Tag Archives: revolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

—IWPCHI

Unions Organize “Get Out the Vote” Campaigns for Racist, Union-hating Democratic Party Owned and Operated by the Capitalist Class

US union membership as pct of total employed 1983-2013 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Three decades of failure: This is what pro-capitalist AFL-CIO’s support for the Democrats has done for the US working class.  US union membership as pct of total employed 1983-2013 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In the run-up to the elections this November we are seeing more and more Tweets from US trade unions urging workers to “get out the vote” and desperately explaining to their members how critically important it is to support the Democratic Party – the “party of Labor” – or else the Republicans will control Congress and then… what, exactly?

As part of the revolutionary socialist Trotskyist movement we understand that the way to determine whether or not a political party supports or opposes the class interests of the workers is to examine the leadership and program of that party to see which side of the class line that organization lives on.  In the case of the Democratic Party, it’s an easy call: the Democrats are every bit as pro-business and anti-worker as the Republicans.  They actively seek – and receive – the financial support of major US corporations, banks and Wall St. speculators just as the Republicans do.   Pro-Democrat liberal author Gore Vidal described the US political system as a one-party system with two right wings, which is exactly the case.  Both political parties are owned and operated by the same filthy rich members of the US capitalist class, who hedge their investments in politics by purchasing all the politicians from both parties.  What the working class needs in order to effectively operate politically in a capitalist nation state like the US is to have its very own independent party of the working class – financed and led by working class leaders who refuse to take money or accept favors of any kind from the capitalist class.  Of course, this is precisely what the US capitalist class and their political gangsters in the Democratic and Republican parties have always literally killed in order to keep from happening.  What most workers don’t understand is that the so-called leaders of the US trade union movement, the vast majority of whom are themselves pro-capitalist and in the pay of the capitalist class one way or another, have absolutely no intention of ever allowing “their” workers to form a working class political party separate from the Democratic Party.  That is why so many unions have special clauses in their bylaws that specifically ban communists and those who call for the overthrow of the capitalist system from union membership.  You can be a Nazi and be in the union; you can be a Klan member; but you can’t be a commie!  That’s because neither the Klan or the Nazis represent a threat to the class rule of the capitalist class; only the communists do.

By now, any typically brainwashed pro-Democrat worker is probably thinking: “ah, that’s just the same old garbage the commies have always spouted!  Where’s the proof?”  They and you have never seen it, because the pro-capitalist news media – also controlled by the capitalist class – as well as your own union leaders keep this information hidden from you so that they can get you to vote for and continue to profit from the very same capitalist system that forces each and every member of the US working class to remain a loyal, flag-waving debt- and wage-slave.

Who really owns and runs the Democratic Party: the working class or the capitalist class?  Do the leaders of the Democratic Party derive their key support from you, the workers manning their phone banks or do they derive it from the 1% who own most of the wealth in the US and who systematically rob you blind at work, school and everywhere you go?  We’ll get to that shortly – but first here’s a bit of the history of the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has for decades been trying to shed its rather recently and quite falsely acquired liberal, pro-worker image and to replace it with a more vicious pro-business program so as to successfully compete for national offices against the Republicans.  The idea that the Democratic Party is a “friend of labor” has always been a lie – the Democratic Party was in fact the party not of “labor” but of the slaveholding southern aristocracy that led the Confederate States of America.  After the slaveocracy lost the Civil War, they patched things up with the northern industrialists who led the Union forces against them and quickly led the fight to smash any attempt to allow the newly-freed slaves to attain equal rights with whites.  The men who became the leaders of the Democratic Party  during the short-lived Reconstruction era  were often Ku Klux Klan members or sympathisers who hailed and alibied the torture and murder of  thousands of men and women who had gone South after the war to attempt to build schools and social service organizations to help the emancipated slaves take their rightful place in the political and social life of the nation.  The “Ku Klux Conspiracy” as it was called by the Radical Republican-led Reconstruction Congress that investigated it was a widespread conspiracy of pro-Confederacy southerners (Democrats) who drove freed blacks back into conditions of life just as brutally oppressive as had existed under slavery  – the Jim Crow system.

