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Why Socialism? Didn’t the Collapse of the USSR “Prove” that Socialism Can’t Work?

Why socialism? Didn’t the collapse of the Soviet Union prove that “socialism doesn’t work”?

Lots of people ask us “why socialism”? Haven’t the idea and the ideals of socialism been so corrupted by the crimes of Stalin and Mao and by the sterility and oppression of workers lives under the Stalinist or Maoist or the Juche-inspired North Korean regime as to be utterly discredited and useless as a practical and desirable political programme for any future society?

We’ve discussed this in bits and pieces on Twitter with a handful of individuals and groups of people but have never written anything that explains why we are for socialism and why we are so opposed to capitalism. This essay will attempt to explain where we’re coming from in a more comprehensive way.

We do not want to re-create the horrors of Stalinist Russia or Mao’s China!

First of all we want to make it completely clear that we do not worship or seek to reproduce the horrors of the Stalinist or Maoist or Kim Il-Sung-ist versions of “socialism” at all. This is not only because history shows that those regimes have been led by extremely repressive bureaucratic dictatorships but also because they have proven to lead not to the development of socialism but to a return to capitalism and the brutal capitalist exploitation of the working class. Stalinism and Maoism brutalize the working class into submission to the will of the bureaucracy and betray the workers by ultimately leading them inexorably backwards to the status of capitalist wage-slaves, which is the opposite of what they are supposed to do.

There is also no way that we can deny that – to say the least – the development of post-revolution socialist societies have not “gone according to plan” in the classical Marxist sense. However: it is clear to us that there are pretty obvious and compelling reasons why the Stalinist and Maoist-led revolutionary governments developed in the way that they did; reasons that we trace back to the incredibly oppressive regimes that they emerged from and from the fact that they had no ready-made template of how a socialist society must be built. The Stalinist and Maoist workers states were the first socialist governments that came into being, and they came into being under very difficult circumstances, emerging as they did from the horrible political and economic societies that preceded them. This does not absolve them of their crimes against the working class but it does place their development back into the historical context which pro-capitalist historians like to censor completely from their analysis of the development of the socialist movement. The reason why the pro-capitalist historians do this is obvious: their intention is not to simply tell the truth about how and why these regimes developed in the way that they did; their intention is to convince workers that socialism is a bad idea and that anyone who proposes a socialist alternative to the capitalist system must want to reproduce the horrors of the Stalinist gulags or the Maoist disaster of the Cultural Revolution. The capitalists want their historians to teach you that you live in “the best of all possible worlds” and that if workers try to overthrow the capitalist system you will wind up inevitably worse off than you are now. Basically they want you to believe that the human race has reached the highest possible stage of development possible and that the horrors of human misery we see all over the capitalist world are regrettable but, sadly, unavoidable. This is true: the horrors you see human beings suffering are unavoidable – so long as we stick with the capitalist system. This is the best they can do. We know – and the history of even the bureaucratically deformed workers states created by Mao and Stalin prove to us that socialism does work and it can be made to work way better once it is freed from the straitjacket of repressive and stifling Stalinist/Maoist leadership through a socialist workers political revolution.

Why did the revolutions in Russia and China turn out the way they did?

None of the revolutionary Marxists prior to 1917 expected that a revolutionary socialist workers state would emerge first in the most backward countries; they all believed that they would emerge first in the most advanced capitalist states like Great Britain, Germany or the USA. Instead, the chain of oppressive capitalist regimes broke at its weakest links – Russia and China. This now surprises no one in retrospect, but in 1917 it was quite a shock that the first successful workers revolution occurred not in a modern proletarian capitalist state with long traditions of relatively democratic rule but in Russia, of all places: a hideously backward country with absolutely no history of democratic rule, where the economy was about 80% peasant-based agriculture that functioned at the technical level of the 18th century. If it was possible for the revolutionary Marxists of the time to have been able to select a nation in which to attempt to create the first revolutionary socialist workers state, no one – and we mean absolutely no one! – would have selected Tsarist Russia as their first choice or even as one of their top ten choices. But that is what happened; and if we are to be honest in our analysis of any revolution we must analyze its development as it actually happened and not as we wish it had happened. This requires a lot of specialized study of original historical documents and periodicals that were produced by the leading revolutionaries and their political parties rather than the typically superficial survey of anti-communist “histories” written by pro-capitalist historians which you get if you study these revolutionary movements in pro-capitalist universities. Written history is not politically neutral at all; every historian of the socialist movement (including ourselves) has their own political bias for or against the ideals of the revolutionary socialist movement and the revolutions that were led by revolutionary socialist leaders and their parties. As workers you must decide if you think that it is better for 5% of the world’s population to own all the wealth and run the planet or if it would be better for the future of the world to be determined democratically by the vast majority of the world’s population: you, the workers. There is no tenable position to take in some imaginary middle ground between these two options.

We do not believe that there is any divine metaphysical force directing human destiny; but it is difficult not to get the feeling when studying the history of the Russian Revolution that in 1917 fate dealt the revolutionary socialist movement an extremely tough hand to play when it arranged that the most optimal conditions for the first socialist workers revolution in history would occur, of all places, in the ruins of Tsarist Russia. In our opinion it is proof of the incredible bravery and daring of what stands to this day as the greatest revolutionary socialist party that has yet existed – the Bolshevik Party, led by one of the most honest and brilliant men in human history, Lenin – that they dared to make the attempt to build socialism under what almost all historians agree were the most adverse conditions imaginable. That the Bolsheviks managed to succeed in so many ways despite having made some very serious and costly mistakes – especially in terms of human lives lost – is an enduring testimony to their determination to succeed in building socialism at any cost and to prove that firm foundations for a socialist society could be laid down even under the most adverse conditions. Lenin’s Bolsheviks achieved great successes at the cost of tremendous self-sacrifice among the Bolsheviks and their supporters: thousands of young and idealistic communist workers were slaughtered by the counterrevolutionary Tsarist armies that attempted to restore the monarchy after the revolution. On top of that, the birth pangs of this life-or-death struggle between the remnants of the overthrown Tsarist regime and the peasants and workers government led by the Bolsheviks led to the deaths of several million people. Just as in the American and French revolutions, millions of revolutionary workers and peasants were killed in the fighting to bring a new type of government into existence. And as in the American and French revolutions, the new Bolshevik revolutionary government made some serious errors that added to the human cost; there is no denying this fact. So if in spite of this we still honor and defend the Russian Revolution to this day it is not out of ignorance or because we deny that millions of human beings suffered and died perhaps needlessly due to the inevitable difficulties and struggles that always occur in every revolution – whether it is a bourgeois capitalist revolution like the American and French revolutions or a communist-led one like the Bolshevik revolution – what we must do – and what we as Trotskyists have been doing since the founding of our movement in the late 1920s – is to make a cold, hard, pro-working-class analysis of the reality of what was and was not achieved and what was and was not avoidable during this heroic attempt of the Bolsheviks to create a completely new, modern, democratic socialist workers government under extremely difficult conditions. We study the history of the development of the USSR in all its many-sided aspects both good and bad and draw our honest conclusions from there, regardless of whether or not it “makes the Bolsheviks look bad”. Only through hard work and truthful analysis made always with the historical interests of the working class in mind can we create an intelligent revolutionary socialist programme to create a much better development of human civilization than is possible under the present capitalist system. That is our one and only goal.

Trotskyists defended and still defend the gains of the Russian, Chinese and all the other socialist revolutions; we did not and do not defend everything done by Stalin, Mao, their ideological heirs or their respective repressive regimes.

In spite of the oppressive nature and pro-capitalist betrayals of the Maoist “capitalist roaders” in the so-called “Communist Party” of China, these numbers prove that planned socialist economies can work quite well compared to capitalist economies.

So what are our conclusions? First of all as Trotskyists we know as well as any of Stalin’s many victims what life was like under Stalinism. Members of Trotsky’s Left Opposition were among the first to stand up and vehemently oppose and then to be brutally crushed by the Stalinist bureaucratic apparatus; we have no illusions in respect to the true, monstrous nature of the Stalin regime. The development of Stalinist ideology has at its very foundations the abandonment of the fundamental revolutionary Marxist principle of adherence to revolutionary internationalism. The Stalinists, after having proven conclusively that they were incapable of leading the revolutionary Communist International (“Comintern”) which they inherited, to any successes (due to their undemocratic, bureaucratic schematism which they attempted with massive failure to apply in Germany, China and Spain) concluded, erroneously, that since the workers in other countries were incapable of overthrowing their respective capitalist states, they should abandon the Marxist/Leninist programme of revolutionary internationalism entirely. Instead, the Stalinists decided that the task ahead for the USSR was not to fight for workers revolutions worldwide but to retreat inside the borders of the USSR and to build “socialism in one country” – Russia. They set about to degrade the role of the Comintern from being a powerful engine of world-wide workers revolution to that of forcibly subordinating the communist parties all over the world to defend the right of the USSR to exist in its own limited political and economic sphere independent of the capitalist world. This thoroughly counterrevolutionary about-face led to a series of moves being taken by the Stalinists which ultimately led to the complete dismantling of the Comintern as a “peace offering” to the capitalist world. The Stalinists abandoned that prospect in favor of feathering their own nests and making “peace” with the capitalist world. They sought peace with the Nazis, and when that, too failed, the Stalinists sought to make peace with the “democratic West”: Communist parties around the world subordinated themselves to the “democratic” or “progressive” bourgeoisies of their respective capitalist nation-states and sought to become a nationalistic, reformist political parties just a shade to the left of the parties of the Second International. The Stalinists, in a manner very similar to that of the Second Internationalist political parties who abandoned Marxism to defend “their own” bourgeoisies in WWI, ordered the communist parties of the world to defend “their own” bourgeoisies in the global war to re-divide the world amongst the competing capitalist nation-states in WWII. After the war ended this series of betrayals of the Stalinists led ultimately to the “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude of the late-Stalinist regimes under Gorbachev (a parallel development can be seen in China under Mao with his disgusting rapprochement with the Nixon regime even as US bombs were raining down on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). The Maoists, who were nothing more than a Chinese version of the Stalinists have followed a similar path, with Mao first drinking toasts to the health of Richard Nixon and US imperialism to his cretinous follower Deng Xiaoping’s declaration that “to be rich is glorious”, which is the motto of today’s thoroughly reactionary and increasingly pro-capitalist Chinese Communist Party. The “Juche Ideal”, promoted by the Stalinists of the DPRK, is just a North Korean version of “building socialism in one country”, only made even more utopian and unattainable due to the tiny size and political and economic isolation of the DPRK from the rest of the world.

