Tag Archives: Workers Party

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

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

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

—- IWPCHI

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

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

Finley Peter Dunne - Mr. Dooley's Observations_title page_1902

Finley Peter Dunne – Mr Dooley’s Observations – Immigration

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“Fight for $15” “Speaks Truth to Power”; “Power” Says: “Go to Hell!”

The capitalists who run this country – and who own and operate both of the political parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – and who also own and operate the Green Party and the Libertarian Party as well – tell you that you should not expect to make a decent living wage while working at a typical service economy job. It was this same capitalist class – or their parents – the capitalists of the last generation – who systematically dismantled the large industries of this country in the 1970s and 1980s – the steel mills – they shut them down; the factories – they shut them down and moved them overseas where the unions were weak and the wages were low. The US capitalist class deliberately destroyed millions of high-paying union jobs here in the USA – and told the workers “oh don’t worry; the economy is just evolving into a service economy – there will be plenty of jobs for everyone.” What they didn’t tell you is that these new jobs would be low-paying and unskilled and that they would be non-union jobs. And now when you demand that you be paid a decent living wage in this new “service economy – they tell you that your demands are unreasonable; that raising the minimum wage will hurt the economy! When you play by the rules that the capitalist class creates to make themselves rich and drive you into poverty you will lose every time. Is $15/hour “unreasonable”? No! In fact, $15 an hour is far too low to be a living wage.

Economists have told us that in order for a person or a family to live decently, to be able to afford to pay for housing, food, clothing, daycare and all the other expenses of life – and now they have added the burden of paying for health care too, something that no workers in any other industrialized country have to pay for – in order for us to live well we should not have to pay more than 25% of our monthly income for housing. Originally, back in the 1970s, the limit was 25% – in the 1980s, when it first became clear even to the government economists that very few people in the US actually paid just 25% of their income on housing – they were paying much more – they raised the limit to 30%. So now they go by this new limit that you should never have to pay more than 30% of your monthly income on housing. And so they took that 30% number and they used it to create what they call a “living wage”: that is: how much money does a worker have to make to be able to pay no more than 30% of his or her given monthly income in any city in the USA? And for Chicago – and this was ten years ago! – they came up with the figure of $20 an hour or something like that. That was 10 years ago – and it was confirmed again in a new study published in 2015! This is true!

In 2015 the “National Low Income Housing Coalition” published a study called “Out of Reach – Low Wages and High Rents Lock Renters Out”.  Now you know that this study’s conclusions must be very reasonable because the study was funded by the banking firm of J.P. Morgan and Chase! In this study, the average housing costs are calculated for every state and every county in every state, and then they determine from what the rent costs for an average two-bedroom apartment in every county and use that figure to determine what the mimimum wage must be in order for workers to not have to pay more than 30% of their income on rent. For Cook County, IL – this was a study published in 2015, so the figures at the time of publication were most likely a year old – they determined that a fair minimum wage for a worker with a small family who needed a two bedroom apartment had to be at least $21.02/hr or $43,720 a year! This is why we in the Independent Workers party of Chicago don’t understand why your leaders are “Fighting for $15” when even J.P. Morgan Chase’s own study says that in order to live like a human being here in Chicago you need to make at least $21/hour! Obviously, the leaders of the “Fight for $15” movement are overly concerned that if they ask for $21 – which is what is actually necessary – they will seem unreasonable to the capitalists. So they are limiting the demand to just $15/hour. Very reasonable, right? They are more concerned about looking reasonable to the billionaires than they are about fighting for you and your families!

The Democrats ho run “Fight for $15” are doing what the US billionaire class hired them to do: keep wages low and profits high. $15/hr minwage is $6 BELOW what J.P. Morgan study said – in 2015 – was minimum wage necessary to live decently in Cook County.   Source: “Out of Reach” p 69.

So the organizers of “Fight for $15” go and bring their very, overly reasonable demand for a statewide $15/hour minimum wage to Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois. Now as we all know, Bruce Rauner is a very wealthy man. He’s not just a millionaire – he’s not even a “hundred-millionaire”! He’s a BILLIONAIRE! He has spent his life robbing the workers of this nation blind so he could have all that money – that is a fact – no one gets to be a billionaire without ripping off a whole lot of people!

And what does Billionaire Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner say to you when you ask him for the very, overly reasonable minimum wage of $15/hour? He tells you to go to hell! Why? Because in his opinion – and in the opinion of the US capitalist class – which makes up less than 5 percent of the US population – it will “ruin the Illinois economy” if millions of Illinoisans get paid just $15/hr. ! “$15/hr is UNREASONABLE” says billionaire Bruce Rauner!