After the Civil War black workers began to participate for the first time in the political life of the nation – not as Democrats but as Republicans.  Until the late 1930s when the tepidly pro-labor New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt was promulgated – solely in order to prevent the rapidly growing, communist-led Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) unions from leading a workers revolution – you couldn’t hardly find a black Democrat in the United States!  The massive union organizing drive of the 1930s, often led by communists, caused the populist northern leaders of the Democratic Party to shift rapidly to the left in order to keep their positions as leaders of the political machines in cities like Chicago, New York and Boston; but they never stopped trying to crush the workers movement.

In 1938 leading Democrats in Congress formed the Dies Committee.  This cabal of red-baiting, worker-hating servants of the capitalist class originally pretended that it would “democratically” hunt down “extremists” of all kinds – reds, Nazis and Klansmen.  But it was run by two virulently racist Dixiecrats  – one from Texas (Congressman Martin Dies, Jr.) and one from Mississippi (Congressman John E. Rankin) – who quickly decided that it wasn’t necessary to go after the Klan after all because, as Rankin later put it: ” “the KKK is an old American institution.”

Having grudgingly tolerated the existence of communist-led unions during WWII when those unions were enforcing a no-strike pledge in the vital (and hugely profitable) war industries, as soon as  the war was brought to a close by Democrat Harry Truman’s repulsive and militarily unnecessary use of the A-bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these Democratic Party political swindlers undertook to drive the communists out of the unions, eviscerating their militant leadership (this is a major reason why trade union membership peaked as a percentage of the total US working class around 1948).  Changing the name of the Dies Committee to the  “House Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC), a series of bipartisan anti-communist witchhunts were organized.  This committee, too, was loaded with “pro-labor” Dixiecrats and northern Democrats.  Between 1945 and 1963 when HUAC was most active, 4 out of 5 of its chairmen were Democrats.

Need more information about the fake pro-labor history of the Democrats?  Infamous and widely-hated Wisconsin Republican  Joseph McCarthy, who led a parallel Senate anti-communist witch-hunting committee called the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), found powerful support for his activities among many US Catholics – including an up-and-coming Massachusetts family:

From Wikipedia: “McCarthy established a bond with the powerful Kennedy family, which had high visibility among Catholics. McCarthy became a close friend of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., himself a fervent anti-Communist, and was a frequent guest at the Kennedy compound […] He dated two of Kennedy’s daughters […] and was godfather to Robert F. Kennedy’s first child, Kathleen […] John F. Kennedy, who served in the Senate with McCarthy from 1953 until the latter’s death in 1957, never attacked McCarthy […] When a speaker at a February 1952 Final club dinner stated that he was glad McCarthy had not attended Harvard […] an angry [JFK]  jumped up, denounced the speaker, and left the event.”

Liberal demigod and arch-anticommunist Robert F. Kennedy infamously attacked major trade unions as being “gangster controlled” throughout the late 50s (as chief counsel for McCarthy’s PSI) and early ’60s (as his brother John’s Attorney General), leading attacks especially against the Teamsters union headed at the time by Jimmy Hoffa.  So much for the history of the “pro-labor” Democrats!

Who owns and operates the Democratic Party Today?

Far from being a “party of labor” today’s Democratic Party is more and more nakedly seeking to drive the liberals and pro-union forces out of the party and replace them and their money with cold, hard cash direct from the top capitalists – the one-percenters.

This isn’t something new.   In an article written in 2001 for “The American Prospect” entitled  “How the DLC Does It”,  Robert Dreyfuss exposed the phoniness of the Democratic Party’s pretense of being “the party of labor” by exposing the true nature of what were then called “the Democratic Leadership Council”:

“Freeing Democrats from being, well, Democrats has been the Democratic Leadership Council’s mission since its founding 16 years ago by Al Gore, Chuck Robb, and a handful of other conservative, mostly southern Dems as a rump faction of disaffected elected officials and party activists. Producing and directing the DLC is Al From, its founder and CEO, who’s been the leader, visionary, and energizing force behind the New Democrat movement since Day One. A veteran of the Carter White House and Capitol Hill, where he’d worked for Louisiana Representative Gillis Long and served as executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, From helped build the Committee on Party Effectiveness, a forerunner of the DLC, in the early 1980s. To From, a key rationale for establishing the DLC in those days was to protect the Democrats’ eroding bastion in the South against mounting Republican gains, and indeed one of the DLC’s chief projects in the 1980s was to create and promote the Super Tuesday primary across the South, aimed at enhancing the clout of southern Dems in selecting presidential candidates.

