According to the experienced commercial ship captain Kapena16, that policy has been causing panic among the crews of cargo vessels all over the globe for years.  It is a miracle that more incidents like this one have not occurred.  It appears to us to be largely a tribute to the skill of the world’s commercial shipping captains and their crews that this insane US Navy policy of allowing its vessels to operate “incognito” in international waters has not led to more collisions like this one.  That policy of the US Navy must be rescinded immediately; in a rational world those who have ordered the US Navy’s commanding officers to follow it would be severely punished.  But in the final analysis, only a workers socialist revolution in the USA can takes these weapons of mass destruction out of the blood-soaked hands of the US capitalist class and their often clueless lackeys once and for all.  We look forward also to a post-capitalist world in which the need for imperialist war machines will cease to exist; a world in which they youth of the USA will not be forced to slaughter their fellow workers just to keep a roof over their and their families’  heads and food in their bellies –  or to obtain a college degree.

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

 

The Great French Revolution – “L’Autrichienne”: The Treachery of Marie-Antoinette and Its Historical Parallels

As part of our study of the French Revolution we have come across many references to the “innocence” of the last French Queen, Marie-Antoinette and to the alleged “savagery” of the French revolutionaries who ordered her execution in 1793.  Ever since the day of her execution she has been the subject of hagiographic publications that extol her beauty, her romantic nature and her alleged “kindness” and which portray her as a victim of the “excesses” committed by the revolutionary leaders of the French Revolution.

These romanticised portrayals of this haughty and treacherous monarchist are to be expected of the writings of the deposed French aristocracy who were Marie’s contemporaries.  But what can we say of the modern-day writers on this subject, who live in nation-states whose working classes long ago deposed the royal excrescences and established bourgeois republican rule on the ashes of their respective monarchies?  How depraved does one have to be to pine for the “good old days” of the absolute monarchs?  These vicious swine lived in luxury, squeezing every penny they could out of the peasantry, leaving the peasants to starve year after year.  Though the legend of Marie-Antionette’s statement “let them eat cake” may be apocryphal, Kropotkin (in his “The Great French Revolution”) tells us of how similar brutal statements made by other representatives of the landed aristocracy were commonplace:  he quotes the Governor of Dijon telling a gathering of starving peasants: “The grass has sprouted,  go to the fields and browse on it”!   During the final years of the Bourbon monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, the entire French nation was reduced to starvation while the royal family, the nobility, proprietors of landed estates and the clergy feasted on delicacies – while the workers and peasants were denied even scraps of bread to subsist on.  Only those who have forgotten, or who never learned of the extreme misery that was imposed by the Kings and Queens of old upon the vast majority of the population of their respective countries can shed tears over the well-deserved fate of Austrian Marie-Antoinette, whom the French workers and peasants dubbed “L’Autrichienne” – “The Austrian Bitch”.  The French workers and peasants did not reach that level of hatred for the Queen and the entire French aristocracy overnight: it took well over a decade of brutal suffering at the hands of the Bourbons and their ruthless tax collectors, jailers and executioners before their hatred of the monarchy reached its breaking point.

The many letters written by Marie-Antoinette that still exist are the subject of a great deal of this romanticism of the French Queen hated by the vast majority of her subjects; hagiographers focus on the alleged “romantic” escapades of this Austrian despot as if she was just a beautiful and frivolous victim of her noble birth and an innocent voluptuary.  But in fact, those very same letters reveal what a vicious, treacherous and deadly threat Marie and her royal court were to the workers and peasants of France.  Her hagiographers would have us believe that as the French Revolution progressed, Marie-Antoinette became more and more a pitiable, helpless victim of the events that swirled around her.  In fact she was one of the very centers of counter-revolutionary intrigue plotting the execution of the revolutionary French workers and peasants who had launched the Revolution and who were working inexorably to throw off the yoke of the French monarchy that had enslaved and brutalized the masses for centuries – and it is these same letters that prove this fact beyond doubt.

History has produced many interesting personalities representative of the same social classes that appear and reappear in different countries in different epochs but often with surprising similarities so profound that if you were simply to describe the machinations of these people without stating who they were or what country they were from you might well identify any one of them with the works of the others.  As Marxists know, this is because there are roles that are played out by the representatives of the various actors in any class society that are delimited by the levels of development of the productive forces of that society in a given stage of its development.  Thus, the roles of the various elements of feudal societies tend to act in strikingly similar ways, constrained as they are to play the roles history has assigned them.  So it is we find amazing similarities between three Queens who lived and died in three consecutive centuries, who never had occasion to meet their immediate predecessor and could not have been personally influenced by them outside of the study of their histories: Queen Henrietta-Maria of England (wife of the doomed Charles I, born in France, died in 1669); Marie-Antoinette (Austrian born 1755, executed 1793); and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (born in German Empire in 1872; executed 1918).  The last two of these vicious despots have had mountains of bullshit published about them romanticising their lives and making martyrs out of these women who urged on their respective King and Tsar to ruthlessly crush the workers and peasants who opposed their monstrous reigns.  They would have happily seen the land of their adopted nations soaked in the blood of millions of peasants and workers if that was necessary in order to save their monarchies.  These are not idle claims; they are incontrovertible truths preserved in the private letters they exchanged with their husbands and with other representatives of their respective court camarillas who were actively conspiring to drown the rising of the masses in blood.

Readers of this blog will know that we have published a chapter of anarchist Peter Kropotkin’s excellent 2-volume history “The Great French Revolution” recently, in honor of Bastille Day.  The book is excellent, and throughout the book Kropotkin quite accurately describes the treachery of Marie-Antoinette, often referring to her letters sent to various co-conspirators among the French aristocracy in exile as well as to her benefactors in Germany who were preparing to invade France to save the Bourbon monarchy.  What Kropotkin does not make clear is that those very letters contain irrefutable proof that, far from being a frivolous innocent victim of the times, Marie-Antoinette was an active conspirator against the Revolution: from 1789 to her execution four years later she was writing in multiple ciphers in invisible ink to her co-conspirators throughout Europe, using ciphers she had personally worked out and maintained with those correspondents.  These letters reveal that she was in direct contact with the German generals who were preparing to invade France and who had vowed to slaughter every revolutionary worker and peasant they could lay hands on.

In undertaking this profound act of conscious treason against the citizens of France, it is astonishing to see that she was imitating the treachery of Charles I’s consort Henrietta-Maria, who a hundred years before had carried on a secret correspondence with her doomed husband in the years leading up to his execution – even while he was imprisoned and under 24-hour surveillance.  How these secret communications of the two Queens were carried out are described in detail in two very interesting monographs we have run across on the Internet.

Irrefutable proof of the active espionage and conspiratorial activities of the “innocent” Marie-Antoinette against the workers and peasants of France during the Great French Revolution continued right up until the moment of her execution.  This evidence alone more than justifies the execution of “L’Autrichienne”.   SOURCE: cryptiana.web.fc2.com

And here is the astonishingly similar evidence against Queen Henrietta-Maria:

Queen Henrietta’s conspiratorial correspondence with soon-to-be-executed Charles I would have justified a similar fate for her had she been captured by Cromwell’s forces during the English Civil War.   SOURCE:  cryptiana.web.fc2.com

In both cases these resourceful women were able to carry out their secret correspondence while either they or their correspondents were under tight security and 24-hour surveillance.  The many ways in which Charles I was able to bribe and convince multiple servants, guards and other visitors to undertake this very dangerous work is a case study in the threat posed by a deposed member of the ruling class of any era, showing how capable they are of manipulating weak members of the revolutionary classes to carry out espionage activities on their behalf.  Truly, there was only one way to put an end to Charles I’s endless plots against the Cromwellian revolutionaries.  Likewise with Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI: they maintained their correspondence with their aristocratic relatives and French exiles who were preparing to invade France from neighboring countries in order to drown the Revolution in blood and restore the monarchy.  Nothing short of their executions could have put a final end to their truly monstrous conspiracies against the people of France.

