Tag Archives: Marx

Anti-Trump Protest in Chicago and The Limitations of Spontaneous Expressions of Working-Class Outrage

The Independent Workers Party of Chicago – which, sadly, like most revolutionary socialist political parties in Chicago, was not at this historic event – salutes all of those who took part in the anti-Trump protest at UIC! It was a fine act of working-class self-defense against the openly racist provocation represented by the repulsive Donald Trump candidacy. Congratulations to you all! We demand that all charges be dropped against all of the anti-Trump protestors arrested (by the racist Democratic-Party-run Chicago Police Department) at the rally! But it is our duty as revolutionary Trotskyists to tell you that it will take a far more organized and politically conscious movement of the working-class youth to put and end to the capitalist system responsible for the emergence of racist excrescences like the Trump campaign.

The racism and scapegoating of immigrants for the failures of the capitalist system to provide basic human needs for workers – hallmarks of the Trump, and to only a lesser degree, all of the other pro-capitalist candidates’ campaigns in both parties – is one of the fundamental elements of the capitalist system. Nationalism, racism, sexism and religious bigotry are used very slyly by the capitalist class to stay in power by keeping the working class divided along those very national, racial, sexual, ethnic and religious lines. A working class divided along all those lines is so much easier for the capitalists to conquer! By succumbing to the lies of the capitalists and their political attack dogs that “immigrants are stealing your jobs” and that people of different religious faiths or sexualities pose a “threat” to “our way of life” the deluded members of the working class enable their capitalist masters to prevent effective union organizing among workers, thereby keeping wages and benefits down and their profits up. Nationalism, racism, sexism and religious bigotry are deadly poisons force-fed to the working class by the capitalist class through the agency of the pro-capitalist media, politicians, union misleaders and “criminal justice” system. It is the duty of every decent worker to fight nationalism, racism, sexism and religious bigotry with every ounce of strength he or she possesses!

The fact is that none of these evils can be extinguished in society until the capitalist system itself is overthrown and replaced by a revolutionary socialist workers republic. Until workers come to consciously understand this fundamental teaching of revolutionary Marxism, their protests will amount to little more than short-term and partial periodic victories over the more racist elements of the working class organized and led by the capitalist class. Racism will not die by “natural causes” or by moral suasion; it must be deprived of its medium of growth, which is the unequal distribution of wealth that makes up the very poor social soil of the capitalist system. And this deeper understanding of the true source of racism will not “arise spontaneously” in your mind; you need to actually study Marxism to fully comprehend this reality, which is hidden from you by the propaganda produced by the capitalist class in order to justify their class rule.

That racism must be fought is something that the vast majority of US workers – especially those black, Hispanic and religious minority workers who make up the population of most US cities like Chicago and who are the intended victims of the racists and fascists – understand; but only in a general way. This generalized understanding is good enough to provide the impetus for spontaneous demonstrations of outrage against attempts to hold racist and anti-immigrant political rallies like the one we witnessed here in Chicago last week. Trump’s bold and foolish attempt to hold one of his “Klan-lite” rallies in the midst of a stronghold of one of the most racially integrated unionized working class areas in the USA was effectively spiked by the largely spontaneous and wholly justified action of working-class and student youth (with African-American and Hispanic youth taking their role in the vanguard). Chicago, like most major US cities is a “majority-‘minority’” town, where about 70% of the population is black or Hispanic. Chicago is also a stronghold of the US union movement, boasting one of the highest percentages of unionized workers in the USA. For these reasons it was a relative no-brainer for students at the University of Illinois-Chicago and working-class youth living in the black and Hispanic neighborhoods that ring the UIC campus to “spontaneously organize” a massive protest that overwhelmed Trump’s security daisy-chain at his rally.

There are many who will claim that this “spontaneous” anti-Trump rally “proves” that the working class do not need to be led by a revolutionary socialist Leninist vanguard party. But they are just using the “common sense” inculcated in them by the capitalist system – and so they end up being “spontaneously” wrong!

