The Third International after Lenin

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"The showdown battle for world socialism is going to be fought right here in the United States of America"

‘Fate of humanity rests on
socialist revolution in US’ 
(Books of the Month column)

Below is an excerpt from Teamster Rebellion, one of Pathfinder’s Books of the Month for December. The book by Farrell Dobbs is the first in a four-volume participant’s account of the strikes and organizing drives that transformed the Teamsters union in the 1930s into a fighting social movement. Dobbs was one of the central leaders of those battles and, until his death in 1983, of the Socialist Workers Party. The selection is from an August 1966 talk by Dobbs to an audience substantially composed of members of the Young Socialist Alliance in California. Copyright © 1972 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.


We must be constantly aware of the key role of the United States in the world. United States imperialism is today the powerhouse of world reaction, as the war in Vietnam is abundantly demonstrating.

It is an iron fact that until capitalism is overturned here in the United States of America, the gang of imperialist mad dogs that rule this country are going to remain a mortal threat to all humanity. We must never forget that.

That means the showdown battle for world socialism is going to be fought right here in the United States of America. And when the revolutionary victory is won, outlived, decadent capitalism is going to disappear literally overnight from the face of our planet. Humanity is going to march forward to the building of an enlightened socialist society where people for the first time can really live together on this planet in peace and in security and with freedom. Humanity will finally realize the type of rewarding life that human intelligence is so abundantly capable of making, even at the present level of technological development. Once humanity learns how to conduct itself politically, organizationally, and socially, it can take advantage of these wonders.

That’s what we dedicate our lives to. We of the party, we revolutionaries in the United States — acting as best we can in solidarity with revolutionary fighters across the world — must always keep in mind that in the last analysis the fate of humanity rests on the socialist revolution in the United States. Our task is to build a party capable of leading that revolution, going up against the most heinous of the reactionary, monstrous ruling class regimes that exist on the face of this planet: the imperialist ruling class of the United States.

The road ahead in that struggle is going to be strewn with obstacles, and there are going to be many pitfalls. There’s no roadmap, no way you can find some kind of a detailed handbook that’s going to tell you what to do at each juncture. Our task is to chart a revolutionary course, based on a fundamental understanding of our program — a basic feel of our revolutionary strategy — and to hammer out the tactics in that direction as we go along.

There’s no timetable. Nobody can say how long it’s going to take or when it’s going to happen. I personally feel that those of you sitting in this room today, who have got all your youth going for you, have got at least Damon Runyon’s six-to-five chance of seeing that explosion.

But in saying so I want to add immediately: don’t make that a condition. Don’t adopt the criterion that the revolutionary change must happen in your time. Don’t take as a guide to your active life that narrow, provincial, self-centered notion that if it doesn’t happen during the time of your own subjective existence on this planet, it’s not important.

Always remember that history is magnificently indifferent to the problems of the individual. History doesn’t care whether you die at six or live to be seven hundred, if that were possible, or what happens during your particular lifetime. As the German poet Goethe once said, “History marches like a drunken beggar on horseback.”

A lot can happen during your limited lifespan, or you can live a dull existence. Some people have had the good fortune to live more in a year than others at a different historical juncture could live in their whole lifetime. Or, as Plekhanov once put it, “If it hadn’t been for the French Revolution, Napoleon would probably have ended up as a corporal in the French artillery.”

Don’t make it a condition that the socialist revolution must come in your lifetime. Be not only a citizen of the planet; be a citizen of time. Recognize that what’s fundamental is to be in rapport with the human race from the dawn of history, on to heights we can only vaguely begin to dream of.

And what’s the alternative? The alternative is to make a compromise with this rotten capitalist system. Do you know what people who do that are like? You remember the movie, The Devil and Daniel Webster? Jabez Stone, you know, sold his soul to Scratch, the devil. He did so on the promise that his personal ambitions would thus be served. Later he regretted the action and asked to have his soul returned. Scratch, who was played by Walter Huston, that magnificent actor, finally said all right, he’d give it back.

So Scratch took a small matchbox from his pocket. He opened the box and began poking around in it with his stubby finger trying, and trying, to find the mean little soul of Jabez Stone so he could give it back.

That’s symbolic of what you do to your own soul if you make a compromise with this rotten system.