Perhaps it is no coincidence in the case of Marie-Antoinette that she followed so closely the methods used by her historical doppelgänger in the English Civil War of a century and a half earlier.  Kropotkin notes that Louis XVI, on being imprisoned at the Tuileries on 6 October 1789 by the heroic revolutionary masses of Paris, ” asked for the history of Charles I to be brought to him from his library”.

Only the Bolsheviks were stalwart enough revolutionaries who had studied these lessons of history so well that they fully recognized the living threat posed by the captured Tsar and Tsarina and thus completely isolated them from their supporters inside and outside of revolutionary Russia.  But as every living monarch poses a direct threat of the restoration of a deposed monarchy should the counter-revolution gain the upper hand against the revolution, it became necessary to end the ruthless Romanov dynasty in the only way a hereditary despotism can be truly ended.   We shed no tears over these despots who, in all of their cases, presided over the wanton torture, execution and massacre of thousands of peasants and workers during their brutal reigns.  And we publish this as a warning to all future worker-revolutionaries that, in a revolution, one of the worst mistakes that can be made by the revolutionaries is to be too magnanimous to the mortal enemies of the working class.

—- IWPCHI

U2 Frontman Bono and His @ONE Organization Fingered by US Special Ops Commander as Collaborators With Pentagon

Bono and equally repulsive Bob Geldof shaking hands with US war criminal George W. Bush.

(UPDATED 24/25 July 2017) – We have always despised the third-rate “punk” band U2’s decidedly third-rate music as being far below the standard set by the top bands of the British Punk Invasion of the late 1970s.  The very name of the band – U2 – the name of an infamous spy plane used by the US CIA to spy on the USSR during the late 1950s and early 1960s – caused suspicion among “punks” at the time it strangely emerged on the music scene, just as did “The Police” (that was another very strange name for a “punk” band and aroused our personal suspicions at the time).

It is now well known that the US Government and its secret assassination wing the CIA created pro-capitalist “cultural” organizations designed to oppose the influence of pro-working class organizations sponsored and/or influenced by the USSR.  The  “Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF)” lured many willing – and many unsuspecting – writers and bourgeois intellectuals and academics into its fold.  It has been supposed that the CIA’s operations in this area have long since been abandoned.  But recent revelations – like this one – indicate that this is not true.

During the War in Iraq of 2004, the US Government announced that it was launching propaganda operations designed to influence the “Arab street” to support the objectives of US imperialism as it rampaged throughout the Mideast, slaughtering civilian men, women and children.  But behind the scenes of these well-known propaganda operations of the US Government, it appears that many other operations were being undertaken to influence the minds of American and Western European youth to support the criminal objectives of the US capitalist class and their blood-soaked military.

Popular music has always been a way for the widely hated US Government to reach the “hearts and minds” of the workers subliminally.  During the 1950s and 1920s the US Government sought to segregate record releases as well as radio broadcasts into separate racial categories so as to keep the working class divided and thus more easily manipulated.  Until the rise of the Communist- and Trotskyist- Party-influenced Civil Rights Movement of the late 1940s and 1950s, music and the arts were kept segregated by the owners of newspapers, radio stations and record companies.  Almost every attempt of black and white youth to come together to enjoy rock-and-roll concerts during the 1950s was met with police-state violence ranging from refusal to allow the concerts to occur to physical attacks on the audience and performers.

In the late 1950s and 1960s the US Government sponsored “cultural exchange” programs in which famous US jazz musicians were sent to the USSR as ambassadors of the “free world” to attempt to show the workers of socialist nation-states what they were missing.  Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and many others very controversially volunteered to allow themselves to be pawns in the global culture war that accompanied the “Cold War”.

In the 1960s, rock bands who opposed the war in Vietnam were placed under US police-state surveillance and their members were arrested and thrown in jail at the slightest pretext for doing so.  The FBI’s murderous COINTELPRO operation was unleashed against members of the Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, John Lennon and Yoko Ono and many other “anti-war” musicians.

In the late 1970s the pages of the “counter-culture” magazine “Rolling Stone” – a magazine that was originally one of the primary mouthpieces of US youth opposition to the Vietnam War – were turned into recruitment posters to lure workers into the US war machine.  During the late 1970s and 1980s it was ads from the US Army that kept Rolling Stone afloat financially (we cancelled our subscription and refused to read this pro-war rag).

So how is it that the frontman of the incomprehensibly popular rock band “U2” would ignore all that horrible precedent in order to make common cause with a US military that has been committing war crimes without cessation since World War II?  What motivates a citizen of Ireland like Bono to join hands with the most murderous military to rampage across the globe since Hitler’s Wehrmacht?

Bono is the head of one of the myriad of fake non-governmental organizations (NGOs)  that in fact are sponsored and backed by top capitalists and governmental organizations of imperialist nation-states like the US and England.  Bono fronts two of these:  RED  – an AIDS activism organization; and  ONE which is his “humanitarian aid” organization now seeking to partner with the US Special Operations Command – one of the most murderous branches of the US military, responsible for carrying out assassinations and terrorist attacks against the many enemies of the US capitalist class.

Though it is true that both of these organizations have done some commendable work in their respective areas of concern, charities like this effectively cover up for the fact that it is the capitalist system itself that is responsible for the terrible human suffering that takes place in the world.  By collaborating with governments and military organizations that are primarily responsible for the vast majority of human suffering in the world, both ONE and RED serve to place a big “happy face” over the crimes being committed every day by the US Government and its military.  By organizing these NGOs these do-gooders trick millions of workers into believing that their pathetically small charitable donations are going to end poverty or make a serious impact on saving the lives of AIDS victims when in fact they allow the capitalist system to continue to kill tens of millions of people every year and prevent workers from organizing to get rid of the capitalist system which is the basis for all this unnecessary suffering.

Charity work can not solve these enormous problems; it will take a socialist revolution in the US and throughout the capitalist world to finally put the needs of hundreds of millions of suffering people at the forefront of all human activity on this planet.  A socialist United States of America would set as its goal not the mere “alleviation of extreme poverty” – which is the timid goal set by the United Nations Millennium Goals fraud, but to completely end poverty once and for all.  That would not be accomplished by penny-pinching charity but by a systematic planned effort to nationalize the pharmaceutical industry and then  mass-produce drugs  to ship to any place on Earth where they are needed – for free.  We would also send doctors and nurses and construction workers and all the supplies necessary to build hospitals, clinics and medical schools throughout the “third world” and train the workers there to become the medical professionals that would eradicate every preventable disease that now ravages much of the world’s 7 billion people.  Capitalist charity doesn’t solve poverty and human suffering – IT PROLONGS IT AND GUARANTEES ITS PERPETUATION!

Bono’s monumental ego probably leads him to believe, quite naively, that he is influencing organizations like SOCOM to be more “humanitarian”: but in fact it is Bono and his ONE organization that are being used quite openly and cynically to put a false humanitarian face on one of the most murderous ruling classes in world history: the US capitalist class and their mass-slaughtering war machine.  Not only does Bono reveal his own vast naiveté in doing this; he also exposes every one of ONE and RED’s international representatives to very legitimate reprisals against anyone who works with the murderous US military machine.  In short, Bono’s crappy politics are placing the lives of every decent person in his aid organizations at risk.

Here we present to our readers the open admission by none other than Four-Star General Raymond “Tony” Thomas, Commander, US Special Operations Command that his blood-soaked organization has been openly recruited by the idiot Bono to help him develop his “humanitarian aid” organization @ONE.  It was not the US military that sought to work with Bono: it was BONO who sought out the assistance of nothing less than the brutal US Special Operations Command to help him bring “humanitarian aid” to the desperate and starving people of the world.  This is like asking an organization representing wolves to come to the aid of an organization representing sheep!

