Friday, August 18, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Racist monuments are coming down

A comrade on FB:

The violent bigots who stormed Charlottesville yesterday, murdered a young woman, and beat others senseless are driven by a poisonous lie that ought to be held in the daylight and shriveled in the sun.

"Every other nation can have pride, can advocate for itself but ours" they assert. "Why is it heroic to be proud of one's blackness and villainous for us to be proud of our whiteness?"

Because there is no such thing as "white culture" or a "white nationality", and "White" is a racist fiction to begin with.

Whiteness is an ever-moving goalpost. Italian, Greek, Irish, Slavic immigrants, none were "white" when they arrived in North America. Each was brought into the fold to preserve a "majority" that has never really existed, meant to keep Black Americans oppressed and exploited, and to drive the deepest wedge possible through working people and our ability to recognize our common interests.

It doesn't help advance any struggle against racism or national oppression to think of yourself as "White". It doesn't help you orient yourself or guide how you should engage in the world. Feeling alienated and ashamed doesn't make you much of a fighter, and encouraging others to feel the same way throws fuel on the fire of a rotten myth.

There are clear battles to be fought, and clear demands to be made. If history is any indication, those fights will be disproportionately lead by Black Americans descended from slavery. But those battles belong to everyone who wants a better future for humanity, and increasingly the door is widening to bring all working people into their ranks.

The racist flags and monuments are coming down, and the reaction from the bigots is unsurprising. They're loud and dangerous, but they're losing. Remember that.

Fascism: scientific definition versus subjectivism

....Because of the decline in Marxist political culture in the world today, “fascist” is an epithet used by many on the left to mean any demagogic politician. They care little for seeking to learn the rich history of the revolutionary working-class movement’s writings on fascism from Germany and Italy to the U.S.

Fascism is the name given to reactionary mass movements that arose leading up to World War II — like those led by Benito Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany and with echoes in the U.S. and other imperialist countries — that were backed by the capitalist classes in those countries when the existing dictatorship of capital could no longer survive by normal “democratic” means.

Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Russian Revolution, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929 by Joseph Stalin as part of a broader counterrevolution against the program of V.I. Lenin that led the workers and farmers of Russia to power in 1917, wrote extensively about fascism. His goal was to lay bare the class dynamics that led to its rise and to politically prepare revolutionary-minded workers to fight against it.

Through the fascist movement “capitalism sets in motion the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of declassed and demoralized lumpenproletariat — all the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy,” Trotsky explained, and then uses them as thugs to smash the labor movement and its vanguard communist organizations.

The fascists “initially rail against ‘high finance’ and the bankers, lacing their nationalist demagogy with anticapitalist demagogy,” notes Socialist Workers Party National Secretary Jack Barnes in Capitalism’s World Disorder. In order to divert ruined petty-bourgeois elements and demoralized workers from seeing capitalism as the problem, the Nazis scapegoated the Jews as responsible for the growing economic and political crisis and whipped up calls for a “final” solution to the “Jewish question.” At the same time, the fascists “ape much of the language of currents in the workers movement. ‘Nazi’ was short for National Socialist German Workers Party.”

“Fascism is not a form of capitalist rule, but a way of maintaining capitalist rule,” Barnes said.

Fascist groups, which exist on the fringes at first, only get financial and political backing from a significant section of the bourgeoisie when the working class “puts up an increasingly serious challenge to capitalist rule itself,” Barnes said.

In Germany and Italy the working class was unable to unify and mobilize its allies to overthrow capitalism and take power because of the betrayal by the Stalinist Communist Party and the reformist Social Democrats.

In 1930 the Social Democratic Party received 8,577,700 votes and the Communist Party 4,592,100 votes compared to 6,409,600 for the Nazis. If the Social Democrats and Communist Party had formed a united front, if the trade unions they led had built workers defense guards, if they were on a political course to lead the working class to overthrow capitalist rule, they could have stopped fascism on the road to power. Instead, they did nothing to stand up to the fascist gangs and Hitler came to power without a fight.

Workers paid the price of the Stalinist and Social Democratic betrayal in blood. Millions of Jews and gypsies were sent to their deaths in concentration camps. The unions were destroyed. The working class was driven off the political stage.

Counterpunch’s Pollack says the election of Trump is “a forward space in what I term a pre-fascist configuration, i.e., analogous to Germany in 1938.” Hardly.

Trump surprised bourgeois politicians and pundits across the political spectrum. He convinced a layer of workers that he was the lesser evil compared to Clinton; not so hard to do given the anti-working-class record of Bill and Hillary Clinton when they occupied the White House. Hillary Clinton helped Trump win by calling workers who were considering a vote for him “deplorables” and “irredemables.”

That’s the same language many on the left still use today. Andrew Levine, says in Counterpunch Feb. 3, that “Trump’s supporters fall into three broad categories: dupes, deplorables, and opportunists.”

Levine says it’s “the lowlifes whose cages he [Trump] had rattled and whose passions he had inflamed” that are the problem, showing his scorn and fear of the working class.

In fact, Trump’s policies are a mix of steps designed to attract working-class support, like his disdain for the government’s fake unemployment figures and his call for infrastructure building and a repair program to provide jobs, with demagogic nationalist rhetoric that divides the working class. Like other bourgeois politicians he seeks to shore up capitalism.

Facts don’t matter to the ‘left’

To those crying “fascist,” however, the facts don’t matter.

Workers World Party leader Larry Holmes, to take just one example, said in a Jan. 29 speech, “Building the ‘Wall’ and this ban on Muslims are fascist acts.”

Holmes leaves out that about 650 miles of the “wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border has already been built, mostly by the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Does Holmes think Clinton and Obama are fascists?

Labeling Trump a fascist, helps pave the way for resuscitating the Democrats, the rulers’ other party, as the answer.

There is another danger in mislabeling Trump and his administration as fascist. It disarms the working class politically for when fascism really does raise its ugly head once again — as it inevitably will when the ruling families see no other way to maintain capitalism.

Communist workers don’t care which bourgeois candidate any individual workers voted for — or didn’t — in the presidential election. What working people need is to organize independently of both capitalist parties.

Far from the political space for workers to discuss, debate and fight having been smashed by fascist gangs, the field is wide open. The Socialist Workers Party’s candidates take its revolutionary program and win support on workers’ doorsteps in cities, towns and the countryside, as well as on strike picket lines and social protest actions.

We say the Socialist Workers Party is your party. What we do now in building a revolutionary workers party will be decisive in the years ahead.

The Militant - February 20, 2017 -- Calling Trump a ‘fascist’ disorients the working class

Trotsky defines the F word

Fascism rises when capital must crush working class

This excerpt from the article “Whither France?” written by Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky in October 1934 offers a concise explanation of fascism. The full article is published in Leon Trotsky on France. Copyright © 1979 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.


In all countries the same historical laws operate, the laws of capitalist decline. If the means of production remain in the hands of a small number of capitalists, there is no way out for society. It is condemned to go from crisis to crisis, from need to misery, from bad to worse. In the various countries the decrepitude and disintegration of capitalism are expressed in diverse forms and at unequal rhythms. But the basic features of the process are the same everywhere. The bourgeoisie is leading its society to complete bankruptcy. It is capable of assuring the people neither bread nor peace. This is precisely why it cannot any longer tolerate the democratic order. It is forced to smash the workers by the use of physical violence. The discontent of the workers and peasants, however, cannot be brought to an end by the police alone. Moreover, it is often impossible to make the army march against the people.

It begins by disintegrating and ends with the passage of a large section of the soldiers over to the people’s side. That is why finance capital is obliged to create special armed bands trained to fight the workers, just as certain breeds of dogs are trained to hunt game. The historic function of fascism is to smash the working class, destroy its organizations, and stifle political liberties when the capitalists find themselves unable to govern and dominate with the help of democratic machinery.

The fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie. The latter has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other. Its dissatisfaction, indignation, and despair are diverted by the fascists away from big capital and against the workers. It may be said that fascism is the act of placing the petty bourgeoisie at the disposal of its most bitter enemies. In this way big capital ruins the middle classes and then with the help of hired fascist demagogues incites the despairing petty bourgeois against the worker. The bourgeois regime can be preserved only by such murderous means as these. For how long? Until it is overthrown by proletarian revolution.