Our job is to build a movement of men and women who emulate the seasoned fighters of the Continental line in the first American Revolution. Learn to be professional revolutionary fighters. Don’t be summer soldiers. Don’t dabble; don’t vacillate. Put nothing above the considerations of the movement. Maintain your place in the front ranks of the revolutionary fighters, and stand in that place for the duration.

There is no other way in which you can find so rich, so rewarding, so fruitful, and so purposeful a life.

Jack Barnes letter to Raul Castro

Message by Jack Barnes, Socialist Workers Party National Secretary, to Raúl Castro. November 27, 2016

Compañero Raúl Castro Ruz
First Secretary
Communist Party of Cuba
Havana, Cuba

Dear Compañero Raúl,

There were two great socialist revolutions in the twentieth century, one in Russia, the other in Cuba. Neither was the product of a single individual. Both were the result of the operations of capitalism itself. But without the presence and political leadership of Vladimir Lenin and of Fidel Castro Ruz at decisive moments in those historic battles by working people, there is no reason to believe either revolution would have been victorious.

Apart from Lenin and Fidel, the history of the twentieth century — and the twenty-first — is unthinkable. Both of them, Marxist students of science and history, gave their lives to uprooting the dog-eat-dog exploitation, oppression, and compulsion on which the capitalist world order depends and replacing it with a workers state, with new social and economic relations based on the liberating capacities of working people and the youth they inspire.

Fidel belongs to Cuba first and foremost, to the men and women of José Martí and Antonio Maceo. His highest achievement was forging in struggle a revolutionary cadre, a communist cadre, capable of leading the workers and farmers of Cuba to establish the first free territory of the Americas and successfully defend it for more than five and a half decades against the determination to destroy it by the mightiest and most brutal empire the world has known.

But Fidel belongs to the working people of the world as well. From Latin America and the Caribbean, to Africa and Asia, to North America and Europe, he showed us in action what proletarian internationalism means. During Cuba's historic sixteen-year mission aiding the people of Angola and Namibia against apartheid South Africa and its promoters in Washington, Fidel demonstrated his unmatched political leadership on a world scale. He also proved, as the Rebel Army combatants of the Sierra knew well, that he was one of the toilers' greatest military commanders ever.
All this is why Fidel became the most loved as well as the most hated, the most slandered man of our lifetimes.

As Fidel said in his farewell words to the Seventh Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba in April, "We all reach our turn." He cannot be replaced, but his life work, Cuba's socialist revolution — its example, and above all its ongoing march — stand as his monument. He needs no other.

For our part, members of the Socialist Workers Party and Young Socialists will continue to do everything in our power to publish and spread the truth about the Cuban Revolution and Fidel's leadership, to make it known to working people in the United States and throughout the world. With unshakable confidence in the working class and its allies, we will continue to organize and act on the course Fidel uncompromisingly presented to the world in 1961, a month before the victorious battle of Playa Girón: "There will be a victorious revolution in the United States before a victorious counterrevolution in Cuba."

Jack Barnes
National Secretary
Socialist Workers Party

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Castro and the Jews

I've seen several "Castro and the Jews" articles arriving on social media since Saturday. Time for the communist view to be shared again.

Cuban Revolution: Example of fight against Jew-hatred


June 8, 2015

Since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party have spoken and acted forcefully against anti-Semitism, making a sharp distinction between the policies of the capitalist government of Israel and the Jewish people both there and in Cuba.

The Israeli government has consistently backed the U.S. embargo aimed at overthrowing Cuba’s socialist revolution. In 2014, as in past years, Tel Aviv was the only government to vote with Washington against the United Nations resolution calling for the U.S. to lift it.

While Cuba’s revolutionary government has strongly opposed Tel Aviv’s assaults and discrimination against Palestinians, it has refused to challenge the state of Israel’s right to exist.

“I don’t think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews,” Castro told Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for the Atlantic magazine in a September 2010 interview.

“Over 2,000 years they were subjected to terrible persecution and then to the pogroms,” Castro said, referring to waves of bloody anti-Jewish riots in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “One might have assumed that they would have disappeared; I think their culture and religion kept them together as a nation.”

“The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust,” Castro said.

“Castro repeatedly returned to his excoriation of anti-Semitism,” Goldberg wrote. He criticized Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then-president of Iran, for denying the organized mass murder of some 6 million Jews, two-thirds of European Jewry, from 1933 by the Nazi regime in Germany, and “explained why the Iranian government would better serve the cause of peace by acknowledging the ‘unique’ history of anti-Semitism and trying to understand why Israelis fear for their existence.”

