Tag Archives: Independent Workers Party of Chicago

Socialist Planning vs Capitalist Anarchy: COVID-19 Epidemic Proves Again that Socialism Works

Socialist China’s Communist Party had two temporary hospitals constructed in just two weeks to handle the massive numbers of COVID-19 coronavirus patients. This photo shows the initial construction stage of Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, China. Capitalism simply can’t do this. Socialism Works!  SOURCE: China News Service

US President Donald ‘Nero’ Trump fiddles while US panics over COVID-19 epidemic.  SOURCE: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1236778368533700609

This past two months we have seen an epic battle being played out between socialist planning and capitalist anarchy as the COVID-19 virus swept first through socialist China and then was quickly spread around the globe thanks to our modern mass transportation systems.

The virus was unknown to science until it was identified about a month after the first known cases occurred in the major urban center of Wuhan, China. As will always be the case with new diseases, it takes more than just one case to trigger the warning systems in our modern governmental health care apparatus. By the time doctors realized it was happening, this new coronavirus had already infected hundreds or even thousands of people in Wuhan; and as these folks went about their daily lives, thinking they had the flu again, they were unknowingly spreading the new virus far and wide. Since Wuhan is a major transportation center in China similar to the cities of Chicago or Atlanta in the USA, it was quickly carried via land, sea and air to places all over the world.

Once China’s medical authorities and scientific community realized what was going on – about 3 weeks after the first cases occurred, their centrally-planned socialist economic system began to swing into action. Within a week they had begun to launch one of the most comprehensive governmental responses to an epidemic ever seen in world history. Scientists isolated the virus and immediately published scientific papers on it and on the first 44 patients who had been identified as having the virus. The Communist Party of China’s leadership began discussions about how they should respond, as the nation was just about to begin its New Year festivals with mass gatherings all over the country and families traveling to visit their relatives – a mass movement of people similar to that which takes place during our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. After some hesitation they decided that they had to shut down all major public gatherings and begin mass quarantines of those who had been in contact with the first victims of the new virus. How could they do it? Because their nation is united by a collectivist socialist consciousness of the workers who understood that this was not some bullshit concocted by the government but a very real and potentially deadly health crisis. Police-state measures were not necessary, as the well-educated and scientific-minded working class of China understood that this was a national crisis and that personal sacrifices were going to have to be made in order to stop the spread of the disease.

The quarantines and travel restrictions imposed by the Communist Party of China were among the most far-reaching and comprehensive in world history. Travel to and from Wuhan – a supercity whose metropolitan area is home to 58 million people – was completely shut down by order of the government. Workplaces, schools, mass transit systems, every public gathering place was shut down and workers were told to stay in their homes. Food distribution was continued, with one member of each household allowed to shop for necessities once a day. Medicines were delivered to peoples’ homes. Take out food was brought to people by delivery workers. Medical personnel from all over the nation were recruited to go to Wuhan and help stop the spread of the epidemic. Military forces were mobilized to enforce the quarantine and to prevent people from traveling from city to city. Tens of thousands of workers were mobilized and trained to carry out spot checks for flu symptoms and to construct – not ONE but TWO  temporary hospitals with a combined capacity of over 2500 beds to quarantine the thousands of workers who had come into contact with those who had tested positive for the new virus. Thousands of workers, working 3 shifts around the clock for two weeks turned two empty lots into temporary hospitals wit a capacity of  The entire enterprise was absolute proof that socialist planning not only works, but that it works far better than anything that any capitalist nation-stat has ever attempted, never mind achieved.

One of the world’s largest metropolitan areas was shut down with a minimum of panic and a maximum of collective amity between members of the community. Under socialism, of course, no one will be thrown out of their homes because they can’t pay rent; no one will lose their jobs at state enterprises due to the national emergency (although there have been some rumored job losses apparently in China’s capitalist private sector). But by and large this enormous logistical effort was successfully implemented with almost no social upheaval! Now, about 3 months after the very first case was found, the epidemic appears to be subsiding in China; about 3,000 people – mostly over 50 and many with serious pre-existing conditions including cancer – have died, almost all of them in the Wuhan metropolitan area itself.

In stark contrast to the orderly and rational, scientific response of the Chinese Communist Party to the epidemic, as the virus began to spread out to the capitalist world we saw the wanton spreading of panic and disinformation by the global capitalist press. Crises like this sell newspapers and TV advertising, and the more scary the headlines the more papers are sold. All kinds of unfounded rumors were spread about the “deadly flu virus” from China. Passengers on cruise ships that had visited China or that had taken on sick passengers from China became the setting for outrageous scenes as once the news that a ship had passengers who had become infected with the virus, countries began to refuse to allow the ships to dock in their ports. Thousands of people became trapped on cruise ships for days and even weeks as their idyllic cruises became horrific. The cruise lines, worried about their profit margins uber alles, attempted to continue to operate as if nothing had happened, refusing to refund people’s deposits and continuing to make stops and pick up passengers from China.

Capitalists all over the world began to take an inordinate amount of concern for the lives of Chinese people for the first time ever, spreading slander against the Chinese Government’s response to the epidemic and shedding crocodile tears over every new death being reported in Wuhan. These same capitalists were strangely silent about the fact that in the USA, for example, some 20,000 US citizens had already died from the flu in the 2019-2020 flu season. No tears were shed for tens of thousands of their countrymen, but copious crocodile tears flowed for the poor workers of Wuhan! In fact all these people really cared about was trying to spread anticommunist lies about China, pretending that the Chinese gov. had somehow allowed the epidemic to occur. What the capitalists were REALLY concerned about was, of course their profits, which have become heavily dependent on Socialist China’s booming economy. When the Communist Party of China, desperately trying to limit the spread of COVID-19 around the world, shut down all the factories in China’s virus-affected cities, the US and world capitalists really started howling about not the human death toll in Wuhan but the decline in the value of their stock market portfolios! All the capitalists care about in the final analysis is of course their own money.

As if to prove this is a fact, now that the COVID-19 epidemic has spread into the USA and Europe the US and European capitalist governments are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, scrambling to cover their asses and the declining value of their assets as the shutdown of the Chinese socialist economy starts to affect the entire world’s capitalist economies. Instead of copying China’s very effective methodology for dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic, every capitalist nation, even every separate state in every nation, is frantically improvising its own half-assed response to the crisis. Of course in the capitalist world, where profits are everything and human life is cheap, the capitalist states can’t figure out whether to protect their populations or their pocketbooks first. The workers of course can’t possibly lose as much as a whole month’s pay! How will they pay their rents and mortgages? Many will be evicted of foreclosed upon! The capitalists will never intervene to protect the workers from the greedy banksters and landlords who will take the opportunity to improve their bottom lines by evicting those who are already behind on their rent!

And what if workers get sick? In the USA, there is no law that requires that companies give workers even ONE DAY of paid sick time! If these workers call in sick for too many days, they will simply be let go by their capitalist bosses and replaced by “someone who wants to work”! In this way, sick people will be forced to continue to go to work, spreading the disease all the more effectively. Capitalism digs its own and the workers graves in this way year in and year out!

Already we are hearing about shortages of medicines, face masks, and virus testing kits. Workers, panicking thanks to an utter lack of leadership by the capitalist governments are hoarding items like… toilet paper, of all things! How can toilet paper help stop the spread of a virus? This panic is a direct result of the frightening headlines & nonsense being spread far and wide by the for-profit bourgeois press & broadcast media just to sell more newspapers and advertising! The capitalist world in a time of crisis is truly a pathetic spectacle compared to the calm and scientifically rational response of Socialist China!

