Tag Archives: Germany

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

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

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

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

— IWPCHI

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

THE WORKERS’ MILITIA AND ITS OPPONENTS

From Whither France?, 1934

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Arm the proletariat and the revolutionary peasants!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Advertisements

Conversation with a Young US Student Considering Becoming a Wage-slaving “Whore” for a Banker-pimp

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”.   Having difficulty understanding this graph, young wage slave?  If so you are indeed stupid.  Recent Trends in WEALTH Distribution in USA, 1989-2013. Source: Federal Reserve Bulletin – Changes in US Family Finances 2010 -2013:_Survey of Consumer Finances_scf14

There are two kinds of workers in the working class in the capitalist world: wage-slaves and communist revolutionaries. Which are you?

This question is of some importance to the future – if there is to be a future – of the United States of America.  Unless the wage-slaves of the United States pull their heads out of their asses, become worker-revolutionaries and overthrow the US capitalist class that is hell-bent on murdering workers all over the world in pursuit of profits, the world will soon be forced to do to the United States what the world did to Hitler’s Germany in 1945. When we say “Capitalism Must Die so the Working Class May Live” we mean it. There is – literally – NO FUTURE for the working class under the capitalist system! We either overthrow capitalism or we’re all going to be shadows on a wall someday – sooner than most people think.

In case you forgot what the world had to do to kick the ass of the last gang of capitalist criminals that tried to rule the world by force, here’s a photo of just one city in Germany at the end of World War II: Cologne.

Cologne's cathedral stands undamaged in a sea of total destruction, 24 April 1945. This is what USA's big cities will look like if US capitalist class force world to put an end to its reign of terror. Source: U.S. Signal Corps; U.S. National Archives.

Cologne’s cathedral stands undamaged in a sea of total destruction, 24 April 1945. This is what USA’s big cities will look like – except that not even the cathedrals will be spared –  if US capitalist class forces the world to put an end to the US’ reign of terror the way Hitler’s Nazi capitalist regime was finally put down. Source: U.S. Signal Corps; U.S. National Archives.

Beautiful, isn’t it? If you think this can’t happen to the United States of America(TM), “The World’s Only Superpower(TM)”, we’re here to tell you: you’re wrong. If you think that the US capitalist class – your masters, representing less than 0.45% of the world’s population – have the “right” to run the entire planet as if it was their own lemonade stand… in the name of “Freedom(TM)” and “Democracy(TM)”, of course! – and can pull that off for any length of time – you’re even dumber than we think.  Fortunately for you and for the whole world, your ignorance is 100% curable. You’d better get started on your cure before it’s too late. Time is not on the side of the working class. You’ve let the capitalists run the tables for far too long, and the window of opportunity for you to take power out of their hands is rapidly closing.

In the interest of waking you, the US working class from your self-perpetuated ignorance and capitalist mass-media-induced apathy, we present the following political equivalent of a slap upside the head. Enjoy! And show it to your fellow dumb-ass wage-slaves!

*********

Freedom. Hah! “The Land of the Free(TM)”! Ha ha! This capitalist USA isn’t the “land of the free” it’s the land of the stupid-ass wage-slaves.

You don’t think you’re stupid, young wage-slave? That figures! You’re so dumb you don’t even KNOW you’re a wage slave living in a capitalist country! There’s a 50% chance that you believe that shameless Wall St. sock puppet Barack Obama is a socialist! You think you’re “free”, too, don’t you? Well here’s a news flash for you: you ARE stupid; you live in a capitalist country; Obama’s NOT a socialist; and you’re not free. Got that? The hell you do!

The stupid wage-slave workers of the USA don’t have any idea what “freedom” is, and there is more than a little bit of evidence proving that if there is such a thing as “freedom”, the vast majority of the 200 million active US wage-slaves don’t want to have anything to do with it. As soon as they leave high school – in many cases even before – the vast majority of them do everything possible to strip themselves of what little “freedom” they will ever possess, gleefully wrapping themselves in chains they’ll have to drag for the rest of their lives by taking on college tuition loans, home and car loans and by starting families at a young age. Doing even just one of these things – not to mention doing all of them at once as so many stupid young US wage-slaves do in this horrendous capitalist nation-state of the USA – is fatal to the pursuit of individual freedom. Apparently, for most workers, this is the easiest route and one they feel most comfortable taking, because it relieves them of any ability or necessity of making any real choices as to how they will live out their lives. Like their wage-slave, slave and peasant ancestors going back thousands of generations, they prefer the chains of slavery to the frightening unpredictability and terrifying responsibility of actual freedom. That’s why wage-slaves are so common, and communist revolutionaries are so few.