The Militant - February 20, 2017 --Fascism rises when capital must crush working class

The great political and moral crisis of our time

Workers should never present today’s crisis of the propertied classes and their social system as primarily an economic crisis. No, it is the great political and moral crisis of our time. It is proof that only the working class has a chance to resolve this crisis and begin transforming society in a truly human way. Because only the working class, the propertyless class, has no interest in turning like dogs on any of the victims of the crisis-ridden capitalist system.

That is why the battle for jobs, the battle for solidarity, the battle against racism and the oppression of women, the battle against immigrant-bashing, the battle for social protection — why all these are a battle for the life and death of the labor movement. They are the battle for the time and space to prepare a socialist revolution! That is what is at stake in pulling the working class together.

Working-class leaders, not utopians

The biggest lie supporters of capitalism tell about socialists is that we are trying to create a utopia, mess with people’s lives, and engineer a massive social experiment. You want to play God with the lives of other human beings, they charge. Big governments and bureaucracy are proven enemies of common people — why can’t you socialists ever learn? That is the opposite of the truth. In fact, communists are less inclined in that direction than any group of people on the face of the earth. As Marx put it, when writing about the Paris Commune of 1871, revolutionary-minded workers “have no ready-made utopias to introduce…. They know that in order to work out their own emancipation, and along with it that higher form to which present society is irresistibly tending by its own economic workings, they will have to pass through long struggles, through a series of historic processes, transforming circumstances and men.”

Communists are materialists, dialectical materialists. We start with facts, with social realities, and how they develop and change over history — how they are shaped by shifting productive relations, social labor, and revolutionary activity. We know that our class and its toiling allies, who make up the majority of humanity, cannot organize the world on new foundations as we are. And a state bureaucracy cannot do it for us, either. We must change ourselves. On this, we are “Guevarists” to the core.

“To build communism it is necessary, simultaneous with the new material foundations, to build the new man,” Che Guevara wrote in his 1965 article “Socialism and Man in Cuba.” We agree. Workers can and will change ourselves as we go about changing the material foundations of our relations to each other. But this cannot be done without tearing down the brutal class divisions that underlie all social relations today and that will lead through war and fascism to a culmination too horrible to even imagine — unless our class organizes to take power out of the hands of the capitalists.

There is only one real equality possible in today’s class-divided world — political equality. And it only becomes possible in the revolutionary workers movement. It only becomes possible as those who make up a fighting workers vanguard collectively prepare ourselves for the battles to rid society of every vestige of exploitation, oppression, and discrimination.

The socialist revolution is not the end of recorded history, as Stalinist ideologues have tended to present it in order to rationalize the counterrevolutionary course of the parasitic caste and its claim to have established socialism in a single country. No, the workers revolution is the beginning of truly human history.

What is most important about the workers revolution is not the particular property changes that will sweep society directly in its wake — although without them, nothing further would be possible — but the fact that its victory opens other revolutions, such as the historic revolution for women’s emancipation. That will not be settled just by overthrowing the capitalist state and declaring the class struggle over. The new possibilities opened by a revolutionary victory, however, will lay the material foundations on which women’s liberation can be achieved and precipitate an explosion in the fight for real economic and social equality by the millennia-long oppressed sex. Similarly, all the manifold forms of class oppression bequeathed by thousands of years of property systems will for the first time be open to being vanquished. 

Excerpts from Capitalism’s World Disorder: Working-Class Politics at the Millennium by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party. It is one of Pathfinder’s Books of the Month for August. Written in the midst of fast-breaking events that marked the opening of the 21st century, the bulk of the book is comprised of four talks by Barnes that discuss the economic, social and political underpinnings of the significant changes that swept world politics between the 1987 near meltdown of the world’s stock markets, and the so-called Mexican “peso crisis” that hit in December 1994. The selection is from “Capitalism’s Deadly World Disorder,” presented in April 1993 to participants in a regional socialist educational conference in Greensboro, North Carolina. Copyright © 1999 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.

The Militant - August 21, 2017 -- ‘Only the working class can resolve crisis of capitalism’

Friday, August 11, 2017

Democrat politicians and their media shills see workers — especially workers who are Caucasian — as a big, dangerous mob of racists and reactionaries

....For Blow and his ilk, workers seeking a solution to this state of affairs are just the “waning power of whiteness, privilege, patriarchy,” and a desire to go back to the “good old days” when women “got back-alley abortions and worked for partial wages” and “coal was king.”

He and his ilk see workers — especially workers who are Caucasian — as a big, dangerous mob of racists and reactionaries.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson Aug. 3 tells workers who back Trump they don’t much matter. “The voice of a laid-off West Virginia coal miner is no more authentic than that of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur,” Robinson says, “or — and this may be shocking — an opinion writer for a mainstream news outlet.”

“Frustrated with a political system that seems incapable of getting much of anything accomplished,” he says, “they decided to lob in a grenade, blow it to smithereens and start over.”

That’s true.

Facts that don’t match their assumptions don’t matter to the liberal media. After months of articles with the wildest insinuations of Trump administration collusion with Moscow, they have little to point to that makes the case, but that doesn’t stop them.

And they lionize Special Prosecutor William Mueller, former boss of the FBI, the rulers’ political police, who’s been tasked with bringing Trump down.

Mueller impaneled a grand jury at the end of July with power to subpoena documents, grill witnesses and make indictments. He has assembled a gang of FBI agents, prosecutors and hot-shot lawyers to do the job.

Workers have seen this type of operation before. The rulers pick a target, then turn special prosecutors and grand juries loose until they find something to pin on them. They spin off leaks and do everything possible to make the victim look like a criminal.

Mueller decided he wanted some papers from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Instead of asking for them, he got the FBI to carry out a predawn raid on his home to seize them. Then he got the raid leaked to the Washington Post, which made it the lead story on its website Aug. 9.

It turns out that Manafort had already turned over many of them to a congressional committee also “investigating” Trump.

Big Trump rallies

Despite wishful thinking by liberals that support for the president “is collapsing,” Trump has called out supporters in the face of this witch hunt in big rallies in working-class cities like Youngstown, Ohio, and Huntington, West Virginia.

“Are there any Russians here tonight?” Trump asked to laughter from a crowd of thousands Aug. 3 in Huntington, in the heart of coal country. “We don’t’ need advice from the Washington swamp,” he said to cheers. “We need to drain the swamp.”

“The reason the Democrats only talk about the totally made up Russia story is because they have no message, no agenda and no vision,” the president said. Under his leadership, Trump promised, “American workers will build the future and American energy and American clean coal will power this future.”  

Full article:

U.S. Socialist Workers Party visits Sulaimani, Kurdistan Region, Iray

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region, Iraq —

“If you read these two books, you’ll have a better understanding of the deepening crisis in capitalist politics in the U.S. today I’m sure you’re hearing about,” said Steve Clark, editorial director of Pathfinder Press, at a meeting at the Endese bookstore here July 20. “You’ll find out why the wealthy rulers were taken by surprise by the outcome of the presidential election last November.”

Clark was holding up The Clintons’ Anti-Working-Class Record: Why Washington Fears Working People and Are They Rich Because They’re Smart? Class, Privilege, and Learning Under Capitalism — two new books by Jack Barnes, national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States. At the invitation of Endese owner and manager Hazhar Majeed, who chaired the program, Clark was speaking at a book-signing event to introduce some 100 of Pathfinder’s Marxist titles the store in downtown Sulaimani has recently begun selling. The books are displayed on a large bookshelf in the store....

Full article:

We start with facts, with social realities....

....The biggest lie supporters of capitalism tell about socialists is that we are trying to create a utopia, mess with people’s lives, and engineer a massive social experiment. You want to play God with the lives of other human beings, they charge. Big governments and bureaucracy are proven enemies of common people — why can’t you socialists ever learn? That is the opposite of the truth. In fact, communists are less inclined in that direction than any group of people on the face of the earth. As Marx put it, when writing about the Paris Commune of 1871, revolutionary-minded workers “have no ready-made utopias to introduce…. They know that in order to work out their own emancipation, and along with it that higher form to which present society is irresistibly tending by its own economic workings, they will have to pass through long struggles, through a series of historic processes, transforming circumstances and men.”

Communists are materialists, dialectical materialists. We start with facts, with social realities, and how they develop and change over history — how they are shaped by shifting productive relations, social labor, and revolutionary activity. We know that our class and its toiling allies, who make up the majority of humanity, cannot organize the world on new foundations as we are. And a state bureaucracy cannot do it for us, either. We must change ourselves. On this, we are “Guevarists” to the core.