What “failed” in the USSR was not the revolutionary socialism of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky but its degenerated, bureaucratized and ultimately counterrevolutionary antipode: Stalinism.

Our analysis of the development and degeneration of the Russian Revolution – from its promising revolutionary Marxist beginnings under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky to its slow and brutal destruction first under Stalin and then under his ideological heirs all the way to the restoration of capitalism in the USSR without so much as a shot being fired by the working class in its defense – is that what we saw with the collapse of the USSR was the complete and total failure – not of socialism – but of Stalinism, which revealed itself to be utterly counterrevolutionary in the final analysis – precisely as Trotsky had analyzed it way back in the 1930s.

The very last thing we intend to do is to follow the paths laid out by Stalin, Mao or any of their epigones: we seek to learn all of the hard-fought and won lessons of all of these revolutions and to incorporate all of the best elements of them into our political program to bring modern socialist workers democracies into being throughout the world that are far more democratic than any bourgeois democracy could ever be. We repudiate and condemn the disgusting show trials conducted by the Stalinists in which innocent people were forced to “confess” to monstrous crimes and were then either executed or sent to a Siberian exile just as brutal as that suffered by the revolutionary workers under the Tsar’s regime. We completely oppose and denounce any attempt to reproduce today the hideous and anti-Marxist Stalinist and Maoist police-state bureaucracies as they existed in the USSR and in China under Mao, for example. We have seen absolute proof of the fundamentally reactionary nature of Stalinist and Maoist political ideology: the Stalinist and Maoist political roads lead, ultimately, back to capitalism.

What about Cuba, Vietnam and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK aka North Korea)?

All of the regimes leading most of the “communist” states in the world: Castroist Cuba, Maoist China, Stalinist Vietnam and (to a lesser extent so far) the Kim Il Sung-ist DPRK– are essentially Stalinist regimes in which the leading “Communist Parties” are thoroughly nationalist and reactionary and are moving the country away from the ideals of socialism and towards the restoration of capitalism. This is a monstrous betrayal of the workers of those countries and a betrayal of the workers of the entire world. Still, we defend the gains of these workers socialist revolutions; and in any war between the capitalist, imperialist powers and these bureaucratically deformed workers states we will defend the workers states and intransigently oppose the imperialist capitalist powers – including the greatest enemy of the US working class, the US capitalist class and their imperialist government. We call on the workers of Cuba, China, Vietnam and the DPRK to begin organizing revolutionary Trotskyist parties so that they can prepare to lead a political revolution that overthrows the Stalinist/Maoist betrayers and places the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat in power. We call on them to simultaneously defend what is left of the socialist economic foundations of those countries and to honor the heroic, revolutionary socialist roots of their respective revolutions. If Stalinism is not overthrown and replaced by a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat then capitalism will be eventually restored in every one of these countries by the counterrevolutionary and corrupt Stalinist/Maoist communist party bureaucrats; it is just a matter of time before they consummate their betrayals of the workers.

North Korea presents a somewhat different case: it alone in the world continues to fight to defend the socialist property forms created as a result of the Korean workers socialist revolution and has also refused to allow any major incursion of capitalism into the DPRK (though even there the leadership has allowed the capitalists of South Korea to make their first tentative inroads towards capitalist development). Only the murderous belligerence of the US Government, which seeks to place the DPRK on the capitalist road a la China and Vietnam, keeps the North Korean Stalinists from consummating a Gorbachevite betrayal of the workers of the DPRK. By abandoning revolutionary Marxist/Leninist internationalism in favor of the nationalist “Juche Ideals” of Kim Il Sung, the bureaucrats of the DPRK are clearly, if only semi-consciously, laying the groundwork for eventual capitalist restoration in the DPRK.

The capitalist system has long outlived its usefulness and has become the primary obstacle to the future progress of the human race.

We believe that the capitalist system has long outlived its usefulness and can now only lead the world through an endless series of boom-and-bust cycles punctuated by small and large wars, culminating most likely in another global conflagration: a nuclear world war. Preventing the capitalist system’s wanton destruction of hundreds of millions of workers’ lives and the global environment is impossible under a capitalist system that is based on competing capitalist nation-states. So long as the capitalist system exists there will continue to be racism, environmental destruction, poverty, starvation, unemployment, religious bigotry, the oppression of women, discrimination against national minorities and war. Only the organization of the entire world into co-operative socialist workers states can begin to unite the workers of the entire world in the global efforts that are absolutely necessary if we are to stop the destruction of the lives of our working-class brothers and sisters all over the world and the continued destruction of the planet’s environmental treasures. Only under a rationally planned global socialist economic system can we undertake the enormously expensive necessary steps to reverse the ravages our planet has suffered under the destructive anarchy of capitalist exploitation of the world’s natural resources.

The capitalists care about one thing and one thing only: money. Human beings are worth nothing to them; in their money-mad minds the natural resources of our planet exist simply to enable them to get even more money. They pursue the acquisition of wealth with a vicious, pathological persistence that places their own selfish personal interests above that of the entire population of the world and even above what is necessary to maintain the continued existence of human beings on this planet. We are not exaggerating one bit when we say: “Capitalism must die so that the planet and the working class may live”.

Fortunately we do not have to invent an entirely new political philosophy to find our way forward in this critically important juncture of the development of human civilization; the program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky will serve us well as the basis of our own modern revolutionary socialist programme. We base our party on our firm belief that all workers all over the world are our sisters and brothers; we want to unite all workers to work together internationally to make life easier for human beings to live and thrive while we simultaneously protect our shared planet, its environment and all our fellow creatures who live on it. All the capitalists are promising us today is that our lives are going to get harder and harder; there is literally no future worth living for the working class under the capitalist system.

The main problem with capitalism is that it is fundamentally anarchic and purely profit-driven: there is no way under capitalism to develop a rational plan for the protection and restoration of the global environment, for example, because it is more profitable for the capitalists to invest in projects that exploit natural resources by destroying the environment than it is to develop them while simultaneously protecting the environment. Only after the insane supremacy of the profit motive is overthrown once and for all can we even begin to undertake scientific studies to determine how bad the damage has been which the capitalists have done to our planet: their pathological love for money over all else drives them to poison the scientific wells with bogus scientific studies that make science-based inquiry practically impossible. We have seen this with their creation of the global-warming-denialist movement. The human race can not move forward an inch until we rid ourselves of these noxious, murderous capitalist pests who subordinate the interests of the entire planet to their own personal lust for more and more money!

How would life under socialism be better for the workers?

A socialist world would make possible for the first time the ability of the human race to seize control of human destiny by overthrowing the lust for profits and replacing it with a rationally planned economic system in which all production is subordinated to the needs of the entire human race as well as the environment which sustains us. Under socialism we would be able to do something the capitalist world has never been able to do and which it is impossible to do under capitalism: to not just merely reduce but to eliminate the scourges of starvation, homelessness and disease that are crippling the creative potential of the entire human race. In socialist countries they have always been able to begin to end homelessness on the very first day after the overthrow of capitalism simply by making it illegal to deny people the right to housing. They did this by immediately placing homeless people in unoccupied apartments, houses and hotel rooms! That is impossible under capitalism, where housing is not a right but a privilege granted (or denied) to workers at the whim of the capitalist landlords and bankers. In the “democratic” USA, we have the “right to the pursuit of happiness” – but we do not have the right to actually achieve it by guaranteeing to everyone access to all the things that enable a person to be happy, regardless of race, creed, color, sex, sexuality or ability to pay… “little things” like jobs, food, clothing, shelter and health care! Under socialism all those things that are necessary to create human happiness will be guaranteed to all.