Calling the United States of America the “Land of the Free(TM)” is one of the sickest jokes ever played on a dull-witted public. And here’s another news flash for you stupid wage-slaves of the United Snakes of America: there is no nation of Earth with wage-slaves as dumb as you are!  Every other major industrialized nation in the world has a working class that has organized revolutionary workers parties that represent the interests of the working class in their state and national governments.  You are so stupid you think you don’t need to do the same; you’re all convinced that you can just settle for the political impotence of “speaking truth to power”.   You literally have no clue what you’re up against under capitalism – and what’s more – many of you just don’t care. If that’s not dangerously stupid, what is?

Going to college, young slave? Great idea! No doubt your high-school counselor showed you a list of the most sought-after job skills here in the “Land of the Free”. Let’s just put aside the fact that the list you were shown was probably out of date by at least a half-decade by the time your counselor showed it to you. If you are a “smart” wage-slave, you picked a “career” for yourself by selecting from the top of the list of the most highly desirable college degrees sought by the major corporations running this “free country” of ours. What a smart young wage-slave you are! Ha! You didn’t know it but you were fucked from that moment on! Your stupid-ass wage-slave parents couldn’t warn you because they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground either. They fell for every lie they were ever told by the US capitalist class, and they are so far in debt they’ll never break even if they work 3 jobs for the rest of their lives. They haven’t read a non-fiction book since they left school and they think they know all they need to know – in other words, they are complete and utter dumbfuck wage-slaves, at the mercy of the greedheads that own the companies they work for and a government that is out to crush them. They – and you – will struggle your whole lives for a tiny piece of the 25% of the national wealth being fought over by 90% of the population. That is all of the national wealth not owned by those at the top 10% of the upside-down US income pyramid – the US capitalist class.

The problem is: in every high school in the land, smart young wage slaves are being shown that very same “pick-a-career” list; and a huge number of your fellow proto-wage-slaves are making the same decision you just made. So by the time you come out of college in 4 or 6 or 8 years, there’ll be so many people holding that same degree that the supply of newly trained wage slaves in your specialty will have outstripped the demand. It could take you months or even years to get a good-paying job in your chosen field – if ever. And if you think that’s sickening, realize this: the sick thing about it is that over-supplying the demand for every job is PRECISELY one of the top goals of the capitalist class – because that’s how they keep wages down and profits up! Like we said: you were fucked from the time you laid eyes on that “pick-a-career” list!

But why worry? You’re going to be a “free” citizen of the “free” world! A young, bright-eyed college grad with all the world open to you to conquer! Right? Wrong.

But here’s another little problem: thanks to the fact that you live in “The Land of the Free(TM)” – perhaps the MOST unapologetically, viciously, heartlessly “capitalist” country in the world – the education you just received here in the “land of the free” wasn’t “free” at all. You owe the university – or the bank you borrowed the money for your college tuition from – tens of thousands of dollars right now.  And that money you owe isn’t just going to sit there doing nothing while you look for a job that will enable you to pay off your huge debt. It’s growing like a cancer. In the capitalist world, loans – as you may now be dimly aware – are “interest-bearing”. Not for you, but for your banker-pimp! Oh, we forgot to tell you: did you know that you’re now a wage-slaving whore for a banker-pimp? You are, young wage-slave! Freedom? Ha! And the longer you are forced to wait to get a job, the larger your debt to your new banker-pimp becomes! Wow! Imagine that! You haven’t even started your career yet and already you are no longer “free” at all! From the moment you signed the papers on that loan, you became a whore for your banker-pimp – and, bitch, you’d better get your ass out on the street and start paying off your pimp or your credit rating is going to get shot to hell. What’s a “credit rating”? It’s how your capitalist bosses and banker-pimps keep you on your knees sucking corporate cock for the rest of your life! More on that another time.