Well that is bullshit! But do you want to know what is really unreasonable and what is really ruining the US and the world economy? What is REALLY unreasonable is that capitalist billionaire Bruce Rauner and his billionaire friends – who together make up only 3% of the US population – own over 50% of the wealth of the USA! The billionaires of the US – and that includes that racist pig president we have now, the friend of the Nazis and enemy of the workers Donald Trump – these billionaires who make up just 3% of the population own over 50% of the national wealth! And does Bruce Rauner think that THAT is unreasonable? NO HE DOESN’T! He thinks that it is fair for 3% to own 50% of the wealth – to him and his capitalist friends, they’re splitting the wealth evenly 50-50: 50% for the 3% who are billionaires and 50% for the other 97% of the US population! And he has the nerve to tell you that your very reasonable demand for just $15/hr is UNREASONABLE and that if it is adopted it will ruin the economy!

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

Bruce Rauner is a liar! When the minimum wage is increased all of that money that gets paid to the workers gets put right back into the economy and makes the economy grow. The more the workers make the better the economy is. For the workers all that money is going to get spent on the necessities of life for ourselves and our families. So when Bruce Rauner or anyone tells you that raising the minimum wage is going to ruin the economy, they are lying! What these lies about raising the minimum wage mean is that these billionaires who own this country and who own and operate both of the political parties in this phony democracy of ours would rather see you all drop dead than give you a living wage so you and your families can live like human beings! And this 3% of filthy rich greedheads will impoverish the entire nation and get away with it because they own and operate the political parties in this country! The fact is that in this phony democracy of ours, the minority rules! The 3% can tell 97% to go to hell and get away with it every time because they own the politicians in all of the major political parties – and then they turn around and call this a democratic system of government!

How is it that just 3% of the population gets to own 50% of the national wealth and gets to deny the vast majority of the population – you, the working class – the right to raise the minimum wage to a reasonable level for survival? They get to do this because YOU the workers – who make up at least 70% of the population – do not have even ONE representative at the state or national levels of government! Every single state rep and state senator – every single representative and senator in Washington – is owned by the billionaires of this country. The billionaires have bought every important politician in the statehouses and in the national government – and you the workers, who make up the vast majority of the population – do not have even ONE representative fighting for your rights! How did this happen and what can you do about it?

It has happened because you have not created your own workers party that is owned and operated by you – instead you have remained loyal to the two parties of big business – the Republicans and especially the Democrats. So when they tell you that you don’t need your own political party, all you need to do is “speak truth to power” power can ignore you, because you do not have even one representative in the state or national governments of this country. Because you the workers have not understood the importance of having your own political party owned and operated by you – a workers party that has the power – because you are the vast majority of the population of this country – to run this nation in YOUR interest – “power” can just ignore you and can continue to run the government in the interests of the 3%.

They tell you that the Democratic Party is “the party of the working class”. Well everyone knows that is a huge lie. If the Democratic Party was “the party of the working class”… when Barack Obama was first elected and came into office in 2009 the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. The Republican Party had been completely discredited in the corrupt swindle of the housing crash of 2008. The Democrats, who controlled the White House, the House and the Senate in Washington could have passed any kind of legislation they wanted to! If they wanted to make the minimum wage $15/hr they could have done it right then and there. But they didn’t: instead, they took out a loan for $1.7 trillion dollars to bail out the banks that had created the housing crash in the first place – and then they stood by and did nothing as millions of people lost their homes. They didn’t even send one banker responsible for this biggest-ever swindle in the history of the world to jail! And they didn’t do a damned thing for the workers in the entire 8 years of Obama’s presidency. The Democratic Party runs most of the major cities in the USA – which means that they run the racist police departments of the USA! It is the racist police run by the Democrats who have been murdering black workers with impunity and getting away with it because Democratic States Attorneys refuse to prosecute the cops even for the most savage crimes against the workers. Anyone who thinks that the Democratic Party is “the party of the workers” should have their head examined! The Democrats do not now and they never have been “the party of the working class”. Almost every single Democrat and every single Republican in the last analysis is a bought-and-paid-for servant of the billionaire class – the capitalist class of the US.