We can free the working people from the debasing need to endlessly pursue money for basic survival and to guarantee all the necessities of life to each and every human being on this planet, so that every human being on Earth can enjoy their lives to the fullest, not just the wealthiest 10%. Under capitalism, workers are forced to endlessly chase after dollar bills, like a horde of desperate idiots. The constant struggle for basic human needs which workers are faced to suffer through is an enormous waste of human creative potential. Instead of “pursuing happiness” we must pursue the money for food, clothing, shelter and medical care, competing like animals against all the other workers for jobs while the capitalist class sits there in luxury, laughing at us all the way to the bank. Under socialism we can put an end to the struggle for survival for the first time for the entire human race through a rationally planned economy.

What would rational planning be? For example: a socialist workers government would guarantee all able-bodied workers a job so they could contribute to the building of a prosperous society for everyone. If, for some reason you were laid off, you would receive 100% of the pay you received while you were working, so your standard of living would not suffer. Since housing and health care would be guaranteed as a fundamental right, the loss of your job would not mean the loss of health care for you and your family; nor would it mean that you would be facing eviction from your home! This is impossible to do under the capitalist system! These goals are not utopian, they are eminently reasonable and realizable with the technology and the productive capacity we have at hand today.

Capitalism IS the problem!

The only thing stopping us from achieving these goals is the capitalist system that will not and can not end the scourges of unemployment, homelessness, starvation and disease because – it is not “profitable” for the capitalists to do so! Every day we continue to allow the numerically tiny, greed-maddened capitalist class to dominate our lives is another day in which thousands of workers will be thrown out of their jobs for no fault of their own; it is another day in which thousands of children will suffer hunger and chronic illness and die of starvation and preventable disease; it is another day where tens of thousands of our sisters and brothers will die for lack of basic medical services; it is another day in which millions of our children will not have the opportunity to attend a school, see a doctor, or get anything to eat at all. As workers of the world we have it in our power right now to put an end to all this needless suffering endemic to the capitalist system!

What can we as workers do to put an end to the misery we suffer under capitalism and start fighting for socialism?

We can put an end to it only by organizing revolutionary socialist workers parties dedicated to the overthrowing of the capitalist system and to replacing it with egalitarian democratic socialist workers governments. Every day we wait brings us one day closer to environmental catastrophe and very likely it brings us one day closer to the next global world war. We must snap ourselves out of the dull-minded, passive stupor we’ve had drilled into our minds by the capitalist entertainment and infotainment propaganda that has convinced too many of us that the capitalist world is “the best of all possible worlds”! If we want our children to live better, more fulfilling lives we must fight for that future, because it will not be given to us by a capitalist class that seeks only to figure out how they can put more of our hard-earned money into their bank accounts! The working class makes up the vast majority of the world’s population and has the right to determine how and by whom this planet will be governed. Why do we allow the top 5% of the world’s population to run the planet and to seize more than half of the world’s wealth? Workers of the world, it is time to wake up and unite to fight for your rights and to shatter the chains that bind us to a system that robs us blind, destroys the planet we live on and promises our children a future of wars over water, land and natural resources! The revolution will not happen on the Internet; it must be brought into existence by organizing revolutionary socialist workers parties to fight to bring a much better future into existence. It is time to shake off your passivity and join in this work before it is too late, for the sake of your own and your children’s and grand-children’s futures! We can’t do it for you or without you!

Capitalism must die so that the planet and the working class may live!”

IWPCHI

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Workers: Stop Wasting Your Time Trying to Convince Rich People that Socialism is a Good Idea

We are always running across anti-communist diatribes on Twitter and throughout the bourgeois press in their “comments” sections. It seems as if there are thousands of people who spend a large part of their lives constantly denigrating the very idea of socialism and trying to make the fundamental assertion that “socialism has been tried; it didn’t work; it never has and never can work” etc., etc. ad nauseam. Some of these “people” are paid by the capitalists to denigrate socialist ideals wherever and whenever workers say something positive about socialism; they may even be working for the US or some other capitalist government. They could also be a Twitter-bot – a computer program that spams its Twitter “followers” with anti-socialist memes. They do exist and there are more than a few of them, apparently. But a lot of them don’t fit into that “paid anti-communist advertisement” category.

This presents a simple question: who are these people and why do they hate socialism so much? And as usual, by using the analytical tools of dialectical materialist philosophy, we can cut straight to the heart of this question without much difficulty.

When we run across one of these actual human anti-communist folks in the course of the day (usually on Twitter), we try to engage them in conversation. One of the first questions we ask them is: “are you a worker or are you a capitalist (or person of wealth)?” We do that because once you determine the class background of the typical “hater of Marxism/Leninism/Trotskyism” you will almost always find out that they are in fact rich folks – or the son or daughter of rich folks – who stand to lose a lot in the event that a socialist revolution should take place in their respective countries. And we enjoy “baiting” them with this simple and straightforward question and then watching them squirm when they are faced with the choice of either lying or telling the truth about where they are coming from.

Not surprisingly, many of these people flat-out refuse to answer the question of “what is your class background” when we put it to them. They pretend that they refuse to answer the question on privacy grounds, or some other curious excuse. That is because by openly stating the fact that they are wealthy and therefore are naturally opposed to a philosophy dedicated to the radical redistribution of wealth – their wealth! – they would expose themselves to be the terminally self-interested cretins that they usually are. And it is true: all of their working-class Twitter followers would see their conservatism in a brand new light once they understood that it was a rich capitalist – or the trust fund baby of a capitalist – who is always out there on Twitter/Facebook/newspaper comments sections crapping on socialism. Of course the rich hate socialism! They have every right to hate socialism, and we don’t blame them at all for hating it.

The fact of the matter is that the socialist movement has little to offer the capitalists and their sons, daughters and their myriads of paid and/or bribed boot-licking apologists. If a workers revolution was to take place anywhere in the capitalist world, all of the capitalist private property of the big capitalists in that country – that is, their manufacturing, distribution, mining, refining and banking operations for example – would be immediately placed in the possession of the working class and gradually incorporated into a rationally-planned socialist economic system. The capitalists would not be reimbursed for their losses at all. They would lose everything and they know it (although since under socialism housing would be a right we would not take all of their mansions and vacation homes from them so long as they behaved themselves – they could keep one of each – the others – like Mar-A-Lago or Trump Tower for instance – would be used to house the homeless or elderly). They don’t give a damn that by nationalizing all that capitalist private property the standard of living for a third or more of the population would rise significantly, saving the lives of tens of thousands of workers and poor who die every year due to the poverty that is forced upon them by the capitalist system. The rich don’t give a rat’s ass about how the poor workers live – or if we live at all: “that’s not our problem” they tell us endlessly. Yes, we accept that the poverty endemic to the capitalist system is indeed “our” (that is, the workers’) “problem” and that it is the responsibility of the organized revolutionary socialist working class to solve “our problems” ourselves – no one else can or will do it for us – and we fully understand that “our problems” – the vast majority of which are endemic to the capitalist mode of production – can only be “solved” once and for all by expropriating the capitalist private property of the top 10% of the population, so that the “bottom 90%” can enjoy their lives to the fullest.

So the next time you see or hear someone heaping abuse on the ideas of socialism, like “socialized medicine”, “welfare payments to the poor”, anti-fascism, higher minimum wages, immigrant and refugee rights, unemployment insurance, the “ridiculously high cost of union labor” or socialism in general as a viable alternative to capitalism, ask yourself: “is this a worker speaking, or is it a capitalist?” If it’s a capitalist, you can put their yammering in the box marked “pro-capitalist bullshit” and stop wasting your time trying to convince them they are wrong.

— IWPCHI

A Revolutionary Trotskyist Memorial Day – Honoring the Heroes and Martyrs of the Revolutionary Workers Movement

May 30th, 1937:  Memorial Day Massacre during “Little Steel” strike: Chicago Police open fire on striking steelworkers trying to unionize steel plants on Chicago’s south side. 10 workers were murdered (many shot in the back) and 30 seriously injured. Source: Wikipedia, US National Archives

In the United States, Memorial Day is a time for remembering our family members and friends who have passed away;  and for honoring them and sharing  our memories of them with everyone who still remembers them – and for passing on the stories of their lives to our children who either never got to know them or whose memories of them are only faint memories from their earliest years.

It is also a celebration of the lives of the millions of worker-soldiers who died fighting the endless wars fought by US armies, all of which – since the U.S. Civil War – have been imperialist wars fought not in defense of the United States but in pursuit of the profit-mad dreams of the U.S. capitalist class.

The U.S. capitalist class and its owned-and-operated propaganda outlets known to Marxists as “the bourgeois press” cynically “salute” the worker-soldiers who have given their lives in imperialist wars – wars which did not make the workers’ lives one bit easier but only heaped even more wealth into the bank accounts of the top 5% of the population: the U.S. capitalist class. The blood of millions of worker-soldiers around the world has been harvested by the capitalists for the capitalists’ own benefit – they whose own sons and daughters more often than not have found ready-made legal “loopholes” allowing them to escape endangering their own lives on the front lines of the U.S.’ bloody imperialist wars. The capitalist class always makes certain that its bought-and-paid-for politicians provide the sons and daughters of the rich with ways to avoid military service in wartime. Yet they all have the nerve to trumpet their phony patriotism on days like this by wrapping themselves in the flag and disgustingly pretending to “honor” the memories of those they have sent to early graves in pursuit of profits for the wealthiest 5% of US citizens.