As US workers began to panic over COVID-19 outbreak in USA, US Health and Human Services Secretary Azar went before the national press – to reassure stock market speculators. SOURCE: https://twitter.com/MichaelCBender/status/1237038864419762176

In the USA, the Trump Administration – like the Obama and all other administrations before it, Republican and Democrats – is made up primarily of former Wall St. swindlers. They are more concerned about the effect any quarantines in the USA will have on their stock portfolios than about how many US workers will die. Today, as if to underscore that fact, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter a photograph of himself playing a violin as if he was a modern-day Emperor Nero, fiddling while the USA loses its mind over the coronavirus! His “health care Czar” went on Twitter not to reassure the citizens that their LIVES would be protected but to reassure stock market speculators that “the economy is strong”! THIS is the kind of “leadership” the US capitalist class provides the workers in the midst of an epidemic!

Who do we workers have to blame for this sorry spectacle except ourselves? You can’t have an incompetent and immature government without incompetent and immature citizens. We vote these assholes into office and now we must pay the price for the fact that, instead of building a workers party of competent worker-leaders who can responsibly represent the interests of our class – the working class – we have abdicated our responsibility to ourselves and our families and have decided to “let the rich folks run things”. Well now we will see just how the capitalists – who do not care at all about the lives of workers in the USA or anywhere else – will protect us from this COVID-19 epidemic. If history is any indication – from the US Govt’s inept response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to their absolutely inadequate response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico – we can be certain that many workers lives will be needlessly sacrificed once again on the altar of Mammon! Let’s face it: this US Government of Nero-mimicking greedheads SUCKS!

If we as workers want to have a government that places the protection of human lives above all else we need to stop “letting the rich capitalists run things”! We don’t need to create a carbon copy of the Communist Party of China or the USSR; we can build “socialism with American characteristics”! We can build a better socialist country than has ever been built before! But in order to do that we need to build ourselves a revolutionary socialist workers party to represent us in our State Houses and Congress that will fight for a workers’ socialist government that PUTS human lives above all else! Capitalism has never and WILL never do that. Dump the Republicrats and Build A Workers Party before the NEXT major crisis kills even MORE of our family members and friends!

— IWPCHI

Chicago Marches to Oppose U.S. War Moves Against Iran, 4 January 2020

Photoessay: Chicago’s progressive and socialist left turns out to demonstrate against the impending war against Iran on Saturday, January 4, 2020. The demonstration was organized by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition; dozens of organizations from Christian peace groups and Filipino left parties to revolutionary Maoists, and Trotskyists participated.  The demo was held just across the Chicago River from Trump Tower. At its peak, we estimate that the demonstration was several thousand strong.

Conspicuously absent were Chicago’s powerful trade unions, whose pro-capitalist Democratic-Party-subservient “leadership” *never* dares to bring their members into contact with the socialist left at events like this, quite correctly fearing that if they did, “their” members would be “led astray” and never again be happy, complacent & obedient pro-capitalist Democratic Party sheep.

The demonstration begins, 4 January 2020 at about 11:45AM. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, 4 January 2020, 12 Noon, photo by IWPCHI.

Chicago, IL, USA demonstration against war with Iran, Wacker and Wabash Ave’s, 4 January 2020, approx. 12 noon. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Sample of protest signs #3. Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Presente! Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – Rally across river from Trump Tower #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave., #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. #3. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed #1. Photo by IWPCHI

 

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed. By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #1. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #2. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was starting to take up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #3.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave. #4.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – March up Michigan Ave. showing huge growth of number of participants as march progressed.  By the time the march got to the Chicago River it was taking up both sides of Michigan Ave., shutting down traffic on both sides #5.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Photo by IWPCHI

Chicago, IL, USA demo opposing war against Iran, 4 January 2020 – The demo progressed up Michigan Ave. until it reached the Water Tower, then headed east towards the lake. Here, it starts to move north on the frontage road on the west side of Lake Shore Drive. Navy Pier is in the background.  A few minutes later the police apparently arrested a person or persons, or at least attempted to (this was the only instance of a confrontation between the cops and the demonstrators we witnessed).  The crowd started chanting : “Let him (or “them”) go!”  Photo by IWPCHI

—– IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Navy to Climate Change Deniers: “You’re In Denial” (Updated 13 October 2019)

[This page was updated on 13 October 2019; scroll down for the updated info – IWPCHI]

 

The next time you are told by some scientifically illiterate blowhard that global warming/climate change is #FakeNews, show them this:  the U.S. Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030”.

Published by the U.S. Navy’s “Task Force Climate Change”, it describes the strategic opportunities and threats that are emerging in the polar regions as the polar ice caps shrink due to… you guessed it! Climate change!  Even the most obtuse opponent of environmentalism will be hard-pressed to deny that maybe… just maybe… the climatologists and long-term defense planners working for the U.S. Navy know what they’re talking about.

Climate change is real; it’s been confirmed and reconfirmed by scientists – and military strategists – working for affected nation-states all over the Earth.  To deny this is to declare yourself to be beyond the reach of logic and scientific reasoning, period.  That doesn’t mean that we have to believe everything the most alarmist of the environmentalists say; it means we have to face facts no matter how unpleasant or counter-intuitive they may seem to be and prepare to face these challenges head-on as they are confirmed to be real and not merely normal and temporary fluctuations in climatic data. The capitalists are salivating over their fantasies of how to profit from the human misery and mass migrations sure to be caused as low-lying coastal areas are flooded over the next several decades. As US and NATO imperialist military planners strive to take advantage of global warming in order to find new ways to launch attacks against their opponents – threatening WWIII – workers must realize that there literally is no future for them under the capitalist system. We workers need to take power out of the hands of the capitalist greedheads and into our own hands so we can create a socialist future for the workers of the world, free from capitalist exploitation, needless human suffering and war.

— IWPCHI

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UPDATE:

We have found a few new sources of information on the massive, rapid warming trend in the polar regions of Earth, and the US Navy’s response to this phenomenon.

First, we researched the history of submarine surfacings at the geographic North Pole.  The first submarine to do so was the USS Skate, on 17 March, 1959.  Since that time, a number of surface ships and submarines have operated on the open surface waters at the North Pole.

The US Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap”, published in February of 2014, was, due to the rapidly warming conditions at the poles, updated again in 2017.  The update (which we found freely available online) is in the form of a slideshow entitled “The US Navy and the Arctic”; you can download a copy of it from our website by clicking on this link.

This is the slide we found to be most shocking as it reveals the rapid decline of the permanent sea ice present in the north polar region today, and the incredible rate of reduction in that sea ice which is expected to open up new trans-polar shipping routes for at least several weeks a year by 2025!

US Navy – Arctic Ice Coverage – 2012-2030.

As we obtain more information on this subject we’ll add it to this article.

Science: Canadian Wildfires Smoke Out Large Sections of North America

This past month a number of major fires have broken out in Alberta, Canada; these fires have grown to become among the largest wildfires ever observed in North America. The smoke from the fires is causing severe health crises in Edmonton, Alberta and in every location downwind of these fires, from Montana all the way to the east coast of the US and out into the Atlantic Ocean. If these streams of smoke haven’t already reached the coast of Europe and North Africa by now, they will by the end of this week.

Here in Chicago we were made aware of this awesome phenomenon over this past week due ironically to our attempts to observe the awful results of one of multi-billionaire Elon Musk’s vanity projects: the initial deployment of 60 highly-reflective communications satellites of a proposed 12,000 satellite network called #Starlink.