SOCOM’s General Raymond Anthony “Tony” Thomas III isn’t the sweet and convivial guy he pretends to be in this video.  In fact he has been a key participant and leader of many of US imperialism’s most bloody and ruthless military operations of the past 40 years: from the  cowardly invasion of the tiny island of Grenada in 1983 to the savage and shameless invasion of Panama in 1989 to prevent US-backed strongman Manuel Noriega from spilling the beans on US Military/CIA drug trafficking operations in South and Central America during the Iran-Contra scandal; to the savage wars and counter-intelligence operations being run to this day by SOCOM in Iraq,  Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.  Gen. Thomas – that nice smiling, friendly fan of U2 – is in fact a blood-soaked war criminal, a lifelong servant of the mass-murdering US capitalist class!  There could be no better proof that the pathetic petit-bourgeois reformist Bono can’t tell his ass from a hole-in-the-ground politically than that he should seek to enlist US war criminal Gen. Thomas of SOCOM as a “humanitarian ally”!

In this amazing video, the head of the US Special Operations Command expresses his own astonishment that a rock star such as Bono would ask to work hand-in-glove with the US military.  But we wonder if this kind of co-operation between U2 and the US military hasn’t been going on since U2 was created and suddenly appeared out of nowhere in the late 1970s, during a punk-rock upsurge in which U2 seemed at the time to be totally out of sync with.  Is it possible that in a “Congress For Cultural Freedom”-like propaganda operation, U2 were created – or at least co=opted and then promoted – by UK and US intelligence agencies in order to create political pressure against the IRA and to get them to disarm and become the lame, housebroken “loyal opposition” they currently are?  And then once that mission was accomplished, U2 were used to create the US and UK-govt sponsored NGO @ONE which has just now been revealed as a collaborator of the US war machine?  You be the judge.  We just found out about this ourselves today so we are only now beginning our investigation into this scandal.

If you take the time to watch the entire video you will see that US War Criminal Gen. Thomas makes several far more important revelations about the US joint military operations with the Kurds in Iraq and Syria as well as an ominous threat of impending military attacks on the besieged North Korean degenerated workers state.   He represents the ongoing threat to human civilization posed by the continuation of the rule of the US capitalist class and their mass-murdering military.

— IWPCHI

[From the original YouTube channel of the Aspen Institute at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCqCnLjSx7M&t=30m26s:

“SOCOM: Policing The World – The Aspen Institute

Streamed live on Jul 21, 2017

“While this Administration’s approach to foreign crises mostly differs from that of its predecessor, there is at least one conspicuous exception, a heavy reliance on Special Operations Forces. Their commander explains the role SOCOM and SOF perennially play in responding to flash points around the globe and building partner-nation capacity to provide for their own defense.

“Featuring:
Raymond “Tony” Thomas, Commander, US Special Operations Command
Moderator: Catherine Herridge, Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Fox News”

U2 revelations begin at 30:05 of video.  Our transcript of the interview relating to the revelations about U2 follows below:

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

[Dialogue on this subject begins at 30:05 of video – IWPCHI]

Moderator: “Just to shift gears; you’re always looking for new partnerships, right?

Raymond “Tony” Thomas, Commander, US Special Operations Command: “Always”.

Mod: “Always. OK. So you met recently with the singer Bono or his team… right?

Thomas: Right

Mod: … you gonna work with him? Not …

Thomas: I hope so! This was str…

Mod: on stage, or…

Thomas: … this was strange… and, uh, actually, a member of his team’s here today. And we, we met with him to try to put some meat on these bones. Uh, but the interesting thing… uh… Bono came to… to Tampa with U2 – and I’m a huge U2 fan – so this… it was pretty easy when he said “hey can I meet with and General Luttell [ph – IWPCHI]?” [SOCOM shit laughs and gives “thumbs-up” sign] Yeah, rock on, let’s do this.

Mod: [laughs]

Audience: [laughs]

Thomas: … so, uh… so before one of the best concerts I could ever imagine, he spent about 40 minutes describing all his efforts through the “ONE Foundation” that he’s trying to do around the world. And the fascinating part was… he acknowledged… he said… early on, he said: “the last group of people I ever expected to be hanging around with was a bunch of military people!” And I thought about that for a second and I thought: “Yeah, because you have the perception that a lot of others do: that we’re just a bunch of knuckle-dragging pipe-swingers um… who… “call on ’em when you need to do something desperate but otherwise, how could they be helpful?” His [Bono’s – IWPCHI] late-life epiphany (he’s 54 years old) is that “you know what? All the humanitarian assistance that I’m trying to push around the world doesn’t happen without security; you [the US military – IWPCHI] seem to provide security and you seem to want to stabilize places – either ahead of time, before a conflict or as we’re wrapping up post-hostilities – might we do things together?” And I’m thinking: “Absolutely! You’ve got an 8-million-person organization that runs the gamut of… of positive humanitarian activities… um… that need the trappings of security or that need that kind of… you know… synergy and symbiotic relationship… sign us up!” So we’re trying to actively… and we’re global, like he’s global… so it’s kind of a ‘match made in heaven’ in terms of the opportunity. Now, again, ask me six months from now um… “have you done anything more than admire U2 music more than you did before”…

Mod: [laughs]

Thomas: … um, I hope I can tell you “here’s where we’re actually moving out” and it’s… and it’s a great… kind of… you know… um… ah… match of… varied capabilities that they’re doing… um… that are proven to… a lot of humanity.

Mod: Your plan is to try and make something work, right?

Thomas: And, and I think it’s free money. So why, uh, why not? Uh… He literally is offering the entree for…to.. uh… for… to marry up with his activities, so… and there’s others out there like him that, uh, I think we have not taken advantage of in the past. They’re also turning their focus on – which absolutely plays to our strong suit or to our party effort. Um.. they’re about countering violent extremism.

100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution: February 1917 – The Collapse of Czarism

We had originally intended to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Great October Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 by publishing articles month-by-month describing that month’s events as captured by one of the great Bolshevik leaders of 1917 Leon Trotsky in his incomparable “History of the Russian Revolution”.  For a number of reasons both technical and personal we have been unable to do this; however we hope to catch up with events in the next few days so we can get back on track with this series.

This installment goes back to February of 1917 and shows that the support for the Tsarist regime had completely collapsed long before Lenin, Trotsky and the other leading exiles had even returned to Russia.  The army, demoralized by the complete inability of the regime to supply it with even the most basic necessities at the front, had largely ceased to obey the orders of the generals.  The urban intelligentsia too sought nothing less than a constitutional monarchy with some kind of parliamentary system.  The working class and peasantry, bled white by the war, had become completely insurrectionary.  There was not a square foot of soil of Russia on which the Tsar and his regime could find firm footing or a place of safe refuge, as we shall see.

Contrary to the lying propaganda which we have always been subjected to by the anti-communist US Govt and its hireling historians, the Russian Revolution was not some kind of secret coup plot hatched by the Bolsheviks under Lenin’s tutelage.  The Russian Revolution occurred because it was simply no longer possible for the people of Russia to go on living in the old ways under the old regime for one day longer.  No small workers party – as the Bolshevik Party was in February 1917 – can magically stage a successful overthrow of any government without the support of at least a large section of the working class and the military – and in the case of Russia, the peasantry as well.  It was precisely the fact that the Bolsheviks alone among all the many contending political parties in Russia possessed the well-thought out revolutionary Marxist programme for the overthrow of Tsarism and the establishment of an egalitarian socialist workers republic that was necessary to obtain the support of the long-suffering Russian workers, soldiers and peasants.   Without a revolutionary Leninist vanguard party possessed of a truly revolutionary Marxist/Leninist programme it would have been impossible for the Bolshevik Revolution to occur; and it is as true today as it was in 1917 that until the workers of the United States organize themselves into a revolutionary socialist Leninist/Trotskyist vanguard party and successfully overthrows the rule of the US capitalist class – the most bloodthirsty regime on the planet today – we will remain trapped in the human slaughterhouse of imperialist capitalism until the next World War brings the entire human race to the brink of destruction.  The creation of a revolutionary socialist vanguard party of the working class right here in the USA is the most important task of our lifetimes.