Meanwhile, the victims of their bloodthirstiness – the worker-soldiers who have had their bodies and minds battered and broken during their descent into the horrors of modern warfare – are thrown away as so much trash; and tens of thousands are left to suffer from the physical and psychological damage that is the “reward” every soldier receives for military service in shooting wars.

Thousands of homeless veterans are forced to roam the streets of U.S. cities, abused every day by the racist, vicious police thugs of the U.S. capitalist class. The families of worker-soldiers who are on active duty – and even elderly retired vets – are forced to beg for assistance to keep a roof over their heads while dad or mom are off brutalizing U.S. imperialism’s “enemies du jour”. It is disgusting that so many families of active U.S. soldiers must rely on charity for their basic needs, like food and clothing – while mom or dad risk their lives so that the numerically tiny billionaire class of the US can amass even greater wealth.  Why do we allow this to go on?

U.S. parents eagerly encourage their children to accept the Pentagon’s blood money so they can attend college.  “All they ask” is that your kids help murder other workers’ kids overseas for a few years.   Source: US Army

For revolutionary Trotskyists, we respect ALL of the victims of U.S. imperialism and its endless wars, not just the worker-soldiers who are driven into the bloody arms of the U.S. war machine in order to find a job or pay for college. We honor the so-called “enemy” workers who are always the victims of imperialist war, slaughtered in the millions by our own sons and daughters.  Yes it is our own sons and daughters who serve the aims of US bankers and war profiteers by serving in the military of the mortal enemies of all the world’s workers – the U.S. capitalist class.

Arkansas chapter of American Bar Association alludes to massive abuses of legal rights of active-duty, retired and disabled veterans. Source: American Bar Association “Arkansas Access to Justice Commission 2007 Annual Report”

We do not honor or support the cynical memorials for US soldiers that are organized by the professional killers of workers in the Pentagon, or by their capitalist masters. They spend millions of dollars every Memorial Day to fly U.S. flags from every flagpole and to place them on the graves of every soldier they sent to their deaths in pursuit of war profits. But when it comes time to pay for rent for the families of soldiers on active duty or for clothes for their kids or for housing for homeless vets, or for drug treatment centers or medical care for vets who have returned home suffering from effects of the wars they fought in, these phony capitalist “patriots”, wrapped in the flag every Memorial Day, are nowhere to be found!   We do not support the imperialist armed forces of the US capitalist state, whose role is to crush every workers’ rebellion that occurs anywhere in the world so as to “keep the world safe for the U.S. capitalist class and their corporations”.  The soldiers in the armed forces of the US capitalist class, though they are our own sons and daughters – are not “our troops”: they are THEIR troops; the troops of the US capitalist class and their imperialist war machine.  They answer to orders given by the US capitalist class, not to orders given by us.  It is a sad fact that many US workers encourage their own children to join the military forces of the very capitalist class that exploits workers at home and murders them overseas!  Our sons and daughters are being sent all over the world to murder their working class sisters and brothers – and we allow the US capitalist class to do this, while at the same time we shed tears over the thousands of dead US worker-soldiers who have given their lives so a handful of filthy rich US capitalists can continue to live like kings!  This is what happens when workers are so politically ignorant that they can not tell their friends from their mortal enemies.

Memorial Day is a time for those of us in the revolutionary Trotskyist workers movement to remember and honor the lives of the tens of millions of worker-socialists and communists who have died fighting for a world in which no one’s sons or daughters will ever have to fight in an imperialist war again. We honor the memories of these millions of worker-communists who sacrificed their own personal comfort by dedicating their lives not to a cozy but vacuous debt-ridden “middle class” dream but to the emancipation of all of the world’s workers from exploitation at the hands of the capitalists, and who gave their lives fighting not for the 1% but for the benefit of the workers of the entire world. These heroic worker-communists led every successful workers revolution in history – and died fighting in the many unsuccessful revolutions as well. They have been slandered and abused by the capitalists of the world who first sought to drown their struggles for the emancipation of the working class in blood and then falsified the history of what they fought and died for so that workers today don’t even know that these worker-heroes ever lived or what they fought and died for. From the coal mines of Kentucky to the copper mines of Arizona; from the cotton fields of the South to the oil fields of Alaska, courageous workers who fought against slavery and then fought to organize unions to defend the rights of workers were brutally attacked and many killed at the hands of the cops and company gun thugs and hired strikebreakers unleashed against them by the ancestors of today’s U.S. capitalist class.  On every Memorial Day the Trotskyists remember them all!

The U.S. Civil War was the last time the U.S. armed forces were employed in a revolutionary cause that advanced the rights of the working class.

We remember the worker-revolutionaries of the Civil War era who came out of the struggle against slavery and became beacons of freedom to workers and peasants and slaves all over the world: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and John Brown and his brave wife and family. We honor the memory of the ex-slaves, free blacks and abolitionist workers who volunteered to fight in the Union Army in the U.S. Civil War and who did so specifically to overthrow the slave power of the Confederacy, arms in hand!  The U.S. Civil War was the LAST time that the US military fought on the progressive side of a war.  Ever since then every US war has been an imperialist war fought primarily to increase the personal wealth and political and economic power of the U.S. capitalist class!

In Chicago we honor the memories of those brave worker-communists and trades unionists who were shot down in cold blood by the Chicago Police under the orders of the steel bosses at what has become known as “The Memorial Day Massacre” of 1937.  This was the blood-price demanded by the “Little Steel” bosses for the workers daring to organize steel unions here in the “Land of the Free”(TM).

We honor the memories of the Haymarket Martyrs, anarchist and socialist workers executed by the capitalists of Chicago for daring to fight for the rights of workers and an 8-hour day. We honor the memory of Lucy Parsons, who kept the spirit of the Haymarket Martyrs alive to the last day of her life. We honor the memories of the civil rights workers who gave their lives fighting for rights for black workers and who died so often at the hands of the hired killers of the US capitalist class – the cops, the FBI and their Klan and Nazi henchmen.  We remember and honor the memory of Medgar Evers, Robert F. Williams, Viola Liuzzo – and so many others whose names the world will never know.

We honor the great worker-revolutionaries who rose from the ranks to become leaders of the workers of the US, and who paid for their honesty, self-sacrifice and dedication to the cause of the working class with long prison terms: Socialist Party leader, opponent of the military draft in WWI and defender of the Russian Revolution Eugene Debs; Trotskyist leader James Cannon;  Marine Corps veteran and Black Panther Party leader Geronimo Pratt; black Communist Party member, movie star, athlete and legendary opera singer Paul Robeson; heroic US Communists Ethel and Julius Rosenberg – to name but a few. How many U.S. workers even know these names? The US capitalist class has made sure that their names are never mentioned in the bourgeois press or memorialized by Hollywood. It is up to the revolutionary socialists to keep their memories alive!

We remember and honor the heroic workers and peasants who fought to overthrow Tsarism and then had the courage to forge ahead and overthrow capitalism as well in the great Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 and the Civil War that followed! Thousands of these brave workers and peasants were butchered at the hands of the counterrevolutionary White Guard armies, sponsored by the United States, Great Britain and other imperialist powers of the “free world”. Many lived through the horrors of the Civil War in Bolshevik Russia only to be later brutalized at the hands of Stalin and, later, Hitler and their executioners. And yet they continued to fight to put the Stalinized Soviet Union back on the road of Lenin and Trotsky to the end of their lives!

Of course we honor the great syndicalist and communist leaders from all over the world who gave their lives fighting for the emancipation of the working class internationally: “Big Bill” HaywoodJohn Reed, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, Vladimir Lenin, Abram Leon – and the millions of communist women and men whose names will forever be unknown to the world – who fought for the working class forces in every workers revolution, from the Paris Commune to the failed revolutionary movements in China in 1927, Indonesia in the 1960s, the Philippines, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, South Africa – to name but a few; we honor the millions of worker-communists and their friends butchered by the US capitalist class in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Korea and the victims of US imperialism being murdered by our deluded sons and daughters every day in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and so many other countries. We honor the men and women of the Trotskyist Left Opposition imprisoned and executed in the Stalinist USSR, who carried the banner of Lenin and Trotsky in the face of brutal persecution until death closed their eyes forever! Their names will never be known to history but their heroic struggles will never be forgotten so long as there is a revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist workers party in existence!

Capitalism must die so that the working class may live! Workers of the World, Unite!

— IWPCHI

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence – Transcript

We publish here our transcription of the post-performance address given on behalf of the cast and writers of ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ to Vice President-elect Mike Pence on 18 November 2016.  We produced it from the New York Times video copy of the event.  Though it appears that actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who gave the address on behalf of the cast and writers of the show, made somewhat more extensive remarks, the video ends before he appears to finish his statement.  We have been unable to find a copy of the video which shows the entire event through to the cast walking off the stage.

Many people on the Internet are decrying the fact that actors would dare to break the “fourth wall” between the audience and the performers in a stage performance in this manner and act as if this has never been done before.  Actually it has happened on many occasions, particularly before and after performances.  Also there have been commentators who seem to believe that the address to Pence was some kind of rude political attack intended to embarrass or humiliate Pence.  In reality, Mr. Dixon took great pains to stop any booing of Pence at the beginning of the address and delivered the address in a very respectful if direct manner.  The video shows that if anyone objected to the cast addressing Pence so directly they were in the minority: the vast majority of the audience cheers loudly in favor of the political points that are made.