Initially we noticed unusually hazy skies as we attempted to observe Musk’s recently launched #SpaceX #Starlink satellite “train” that has aroused the anger of ourselves and professional and amateur astronomers all over the world. This is what the initial #Starlink launch of 60 satellites looked like before the smoke from the Alberta wildfires made observation of them all but impossible in the eastern 2/3rds of North America:

If we continue to allow billionaires to launch vanity projects like this for-profit-for-military-use-only 12,000-satellite #Starlink boondoggle, pretty soon no one on Earth will be able to enjoy a night under the stars without seeing the endless distractions of literally hundreds of satellites passing overhead every hour. Look at how badly a mere 60 of a planned 12,000 #Starlink satellites interfered with a simple observation of Mars:

So we set out to observe how bad the #Starlink satellites would interfere with astronomical observations over Chicago, completely unaware of the vast column of smoke from the Alberta wildfires that had been blown across North America and were concentrated right over Chicago on the night of May 30/31. Looking up into a cloudless sky that night we could only see Mars clearly; major constellations like Cassiopeia and Ursa Major were completely unidentifiable even with binoculars! The entire sky had a milky appearance that looked like fog; but when we tried to use binoculars to identify major northern constellations like Cassiopeia or Ursa Major we could clearly see only a handful of the brightest stars. Fog this was not. Nor was this phenomenon  caused by clouds. We initially attributed it to an unusually heavy form of the usual haze that forms over major cities like Chicago thanks to car and truck exhaust and which is then illuminated by the horrible lighting systems in major US cities that stream light up into the sky instead of down on the ground where it’s needed.

Smoke from the wildfires in Alberta (upper left corner of red circled area) were already seriously impacting states and cities far southeast of that Canadian province by 31 May 2019. Grey area encircled shows the extent and density of the smoke; Chicago is the red dot in center of circled area. Source: NOAA.gov Enhancement by IWPCHI

When we were unable to even see Cassiopeia or Ursa Major on a clear, moonless night we knew something else was happening. The milky white appearance of the midnight and even post-midnight sky when satellite imagery showed little if any cloud cover over Chicago led us to search for the cause. We soon found out about the Alberta fires.

These photos taken from Des Plaines, IL show how profoundly the smoke from these fires in Alberta have been impacting the Chicago area.

Barely visible jet contrail over Des Plaines, IL_dusk, 31May2019. Photo by IWPCHI

31may2019 Clear sky over Des Plaines, IL looks cloudy due to smoke from Alberta, CA wildfires. Photo by IWPCHI

Sunset as viewed from Des Plaines, IL 31may2019 The only clouds were over far NW IL at least 85 miles away when this photo was taken. Photo by IWPCHI

Smoke density analysis by NOAA 31may2019_selection is right over Chicago, IL

Tonight, June 1st I observed one of the most astounding phenomena I’ve ever seen: a rainstorm was passing over Des Plaines heading north as the sun was setting in the west and coming out from behind a cloud bank 25-30 degrees above the horizon – a perfect setting for a rainbow in the east. But there was no rainbow because due to the intense scattering of light from the Sun caused by the heavy smoke over the Chicago area, even though there were no clouds obstructing the sunshine the diffusion of the sunlight prevented even a partial rainbow from forming! The shadows cast by the direct sunlight through very light rain showers reminded me of the kind of light given off by the Sun during an annular eclipse.

Direct sunlight so weakened by dense smoke from Alberta wildfires it can barely cast shadows and can’t create rainbow under optimal conditions_1 Photo by IWPCHI

1 June 2019, Des Plaines IL – Direct sunlight unable to cast sharp shadow on wall due to dense smoke from Alberta, Canada wildfires. Photo by IWPCHI

At the present time it is impossible to even observe the night sky over Chicago because of the dense smoke from the wildfires in Alberta, Canada – approximately 1800 miles away! That’s a huge fire!

We won’t be able to make an observation of Elon Musk’s Starlink vanity project until these wildfires are extinguished and the smoke clears out of our skies. In our estimation, it will be at least a week to two weeks before this occurs.

—IWPCHI

 

The US Capitalist Class is the #1 State Sponsor of Terrorism in the World; Defend Venezuela, Defeat US Imperialism!

As the criminal government of the US capitalist class reveals its latest sanguinary plot to overthrow the elected government of Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, we present the formerly “secret” US Special Forces manual on How To Overthrow Governments The US Capitalist Class Sees as a Threat to Its Continued Domination of the World.  OK that’s what its title *should* be, not what it is.  But seriously, this manual describes in detail the arrogant imperialist attitude of the numerically tiny US capitalist class that seeks to rule the world – in the name of “Democracy(TM)”, of course!  The US capitalist class, which lives in the same kind of endless fear of a workers socialist revolution that plagued the slave-owning “Founding Fathers(TM)” back in the day, can not allow the working class to take power in even the tiniest of nation-states.  They figure that if the workers ever prove to the world that they can run a country better than the capitalists can, and in a more egalitarian fashion, distributing the wealth of the nation better than the 85% (for the top 15%)-15% (for the “bottom 85%) “split” typical of capitalist states, then it will be the beginning of the end for them. So, every time a new government attempts to adopt even the slightest tinge of socialism, the US Government – wholly owned and operated solely by and in the interest of the richest 15% of Americans – immediately begins to plan the overthrow of that government.  But that doesn’t mean a simple invasion, like in the olden days; now it means a whole panoply of sub-military measures, ranging from propaganda campaigns and street thuggery against the “enemy” political party and its activists all the way up to economic sanctions, financing the political opposition and assassinating the leaders of the “hostile” political party or parties – which generally are working-class or pro-working-class parties.  Brutal military dictatorships and monarchies have always found friends in Washington; the working class has always found its most implacable enemies there. Of course, the US capitalist class aren’t Nazis! Not at all! They provide this service this all in the name of “Freedom(TM)” and “Democracy(TM)”! (That’s all part of the psychological warfare techniques they use: they scream about “Russian meddling” in US elections to cover up their own massive “meddling” in other nations – including “regime changes” a.k.a. “coups d’etat.”

To a capitalist, the only kind of “Freedom(TM)” that matters is the freedom of a capitalist to buy low, sell high and rob as many workers as possible for as long as possible. Anyone who dares to interfere in their wholesale robbery of the world’s workers has got to go!  Yesterday it was Castro and Qaddafi; today it’s Kim Jong-un and Nicolas Maduro who are being made to wear the “black hats”.  It’s not an easy trick to pull off while the US capitalist class – unlike Qaddafi, Kim, Maduro and Castro – has implanted its military forces in over 180 nation-states around the world and is busy slaughtering workers 24/7/365.  The use of mass media to keep the workers in a state of fear and confusion is all spelled out in this “unconventional warfare” manual, which should be called: “How to Overthrow Governments For Personal Profit While Making It Look Like You’re Doing the World A Huge Favor”.

Read this and see how many of these vicious and highly undemocratic techniques you can identify being used against governments all over the world; from Syria to Venezuela, Nicaragua to North Korea!  And consider the “democratic” nature of such nuggets of US capitalist class wisdom as “[Unconventional Warfare] is specifically focused on leveraging the unwillingness of some portion of the indigenous population to accept the status quo or ‘whatever political outcome the belligerent governments impose, arbitrate, or negotiate.'”

Don’t forget: this is “The Best of All Possible Worlds(TM)” – according to the US capitalist class!  Any worker or politician anywhere who dares to think that the capitalist status quo is *not* “the best of all possible worlds” is an “enemy” and a “traitor” (to the capitalists) and must be “neutralized” in the name of “Freedom(TM)” and “Democracy(TM)”!  Got it?

This manual comes to us thanks to the hard and self-sacrificing work of Chelsea Manning and WikiLeaks.  Thanks to them we get to see right straight through the disgusting hypocrisy of the US capitalist class and their repulsive worker-hating government.  It’s way past time the workers of the USA dumped the twin parties owned and operated by the US capitalist class and we built ourselves a strong revolutionary socialist workers party to lead the fight to seize power from the hands of the capitalist few and put it into the hands of the working-class majority.  Get off your asses and join us already!  What are you waiting for? World War Three?  By then it will be too late.