You didn’t go to college? Aren’t you clever! Actually you’re probably actually NOT very clever or you’d have been channeled into the college-track by your school counselors long ago. For some reason, it was decided that you were not “college material” – probably because you were either dumb or a shitty student or you happened to be not white-skinned – or some combination of these things. So you are going to get your “freedom” 4, or 6 or 8 years before your fellow wage-slaves who went to college! Lucky you! Ha ha ha!

You get to immediately sell your labor-power in the capitalist marketplace. Problem is, the only thing you know how to do is read and do basic math! So you’re only qualified to work at low-wage jobs – and there are literally millions of dumb High School dropouts or barely-graduateds just like you looking for jobs too. It’s a “free market” for labor! Isn’t that fun? Actually, it isn’t at all fun, as you will soon find out. You will be working for whatever wages your future series of greedy capitalist-pimps feel like paying you, for the rest of your “life”.

Unless you join a union, that is. You don’t like unions? Ha ha! Well we hope you like poverty, dumbass! Because that’s what you’re gonna face – for the rest of your long, stupid life as a wage-slave if you can’t land a decent-paying job in a non-union factory of some kind. And those jobs are scarce and getting scarcer every day – and there are millions of stupid people like you fighting over those few jobs.

You had better re-think your opinion of unions. First of all, you could sign up for an apprenticeship program at a number of unions. There, you’ll get paid to go to school for four years, learning a trade.

“Wha- wha- whaaat? Did you say I would get PAID to go to school?”

Yes, little wage-slave! Union apprenticeships aren’t like those criminal “internships” many of your fellow wage-slaves got suckered into where they work their asses off for free. The union apprenticeships PAY YOU to go to school. And once you graduate, you will be making the most money it is possible to make in a regular job for the vast majority of wage-slaves. It’s a great deal, and beats the shit out of the “Great Capitalist College Swindle(TM)”!

“Great! Thanks for telling me about that – I’d never heard of such a thing! I’m joining a union apprenticeship program! I’m going to be making excellent money and have a good job guaranteed when I’m done with my apprenticeship, while those stupid college students are stuck with their huge debt and no job!”

Uh, wait a minute young wage-slave. No one is going to guarantee you a job under capitalism. Ever. They call this the “free world” but, as you are about to find out – nothing in it is “free” – especially wage-slaves like you. Your ability to get a full-time job at the end of your apprenticeship will depend on the vicissitudes of the capitalist economy – and your willingness to kiss your bosses ass like a good wage-slave. If you’re in a construction trade, it’s a “boom-or-bust” situation. Sometimes you’re going to work 60 hours a week for years on end; other times you’ll be out of work for years on end. But look on the “bright side”: at least you won’t have to pay off an enormous debt like the college wage-slaves.

“Great! The economy is strong right now and it probably will be when I complete my apprenticeship in 5 years. I’m going to have it made! I’m so happy I’m not going to wait 5 years – I’m going to marry my high-school sweetheart right now, buy a house, have a couple of kids and start enjoying my freedom here in the “land of the free” right away!”

Uhhhh… hold on there now, dumbass! How are you going to enjoy your “freedom” by getting married and buying a house and having kids? Every one of those things is going to increase the amount of money you’re going to have to make in order to keep your family alive. Especially buying a house! And kids! Forget about it! “Freedom” that ain’t! Under the capitalist system it’s a ball and chain for life!

“What do you mean? Buying a house is part of the “American Dream”! It’s what living in a free country is all about. You own your own house, instead of just paying rent to a landlord! Homeowners have more freedom than renters! And having kids isn’t that expensive; we’ll find a way to make it work. Everyone tells me this, so it must be true!”

Well, we must say, in the defense of honesty: nearly every worker in the United States is a stupid-ass streetwalking pimped-off wage-slave.  They believe everything their banker-pimp masters tell them to believe. The fact is that it has always – in most places and historical periods in the US – been cheaper in the long run to rent than to buy a house. And if you care at all about protecting what little “freedom” a wage-slave actually has in a “free” capitalist country, you might consider the ramifications of becoming owned by a bank through a mortgage on a house. If you rent and have to move to another town or state for a new job, you can pretty much just pack up and go; if you are “owned” by a banker-pimp through a house, you have to sell it before you move or you’ll end up paying for two homes. Selling your house could take months or even years and will quickly eat up any savings you were somehow able to accumulate – if you had any. And having kids! Did you know that for every kid you have you and your spouse will have to make approximately an additional $12,000 to $15,000 a year per child – precisely at a time when your family’s income will be cut in half because your wife is pregnant? And even if your wife doesn’t permanently lose her job when she takes her pregnancy leave and gets back to work quickly, you will now have to pay thousands of dollars a year for child care. Under the capitalist system, having kids is a great way to say “goodbye” to “freedom” for the next 20 years.