One of the most important lessons taught by Lenin, the great organizer and leader of the Russian Revolution of 1917, is that “revolutionary consciousness does not ‘arise spontaneously’ in the minds of the workers”; it must be brought to them via the agency of trained, professional Marxist revolutionaries.

Now when you first read this, you might well think that it is an absurd statement; but we can assure you that it is no more absurd than it is to say: “the consciousness of a chemist” or “the consciousness of a physicist”, or doctor or any other profession “does not arise spontaneously” in the minds of anyone – no matter how much they would like to become a doctor, physicist or anything else. If you want to become a medical scientist, you must study medical science first – no one “spontaneously” becomes a doctor after years of merely “wishing” to be one! Likewise, in political science, in order to become a professional revolutionary Marxist, you need to first study revolutionary (not reformist) Marxism, under the tutelage of revolutionary Marxists. And for that you need to teachers of Marxist political science.

Spontaneous uprisings of the workers such as the anti-Trump rally, though commendable, are not even capable of ending the candidacy of Donald Trump; and they can not put to eternal rest the forces of fascism. The overthrow of capitalism worldwide must be achieved before the final struggle to destroy racist ideology can even BEGIN! And in order to overthrow the highly organized and professionally-led US capitalist class, it’s economic system, its cops, courts and military – the working class needs something far more powerful than a spontaneous uprising. Only a well-organized and professionally led political party of CONSCIOUS revolutionaries who know precisely WHAT social forces they are fighting and what social forces are their allies – and who are armed with a well-thought-out revolutionary socialist political program agreed upon before the revolution begins – can hope to lead the workers to the final victory over the forces of capital. Any political “leader” who pretends that an elemental mass spontaneous upsurge of the working class will suffice to overthrow the professional, experienced and organized forces of a capitalist class that has more than 300 years of experience wielding state power all over the world… any political leader who makes such a claim can only lead the working class to a very bloody defeat.

So young worker: you have read this far and are still not convinced that we are speaking the truth? That’s fair enough. We assure you that we are not just blowing smoke; we have the past 300 years of history backing up our assertion. Revolutionary Marxists study history in order to understand the evolution of human society; we study the long history of workers revolutionary struggles that have taken place all over the world. And these studies have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only workers revolutions that have ever succeeded were ALL led by a revolutionary Leninist vanguard party like the one we are organizing. It’s just that simple! A modern revolutionary socialist party – which is to say, scientifically, a Marxist/Leninist/TROTSKYIST party – is what we must build if we want to overthrow capitalism and replace it with an egalitarian workers socialist republic in which racists and racism are not allowed to organize political parties or to promulgate their unscientific and abhorrent doctrines at all.

Every successful workers revolution in the 20th century was led by a Leninist vanguard party: in Russia in 1917, China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam – ALL were led by Leninist vanguard parties! Anyone who tells you that they “hate” Leninist vanguard parties is telling you, in essence that they “hate” the very idea of actual workers revolution! They aren’t saying it in so many words, because that would drive you away from them. But it is fully implied in their hatred for and intransigent opposition to any attempt to organize the only kind of political party that has EVER succeeded in leading the working class and peasantry to a victory over the capitalist class! Once you join our party, as part of your Trotskyist education you will learn how to “hear” what politicians do NOT say as well as you hear what they DO say!

The history of the workers revolutions of the 20th century also show us that the revolutionary forces of the working class are most effective when they are concentrated into as few a number of organizations as possible – especially during the revolutionary overthrow itself. The same effect is seen on the capitalist side in a time of revolution: all the pro-capitalist parties suddenly jettison their “democratic” masks and appear as an armed unified military force against the rising working class. Only an extremely well-organized revolutionary workers party can stand up to such a force: the Leninist Vanguard parties in the tiny countries of North Korea and Vietnam lost 3 MILLION workers – EACH! during their revolutionary struggles – and were still able to emerge victorious over the forces of the most powerful, ruthless and bloodthirsty capitalist class in the world: the US capitalist class! THAT is the kind of solid and resilient organization necessary; there’s nothing at all “spontaneous” about the organization of a successful workers revolution! So you can see that we are not making things up when we say that the need for the workers of the USA to immediately begin the process of the creation of such a party is the single most important task that lies ahead of you and your fellow workers!