The political points made by Dixon on behalf of the cast simply consist of pathetic appeals to a man who has been appointed Vice-President by the new President-elect Trump who is busy assembling the whitest, most male-dominated Presidential cabinet in almost 40 years!  “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir ” said Dixon.

What a fine example of the impotent method of political shucking and jiving (preferred by US liberals) of “speaking truth to power” in the manner of an obedient if somewhat uppity servant who first declares his respect for the person he is addressing and then makes a pathetic plea to the King’s representative for compassion and understanding of the hopes and dreams of the downtrodden and dispossessed – just as it would have been done during the historic period in which ‘Hamilton’ is set!   The US working class is almost 200 million strong… yet once again we see a de facto representative of the US working class approaching his “social betters” – the capitalist class representative Pence, representing a mere 10% of the US population at best! – hat in hand, pathetically begging our “masters” to treat us kindly… rather than taking the revolutionary road of standing up and overthrowing the racist ruling capitalist class of the USA that Trump and Pence represent!  The numerically tiny US capitalist class who fantasize about returning the USA to the “Good Old Days(TM)” of genocide against the Native Americans and the theft of their lands, white supremacy, total subordination of women to “the menfolk”, slavery and child labor and the ruthless crushing of every attempt of the workers and slaves to fight for their “inalienable rights” that existed – then and now – only on paper!   The fact is that the integrated US working class in 2016 and our immigrant sisters and brothers have no rights that the capitalist class is “bound to respect”; and the fact that the US capitalist class has seen fit to allow Donald Trump and his gang of white supremacist scum to occupy the highest office in the land proves this point beyond doubt!  Anyone who can’t see this is either willfully blind or an imbecile.

What the US working class needs is not shameful “representatives” who present shamefully weak petitions to the “rightful rulers” of the capitalist class but heroic revolutionaries like Lenin’s Bolsheviks who presented their petitions to the Tsar and his hangmen on the ends of bayonets!  These scum who want to impose a racist, capitalist, white supremacist pig like Trump as President of the United States are throwing down a gauntlet to the working classes of the US and the world!  “If you don’t like living in our racist, white supremacist, anti-union America you can get the hell out of ‘our’ country!” they declare!  And they are preparing to unleash their fascist shock troops to intimidate and terrorize those who dare to oppose them!  The rising US fascist threat must be crushed in the egg; it will take a militant, Trotskyist-led workers movement to do it – and the US working class have barely begun that tremendous work!  Don’t you think it’s high time you got off your knees and started to fight for your rights, sister and brother workers instead of begging your mortal enemies to love you and respect you?

This is no time for presenting timid petitions to King Drumpf I, but for organizing a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that will fight for an egalitarian socialist workers republic to replace this deeply corrupt, senile, revanchist, racist dinosaur US capitalist class and its rotten economic system that is threatening to destroy the unity of the world’s working classes and even the entire planet!  You want your rights as citizens to be defended now and forever more?  Then stop begging your enemies to do it for you and prepare to create a revolutionary workers government under which your “inalienable rights” – which exist only on paper under capitalism – to become full and permanent under a workers’ republican government!  When we say that “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live!” we are not just spouting a slogan: we are stating a harsh fact, one which you had better come to understand before it’s too late.  To limit the US working class – 200 million strong – to the pathetic role of merely “speaking truth to power” – the alleged “power” of at most 30 million greedhead capitalists – is to accept the status of loyal slaves and to make it a permanent fact of our political lives!  What could be more cowardly?  We don’t want to petition “King Trump” or merely to “speak truth to power” to his flunky ministers like Pence: we want to overthrow the despotic racist regime itself:  Trump and his entire rotten class and their capitalist system.   If the revolutionaries of 1776 had stupidly limited their struggle to merely “speaking truth to power” we’d still be living under a monarchy!  But they were NOT cowards; they were not content to “keep their place” as loyal subjects of the King, being forced to accede to his every decree and command like stupid slaves!  We need to build a political party of the working class that is energised by the same kind of revolutionary spirit that animated the likes of immigrant political theoretician Thomas Paine, Daniel Shays, John Brown, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and the communist men and women who fought to build the US trade unions and the civil rights movement in the 1930s!

“Workers of the World, Unite!”

— IWPCHI

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NY Times Video – Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Present Meek Plea to Trump Flunky Pence

Cast of ‘Hamilton’ Addresses VP Elect Mike Pence After Performance – Complete transcript by IWPCHI, with notes in brackets by IWPCHI.

[Transcribed by IWPCHI from NY Times video of event. Speech delivered by actor Brandon Victor Dixon]

[Cast on stage taking final bows. Wild applause and cheering. Pence not visible during video.]

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us tonight. You know, we had a guest in the audience this evening [light laughter throughout audience] And Vice President-elect Pence, I see you walking out but I hope you will hear us just a few more moments [one or two people boo, and apparently derisive comments anticipating tenor of speech can be heard] … there’s nothing to boo here ladies and gentlemen; there’s nothing to boo here [light applause] we’re all here sharing a story of love. We have a little message for you sir [Dixon reaches for prepared address in his pocket] and we hope that you will hear us out. [Opens up paper with prepared address and prepares to read it] … and I encourage everybody to pull out your phones and Tweet and post because this message needs to be spread far and wide, O.K.? [Reads: audience completely silent] ‘Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at “Hamilton: An American Musical”. We really do. We, sir – we – are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new Administration will not protect us [applause and cheering, some boos] our planet, our children, our parents – or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. [Audience silent again]. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of *all* of us. [Cheering] *All* of us. [Loud, sustained applause and cheering from audience. No booing. Dixon continues through loud applause:] Again we truly thank you for sharing this show: this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations. [Loud applause and cheering. Video ends.]

IWPCHI

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Elwood, Indiana “Daily Labor Record”, 1896

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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

Greed-based Capitalism Is Destroying the World; Why Workers Socialist Revolution Is Our Only Hope for Survival

Just as it is difficult to get people to read the warning labels on over-the-counter medications – a self-imposed ignorance which leads to the deaths of 100,000 US citizens a year – it’s very difficult to get people to read anything about socialism, which is the cure for the ills of greed-based capitalist society.  Even though the capitalist system is, as you read this, doing all it can to prepare to incinerate the planet in a nuclear World War III, still you refuse to read the warning labels  socialists like us have been writing in opposition to capitalism since 1848.  The capitalist system is killing you slowly now but will – unless you do something about it, sister and brother workers – will be killing you at a much faster rate very, very soon.  We know that you have been “taught” by the capitalist class that socialism is bad for you and greed-based capitalism is the best of all possible worlds.  Please just take a couple of minutes to allow the socialist opposition to make a few observations about the state of the world in 2016 for your consideration.  We’ll try not to bore you to death.  The re-runs of “M.A.S.H.”, “Andy Griffith”, “The Jeffersons” and “Bernie Mac” can wait. (For those of you who think we’re being condescending, watching “The Magnificent Ambersons” or “Do The Right Thing” for the umpteenth time is just as pointless).

Human society has reached that impasse at which we must break from our past and boldly stride forward down a different road if we are to survive the nuclear age. It is probable that all advanced civilizations are faced with the same dilemma: once the civilization is technically capable of harnessing the power of the atom, does it transition to a regime in which that power is put to the service of that civilization or is it used to destroy that civilization? Of course this depends on the political and economic stage reached by a given society at the time during which the power of the atom is harnessed. Tragically for the human race, the capitalist world reached this stage just before the socialist world; the capitalists immediately seized the opportunity to murder 200,000 Japanese workers – largely to intimidate the USSR and prove that the capitalist USA had the Bomb and were crazy enough to use it. A society that achieves this power, if it is an egalitarian society, can make the transition through the nuclear stage of development without destroying itself. A society that is based on selfishness and greed, and divided into constantly warring nation-states has very little likelihood of making a successful transition through the nuclear minefield. In the USA and Europe, the working class has abandoned its historic leadership role that it must take upon itself if the human race is to survive. We are letting people whose love for money over all else has so deranged their minds that they have become utterly irresponsible and pose a threat to the future existence of the human race. Will we allow our human civilization to be sacrificed on the altar of Mammon? Are we that stupid? The selfish greedy capitalists who own and operate the nuclear arsenals of the “Free World(TM)” are the LEAST CAPABLE of leading the human race through this stage of human evolution; they are the MOST LIKELY to plunge this planet into a nuclear war from which human civilization may not survive. We have let the greedheads and militarists call the shots and run the tables for far too long; this is why so much of the wealth of the capitalist world is being spent not on cures for cancer or to end human suffering in the world but to create military arsenals capable of destroying the planet many times over. It is our sincere and deeply-held belief that unless the working class seizes these weapons of mass destruction from the hands of the mass-murdering capitalist classes who have proven time and time again their willingness to use their wealth and military power to plunge the entire planet into barbarism the human race will not survive the challenge it has set for itself in negotiating a safe passage through the nuclear abyss.

Why Socialism?