“Gee! No one ever told me that! I wonder why?”

Oh, you have much to learn, young wage-slave. But that doesn’t make you special. All of us worker-revolutionaries were dumbass wage-slaves too, once; we’d all been fed a bunch of lies by our stupid wage-slave families who all had been pimped out for decades by their banker-pimps; they all claimed that they were “free” people living in a “free” country, too. Living in a capitalist country is the opposite of “freedom” for a worker-wage-slave. You can only survive under capitalism if you have a job; and NO ONE can or ever will guarantee you that you WILL have a job. Even the most fortunate and shamelessly docile wage slaves get laid off at least once in their lives during the inevitable periodic economic crises that shake the capitalist world to its foundations.

“Yikes!  That’s scary!  I had no idea how unstable the capitalist system has been!  But how is owning a house giving up your freedom? I’ve always been told the opposite. Everyone says that you must own a car to enjoy your freedom, and that renting is slavery compared to owning your own house. You mean to tell me that those are lies?”

Yes, those are indeed lies – monstrous lies – not made any less monstrous by the fact that so many stupid-ass wage-slaves believe them to be true.
The capitalist system is a form of economic exploitation of workers for the benefit of the wealthy people who own factories and other businesses. All wealth is based upon the extraction of profits from the wage-labor of wage-slave workers like you. In order to force workers to spend their lives making the rich people richer, they dangle things like new cars and houses in front of stupid-ass wage-slaves and tell the slaves that they can only have true “freedom” if they own these things. In order to own these things they must be obedient wage-slaves willing to give the best years of their lives over to slaving in a capitalist enterprise for as many hours as the capitalist wishes to force them to work. The gullible wage-slaves are trained to believe that by working hard, they will acquire their freedom. The Nazis had this slogan over the entrance to Auschwitz: “Arbeit Mach Frei” – “Work will make you free”. It is a lie. Work under capitalism is a form of slavery in which workers are given the choice of either pimping themselves out to the highest capitalist bidder or of being homeless.

“You’re talking philosophy; how does this relate to owning a home or a car?”

When you take out a loan to buy a car, you sign a portion of your working life over to your banker-pimp, who then forces you to keep on working and turning over a large portion of your paycheck to him so his capitalist bosses can live like kings while you struggle to buy your “freedom” – something which you will never achieve in a capitalist country no matter how hard you work. Buying a new or used car with a loan makes you a whore for a banker-pimp for a few years. Buying a HOUSE, on the other hand, makes you a whore to a banker-pimp for a number of DECADES! Until you completely pay off your loans, you don’t own that car or house at all – YOUR BANKER-PIMP OWNS YOU THROUGH THAT CAR OR HOUSE! And if you don’t keep working and keep kissing your capitalist-pimp’s ass at the place where you work, you’ll be fired or laid off and, being unable to make the car payment or mortgage, the banker-pimp will take away your car or house and use them to enslave another sucker. And you’ll be homeless and as propertyless as those renters you laughed at who decided not to give up their tiny amount of “freedom” by becoming a whore for a banker-pimp like you did.

“Wow! My dad always said that “his banker” was a great guy who got him a great deal on his mortgage!”

