Tag Archives: AFL-CIO

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

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

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

Kansas City, Presente! (Photo by IWPCHI)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago Police blocked the exits… (Photo by IWPCHI)

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

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

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

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

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

— Independent Workers Party – Chicago

 

Advertisements

Capital hand in hand with Labor! As true in 1899 as it is today.

Capital hand in hand with labor! by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing "labor" to a rock.

“Capital hand in hand with labor!  “If there is anything the matter with Trusts the Republican Party can be relied upon to fix it.” — Hanna.” by Horace Taylor. 13 November 1899. Illustration shows Marcus Alonzo Hanna as a vulture with large dollar sign on its breast pinning a man representing “labor” to a rock.  Source: Library of Congress

 

We are pleased to present to you our dear readers this political cartoon from 1899 extolling the warm relationship of capital and labor as partners with identical interests.  Our “friends” at the AFL-CIO headquarters  will undoubtedly be upset to see their “partners” the capitalists portrayed in such a harsh light.  It gets harder and harder every day for them to sell their lie that workers and their exploiters are natural allies; we are so happy to make their work just that much more difficult.

The cartoon was created by Horace Taylor on 13 November 1899 and shows John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust political fixer Mark Hanna of the Republican Party “shaking hands” in partnership with a worker.  The Library of Congress lists this artwork as part of their collection, but for some strange reason they do not offer a color reproduction (or any downloadable high-resolution image) of this honest depiction of the true relationship between capital and labor.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Workers of the world, Unite!

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!

— IWPCHI

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

Insert here

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Insert

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

 

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

insert

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Insert

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

 

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

Insert

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

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

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

—IWPCHI

#FeeltheBern: Sanders Does The Old Democratic Party “Bait-and-Switch”

So much of what socialists write seems to be about “negatives”; we’re against this injustice, we’re against that outrage; and it’s true that we do tend to focus on the major crises facing the human race in the world today. By any measure, the capitalist world is a world that continually brings about conflict between nation-states over resources and for political control of strategically important economic assets. Our revolutionary socialist websites and newspapers seem reduced to a highly-condensed and intense account of everything that is wrong in the world today! From the perspective of a worker who just happens to come across a socialist selling their party’s newspaper, it appears that everything we have to say is negative.  What is wrong with us?

Socialist newspapers, thanks to the fact that so few workers support them financially, must be small; and there are in fact so many serious injustices in the capitalist world that it would be irresponsible for us to fill the few pages we have in our newspapers (which come out only two to four times a month) that it is very rare that we can devote the limited space to the little truly “good news” that’s out there. We end up highlighting the many evil workings of the capitalists and their crisis-ridden system all over the planet; we spend perhaps too little time on explaining the “positive” side of things – how socialism has the very real potential to make life much easier and more enjoyable for the vast majority of people on this planet. “What will socialism do to make *my* life better?” people wonder.

Whether or not socialism will make your life better depends on what social class you were born into. If you were born into the working class, a socialist revolution would create a far more democratic political system than the one we know now; and you would no longer have to fear the loss of your job and the resulting poverty and homelessness that would likely ensue. That’s because, under socialism, housing, food, clothing and access to health care would be guaranteed rights, not privileges granted you (or not) by the landlord/capitalist class.

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

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

There is indeed a group of people who will not benefit at all, and whose standard of living would decline precipitously under socialism: the wealthy capitalist class; this is why their media and politicians never tire of telling you that socialism is “worse than slavery” and more evil than Hitler times ten. At the very pinnacle of the world’s economy sits the wealthy – and proportionately tiny – capitalist class. These people, who live lives more luxurious than those of the Biblical kings and queens, are the ones who really run the world economy – in their selfish, helter-skelter capitalist way.  Systematically exploiting billions of workers and peasants, they amass a hugely disproportionate percentage of the planet’s wealth. In the United States, the wealthiest 10% seize for themselves 75% of the national income annually, while the “bottom 90%” are forced to fight among themselves for the remaining 25%.  As if to make the whole disgusting state of affairs, they cap it all off by calling their political system “democracy”. What kind of a democratic system is it that allows the systematic plundering of the vast majority of the citizenry by so few people? To call this capitalist world “democratic” is to slander the very idea of democracy.