This chapter of Trotsky’s “History of the Russian Revolution” describes how power was steadily stripped out of the hands of the Tsar and his ruling clique in February-March of 1917 by the insurgent workers, soldiers and peasants of Russia, with the Bolshevik Party playing just a small but very important and influential role among only a thin layer of the most politically advanced workers and soldiers.  The entire book can be read online at https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/index.htm  Our text is taken from this online version.  Enjoy!

— IWPCHI

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

Chapter 6
The Death Agony
of the Monarchy

 

The dynasty fell by shaking, like rotten fruit, before the revolution even had time to approach its first problems. Our portrayal of the old ruling class would remain incomplete if we did not try to show how the monarchy met the hour of its fall.

The czar was at headquarters at Moghilev, having gone there not because he was needed, but in flight from the Petrograd disorders. The court chronicler, General Dubensky, with the czar at headquarters, noted in his diary: “A quiet life begins here. Everything will remain as before. Nothing will come of his (the czar’s) presence. Only accidental external causes will change anything …” On February 24, the czarina wrote Nicholas at headquarters, in English as always: “I hope that Duma man Kedrinsky (she means Kerensky) will be hung for his horrible speeches-it is necessary (war-time law) and it will be an example. All are thirsting and beseeching that you show your firmness.” On February 25, a telegram came from the Minister of War that strikes were occurring in the capital, disorders beginning among the workers, but measures had been taken and there was nothing serious. In a word: “It isn’t the first time, and won’t be the last!”

The czarina, who had always taught the czar not to yield, here too tried to remain firm. On the 26th, with an obvious desire to hold up the shaky courage of Nicholas, she telegraphs him: “It is calm in the city.” But in her evening telegram she has to confess: “Things are not going at all well in the city.” In a letter she says: “You must say to the workers that they must not declare strikes, if they do, they will be sent to the front as a punishment. There is no need at all of shooting. Only order is needed, and not to let them cross the bridges.” Yes, only a little thing is needed, only order! But the chief thing is not to admit the workers into the city-let them choke in the raging impotence of their suburbs.

On the morning of the 27th, General Ivanov moves from the front with the Battalion of St. George, entrusted with dictatorial powers – which he is to make public, however, only upon occupying Tsarskoe Selo. “It would be hard to imagine a more unsuitable person.” General Denikin will recall later, himself having taken a turn at military dictatorship, “a flabby old man, meagrely grasping the political situation, possessing neither strength, nor energy, nor will, nor austerity.” The choice fell upon Ivanov through memories of the first revolution. Eleven years before that he had subdued Kronstadt. But those years had left their traces; the subduers had grown flabby, the subdued, strong. The northern and western fronts were ordered to get ready troops for the march on Petrograd; evidently everybody thought there was plenty of time ahead. Ivanov himself assumed that the affair would be ended soon and successfully; he even remembered to send out an adjutant to buy provisions in Moghilev for his friends in Petrograd.

On the morning of February 27, Rodzianko sent the czar a new telegram, which ended with the words: “The last hour has come when the fate of the fatherland and the dynasty is being decided.” The czar said to his Minister of the Court, Frederiks: “Again that fat-bellied Rodzianko has written me a lot of nonsense, which I won’t even bother to answer.” But no. It was not nonsense. He will have to answer.

About noon of the 27th, headquarters received a report from Khabalov of the mutiny of the Pavlovsky, Volynsky, Litovsky and Preobrazhensky regiments, and the necessity of sending reliable troops from the front. An hour later from the War Ministry came a most reassuring telegram: “The disorders which began this morning in certain military units are being firmly and energetically put down by companies and battalions loyal to their duty … I am firmly convinced of an early restoration of tranquility.” However, a little after seven in the evening, the same minister, Belyaev, is reporting that “We are not succeeding in putting down the military rebellion with the few detachments that remain loyal to their duty,” and requesting a speedy dispatch of really reliable troops-and that too in sufficient numbers “for simultaneous activity in different parts of the city.”

The Council of Ministers deemed this a suitable day to remove from their midst the presumed cause of all misfortunes – the half-crazy Minister of the Interior Protopopov. At the same time General Khabalov issued an edict – prepared in secrecy from the government – declaring Petrograd, on His Majesty’s orders, under martial law. So here too was an attempt to mix hot with cold – hardly intentional, however, and anyway of no use. They did not even succeed in pasting up the declaration of martial law through the city: the burgomaster, Balka, could find neither paste nor brushes. Nothing would stick together for those functionaries any longer; they already belonged to the kingdom of shades.

The principal shade of the last czarist ministry was the seventy-year old Prince Golytsin, who had formerly conducted some sort of eleemosynary institutions of the czarina, and had been advanced by her to the post of head of the government in a period of war and revolution. When friends asked this “good-natured Russian squire, this old weakling” – as the liberal Baron Nolde described him – why he accepted such a troublesome position, Golytsin answered: “So as to have one more pleasant recollection.” This aim, at any rate, he did not achieve. How the last czarist government felt in those hours is attested by Rodzianko in the following tale: With the first news of the movement of a crowd toward the Mariinsky Palace, where the Ministry was in session, all the lights in the building were immediately put out. (The government wanted only one thing – that the revolution should not notice it.) The rumour, however, proved false; the attack did not take place; and when the lights were turned on, one of the members of the czarist government was found “to his own surprise” under the table. What kind of recollections he was accumulating there has not been established.

But Rodzianko’s own feelings apparently were not at their highest point. After a long but vain hunt for the government by telephone, the President of the Duma tries again to ring up Prince Golytsin. The latter answers him: “I beg you not to come to me with anything further, I have resigned.” Hearing this news, Rodzianko, according to his loyal secretary, sank heavily in an armchair and covered his face with both hands.

My “God, how horrible! … Without a government … Anarchy … Blood …” and softly wept. At the expiring of the senile ghost of the czarist power Rodzianko felt unhappy, desolate, orphaned. How far he was at that moment from the thought that tomorrow he would have to “ head” a revolution!

The telephone answer of Golytsin is explained by the fact that on the evening of the 27th the Council of Ministers had definitely acknowledged itself incapable of handling the situation, and proposed to the czar to place at the head of the government a man enjoying general confidence. The czar answered Golytsin: “In regard to changes in the personal staff in the present circumstances, I consider that inadmissible. Nicholas.” Just what circumstances was he waiting for? At the same time the czar demanded that they adopt “the most decisive measures” for putting down the rebellion. That was easier said than done.

On the next day, the 28th, even the untamable czarina at last loses heart. “Concessions are necessary,” she telegraphs Nicholas. “The strikes continue; many troops have gone over to the side of the revolution. Alex.”

It required an insurrection of the whole guard, the entire garrison, to compel this Hessian zealot of autocracy to agree that “concessions are necessary.” Now the czar also begins to suspect that the “fat-bellied Rodzianko” had not telegraphed nonsense. Nicholas decides to join his family. It is possible that he is a little gently pushed from behind by the generals of the staff, too, who are not feeling quite comfortable.

The czar’s train travelled at first without mishap. Local chiefs and governors came out as usual to meet him. Far from the revolutionary whirlpool, in his accustomed royal car, surrounded by the usual suite, the czar apparently again lost a sense of the close coming crisis. At three o’clock on the 28th, when the events had already settled his fate, he sent a telegram to the czarina from Vyazma: “Wonderful weather. Hope you are well and calm. Many troops sent from the front. With tender love. Niki.” Instead of the concessions, upon which even the czarina is insisting, the tenderly loving czar is sending troops from the front. But in spite of that “wonderful weather,” in just a few hours the czar will stand face to face with the revolutionary storm. His train went as far as the Visher station. The railroad workers would not let it go farther: “The bridge is damaged.” Most likely this pretext was invented by the courtiers themselves in order to soften the situation. Nicholas tried to make his way, or they tried to get him through, by way of Bologoe on the Nikolaevsk railroad; but here, too, the workers would not let the train pass. This was far more palpable than all the Petrograd telegrams. The Czar had broken away from headquarters, and could not make his way to the capital. With its simple railroad “pawns” the revolution had cried “check” to the king!