Your dad is a typical dumb wage-slave who has been tricked into thinking that he “got a great deal” from his banker-pimp. In fact, here’s what your dad’s delusion is based on. The banker-pimp knows from dealing with your dumbass wage-slave dad that he’s such a completely housebroken, obedient and hard-working wage-slave that if the banker-pimp cuts the interest by a mere 1/4% on his home mortgage, your dad – out of slavish gratitude – will probably also come back to the banker-pimp whenever he thinks he needs to buy a new car or if he needs to take out a second mortgage on his house for some guaranteed-to-eventually-happen, unavoidable reason – like if he or your mom gets sick and needs expensive medical treatment. Plus, the banker-pimp knows your dad is taking good care of the banker-pimp’s house, keeping it in excellent physical shape with the money being lent to him at interest by the banker-pimp. So if the day ever comes that your dad can no longer make payments on the house, the banker-pimp or his successors will swoop in and take the house back and sell it to another stupid-ass wage-slave who thinks he will obtain “freedom” by “owning” a house. There are so many ways that people can get screwed out of their homes that it would take me a year to describe them all to you. The home “ownership” scam run by the banker-pimps of the capitalist world is one of the principal swindles employed by the capitalists to keep their wage-slaves docile, obedient and hard-working.

“Ow! My brain is starting to hurt! You commies are liars who try to make all the good things in life look awful!”

Well why don’t you go home and think about it in your “free time” – if you have any! Ha ha ha! We haven’t told you about the many, many lies of the capitalists who are enslaving you, young wage-slave! If you ever get sick of being a wage-slave, feel free to stop by and learn more about the phony “land of the free” bullshit sold to all wage slaves by the bought-and-paid-for propagandists of the capitalist class. And here: read this.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

The Communist Manifesto?  I don’t know… I’ve always been told that was nothing but commie propaganda.  Frankly I’m frightened by the prospect of reading it!  And it’s so old – this is 2016! What good is something written way back in 1848?”

Well, yes it is of course “communist propaganda”.  You’re frightened to read a book?  How absurd!  Old?  The basic writings of the capitalist ideologue Adam Smith – which is “capitalist propaganda”– were written 75 years BEFORE the Manifesto!  And yet every communist has read Smith’s “Wealth of Nations”…

Read the introduction by Trotsky as well; he explains that, of course, some of the Manifesto is outdated, but most of it remains remarkably informative and useful even today.  It’s still one of the best introductions to the nature of the capitalist system and basic socialist ideas available, and it’s only about 50 pages. It’s like “Google Maps” for orienting yourself in the capitalist world you live in, young wage-slave.

“OK thanks. I’ll take a look at it. What a conversation! Next thing you know you’ll be telling me that the police are not here to “protect and serve” the workers!”

They’re not here to “protect and serve” the workers! The police were organized to protect the private property and property rights of the capitalists and to “serve” as the armed force to be used to keep the workers from rising up AGAINST their banker-pimp and capitalist masters…

“That’s enough of your propaganda! Let me go read the Manifesto and we’ll talk about that another time! This is too much for me to take in at once!”

Ha ha! We felt the same way when we first heard all this years ago when WE were young, dumbass wage slaves! Nearly everyone starts off in the same way. Almost everyone in our party – except those lucky ones whose parents had cast off their chains to become revolutionary workers – grew up as dumb wage-slaves who believed that wage-slavery was “freedom”, too. Our political education only really began when we first read the “Communist Manifesto”. We had heard all kinds of horrible lies about what the “Manifesto” contained. We were shocked to find that what it actually contained was some excellent information that exposed the reality of the place in capitalist class society that we were born into as sons and daughters of working-class parents. It shocked and awakened us to the reality of life as a wage-slave in capitalist class society and it will do the same for you. Before we read it, we felt like one of the famous blind men encountering the elephant of capitalism – we didn’t even know its name WAS “capitalism”! That’s how dumb WE were! The Manifesto made it possible for us to see the capitalist world as it truly is for the first time in our lives. It’s been great talking with you. By reading the Manifesto you are taking the first step in throwing off your chains and in becoming a revolutionary worker instead of a dumb wage-slave. We hope you enjoy the book!  When you’re done with it, we’ll talk again!

—IWPCHI

GREECE – Fascist would-be Fuehrer from ‘Golden Dawn’ Party Attacks Leftists – Smash Fascism!

Those on the “left” who think that Fascism can be defeated through intellectual debate can obtain for themselves a very graphic example of why this is a utopian concept courtesy of one Ilias Kasidiaris, a legislator in the Greek Parliament and member of the definitely fascist “Golden Dawn” party.

In a brazen attack on two female Greek parliamentarians from two working-class parties, this fascist cretin, tiring of the mental strain of having to think and politely respond to questions and challenges from his socialist and Communist Party interlocutors, rose from his seat and continued the “debate” in the way the fascists prefer: by physically assaulting the two women – on live, national television, no less!