What can you do about this? It is absolutely necessary – if you want to be able to exercise your rights as the vast majority of the population as workers – you absolutely MUST dump the Democrats and the Republicans and build yourselves a workers party that is 100% funded by you, run by you and operated solely in YOUR class interests. You need a workers party that will lead the fight for a workers government – those who labor should and must rule! That is the kind of party we in the Independent Workers Party of Chicago want to build. It will be a party that is owned and operated by you the working class. It will not represent the capitalist class at all – it will only represent you the workers. But how will we fund this party? It will be funded through your donations and for those who want to be members of the party through your membership dues – just like a trade union. All of the money will be spent on organizing this party and getting as many worker-representatives elected as possible to the local, state and national legislative bodies of this nation. This party will be an actual political party – not just a lame NGO that relegates itself to “speaking truth to power”. The working class will BE the power! We will no longer go around begging the politicians owned and operated by the working class to “do for us”: we will do for ourselves! We will be in a position not to just BEG for a raise in the minimum wage, we will have a majority in the house and senate and we will be able to pass whatever legislation we want. In other words, a workers party will demand that the majority – the working class – must decide how this country is run and will take the power out of the hands of the 3% of greedy billionaires like Bruce Rauner and place it in the hands of the vast majority – you, the working class! We need to throw out of power – permanently – that gang of greedy billionaires that is right now using their Democratic and Republican parties to run this country like a slave plantation!

The revolutionary Trotskyist Independent Workers Party of Chicago says: the organizers of the fight for $15 are being far too reasonable: it costs more than $15/hr to live decently in Chicago. The capitalist system is a system by which the vast majority of the population is robbed blind so a handful of billionaires can live like kings! We do not want to be “reasonable” we want to get rid of the capitalist system before it gets rid of us and our families! In Illinois we need a $25/hr minimum wage – and that minimum wage should be strictly indexed to inflation – and it should be automatically raised each and every year at least 1% above the rate of inflation! Workers should not be made to pay with their lives so that a handful of millionaires and billionaires can steal half of the wealth of the nation and use it to purchase total control of the political system of the nation! We need to make the billionaires pay for the suffering caused by their crumbling capitalist system which robs the poor and gives to the rich; which makes a handful of people obscenely rich and leaves a constantly growing number of millions of workers in poverty!

We’re the Independent Workers Party of Chicago and we say: Dump the Democrats and Build A Workers Party!  Dump the Capitalist System before it dumps you!  Build A Workers Party to fight for a revolutionary Trotskyist workers government!  You can find us at iwpchi.wordpress.com and on Twitter @IWPCHI.   Happy Labor Day Everyone!

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

 

Zika Virus: Capitalist Press Spreads Inaccurate, Fear-Mongering Unscientific Information [UPDATED 17 Apr 2016]

Countries with reported cases of Zika virus as of December 2015.

Countries with reported cases of Zika virus as of 4 December 2015.  Source: ECDC, “Rapid Risk Assessment: Zika virus epidemic in the Americas: potential association with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome -10 December 2015”

[UPDATE (17 April, 2016): The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have now BOTH announced that they believe that the latest scientific evidence DOES IMPLY THAT A CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ZIKA VIRUS INFECTION AND BIRTH DEFECTS EXISTS.  We agree with this statement made by World Health Organization’s Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan: “Though the association [between Zika virus infection and birth defects] is not yet scientifically proven, [researchers have] concluded that there is now scientific consensus that Zika virus is implicated in these neurological disorders. The kind of urgent action called for by this public health emergency should not wait for definitive proof.” We plan to write a new article incorporating this latest information; in the meantime you can review the latest announcements here:

World Health Organization (WHO): (22 March 2016)  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2016/zika-update-3-16/en/

WHO:  Zika Virus – Questions and Answers  http://www.who.int/features/qa/zika/en/

CDC:  (April 13, 2016)  http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/t0414-zika-update.html

New England Journal of Medicine:  (April 13, 2016)  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsr1604338

—IWPCHI]

[Author’s note: this article, though slightly revised today, Mar 15th was originally written on 3 February 2015.  In a fit of uncharacteristic timidity we hesitated in publishing it due to the rather broad declarations made by the author, who is not a medical professional.  Having seen very little to date in the scientific literature that contradicts the gist of the author’s arguments we have decided to “let this bird fly”. We have appended links to latest peer-reviewed preliminary studies on Zika virus released this past week by the New England Journal of Medicine.  – IWPCHI]

As usual, the bourgeois press are eagerly trumpeting the latest health scare news in order to increase their profits, with little or no regard for the accuracy of their statements about the disease or the impact their horror stories will have on the public.

We were doubtful about the first scare stories we heard late last year (2015) as they were big on spreading fear and contained little useful information – as usual. It seems that it is beyond the ability of the capitalist press to report any science story without gross distortion of the facts or, in the case of “emerging diseases”, scare-mongering. But after all, the purpose of the capitalist press is not to educate but to make money. And so we are being bombarded by a flood of absurd and inaccurate fear-inducing articles about Zika virus and its possible effects.  We hope that this article will shed some light on the subject.