In so far as the anti-Trump rally WAS “organized”, it was done by groups – like “Black Lives Matter” and “BYP100” – whose leadership is intensely loyal to the racist, anti-immigrant Democratic Party. These “leaders” to put it simply, have absolutely NO INTENTION of ever leading a revolutionary socialist vanguard party to overthrow capitalism, because they are PRO-CAPITALIST and believe that racism can be successfully fought via legal reforms. The problem with their theory is that people have been trying to fight racism in the USA “through the system” for 300 years; and though major gains have been made that way, the pace of reform remains excruciatingly slow and prone to periodic backsliding. Martin Luther King would be very dismayed at seeing that his Democratic Party is still leading racist police forces all over the USA that are gunning down people of color as if they were dogs. The reformists leading “Black Lives Matter” and other reformist anti-police brutality organizations who wish merely to “settle” for incremental reforms are telling you that they are “OK” with an occasional racist atrocity carried out by the police. Are YOU “OK” with that? WE AREN’T!

None of the single-issue reformist organizations “fighting” police brutality in the US are actively opposed to the future existence of the capitalist system which CREATES AND ENFORCES the racist status quo in the first place! What good is a doctor that prescribes mere pain killers for a dying patient when the CURE for the disease exists and is readily available? Any political “prescription” for fighting racism that does not include the overthrow of the capitalist system is a “prescription” for a life filled with pain and agony, followed, perhaps by death at the hands of the fascists! We oppose such doctors and their prescriptions! We don’t want to keep the racist capitalist system alive for even one more day, because we KNOW what that will mean: MORE DEAD BLACK AND HISPANIC YOUTHS SHOT DOWN ON OUR STREETS BY THE RACIST KILLER KOPS OF KAPITALISM! Go ahead and call us “unreasonable” and “extreme”! We will not compromise where the very lives of our working class sisters and brothers are at stake!

So if you would like to actually “cure” racism once and for all but putting a stop to the capitalist system that spawns it instead of keeping racism and capitalism alive so they can kill again and again, you should contact us! Check us out and give serious consideration to becoming a revolutionary Trotskyist worker-leader. We’re ready when you are; until you make this decision nothing will change.

Workers of the World, Unite!

IWPCHI

How a Former “Stupid Worker-sheep” (the author) Became a Revolutionary Socialist Worker

US Household Debt to GDP, 1952-2015. Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Household Debt to GDP, 1952-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

We expect to receive quite a bit of criticism for our recent article’s characterization – honest and, we believe, truthful as it is – of the US working class as an enormous herd of stupid-ass wage-slaves. Yet we strongly believe that there is really no other way to describe this cowardly U.S. herd of worker-sheep, 200 million weak, that has allowed one of the most despotic and murderous ruling classes in the history of the world to rule over them, shearing them at will, while simultaneously robbing, torturing and murdering the rest of the human race.

We must point out that we always admit that – apart from those of us in the Trotskyist movement (and the revolutionary socialist movement in general) who were lucky enough to have had parents who were themselves revolutionary workers – all of us were dumbass wage-slaves in our political youth. That includes the writer of this article! No worker who was not born into a family of revolutionary socialists can be said to have been a revolutionary from day one. And all of us who were not “red-diaper babies” started off as dumb wage-slaves, but at some point in our lives, we either realized or had some revolutionary socialist point out to us just how goddamned ignorant and stupid we were. Unlike the herds of worker sheep, we decided that we did not want to remain an ignorant worker-sheep, we wanted an education in the history of the long struggle of our worker-ancestors to free our class from the chains of exploitation.