This is Bernie Sanders' pro-capitalist reformist program, not a revolutionary socialist redistribution of wealth. Source: sanders.senate.gov/budget

This is Bernie Sanders’ lame, pro-capitalist reformist program, not a revolutionary socialist redistribution of wealth. Sanders’ tepid tax reforms would not even begin to redistribute wealth in anything like an egalitarian fashion.  Source: sanders.senate.gov/budget

People like the fake-socialist Bernie Sanders propose to make an adjustment to this hideously unequal distribution of wealth by merely raising the taxes on the wealthy by a few percentage points. Anyone who can do basic math can see that such a “redistribution of wealth” would not make much of a difference in the lives of the vast majority of the workers in this country, who make up approximately 75% of the population. Raising the taxes on the wealthy by 2, 3 or 5% is not a solution to this problem; it is just a phony scheme to make workers THINK that something is being done to tip the scales in the favor of the majority.  Sanders’ phony-socialist plan to raise the percentage of national wealth distributed to the “bottom 90%” from the current 25% to 27% is not a program of wealth redistribution of any serious kind. It maintains the economic status quo, leaving the capitalist class in power and merely requires that the capitalists spend a bit more money to bribe a few more politicians to rescind the tax increases as soon as Sanders is no longer sitting in the Oval Office.

Of course, the bankruptcy of the Sanders electoral program goes far deeper than this: Bernie Sanders has almost NO support for his fake-socialist programs in Congress – even among his fellow Democrats.  Never mind the fact that the Republicans will never support the changes he proposes; if Bernie Sanders was elected President, he’d be a lame-duck president from day 1. Having absolutely no support even among the members of his own party in the national or state legislatures, he would reveal to the world the fact that the US Presidency is largely a symbolic office, which can only effectively wield power if it is backed by the support of the US Congress.

This is why we have founded the Independent Workers Party of Chicago – to bring home to the US working class the realization that, until the working class has its own political party, owned and operated by worker-revolutionaries and dedicated solely to fighting for the rights of the working class, it will remain impossible for the workers to exercise their tremendous power to obtain any control over the nation’s political system. In 2016, the US working class does not have ONE representative dedicated to fighting for its own political and economic interests at the state or national level! The US’ phony democracy is laid bare by this simple statement of fact. Only when the working class –  roughly 75% of the US population – has its proper proportion of representatives in government at the state and national levels can we even BEGIN to call the United States a “democracy”.  This is an irrefutable fact.

The office of the President of the United States is an executive position as CEO of “Capitalism, USA”. It is not an office that any worker should aspire to.  The President is the figurehead political representative of the US capitalist class; his job is to make sure that, domestically and internationally, the interests of the US capitalist class are solidly defended from all competitors.  The office of President was created for this purpose and this purpose only; it can’t be transformed into something else simply by voting for a socialist president.  Only if the US working class had the kind of proportional representation in Congress that reflected its actual vast predominance population-wise would it make sense that we should seriously run a candidate for President. Even the most revolutionary socialist in the US – like ourselves! – would be utterly useless as head of government without that President’s own party holding the majority of seats in the national legislature.  It is far more important for the working class to capture control of the House of Representatives than it is to elect a lone socialist to the presidency.

In Bernie Sanders’ case, his political program is so completely out of touch with the ideology of the vast majority of Democrats holding Congressional office that even if he won the election – something that the US Constitution itself is rigged up via the Electoral College precisely to prevent – he would be as useless to the realization of a working class program for the USA as the election of a photograph of Lenin to the Presidency would be (although even the photo of Lenin would be far more revolutionary than is the flesh-and-blood pro-capitalist Democrat Sanders).

We receive so much criticism from Bernie Sanders supporters when we make this kind of plain statement of fact that it is amazing. The working class of the US – particularly the “politically active” youth – are in a state of such profound ignorance in 2016 that they refuse to see that the Sanders campaign is nothing but a pink herring being used to draw them in to a trap in which they will find themselves forced to vote for Hillary Clinton.* But who is spreading the pernicious lie that voting a “socialist” into the Oval Office will produce a “political revolution” in the USA, anyway?

Democratic-Party-run MoveOn tries quite unsuccessfully to hide fact that their members really aren't excited - at all - about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administartion.

Democratic-Party-run MoveOn tries quite unsuccessfully to hide fact that their members really aren’t excited – at all – about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton administration.

Primarily, this lie is being spread by Democratic-Party organizations like MoveOn and the “left wing” of the pro-capitalist (and pro-Hillary) AFL-CIO. This is not something they are doing out of ignorance of how the US government works – they know full well that if Sanders, running as Democrat, won the presidential election it would produce a “lame duck” presidency; they know that none of the already bought-and-paid-for Democratic Congressmen or Senators (who owe their jobs to the capitalists who financed their campaigns) would support any program that their capitalist masters opposed – never mind a “socialist” program! MoveOn and the “leftists” in the AFL-CIO are spreading illusions in a Sanders presidency because they KNOW that Sanders is not going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party; and they also KNOW that trying to sell the hugely unpalatable Hillary Clinton to the youth of the US is an impossibility. Their backing of Sanders is a conscious, cynical ploy to raise illusions in the minds of the youth that the Democrats really do represent the “lesser evil” party; they intend to get you to vote for Hillary by first getting you to vote for Sanders.*