Our research into this topic took us to the websites of the New York Times, the Guardian (UK), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as a number of scientific papers on the subject. The links you’ll find throughout the article will take you to many of the sources we used to compile this review of the current status of the Zika virus epidemic.

No scientific evidence exists at this time proving a link between Zika virus and microcephaly

We are happy to report that our investigation of the Zika virus reveals little that should terrify anyone. A Zika virus infection almost never leads to death; in Brazil, where somewhere between 440,000 and 1,300,000 cases of Zika virus infection are belived to have occurred in 2015, fewer than a dozen people had died as of 30 November 2015.  [Source: ECDC – Zika virus epidemic in the Americas 10 December 2015 (see pages 3 and 8)]  Only an estimated 1 in 5 people who are exposed to the virus will even develop any noticeable symptoms! The Zika infection itself usually causes either no symptoms at all or mild illness (such as fever, rash and sometimes vomiting) and is over without any lasting complications usually in less than 2 weeks after onset of symptoms. In other words: Ebola it ain’t!

The loudly and irresponsibly spread stories comparing Zika virus to AIDS and linking Zika virus infections in Brazil to birth defects including microcephaly are – so far as we can determine at this time – utterly without foundation.

A note about how science suffers in the hands of the capitalists

All of these organizations are products of capitalist society and bourgeois science. They exhibit all the weaknesses inherent in all governmental and corporate endeavors in the “for-profit” capitalist world. The governmental and quasi-governmental scientific organizations of the capitalists are forced to justify their existence and the expenditures made in their support to a capitalist ruling class that would much prefer to keep the money in their own pockets rather than spend it on scientific inquiry. In order to keep the government channeling money into their bureaucracies, even “scientists” running organizations like the World Health Organization must remind the world from time to time just how important it is to keep the funding flowing in their direction. Epidemics like Ebola and Zika virus can be expected to be exploited for this purpose by national and international health organizations as well as by the for-profit news media. This is why we often see the supposedly “impartial” scientific bodies of the capitalist world exaggerating or understating the dangers of emerging diseases – depending on which way the political winds are blowing in the capitalist nation-states in which these scientific organizations are based.

The World Health Organization was severely criticised for its slow response to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. That is a major reason why we think they may be “bending the stick too far” in the opposite direction, overreacting to an alleged microcephaly “epidemic” which is in fact merely coincident to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil. As with everything else, greed-based capitalism poisons scientific inquiry and the news media reportage on scientific topics. The scientific truth is buried under political and economic imperatives of a profit-mongering ruling class that places its own petty self-interest above all else. Political appointees to important governmental posts responsible for the health of millions or even billions of people have proven over and over again to have placed their careers ahead of the public welfare. We’ve seen this with the AIDS epidemic, the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, the Ebola outbreak, the Flint, Michigan (USA) water scandal, the “debate” over global warming and now once again with the Zika virus.

Added to this weakness inherent in bourgeois press reportage on scientific subjects in general and the motivations behind the sensationalist claims made by national and international medical organizations we must add the current hatred of the United States Government and its proxies for the government of Brazil, which is partner to a new economic union of the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (known collectively as the “BRICS” nations) which represent a serious threat to the current domination of the world’s economy by the United States.  Elements of the Zika virus hysteria appear to be motivated by the US desire to do anything it can do to weaken the government of Brazil economically (Brazil of course being the “B” in “BRICS”).  By exaggerating the impact of Zika virus the US hopes to reduce tourism to Brazil, in particular during the upcoming Olympic Games to be held there this year, thereby putting severe economic pressure on the increasingly unstable current left-reformist capitalist government of Dilma Rousseff of the corruption plagued and grossly misnamed “Partido dos Trabalhadores” (“PT”: in English: “Workers Party”).  This campaign by the US and European press is already bearing its malignant effects; sales of tickets to this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro are reportedly going very poorly, and tourism is generally down as well.

The longer the working class allows the capitalist greedheads to run the world, with each passing day the more serious become the environmental and economic problems we all have to face. It is just a matter of time before these idiots destroy the planet through a combination of wars, epidemics and environmental destruction.  While workers pretend that there is nothing they can do to change the world, the capitalists, constantly focusing on satisfying their mad lust for money, will make our lives more and more difficult to bear.  With their new, idiotic campaign against Zika virus, they have undertaken to pointlessly scare the crap out of the world’s expectant mothers over something which has been demontrated for decades to be relatively harmless.

As a revolutionary Trotskyist political party we are not here to make money selling newspapers – we are here to tell the working class the truth about what is going on in the world as best as we can. We don’t benefit by spreading scare-stories like the bourgeois press does; that is one of the benefits of having a political party like ours solely dedicated to defending the rights and interests of the working class.  Sensationalizing such an important story would only bring discredit upon our political party – we have nothing to gain from such chicanery.  So here’s what we’ve been able to discover so far about Zika virus and its alleged link to microcephaly.