The court historian Dubensky, who accompanied the Czar in his train, writes in his diary: “ Everybody realises that this midnight turn at Visher is a historical night … To me it is perfectly clear that the question of a constitution is settled; it will surely be introduced … Everybody is saying that it is only necessary to strike a bargain with them, with the members of the Provisional Government.” Facing a lowered semaphore, behind which mortal danger is thickening, Count Frederiks, Prince Dolgoruky, Count Leuchtenberg, all of them, all those high lords, are now for a constitution. They no longer think of struggling. It is only necessary to strike a bargain, that is, try to fool them again as in 1905.

While the train was wandering and finding no road, the Czarina was sending the Czar telegram after telegram, appealing to him to return as soon as possible. But her telegrams came back to her from the office with the inscription in blue pencil: “Whereabouts of the addressee unknown.” The telegraph clerks were unable to locate the Russian czar.

The regiments marched with music and banners to the Tauride Palace. A company of the Guards marched under the command of Cyril Vladimirovich, who had quite suddenly, according to Countess Kleinmichel, developed a revolutionary streak. The sentries disappeared. The intimates were abandoning the palace. “Everybody was saving himself who could,” relates Vyrubova. Bands of revolutionary soldiers wandered about the palace and with eager curiosity looked over everything. Before they had decided up above what should be done, the lower ranks were converting the palace of the Czar into a museum.

The Czar – his location unknown – turns back to Pskov, to the headquarters of the northern front, commanded by the old General Ruszky. In the czar’s suite one suggestion follows another. The Czar procrastinates. He is still reckoning in days and weeks, while the revolution is keeping its count in minutes.

The poet Blok characterised the Czar during the last months of the monarchy as follows: “Stubborn, but without will; nervous, but insensitive to everything; distrustful of people, taut and cautious in speech, he was no longer master of himself. He had ceased to understand the situation, and did not take one clearly conscious step, but gave himself over completely into the hands of those whom he himself had placed in power.” And how much these traits of tautness and lack of will, cautiousness and distrust, were to increase during the last days of February and first days of March!

Nicholas finally decided to send – and nevertheless evidently did not send – a telegram to the hated Rodzianko stating that for the salvation of the fatherland he appointed him to form a new ministry, reserving, however, the ministries of foreign affairs, war and marine for himself. The Czar still hoped to bargain with “them”: the “many troops,” after all, were on their way to Petrograd.

General Ivanov actually arrived without hindrance at Tsarskoe Selo: evidently the railroad workers did not care to come in conflict with the Battalion of St. George. The general confessed later that he had three or four times found it necessary on the march to use fatherly influence with the lower ranks, who were impudent to him: he made them get down on their knees. Immediately upon the arrival of the “dictator” in Tsarskoe Selo, the local authorities informed him that an encounter between the Battalion of St. George and the troops would mean danger to the czar’s family. They were simply afraid for themselves, and advised the dictator to go back without detraining.

General Ivanov telegraphed to the other “dictator,” Khabalov, in Petrograd ten questions, to which he received succinct answers: We will quote them in full, for they deserve it:

Ivanov’s questions: Khabalov’s replies:
1. How many troops are in order and how many are misbehaving? 1. I have at my disposal in the Admiralty building four companies of the Guard, five squadrons of cavalry and Cossacks, and two batteries the rest of the troops have gone over to the revolutionists, or by agreement with them are remaining neutral. Soldiers are wandering through the towns singly or in bands disarming officers.
2. Which railroad stations are guarded? 2. All the stations are in the hands of the revolutionists and strictly guarded by them.
3. In what parts of the city is order preserved? 3. The whole city is in the hands of the revolutionists. The telephone is not working, there is no communication between different parts of the city.
4. What authorities are governing the different parts of the city? 4. I cannot answer this question.
5. Are all the ministries functioning properly? 5. The ministers have been arrested by the revolutionists.
6. What police forces are at your disposal at the present moment? 6. None whatever .
7. What technical and supply institutions of the War Department are now in your control? 7. I have none.
8. What quantity of provisions at is at your disposal? 8. There are no provisions my disposal. In the city on February 5 there were 5,600,000 pounds of flour in store.
9. Have many weapons, artillery and military stores fallen into the hands of the mutineers? 9. All the artillery establishments are in the hands of the revolutionists.
10. What military forces and the staffs are in your control? 10. The chief of the Staff of District is in my personal control. With the other district administrations I have no connections.

Having received this unequivocal illumination as to the situation, General Ivanov “agreed” to turn back his echelon without detraining to the station “Dno.” [1] “Thus,” concludes one of the chief personages of the staff, General Lukomsky, “nothing came of the expedition of General Ivanov with dictatorial powers but a public disgrace.”

That disgrace, incidentally, was a very quiet one, sinking unnoticed in the billowing events. The dictator, we may suppose, delivered the provisions to his friends in Petrograd, and had a long chat with the Czarina. She referred to her self-sacrificing work in the hospitals, and complained of the ingratitude of the army and the people.

During this time news was arriving at Pskov by way of Moghilev, blacker and blacker. His Majesty’s own bodyguard, in which every soldier was known by name and coddled by the royal family, turned up at the State Duma asking permission to arrest those officers who had refused to take part in the insurrection. Vice-Admiral Kurovsky reported that he found it impossible to take any measures to put down the insurrection at Kronstadt, since he could not vouch for the loyalty of a single detachment. Admiral Nepenin telegraphed that the Baltic Fleet had recognised the Provisional Committee of the State Duma. The Moscow commander-in-chief, Mrozovsky, telegraphed: “A majority of the troops have gone over with artillery to the revolutionists. The whole town is therefore in their hands. The burgomaster and his aide have left the city hall.” Have left means that they fled.

All this was communicated to the Czar on the evening of March 1. Deep into the night they coaxed and argued about a responsible ministry. Finally, at two o’clock in the morning the Czar gave his consent, and those around him drew a sigh of relief. Since they took it for granted that this would settle the problem of the revolution, an order was issued at the same time that the troops which had been sent to Petrograd to put down the insurrection should return to the front. Ruszky hurried at dawn to convey the good news to Rodzianko. But the czar’s clock was way behind. Rodzianko in the Tauride Palace, already buried under a pile of democrats, socialists, soldiers, workers’ deputies, replied to Ruszky: “Your proposal is not enough; it is now a question of the dynasty itself. . . . Everywhere the troops are taking the side of the Duma, and the people are demanding an abdication in favour of the Heir with Mikhail Alexandrovich as regent.” Of course. the troops never thought of demanding either the Heir or Mikhail Alexandrovich. Rodzianko merely attributed to the troops and the people that slogan upon which the Duma was still hoping to stop the revolution. But in either case the Czar’s concession had come too late: “The anarchy has reached such proportions that I (Rodzianko) was this night compelled to appoint a Provisional Government. Unfortunately, the edict has come too late …” These majestic words bear witness that the President of the Duma had succeeded in drying the tears shed over Golytsin. The czar read the conversation between Rodzianko and Ruszky, and hesitated, read it over again, and decided to wait. But now the military chiefs had begun to sound the alarm: the matter concerned them too a little!