“To build communism it is necessary, simultaneous with the new material foundations, to build the new man,” Che Guevara wrote in his 1965 article “Socialism and Man in Cuba.” We agree. Workers can and will change ourselves as we go about changing the material foundations of our relations to each other. But this cannot be done without tearing down the brutal class divisions that underlie all social relations today and that will lead through war and fascism to a culmination too horrible to even imagine — unless our class organizes to take power out of the hands of the capitalists.

There is only one real equality possible in today’s class-divided world — political equality. And it only becomes possible in the revolutionary workers movement. It only becomes possible as those who make up a fighting workers vanguard collectively prepare ourselves for the battles to rid society of every vestige of exploitation, oppression, and discrimination.

The socialist revolution is not the end of recorded history, as Stalinist ideologues have tended to present it in order to rationalize the counterrevolutionary course of the parasitic caste and its claim to have established socialism in a single country. No, the workers revolution is the beginning of truly human history.

What is most important about the workers revolution is not the particular property changes that will sweep society directly in its wake — although without them, nothing further would be possible — but the fact that its victory opens other revolutions, such as the historic revolution for women’s emancipation. That will not be settled just by overthrowing the capitalist state and declaring the class struggle over. The new possibilities opened by a revolutionary victory, however, will lay the material foundations on which women’s liberation can be achieved and precipitate an explosion in the fight for real economic and social equality by the millennia-long oppressed sex. Similarly, all the manifold forms of class oppression bequeathed by thousands of years of property systems will for the first time be open to being vanquished.  

Full article:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Not normal bourgeois politics: Criminalizing political differences

Liberals witch hunt to impeach Trump driven by fear of the working class



The shrill and unrelenting witch hunt by liberal Democrats, some Republican politicians and most of the bourgeois news media who accuse President Donald Trump of “colluding” with Moscow to “influence” the 2016 presidential elections, has reached a new fever pitch. These forces thought they had finally reached a “gotcha” moment when Donald Trump Jr. admitted he had had a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin in June 2016.

The witch hunt is aimed at criminalizing what are in fact political differences in order to force the impeachment or indictment of President Trump and bring down his administration.

Trump is the target of an open-ended investigation by special counsel and former FBI chief Robert Mueller, as well as both the Senate and House intelligence committees.

The New York Times giddily ran an article July 22 that they had uncovered a memo by Kenneth Starr, who served as special counsel assigned to look into possible impeachment of then President Bill Clinton, that said a sitting president could be criminally indicted.

Liberal papers, nighttime TV talk shows, morning commentators and countless others with blood in their mouth are full of calls to bring Trump down.

This is not normal capitalist politics.

The capitalist rulers saw something new and different in the 2016 elections that kindled fear of the working class. The object of their fear isn’t Trump, but the workers they saw behind his victory. Millions of workers and farmers are beginning to see that the capitalist political parties have no solutions for the carnage they face from today’s deepening crisis of capitalism — except throwing the monetary and human costs of their crisis onto the backs of working people. The rulers fear what they see coming out of this — sharpening class struggle.

“The media often reports that Trump won a majority of voters without college degrees, which is taken by Trump supporters as just a nicer way of being called stupid,” Gary Abernathy, editor of the Times-Gazette in Hillsboro, Ohio — where Trump won 75 percent of the votes — wrote July 21. For millions of people, he says, when Trump calls charges of collusion with Moscow “fake news,” he “strikes a chord because the Russia hysteria is not real news, either, not compared with the issues that impact their daily lives.”

What is important here for class-conscious workers is not that Trump is better politically than the liberals, he isn’t. His goal, like theirs, is to defend the interests of the capitalist system in a time of crisis.

But the appointment of a special counsel, and fawning praise from the liberals for this former FBI top cop, is dangerous for the working class. The special counsel is called out when the rulers are looking to get someone. He starts with a target and then goes to work to find something to use. He digs with no time limit, no limits on what he can investigate or the charges he can bring. His appointment undercuts the constitutional protections to due process in the Bill of Rights.

And bringing down Trump would tell millions of workers who voted for him that their votes are less meaningful then the liberals’ political vendetta.

Trump fights back

Trump has begun to call out those he suspects of being part of the “leakers” feeding the press frenzy. And others he believes have made it easier for the liberals to use whatever they can get their hands on to take him down.

This is what’s behind his complaints that Attorney General Jeff Sessions betrayed him when he recused himself from having anything to do with the “Russian collusion” charges.

And Trump criticized Sessions for failing to investigate Hillary Clinton over the scandal that found she had illegally sent and received “top-secret” information on her personal computer.

In a remarkable turnabout, the liberal press has now become a champion of Sessions, a politician they have pilloried as a racist and reactionary. The July 27 Economist ran an article headlined, “Jeff Sessions Is in Peril; So Is America.”

Trump went back on the road to mobilize the workers who elected him against the liberals’ crusade. He spoke to an overflow crowd of more than 6,000 in Youngstown, Ohio, July 25.

When he said he was glad to be “back in the center of the American heartland, far away from the Washington swamp,” he got some of the biggest cheers of the night, with loud chants of “Drain the swamp.”

“I don’t care for the hatred directed towards him or the people who supported him,” Dave Torrance, an African-American Trump supporter who attended the rally from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, told the New York Post. “There have been plenty of presidents I did not vote for, but I always want them to be successful so that our country is successful.”

“He’s exactly who we wanted, someone fresh, different, not a politician,” Roxanne Jewell, of Orangeville, Ohio, told the Post.

Ranchers’ Rights to Graze Cattle on Federal Lands

(As I See It)

Defend the Bundys! Defend ranchers’ access to 
public land



OAKLAND, Calif. — “In Defense of Ranchers’ Rights to Graze Cattle on Federal Lands” was the topic of the Militant Labor Forum here July 21. This writer was the speaker, on behalf of the Socialist Workers Party.

On July 17 Dennis Richter, from Los Angeles, and I attended the opening day of the frame-up retrial in Las Vegas of Scott Drexler, Richard Lovelien, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart, four men who participated in a protest three years ago demanding that Cliven Bundy’s cattle be freed from federal government impoundment. A number of other people who joined the protest, including Bundy and two of his sons, are in prison pending later trials on related charges.

This past spring a jury in the same courtroom had been unable to find the defendants guilty. The charges included “assault on a federal officer,” “threatening a federal law enforcement officer,” “interstate travel in aid of extortion,” and “conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.” Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial of the four, while two others were convicted on some of the charges.

The Bureau of Land Management seized 400 of Bundy’s cattle near his Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch in April 2014, and was preparing to take them to California and sell them. They claimed to be acting in defense of the environment, with court decisions backing them up.

The fact is the Bundys — like most farmers and ranchers — pride themselves on being stewards of the land, on which their livelihoods depend.

Hundreds of ranchers, family members and other supporters from all over the western United States rallied in defense of the right of the Bundys and all ranchers to graze their cattle on lands controlled by the federal government.

Federal agencies control nearly 87 percent of the land in Nevada. For generations Bundy family members paid grazing fees, until BLM bureaucrats arbitrarily limited Cliven Bundy to grazing 150 head on the land. He decided to ignore the order and continued to graze his cattle as his family had done for decades. By 2014, the family faced $1 million in unpaid fees, fines and interest, and a series of court orders to stop using federal lands near his small 160-acre ranch.

Following a tense standoff between the heavily armed Clark County police, sheriffs and BLM cops on one side, and Bundy family members and their supporters, a few of whom were armed, on the other, the cattle were released. As Lovelien’s attorney Shawn Perez said in his opening statement at the trial, “Not a shot was fired, not a bottle was thrown, not a rock was thrown.” Not by Lovelien, any of the other defendants or any other supporter of the Bundys.

After this victory, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, at that time the majority leader in the Senate, threatened, “It’s not over!” And sure enough, the FBI went to work to cook up “evidence” for frame-up charges against Bundy, the current defendants and others. The defendants have been denied bail while awaiting trial.

When the prosecutors failed to get the four defendants convicted last spring, they pressed for a new trial and got Judge Navarro to bar defense attorneys “from referencing constitutional rights to freely assemble and to bear arms,” and “from mentioning alleged misconduct or excessive force by law enforcement,” as they did successfully in the earlier trial.

Working people should stand with the Bundys and the other defendants. The day before the trial began, Richter and I knocked on doors in a workers’ neighborhood in Las Vegas near the Nellis Air Force Base.