Brief historical background on Zika virus

Millions of people have been infected by Zika virus since 1947 and NEVER had there been a related outbreak of microcephaly reported anywhere – until late last year. Is there any reason to believe that something new is happening with Zika virus all of a sudden?  We think it is unlikely.  We could be wrong – we’re not doctors or virologists, and viruses can undergo evolutionary changes that transform harmless viruses into very dangerous forms.  Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often – if it did, the human race would have been wiped out long ago. 

The Zika virus was first detected in Uganda in 1947; starting in 1951 the virus was detected in humans throughout Africa and, later on, in Asia. In Nigeria in the late ’60s – early ’70s it was found that antibodies produced in response to Zika virus infection were present in the blood samples of 40% of the people tested – meaning that human exposure to the virus was extremely common and that chances of long-term survival after exposure were very high. [Source: Edward B Hayes – Zika Virus Outside Africa]  During all this time that the virus was causing illness in human beings in many countries on two continents NO ONE reported cases of birth defects caused by the virus, nor were there any accompanying epidemics of microcephaly reported anywhere until in the recent Brazilian outbreak of 2015.  In a Zika virus epidemic in French Polynesia during 2013-14 there were reports of Zika virus illness accompanied by the development of Guillain-Barre syndrome  but those reports have not yet been confirmed as it is quite difficult to diagnose accurately.

News reports from Brazil, where an apparent epidemic of cases of microcephaly is now occurring, have screamed that the Zika virus is responsible for these microcephaly cases. BUT AS OF THIS WRITING, THERE IS NOT A SHRED OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE INDICATING THAT ZIKA VIRUS INFECTION CAUSES BIRTH DEFECTS IN HUMANS!  Something very unusual appears to be happening in Brazil… but it’s so very new that scientists simply don’t yet know what exactly is going on with the apparent birth defect outbreak there.  A closer look at the evidence indicates that the reported microcephaly outbreak may be greatly overstated.

Distribution of microcephaly cases in Brazil as of 28 November 2015. Source: ECDC

Distribution of microcephaly cases in Brazil as of 28 November 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC

Notified - NOT confirmed - cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil, 2010 - 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC

Notified – NOT confirmed – cases of microcephaly reported in Brazil, 2010 – 2015. Source: ibid., ECDC  Scary-looking graph – but over half (66%) of the reported cases of microcephaly examined so far turned out to have been falsely diagnosed, according to Brazilian health authorities quoted in the New York Times (see story below).

Over half of reported microcephaly cases in Brazil proven to have been wrongly diagnosed so far

The hysteria generated in Brazil by the idiot bourgeois press in their lust for profits has led to overstating of the number of actual cases of microcephaly in newborn Brazilian babies. The New York Times reported this past week that in well over half (462 out of 700 cases, or 66%) of the reported cases of microcephaly either no microcephaly was found, or it was equally likely to have been caused by something other than an infection like alcohol or drug abuse by the mother during pregnancy” according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.

Microcephaly is not always easy to diagnose in newborns, as many children are born with slightly smaller heads; in some cases, the parents themselves simply have slightly smaller skull sizes in comparison to the “average” – which is, by itself, not indicative of any brain abnormality at all. The “average” human skull is the median size between the largest and smallest – there is variation in human beings’ “normal” skull sizes. Except in extreme cases it is often necessary to wait for some time – months – before it becomes clear that a baby’s growth rate is not progressing normally.  Since many of the people whose babies are suspected of suffering from microcephaly are poor, their ability to obtain the proper medical care necessary to provide an early and accurate diagnosis is lacking – thanks to the crappy capitalist system which only provides quality health care to those who can pay for it.

Microcephaly cases in Brazil concentrated in northeastern provinces

The current hysteria over Zika and the perceived increase in Microcephaly cases in Brazil may well be leading to overdiagnosis of microcephaly by overly cautions medical personnel. It would be more accurate to say that what we are seeing in Brazil is not necessarily an increase in microcephaly, but an increase in the number of cases diagnosed as microcephaly.   Only time will tell how many actual cases there are.  As these suspected cases of microcephaly are studied over the next few months, it is highly likely that many of the babies will turn out to be developing normally.  It is crucially important at this stage of the investigation into this apparent unaccountable increase in microcephaly cases that all potential causes are looked into, not just Zika virus.  The distribution of microcephaly cases may be indicative of regional exposure to environmental toxins, contaminated food or milk or water or any number of other things.   Focusing solely on Zika could prove to be a costly mistake if it turns out that something else is causing the alarming rise in microcephaly cases.