“Privately funded and operating as an extraparty organization without official Democratic sanction, and calling themselves ‘New Democrats,’ the DLC sought nothing less than the miraculous: the transubstantiation of America’s oldest political party. Though the DLC painted itself using the palette of the liberal left–as ‘an effort to revive the Democratic Party’s progressive tradition,’ with New Democrats being the ‘trustees of the real tradition of the Democratic Party’–its mission was far more confrontational. With few resources, and taking heavy flak from the big guns of the Democratic left, the DLC proclaimed its intention, Mighty Mouse–style, to rescue the Democratic Party from the influence of 1960s-era activists and the AFL-CIO, to ease its identification with hot-button social issues, and, perhaps most centrally, to reinvent the party as one pledged to fiscal restraint, less government, and a probusiness, pro–free market outlook.

“It’s hard to argue that they haven’t succeeded.”

Dreyfuss goes on to describe how the DLC worked for Bill Clinton by convincing corporate America that the era of “New Deal Democrats” was over:

“[T]he DLC message of pro-market moderation is just what organized business wants to hear. From its modest beginnings–with a start-up budget of just $400,000 in its first year, cobbled together at fundraisers starring Robb, former President Jimmy Carter, and K Street Democratic eminence Bob Strauss–the DLC patiently cultivated wealthy individuals and corporate backers. By 1990 the combined DLC-PPI operation boasted revenues of $2.2 million, a big chunk of which came from a single source, New York hedge fund operator Michael Steinhardt, who pledged $500,000 a year for three years […]

“One by one, Fortune 500 corporate backers saw the DLC as a good investment. By 1990 major firms like AT&T and Philip Morris were important donors. Indeed, according to Reinventing Democrats, Kenneth S. Baer’s history of the DLC, Al From used the organization’s fundraising prowess as blandishment to attract an ambitious young Arkansas governor to replace Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia as DLC chairman. Drawing heavily on internal memos written by From, Bruce Reed, and other DLCers, Baer says that the DLC offered Clinton not only a national platform for his presidential aspirations but ‘entree into the Washington and New York fundraising communities.’  Early in the 1992 primaries, writes Baer, ‘financially, Clinton’s key Wall Street support was almost exclusively DLC-based,’ especially at firms like New York’s Goldman, Sachs.

“The DLC’s investment in Clinton paid off, of course, after the 1992 election. Not only did the DLC bask in its status as idea factory and influence broker for the White House, but it also reaped immediate financial rewards. One month after the election, Clinton headlined a fundraising dinner for the DLC that drew 2,200 to Washington’s Union Station, where tables went for $15,000 apiece. Corporate officials and lobbyists were lined up to meet the new White House occupant, including 139 trade associations, law firms, and companies who kicked in more than $2 million, for a total of $3.3 million raised in a single evening. The DLC-PPI’s revenues climbed steadily upward, reaching $5 million in 1996 and, according to its most recent available tax returns, $6.3 million for 1999. ‘Our revenues for 2000 will probably end up around $7.2 million,’ says Chuck Alston, the DLC’s executive director.”

 

Today, of course, the Democratic Party’s fundraising from corporate donors far exceeds these paltry numbers.

Want some more proof that the Democratic Party is not the “party of labor”?  OK, check out this more recent analysis of today’s Democratic Party from four years ago:

“As Congress entered the final weeks of its struggle to overhaul regulation of Wall Street in May, several hundred friends and colleagues slipped out of Washington for a private weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Most were lobbyists for large banks, pharmaceutical firms, insurance companies, and big-ticket trade groups. However, 28 were members of Congress, and 29 were legislative staffers, all part of a coalition of House Democrats with a business-friendly agenda.