“We introduced ourselves as members of the Socialist Workers Party, explained our revolutionary perspectives and reported on protests in defense of the Bundys and the other defendants party members had attended the day before,” said Richter. “The four workers who we had the chance to speak with at length said they had heard about the ranchers’ protests and the trials. They expressed their solidarity and all got copies of the Militant.”

We explained, and I repeated it at the forum in Oakland, that a fighting alliance between workers and independent producers such as ranchers and farmers is necessary to end the dictatorship of capital and to make the revolutionary changes needed in this country. “The logic of workers, farmers and ranchers fighting in our interests — against the wealthy capitalist rulers and their government — is to mobilize in our millions to take power, to establish a workers and farmers government,” I told the forum.

Such a government would ensure that ranchers are able to continue to make a living and act as guardians of the land and the environment as a whole.

Friday, July 21, 2017

U.S. bourgeois campaign against the working class today 

Liberals furor against Trump reflects fear of working class


Why are liberal Democrats, some Republican politicians and most of the mainstream capitalist media continuing to promote the witch hunt against President Donald Trump? Why can’t they accommodate themselves to work with his administration? After all, he’s one of their own: A wealthy capitalist seeking to advance the interests of U.S. capital at home and abroad.

The fact is both the Democratic and Republican parties are in crisis. The rulers increasingly fear the working class, which is battered by depression conditions and sees no wing of the capitalist political parties with answers and responds to Donald Trump’s call to “drain the swamp.” The bosses see working-class battles coming down the road.

The most significant phrase uttered by President Trump in his inaugural speech, economics columnist Martin Sandbu wrote in the July 18 Financial Times, was not “America First” but “American carnage.”

“What sort of country describes itself, in the words of its highest leader no less, in such terms?” Sandbu asked.

“American decline is not a figment of Mr. Trump’s imagination,” Sandbu said, describing the carnage facing working people in the U.S. “Centuries-old progress against mortality has gone in reverse” and working people “are dying from the afflictions of broken lives and broken communities: drug overdoses, liver disease and suicide.”

The rulers fear of the working class fuels the relentless drive of the liberal Democrats and media moguls, as well as the middle-class left and some anti-Trump Republicans, to press for indictments against his family members and to drive him from office. They are bound and determined to criminalize what are in fact political differences with President Trump.

Campaign against the working class 
“Trump didn’t seize the presidency by deception,” wrote Colbert King in the Washington Post July 14. “Nearly 63 million Americans sent that burlesque comedy with headliner Donald Trump to Washington.” In other words, the problem isn’t Trump, but the workers who voted for him.

“The hosts of the late-night shows decided that they had carte blanche to insult not just the people within this administration, but also the ordinary citizens who support Trump,” Caitlin Flanagan wrote in the May issue of Atlantic, viewing them as the “minions pouring out of his [Trump’s] clown car.”

As a result, working people don’t believe much of what they see on the news, Flanagan says, because they see themselves falsely portrayed as “a bunch of trailer-park, Oxy-snorting half-wits” and KKK supporters.

This is why the workers who turned to Trump, many of whom had turned to Barack Obama four years earlier, don’t buy the liberal assault on the president. They agree that the capitalist media runs “fake news.”

Is Moscow the smoking gun? 
After months of trying to find a crime they could pin on Trump and his administration, the New York Times and others leading the charge against the president thought they finally found the smoking gun — a June 9, 2016, meeting Donald Trump Jr. had with a Russian lawyer and an ex-spy lobbyist who they thought had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Trump Jr. says it turned out the duo didn’t have any information of use, and they listened instead to their calls for relaxing sanctions against Moscow.

But even after the release of Trump Jr.’s emails, and scores of op-eds in the Timesand other papers crying bloody murder, no one can point to any “crime” that has been committed.

President Trump gets a hearing from many workers when he argues that Hillary Clinton violated the law with her handling of thousands of government emails, but was never prosecuted, while “my son Don is being scorned by the Fake News media.”

Charles Krauthammer, a conservative opponent of Trump, conceded in the Washington Post July 13 that Moscow is not the only world power that tries to intervene in the elections of other countries.

“You don’t have to go back to the ’40s and ’50s when the CIA intervened in France and Italy to keep the communists from coming to power,” he said. “What about the Obama administration’s blatant interference to try to defeat Benjamin Netanyahu in the latest Israeli election?”

The criminalization of political differences between different factions of the capitalist parties will continue.

Both parties are wracked by divisions and will never be the same. In addition to the ceaseless anti-President Trump chorus, the Republicans are divided by their own differences, incapable time and again of passing an alternative to Obamacare. And this despite the fact they have a majority in both houses of Congress.

Trump himself isn’t really a Republican. “President Trump has a funny way of talking about the Republicans as if he’s not one of them,” James Hohmann wrote in the Post July 19. “Maybe it’s because he was a registered Democrat until as recently as 2009.”

The Democrats are in no better shape. While they all are buoyed by the shrill campaign against Trump, they are bitterly divided on how to rebuild a party that can win elections and con working people. The Bernie Sanders “revolution” is working hard to gain position to take over the party, even if it means the Democrats continue to lose elections while they plod along.  


Joseph Hansen on 1969 moon landing

Read issue here:

Joseph Hansen:

The age-old fantasy of reaching the moon finally became a reality. The feat consti-
tutes a major milestone in the history of
mankind, particularly the development of

Watching the coverage of the event on
television, who could fail to be impressed
by the technological level that has now
been reached?

First of all, that man's first steps on
another planet could be viewed by millions
of persons all around our own globe
at the very moment these steps were taken
would hardly have been credible only a
few years ago. This advance itself is one
of the fantastic consequences of the space
age with its Telestar relay system.

Equally remarkable was the display of
reliability, not to mention clarity in voice
and image, of the communications system
linking the astronauts with their Houston
base. How much depended on this can be
judged by what would have happened to
Armstrong and Aldrin after they landed
if a single link in this system had failed.
Even more impressive was the revela-
tion of the sophistication reached in the
computers that carried out the continual
calculations as to the orbits and rendez-
vous of the two space ships. Hardly born,
the computer is already automated, mini-
aturized, coupled with radar and brought
to a level of dependability that spoke for
itself in the Apollo 11 mission.

As to the power of the jet engines, this
met all the requirements long laid down
by the better science-fiction writers.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature
of the entire mission was its superb orga-
nizational level- at least this was what
struck many Americans, who incline to
be connoisseurs of the organizational side
of human endeavors, ranging from the
performance of teams in the field of sports
to work forces numbering in the tens and
hundreds of thousands.

Most of the labor in the Apollo 11 mission
went into planning and preparation, the
actual mission representing only a live
performance of drills already performed
thousands of times. The contrast to ex-
ploration in previous centuries was strik-
ing, a convenient gauge happening to be
available in the news about the failure of
Thor Heyerdahl's attempt to cross the
Atlantic in a papyrus-reed boat.

The truth is, of course, that an enter-
prise of the scope of this one -like the
successful production of the atomic bomb-
is beyond the capacity of private enter-
prise. Only a government could assemble
500,000 persons, allot $24 billion, make
available the resources of the Army, Navy,
and Air Force in a concentrated effort
of such breadth for almost a decade. Which
does not mean, of course, that it was not
a highly profitable business for the compa-
nies that got the contracts. An accounting
on this would be highly revealing....

Hansen concludes:

....What can be achieved through central-
ized organization and the application of
scientific knowledge has been shown in a
way that will sink deep into the conscious-
ness of the masses.

Why can't similar organization and
scientific knowledge be applied to make
our everyday lives more secure and liv-
able? If we can go to the moon, why can't
we assure food for everyone? Provide de-
cent housing? Adequate medical services?

Guaranteed yearly incomes? An end to war?

It is now all the harder for the powers
that be to dismiss such questions as uto-
pian. They proved that itwas even possible to go to the moon!

Before too long science may thus have
its revenge on those who have diverted
it to inhuman ends-to profit-making at
the expense of human needs, to mass
murder, to the construction of fiendish
weapons capable of exterminating man-

New layers of humanity will now see
in a more vivid way how insane capi-
talism has become and what a world
could be built if the technological base
humanity has constructed could be placed
at the disposal of the people and utilized
in accordance with rational planning.