US Personal Income, 1959-2015. Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Personal Income, 1959-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

Wisdom begins when a person first acknowledges his or her own vast ignorance and then determines to do all she or he can to eradicate that condition through a determined study of history, science, and politics. No one can even begin to become wise until he or she admits honestly to themselves just how ignorant they truly are. Ignorance, fortunately, is 100% curable through education. This is why we take the time to write articles about modern revolutionary socialism – Trotskyism. We have tremendous faith in the potential of the now-slavish US working class to snap itself out of its self-imposed state of apathy and ignorance, throw off its chains of servitude and begin to tread the road to becoming revolutionary socialist worker-heroes. If we didn’t believe that this transformation was possible, we wouldn’t be Trotskyists.

Communist revolutionaries do not come down to Earth in spaceships or miraculously descend from heaven riding rainbow-colored unicorns. We were – most of us – born to working-class parents who worked all their lives as stupid wage-slaves, inculcating in us faith in the capitalist system and the phony democracy of the United States. We, like you, were brainwashed to salute the flag, say the Pledge of Allegiance and respect the police and the government as our protectors – all the bullshit that is driven into the skulls of the children in every capitalist nation-state by every wage-slave parent in the capitalist world.

US Wage and Salary Growth, 1960-2015 Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Wage and Salary “Growth”, 1960-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

Going into high school we were completely ignorant of even the simple fact that we lived in a capitalist world! We knew nothing of what capitalism was, and had no idea that we were members of a “working class” fated to spend our lives as wage-slaves working to make a tiny, ruling capitalist class wealthier every hour we worked. No one is more stupid than we were in those days; no one more ignorant. But having never met a revolutionary socialist worker, how could we have been anything but stupid?

It wasn’t until we started meeting well-educated professionals of the middle class – college professors at Harvard Business School; physicists who worked on the Manhattan Project, for example, and well-educated communist youth our own age – that we came to fully realize how bad our own public-school education was compared to what these people had experienced. They knew all about subjects of vital importance to the survival of the human race of which we knew almost nothing! It was only then, by realizing how very dumb WE were that we were able to begin our lifelong effort to remove what we now realized was our own shameful and embarassing state of ignorance. That sudden self-consciousness of our own vast ignorance was our first step on the road to enlightenment; our education has never ceased from that day to this and it never will. No matter how hard we work, no matter how much we read, we will never know everything there is to know about the world. That acute consciousness of our own ignorance continually impels us to keep studying and working to obtain an education comprehensive enough to be of value to you, our working-class sisters and brothers, in the struggle to free us all from the horrors of the capitalist system: its endemic poverty, homelessness, racism and endless war that profits the few at the expense of billions of workers.

US Personal Savings Rate, 1959-2015 Source: TradingEconomics.com

US Personal Savings Rate, 1959-2015.   Source: TradingEconomics.com

The political and economic system which we all live under here in the US – capitalist bourgeois democracy – can best be described as a perfected system for robbing the huge US working class blind for the benefit of the tiny US capitalist class. We came to this understanding through the study of Marxism, which alone teaches workers not only that they can fight successfuly against this brutal wage-slavery system, but can overthrow it and replace it with a far more fair and democratic society under a scientifically planned socialist economy.

Wage-slaves who have never studied Marxism spend their entire lives fighting to survive in a world they only dimly understand. Economic crises leading to unemployment, wars, crime – all these things seem to them to be acts of a cruel fate that no one understands and that no one has – or can have – control over. But the ruling capitalist class has been taught to think differently, because they and their families have been, in most cases, the power behind the US presidency since the end of the American Revolution. The capitalist ruling class IS largely in control of their own fate and have learned precisely what they have to do, through centuries of trial and error, to keep the worker-sheep just barely happy enough to not rise up in revolt against their systematic exploitation by the capitalists. By carefully mis-educating “their” worker-sheep through the school system and mass media, the capitalist class teaches their victims to believe that the capitalist system is “the best of all possible worlds” and that resistance to it is futile.