General Alexeiev carried out during the hours of that night a sort of plebiscite among the commanders-in-chief at the fronts. It is a good thing present-day revolutions are accomplished with the help of the telegraph, so that the very first impulses and reactions of those in power are preserved to history on the tape. The conversations of the czarist field-marshals on the night of March 1-2 are an incomparable human document. Should the czar abdicate or not? The commander-in-chief of the western front, General Evert, consented to give his opinion only after Generals Ruszky and Brussilov had expressed themselves. The commander-in-chief of the Roumanian front, General Sakharov, demanded that before he express himself the conclusions of all the other commanders-in-chief should be communicated to him. After long delays this valiant chieftain announced that his warm love for the monarch would not permit his soul to reconcile itself with an acceptance of the “base suggestion”; nevertheless, “with sobs” he advised the Czar to abdicate in order to avoid “still viler pretensions.” Adjutant-General Evert quite reasonably explained the necessity for capitulation: “I am taking all measures to prevent information as to the present situation in the capital from penetrating the army, in order to protect it against indubitable disturbances. No means exist for putting down the revolution in the capitals.” Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolajevich on the Caucasian front beseeched the Czar on bended knee to adopt the “supermeasure” and renounce the throne. A similar prayer came from Generals Alexeiev and Brussilov and Admiral Nepenin. Ruszky spoke orally to the same effect. The generals respectfully presented seven revolver barrels to the temple of the adored monarch. Fearing to let slip the moment for reconciliation with the new power, and no less fearing their own troops, these military chieftains, accustomed as they were to surrendering positions, gave the czar and the High Commander-in-Chief a quite unanimous counsel: retire without fighting. This was no longer distant Petrograd against which, as it seemed, one might send troops; this was the front from which the troops had to be borrowed.

Having listened to this suggestively circumstanced report, the Czar decided to abdicate the throne which he no longer possessed. A telegram to Rodzianko suitable to the occasion was drawn up: “There is no sacrifice that I would not make in the name of the real welfare and salvation of my native mother Russia. Thus I am ready to abdicate the throne in favor of my son, and in order that he may remain with me until he is of age, under the regency of my brother, Mikhail Alexandrovich. Nicholas.” This telegram too, however, was not dispatched, for news came from the capital of the departure for Pskov of the deputies Guchkov and Shulgin. This offered a new pretext to postpone the decision. The Czar ordered the telegram returned to him. He obviously dreaded to sell too cheap, and still hoped for comforting news – or more accurately, hoped for a miracle. Nicholas received the two deputies at twelve o’clock midnight March 2-8. The miracle did not come, and it was impossible to evade longer. The czar unexpectedly announced that he could not part with his son – what vague hopes were then wandering in his head? – and signed an abdication in favor of his brother. At the same time edicts to the Senate were signed, naming Prince Lvov President of the Council of Ministers, and Nikolai Nikolaievich Supreme Commander-in-Chief. The family suspicions of the czarina seemed to have been justified: the hated “Nikolasha” came back to power along with the conspirators. Guchkov apparently seriously believed that the revolution would accept the Most August War Chief. The latter also accepted his appointment in good faith. He even tried for a few days to give some kind of orders and make appeals for the fulfillment of patriotic duty. However the revolution painlessly removed him.

In order to preserve the appearance of a free act, the abdication was dated three o’clock in the afternoon, on the pretense that the original decision of the Czar to abdicate had taken place at that hour. But as a matter of fact that afternoon’s “decision,” which gave the sceptre to his son and not to his brother, had been taken back in anticipation of a more favorable turn of the wheel. Of that, however, nobody spoke out loud. The Czar made a last effort to save his face before the hated deputies, who upon their part permitted this falsification of a historic act – this deceiving of the people. The monarchy retired from the scene preserving its usual style; and its successors also remained true to themselves. They probably even regarded their connivance as the magnanimity of a conqueror to the conquered.

Departing a little from the phlegmatic style of his diary, Nicholas writes on March 2: “This morning Ruszky came and read me a long conversation over the wire with Rodzianko. According to his words the situation in Petrograd is such that a ministry of the members of the State Duma will be powerless to do anything, for it is being opposed by the social-democratic party in the person of a workers’ committee. My abdication is necessary. Ruszky transmitted this conversation to Alexeiev at headquarters and to all the commanders-in-chief. Answers arrived at 12.30. To save Russia and keep the army at the front, I decided upon this step. I agreed, and they sent from headquarters the text of an abdication. In the evening came Guchkov and Shulgin from Petrograd, with whom I talked it over and gave them the document amended and signed. At 1 o’clock in the morning I left Pskov with heavy feelings; around me treason, cowardice, deceit.”

The bitterness of Nicholas was, we must confess, not without foundation. It was only as short a time ago as February 28, that General Alexeiev had telegraphed to all the commanders-in-chief at the front: “ Upon us all lies a sacred duty before the sovereign and the fatherland to preserve loyalty to oath and duty in the troops of the active army.” Two days later Alexeiev appealed to these same commanders-in-chief to violate their “loyalty to oath and duty.” In all the commanding staff there was not found one man to take action in behalf of his Czar. They all hastened to transfer to the ship of the revolution, firmly expecting to find comfortable cabins there. Generals and admirals one and all removed the czarist braid and put on the red ribbon. There was news subsequently of one single righteous soul, some commander of a corps, who died of heart failure taking the new oath. But it is not established that his heart failed through injured monarchist feelings, and not through other causes. The civil officials naturally were not obliged to show more courage than the military – each one was saving himself as he could.

But the clock of the monarchy decidedly did not coincide with the revolutionary clocks. At dawn of March 8, Ruszky was again summoned to the direct wire from the capital: Rodzianko and Prince Lvov were demanding that he hold up the czar’s abdication, which had again proved too late. The installation of Alexei – said the new authorities evasively – might perhaps be accepted – by whom? – but the installation of Mikhail was absolutely unacceptable. Ruszky with some venom expressed his regret that the deputies of the Duma who had arrived the night before had not been sufficiently informed as to the aims and purposes of their journey. But here too the deputies had their justification. “Unexpectedly to us all there broke out such a soldiers’ rebellion as I never saw the like of,” explained the Lord Chamberlain to Ruszky, as though he had done nothing all his life but watch soldiers’ rebellions. “To proclaim Mikhail emperor would pour oil on the fire and there would begin a ruthless extermination of everything that can be exterminated.” How it whirls and shakes and bends and contorts them all!

The generals silently swallowed this new “vile pretension” of the revolution. Alexeiev alone slightly relieved his spirit in a telegraphic bulletin to the commanders-in-chief: “The left parties and the workers’ deputies are exercising a powerful pressure upon the President of the Duma, and there is no frankness or sincerity in the communications of Rodzianko.” The only thing lacking to the generals in those hours was sincerity.

But at this point the Czar again changed his mind. Arriving in Moghilev from Pskov, he handed to his former chief-of-staff, Alexeiev, for transmission to Petrograd, a sheet of paper with his consent to the handing over of the sceptre to his son. Evidently he found this combination in the long run more promising. Alexeiev, according to Denikin’s story, went away with the telegram and … did not send it. He thought that those two manifestos which had already been published to the army and the country were enough. The discord arose from the fact that not only the Czar and his counsellors, but also the Duma liberals, were thinking more slowly than the revolution.

Before his final departure from Moghilev on March 8, the Czar, already under formal arrest, wrote an appeal to the troops ending with these words: “Whoever thinks now of peace, whoever desires it, that man is a traitor to the fatherland, its betrayer.” This was in the nature of a prompted attempt to snatch out of the hands of liberalism the accusation of Germanophilism. The attempt had no result: they did not even dare publish the appeal.

Thus ended a reign which had been a continuous chain of ill luck, failure, misfortune, and evil-doing, from the Khodynka catastrophe during the coronation, through the shooting of strikers and revolting peasants, the Russo-Japanese war, the frightful putting-down of the revolution of 1905, the innumerable executions, punitive expeditions and national pogroms and ending with the insane and contemptible participation of Russia in the insane and contemptible world war.