1) Revolutionary socialism – the most modern and principled variation is the Trotskyism we represent – is a political philosophy that posits that all working women and men all over the world are sisters and brothers and that all workers should unite and fight to overthrow the capitalist system that is organized to systematically rob the working class blind. The capitalists in the USA, whose massive wealth was initially based on the system of slavery and a racist ideology of “white supremacy” that was devised in order to justify the enslavement of people of color ridiculed this fundamental idea of the Marxists as being utopian and not based on what the capitalist called the scientific principles of “Eugenics”. DNA research has proven the Marxists were right; Eugenics now stands as a totally discredited pseudo-science. Still, to this day, the capitalist world is dominated by a tiny class of filthy rich white men who believe that they are racially superior to everyone else on the planet and who believe that they have the “right” to rule the world. What does this mean? It means that the current division of the world into competing nation-states led by “racially superior” minorities (in Europe and the USA, rich white men) is a gross injustice and a fraud being perpetrated against the workers of the world. The racist ideologies that are the fundamental basis of fascism lie in tatters, utterly destroyed by modern genetic science. The workers of the world ARE sisters and brothers, yet are driven by the capitalists of the world to mistrust and hate each other and organized into armies to kill one another. Revolutionary socialism is the ONLY political philosophy that stands unalterable opposed to this state of things – which is why we are proud not only to call ourselves anti-capitalists but revolutionary socialists – Trotskyists.

Socialism is a political philosophy that seeks to create a far more democratic society than is possible or has ever been created under capitalism. Socialism dedicates itself to organizing the global economy for the benefit of the vast majority of the world population: the working class and peasantry. We have as our goals the complete eradication of hunger, homelessness, racism and sexism from the face of the Earth. We seek to create an economy that fully funds human needs, and that GUARANTEED all the fundamental needs of the human race for food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. Capitalism does not and can not provide such a guarantee. Anyone who tells you that capitalism can do this is a liar.

The challenges that face the human race today are enormous and can only be effectively dealt with on a global scale in a spirit of international fraternity and cooperation. The capitalist world, organized as it is into competing capitalist nation-states, infused with nationalism and led in each state by a tiny cabal of ultra-rich greedy individuals is NOT capable of tackling these tremendous challenges to the future survival of the human race. We stand at the juncture of two roads; one leads to a potentially prosperous socialist future in which a unified human race harnesses all its strengths – human and economic – to tackle these issues. The other road is the road of capitalism and after 400 years of evolution of the capitalist system we already know what we can expect if we stay on this road: small wars growing into bigger wars and then World Wars. The next world war could put an end to the existence of human civilization. Either the human race is going to develop an economic basis for an egalitarian socialist future or the promise of humanity will end most likely in a global nuclear conflagration. WE MUST EVOLVE BEYOND CAPITALISM! It is a matter of life and death not just for the human race but also perhaps for the planet itself. Socialism will take the wealth now being squandered on armies and gold-plated toilets for the rich and put it to use increasing the standard of living of all the people in the world, starting by eliminating once and for all hunger in the world and providing decent clothing, housing. education and health care for all the world’s people. Capitalism has had more than 300 years to do this and has failed miserably.

2) Capitalism is inherently undemocratic. Boasting of being more democratic than socialist countries it is in fact not even close to being as egalitarian and democratic as socialist countries of Cuba China, USSR and North Korea and Vietnam. The US capitalist class is only about 3% of the US population but possesses more than half of the national wealth. How can this state of things be called “democratic”? When result of 250 years of capitalist “democracy” in the USA results in 10% of the population owning 75% of the national wealth, obviously this is nothing even CLOSE to being a democracy. The thoroughly fraudulent nature of bourgeois democracy is fully exposed by the enormously unequal distribution of wealth in even the most “”advanced” capitalist nation-states. The capitalists and their apologists never tire of cynically asking the world “why is there so much violence in our society”? Well when they force 75% of the population to fight over a mere 25% of the national wealth, of course there will be violent conflict. Aside from the revolutionary socialists, no political force in the capitalist world – including the fake-socialists of the 2nd International like Bernie Sanders – wants to change the status quo because all of the pro-capitalist politicians and propagandists defending capitalism are profiting from it personally. And a great many of them are envious of the ultra-rich and harbor delirious dreams of some day reaching the top of the capitalist pyramid.

3) Capitalism is killing the planet. The climate crisis facing the world today simply can not be dealt with on a nation-by-nation basis under an economic system that rewards selfishness instead of generosity and international co-operation. The capitalists of the world are all out to rip each other off and to trick their competition into cutting deals that largely benefit only themselves. This kind of vicious “look out for #1” philosophy is what lies behind all the attempts by wealthy people to bastardize scientific research on climate change in order to buy themselves a few more years of stuffing their bank accounts with cash derived from environmentally destructive capitalist enterprises. All these people care about is money; this places the welfare of the entire population of the planet in the hands of a few million greed-infected mentally ill capitalist profiteers.

4) Capitalism is retarding the pace of advancement in science. In seeking always as their primary life-goal to stuff their bank accounts with cash by any means necessary, the capitalists only wish to invest in projects designed to increase their wealth by the largest margin possible. Large-scale scientific projects that seek simply to increase human understanding of the universe are, to the capitalists, a waste of time and money. Therefore incredible amounts of scientific research that would bring about a greater understanding of our place in the Universe are put off while all the capitalists invest trillions of dollars on the “next big profit-making bubble”. Reduplicating efforts to invest in mining in order to profit from the growth of the Chinese economy, the capitalists wasted billions developing environmentally destructive strip-mining operations which then went immediately bankrupt when Chinese economy experienced an entirely predictable periodic correction. Meanwhile scientists seeking funding for important research projects on everything from studying gravitational waves to a cure for cancer must go around hat in hand begging for funds. They are forced to spend almost as much time on seeking funding as they spend actually doing research. This is depriving the human race from the benefits of research that should – and would be under socialism – fully funded by the government.

5) Capitalism is killing people. Hundreds of millions of workers in the capitalist nation-states of our planet are going hungry every day and starving to death because for the capitalists it is just not profitable enough to feed them. Like everything else under capitalism, that which does not make a capitalist richer fast enough is going to not receive investment dollars. In always seeking the greats profit margins possible the capitalist class denies basic human needs to more than one third of the global population. This state of affairs is completely unacceptable to only one political force in the world: the communists. The capitalist class and its acolytes never tire of coming up with all kinds of bullshit reasons why it is just not possible at this time to feed the world. They tell us that eliminating hunger is not possible! That’s a lie. They tell us that ending warfare is not possible; that, too is a lie. The reason warfare exists is as yet another profit-making enterprise for the capitalist class. War is extremely profitable; there is hardly anyone among the stockholding class that doesn’t have at least some kind of investment in an enterprise that manufactures the weapons of war, or which makes its money rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by the endless for-profit wars created by the capitalist class. The capitalists make money destroying people and infrastructure via warfare; and they make money repairing the damage they caused – nice, eh? Yet you, the workers of the world, not only stupidly allow them to force you to provide the finance through your taxes for these profitable wars; you also willingly send your sons and daughters to do the killing and destroying for them. If the capitalist class deserves condemnation for its bloodthirsty ways, can you, who finance their wars and provide the soldiers for the wars be let off the hook for doing so? We think not. Until each and every one of you understands that by supporting the capitalist system as you do, the blood of the millions of workers being butchered and starved by YOUR GOVERNMENTS is on YOUR HANDS TOO! You cannot hide from this fact, sister and brother workers of the US and the NATO countries!

Only by overthrowing the global greed-based individualistic capitalist system and replacing it with a cooperative rationally-planned global egalitarian democratic socialist system can we finally harness the full potential of the human race and tackle the global climate crisis that threatens the future existence of our human family. Trying to deal with global problems in a world made up of competing capitalist nation states constantly trying to rob each other blind is not going to work! Time is not on our side, sisters and brothers! We must immediately start organizing the revolutionary socialist political parties of the working class that are essentially necessary to the successful overthrow of rapacious global capitalism. If we fail to do this, we will be bequeathing our children a future of endless war over everything from water to oil. This hideous capitalist future that rises up like a spectre before us is not a fait accompli. We must make the effort necessary to tear ourselves away from the endless entertainments the capitalist provide us to keep us distracted while they plunder the planet and murder our working-class sisters and brothers all over the globe. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WAKE UP AND GET THIS PROJECT GOING? Every day of delay is making the cost of undoing the damage being inflicted by the capitalists that much higher! The Democrats are owned and operated by the capitalists; so are, of course, the Republicans. We need new parties of by and for the working class and we need them now! There are some that are existing and others like ours that aer just getting started. But thanks to the Internet we can get new working-class political parties up and running and financed in just a few months. THE FUTURE IS NOW! THERE IS NO FUTURE FOR THE WORKING CLASS UNDER THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM! CAPITALISM MUST DIE SO THAT THE WORKING CLASS MAY LIVE! WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

IWPCHI

GREECE – SYRIZA to Greek Workers: “Referendum Just a Ploy for Better Bargaining Position with Our EU ‘Partners'”

As revolutionary Trotskyists, we take an oath to never lie to the workers of the US or the world, no matter how unpleasant the truth.  While many self-styled “revolutionary” socialist parties have praised SYRIZA  as being an authentic revolutionary socialist party, seeing all kinds of revolutionary potential in this thoroughly reformist and pro-capitalist political party, we have steadfastly exposed SYRIZA for what it is.  SYRIZA is leading the Greek working class into a political dead end, determined at all costs to stay in the European Union even if it means administering a brutal austerity programme against the Greek working class at the behest of the EU banksters.  SYRIZA’s pro-capitalist programme is the last, best hope of the disgusting, decrepit Greek capitalist class whose only loyalty is to their own bank accounts.