These organizations – especially the AFL-CIO – have played this game effectively many times before – most notably in the 1980s with the phony primary campaigns of Jesse Jackson,  whose success at running the old Democratic Party “bait-and-switch” scam is the political template for the 2016 Bernie Sanders version. The Democrats have long known that their party program – designed by and paid for by the allegedly more “moderate” wing of the US capitalist class – is so repulsive to the majority of workers that it is necessary to slather copious amounts of political Vaseline all over their intended candidate in the form of a Jesse Jackson or Bernie Sanders campaign – in order to get the working class to accept the enormous, rigid, diseased capitalist phallus they intend to shove up our asses eventually in the form of a Walter Mondale or Hillary Clinton campaign.

This electoral method of getting the workers to vote for someone they intensely dislike is a form of psychological warfare used to break down the intense instinctive antipathy towards the capitalists’ program found in the hearts – if not yet consciously in the minds – of the working class of the USA. Using tried-and-true capitalist advertising gimmicks, the Democrats run a, frankly, not very sophisticated bait-and-switch using a more palatable group of candidates in the primaries to draw workers into actively campaigning for one or another pretend-candidate, all the while knowing that this person will never obtain the nomination no matter how popular he or she is. Psychologically, once people have invested themselves in support of a candidate, going among their friends stumping for Sanders, say, they have risked their credibility among their friends thereby and must defend their choice more and more strenuously as the primaries drag on.  When the inevitable finally comes to pass and the fake-candidate concedes defeat – and even worse, urges his or her supporters to transfer their support to the hated “real” candidate… it has become psychologically very difficult for the fake-candidate’s supporters to refuse to do this. The Democrats know that many of the more intelligent among the fake-candidate’s supporters will refuse to go along – but they don’t need them anyway. The trick is to present a “fake candidate” who will lead the workers into making such a deep emotional committment to that pantomime candidate that a large MAJORITY of them will follow his advice when he inevitably urges them to support “the next best thing” – this is what matters. As the Jesse Jackson campaigns showed, this works like a charm on worker-consumers long inured to accepting the “bait-and-switch” in every aspect of their lives, from phony sales at the supermarket to jobs that turn out to be the opposite of what was advertised.  Most of the Jackson supporters dutifully pulled the levers for the chosen nominee of what had now become “their” party candidate.  Once a person has been emotionally drawn in to committing to a party via the “fake”, the psychological distance that must be traveled to switching one’s support to the previously hated “real” candidate is not that far at all. This is where the sharp hook of the “lesser evil” scheme actually is hidden.

Putting it another way: The Sanders campaign is like a bridge that is built by the Democratic Party machine to draw voters across the canyon separating them from the intended nominee of the Party – in this case, the undesirable Hillary Clinton. The Sanders campaign cleverly conceals the construction of this bridge during the primaries; all along as the bridge is being built under the feet of the workers, Sanders is luring these naive folks across the canyon, closer and closer to the goal of getting them to support the despised Hillary.  Once the bridge is completed and Sanders has drawn his supporters, completely unknowing, step by step, month by month all the way across the gorge to the Hillary side; only once as many of the Bernie supporters as possible – except the few perceptive ones who see what’s happening – are across, the bridge is summarily burned behind the crowd.  Now everyone can #FeeltheBern! Bernie sadly announces with deep regret and tears in his eyes that he realizes that there is no way for him to win the nomination. “We have fought the good fight; and our glorious ideals may someday in the far future come to pass; but now it is our duty as loyal Democrats to gracefully accept defeat and nobly give all our support and delegates to Hillary Clinton”. Horrified, many of Sanders’ supporters will head for the bridge they just crossed; but it will no longer be there for them; even if it was, there would be nowhere to go, psychologically.  They must now stand up to their friends who are laughing at their folly, doubling-down in their support of the Democratic Party as being at least far better than the Republicans.   They have been trapped in the Hillary camp and now they must give in to the Sanders-salesman who pulled this vicious scam upon them – and buy this broken-down Hillary-jalopy as “the best deal that we could get” in 2016.