“The retreat was held in honor of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 69 lawmakers whose close relationship with several hundred Washington lobbyists has made their organization one of the most successful political money machines since the Republican K Street Project collapsed in 2007. In the past year and a half, New Democrats have pulled in more than $18 million in campaign contributions from their lobbyist fundraising network. The lobbyists, in turn, have mingled with lawmakers and their staffers at least 850 times during fundraising events and informal get-togethers.

“When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 they promised to usher in a new era that would end the excesses of what they labeled a Republican ‘culture of corruption.’ One of their prime targets was the K Street Project, in which the Republican congressional leadership placed political operatives in lobbying jobs so they could direct money from big business to GOP campaigns in exchange for access to lawmakers for their clients. The project collapsed after Democrats assumed power and several Republican congressmen, staffers, and lobbyists were convicted on corruption charges.

[…]

“Today, however, many of the same techniques and tactics that formed the basis of the K Street Project are still in use, this time by Democrats.”

[Source: ProPublica, “The New Democrats: The Coalition Pharma and Wall Street Love” by Sebastian Jones and Marcus Stern, 25 October 2010]

The article helpfully offered readers such multimedia features as  “Is Your Member of Congress a New Democrat?”  and  “Inside the New Democrats’ $18 Million Fundraising Network” (which now sadly returns a 500 error).

Need something more recent?  No problem!  Vice News has this, published just last May:

“Looking for the fight over the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in the waning days of the Obama administration? Next Tuesday morning, take the elevator to the eighth floor of a downtown Washington, DC, building and step into the offices of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), the premier lobbying group for some of the largest fracking companies in the world.

“While much of the talk about a progressive revival revolves around populist figures like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Elizabeth Warren, there are other, better funded efforts afoot. Corporate titans from finance to natural gas to big retail to telecom are attempting to steer the party, and as the midterms shape up, these interests are pushing to ensure they continue to have wide sway over America’s only viable outlet for center-left expression at the polls. Which brings us to the latest venture in corporate-centered party-building and the group hosting a chat in ANGA’s headquarters: The NewDEAL.

[…]

“This NewDEAL has little in common with President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal platform, which pledged to save capitalism from itself by cracking down on predatory banking institutions and restoring workplace rights for Americans. No, this NewDEAL is a 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy nonprofit, a tax vehicle which allows campaign activity without disclosure of donors, and its name is an acronym for ‘Developing Exceptional American Leaders.’

“The group, touted as a platform to ‘highlight rising pro-business progressives,’ is led by Democrats who have made a name for themselves by bucking the populist trend. They include NewDeal co-chair Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, whose zeal for the charterization of public schools and love of Wall Street makes him indistinguishable from many across the aisle. The other co-chair, Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado, has staked a position in his state’s energy wars as a staunch defender of drillers.

“VICE has obtained a ‘supporter list’ showing donors of the NewDEAL, which reads like a who’s who of corporations seeking government access: Comcast, Fluor, Merck, Microsoft, New York Life, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Verizon, Wal-Mart, the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, among others, including, of course, the host of Tuesday’s event, ANGA.”

[Source: Vice News, “The Democratic Party’s Future is Awash in Dark Money”  by Lee Fang, 16 May 2014]   Sadly, Vice did not decide to share that ‘supporter list’ with their readers.

Wow!  Bet those AFL-CIO “get out the vote” organizers didn’t tell you that the “party of labor” was taking big bucks from Wal-Mart!  Say it ain’t so, ghost of Joe McCarthy!

Working class people hustling votes for the Democrats reminds us of the slaves who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War: a tragic reminder of what happens in the absence of revolutionary leadership of the kind that can be found not among the pro-capitalist misleaders of today’s AFL-CIO trade unions but among the ranks of the revolutionary Trotskyist movement.   This is because it is a fact that revolutionary consciousness does not arise spontaneously in the minds of the working class – it has to be brought from without by professional revolutionaries schooled in the history and art of revolutionary theory and tactics, just as workers can’t come to comprehend  advanced physics just by sitting around watching apples fall out of trees:

“The history of all countries shows that the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labor legislation, etc. The theory of socialism […] grew out of the philosophic, historical, and economic theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, by intellectuals. By their social status the founders of modern scientific socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose altogether independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement; it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of thought among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia […]  [T]here can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement. This does not mean, of course, that the workers have no part in creating such an ideology. They take part, however, not as workers, but as socialist theoreticians […]; in other words, they take part only when they are able, and to the extent that they are able, more or less, to acquire the knowledge of their age and develop that knowledge. But in order that working men may succeed in this more often, every effort must be made to raise the level of the consciousness of the workers in general; it is necessary that the workers do not confine themselves to the artificially restricted limits of ‘literature for workers’ but that they learn to an increasing degree to master general literature. It would be even truer to say ‘are not confined’, instead of ‘do not confine themselves’, because the workers themselves wish to read and do read all that is written for the intelligentsia, and only a few (bad) intellectuals believe that it is enough ‘for workers’ to be told a few things about factory conditions and to have repeated to them over and over again what has long been known.   [T]he only choice is — either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology […]  Without a strong organization skilled in waging political struggle under all circumstances and at all times, there can be no question of that systematic plan of action, illumined by firm principles and steadfastly carried out, which alone is worthy of the name of [revolutionary socialist – IWPCHI] tactics”.

[Source:  Lenin, “What is to be Done?” Emphasis in original]

In short: in order to lead the fight for workers rights the working class needs its own party, a revolutionary workers party that fights intransigently for the objective of a post-capitalist socialist workers government.  The Democratic Party is not a “party of labor” – it is a CAPITALIST party dedicated to the cause of sweet-talking the workers into accepting concessions acceptable to their capitalist masters rather than fighting for the overthrow of the capitalist class,  their wholly-owned subsidiary the Democratic Party and the entire capitalist economic system!  It should be obvious to even a dog that any support given by any working woman or man to the Democratic Party is a betrayal of the working class and a gift to the capitalists, who will return the favor back-handedly: with more exploitation, more unemployment, more war and the resulting destruction of our working-class sisters and brothers and eventually the entire planet.  Stop knocking on those doors for the benefit of those who rob you every day!  Stop calling up your fellow wage-slaves and urging them to vote for the paid lackeys of your common slavemasters!  Break forever with the capitalist class and the Democratic Party!  Break away from the capitalist system once and for all and take off your chains and start fighting for your rights as workers!  Stop supporting the mass murder of your brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Gaza and all over the world!  WAKE UP, FELLOW WORKERS AND UNITE AGAINST OUR COMMON ENEMY: THE CAPITALIST CLASS, THEIR POLITICIANS AND THEIR “LABOR LIEUTENANTS”!  FREE YOURSELVES FROM WAGE AND DEBT SLAVERY!

IWPCHI

Fake “Radical Socialist” Syriza Coalition Wants to Keep Euro

In a new article by the Reuters news agency, it is being reported that Alex Tsipras, leader of the “radical socialist” Syriza coalition, is determined to keep Greece in the Euro, while pleading that the extent of the austerity program demanded by the European Central Bank by lessened somewhat, while the “leadership” of SYRIZA look forward to attaining ministerial portfolios in a capitalist government after the new elections scheduled for June.  This, if true, would indicate quite clearly that SYRIZA, far from being any kind of “revolutionary” movement seeking to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a workers government is in fact ready to shove a reduced austerity program down the throats of the Greek working class.  This would be a betrayal of the Greek workers of the highest order.  Only the overthrow of the capitalist system by the Greek working class and the establishment of a revolutionary workers government can lead the way forward out of the severe capitalist economic crisis for Greece – and the rest of the world as well.

While European and Greek bankers issue dire threats to the SYRIZA leaders, claiming that if the brutal austerity program being forced upon Greece by the ECB isn’t imposed by SYRIZA, the sky will fall and the seas will dry up, in fact refusing to do the dirty work of bailing out the capitalist class by destroying the lives of Greek workers should never be an option for any political party representing the interests of the working class. 

Reuters reports: “Government officials have warned that Greece could run out of cash as early as the end of June if it does not have a government in place to negotiate the next aid tranche with its lenders.