We don’t posses a crystal ball that enables us to see through the doubletalk of capitalist politicians of SYRIZA and other political formations like them; what we have is the Marxist dialectical method which enables us to analyze the class relationships that exist in every society which enables us to analyze what class is being served by the political party in question.  In the case of SYRIZA, a Marxist analysis of the public pronouncements of SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras suffices for us to see clearly that this party is absolutely NOT a revolutionary working class party but a pro-capitalist reformist political party.

Here again in two separate statements issued in the past few days Tsipras openly proclaims his allegiance to the capitalist class and its economic system and declares that no matter the outcome of the bogus referendum, he and the leaders of his party have no intention of leading Greece out of the Eurozone.  In fact he declares that the only reason SYRIZA has staged this referendum was to improve their bargaining position and to wrest some concessions from the EU bankers who want the Greeks to hand over their country and rob their citizens as collateral for more EU loans.

The only way out of the crisis that the capitalist class of Greece has brought upon themselves is workers socialist revolution.  A revolutionary socialist workers party would not endeavor, as SYRIZA has, to resuscitate Greek capitalism but would put it out of its misery, helping to give it a long-awaited funeral by repudiating the debt completely and organizing the seizure of power by the Greek working class.  SYRIZA will never do any such thing; and those fake-leftists who continue to sell SYRIZA to the working class as a bona-fide revolutionary party are liars who are betraying the workers and leading them into the abbatoir of austerity being prepared for the working class by the Greek and European capitalists.

Vote ‘No’ in the referendum – and dump SYRIZA, who are more interested in sucking up to their “partners” in the Troika than in making a partnership with the Greek working class!  There is no future for the working class under capitalism!

– IWPCHI

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SYRIZA: Two statements from Alexis Tsipras

1) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 1, 2015

Greek citizens,

We are at a critical juncture regarding the future of this country.

Sunday’s referendum is not about whether our country will stay in the Eurozone.

This is a given and no one should question this.

On Sunday we will choose whether to accept the institutions’ agreement or whether, with the strength of the people’s verdict, we will seek a viable solution.

In any case, I want to reassure the Greek people of government’s firm intention to reach an agreement with its partners, with conditions that are sustainable and will provide for the long-term.

Since we announced our decision to hold a referendum, better proposals have been offered concerning the debt and its necessary restructuring than those that were on the table on Friday.

We did not ignore them. We immediately submitted our counterproposals asking for a viable solution, and for this reason an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting was convened yesterday, which will continue this afternoon.

Should there be a positive outcome, we will respond immediately. In any case, the Greek government remains willing to negotiate and will do so until an agreement is reached. The government will be at the negotiating table on Monday as well, immediately after the referendum, seeking better terms for the Greek people.

A popular verdict is always so much stronger than the will of a government alone. And I would like to reiterate that democratic choice is a core European tradition. During very important moments in European history, the people have made important decisions through referenda.

This happened in France, and in many other countries, concerning the referendum on the European constitution. This happened in Ireland, where the referendum temporarily voided the Treaty of Lisbon and led to a renegotiation, that resulted in better terms for Ireland. Unfortunately, in Greece’s case, we’ve been subjected to different standards.

Personally, I would have never expected that democratic Europe would not understand the need to give some space and time to a people to sovereignly make a choice about their future.

The prevalence of extreme conservative forces led to the decision to asphyxiate our country’s banks–with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.

It is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity and mutual respect to have these disgraceful images:

For the banks to be closed, exactly because the government decided to give the people the opportunity to express their will;

And for thousands of elderly people to be deeply inconvenienced. However, the Greek government, despite the financial asphyxiation, took the appropriate measures and made sure that pensions were paid and deposited into the accounts.

We owe an explanation to these people who have been so inconvenienced:

We have been fighting all these months in order to protect your pensions.

To protect your right to a decent pension and not a miserly “tip”.

The proposals that they tried to blackmail us in order to accept demanded huge pension reductions.

And we refused to go along with this.

And this is why they are retaliating today.

The Greek government was given an ultimatum to implement exactly the same austerity measures, and all the outstanding aspects of the memorandum that had not been implemented.

And, in fact, without any provisions on the debt and financing.

This ultimatum was not accepted.

The self-evident alternative was to reach out to the people.

And this is what we have done.

I am well aware that during this period the sirens of destruction have been blaring.

They are trying to blackmail you as well, and ask that you vote YES on all the measures requested by the institutions, without any prospect of exiting the crisis.

They want you to side with those in Parliament who have repeatedly said YES to all the measures that have burdened the country.

To become one with them.

Complicit in perpetuating the memoranda.

It is important to understand, NO is not just a slogan.

NO is a decisive step towards a better deal that we aim to be signed immediately after Sunday’s result.

It constitutes the clear choice of the people concerning how their lives will be going forward.

NO does not mean breaking with Europe, but rather, returning to a Europe of values.

NO means: strong pressure for an economically viable agreement that will solve the debt issue, that will not increase the debt so that it continuously undermines our efforts to rebuild the Greek economy and society.

A socially just agreement that will allocate the burdens to those that can shoulder them, and not the workers and the pensioners.

An agreement that will allow the country, in a short period of time, to access the international financial markets, and thus end the supervision and guardianship.

An agreement containing reforms that will punish, once and for all, those who enable corruption and that have been fueling the political system all these years.

And at the same time, it will address the humanitarian crisis, create a comprehensive safety net for those who are marginalized–precisely because of the policies that have been implemented in our country for so many years.

Greek citizens,

I am fully aware of the difficulties.

I personally pledge that I will do everything possible so that these difficulties are temporary.

Some insist on linking the referendum’s result to the country staying in the euro.

They claim that I have a hidden agenda, if the NO vote prevails, to remove the country from the EU.

They are knowingly lying.

These are same people who used to say the very same thing in the past.

And they do a great disservice to the people and to Europe.

As you are aware, a year ago during the European elections, I was a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I stood before the Europeans then, just as now, and I argued that austerity policies must stop, that the memoranda will not lead to an end to the crisis.

That the program implemented in Greece failed.

That Europe must stop behaving in an undemocratic manner.

A few months later, in January 2015, the Greek people confirmed these sentiments.

Unfortunately, certain people in Europe refuse to understand this, refuse to admit this.

Those who want a Europe of authoritarianism that fails to respect democracy, those who wish for Europe to be a superficial union with the IMF being the “glue” that binds, are not visionaries for Europe.

They are timid politicians, unable to think as Europeans.

They stand side by side with those in our domestic political system, who are responsible for leading our country to bankruptcy, and that now have the gall to attempt to dump the burden on us–even as we’ve been trying to put an end to the country’s course of destruction.

They dream, indeed, of being restored to power.

This is what they’ve been hoping for—and still hope for, irrespective of whether we accepted the ultimatum–as they have blatantly sought an unelected Prime Minister who would implement it– or whether we gave our people the opportunity to express their will.

They talk of a coup. But democracy is not a coup. Unelected governments intent on manipulating circumstances—that is a coup.

Greek citizens,

I want to wholeheartedly thank you for the calmness and composure you’ve shown during every hour of this difficult week.

I want to assure you that this situation will not drag on.

It will be temporary.

Salaries and pensions will not be lost.

The deposits of citizens who did not withdraw their money or place it abroad will not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and extortion.

I personally assume responsibility for reaching a solution immediately after the democratic process.

I urge you to strengthen this negotiating effort with your support, I invite you to say NO to the memorandum measures that are destroying Europe.

I invite you to respond positively to the prospect of a viable solution.

To turn a page, that calls for upholding democracy.

With the certain hope that we will reach a better deal.

We owe this to our parents, our children, ourselves.

It is our duty. We owe this to history.

Thank you.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/01/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message/ Retrieved 4 July 2015]

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2) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 3, 2015

My fellow citizens,

The time for responsibility and democracy has arrived. The fear-mongering and threats of disaster must stop.

When a nation takes a stand on its future, it has nothing to fear.

Let us all go to the polls calmly, and let us make our choice based on the arguments–and not the slogans.

Yesterday an event of major political importance occurred. The International Monetary Fund released a report concerning the Greek economy.

The report is a great vindication for the Greek government; it confirms the obvious–that the Greek debt is unsustainable.

Per the IMF, the only way that the economy can recover and the debt be made sustainable is through a 30% haircut and a 20-year grace period.

The institutions never presented this report to the Greek government during the five months of the negotiation, during the five months that we have been negotiating.

It is also missing from the institutions’ final proposal that the Greek people will be approving or rejecting on Sunday.

The IMF’s report vindicates our choice to not accept a deal that ignores this integral issue, making the debt sustainable.

In short, the main driving force behind the memorandum has confirmed our assessment, the fact that the proposal we were given will not lead to a sustainable exit from the crisis.

We should all recognize this crucial fact.

On Sunday, what will be determined is not whether Greece remains in Europe.

What will be determined is whether, under duress and blackmail, we will accept the continuation of a policy that even its creators are now admitting has failed.

On Sunday, what will be determined is whether we will consent to the slow death of our economy and the impoverishment of our society.