The trick of course is to get as many Sanders supporters as possible to go for this ripoff. The Democratic Party machine has pulled this scam innumerable times and knows that not everyone is dumb enough to fall for it. They don’t care; they just need to get enough stupid people to sullenly accept the myth that “at least she’s better than ___________ (fill in the Republican nominee’s name here)” and go to the polls and dutifully vote for the person the Democrats intended to run in the first place.  They need every vote they can get in these days when the electorate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats.  This is why they are so terrified of the emergence of a third party – and why it is so very necessary.  A viable working-class third-party candidate would only need to poll about 35% of the national vote to win in the typically bogus US “landslide” fashion!*

It is the vast and largely self-imposed ignorance and political backwardness of the US working class that results in their being caught by the same Democratic Party bait on the same capitalist hook over and over and over again. The 4-year passage of time between presidential elections helps to break down the deep voter’s remorse the working-class electorate feels immediately after EVERY election – when the victorious “lesser evil” candidate traditionally repudiates every promise made during the election campaign.  Now, when they finally reveal the fact that the distance between their “lesser evil” program and that of the “bigger evil” party is so small as to not even admit the passage of light between the two, it’s too late for the workers to do anything about it.  (Well, that’s not really true, but so long as the vast majority of US workers can be fooled over and over again by these cheap “three-card-monte” games played against them by the Democrats, they can hardly be expected to rise up in revolt against the fraud after it is accomplished).

Fake-socialists of "Socialist Alternative" back even faker socialist, pro-capitalist Democrat Bernir Sanders.

Fake-socialists of “Socialist Alternative” back even faker socialist: pro-capitalist Democrat Bernie Sanders.

The other group of political bandits spreading the lie of the political viability of the Sanders campaign are the various fake-socialist parties, most notably Socialist Alternative, who are selling the pro-capitalist Democratic Party candidacy of Sanders as a “political revolution” in the making. This bald-faced lie tells us far more about Socialist Alternative than it does about Sanders. Trotskyists called for “political revolution” in the USSR (as we do today in China, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea).  These are countries that are economically socialist but dominated politically by a repressive and reactionary fake-Marxist Stalinist, Maoist or Il-Sungist bureaucracy that has usurped political power from the working class. It is only in socialist countries like these that it is possible for the workers to launch a “political revolution” only, defending the socialized property forms while seeking to oust the bureaucrats and establish revolutionary socialist workers democracy.

To call for a “political revolution” in the United States is to say – in complete contradiction to basic Marxist ideology – that by simply electing a socialist to take over the Oval Office the capitalist political system can be made to work in behalf of the working class. This is absolutely not true! In capitalist countries, the workers must overthrow the capitalist class and their political AND economic systems in order to even begin to transform the class nature of the government. We can see how bankrupt a program it is to propose that socialists eschew leading an actual revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and merely seize the reins of government instead by looking at the recent electoral collapse of the Chavista government in Venezuela.  The Chavistas – who have tried to demonstrate to the ruling capitalist class their touching loyalty to bourgeois democratic norms by NOT overthrowing the capitalist system – recently lost the Venezuelan elections and who now must turn the reins of government back over to the capitalist parties – who intend to rescind every pro-working-class reform the Chavistas have enacted in the past decade!  This “peaceful, legal” “path to socialism” never has worked even once in history; usually it ends with thousands or even hundreds of thousands of workers being rounded up and executed by the vengeance-seeking capitalist class and their military – as happened  in Chile in 1973.

The Socialist Alternative fake-socialist hucksters also assert that if Sanders does not win the nomination as the presidential candidate of the Democratic party, he should then strike out on his own, abandon the Democratic Party and run as an “independent”.   In an article in the SA newspaper shown above, Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant, Seattle, WA City Council member writes: “If you are electrified by Bernie’s message, you should not support Hillary if Bernie loses the primary.  Endorsing Hillary would be a sure-fire way to demoralize, demobilize,  and wreck the movement building up behind Bernie.  I would instead urge Sanders to continue running as an independent all the way to November, for
example on the Green Party ticket with Jill Stein.”   This idea is even more politically bankrupt than the idea that Sanders could be an effective president over a hostile Congress, which we outlined above.  Besides the fact that it is doubtful that the Green Party would accept having the Democrat Sanders foist upon them, effectively summarily kicking their own presidential candidate “to the curb”… If Sanders would undoubtedly be a “lame duck” president if he “won” the election running as a Democrat, with a Congress that did not support his program, what would he be if he ran and won as an “independent” – or Green Party candidate? He would be not just a “lame duck” but a “dead duck” president! it is doubtful that he would be able to even obtain a single vote for any legislation he would propose; any Democrat who voted for him against the dictates of the Democratic Party machine would essentially be committing political and professional suicide!