— Iwpchi

“Army Special Operations Forces: Unconventional Warfare” manual_us-fm3-05-130

The Science of Human Memory: Why Christine Blasey Ford’s 40-Year-Old Accusations Are No Longer Credible

When it comes to human memory, scientists speak not of its “reliability” but of its “fallibility”.  Under capitalism, which embraces superstitious belief and “common sense” while denigrating scientific knowledge, the generally scientifically illiterate working class is left to fend for itself when it comes to seemingly “deeply controversial” issues – like whether or not the 40-year-old memories of a person can be relied upon as an accurate record of their early-life traumas. In fact, as we clearly establish in this article, there is no scientific “controversy” in regard to the fallibility of human memory over time: human memory is nothing like a documentary record by which events in a person’s life can be recalled precisely as they happened – even by the very person who lived the experience.  Even worse, the passage of time and the acquisition of new life experiences cause human memories to be continuously revised and reconstructed. 
We oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court due to his well-documented extreme conservatism and hostility to women’s rights; but neither he nor anyone else should be compelled to submit to a public interrogation regarding unsubstantiated sexual assault allegations from almost 40 years ago that were never brought to trial in a court of law.  We have nothing against Christine Blasey Ford, but unfortunately for her the time for her to bring her assault allegations forward was 36 years ago; the passage of nearly four decades has rendered her accusations, in our opinion, inadmissible in a court of law due to the scientifically proven fact that human memories – even of traumatic events like sexual assault – degenerate over time.  This underscores the vital importance of sexual assault victims coming forward to report the crimes committed against them at the earliest possible opportunity. – IWPCHI

The nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh was brought to a screaming halt this past month by the sudden emergence of one Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with an accusation that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her some 36 years ago.  This explosive accusation – coming as it has against a prospective Supreme Court Justice in the wake of the #MeToo hysteria – has brought his confirmation hearings to a halt. Kavanaugh’s political and judicial record is that of a consistently right-wing, anti-worker and anti-woman conservative bent.  The battle lines for and against his confirmation for the Supreme Court have been drawn on strict partisan lines, with the Republicans and Democrats engaging in a shit-slinging contest like two troops of caged monkeys, with both sides cynically using the issue of women’s rights like a crude weapon in their political knife fight. The process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice has become not a careful assessment of the nominee’s qualifications as a jurist but a brutal running of a political gauntlet where as much salacious dirt as possible is either dug up from the youthful indiscretions the nominee may have engaged in – or the Congressional Inquisition just makes up as much damaging slander as they can and then hurls it in the face of the nominee, hoping that he or she will withdraw their candidacy for the Court rather than continue to be publicly humiliated by the Congressional cretins of both parties.  The nomination process has become so vicious that it is hard to imagine why any decent, qualified candidate for a Supreme Court nomination would put themselves and their families through the character assassination and humiliation of the process. Into the hellish partisan maelstrom of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings sailed one Christine Blasey Ford this past month, with top Democratic Party sponsorship and an explosive story to tell.  Revealed to the nation at the 11-th hour of the confirmation hearings by the Democrats, Blasey Ford launched her broadside of 40-year-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh using the too-credulous bourgeois press to leak out at least two different versions of her tale of “abuse” allegedly at the hands of a drunken 17-year-old Kavanaugh and (depending on the version leaked out) either one or four co-conspirators.  Her accusations – which were not reported to the police at the time of the alleged assault, and were reportedly not told to anyone at all until she revealed them to a marriage-counselling therapist in 2012, immediately were taken up by the bourgeois feminist #MeToo lynch mob which shrieked in unison that they believed every word Blasey Ford said – even before she actually published a coherent full version of her story.  The Congressional Democrats, who have been steadily destroying womens’ rights by degree for decades now, and terrified by the threat posed by the loose cannons of the #MeToo movement, who have been destroying the careers of the guilty and the innocent with glee, cynically supported Blasey Ford in a bid to pose as “the defenders of womens’ rights” as opposed to the Kavanaugh-backing Republicans who seem to be just as cynically utilizing the #MeToo phenomenon to pose as the defenders of the rights of the accused to a presumption of innocence – a fundamental principle of U.S. law won at the time of the American Revolution which they have been busy heaping contempt upon for decades.  It is a sorry spectacle symptomatic of the long degeneration of the political consciousness of the US capitalist class reflected in their bought-and-paid-for political parties, which have all grown steadily more and more depraved since the last dying gasp of the revolutionary bourgeoisie was breathed during the brief Reconstruction period immediately after the U.S. Civil War. With the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings brought to a screaming halt by the accusations leveled by Blasey Ford, and a large percentage of the populace finding her last-minute allegations more than a little bit suspicious politically, the Democrats and Republicans hunkered down and started digging up “evidence” to refute the “evidence” being put forward by Blasey Ford. The Republicans behind Kavanaugh produced a signed petition of hundreds of women friends of Kavanaugh who vouched for his deep love of children, women, apple pie and all things good; the Democrats came forward with a signed petition from the Friends of Blasey Ford vouching for her teenaged chastity and her all-around honesty, love of truth and all things good.  Kavanaugh denied Blasey Ford’s accusations; a few of Blasey Ford’s friends came forward to claim that they now remembered her telling them of the alleged sexual assault way back 40 years ago while howling partisan mobs vented their respective spleens across social media.  The Democrats called for an FBI investigation of the allegations and/or for the allegations to be probed publicly by the Congressional committee overseeing the Supreme Court nomination process. Calls for a full-on public spectacle in which Kavanaugh and Blasey Ford would testify before Congress on national television as to their respective 40-year-old memories of the incident (or non-incident) in lieu of an actual trial before a jury of Kavanaugh’s peers came shrieking down from the Democratic Party side, with the rabid “Start By Believing” forces of the crazed #MeToo legions in battle formation.  Anyone daring to publicly doubt the actual probative value that could be expected from such a pointless “he said/she said” trial by public opinion was declared to be “obviously” a woman-hating apologist for the rapists.  Such is the level of political discourse in the “Land of the Free(TM)” these days. Yet we did dare to ask: what is the value of 40-year old accusations in a court of law?  Is it possible for someone’s 40-year-old memories to be credible enough to destroy a person’s career or even to be used to convict that person and send them to prison for decades?  Most importantly: what does science teach us about the reliability of human memory over time? We had read over the past several decades many scientific articles on the fallibility of human memory in relation to “eyewitness testimony” – which was once believed to be the most reliable evidence that could be admitted in a legal proceeding, but which now has been scientifically proven to be highly malleable and utterly unreliable.  Irked by a Tweet posted by a Democratic Senator throwing shade on anyone who would express skepticism about the timing and inherent value of 40-year-old anecdotes of sexual impropriety seemingly very conveniently recalled just in time to derail a highly contested nomination to the Supreme Court, we responded by performing a simple Internet Search for the terms “reliability of human memory” – and we immediately found, on an Internet portal linked to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a half-dozen scientific studies and reviews of recent scientific research on human memory.  The results are not good for Blasey Ford and her shrill #MeToo friends. Human memory is not just fallible, it is highly unreliable even in the short-term, and becomes more and more unreliable over time.  The human memory is not, as many people believe, like a digital security camera video recording that can be rewound and replayed over and over again without any loss of detail at all; it is more like a very sketchy and incomplete series of snapshots that are modified by human life experiences that preceded and which occurred after any event we can “remember”.  In marked contrast to what “common sense” beliefs exist in the minds of most people, science has learned over the past 40 years that human memory is nothing like computer memory AT ALL.  There is simply no justification for the #MeToo crowd’s mantra that, especially in sexual assault cases, we should always “Start By Believing” – especially when the accusations were not reported until years or decades afterwards.  Even a delay of as little as a few hours can lead to profound modifications of human “memories”. We were initially driven to look for the science behind human memory thanks to this annoying Tweet by U.S. Senator Mark Warner:

The problem is, of course – as former Virginia Governor and now-Senator Warner, a Harvard-educated lawyer should know – that if Christine Blasey Ford were to take her 40-year-old allegations to any prosecutor in the country it is highly unlikely that they would spend five minutes investigating the case, precisely because the allegations are 40 years old!  There is no physical evidence that is known to exist in the case; it highly unlikely that any new and credible evidence could be collected after the passage of nearly 40 years; the witnesses (if any are still alive and still sentient) would be difficult and perhaps very expensive to find; and if they were found, their 40-year-old memories of the event would be completely useless in a court of law anyway due to current scientific knowledge about the profound fallibility of human memory over time.  Sen. Warner and his many lawyer-colleagues in the Senate and in Congress should know this; and many undoubtedly do know it.  But instead of acting like leaders who will take this as a “teachable moment” and use it to educate the public as to why 40-year-old memories of an alleged sexual assault victim shouldn’t be used in a court of law except as a weak buttress for physical evidence that a crime was committed; instead of educating the public that this case reaffirms the absolute necessity for victims of sexual assaults to report the crime as soon as possible after it occurs while their memory of the details are as valid as they’ll ever be, the Democrats and Republicans are consciously refusing to do any such thing.  They clearly prefer to make their cheap political attacks against their opponents in an effort to jockey for some imaginary “moral high ground” they can stand on when they run for re-election. In Warner’s case it is certain that he knows all about how profoundly the growing body of scientific evidence on the fallibility of human memory has forced major changes in the admissibility of eyewitness and other forms of human memory evidence in the law courts of the nation.  While Governor of Virginia he commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt in a highly controversial case in which the credibility of eyewitness testimony was a central issue (Warner – according to his Wikipedia entry – also “denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor”).  Yet instead of utilizing his own personal knowledge of the science of the fallibility of human memories or of the many U.S. Government-funded scientific studies available to educate people about the importance of timely reporting of sexual assaults and other crimes due to the increasing fallibility of human memory over time, Warner chose to remain silent and let the lynch mobs gather up their stocks of torches and pitchforks.  What could be more contemptible than to withhold such information from an increasingly frenzied populace? Then again, Virginia Democrats know a thing or two about how to direct a lynch mob from behind the scenes so that they cannot be held personally responsible for the work of the madmen – and women – they set in motion.  Virginia is, after all, the historical home of “Lynch’s Law”, named after slave owner Charles Lynch, a former member of Virginia’s House of Burgesses, Revolutionary War officer and later a State Senator. We sent Sen. Warner a dozen Tweets featuring lengthy excerpts from two or three of these scientific studies we found on a US-Government-run science website; of course neither he nor anyone on his staff bothered to respond to any of our messages.  Why haven’t any Senators or Congressmen been spreading this important, often taxpayer-funded research on the fallibility of human memory in order to educate the public as to why it’s not a good idea to allow 40-year-old undocumented accusations based upon the 40-year-old memories of a single human being to derail the nomination of someone with a well-documented legal history and no criminal record to the Supreme Court?  It’s undoubtedly because they feel that they can make more money and further their careers more effectively by lies and disinformation to be spread far and wide. Here is the first scientific study we sent to Sen. Warner. As with all of the studies we cite below, the most surprising thing that comes across is how diametrically opposed the scientific understanding of the nature of human memory is to the widely held (including by us, originally) “common sense” notion of the fundamental long-term reliability of memory, especially of traumatic experiences:

The link to the study we cited is here:  “The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom” Here are a couple of excerpts from this study:

Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

There really is no dispute among scientists when it comes to the reliability of human memory; in fact, there is so much consensus that scientists tend to speak not in terms of the “reliability” of human memory but in terms of its “fallibility”.

“The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom_Common misunderstandings about memory” Introduction: “The Neuroscience of Memory – Implications for the Courtroom” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci
. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Here is the second scientific paper we sent to Sen. Warner:

Memory development: implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom (Abstract) by M.L. Howe, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 Dec;14(12):869-76. doi: 10.1038/nrn3627. Epub 2013 Oct 30.
Unfortunatley, like most scientific papers, this one is behind a paywall (reminding us of Aaron Swartz’ fight to make all scientific publications available for free to the public, for  which he was threatened with prosecution and driven to suicide). Presumably, Sen. Warner has access to all of these databases and could, if he cared to, provide this information to the public.

We kept searching until we could find a scientific paper that wasn’t being embargoed from public view by the capitalists’ greed.  Right away we found this:

The paper is available in full here: “The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences.” Here are some excerpts, which we also Tweeted to Sen. Warner:

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Abstract) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott                                      Memory. 2015;23(5):633-56. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709. Epub 2015 Feb 23

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” (Excerpt 1) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This paper, by the way, is not an assertion of the two authors’ own personal prejudices regarding human memory; it’s a review of many decades of published scientific research on the subject:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 2 by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633 – 656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

“The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences” Excerpt 3 – “Children as Eyewitnesses” by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section on the false testimony of very young children is somewhat off-topic but has broad implications as to the gullibility of adults, including cops, judges and the press when it comes to the irrational “Start By Believing” paradigm being pushed by the bourgeois feminists of the #MeToo movement; it also goes a long way towards combatting the widespread and faulty “common sense” notion that “children would never lie about something as serious as sexual assault”:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 4 – Children as Eyewitnesses (cont’d) by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott,  Memory, 2015 Vol. 23, No. 5, 633–656, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Here the authors make mention of one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice ever to occur in the US since the Salem Witch Trials (which also featured outrageous accusations that had no evidence to back them up except for the “eyewitness testimony” of children): the McMartin Preschool Case:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 5 – Children as Eyewitnesses – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

This section of the study gets into the subject matter of the Blasey Ford vs. Kavanaugh controversy:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 6 – Historic Sexual Abuse – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 7 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 8 – Historic Sexual Abuse (cont’d) – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

But what about the widely-touted concept of “repressed memories” that can be “recovered” through therapy?  Does that concept have any scientific validity?  It does not:

The fallibility of memory in judicial processes: Lessons from the past and their modern consequences – Excerpt 9 – Is there a special case for repressed memories? – by Mark L. Howe and Lauren M. Knott, – Memory. 2015 Jul 4; 23(5): 633–656.
Published online 2015 Feb 23. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2015.1010709

Yet another scientific article we found sheds more light on how easily adult memories can be modified and false ideas easily implanted – especially by those whom we tend to trust implicitly, like doctors, therapists and scientists:

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – Introduction” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

“The Neuroscience of Memory: Implications for the Courtroom – How Memory Distortions Occur” by Joyce W. Lacey and Craig E. L. Stark, Nat Rev Neurosci. 2013 September ; 14(9): 649–658. doi:10.1038/nrn3563

Clearly, there exists a massive amount of scientific research indicating that the longer a person waits to report a crime, the more unreliable their testimony will be, regardless of the intensity of the lived experience of the traumatic event.  To suggest that the public should simply “Start By Believing” a 40-year-old recollection of an event as if it was akin to a dashboard camera recording of an event – as the #MeToo crowd wishes us to do – is to commit a major error of judgement that flies in the face of the current state of our scientific knowledge of the fallibility of human memory.  It is in our opinion a highly suspicious aspect of the way the Democrats wish to conduct the Kavanaugh hearings that they will seek to do away with Kavanaugh’s right to a fair trial in a court of law with a highly prejudicial kangaroo court proceeding in which the public’s willingness to believe the charges brought against him will hinge solely on the quality of the live performance of Blasey Ford as she details her ancient, sensationalized charges of serious sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh; charges that in a court of law he would not even be required to personally refute but which in this rigged forum he will be forced to attempt to convincingly sway “public opinion”.  By ignoring the science, the Democrats are consciously stacking the deck against Kavanaugh in a vicious manner reminiscent of the proceedings of the Holy Inquisition. As much as we oppose the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, we must vehemently protest against the use of such medieval methods of character assassination as are about to be used in these hearings.  Blasey Ford, by waiting 40 years to bring her charges against Kavanaugh, and by choosing not to pursue them in a court of law where there are rules of evidence to follow has chosen to pursue an avenue of attack for which there is no possible defense that can be effectively utilized by Kavanaugh.  We say she should not be allowed to testify at all, as her method of attack was outlawed long ago when we jettisoned medieval methods of legal procedure in favor of the far more rational evidence-based system of justice, in which innocence is presumed until an accused person is proven guilty in a trial before a jury of one’s peers, which was one of the great gains of the American Revolution.  These rights of the accused must not be allowed to be abandoned for the purpose of winning a political battle – even one as important as the appointment of a Supreme Court justice.