SOMETHING is going on in northeastern Brazil which is causing a significant number of babies to be born with measurably smaller skulls.  The fact that never before have there been reports of increased incidence of microcephaly accompanying Zika infection – even after hundreds of millions of people having been exposed to it – is very good news and hopefully this long-term trend of no Zika virus-microcephaly link will continue.

 The Brazilian government seems to be focusing on eradication of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. This may turn out to be a waste of time and money as well as a wild goose chase that may have deleterious impacts on the environment. A very broad investigation encompassing all possible ways that pregnant women whose babies are confirmed to have microcephaly may have been exposed to chemicals or toxins known to cause such birth defects must be undertaken. It appears to us to be doubtful that Zika virus is in fact the cause of any actual microcephaly outbreak taking place in Brazil.

Adding to our suspicions that the world is going off on a wild goose chase is the latest data coming in from an even more recent outbreak of Zika infection in Brazil’s next-door neighbor, Colombia. There, additional thousands of people have come down with Zika virus illness – but as yet, thankfully! – no increase in the number of microcephaly cases has been reported there so far (as of 3 February 2016).  That is very good news!

Since the virus and its infection run their course so quickly it is impossible to say for certain whether or not a woman was infected with the Zika virus during her pregnancy unless blood and perhaps even spinal fluid samples were taken from her during the time she was suffering from a Zika infection. Reports that Brazilian women had been infected with Zika virus during their pregnancies were often based on surveys conducted with the women after they have given birth – months after their alleged Zika-related illness may or may not have occurred. It’s quite possible that many of these women whose babies have been born with severe birth defects and who THINK they may have been exposed to Zika virus during their pregnancy were not in fact exposed to the virus while they were pregnant. The media-induced hysteria could be creating create “false memories” in people who are only now, retrospectively “remembering” experiencing symptoms of the disease that were caused by other things.

Intensive studies of the apparrent microcephaly epidemic are underway now and we expect that the scientists investigating this mysterious outbreak of birth defects will be able to determine its cause over the next year.  At this time there is no reason for pregnant women to fear for the health of their babies due to the spread of the Zika virus. Health agencies are urging women living in or traveling to countries where the Zika virus outbreak is ongoing to take basic precautions to prevent exposure to the mosquitoes that carry the virus.  Since the mosquitoes that carry the virus are active in the daytime as well as night, pregnant women are urged to use insect repellent all day as well as mosquito netting while sleeping or resting.   

Based on our survey of the available literature from the WHO, PAHO, and the CDC and ECDC there is no solid scientific evidence at this time indicating that Zika virus definitely causes microcephaly or Guillain-Barre syndrome. The Zika virus has infected millions of people all over the world since the late 1940s and has proven so far to be as harmless as the common cold for the vast majority of people who are exposed to it. Zika is nowhere near as dangerous as “Ebola”.  There is at this time absolutely no reason for people to panic over the spread of this relatively innocuous virus.  We advise people to continue to monitor the situation as it develops over the next year.  Panicking does no one any good – unless you happen to be an owner of a print or broadcast media empire – or the head of state of a declining imperialist power like the United States.

—IWPCHI

[UPDATE 15 Mar 2016:  The latest information on the developments in Brazil relating to the Zika virus and its possible links to microcephaly cases that we have found was published over the past two weeks in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The titles and links are available below.  — IWPCHI

“Zika Virus Associated with Microcephaly” (reporting on ONE confirmed case);  New England Journal of Medicine, 10 Mar 2016

“Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro – Preliminary Report” NEJM 4 Mar 2016.  This article relates the findings of the first 88 pregnant women who have been enrolled in a study of the effect of Zika virus in them and their babies.  While prenatal ultrasound exams indicated microcephaly in 4 of the 88 babies examined so far, those results were only confirmed in just one case; two predicted cases of microcephaly based on ultrasound proved UNFOUNDED at birth.

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, "Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro - Preliminary Report", 4 March 2016 NEJM (4 Mar 2016) at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1602412#t=article

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, “Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro – Preliminary Report”, 4 March 2016
NEJM (4 Mar 2016) at
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1602412#t=article

World Capitalists Brace for Extended Period of Continued Recession

In the wake of a series of downbeat economic reports, many economic analysts are warning their clients that the world economy is in for a prolonged period of economic stagnation and possibly another downturn.