Source: NBC News, Meet the Press, 11 October 2015

Source: NBC News, Meet the Press, 11 October 2015

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

So how can we, as revolutionary socialists, drive the working class off the political Mobius strip they so stupidly tread year after year and decade after decade… and onto the straight road of socialist revolution? If exposure of the crimes of the capitalist class were all that was necessary, we’d have had a revolution long ago. The revolutionary socialist parties in the US – and in Europe, too – have proven incapable of breaking through the hard shell of the consumerist mindset that encases the minds of far too many workers in the advanced capitalist world. If just telling people the truth worked to win them to a revolutionary program… our party and the few other truly revolutionary socialist parties in the US and Europe would each have millions of members already!  The capitalist world spreads so many lies that when naked truth shows up in a political debate is it howled down as being “utopian” and “extreme”!   We’re not about to stop telling workers the truth as best as we can discern it.  Telling the unvarnished truth to the working class, no matter how painful, is one of the greatest principles of Trotskyism.  We must find a way to use the truth to smash through this psychological barrier set up in the minds of the working class – a barrier which, though often quite difficult to penetrate, is in fact a very brittle construct. We must find its weak points and hammer away at it until we can consistently break it down.   As the capitalist world continues to careen towards World War III, we must realize that time is NOT on the side of the socialist movement;  and we must redouble our efforts and welcome the subjection of our current efforts to merciless criticism, both internal and external, by those honest workers who deeply desire that the socialist revolution be successful. Only in this way can we turn the trajectory of world evolution from its current course towards global disaster and towards a long and glorious truly democratic, egalitarian and prosperous socialist future for the human race.

— IWPCHI

* Emphasis added July 26 2016 by IWPCHI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Democratic Party – Enemies of Labor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– IWPCHI

Libertarian Heroes & Tea Party Crackpots: US Debt Default Would Not Be A Big Deal

“Every nation gets the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre

As we related in our previous article, the ongoing U.S. Government shutdown and the looming US Debt Ceiling Crisis are providing a lengthening period of clarity to those paying attention to current events – probably less than 15% of the US working class, to be precise.

The U.S. working class – with the significant exception of not only the “furloughed” Federal workforce but those federal workers who are forced to work through the shutdown for FREE, who simply can no longer ignore what’s going on in Washington – remains in its dull, stupid and apathetic rut as the US Government shutdown continues, as if this all had nothing to do with them.  It’s a nation in denial, wandering around as if in a daze, made ignorant by their refusal to even bother to pick up a newspaper and read it.  Just the other day, a friend of ours was expressing her shock at her inability to obtain basic documents from her local Social Security office, telling us that she had no idea that the US Government was going to shut down.  Of COURSE she had no idea;  she, at the allegedly adult age of 27 years, never reads newspapers and makes no attempt to educate herself about current events in any way, shape or form.  We do not intend to make her out to be exceptional in this; in fact, she is utterly typical of her peers in her age group, as well as the vast majority of the tens of millions of her fellow “adult” U.S. citizens of all ages.  The 2013 US working class is the most dull, stupid, ill-informed and apathetic bunch of knuckleheads you’ll find anywhere on Earth today – and we’re not exaggerating!  We’d love to tell you differently, but if we did, we’d be lying.  Believe us, it’s not fun to be a Marxist revolutionary in the United States today.  Thank god we know that the only constant in the world is change; it’s the only thing that keeps us writing about revolution.  We know that some day – hopefully in our lifetimes! – the US working class will not only start waking up to how badly they are being screwed by the twin parties of US capitalism and the pro-capitalist union “leaders” but will actually seek out those who wish to build revolutionary workers parties to fight for a workers revolution right here in the US of A.  We can dream, can’t we?

Which leads us back to the quotation we placed at the head of this article.  The United States has a government that PERFECTLY REFLECTS the sullen stupidity of the working class of 2013.  The responsibility for the current repulsive state of affairs in Washington D.C. lies at the feet of the entire U.S. working class and its so-called leadership – including its “revolutionary socialist leadership”, which has (on the part of the workers themselves) refused to participate in the political life of the country in any way whatsoever and (on the part of the so-called “revolutionary socialist leadership” utterly failed to win the working class over to the very excellent ideals of the revolutionary socialist workers movement.

The working class, pretending that they are wise by refusing to vote for either the Republicans or the Democrats because “it doesn’t matter who we vote for – we’re gonna get screwed either way”, simply do not bother to vote at all, thereby leaving the running of the country entirely in the hands of the very parties that the US citizenry professes to not trust any further than they could be thrown!  This is not wisdom, brothers and sisters; it is rank stupidity, and it has resulted in the United States Government – YOUR government, in the eyes of the rest of the world’s workers! – going out and mass-slaughtering your class brothers and sisters all over the world, from Haiti to Afghanistan!  And it has resulted in YOUR standard of living being decimated for the past 40 years plus!  You have allowed a gang of incompetent greedheads to take over the national government and run it as if it was their own private combination casino and whorehouse, enriching themselves and their friends at your expense and building up fortunes obtained through the mass-murder of your sisters and brothers across the globe!

Right now, the United States stands as the laughingstock of the world due to the rampant stupidity and ignorance spewing out of Washington from both political parties.  And the most stupid of all are the asshats on the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party – the Tea Party and Libertarian crackheads whose vast ignorance of basic economics is bringing the US and world economy to the brink of a new economic crisis that could very well eclipse the one created by the US capitalist class greedheads in 2008.