Upon arriving at Tsarskoe Selo, where he and his family were confined in the palace, the czar, according to Vyrubova, softly said: “There is no justice among men.” But those very words irrefutably testify that historic justice, though it comes late, does exist.


The similarity of the Romanov couple to the French royal pair of the epoch of the Great Revolution is very obvious. It has already been remarked in literature, but only in passing and without drawing inferences. Nevertheless it is not at all accidental, as appears at the first glance, but offers valuable material for an inference.

Although separated from each other by five quarter centuries, the Czar and the King were at certain moments like two actors playing the same rôle. A passive, patient, but vindictive treachery was the distinctive trait of both – with this difference, that in Louis it was disguised with a dubious kindliness, in Nicholas with affability. They both make the impression of people who are overburdened by their job, but at the same time unwilling to give up even a part of those rights of which they are unable to make any use. The diaries of both, similar in style or lack of style, reveal the same depressing spiritual emptiness.

The Austrian woman and the Hessian German form also a striking symmetry. Both Queens stand above their Kings, not only in physical but also in moral growth. Marie Antoinette was less pious than Alexandra Feodorovna, and unlike the latter was passionately fond of pleasures. But both alike scorned the people, could not endure the thought of concessions, alike mistrusted the courage of their husbands, looking down upon them – Antoinette with a shade of contempt, Alexandra with pity.

When the authors of memoirs, approaching the Petersburg court of their day, assure us that Nicholas II, had he been a private individual, would have left a good memory behind him, they merely reproduce the long-ago stereotyped remarks about Louis XVI, not enriching in the least our knowledge either of history or of human nature.

We have already seen how Prince Lvov became indignant when, at the height of the tragic events of the first revolution, instead of a depressed Czar, he found before him a “jolly, sprightly little man in a raspberry-coloured shirt.” Without knowing it, the prince merely repeated the comment of Gouvernor Morris writing in Washington in 1790 about Louis: “What will you have from a creature who, situated as he is, eats and drinks and sleeps well, and laughs and is as merry a grig as lives?”

When Alexandra Feodorovna, three months before the fall of the monarchy, prophesies: “All is coming out for the best, the dreams of our Friend mean so much!” she merely repeats Marie Antoinette, who one month before the overthrow of the royal power wrote: “ I feel a liveliness of spirit, and something tells me that we shall soon be happy and safe.” They both see rainbow dreams as they drown.

Certain elements of similarity of course are accidental, and have the interest only of historic anecdotes. Infinitely more important are those traits of character which have been grafted, or more directly imposed, on a person by the mighty force of conditions, and which throw a sharp light on the interrelation of personality and the objective factors of history.

“He did not know how to wish: that was his chief trait of character,” says a reactionary French historian of Louis. Those words might have been written of Nicholas: neither of them knew how to wish, but both knew how to not wish. But what really could be “wished” by the last representatives of a hopelessly lost historic cause? “Usually he listened, smiled, and rarely decided upon anything. His first word was usually No.” Of whom is that written? Again of Capet. But if this is so, the manners of Nicholas were an absolute plagiarism. They both go toward the abyss “with the crown pushed down over their eyes.” But would it after all be easier to go to an abyss, which you cannot escape anyway, with your eyes open? What difference would it have made, as a matter of fact, if they had pushed the crown way back on their heads?

Some professional psychologist ought to draw up an anthology of the parallel expressions of Nicholas and Louis, Alexandra and Antoinette, and their courtiers. There would be no lack of material, and the result would be a highly instructive historic testimony in favor of the materialist psychology. Similar (of course, far from identical) irritations in similar conditions call out similar reflexes; the more powerful the irritation, the sooner it overcomes personal peculiarities. To a tickle, people react differently, but to a red-hot iron, alike. As a steam-hammer converts a sphere and a cube alike into sheet metal, so under the blow of too great and inexorable events resistances are smashed and the boundaries of “individuality” lost.

Louis and Nicholas were the last-born of a dynasty that had lived tumultuously. The well-known equability of them both, their tranquillity and “gaiety ” in difficult moments, were the well-bred expression of a meagreness of inner powers, a weakness of the nervous discharge, poverty of spiritual resources. Moral castrates, they were absolutely deprived of imagination and creative force. They had just enough brains to feel their own triviality, and they cherished an envious hostility toward everything gifted and significant. It fell to them both to rule a country in conditions of deep inner crisis and popular revolutionary awakening. Both of them fought off the intrusion of new ideas, and the tide of hostile forces. Indecisiveness, hypocrisy, and lying were in both cases the expression, not so much of personal weakness, as of the complete impossibility of holding fast to their hereditary positions.

And how was it with their wives? Alexandra, even more than Antoinette, was lifted to the very heights of the dreams of a princess, especially such a rural one as this Hessian, by her marriage with the unlimited despot of a powerful country. Both of them were filled to the brim with the consciousness of their high mission: Antoinette more frivolously, Alexandra in a spirit of Protestant bigotry translated into the Slavonic language of the Russian Church. An unlucky reign and a growing discontent of the people ruthlessly destroyed the fantastic world which these two enterprising but nevertheless chicken-like heads had built for themselves. Hence the growing bitterness, the gnawing hostility to an alien people that would not bow before them; the hatred toward ministers who wanted to give even a little consideration to that hostile world, to the country; hence their alienation even from their own court, and their continued irritation against a husband who had not fulfilled the expectations aroused by him as a bridegroom.

Historians and biographers of the psychological tendency not infrequently seek and find something purely personal and accidental where great historical forces are refracted through a personality. This is the same fault of vision as that of the courtiers who considered the last Russian Czar born “unlucky.” He himself believed that he was born under an unlucky star. In reality his ill-luck flowed from the contradictions between those old aims which he inherited from his ancestors and the new historic conditions in which he was placed. When the ancients said that Jupiter first makes mad those who whom he wishes to destroy, they summed up in superstitious form a profound historic observation. In the saying of Goethe about reason becoming nonsense – “Vernunft wird Unsinn” – this same thought is expressed about the impersonal Jupiter of the historical dialectic, which withdraws “reason” from historic institutions that have outlived themselves and condemns their defenders to failure. The scripts for the rôles of Romanov and Capet were prescribed by the general development of the historic drama; only the nuances of interpretation fell to the lot of the actors. The ill-luck of Nicholas, as of Louis, had its roots not in his personal horoscope, but in the historical horoscope of the bureaucratic-caste monarchy. They were both, chiefly and above all, the last-born offspring of absolutism. Their moral insignificance, deriving from their dynastic epigonism, gave the latter an especially malignant character.

You might object: if Alexander III had drunk less he might have lived a good deal longer, the revolution would have run into a very different make of czar, and no parallel with Louis XVI would have been possible. Such an objection, however, does not refute in the least what has been said above. We do not at all pretend to deny the significance of the personal in the mechanics of the historic process, nor the significance in the personal of the accidental. We only demand that a historic personality, with all its peculiarities, should not be taken as a bare list of psychological traits, but as a living reality grown out of definite social conditions and reacting upon them. As a rose does not lose its fragrance because the natural scientist points out upon what ingredients of soil and atmosphere it is nourished, so an exposure of the social roots of a personality does not remove from it either its aroma or its foul smell.

The consideration advanced above about a possible long life of Alexander III is capable of illuming this very problem from another side. Let us assume that this Alexander III had not become mixed up in 1904 in a war with Japan. This would have delayed the first revolution. For how long? It is possible that the “revolution of 1905” – that is, the first test of strength the first breach in the system of absolutism – would have been a mere introduction to the second, republican, and the third, proletarian revolution. Upon this question more or less interesting guesses are possible, but it is indubitable in any case that the revolution did not result from the character of Nicholas II, and that Alexander III would not have solved its problem. It is enough to remember that nowhere and never was the transition from the feudal to the bourgeois régime made without violent disturbances. We saw this only yesterday in China; today we observe it again in India. The most we can say is that this or that policy of the monarchy, this or that personality of the monarch, might have hastened or postponed the revolution and placed a certain imprint on its external course.