The most important feature of the Apollo
11 triumph may yet be the impact it has
on bringing man, the tool-making animal,
to realize that he has become sufficiently
skilled with tools, and that now he must
master his social and economic relations
if he is not to perish from what the tool
has become.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hysteria, violence, and deepening political crisis of the U.S. capitalist rulers

Shooter’s bullets driven by liberal fury, capitalist political crisis



July 10, 2017

James Hodgkinson, a campaign volunteer and fervent supporter of Democrat Bernie Sanders, set out with a semi-automatic rifle and handgun June 14 to kill as many Republican congressmen as he could. As he walked toward the field in suburban Washington, where they were practicing for an upcoming congressional baseball game, he asked whether the team was the Democrats or the Republicans. In his pocket he carried a list of GOP representatives.

Within a few minutes Hodgkinson had fired off some 50 rifle cartridges and 10 shots from his handgun, severely wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, and injuring four others. Members of a special Capitol Police security detail, assigned to Scalise due to his post as Republican house whip, shot and killed Hodgkinson before he could kill other Republican politicians. Senators Jeff Flake and Rand Paul and three other House members were also at the game.

The assault came amid a frenzy of anti-Donald Trump demagogy in the liberal media, Democratic Party circles, the middle-class left, and from Broadway to Hollywood and beyond. “It’s time to destroy Trump,” Hodgkinson himself had recently written on Facebook.

The shooting is a reflection of the deepening political crisis of the U.S. capitalist rulers that was revealed, and accelerated, by the outcome of the 2016 election. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are wracked with widening divisions. Neither of them, nor the two-party system through which the propertied U.S. families maintain their rule and defend their profits, will be the same again.

Behind the hysteria is the employing class’s fear of the workers who voted for Trump. They were hoping to “drain the swamp” of capitalist politics in Washington and somehow halt the mounting social, economic and human calamity they and millions of other working people face. The rulers and their political representatives in both ruling parties are frightened that the election results point to growing class struggle to come.

CBS news anchor Scott Pelley even rationalized the attempted assassination by blaming the Republican victims. “It’s time to ask,” he said, whether the attack “was to some degree, self-inflicted.” And Phil Montag, co-chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party technology committee, was caught on YouTube saying he was “glad” Scalise was shot — “I wish he was f---ing dead.”

Unabated witch hunt

The liberals’ witch hunt of President Donald Trump continues unabated. They hope the “investigation” by special prosecutor and ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller, initially justified to look into alleged “Russian ties” to Trump’s 2016 campaign, will damage the president and/or those around him enough to somehow invalidate the election results or even lead to impeachment proceedings.

Mueller’s 12 years as the federal government’s top cop equip him well to lead a witch hunt. Since the early 20th century, the FBI has served as Washington’s political police. It has spied on, harassed, and sought to disrupt political and union activity by vanguard workers, Socialist Workers Party members, fighters for Black liberation, and other opponents of Washington’s imperialist policies.

As special prosecutor, Mueller has the unqualified authority to force witnesses to testify and to drag them before a closed-door grand jury, where they have no right to counsel. Federal prosecutors — whether targeting working-class fighters, “organized crime” figures, union officials, or their own peers and rivals in the capitalist two-party setup — follow a notorious pattern. They pour agents and resources into finding something, anything, to pin on you, real or manufactured. “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire.” Then they go all out for a conviction or a plea bargain.

In the case of Donald Trump, the liberals and their newspapers and TV networks are more than pleased to boost the frame-up. Dispensing with any pretense of presumption of innocence, New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote of Trump on the June 19 op-ed page, “in the court of public opinion he’s already guilty.”

Mueller has appointed a staff of lawyers that includes a number of Democratic Party donors, as well as a former Clinton Foundation attorney. Mueller is also a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey.

During the 2016 election, as part of an Obama administration effort to protect Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Comey usurped Justice Department authority by going on TV to say the FBI had decided not to recommend charges against her. Then, after he was fired by President Trump, he testified before Congress in early June that he “leaked” (through a friend) an FBI memo he’d written “because I thought that might prompt” the appointment of a special prosecutor.

“You don’t have to be a Trump partisan to have concerns about where all of this is headed,” said the Wall Street Journal in a June 16 editorial (and the Journal’s editors are decidedly not “Trump partisans.”) “Much of Washington clearly views Mr. Mueller as their agent to rid the country of a President they despise. Every political and social incentive in that city will press Mr. Mueller to oblige.”

Any attempt to impeach Trump, however, will infuriate millions of working people and others who voted for him, and many who didn’t, too. “American politics is divisive and dysfunctional as it is,” the Journal editorial warned. “Imagine what it will be like if millions of Americans conclude that a presidential election is being overturned by an elite consensus” of major newspapers and TV networks.

Growing numbers of working people already know something stinks about these “investigations” and the media orgy they’re subjected to morning, noon and night. This isn’t because they’re convinced the Trump administration has done anything to advance workers’ interests. Neither major capitalist party can or will. President Trump, like his Democratic and Republican predecessors, governs to advance the interests of the capitalist rulers and their profit-driven exploitation and oppression of working people.

Fewer workers than ever today identify themselves and the interests of their families with either party, the Democrats (the long self-proclaimed “friends of labor”) or the Republicans. They see that Democratic Party leaders and loyalists, as well as sections of the Republican Party, are determined to reverse the outcome of an election these bourgeois and middle-class layers can’t reconcile themselves to.

Liberal Democrats bemoan what they view as the “stupidity” and “ignorance” of workers and farmers who voted for Trump and who in mid-2017 are still incapable of “discovering” the danger of having him — instead of Hillary Clinton or some other Democrat — in the White House. Short of another sharp financial breakdown or deep capitalist recession, however, most of these working people will withhold judgment as long as they’re convinced the Democrats are determined to obstruct the new administration from doing anything.

Both capitalist parties fracture

The fracturing of the Democratic Party deepened after the defeat of party hopeful Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District June 20. Democrats had poured over $31 million into defeating the incumbent Republican. This was the fourth time this year that Democratic special election hopes have been dashed, trailing in the dust of others in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina.

These losses have aggravated political infighting between Democratic Party “regulars” — those who look to the Clintons, Barack Obama, or hopefuls such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — and those grouped around Bernie Sanders. Sanders and supporters of his “political revolution” increasingly insist that even if the Democratic Party loses some elections, those defeats are worth the price if they can wag their fingers and later take it over and reshape it as what they’ll falsely paint as a party of the “working class” and “progressives.”

As for the Republican Party, its divisions are shown, among other things, by its inability — despite sizable congressional majorities, especially in the House — to pass a single piece of substantive legislation since the opening of Congress and presidential inauguration in January. Their failure in both the House and the Senate to “repeal and replace” the erroneously named Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a clear example.

The depth of the GOP’s crisis, however, is revealed elsewhere. That’s the fact that they’re stuck with a president, the de facto head of the party, who wasn’t elected as a Republican. And who really isn’t one.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Left Jew-hatred at gay rights march

Post from a comrade on Facebook.

3 women at a Chicago pride march were prevented from marching because their rainbow flags contained a Star of David. I'm angered but unfortunately unsurprised by these events.

I've felt for a long time in no uncertain terms that "anti-Zionism" as a political description today is a cover for Jew-hatred. The politics under that umbrella have become less and less coherent over the past decade, littered with poison pens and abstract conspiracies. By and large they only strengthen the worst dead end leaderships in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, from the worst butchers of the Israeli occupation to the the reactionary terrorists in Hamas.

I probably don't say this as loudly or as often as I should. As a firm opponent of the government in Tel Aviv, and a supporter of the fight for a viable Palestinian homeland, I would support any and every effort that I felt could advance that fight.

But Jew-hatred poses a danger much beyond the threat it poses to the small handful of Jews in the world. It's meant to disorient *fighters*. It's meant to disarm and redirect the anger of millions at the shape of their world and their place in it. It's meant to let the cynical ruling classes who sit atop a dying system off the hook for all the brutalities and indignities on earth, and toss them at the feet of the most maligned population in human history.

Though today I seem alone in these convictions, I share them with two of the greatest revolutionary leaders of the 20th century: Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela. Unlike most radical "anti-zionists", these men led successful revolutions, and subsequently guided their nations on the world stage. Both gave unconditional support to the fight for a Palestinian state, and both formally recognized the State of Israel as a historic reality, something not to be undone without tremendous cost to humanity. Both rejected Jew-hatred without equivocation and understood the stakes in that.