On October 17th, the United States Government will run out of cash to pay its bills unless Congress raises the so-called “debt ceiling” of the US Government.  This will require an agreement to be brokered between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress regarding the limits on US borrowing to pay for its already-agreed-to government spending for the rest of the year.  Unless this debt ceiling is raised between October 17 and Nov. 1st – certainly no later than that – the U.S. will begin to default on its payments to its creditors.  This default, according to the vast majority of the world’s economists, would trigger a crisis of confidence in the US Government’s creditworthiness among the world’s capitalists, which would result in a financial meltdown of the global economy, because the US is the world’s #1 debtor nation, owing the world’s capitalist classes – and China’s degenerated “Communist” state – trillions of dollars.

The Democrats are well aware of this, being, in the main, adherents to mainstream, classic, anti-working class capitalist economic theories.  The Republican Party, however, has a cabal of crackpot “economic theorists” in its wacko “Tea Party” wing, whose radically utopian economic ideas deny that a U.S. debt default would be a big deal!  This kind of craziness is rare in the rest of the world, but here in the United States – thanks to the apathy and stupidity of YOU, the American worker! – has been allowed to prosper and acquire positions of power in the US Congress, and which now threatens to destroy YOU and your family economically!  Nice, huh?  Still don’t care about what “they” are doing in Washington?

In a stunning article in the New York Times this week – [the New York Times is something we call a “newspaper” for those of you who’ve never seen or bothered to read one – IWPCHI] Jonathan Weisman describes the clique of crackpots and screwballs in the Republican Party who are influenced by what they believe is a legitimate minority of “economic theorists” who claim that a U.S. debt default would not even cause more than a minor ripple in the world’s economic activity.

Weisman quotes a bunch of these Republican screwheads in his article.  Here’s a sampling:

US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky (“an inaugural member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus”, he “gave the tea party response to Pres. Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address” according to Wikipedia): “It really is irresponsible of the president to try to scare the markets. […] If you don’t raise your debt ceiling, all you’re saying is, ‘We’re going to be balancing our budget.’ […] If you propose it that way the American public will say that sounds like a pretty reasonable idea.”

Rep. Paul Broun, R. Georgia (a member of the Tea Party Caucus): “The greatest threat right now is Obamacare.  It’s already destroyed jobs, it’s already destroyed our economy, and if it stays in […] it’s going to destroy America.”

Rep. Ted Yoho, R. Florida (before being a Congressman, he was a veterinarian): “Everybody talks about how destabilizing […] this will be on the markets; and you’ll see that initially […] but I’ve seen that in my business.”

Rep. Justin Amash, R. Michigan (member of the libertarian “Liberty Caucus): “There’s no way to default on Oct. 17.  We will have enough money to make interest payments.”

Se. Richard Burr, Republican of N. Carolina (who claimed that the advent of the Tea Party “was like the Cavalry coming”): “You’ve had the federal government out of work for close to two weeks; that’s about $24 billion a month. […] [Y]ou have enough saved in salaries alone that you’re covering 3/5, 4/5 of the total debt service […].  That’s manageable for some time.”

[Source: New York Times, “Many in G.O.P. Offer Theory: Defaulting on Debt Wouldn’t Be That Bad”, by Jonathan Weisman, 9 October 2013]

That last comment is akin to the one that cost

Marie Antoinette her head; but these vicious greedhead sock puppets of the US capitalist class don’t have to worry about that, because the US working class has its collective head so far up its ass that there is no danger of anyone in Washington losing sleep over a sudden workers revolt.  In fact, the AFL-CIO seems to be having no trouble containing the stirrings of those members of their unions who are feeling the direct effects of the US Government shutdown: the 800,000 “non-essential” (!) federal workers who have been laid off as well as the over 1,000,000 “essential” federal workers who are being forced to work WITHOUT PAY!  This is how stupid the US working class is: they are in UNIONS but are working WITHOUT PAY during a government shutdown and instead of going on STRIKE like the unionized government workers would in almost every other industrialized nation in the world, the US workers merely are staging  impotent “rallies” and stupid petition signing campaigns that place all the blame for the pissing contest between the Republicans and the Democrats on – guess who? – the Republicans!  The AFL-CIO “labor lieutenants of capital”, by pushing bogus protectionist, anti-immigrant and pro-capitalist politics completely disarm the working class in the face of bipartisan attacks on workers rights and standards of living.  In fact, it is the DEMOCRATS who are leading the charge to smash public workers unions in every major city in the United States from coast to coast.  In Chicago, it’s Barack Obama’s former henchman and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who as Chicago’s Mayor, has been on a full-court-press to smash the teacher’s union through massive cuts to the public school system, closing schools and laying off hundreds of union teachers.  There is NO DIFFERENCE between the Republicans and Democrats other than the tactical differences which they utilize to screw the workers: the Democrats use K-Y Jelly and maybe a condom while the Republicans just dry-fuck the working class!  So the AFL-CIO says that this makes the Democrats the “lesser evil”!