To us as revolutionary Trotskyists the entire sordid episode illustrates our long-held saying that the choice that confronts the workers of the world is: socialism or barbarism.  The US capitalist class, hanging onto power by a toenail, with the youth of the USA clamoring for “socialism”, and unable to rig national elections anymore (as the victory of Trump over their bought-and-paid-for preferred candidate Clinton shows)  is becoming more and more deranged and unhappy with their pretended fealty to democratic process and the rule of law; and now their wholly-owned political pawns are throwing out such “outdated junk” of the American Revolution as the presumption of innocence of the accused and the entire idea of majority rule.  But then that is nothing new; from the time of the American Revolution, it was never the intention of the US ruling class to allow (in slave-rapist Jefferson’s memorable phrase) the “swinish multitude” to rule.  Only a workers socialist revolution can bring about a more democratic society than the burgeoning police state we have now; and to achieve a more democratic, egalitarian society will require a workers socialist revolution led by a Leninist vanguard party of professional socialist revolutionaries.  Those of you who want to create a positive future for the workers of the USA and the world should get in touch with us so we can begin building such a party, without which the working class can’t move one inch forward.

— IWPCHI

The Curse of the NGOs: S. African Housing Rights Organization Was Forced to Adopt Rules to Defend Itself From US-backed NGO’s Hostile Takeover

How is it possible for a tiny (but filthy rich) ruling class – the capitalist class – to directly control the vast majority of political activity of the workers of the world? The answer in the 21st century is: by financing tens of thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on every political issue large and small throughout the world.  In the past 6 years, we have found that almost every single NGO in existence – from BYP100 (ostensibly fighting for the rights of African-American workers in the USA) to Abahlali baseMjondolo (ostensibly fighting for housing rights for black South Africans) are (or in AbM’s case, were) actually controlled (perhaps without many of the activists in these NGOs even being aware of it) by wealthy white capitalists in the USA – and perhaps even the US government itself.  It is remarkably easy to discover this by simply digging through the layers of propaganda offered on the websites of the various NGOs until you get to the (sometimes carefully-, sometimes poorly-hidden)  financial information which reveals who is actually funding the NGO in question.  Usually this can be done directly from the website of the NGO – but sometimes, as in the case of South Africa’s “Abahlali baseMjondolo” you have to peel back quite a few layers of deliberate obfuscation in order to get to the rotten capitalist core of the organization’s funding.

Today we discovered a “formerly” US-capitalist-financed housing rights organization that has come under attack from the South African government because of its ties to a US-backed NGO.  The ANC suspected that since it was being funded by an ostensibly Indian (but actually a largely US and German capitalist-financed) NGO it was actually nothing but a Trojan Horse for a US-sponsored destabilization project attempting to discredit the African National Congress.

Meet "Abahlali baseMjondolo" - ostensibly an independent "grassroots" organization fighting for housing rights for South Africa's homeless people. Looks fantastic - but is it what it seems to be? (Source: Enough Is Enough!)

Meet “Abahlali baseMjondolo” – ostensibly an independent “grassroots” organization fighting for housing rights for South Africa’s homeless people. Looks fantastic – but is it what it seems to be? (Source: Enough Is Enough!)

We ran across Abahlali baseMjondolo via the ” Enough Is Enough! ” WordPress site (which is, itself, completely organizationally opaque).  We subscribed to their blog a while back because they publish often very interesting news about anarchist antifa activity around the world.

Today we saw that they’d had published a story which referenced the recent assassination of a South African organizer for “Abahali baseMjondolo”  (the name of the group is Swahili for “those who live in shacks”).  The organization is – ostensibly – fighting for housing rights for black homeless workers in South Africa.  We had only vague information about this group and so we attempted to find out what we could about it – suspecting that it might well be another one of these US-Government-financed NGOs.  What we found out wasn’t what we’d expected to find; instead we found out how difficult it is for an ostensibly “honest grassroots organization” to fend off the aggressive takeover attempts of US-backed NGOs seeking to operate in “Third World” countries. This is how we tried at first to determine who was funding AbM:

First we searched the “Enough Is Enough!” article for links to AbM’s website – but, strangely enough, there weren’t any.  So, of course, we turned to our #1 go-to source for information on everything from the abacus to Led Zeppelin: Wikipedia.  And, as usual, they did not disappoint us: they had an article on AbM which contained  a link to the AbM website.

[N.B.: some clever people criticise us for utilizing Wikipedia for a reference. But the fact is that Wikipedia has longer, more informative articles on more subjects than the Encyclopedia Britannica website.  If you don’t believe us, compare the two.  We cancelled our subscription to EB for just this reason.]

OK; so far so good.  We have made it to the AbM website:

Homepage of Abahlali baseMjondolo. Another very militant image on their homepage. And what a cool logo! Let's find out where they get their money. (Source: http://abahlali.org/)

Homepage of Abahlali baseMjondolo. Another very militant image on their homepage. And what a cool logo! Let’s see if we can find out where they get their money. (Source: http://abahlali.org/)

Usually, either at the top of the homepage of every NGO you’ll find a link labeled “About” which will take you (if you’re lucky and if the organization is being open about itself) directly to their “Board of Directors” or their “Supporters” page, which often gives the game away.  Here we get nothing at the bottom of the homepage; but there is a “Contact” link in the menu at the top of the page so let’s check it out:

Interesting. They claim not to be an NGO even though that is clearly what they are. They claim that they are no longer affiliated with the "Canadian" NGO "Centre for Civil Society" any longer; but they are affiliated with the "Church Land Programme". And they give us a link to a document that tells us more about their history. (Source: http://abahlali.org/contact/)

Interesting. They claim not to be an NGO even though that is clearly what they are. They claim that they are no longer affiliated with the “Canadian” NGO “Centre for Civil Society” any longer; but they are affiliated with the “Church Land Programme”. And they give us a link to a document that tells us more about their history. If necessary we can also do a search for “David Ntseng” and “Raj Patel”.  (Source: http://abahlali.org/contact/)

First let’s look at AbM’s “Brief Guide to the History and Praxis of [AbM]”.

Here we see that they once were involved with an NGO called “Centre for Civil Society” and that, apparently, it was at least partly due to their early receipt of funds from this organization that AbM were denounced by the African National Congress (ANC): “Individuals in the ruling party, including the Durban City Manager Mike Sutcliffe and Mayor Obed Mlaba, Provincial MEC for Housing Mike Mabuyakulu and his spokesperson Lennox Mabaso and many others, have very often accused Abahlali of being manipulated by a ‘third force’ or a foreign intelligence agency ‘bent on destabilizing the country’. No empirical evidence has ever been adduced for these claims and they are patently ludicrous and paranoid but they have created a climate that justifies violent repression.”