Don't believe me? I have evidence:

Nelson Mandela-
"We identify with the PLO because like us, they are fighting for the right of self-determination"
"The support... does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the Right of Israel to exist as a state legally"
"In our organization, we have Jews. In fact, Mr. Gadafi did not allow us to open our office in Libya"

Fidel Castro-
"I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews."

If I'm a "Zionist apologist" or any epithet you'd like to throw my way, I'm in good company. What company are you keeping? And what have they won for humanity?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Reactionary terror does not equal resistance

This is the crucial point, and I've never seen it more clearly formulated:

....In a May 29 interview on Legacy Radio, Clifford took up Corbyn’s claim that the growth of Islamic State and its terror attacks are a blow-back from London’s participation in the Washington-led Middle East and Afghanistan wars.

Reactionary terror isn’t an understandable response by the toilers to imperialist aggression. The Algerian people faced tremendous brutality at the hands of French colonialism, but they didn’t respond in a reactionary anti-working-class IS-style way, Clifford said. “They organized a powerful revolutionary struggle and established a workers and farmers government.”

And in Cuba, Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement led workers and farmers to overthrow the U.S.-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship. They have defended their socialist revolution for over 50 years, setting an example for workers everywhere.

Working people in the Middle East don’t need U.N.-imposed “stability,” as Corbyn has argued, Clifford said. They need time and space, free of foreign intervention, to find the way to fight for political power. “The Communist League calls for U.K., U.S. and all foreign troops out.” 

The Militant - June 19, 2017 -- Communist League campaign in UK fights attacks on workers’ rights

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Bourgeois liberals' war on workers

‘Deplorable’ workers are true target of liberals’ fury



It is tens of millions of workers in the United States, not President Donald Trump, who are the target of today’s relentless liberal press hysteria and efforts by Democratic Party politicians to invalidate the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Middle class radicals are cheering in the stands.

These liberal-inspired assaults reached a new crescendo following Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey in early May.

What’s fueling this frenzied crusade? Why can’t the big business media, liberal Democratic Party figures, and even growing numbers of Republican politicians and mouthpieces reconcile themselves to Trump’s election?

The answer is that it’s neither Donald Trump, nor “a Trump presidency,” that sticks in their craw. What these ruling-class voices find irreconcilable are the millions of working people who voted for Trump. As Washington Post columnist Charles Lane complained May 4, “There hasn’t been nearly enough blaming of the people most responsible for [Trump’s] rise: his voters.”

The target isn’t simply working people who are victims of capitalism’s spreading carnage. The target is those (whatever their skin color or mother tongue) determined to find some way to say “no” to the never-ending assaults and indignities inflicted by the propertied ruling families on workers and farmers today.

These workers are drawn to the prospect of “draining the swamp” — cleaning out the growing federal bureaucracy of those who’ve found themselves a comfortable berth, as they contrive new ways to “nudge” and “regulate” us.

That’s why Trump won the 2016 election.

That’s shown, among other things, by the fact that in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and others, Trump won the votes of workers — most of them Caucasian — who had cast ballots for Obama in more than 200 U.S. counties in 2008 and 2012. These workers were looking for a change from government as usual, from capitalism’s mounting blows over the prior eight years and more (as were many workers who just stayed home on election day).

But Trump is a billionaire capitalist politician. Like those who came before him, he aims to serve the needs of the U.S. rulers abroad (arguably doing better so far than his two predecessors in advancing imperialism’s class interests), and at home (still very much a work in progress, from the standpoint of both exploiters’ parties).

Capitalists fear working people 
The capitalists’ fear of working people didn’t begin in 2016. It’s been growing as the capitalist crisis deepens, and as more and more workers are open to the necessity of deep-going change. This includes growing openness by working people to explanations and proposals of Socialist Workers Party members who knock on their doors campaigning for communism, who fight alongside them at work and on picket lines, or who join them in protests against cop brutality or for a woman’s right to choose abortion.

Increasing numbers of workers are beginning to sense there is nothing the bosses can do to respond to the stagnation of capitalist production and trade apart from taking more of it out on us. A broad social crisis is unfolding, as a significant section of the working class has been pushed out of the workforce and working people confront deteriorating access to health care, an epidemic of drug addiction, and, for the first time in decades, falling life expectancy.

That’s why Democratic and Republican politicians alike are taking steps to curtail the political rights working people use, and will need to use more in months and years ahead. The rulers are disenfranchising more and more workers by strengthening and expanding the bureaucratic and “regulatory” apparatuses of the capitalist government and state.

From the outset of Barack Obama’s primary bid in 2007, he and his Democratic administration demonstrated the same anti-working-class attitudes that led Hillary Clinton last year to demean those planning to vote for Trump, not for her, as “deplorables.” They are “offensive, hateful, and mean-spirited,” Clinton said.

What’s more, those on Obama’s own “deplorables” list aren’t just Caucasian workers who, as he said in 2008, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.” In his sights are also millions of workers who are Black. African-Americans, Obama said that same year, need to “replace the video game or the remote control with a book once in a while.” And they should stop feeding their children “cold Popeyes” for breakfast. (See box.)

Both parties of the employing class are in the midst of crises and makeovers. Neither will ever be the same as they were prior to the 2016 elections.

More workers sense the accuracy of a political cartoon run during the election campaign. It depicted two neighbors with signs on their lawns reading, “He’s worse” and “She’s worse.”

Even if liberals now were somehow able to get Trump impeached, as the Washington Post recently acknowledged, there is no reason Trump supporters “would suddenly be satisfied again with the old Republican and Democratic parties.”

Saint Mueller 
On May 16, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special prosecutor, tasked with investigating alleged ties between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Moscow. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted,” Rosenstein said.

The liberal press and top figures in both capitalist parties responded with fawning tribute to Mueller, practically elevating him to sainthood. But this former U.S. top cop built his reputation working for the capitalist ruling families to make their federal police agency more effective and virulent in spying and disruption.

The campaign against Trump has relied on classic frame-up techniques, slapping together lurid allegations and innuendos, in hopes some will stick.

Workers, including those targeted by the bosses for union or political activity, are all too familiar with this kind of witch-hunting. Vanguard working-class fighters, including members and leaders of the Socialist Workers Party, have been railroaded to prison, beaten up, or threatened with deportation when such inquisitions pick up speed.

All this is reinforced by endless lewd and vulgar “comedy” on late-night talk shows slurring Trump, including demeaning, anti-women comments about his daughter Ivanka and wife Melania. Morning “news” shows pick right up where the foul-mouthed “comics” left off.

Disenfranchising working class 
Political servants of the U.S. propertied families — especially the liberal think tank, university, foundation, nongovernment organizations and other middle-class and professional meritocrats who buttress bourgeois rule — are finding more ways for the government to dilute workers’ use of the franchise.

There is no better example right now than the U.S. rulers’ new special prosecutor.

In Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s memo on Comey’s conduct, Rosenstein recounts how the former FBI director baldly usurped the authority of the Justice Department and refused to acknowledge it.

“At most,” Rosenstein says, Comey “should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings. … The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.”

Republicans had urged Lynch to step aside from the investigation, after former President Bill Clinton flagrantly maneuvered to compromise her by walking onto her plane as it waited on the tarmac at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport in June 2016. Rather than telling Clinton to take a hike, Lynch proceeded to talk for 30 minutes with the husband of a candidate under investigation by the “Justice Department” that she herself was in charge of.

The working class has no stake in who heads up the cop agencies and other government bodies that serve the interests of the capitalist class. These are their tools to defend the rule of the propertied ruling families. But workers have plenty of experience with FBI frame-ups and disruption of struggles against exploitation, racism and imperialist war.

In his investigation into the Trump campaign, former FBI head Mueller has the power to compel witnesses to testify, and to impanel a grand jury, which meets behind closed doors interrogating individuals with no right to counsel alongside them. He won’t be responsible to any elected body.

Nothing new 
Liberals have always been the first to move against workers’ rights, and then, when the employing class finds it necessary, capitalist rulers turn to the thugs of the ultra-right to carry their assault on workers to the end.

The McCarthyite witch-hunt in the 1950s was set up under the administration of Democrat Harry Truman.

It was the Democratic administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that initiated the FBI’s assault on class-struggle-minded union militants and opponents of Washington’s entry into the Second World War, leading to the frame-up and imprisonment of 18 leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and the Midwest Teamsters union under the notorious Smith “Gag” act.