The working class must be mobilized to defend itself from attacks from all branches of the capitalist class, learning how to fight for the rights of the working class at home and around the world instead of begging the parties of the capitalist class for crumbs from the tables of their masters, as the pro-capitalist US union “leadership” does.  Right now, the unionized workforce, if it was being led by revolutionary socialists instead of cowardly pro-capitalist sellouts, would be leading a general strike against the US Government shutdown!  The working class will show these scum in Washington what a REAL shutdown looks like!  But that takes class-struggle leadership with a program for workers revolution, not a pro-capitalist program of crawling on your knees begging for alms from your masters like the “good” wage slaves you currently are!

WAKE UP, BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

Independent Workers Party of Chicago

Militant Class Struggle in India: Workers Strike For Pay, and Respect

In the past week we have come across several articles describing the fight for workers rights in India.  In the interest of enabling our readers and workers all over the world to compare strike tactics and learn what works and what doesn’t, we will always endeavor to present accounts of workers struggles wherever they occur.  We intend to show workers, especially here in the US, that, contrary to the lies spread incessantly by the pro-capitalist trade union leaders of the AFL-CIO unions, it is indeed possible to utilize the “old methods” of building picket lines that scabs can only cross at risk to life and limb – and by doing so, to actually win strikes.

Picket lines that allow scabs to cross them with impunity might as well not be set up in the first place.  The whole idea of setting up a picket line is to prevent the company from continuing to operate its business at all.  The question of who actually “owns” the plant is brought to the fore in every strike action – we say that it is the workers who should take ownership of all the factories and kick the capitalists out forever by overthrowing the capitalist system itself, thus eliminating the exploitation of the working class by the tiny minority of rich capitalists.  All the wealth used to build every factory has been obtained in the final analysis by the capitalists’ expropriation of the fruits of the labor of workers somewhere.  That is how “capital” is produced in a modern capitalist economy like the US.  When workers go on strike, their aim must be to halt production at the struck factories completely.  Anything less than that allows the capitalists to continue to fill orders and make profits.  The most successful picket line is one that shuts down a factory 100%.  This means physically preventing scabs, materials and supervisors – and yes, cops – from seizing the plant so that production can be restarted.   The abandonment of militant strike action, in which the laws that protect private property must be broken repeatedly and wantonly if the strike is to be won, has hamstrung every single class battle in the US for decades.  The workers of the US must return to the militant tactics of the 1930s if they want to win strikes – anything less will lead to defeat, as all recent strikes show – including the current Caterpillar strike in Joliet, IL,  where the refusal of AFL-CIO unions to build picket lines no scabs dare to cross is leading inexorably to the defeat of this important working class struggle.

IWPCHI

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

The first incident we came across was described in an article in the New York Times this last week: “Clash at Auto Plant in India Turns Deadly”.

This strike, at the Maruti Suzuki auto plant in Manesar, India, outside of New Delhi, the Indian capital, was triggered by the low wages paid to Indian auto workers at this Japanese carmaker’s factories.  The workers, just like their brothers and sisters in Joliet, IL, have long complained that their wages are not keeping up with inflation, even though the company is making record profits.  The workers also have fought against the company’s practice of hiring them on temporary labor contracts and then laying them off when the work slows down.  Sound familiar?  Over 65% of the workers at this particular plant are “temporary” workers.

On top of these universal worker grievances are added the racist nature of India’s caste system.  At Maruti Suzuki, many workers are “Dalits” – considered by racists in Indian society to be lesser human beings from a a lower caste and once universally considered as “untouchables” – literally these human beings were considered by upper-cast Indians to be so “disgusting” that they would not even touch them.  “Dalits” is the generic name for a large grouping of “lower caste” Indians and are part of the large group of “Scheduled Castes and Tribes” which make up almost a quarter of India’s population.  Major strides have been made in India to abolish the caste system; in 1997 the nation elected Dalit K.R. Narayanan as President. (He served in office until 2002.)

The caste system in India is a combination of repulsive racial and ethnic/religious discrimination handed down to Indian bourgeois society from the old Indian feudal society that existed long before British imperialism colonized India in the 1800s.  There has been a centuries-long struggle to wipe out this hideous caste system – a struggle which goes on to this day.  You can not move from one caste to another: you are born into such-and-such a caste, and you will remain of that caste all your life; it is a hereditary mark either of alleged “superiority” or “inferiority”.