The communists on the other hand, teach us the opposite: that capitalism is a fundamentally exploitative system designed to continually rob the workers from cradle to grave for the benefit of – in the case of the “egalitarian” USA – 3% of the population. Capitalism is NOT “the best of all possible worlds” – it is merely the latest stage of development in the long history of class struggle between workers and their exploiters. The communists point out the absurdity of the capitalists lie that they preside over a democracy. What kind of democracy is it that diverts 90% of the nation’s wealth to just 10% of the citizenry and forces what the capitalist class so charmingly calls “the bottom 90%” to divide among themselves a mere 25% of the national wealth? There is absolutely nothing even remotely “democratic” about such a system!

When we were still stupid wage-slaves, the Trotskyists confronted us with the fact that the world was on the brink of a nuclear WWIII. If this war was to occur it was possible, the “commies” told us, that the global destruction of the nation states of the world would be so comprehensive that the human race would be driven back into the stone age! Understandably, this got even our attention; and when we began to look into the issue we found that not only were the “reds” telling us the truth, but we found that the Pentagon believed that it could “win” a nuclear war! On a radio station one day we heard an interview with the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The interviewer, discussing the Reagan Administration’s belligerent talk about military confrontation with the USSR, made the then-common remark to him that “of course, nuclear war is unthinkable”. The general replied: “I get paid to think otherwise”. This made a deep impression; up to that point we had been taught to believe that our wise political and military leaders would NEVER dream of leading us into a nuclear war. It was subsequently revealed that US military planners during the Reagan era believed that the US could “bounce back” from a full-scale nuclear war with the USSR so long as no more than around 60% of the US population was killed! This information led to the realization that it was literally a matter of life and death to start studying world politics as soon as possible. This kind of “revelation” – so plentiful in those years of Reaganite insanity is what spurred on our transition from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary socialist workers.

The transition we experienced from stupid wage-slaves to revolutionary workers was on the level of the famous scene in “Wizard of Oz” where the film changes from black and white to Technicolor. Suddenly we were made aware of our working class place in the world; that having been born into working-class families we were literally born one one side of a class line; on the other side of that line were the greedy, tiny capitalist class and their cops, courts, jails, news media and military, prepared to break us down as soon as we were old enough to enter the workforce from rebellious youth to obedient worker-sheep. The study of Marxist dialectics provided us with the tools we needed to analyze the world we lived in and to measure, quite accurately, the class orientation of any political party or carefully disguised messages in capitalist propaganda; it enabled us to see clearly who were the true allies of the working class and who were our mortal enemies. That Marxist toobox we were given by our revolutionary socialist teachers alone is a gift so powerful that we would not part with it for anything; it cuts through all the capitalists’ bullshit that constantly baffles, confuses and misleads every worker-sheep who believes he or she has no “need” for Marxism. Without Marxism a worker-sheep is just a lamb unknowingly making a journey through the slaughterhouse of capitalism.

Marxism is not a philosophy based on lies; it is a philosophy based on political science in which the “science” part is taken very seriously. Marxism is based on a careful study of the long history of the struggles of the workers and peasants of the world to free themselves of a system of slavery and exploitation. Marxism, you are told – by the capitalists who hate it because it would take away their money and power and give it to you – is a load of lies and propaganda. In fact the opposite is true; revolutionary Marxism is the honest study of how the working class can free itself from a future of racism, war, exploitation and misery at the hands of the capitalist class and its state. The most honest people who ever lived were the best Marxist theoreticians: Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky; yet the capitalists tell you that their writings are full of lies and deceit. In fact, we can confidently tell you in all honesty that you will search in vain in the writings of Marx, Engels Lenin and Trotsky for any hint of an attempt to decieve the workers. Their chief principle was: “NEVER LIE TO THE WORKERS”. They kept that promise; after 30 years of reading their works we have been unable to find even one instance of them ever consciously attempting to “trick” or lie to anyone. There is absolutely nothing for you to fear from studying the works of these great working-class leaders; neglecting to read their most important works robs you of any chance you have of ever fully understanding the world you live in.