In fact, the “Centre for Civil Society” (CCS) is an ostensibly “Indian” (as in “India”)  NGO whose current Chairman – Luis Miranda – is  “Senior Advisor, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure” and who obtained his MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business!

Are we supposed to believe that when AbM performed their "due diligence" in investigating the source of money behind the CCS they did not even bother to look them up on the Internet?

Are we supposed to believe that when AbM performed their “due diligence” in investigating the source of money behind the CCS they did not even bother to look them up on the Internet? [Source: CCS website]

CCS has derived at least some of its funding from major US capitalist “philanthropic organizations” –  like the “Templeton Fund” and the “Michael and Susan Dell Foundation”.   Templeton is in turn part of huge American “philanthropic organizations” like the “Grantmakers for Thriving Youth” NGO-funding organization which is itself funded by such capitalist luminaries and lovers of the working class and homeless like Bill and Melinda Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos Family Foundation (Amazon.com), the Walton Family Foundation (WalMart), S.D. Bechtel Foundation (US Defense Dept. construction firm Bechtel Corporation) and others too numerous and disgusting to mention.  It is not at all surprising that the ANC government would be pissed off when these US capitalist criminals start funding “grassroots organizations” that are operating in the country.

In its defense AbM describes the aggressive ways in which these billionaire capitalist-backed “philanthropic foundation”-financed NGOs go about “recruiting” their agents around the world.  Apparently it is a full-time job for any honest actual “grassroots activist” leading an honest NGO to fight off the constant attempts at undermining the honest NGO’s independence by bribing his or her colleagues being made by the US-backed NGOs:

“Abahlali welcomes support from independent activists and activists in churches, NGOs, universities, independent media projects and so on. But while the movement has often experienced deeply principled and invaluable solidarity that has enabled the development of popular democratic power in the settlements it has also had some very bad experiences with particular individuals and organisations which include a considerable degree of financial and political exploitation, as well as self promotion at the expense of the movement’s praxis and the simple disrespect of (often racialized and classed) assumptions of an automatic right to lead, decide and teach in the name of solidarity. At times there has been deliberate out and out misrepresentation and deliberate attempts at sabotage. There have also been consistent NGO attempts to bypass the movement’s democratic structures and to determine who can represent the movement at meetings, to the press etc from outside (this has often been accompanied by attempts to offer money to individuals who will be prepared to take instruction from the NGO – most often these are people who have never been active in the movement in the first place….) ”

[Source:  http://abahlali.org/node/1391/%5D

Look at the detailed list of demands and requirements AbM has devised in order to fend off the continual attempts being made by “Western” NGOs to recruit AbM activists and use them to take over the organization:

Abahlali welcomes support that is prepared to work within or in partnership with the movement’s democratic structures and to accept that this is where all the movement’s decision making should occur. It rejects ‘support’ that seeks act above the movement’s structures and assumes a right to take decisions for the movement outside of the movement’s structures. Abahlali asks that the following general requests be respected:

  • All proposed solidarity initiatives (including invitations for members to speak, attend meetings, workshops and so on) should be bought as a proposal to one of the weekly Abahlali meetings well in advance of its anticipated start date and discussed there and agreed to there before they are begun. If you want the support of the movement for your projects you will have to negotiate this with the movement’s democratic structures – all of which are always open to all. The support of the movement for your project cannot, as the most notorious of the NGOs seems to assume, be bought by offering money to individuals.
  • All conditions set for a project following the discussions at such a meeting must be adhered too. If for some reason this becomes impossible then this should be discussed with a sub-committee set up to work on the project or taken to a weekly meeting.
  • Abahlali works very hard to ensure that the movement is as broad based, as democratic and as representative of the movement’s geographic diversity as possible and that at least 50% of all people elected to represent the movement are women. It also works very hard to ensure that as many people as possible get as much experience as possible. Therefore other organisations are asked to extend invitations to speak and attend meetings etc to the movement rather than to individuals of their choice so that the movement can elect a revolving set of representatives. Invitations to individuals will either not be accepted or the movement will, if it is decided to accept the invitation, ask to elect its own representatives. It is completely unacceptable for NGOs to decide who should represent Abahlali at their meetings.
  • Any meeting or project that is serious about developing a politics of the poor must be serious about arranging for translation if the meeting is to be conducted in English. Similarly it should be held in a place that is easy for people to access.
  • All media produced on the movement (articles, films, photographs etc) should be shared with the movement and, where possible, translated into Zulu or Xhosa.
  • No one acting outside of the movement’s structures should speak for the movement, decide who should represent the movement or attend meetings or workshops or events on behalf of the movement, raise money for themselves or their organisation in the name movement, allocate money to people in the movement, make deals on behalf of the movement, or in anyway act for the movement.
  • No one should claim to be working with the movement or to be part of the movement when they have never attended its weekly meetings and have not had their claims for involvement with the movement negotiated at these meetings. Furthermore NGO activists need to be aware that working with people who live in shacks is not the same thing as working with Abahlali and does not give them the right to make claims in this regard let alone to try and make decisions for the movement, raise money for themselves in the name of the movement, produce media for the movement etc. It is far from the case that all shack dwellers are Abahlali members or that all shack settlements are affiliated to Abahlali.
  • After a number of bad experiences Abahlali took a decision in October 2006 to refuse to work, in any way, with the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal or with anyone at the Centre (including visitors, interns, film makers etc) and has stuck to this decision resolutely. Claims to the contrary have no validity. People wanting to develop solidarity with the movement are asked to respect this decision. Please also note that AbM is not the only grassroots organisation to have taken a decision to refuse any involvement with the Centre for Civil Society.”

[Source:  http://abahlali.org/node/1391/%5D

This is all very fascinating; but does AbM expect the South African workers to believe that they were “hoodwinked” into accepting funding from an organization that openly trumpets its many connections to the top US government-connected banks like Morgan Stanley and the support it was given at its founding by infamous architects of International Monetary Fund-backed economic destabilizations like Milton Friedman?

The members of the AbM were placed in a very dangerous situation when their leaders accepted financing through the “Centre for Civil Society” which the ANC knew was a cutout for US-government-linked “philanthropic foundations” – organizations of the type which have been used historically as screens for CIA destabilization operations all over the world.  This does not mean that the ANC government has the justification for what the AbM alleges are brutal attacks by the government’s police agencies, from having people thrown out of their jobs to slandering them as agents of foreign governments to murdering them.  The ANC leadership and their government are thoroughly corrupt themselves, are stuffing their pockets with cash as pro-capitalist “partners” of the former racist Randlords of the apartheid state and are the mortal enemies of South African workers of all ethnicities.  It is highly unlikely that the desperately poor and probably poorly-educated rank-and-file membership of the AbM has any idea what lies behind the seemingly pure ideals and generous gifts being offered to them by US Government-backed NGOs: protecting them from these criminals is precisely the job of the AbM leadership.

Is AbM an “honest grassroots organization” or is it a front for a destabilization programme being run by the USA in order to discredit the ANC government?  We can’t be sure; and in some ways that is actually asking the wrong question.  For revolutionary socialists, what determines the “honesty” of any ostensibly working-class organization is its degree of complete independence from any connection of any kind with the capitalist class and their government.  The AbM leadership could have had all the “good intentions” in the world when they were organizing their group; but, as Trotsky once said: “the working class needs leaders not only with clean hearts but with clean hands as well.”  If the political naiveté of the AbM leadership led them to foolishly, “accidentally” accept funding from a deeply politically-compromised NGO – that is a huge problem with the quality and the class-consciousness of their leadership.  This is why it is important to have revolutionary socialist leadership that has fully incorporated Trotskyist class-consciousness into the fiber of every leader in that party.  We won’t be so politically blind as to lead workers into obvious traps like this.