Goldberg asked Castro if he thought the state of Israel had the right to exist. “Yes, without a doubt,” Castro replied. When Goldberg then asked if Cuba would re-establish relations with Israel, Castro said that these things take time.

President Barack Obama was forced last December to admit Washington’s embargo had failed to bring down Cuba’s revolution, which — as the 1 million-strong May Day demonstration in Havana shows — maintains the overwhelming support of workers and farmers there. Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced Dec. 17 the two governments would seek to re-establish diplomatic relations.

“Will Israel follow the U.S. lead and restore ties with Cuba?” Haaretz newspaper in Israel asked two days later. After the Cuban Revolution, the two countries had maintained diplomatic relations until after the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

“I have no doubt that Cuba is interested in ties with Israel,” Rafi Eitan, a former operations head of Israel’s spy agency, told the Jerusalem Post after the December announcements. “Renewing diplomatic ties with Cuba depends first and foremost on Israel.”

Fidel’s support for Cuban Jews

“Fidel had never visited the Jewish community,” Adela Dworin, a medical doctor and president of the Patronato, the Jewish Community Center in Havana, told Richard Fellman, who visited Cuba as part of a mission to the Jewish community of Cuba sponsored by a Syracuse, New York, synagogue in 2013. So when Dworin saw Castro at a meeting in 1998, she approached him.

“‘You’ve never been to the Patronato,’ I told Fidel. He smiled and replied, ‘That’s true. But you never invited me.’” Castro attended a Hanukkah celebration there two weeks later.

Raúl Castro led a delegation to the Patronato in December 2010, donned a yarmulke, the Jewish skullcap, and lit Hanukkah candles. First Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez lit the candles in 2013.

Kosher butcher shop

A March 11 article titled “How Castro Saved Cuba’s Kosher Butcher” in Haaretz describes how Fidel Castro wrote a letter in 1962 providing for the meat shop to continue functioning at a time when many businesses were being nationalized by the revolutionary government.

Yacob Berezniak Hernández, an accountant and butcher, runs the shop today under the sponsorship of the Orthodox synagogue Adath Israel, which he leads. Once a month Berezniak supervises the slaughter of 60 cows along religious guidelines at a meat plant outside Havana, taking the front halves back to his shop, where he butchers them and distributes the meat free of charge to the city’s three synagogues.

Under Cuba’s rationing system, each person is allocated a fixed amount of pork every day, but because Jews don’t eat pork, an exception is made for the Jewish community to receive kosher beef instead.

At the time of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, there were some 15,000 Jews in Cuba. Today there are around 1,500 practicing Jews, most in Havana, and thousands more of Jewish descent who are not religious believers.

In 1991 the Cuban government allowed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to begin sending visiting rabbis, kosher food and pharmaceuticals, and to finance celebrations to mark religious holidays and camp programs. The Patronato hosts Sunday school classes and lectures on Judaism and Cuban-Israeli relations.

“I never suffer any kind of persecution,” Dworin told Emily Shire, a reporter for the Daily Beast, earlier this year. “My parents came from Poland. I decided to stay, and I made a good choice. Life here is much safer than in other Latin American countries.”

The Militant - June 8, 2015 -- Cuban Revolution: Example of fight against Jew-hatred

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Snapshot of UK left Jew-hatred

'Is criticising Israel anti-semitic?' - report from a Bristol meeting

24 November, 2016 - 14:17



Tony Greenstein, who was suspended from Labour last month for alleged anti-Semitism, was the only speaker at at ‘Is criticising Israel anti-Semitic?’, hosted by Bristol Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). The room was packed, with around 200 attendees, many of those were Momentum members. The PSC’s choice of speaker, presentation of the event, and recent organised hostility towards towards committed Palestine solidarity activists advocating a two state programme forewarned me of a one-sided and hostile discussion.

Greenstein started by claiming that anti-Semitism is insignificant in the UK today both on the left and more widely, and counselled us to remember that it is just a claim used to attack left-wingers and defend Israel. He gave a history of Zionism as simply and intrinsically colonial, a disease that does not come in better and worse varieties. Zionism, he repeatedly stressed, is anti-Semitic, due in part to support for it by some anti-Semites, in part to statements by some historical right-wing Zionists. Throughout the talk he failed to distinguish between the worst historical examples of Zionist thought and contemporary support for the existence of a state of Israel. Many of his claims were based on a selective reading of history: to Greenstein, "the state of Israel was Hitler's final victory" and Zionism supported Nazi Germany, while in turn Nazi Germany was decisive in the establishment of Israel.