In a series of articles in the Financial Times of London, the leaders of several key industries have made it clear that they expect the world’s economy to go sideways or downwards over the next 18 months.  Industrial demand has declined significantly due not only to the economic crisis in Europe, but also due to declining demand from “emerging economies” like China and Brazil, whose relative economic strength over the past several years has been basically the only economic force keeping the world’s economy from plunging even deeper into the current depression.  Yes, that’s “depression” with a “d”.  The capitalist press has long pretended that the economic malaise that has spread across the globe since 2008 is “just” a “severe recession”.  But for all intents and purposes, this is a depression – not, perhaps, as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s, but it is the worst economic crisis since that time.  So let’s just stop the faking and call it a plain old depression.

The bellwether steel industry is busy preparing to reduce capacity in the face of the economic slowdown in China.

“Rod Beddows, chief executive of Hatch Corporate Finance, which specialises in metals, says there is ‘massive pessimism’ in the steel industry about current conditions and future prospects, with the worries being most intense in Europe.   ‘A lot of companies are floundering and not sure about how to alleviate the problems linked to overcapacity.
New thinking is required but seems absent.’  [Source: Financial Times (London); “Bleak outlook from ‘peak steel’ “, 8 July 2012]

The article goes on to say that just two months ago a “shock announcement” was made by one of the world’s leading steelmakers, ThyssenKrupp, that it was looking to sell two huge steel plants it had been in the process of building in the US and Brazil.  These plants had been intended to satisfy what was, just a few years ago, a dramatic rise in demand for steel that was predicated on the continuing building boom in China, which had outstripped the steelmaking capacity in that socialist country.   However, over the past two years, the Chinese economy has begun to stagnate due to the steep decline in demand from the twin disaster zones of world capitalism: the US and Europe.

In a separate article in the same uber-bourgeois business newspaper, Boeing, Inc., the US’ biggest exporter, is reported to have made public the results of their corporate economic wizards’ most recent examination of the innards of their very expensive crystal ball and concluded thusly: ” ‘We’re looking at a world economy where … we slog through the situation here in Europe and then once you get into the 2014 timeframe and beyond, you see more normal economic growth,’ said Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice-president of marketing. ‘What we are experiencing now will be normal for the next one to two years.’ ” [Source: Financial Times (London): “US set for earnings roadblock as growth falters”, 8 July, 2012.

So it looks like there is no end in sight to the economic crisis being faced by the capitalist system, which is rapidly driving down wages and living standards for workers all over the world.

So long as we stick with the capitalist system, this is the kind of “future” we can expect: boom-and-bust-and-boom-and-bust again, where the rich keep getting richer and the poor get whipsawed over and over again.

Have you had enough of this crap, fellow worker?  Then let’s get to work putting an end to this insane economic thrill ride once and for all by abolishing the capitalist system and replacing it with a rationally planned workers democracy!

By the way: when we say “let’s get to work” we’re not talking to the guy next to you on the bus, we’re talking to you!  YOU have to get involved building the Independent Workers Party; YOU have to dedicate the best part of your life to this work or it AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!  And we can all enjoy riding the big capitalist rollercoaster until the whole disaster ends with another Big Bang: World War Three!  And that won’t be any fun at all, children.

 

IWPCHI

We’re like “Occupy Chicago” – for principled people.

  Originally inspired by the sudden emergence of the Occupy Wall St. movement in 2011, and having spent some time working with Occupy Chicago, we have come to the firm conclusion that Occupy Chicago is not and will not become the type of organization so badly needed by the working people of the United States.  The leadership cabal that has taken over control of the Occupy Chicago movement and run it into the ground is composed of unprincipled political bandits who will stop at nothing to get their way inside Occupy Chicago, using slander, intimidation, vote-rigging, and spreading vicious lies about their opponents in order to maintain a stranglehold on the direction of the Occupy movement.  The leaders of Occupy Chicago have covered up instances where members of their “security” apparatus stole funds from the organization; they have concealed the fact that they paid $350.00 ransom in a fake “kidnapping” scheme carried out by a former member of their “security apparatus”; they have even used false charges of assault and battery against a dissident member of their organization in order to exclude him from participation in the Occupy movement here in Chicago.  These gangster methods of operation are anathema to the workers movement and should be condemned by all class-conscious members of the entire Occupy and workers movements!