The AbM leadership was, at the very least, quite foolish to accept money from the “Center for Civil Society” without first investigating where they got their money.  It took us less than an hour to find all the information we needed right on the website of the CCS itself.  But if what AbM says is true, once a US-backed NGO has decided to work with you (translation: use you for its nefarious purposes) they will stop at nothing to either take over your organization – or, if you refuse, set you up for attack from the government.  The question now is: has the AbM leadership truly “learned its lesson” as they claim they have?  And it really does not appear to us that they have.  Their hostility towards socialism – or their foolhardy attempt to create a “non-class” or “multiple-class” “politically neutral” organization can only result in their making the same mistake over and over again as they try to obtain political support and financial assistance from “anyone but the ANC” due to the ANC’s vicious attacks against them (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”-syndrome).  And it could even be that the AbM is saddled with at least some “anarchist” leaders who refuse to take a consistent side in the class struggle on the side of the workers by completely eschewing any kind of political party work at all: “The [AbM’s] Deputy President, Lindela Figlan has argued that ‘Voting someone into government just gives them power to oppress and exploit us.'” [Source: Wikipedia, “Abahlali baseMjondolo”]  This “classless” “apolitical” stance can lead only to one unprincipled lash-up after another with pro- and anti- working class organizations.  And this is just what the AbM leadership are doing!  The very same Wikipedia article goes on to say that in 2014, the AbM leadership made yet another rotten bloc with the pro-capitalist opposition party “Democratic Alliance”:

“[A]t the Abahlali baseMjondolo ‘Unfreedom Day’ rally held in Kwa-Mashu on 27 April 2014, the movement’s President Sbu Zikode announced that they ‘would abandon’ their No Land, No House, No Vote campaign and cast a ‘strategic vote’ in the May 7 elections.  A few days later Zikode signed a pact with the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA), stating that ‘We encourage our comrades and our membership to vote for the Democratic Alliance so that we can get rid of corruption. Zikode clarified that ‘Abahlali are not joining DA or any political party. We will remain independent from all kinds of mainstream political parties. But this time around it’s a tactical partnership where the aim is to really get rid of the party that has become a threat to the society’.”

This kind of politically unprincipled “supra-class” orientation almost always results – as in this case – with that organization’s leadership jumping in bed with the capitalists via “temporary” support to one or another bourgeois political party.  The AbM’s leadership has, by supporting the Democratic Alliance, taken sides with the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary working class – which is precisely the wrong side of the barricades to be on if they were truly seeking a comprehensive solution to the problem of homelessness.

Workers who want to really change the world need to build a revolutionary socialist workers party that has a revolutionary socialist political programme and a leadership of professional revolutionaries dedicated to carrying out that programme.  Every single successful workers revolution in history was led by some variation of a revolutionary socialist Leninist vanguard party.  From the Russian revolution to the Vietnamese revolution this has been the case.  Every other kind of “revolutionary” political formation that has attempted to lead a workers revolution against capitalism has failed – especially anarchism!  It is a waste of time for the working class to attempt to utilize “revolutionary tools” which have NEVER WORKED BEFORE.  The Independent Workers Party seeks to build the Leninist/Trotskyist political party we need in order to lead workers to a successful overthrow of the decrepit capitalist system which has proven over and over to have absolutely no future to offer to the workers of the world other than environmental degradation, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, starvation and war.

— IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Things Never Change: Mr. Dooley Examines Opposition to New Immigration to the USA (1902)

When it comes to the tricks and false logic – not to mention outright racism – used by the US capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for politicians in order to deflect attention away from their naked robbery of the working class by telling workers that “it’s all the immigrants’ fault”, nothing ever seems to change.  The capitalist class keeps telling the same old tired lies about how the lives of workers would be absolutely marvelous if only it wasn’t for the immigrants coming in and  messing things up – and the most ignorant workers keep on believing this nonsense.  It’s a lot easier for a slavish worker to attack a defenseless immigrant mother than it is to stand up for workers rights against the cops, courts and prisons of the capitalist class that are the actual source of the worker’s misery.

In the early 1900s, political satirist Finley Peter Dunne, who had started his career working for a number of Chicago newspapers had his most inspired creation, a first-or-second generation Irish-American bartender from Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood – Mr. Dooley – take on the immigration issue.  As you’ll see in this hilarious piece, the arguments used in 2018 against today’s immigrants are the same tired and long-ago-discredited arguments that were common and tiresome already in 1900.  The capitalist class and their racist attack dog politicians and nativist fascists have never been able to come up with a single legitimate reason to oppose new immigration, because there isn’t one.  The scapegoating of immigrants by the capitalists and those who they have “running point” for them by spreading racist lies about the new immigrants has never been very sophisticated in its arguments because the kind of workers who believe this shit have never been very sophisticated in their reasoning.  The immigrant-hating workers of 2018, like their idiot ancestors of 1900 are slaves of the capitalist class, without the guts to fight against the politically powerful capitalist class who are the ACTUAL cause of poverty and unemployment under capitalism; these worker-cowards prefer to use the limited amount of “courage” they possess to attack veiled Muslim women on buses, or half-starved immigrant women and their children who risk their lives to seek refuge here in the USA.  Workers who allow themselves to be used by the capitalist class and their politicians to attack our immigrant sisters and brothers are nothing but traitors to the working class.  They are scabs and proto-fascists, racist scum who will eat all the shit the capitalists can throw on them and then thank their capitalist masters and ask for more.  The capitalists and their racist, immigrant-hating worker-slaves, not the immigrant workers, are the biggest threat to the working class of the USA and the world.  As workers in the USA – and especially union workers – we have to educate ourselves to recognize all the dirty tricks the capitalist class will pull on us in order to keep us divided and conquered.  Anti-immigrant racism is one of the dirtiest tricks in the trick-bag of capitalism; but it’s also one of the easiest to recognize and to defeat.  By standing up for the rights of all immigrants to be treated as our working-class sisters and brothers – which the vast majority of them truly are – the US working class strengthens its power to defend its most vital class interests.  The Independent Workers Party of Chicago – seeks to build a revolutionary socialist Trotskyist political party of the working class that will be completely independent of the capitalist class in every way and that will fight for the rights of the workers in the USA and around the world.  We don’t just want to organize protest against the brutalities being waged against our immigrant and refugee working-class sisters and brothers; we want to elect true worker-representatives to every legislative office in the land so that we can repeal anti-immigrant legislation and to block all attempts by the capitalists and their bought-and-paid-for politicians to pass new anti-worker legislation of any kind.  Once the working class – which represents about 70% of the total US population – takes its rightful place as 70% of the elected representatives in the national government, we will no longer have to beg the capitalist politicians to do us favors – we’ll be writing and passing our own pro-worker legislation.  Eventually we’ll be in a position to democratically decide to put the capitalist system out of our misery permanently by overthrowing the capitalist system and replacing it with an egalitarian revolutionary socialist workers republic.  This is what we’ve got to do… but this will only happen if the working class wants it to happen and joins us in this struggle.  Without a political party of the working class in possession of the majority of the seats of the legislatures of the nation, no effective and enduring political change in favor of the working class can be put forward or guaranteed at all.  Join us!

—- IWPCHI

Note on the text: Mr. Dooley speaks English with a heavy Irish brogue which can be difficult to understand at first; but if you try to sound out the at first seemingly incomprehensible transliteration of the text by speaking to yourself in a heavy Irish accent, you’ll soon find that you can read Dunne’s written “Irish” quite well.  – IWPCHI

Finley Peter Dunne – Mr Dooley’s Observations – Immigration – Link to Full Text .pdf

Finley Peter Dunne - Mr. Dooley's Observations_title page_1902

Finley Peter Dunne – Mr Dooley’s Observations – Immigration