[http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/07/us-greece-assault-idUSBRE8560P520120607]

The fascist scum from “Golden Dawn” who usually carry out their “debates” on the question of immigration by forming gangs and going into towns and city centers and physically assaulting anyone who “looks foreign” need to be put down like the rabid dogs they are.  The very existence of fascist political parties is a standing lethal threat to the workers movement and all decent human beings.  We call on our brothers and sisters in the Greek workers movement to unite and go out and give these “Golden Dawn” scum a golden shower!  “Acquaint their heads with the pavement!” Fascism must be crushed in the egg, or it threatens to annihilate the workers movement – physically.

The great Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky, who gave his life leading the heroic struggle against the rise of the Stalinist bureaucracy from 1927 – 1940, understood well the true nature of Fascism.  Writing in the 1930s, before the rise of Hitler and his Brownshirts, Trotsky warned the German working class of the danger that would result if the German workers organizations – unions, and both major rival “left” parties of the working class, the Social Democrats and the Communist Party, did not join forces to smash the fascist threat while it was still “in the egg”.  The failure of the two largest workers parties to make a political bloc against the Nazis – primarily due to the Stalinized Communist Party of Germany’s refusal to do so – led directly to the rise of Hitler and the physical destruction of the revolutionary workers movement in Germany.

Marx was quoted, famously, as saying: “all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice… the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”  Today we see the tragic events of 1933 in Germany restaged, with an all-Greek cast:  the Greek so-called “left”, represented by the left coalition Syriza movement, plays the role of the class-collaborationist German Social Democrats; the “ultraleft” leadership of the Stalinist German Communist Party of 1933 is portrayed, convincingly, by the “ultraleft” Stalinist leadership of today’s Greek Communist Party.   Von Hindenburg, the senile “grand old man” representative of the equally senile German bourgeoisie of ’33, is portrayed by his modern counterpart in Greece, 83-year-old Karolos Papoulias.  Papoulias, representing the utterly discredited and ready-for-the-dustbin-of-history Greek bourgeoisie of 2012, held an ominous meeting on May 13 with the head of the would-be-Hitlerite “Golden Dawn” Fuehrer Nikolaos Mihaloliakos.  This meeting, eerily reminiscent of Hitler’s tete-a-tete with Hindenburg just before Hindenburg made Hitler Chancellor in 1933, is the politically (and in every other way as well) bankrupt Greek bourgeoisie’s way of preparing the way for a fascist/military coup in the event that the working class gets the upper hand over the capitalist class in the near term.

Replace the word “France” with “Greece” – or any other capitalist country you’d like, including the U.S. – in this excerpt from a 1934 article by Trotsky and see if it rings a bell apropos of today’s political situation:

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

“The fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie. The latter has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other. Its dissatisfaction, indignation, and despair are diverted by the fascists away from big capital and against the workers. It may be said that fascism is the act of placing the petty bourgeoisie at the disposal of its most bitter enemies. In this way, big capital ruins the middle classes and then, with the help of hired fascist demagogues, incites the despairing petty bourgeoisie against the worker. The bourgeois regime can be preserved only by such murderous means as these. For how long? Until it is overthrown by proletarian revolution.”

Source: Leon Trotsky, “The Collapse of Bourgeois Democracy” from “Whither France?”, 1934

So what should be done with these fascist gangs, whose idea of “fun” is to rampage through Athens beating up “foreign-looking” immigrants and tourists?  Again, let’s turn to Trotsky:

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

[…]

“[The socialist and communist newspapers write every day:]

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

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

[Source: Leon Trotsky, “The Workers’ Militia And Its Opponents”, from “Whither France?”, 1934]

The time has come in Greece to organize such a “workers’ militia”.  The only “debate” the fascists understand is a debate which will end with the workers “acquainting the fascists’ heads with the pavement”!

IWPCHI

[For more of Trotsky’s writings on the subject of how to oppose fascism, see: “Fascism: What it Is and How to Fight It” here: http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1944/1944-fas.htm     as well as his the excellent collection of his articles on the rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930s that make up the book “The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany”, Pathfinder Press.   Many of the articles in this book can also be found here by looking for the articles about Germany and/or fascism:

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/index.htm