” ‘The country is up in the air,’ financial daily Imerisia wrote on its front page, warning in an editorial: ‘The country is moving to the brink of collapse and hopes for restoring the political stability are fading away.’ ” 

Bullshit!  Sure, the bankers and Greek capitalists who created this economic crisis will lose a lot of money if the austerity program is kicked into the trash by the Greek working class – but only such a move – followed by a workers revolution – can save the working class of Greece from years of suffering and deprivation at the hands of the greedheads running the ECB.

Reuters: “The anti-bailout vote was divided among small parties but has now rallied behind Tsipras. Polls show he would now place first if the vote is repeated, a prize that comes with a bonus of 50 extra seats in the 300-seat parliament.

“Tsipras has consistently refused to join a coalition government with the establishment conservative and socialist parties that ruled Greece for decades, but were punished by voters last week for their role in agreeing the EU rescue, which requires deep cuts in wages and pensions.

“Tsipras says he wants to keep Greece in the euro but the bailout deal must be torn up, a position shared by an overwhelming majority of Greeks but regarded by many in Brussels as untenable. European leaders say tearing up the bailout would require them to cut off funding, allow Greece to go bankrupt and eject it from the European single currency.”

“Tearing up” the bailout deal sounds “radical”… but the “devil is in the details” as we say.  If Tsipras truly places keeping Greece in the Euro, then he intends to try to negotiate a deal with the ECB on the austerity plan – a deal that would make it look to the Greek workers as if he has “saved” Greece from the most severe aspects of the austerity ripoff, while giving the European bankers most of what they have demanded.  This is a classic sellout by fake-socialists who value acquiring their own ministerial portfolios in a capitalist government over leading the workers in an actual revolution.  Like the infamous attempted sellout of the Russian workers by the Menshevik Party in 1917, which betrayed the working class of Russia into the hands of the capitalists – a betrayal thwarted by the Bolsheviks, who led the world’s first successful workers revolution when the working class dumped the Mensheviks in favor of the revolutionary program of the Bolsheviks, SYRIZA is seeking a way to show the Greek capitalist class that SYRIZA can be trusted as “responsible” political leaders who will do all they can to save the disintegrating world capitalist system. 

Ominously, in the event that the Greek working-class parties prove incapable of providing truly revolutionary leadership to lead the way out of this crisis, there lurks the fascist “Golden Dawn” party – and the capitalist leadership of Greece – while perhaps, like the German ruling class back in the 1930s “holding their noses” – have begun discussions with the fascists as well.

“All seven political parties that won seats in last week’s election were given audiences with the president on Sunday, demonstrating the radical transformation that has taken place in just a week after generations of stable two-party rule.

“Among parties Papoulias was obliged to meet was the far right Golden Dawn, in parliament for the first time. Many Greeks watched in shock as the president, a revered 82-year-old veteran of the World War II anti-Nazi resistance, received the leader of a group whose members give Nazi-style salutes.

“Papoulias, shown on TV smiling with other leaders, was stony faced when seated opposite Golden Dawn’s Nikalaos Mihaloliakos. Journalists at the mansion sat on the ground in protest when Mihaloliakos entered and refused to ask questions when he left.”

This is the way the capitalist class “hedges its bets” in the event of an upsurge of working class militancy.  The capitalists always prepare to drown the workers movement in blood if the workers make a half-assed attempt at a revolution.  The way they do this is by using fascist shock troops to attack the working class parties.  Either the Greek working class creates a revolutionary party capable of smashing the fascist threat and seizes power in the name of the working class, or the workers will suffer a bloody defeat at the hands of the fascists – a defeat that may take many decades to reverse, while putting the nation through hell in the meantime, as the victory of Hitler’s stormtroopers led Germany – and the world – through hell from 1933 – 1945. 

Let’s hope that the Greek working class can prevent such a disaster from happening.  Is there a Bolshevik leadership in Greece today?  If so, let’s hope to see them taking their place at the head of the Greek working class as soon as possible.

Source: Reuters: “Greek elections loom after leftist rejects coalition talks”, By Lefteris Papadimas and Harry Papachristou

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/14/us-greece-idUSBRE84D07X20120514