With what angry and impotent stubbornness charisma tried to defend itself in those last months, weeks and days, when its game was hopelessly lost! If Nicholas himself lacked the will the lack was made up by the Czarina. Rasputin was an instrument of the action of a clique which rabidly fought for self-preservation. Even on this narrow scale the personality of the Czar merges in a group which represents the coagulum of the past and its last convulsion. The “policy” of the upper circles a Tsarskoe Selo, face to face with the revolution, were but the reflexes of a poisoned and weak beast of prey. If you chase a wolf over the steppe in an automobile, the beast gives out at last and lies down impotent. But attempt to put a collar on him and he will try to tear you to pieces, or at least wound you.  And indeed what else can he do in the circumstances?

The liberals imagined there was something else he might do. Instead of coming to an agreement with the enfranchised bourgeoisie in good season and thus preventing the revolution — such is liberalism’s act of accusation against the last czar – Nicholas stubbornly shrank from concessions, and even in the last days when already under the knife of destiny, when every minute was to be counted, still kept on procrastinating, bargaining with fate, and letting slip the last possibilities. This all sounds convincing. But how unfortunate that liberalism, knowing so accurately how to save the monarchy, did not know how to save itself!

It would be absurd to maintain that czarism never and in no circumstances made concessions. It made them when they were demanded by the necessity of self-preservation. After the Crimean defeat, Alexander II carried out the semi-liberation of the peasants and a series of liberal reforms in the sphere of land administration, courts, press, educational institutions, etc. The czar himself expressed the guiding thought of this reformation: to free the peasants from above lest they free themselves from below. Under the drive of the first revolution Nicholas II granted a semi-constitution. Stolypin scrapped the peasant communes in order to broaden the arena of the capitalist forces. For czarism, however, all these reforms had a meaning only in so far as the partial concession preserved the whole – that is, the foundations of a caste society and the monarchy itself. When the consequences of the reform began to splash over those boundaries the monarchy inevitably beat a retreat. Alexander II in the second half of his reign stole back the reforms of the first half. Alexander III went still farther on the road of counter-reform. Nicholas II in October 1905 retreated before the revolution, and then afterward dissolved the Dumas created by it, and as soon as the revolution grew weak, made his coup d’état. Throughout three-quarters of a century – if we begin with the reform of Alexander II – there developed a struggle of historic forces, now underground, now in the open, far transcending the personal qualities of the separate Czars, and accomplishing the overthrow of the monarchy. Only within the historic framework of this process can you find a place for individual Czars, their characters, their “biographies.”

Even the most despotic of autocrats is but little similar to a “free” individuality laying its arbitrary imprint upon events. He is always the crowned agent of the privileged classes which are forming society in their own image. When these classes have not yet fulfilled their mission, then the monarchy is strong and self-confident. Then it has in its hands a reliable apparatus power and an unlimited choice of executives –because the more gifted people have not yet gone over into the hostile camp. Then the monarch, either personally, or through the mediation of a powerful favorite, may become the agent of a great and progressive historic task. It is quite otherwise when the sun of the old society is finally declining to the west. The privileged classes are now changed from organisers of the national life into a parasitic growth; having lost their guiding function, they lose the consciousness of their mission and all confidence in their powers. Their dissatisfaction with themselves becomes a dissatisfaction with the monarchy; the dynasty becomes isolated; the circle of people loyal to the death narrows down; their level sinks lower; meanwhile the dangers grow; new force are pushing up; the monarchy loses its capacity for any kin of creative initiative; it defends itself, it strikes back, it retreats; its activities acquire the automatism of mere reflexes. The semi Asiatic despotism of the Romanovs did not escape this fate.

If you take the czarism in its agony, in a vertical section, so to speak, Nicholas is the axis of a clique which has its roots the hopelessly condemned past. In a horizontal section of the historic monarchy, Nicholas is the last link in a dynastic chain. His nearest ancestors, who also in their day were merged in family, caste and bureaucratic collectivity – only a broader one – tried out various measures and methods of government order to protect the old social régime against the fate advancing upon it. But nevertheless they passed it on to Nicholas a chaotic empire already carrying the matured revolution in its womb. If he had any choice left, it was only between different roads to ruin.

Liberalism was dreaming of a monarchy on the British plan. But was parliamentarism born on the Thames by a peaceful evolution? Was it the fruit of the “free” foresight of a single monarch? No, it was deposited as the result of a struggle that lasted for ages, and in which one of the kings left his head at the crossroads.

The historic-psychological contrast mentioned above between the Romanovs and the Capets can, by the way, be aptly extended to the British royal pair of the epoch of the first revolution. Charles I revealed fundamentally the same combination of traits with which memoirists and historians have endowed Louis XVI and Nicholas II. “Charles, therefore, remained passive,” writes Montague, “yielded where he could not resist, betrayed how unwillingly he did so, and reaped no popularity, no confidence.” “He was not a stupid man,” says another historian of Charles Stuart, “but he lacked firmness of character … His evil fate was his wife, Henrietta, a Frenchwoman, sister of Louis XIII, saturated even more than Charles with the idea of absolutism.” We will not detail the characteristics of this third – chronologically first – royal pair to be crushed by a national revolution. We will merely observe that in England the hatred was concentrated above all on the queen, as a Frenchwoman and a papist, whom they accused of plotting with Rome, secret connections with the Irish rebels, and intrigues at the French court.

But England had, at any rate, ages at her disposal. She was the pioneer of bourgeois civilisation; she was not under the yoke of other nations, but on the contrary held them more and more under her yoke. She exploited the whole world. This softened the inner contradictions, accumulated conservatism, promoted an abundance and stability of fatty deposits in the form of a parasitic caste, in the form of a squirearchy, a monarchy, House of Lords, and the state church. Thanks to this exclusive historic privilege of development possessed by bourgeois England, conservatism combined with elasticity passed over from her institutions into her moral fibre. Various continental Philistines, like the Russian professor Miliukov, or the Austro-Marxist Otto Bauer, have not to this day ceased going into ecstasies over this fact. But exactly at the present moment, when England, hard pressed throughout the world, is squandering the last resources of her former privileged position, her conservatism is losing its elasticity, and even in the person of the Labourites is turning into stark reactionism. In the face of the Indian revolution the “socialist” MacDonald will find no other methods but those with which Nicholas II opposed the Russian revolution. Only a blind man could fail to see that Great Britain is headed for gigantic revolutionary earthquake shocks, in which the last fragments of her conservatism, her world domination, her present state machine, will go down without a trace. MacDonald is preparing these shocks no less successfully than did Nicholas II in time, and no less blindly. So here too, as we see, is no poor illustration of the problem of the rôle of the “free” personality in history.

But how could Russia with her belated development, coming along at the tail end of the European nations, with her meagre economic foundation underfoot, how could she develop an “elastic conservatism” of social forms-and develop it for the special benefit of professorial liberalism and its leftward shadow, reformist socialism? Russia was too far behind. And when world imperialism once took her in its grip, she had to pass through her political history in too brief a course. If Nicholas had gone to meet liberalism and replaced one with Miliukov, the development of events would have differed a little in form, not in substance. Indeed it was just in this way that Louis behaved in the second stage of the revolution, summoning the Gironde to power: this did not save Louis himself from guillotine, nor after him the Gironde. The accumulating social contradictions were bound to break through to the surface, breaking through to carry out their work of purgation. Before the pressure of the popular masses, who had at last brought into the open arena their misfortunes, their pains, intentions, passions, hopes, illusions and aims, the high-up combination of the monarchy with liberalism had only an episodic significance. They could exert, to be sure, an influence on the order of events maybe upon the number of actions, but not at all upon development of the drama nor its momentous climax.


Notes

1. The name of this station is also the Russian word meaning “bottom.” [Trans.]