Today the middle-class left and liberal groups increasingly blame workers — most of whom they consider ignorant, racist, xenophobic, and dangerous — for derailing what they consider “progressive politics.”

Many are circulating posters and bumper stickers saying “Impeach Trump,” while some furtively post flyers reading “Kill Trump.” Many celebrate the breaking up of meetings in Berkeley, California, and Middlebury, Vermont, closing down political space so necessary for workers and workers’ organizations to organize and act under conditions of capitalist rule.

And when a witch-hunt against working people opens up in bourgeois politics, it rapidly bumps into the communist vanguard.

It is the two Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, for example, who dealt a blow to workers’ rights when they defeated the extension of the Socialist Workers Party’s exemption from campaign disclosure laws last month.

That action by these liberal federal “regulators” gave a freer hand to government and right-wing spying and harassment of the SWP and other workers’ organization

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Affordable Care Act and Medicaid

....The Trump administration’s bill, like Obamacare, is not based on providing health care for all who need it, but pressuring more people to purchase health insurance, with rising premiums and deductibles for plans that offer less and less coverage. All these moves aim to maximize the superprofits of insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical companies....

Attack on Medicaid entitlement

Trump’s health care proposals included steep cuts to Medicaid, enacted as an entitlement program in 1965, a result of the massive Black-led proletarian struggle that eliminated Jim Crow segregation. It provides medical care for workers with the lowest incomes and the disabled. It currently covers more than 70 million people.

During the election campaign Trump promised not to cut Medicaid, but his administration’s final proposal involves the biggest structural alterations to the program since it was created. Block grants would replace federal matching funds. States for the first time could impose work requirements, drug tests, or place a cap on the number of years a person could be covered by Medicaid.

Some of these proposed attacks were the result of demands made on Trump by members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of some 35 conservative House members, many elected pledged to the Tea Party.

More importantly, a number of Republicans felt pressured to oppose the attacks on Medicaid in the bill, at a time when the carnage being visited on working people by the crisis of capitalism is deepening. Medicaid covers health care for one in five people in the U.S., including four of 10 children, nearly half of all births, and the cost of care for two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

Medicaid is widespread and popular. Two-thirds of everyone in the country — over 215 million people — either are covered by the program or have family or friends who are.

“I was not willing to gamble with the care of my constituents,” Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican from New Jersey said, reflecting fear of the political price he would pay if he voted for the bill.

Many Republicans opposed the bill because they said its cuts would deepen the opioid epidemic ravaging their districts.

Workers are facing rising “deaths of despair” from deteriorating health care compounded by the unavailability of full-time work, a report issued March 23, by two Princeton University economists says. The study describes rising mortality of Caucasian men and women ages 45 through 54, from suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths. In 2015 overuse of opioids killed more than 30,000 people in the U.S. 

Full article:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Which class rules: communist response to climate change hysteria

Petty bourgeois political hopelessness in the face of capitalist crisis, carnage, and supposed "passivity" of the working class is seen (deflected and distorted) in the lurid, hysterical tenor of any discussion of man-made climate change in the bourgeois press and its middle class offshoots.

A communist perspective has a different tone entirely, and that is all to the good.



Working class must lead fight to defend 
environment, labor

Thousands will join the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice in Washington, D.C., April 29, seeking to protest the increasing perils to life and limb, pollution of the soil, water and skies.

How the destruction of the environment is a consequence of the rule of the capitalist class and the governments that serve them — Democratic and Republican alike — is addressed in this excerpt from “The Stewardship of Nature Also Falls to the Working Class: In Defense of Land and Labor.” The statement was adopted by the July 2007 convention of the Socialist Workers Party and printed in New International no. 14. It explains how the fight to prevent the profit-driven rulers’ destruction of the environment is bound up with the fight by working people for political power.

An excerpt from the book is printed below. Copyright © 2008 by New International. Reprinted by permission.

How social labor is organized to transform nature — to whose benefit, to what social and economic ends — depends on the class relations of production. It depends on which class rules, which class holds state power. A 1993 talk by Jack Barnes published in Capitalism’s World Disorder addressed this fundamental point. “Environmental pollution is a social question, a class question,” Barnes observed.

Workers must not fall into accepting the common view—that is, the bourgeois view — that the environment …is a “scientific” question, a “natural” question, that somehow hovers above classes and outside the class struggle. That is how many middle-class opponents of nuclear energy, and of nuclear weapons, for example, often present those questions. Many who call themselves environmentalists say the problem is “consumerism,” or industrial development per se. But the workers movement has to explain the source of ecological destruction and why the answer lies along the revolutionary line of march of the working class….

The working class must also reject all forms of fake science, exaggerations, catastrophism, and crankism. There is a decades-long record of such frenzied prophecies — the impending exhaustion of fossil fuels and other natural resources, the “limits to growth,” and so on. These originate in sections of the bourgeoisie and are then picked up and propagated by petty-bourgeois reformers. They feed into the conspiracy nostrums that are floated in the working class and labor movement, taking workers’ eyes off the true source of such social ills: the capitalists and their profit system….

[I]f we translate everything commonly thought of as an environmental issue into how to advance the protection of the working class, and how the working class can extend that protection to all, then we can hardly ever go wrong. With that approach, we will increase the possibilities for concrete solidarity in fighting against ecological abuses and outrages.

The labor movement should expose the differential effects of pollution on the working class, including the even more devastating consequences for sections of the working class that are the poorest and most vulnerable, as well as those that are Black, Latino, or foreign born…. The workers movement must take the lead in actively exposing the destruction and dangers produced by capitalism and in organizing opposition to them.

This communist course, Barnes concludes, enables us to explain how “the sources of all wealth — land and labor — are increasingly the victims of the domination of capital. And, most importantly, why the working-class-led struggle for a socialist revolution opens a way forward on this front as well.”

As Cuban Gen. Armando Choy concludes in Our History Is Still Being Written, “Yes, a better world is possible. But only with a socialist revolution.”

In the mid-nineteenth century some 85 percent of energy for human use was produced by burning wood, charcoal, and crop residue. Today some 85 percent of energy supplies comes from fossil fuels — primarily coal, oil, and natural gas. The production and use of these resources in pursuit of profits has always been detrimental not only to the health of the workers involved but simultaneously to the natural environment in which we live and labor.

A transition to other energy sources can and will be neither smooth nor rapid. The dog-eat-dog laws of rival capitals ensure that every “energy policy” implemented by corporations and bourgeois governments will serve the interests of maintaining capitalist rule — not the economic, social, and cultural needs of the earth’s population, nor the health and safety of the workers involved. Communists oppose anti-working-class “solutions” promoted by big business and various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois reformers. We expose and counter their reactionary notion, for instance, that “too large” a population of toilers — as well as too much consumption and too high living standards for many of them — is a threat to a “livable” world.

The capitalist rulers warn workers and farmers throughout the semicolonial world that they must forego the level of economic development and living standards existing in the imperialist countries — development achieved in no small part by superexploiting the toilers and plundering the resources of these very same oppressed peoples. “The ecological consequences are unsustainable!” impatient toilers are scolded. This is another of finance capital’s smokescreens masking the reasons for the widening gap in economic, social, and cultural conditions between earth’s great toiling majority, on the one hand, and, on the other, the bourgeoisie and professional middle classes in the imperialist centers and in the more economically advanced semicolonial countries.

In the United States and other imperialist countries, politicians and other bourgeois voices tell working people “we” must tighten “our” belts in order to stem environmental destruction. They tell us “we” must accept higher prices for fuel and other necessities, including regressive “carbon taxes” on gasoline, home heating oil, and commercial travel. “We” must recycle, turn off the lights, lower the thermostat, go without air conditioning, ride a bike, change our showerhead, join a carpool, flush the toilet less, plant a tree.

But there is no “we” that embraces both working people and those who grow wealthy off the exploitation of our labor: the ruling families and their rentier tagalongs among the middle class and professionals. Such “solutions” not only inaccurately place the blame on individuals and families and promote the sale of “green” and “organic” products and services at premium prices. Above all, they are part of the drive by the capitalist rulers to boost their profit rates at the expense of the working conditions, wages, living conditions, trade union solidarity, and genuine social security of workers and farmers, all of which have been under relentless assault since the mid-1970s.  