If we will accept to further reduce pensions, so that an unsustainable debt will be repaid with the savings of the pensioners.

Or, if with determination, we will strengthen our negotiating resolve to achieve an agreement that will finally put an end to the destruction of the last five years.

My fellow citizens,

With the polls opening shortly, I urge you to act with civility and to respect opposing views, so that we may present a united front in the negotiation. For our common tomorrow, our common future.

No matter what we vote on Sunday, there will be nothing to divide us on Monday.

Nobody is disputing the country’s membership in Europe. Voting “NO” to an unsustainable agreement does not mean a break with Europe.

It means continuing the negotiation with better conditions for the Greek people. Therefore, I urge you to say “NO” to ultimatums, to blackmail, to fear.

But I urge you to say “NO” to being divided, as well.

NO to those who are trying to incite panic and prevent you from deciding with composure and responsibly for your own future.

I urge you to decide in favor of democracy and dignity.

For a proud Greece that will remain standing in a Europe of democracy and solidarity.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/03/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message-2/  Retrieved 4 July 2015]

 

Why Socialism? Part One

Q: Why does the Trotskyist Independent Workers Party of Chicago call for a workers socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist class and its capitalist system and to replace it with an egalitarian workers socialist republic?

A: At the root of all social ills and evils is the capitalist class and its anarchic economic system, which is designed to exploit the many (theworking class) for the benefit of the few (the capitalist class).

Poverty; war; homelessness; police brutality; racial and sexual discrimination; all of these are caused by the normal workings of the capitalist system, an economic and political system designed to facilitate the systematic exploitation of the world’s natural resources and the labor power of its’ human population.

Capitalist economies are designed to funnel the profits created by the exploitation of human beings and natural resources into the hands of a tiny minority of people who run the world’s economic and political systems for their own selfish ends.  Only about 170,000 people on planet Earth are the richest people, capable of spending $150 million on a single painting and still having more than enough money left over to live like kings and queens.  ALL of their wealth is derived from the exploitation and superexploitation of workers, who make up the vast majority of the world’s population.

The capitalist system is based firmly on the “nuclear family”: one male and one female (or, now, two female or two male) wage- and debt-slaves raise the next generation of wage- and debt-slaves for future exploitation by future generations of capitalists.  The wage-slave parents carry out their responsibilities of inculcating in the heads of their children respect for the capitalist system and its police and military forces, and a robust belief that “our country” is better than all the other countries and must be defended at all costs.  Hatred of various despised races and religions is handed down, generation after generation, all to the benefit of the capitalist class, which can thereby organize the workers into military units to go anywhere in the world to defend the domestic and foreign investments of the capitalist masters.  The work of feeding, clothing, sheltering and health care of the young wage-slaves is financed using the wages and debt incurred by the parents, which is another huge gift to the capitalist class, as it means that the wages paid out by capitalists on the one hand are almost entirely returned to the capitalists through the economic activity of the wage- and debt-slave parents.  In the modern era, the capitalists have found that it is a far more effective method of social control to “pay” workers by extending them credit, rather than by actually paying wages.  This keeps the wage slaves drowning in debt, which forces them to work harder and longer every year to keep their heads from going deeper under water than they already are.  The proof that this system works effectively at brainwashing the wage- and debt- slaves into defending their own exploitation can perhaps best be seen here in the United States, where the vast majority of the heavily indebted wage- and debt-slaves are convinced that they are enjoying a “freedom” not to be surpassed anywhere in the world.

To call countries like the United States “democracies” is the capitalist class’ idea of a good joke.  They have successfully conned millions of wage- and debt-slaves (collectively known as “the working class”) into believing that they actually have a role to play in deciding which gang of politicians hired by the capitalists will get to “run the country” over a set period of time.  In fact, in “bourgeois democracies” like the USA and Great Britain, the working class plays almost no role at all in making such decisions.  It is the tiny minority of the capitalist class who finance every major political campaign and who decide well in advance of any election which party politician will be hired to do the bidding of the capitalist class.  Any politician deemed to be insufficiently loyal to the capitalist class, insufficiently dedicated to the continued existence of the capitalist system, will find him or herself unable to raise the funds necessary to get their name on the ballot.

The current US presidential campaign is a perfect case in point:  Hillary Clinton has raised over $1,000,000,000.00 for her Presidential run already.  She did not get the vast majority of that money from the working class: she was given it by the richest 1% of US citizens – the capitalist class.  And that money comes with a lot of strings attached: Ms. Clinton has made binding promises to each and every major donor to her campaign that whatever it is that they want done under  Clinton presidency will get done whether it is politically popular among the workers or not.

In every capitalist country in the world the capitalist class wields its massive wealth to sabotage any attempt made by the workers to fight for their rights, even to the extent of creating phony “political activism” NGOs and other organizations that pretend to defend worker rights but which invariably actually are financed by and therefore beholden to the capitalist class.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, 360.org and the Tor Project – to name but a few – are all firmly in the pockets of the big capitalists.  They will never, ever do either of two things: 1) oppose the “right” of capitalists to exploit workers and to amass tremendous private fortunes and 2) during times of “class peace” they will NEVER form any political party in opposition to the political parties of the capitalist class or to oppose the fundamental class interests of the capitalists.

Even this near-total control of the political and economic systems is not enough for the top capitalists, whose massive wealth alienates them more and more from the working classes of the world: they are not surprisingly terrified of the workers someday organizing themselves to topple the capitalist class from its increasingly precarious position atop the social pyramid.  This is why the capitalist class of the US, for example – in spite of decades of statistics showing a long-term decrease in violent crimes – has demanded that its hired politicians allocate more and more money to the military and police forces whose real role is not “to protect and serve” ALL classes of people, but, in the final analysis, to protect and serve the 1% of the wealthiest from the justified rage of the oppressed workers.

This is why, as more and more wealth has been squeezed out of the blood, bone and sinew of the working class and transferred to a smaller and smaller percentage of the capitalist class we have seen a concomitant increase in police and military brutality across the capitalist world.  The United States Government – wholly owned and under the direction of the US capitalist class – has even re-legalized torture and the right of the principal political representative of the capitalist class – the President of the United States – to order the extralegal assassination of US citizens who dare to oppose the class interests of the leaders of the US capitalist class.  Police brutality is not an aberration under the capitalist system, as the reformists dutifully and continually teach the workers; it is the norm and the necessary corollary of an economic and political system which ruthlessly exploits the many for the benefit of fewer and fewer.

Also in contradiction to what the reformists preach, environmental degradation and war are also symptoms of “normal” conditions of life under the throughly irrational capitalist system.  In their mad, global quest for more and more wealth, the capitalists must search in nation-states not their own for opportunities to enrich themselves, which brings them face-to-face with three sources of opposition: the raw materials they seek are in the possession and under the control of another nation’s capitalist class, and those raw materials are being worked by that nation’s workers.  The capitalist class of major imperialist countries first attempts to arrange a business deal with their competitor capitalists in that foreign nation-state under which the imperialist power gets the majority of the profits.  If the capitalist class of that minor nation-state proves to be unwilling to allow this to happen, then the imperialist power unleashes its secret police forces as well as its banking power to try to engineer a political change inside the target country that benefits the US capitalist class.  They will attempt to purchase politicians and capitalists; if that fails to work, the CIA will assassinate the obstreperous opponent of the US capitalist class.  If that fails, then they send in the Marines and overthrow the government under some phony pretext.

The military forces of a capitalist state do not defend the “national interests”, as the bourgeois press owned by the capitalist class would have us believe: they defend the foreign investments of the US capitalist class, making it “safe” for US capitalists to risk their stolen wealth by opening mines, oil fields and agricultural lands to their untrammelled exploitation.  If workers in these targeted countries rise up in revolt against the oppressive governments forced upon them and supported by US political and military intervention, the US capitalist class, through its secret police agencies and its military discover who the uppity slaves are among the workers and order their hirelings in that targeted country to arrest, torture and imprison those rebels – or they just have them murdered, or have the CIA/Navy Seals/Special Forces do it for them.

Lastly, the capitalist system is an ad-hoc system, under which, since every billionaire is free to invest his or her stolen wealth as he or she sees fit, no one is in control of the economy.  It lurches forward, propelled only by the blind lust for personal wealth of the capitalists.  Occasionally, opportunities arise to obtain superprofits in one or another economic sphere: it might be the spice trade in one era, oil production and distribution in another or even real estate.  Once it becomes clear to the smaller capitalists that the big capitalists have created a “bull market” in a certain economic area (let’s say real estate), hundreds of billions of dollars are rerouted from other spheres of exploitation and into the “booming” real estate sphere – and an economic crisis is precipitated.  As more and more investors seek to enrich themselves in this one area of the economic “boom”, prices begin to rise far beyond the intrinsic value of the property in demand, until the economic bubble bursts, causing extensive damage to the national or even the global economy.  Since no government in any capitalist state actually has anything like real “control” of the economy, the politicians and bankers find themselves unable to repair the damage they themselves created due to their unquenchable greed.  In the end it is the working class that is made to pay for the damage: social spending is cut and taxes are raised to plug up the financial holes created by the blowout of the speculative bubble.  And then the cycle begins anew.

To Be Continued – IWPCHI