Clearly, criticism of Israel is not in itself anti-Semitic. We should criticize Israel’s actions and stand in solidarity with Palestinians for many reasons, and furthermore there has been some weaponisation of anti-Semitism by the right. And yet, the issue of anti-Semitism on the left when criticizing Israel, irrespective of the intentions of those doing the criticism, is still significant.

Some criticism evokes anti-Semitic tropes and some analysis and proposed solutions to the conflict have anti-Semitic historical origins or conclusions. A key historical anti-Semitic trope is that of all-powerful, shadowy Jews controlling society, and unfounded Zionist conspiracy theories play on this. The prevalence of these could be seen throughout discussion from what Greenstein and many in the audience said, but crucially what many conspicuously didn’t say, deliberately leaving us all to imagine the worst whilst making it difficult to challenge their vague implications. The idea of Israel as a uniquely illegitimate state has historical anti-Semitic origins and is also ultimately detrimental to Palestinian solidarity. Greenstein later responded that Israel is a uniquely evil and illegitimate state. As he demonstrated throughout the discussion, the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany is far too common in the left, and can be anti-Semitic. It looked like many people were listening and genuinely receptive to hearing this different and more nuanced perspective, although ultimately most disagreed.

Many people left during the meeting as they felt it got too heated, which surprised me. Unfortunately, the tense atmosphere somewhat discouraged people from being critical of Greenstein’s points – some people felt too nervous to speak, only three challenged him. It is partly for want of a more prevalent culture of polemic and debate on the left that people found the meeting difficult, but heckling, booing and dismissing as Zionists the minority in the room who dissented from the only speaker’s perspective was harmful. This too happened partly because of the lack of a culture of healthily dealing with disagreements through debate.

There was heckling in response to the argument for a good two states programme as the most viable resolution of the conflict in the short- to medium-term, and that the main victims of the conflict’s prolongation being the Palestinian people. Whilst people highlighted the lack of an appetite for such a programme by many in the Knesset they failed to explain how this made a one state programme more viable. The majority of both Israelis and Palestinians support a two-state solution, overwhelmingly so on the left of both nations. There is little desire in Israel for a one state programme as people in the room would have advocated; most Israeli politicians that reject a two-state programme instead support expanded settlements and annexation of Palestinian territory, not a programme that would improve the situation of Palestinians let alone dismantle the Israeli nation state. The Palestine Liberation Organisation also supports two states.

Whilst a good two states settlement will be difficult, a one state programme in the short-to-medium-term could almost certainly only be achieved by force. Since Israel should not and will not in reality be forced into this, to advocate a one-state solution and oppose a two-state solution is to advocate no realistic solution and to oppose the only possible, but difficult, solution. Such incomplete arguments, simplistic apartheid analogies and failure to distinguish between ethnicity and religion throughout the meeting are a few of the things that highlighted the importance of more debate on this issue.

My general sense from the room was that most people were close to Greenstein’s perspective, although perhaps not so extreme. Similar perspectives certainly constitute the “common sense” assumptions of much of Momentum and the Palestine Solidarity movement in Bristol, but overwhelmingly people had simply not previously come across more nuanced perspectives; perspectives which are very critical of Israel and stand in solidarity with Palestinians whilst also being critical of left anti-Semitism and defending Israel’s right to exist. The Palestine Solidarity movement, Momentum, the Labour Party and the left need to have more debates and discussions on these issues, but with more balance and less heckling, and hopefully this will lead to less oversimplifications being used to caricature and dismiss serious attempts to tackle left anti-Semitism.

Workers' Liberty

"Communists do not say one thing and do another"

The article can be found on page 18 of this issue:

Lyndon LaRouche and the National Democratic Policy Committee (NDPC): the Marxist view

An encyclopedic 3-page article by Doug Jenness.

Article starts on page 9 of this issue:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Fidel Castro on Malcolm X

From page 7 of this issue of The Militant:

Accomplishments of the Castro team and the Cuban Communist Party

Excerpted from "U.S. Imperialism Has Lost the Cold War" 1990 world political resolution of the Socialist Workers Party.

It can be found in New International 11.

The Cuban example

An editorial from 1995:

Cuba: Rebel, Don't Cower! 