  The leadership of Occupy Chicago is opposed to anything resembling a democratic process inside Occupy.  Bureaucratic methods are routinely utilized by the Occupy leadership to intimidate and silence political opposition inside the organization.  The leaders also do not hesitate to call upon the armed fist of the capitalist class – the police – in order to “settle” disputes between the Occupy leadership and dissident members of the organization.  At least one dissident member of the group has been arrested at GAs more than once at the behest of the Occupy leadership and their “Security Committee” for opposing the Occupy Chicago honchos.  Both Andy Thayer and Kieran Aarons have been present when these arrests were made, and did nothing to stop this outrage.  This comes as no surprise to us in the case of Andy Thayer, now fronting something called the “Coalition Against the G-8” (CANG8), is a (former?) member of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) who was happy to call the police on political activists who dared to criticise the ISO leadership during their public events in Chicago.  He stood by smirking while an oppositionist inside the Occupy Chicago group was arrested at the request of Occ Chi leadership during an abortive GA meeting “organized” by Kieran Aarons at De Paul University in the loop last December. Though there is, of course nothing wrong with being a socialist, there is something very wrong with using the armed fist of the capitalist class, the police, to “mediate” political disputes in the workers movement.  The ISO also notoriously assisted the Feds when they placed the Teamsters Union in “recievership” years ago.  Calling in the capitalist cops to police the workers movement has historically been considered to be a crime against the working class.  But for the fake-socialists of the ISO – and in Occupy Chicago, it’s just “business as usual”!

  Without the creation of a class-based, union centered political party of the workers, by the workers and for the workers, nothing will change.  By refusing to build such a political party – and the leaders of Occupy have repeatedly stated that they have no intention of building a political party representing the working class –  the Occupy movement is pledging to be nothing more than a pressure group providing the Democrats and Republicans with moral advice on how to behave like “responsible” capitalist politicians.  This ‘strategy’ of the Occupy movement is a complete waste of time.

  In order to fight the entrenched power of the Republican and Democratic parties in our phony “democracy”, the working people must create a political force at least as well organized and cohesive as that opposing the working class via local, state and national government.  The capitalist ruling class knows how to exploit the working class very effectively and brutally, and they have organized two political parties to achieve this objective: the Democratic and the Republican parties.  Between these two organizations there exists a division of labor: one party, the Republicans, tells the working class straight out to”Go to hell!”  The other equally pro-capitalist political party, the Democratic Party, has a more subtle tactical strategy to entrap the working class: they pretend to be the “friends of labor”, and constantly lie to the workers, making sweet noises in our ears one minute, then turning around once they have our votes in their pockets and stabbing us in the back.  Both of these parties, in the final analysis, actually represent one class and one class only: the capitalist class, the “1%” of obscenely wealthy bankers, stock market swindlers and industrialists.  The much-ballyhooed “democracy” of the United States, in which the working people, who make up the vast majority of the population, have not one single representative at the local, state or national level, is a complete fraud. 

 The small minority of wealthy people who actually run the United States enjoy a total stranglehold on the political system of our country.  They own both the Republican and Democratic parties and run the government entirely in the interests of the big banks and corporations, for the benefit of themselves.  These greedheads do not give a damn about anything but increasing their own personal wealth.  They know that in the future, as capitalist production becomes automated, they will need fewer and fewer workers… so why should the wealthy class pay for the education of working-class children, whom they have no intention of ever hiring?  Why should they provide a national healthcare system to workers who they never intend to hire and who they wish would just drop dead already?  Why should they spend their hard-stolen money to keep retired (i.e. unexploitable and worthless – to them) workers alive for years?  To the capitalists, millions of us are not worth a damn, because they can’t make money off the unemployed and the poor people.

 Thus, it is imperative – from the standpoint of basic survival – that the working people organize their own political party in order to wrest political power from the hands of these greedy, selfish cretins and to learn to wield this power ourselves, in the interest of the vast majority of the population who work for wages – the working class.  In order to do this, we must build a political organization that is owned and operated by ourselves – the working people of this country.  Our party will be completely financed by ourselves through membership dues and donations from our fellow workers.  If every working-class person gave just $1.00 a month to our party, we could have the best funded political party on the planet – easily.  Such a party will quickly become a major force in national politics, and will rapidly become the dominating political force, able to reorganize this country in any way it wishes to.  The Occupy movement was able to raise millions of dollars in just a few months (which they rapidly squandered on useless projects).  Our party, which will be composed of hard-working, responsible workers will be able to raise far more money than Occupy ever dreamed of raising – and we won’t be wasting our hard-earned money on offices with hot tubs and such nonsense.  We will use our money to educate ourselves and our fellow workers; to raise massive amounts of money to support striking workers all over the US and around the world; to provide excellent legal defense for jailed worker-leaders and heroic worker-activists.  We will train organizers and send them all over the country to build political organizations in all 50 states until we can replace all the pro-capitalist politicians in every local, state and national political office with reliable representatives of the working class.  As the rapid political changes taking place all over the world, from Tunisia to Egypt, Greece and other countries shows, this process can happen very quickly once the working class is mobilized to do it.  Let’s get started today!  Join us!