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Working class "passivity"

" Wiseacres of the day spoke pontifically about the “passivity” of the working class, never understanding that the seeming docility of the workers at a given time is a relative thing. If workers are more or less holding their own in daily life and expecting that they can get ahead slowly, they won’t tend to radicalize. Things are different when they are losing ground and the future looks precarious to them. Then a change begins to occur in their attitude, which is not always immediately apparent. The tinder of discontent begins to pile up. Any spark can light it, and once lit, the fire can spread rapidly....."

Full article here:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

On French elections

Comment by a comrade on Facebook:

There was no one to vote for in the first round, and there will be nobody to vote for in the second round! Lots will get sucked into "voting against Le Pen." But it's either a working class vote (and there's no genuine workers candidate in any sense of the term), or a vote for capitalism. It's not who you're against, it's what you're for. If Macron wins, it will be Le Pen next time, since there are no capitalist solutions.

And a note:

Unlike Trump, Le Pen has fascist credentials, although she's been moving her party to the center-right. But fascism is not merely an electoral party, it's a mass movement of the middle classes, using lumpen elements as it's battering ram, against the trade unions and workers parties. It's a movement for saving capitalism masked in anti-capitalist rhetoric.

In relationship to the government, fascism conquers peacefully, but in relationship to the working class, Jews and other scapegoated elements it uses intense violence before it comes to power. We're not seeing anything like this in France today.

The working-class fight for the environment and jobs

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Let the Korean people alone!"

SWP in 1950: ‘Stop US Korea War! 
US troops out now!’

Below are excerpts from three letters protesting the Korean War by James P. Cannon, then national secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, that were featured in the Militant in 1950-51. The letters, written to President Harry Truman and Congress, are from Cannon’s Notebook of an Agitator. The 1950-1953 U.S.-organized, imperialist war against the Korean people took the lives of over 4 million people including 2 million civilians. Copyright © 1958 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.


THE MILITANT, July 31, 1950

To the President and Members of the Congress:


I disagree with your actions in Korea, and in my capacity as a private citizen I petition you to change your policy fundamentally, as follows:

Withdraw the American troops and let the Korean people alone.

I am setting forth the reasons for this demand in detail in the following paragraphs. But before opening the argument, I beg your permission, gentlemen, to tell you what I think of you. You are a pack of scoundrels. You are traitors to the human race. I hate your rudeness and your brutality. You make me ashamed of my country, which I have always loved, and ashamed of my race, which I used to think was as good as any.

The American intervention in Korea is a brutal imperialist invasion, no different from the French war on Indo-China or the Dutch assault on Indonesia. American boys are being sent 10,000 miles away to kill and be killed, not in order to liberate the Korean people, but to conquer and subjugate them. It is outrageous. It is monstrous.

The whole of the Korean people — save for the few bought-and-paid-for agents of the Rhee puppet regime — are fighting the imperialist invaders. That is why the press dispatches from Korea complain more and more about “infiltration” tactics, increasing activities of “guerrillas,” the “fluid” fighting front, the “sullenness” and “unreliability” of the “natives.”

The Korean people have a mortal hatred of the Wall Street “liberator.” They despise unto death the bestial, corrupt, U.S.-sponsored Syngman Rhee dictatorship that made South Korea a prison camp of misery, torture and exploitation.

The high morale and fearlessness of the North Koreans and the hostility of the South Koreans toward their U.S. “liberators” alike testify to the unity of the entire Korean people in this unflinching opposition to imperialistic domination.

The explosion in Korea on June 25, as events have proved, expressed the profound desire of the Koreans themselves to unify their country, to rid themselves of foreign domination and to win their complete national independence. It is true that the Kremlin seeks to take advantage of this struggle for its own reactionary ends and would sell it tomorrow if it could get another deal with Washington. But the struggle itself has the overwhelming and wholehearted support of the Korean people. It is part of the mighty uprising of the hundreds of millions of colonial people throughout Asia against western imperialism. This is the real truth, the real issue. The colonial slaves don’t want to be slaves any longer.

This is more than a fight for unification and national liberation. It is a civil war. On the one side are the Korean workers, peasants and student youth. On the other are the Korean landlords, usurers, capitalists and their police and political agents. The impoverished and exploited working masses have risen up to drive out the native parasites as well as their foreign protectors.

Whatever the wishes of the Kremlin, a class war has been unfolding in Korea. The North Korean regime, desiring to mobilize popular support, has decreed land reforms and taken nationalization measures in the territories it has won. The establishment of people’s committees has been reported. These reforms, these promises of a better economic and social order have attracted the peasants and workers. This prospect of a new life is what has imbued a starving subject people with the will to fight to the death. This is the “secret weapon” that has wrested two-thirds of South Korea from U.S. imperialism and its native agents and withstood the troops and bombing fleets of mighty Wall Street.

American imperialism was quite willing to turn northern Korea over to Stalin in return for control over South Korea, which it ruled through the bloody dictatorship of Syngman Rhee. Now Washington is seeking, against the resistance of the Korean people, to reimpose its imperialist puppet rule, to enforce the division of Korea and to maintain it as a colony and military base for future war on the Soviet Union.

There is not an iota of concern for the wishes and rights of the Korean people in this brutal invasion. The attempt to prop up the Syngman Rhee regime by armed force is part of Wall Street’s planned program to dominate and exploit the whole world. Your undeclared war on Korea, Mr. President, is a war of enslavement. That is how the Korean people themselves view it — and no one knows the facts better than they do. They’ve suffered imperialist domination and degradation for half a century and they can recognize its face even when masked with a UN flag. …

THE MILITANT, December 4, 1950

Once more, as at the start of your Korean intervention, I take this means to tell you what I believe is the heartfelt sentiment of the overwhelming majority of humanity, including the American people, today:

Stop your criminal aggression against the Asian people.

Your reckless military adventure in Korea has brought this country into a clash with the 500 millions of China and threatens an “entirely new war” that will engulf millions more of our youth and drain our last resources.

You have permitted MacArthur, with his mad ambition to be the conqueror of all Asia, to deliberately provoke a situation that could mean war on a titanic scale. Now he has turned for a “solution” to the “United Nations and chancelleries of the world.”

But that is precisely where this grave crisis of humankind has been forged — in the UN and the chancelleries. Can we then entrust the further fate of the world to pin-striped diplomats?

Your proposed solution, Mr. President, is a threat to repeat the atrocities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by using the atom bomb in Korea.

Take heed, Mr. President, before it is too late! Hear the voice of the people of America and the whole world. They are thundering: Stop the war NOW! Recall your madly ambitious MacArthur! Withdraw the troops from Korea! Let the peoples of Asia alone to settle their own fate!

Who wants this war?

Not the Koreans, whose cities, towns and villages have been reduced by your bombs to charred rubble, and who mourn hundreds of thousands of the slain.

Not the Chinese people, whose dead in the struggle against imperialism and Chiang Kai-shek’s despotism number tens of millions. Not the peoples of Europe, whose fears are reflected today in the warnings to you by their governments. …

THE MILITANT, May 7, 1951

My purpose in addressing you for the third time since the Korean war began is to present three concrete proposals on foreign policy as an alternative to the policies of the Truman administration on the one hand and MacArthur-Taft on the other.

Your differences are merely tactical. My differences with both sides in your so-called “Great Debate” are fundamental. You are preoccupied with the problem of how to conduct a war the American people do not want and never approved. I propose to end the war at once and let the American people themselves decide the life and death questions of foreign policy.

I submit the following three proposals: (1) Withdraw all American troops from Korea. (2) Recognize the Peking government. (3) Let the people vote by referendum on the issue of war and peace.

I have opposed your Korean war from the start. Twice before in open letters I urged you to heed the peoples’ will to stop the war and bring the American soldiers home. American troops have no business in Korea. They are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands for no good purpose. Every day they remain swells the casualties list and inflicts more grief upon parents, wives and children. Every day they remain intensifies the hatred of the Asian people for all things American. Again I urge you: Withdraw the U.S. troops from Korea.

The way to peace in Asia is neither to wage a “limited war,” as you are now doing, nor to expand it by bombing Chinese cities and killing the civilian population. The way to peace in Asia is to get out of Asia and let the peoples of Asia run their own affairs. 
Related articles:
Socialist Workers Party: ‘US hands off Korea!’
All US troops, warships, fighter bombers out now!
US armada heads to Korea, Washington threatens to act
US THAAD anti-missile battery out of Korea!
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