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

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

Ignorance may be bliss; but its results are anything but blissful. To blindly fight against forces you don’t understand; to count your mortal enemies (like the police, or the Democrats) as your friends; to believe the lies taught to you by those who are systematically robbing you; this is the fate of the uneducated worker-sheep who thinks that Marxism is a waste of his or her time. An ignorant worker-sheep won’t even know how fucked it is until it is in the slaughterhouse chute heading towards the capitalist at the end of the line wielding a stun gun and a razor-sharp knife.

Until we came to realize how ignorant we were and took steps to do something to cure our ignorance we remained stupid wage-slaves. You will not obtain a revolutionary Marxist education by watching the entertainment products produced by your capitalist masters which are designed to confuse and mislead you. You will not find trustworthy political leaders in the parties that are owned and operated by your capitalist masters, either. If you want to know how to avoid your inevitable date with the capitalist with the stun gun and knife, young sheep, you have only one way to go: start studying revolutionary Marxism today! It will open your eyes to the reality of the life of a worker-sheep in a capitalist nation-state. The writings of the great revolutionary Marxists are some of the greatest achievements of human thought ever produced, and we’re not just saying that because we’re socialists; these were brilliant men and women who dedicated their lives to fighting for the rights of the working class. Their writings are of such inestimable valuable to any worker who wants to not just understand the world but to change it for the better that it is impossible to exaggerate their worth.

How ignorant is the average worker-sheep of the USA? So ignorant that the vast majority don’t even consider themselves to be members of the “working class”; they all think that because they have signed up to be whores for a banker-pimp through the mortgage loans they’ve taken on, that makes them “middle class”! They think that the police are here to “serve and protect” the worker-sheep! They think that the capitalist state is a “neutral arbiter” of disputes between the worker-sheep and the capitalists with sledgehammers! They think that the Democratic or Republican parties – both of which are owned and operated by the capitalist class – are their political allies! They think that they “don’t need” to create a true working class party to represent them at the local, state, and national level – the parties bought-and-paid-for by their capitalist enemies are good enough for them! They think that the US military is “defending” them by murdering their working-class brothers and sisters all over the world! THAT’S how dumb the average US worker-sheep is! The revolutionary socialist workers – thanks to their Marxist education – KNOW all of these things are monstrous lies.

Only a truly stupid person would choose for themselves and their children lives as “worker-sheep” instead of a life as a revolutionary socialist worker who fights to free the working class from a life of wage-slavery. That is what we mean when we say that there are two kinds of workers in the world: stupid worker-sheep and revolutionary socialist workers. Which do you want to be?

US Corporate Profits, 1950-2015 Source:TradingEconomics.com

US Corporate Profits, 1950-2015.   Source:TradingEconomics.com

Here is a short list of articles and pamphlets by some of the greatest working-class leaders in world history that you NEED to read if you want to no longer count yourself among the ignorant and/or stupid wage-slave worker-sheep.

Don’t be embarassed if you have to read this stuff a couple of times before you “get it”. This is so far from the lying capitalist propaganda you’ve been accustomed to reading that it may prove to be difficult to fully grasp the first time around. We’ve read these things multiple times and have found that we learn some new detail every time we re-read them. Revolutionary Marxism is a scientific discipline which, like all scientific disciplines, requires study; it’s a combination of work and pleasure. It’s thoroughly rational but, like algebra or physics, it’s not “common sense”; some of it is quite counter-intuitive. A determined slow-to-average reader can read all of these pamphlets, at their leisure, in no more than a couple of weeks. These links will take you to the Marxists.org website where you can read them all – for free!

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto

Leon Trotsky:  Ninety Years of the Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx:   Value, Price and Profit

Vladimir Lenin:  The State

Lenin:  The State and Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg:  Reform or Revolution

Engels:  The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State