A person deemed to be of a “superior” caste is considered to be “superior” in the same way white planters believed themselves to be superior to black slaves in the US before the Civil War.  Marriage or even socializing between castes is discouraged or in some cases almost unheard of.  This system is so ingrained in Indian society that even some so-called “socialist” and “Communist” leaders of the Indian working class  ignore or downplay this brutal discrimination against their fellow workers.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that workers who have long suffered from such systematic discrimination should become the most self-sacrificing leaders of the workers movement in India.

Supervisors at Maruti Suzuki have repeatedly insulted Dalit workers at this plant.  The workers have long protested this repulsive discrimination.  The strike began, according to the workers, when a supervisor insulted a Dalit; when this worker protested against the discrimination, he was suspended.

“When the union tried to intervene, the company called in ‘hundreds of bouncers on its payroll to attack the workers,’ Ram Meher, the president of the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union, said in a statement.”

The workers “then blocked managers from leaving, beat them with iron rods, ransacked offices and set fire to parts of the factory.”  In one account of this strike, the supervisor who made the racist insult was killed during the battle between the factory workers, supervisory personnel and security forces.

The company has denied that they did anything wrong, and the Indian government has backed up the company: the leaders of the workers from the Maruti Suzuki Workers Union were forced to go into hiding as the police searched for the “troublemakers” who “caused” the violence.

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

In the second class battle we read of in India (which took place earlier this year) we were struck by the headline:

“Workers lynch factory boss after union leader’s death” which appeared in the Times of India, the nation’s pro-capitalist “newspaper of record”.

Once again, this battle took place when union leader, “M. S. Murali Mohan, a Dalit” was attacked along with a contingent of union workers who had gone to the Regency Ceramics factory to man the picket line at a strike that had been going on there since 1 January 2012.  The bosses called the cops, who immediately came and attacked the trade unionists with rattan canes called “lathis”.  During this police attack, Mohan was beaten severely; he died on his way to the hospital.

Enraged unionists immediately protested their leader’s murder at the police station.  Here is the “Times of India’s” description of what happened next:

“As news of Murali’s death spread, factory workers damaged nearly 50 company cars, buses and trucks and set them on fire. Some private vehicles were also targeted. Residents joined hands with the angry mob of around 600 workers and ransacked the factory. After setting it on fire, they torched an educational institution run by the company, besides burning down a shed.

“Two oil tankers were also gutted, while miscreants looted computers, ceramic tiles and other office material. Some of the workers went to company president K C Chandrashekhar’s house and beat him up with iron rods. He died later in a hospital.”

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

Then, last Friday, there was a wildcat strike called by the railroad workers of the Western Railway Motormen Association against “the appointment of two rebel motormen”.  A sickout was called during the afternoon rush hour which resulted in train service being disrupted from 3:30PM until later that evening.  The strike was almost completely successful in shutting down all railway operations.  The union “called off the strike around 8pm after holding talks with WR authorities. But by that time, 50 services had been cancelled and lakhs [thousands] of commuters had suffered.”

Like in the US, there is a law against railroad workers going on strike in India; however, in India it appears that the workers have rendered that particular law as worthless as the paper it’s written on by the simple expedient of… ignoring it!

We recall with great enjoyment how the coal miners of the UMWA did the same thing to the “Taft-Hartley” injunctions that were imposed against the union when they went on strike back during the Carter administration in the 1970s.  Sometimes you just have to break the law in order to build a better society.  You’d think we’d have learned this in the US long ago, with the Civil Rights movement and all.  Yet even today, we are lectured by the phony pro-capitalist union misleaders of the AFL-CIO as to how “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that” because there’s a law against it.  Of course there’s a law against winning strikes!  It’s a capitalist country, not a workers state!  The corporations write the laws and get their hired flunkies in Washington to pass them and make them the “law of the land”.  It’s our duty to smash those anti-worker laws and by doing so show the bosses who’s really boss; because without the working class, they can own all the factories they want, they factories aren’t worth a bucket of spit without workers to run the machinery.

IWPCHI

[Sources: The New York Times; The “Times of India”; Wikipedia.  We would also like to direct your attention to the talkback page of the Wikipedia article on “Caste System in India” for an interesting discussion on how the caste system plays out in modern India and the distinctions between social relations in more liberal urban cities as opposed to the rural areas, where more backward social practices still predominate in many locales.]

Aside

Notes and a tirade based on the video of CTU President Karen G.J. Lewis posted at YouTube, available here (omit brackets): [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4WQE9dj_v0&feature=youtu.be] 1 June, 2012 Press Conference – CTU President Karen G.J. Lewis on Strike Authorization Vote set for 6 … Continue reading