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
http://www.themilitant.com/2017/8107/810702.html

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.

BY LEON TROTSKY

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
http://www.themilitant.com/2017/8107/810757.html

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:

http://themilitant.com/2017/8131/813106.html

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:

http://themilitant.com/2017/8131/813150.html

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:

http://themilitant.com/2017/8131/813149.html