Is it a foolhardy mistake for revolutionary Cuba to stand up to the U.S. Goliath in today's world? This is the message Washington and Wall Street would have working people believe. Powerful evidence in recent months, however, has confirmed the opposite. By acting decisively in defense of the revolution, Cuban working people and their government have pushed back the wealthy U.S. rulers and their international cohorts.

The latest U.S. attacks, including the new law that tightens the economic squeeze on Cuba, are a product of increasing imperialist weakness, not strength. Instead of faltering, the Cuban revolution has grown stronger.

Above all, the U.S. rulers' policy toward Cuba is determined by the fact that they lost the cold war. For several decades, Washington tried to pressure the bureaucratic castes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to police the working class in those countries, hoping this would eventually weaken these states enough to launch a direct assault on them. But imperialism lost its enforcers when those regimes shattered in face of working-class resistance in 1989-91.

As Washington's recent hostile measures against Cuba and war moves against China and Yugoslavia indicate, imperialism will be unable to overthrow any workers state and reestablish capitalism short of direct military intervention. Working people in those countries are now resisting demands by the capitalist powers to squeeze them further.

This blow to imperialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was one of the first major consequences of the world capitalist economic crisis, announced by the 1987 stock market crash. Instead of a new world capitalist order, the 1990s opened a period of economic depression, instability, and sharpening rivalries between imperialist powers - as well as recurring working-class resistance. And the Havana-Washington axis of conflict remains the most direct manifestation of the international battle between imperialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The most dramatic proof that U.S. imperialism lost the cold war is the fact that the Cuban revolution has emerged politically stronger. Since the crumbling of the Stalinist regimes, the Cuban working class has been weighed down less than ever by the burden of Stalinist political miseducation; it has become less isolated from class struggle around the world.

For 37 years, Washington's goal has been to undermine and overthrow the Cuban revolution. Politically incapable of using direct military power against the Cuban people, U.S. imperialism has employed "low-intensity warfare." It has tried a mercenary invasion, the encouragement of counterrevolutionary terror, threat of nuclear annihilation, an economic and trade embargo, assassination attempts, occupation of the Guantánamo Naval Base, and a campaign to isolate Cuba internationally. All this has failed to break Cuba's working class and its communist vanguard.

Unlike the petty-bourgeois regimes in the former Soviet bloc countries, Cuba's revolutionary leadership has not made any fundamental concessions to imperialism. It has refused to subordinate the interests of workers and farmers to accommodation or collaboration with the masters of the empire to the north. The communist leadership in Cuba has not only remained determined to defend the revolution, but has not budged from its internationalist course in support of the world struggle for national liberation and socialism.

Thus, the 37-year-long trade embargo and other hostile U.S. moves are not an irrational policy for the superrich class. They are pragmatic moves that spring from imperialism's cold- blooded class interests. And they are a result of weakness.

In the last six years, despite a formidable economic crisis that followed the abrupt disruption of aid and trade on favorable terms with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Cuban working people have tenaciously resisted the effects of the world capitalist crisis. They have come out stronger and more confident of their own capacities. While everywhere else in Latin America working people face a worsening economic and social calamity, in Cuba they have succeeded through their collective efforts in putting their country on the road to economic recovery.

The resilience of the Cuban people has frustrated the U.S. rulers. As a result, the Clinton administration - which answers to the billionaire ruling families and to them alone - has lashed out with measures to tighten the embargo and travel ban. As the column by Naomi Craine on this page explains, the "Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act" was not a hasty reaction to Cuba's shooting down of U.S.-based planes invading its airspace, but a calculated move in Washington's bipartisan war on the socialist revolution in that country.

The new legislation also registers the intensifying trade offensive by Washington against its capitalist competitors, especially in Canada and Europe. Despite their howls of outrage over Washington asserting its domination of the imperialist Atlantic alliance, Ottawa, Paris, London, and Bonn are not about to put their meager economic ties with socialist Cuba ahead of those with the U.S. colossus.

As Carlos Lage, vice president of Cuba's Council of Ministers, explained recently, the Cuban people will certainly feel the harsh impact of the tightened trade embargo. But they will do so as a sovereign and socialist people, not as a people on its knees. A common remark voiced by Cuban workers today is, "The Helms-Burton law is criminal, but we're not going to lose any sleep over it."

The strength of Cuba's working people has been demonstrated in their preparations for the upcoming congress of the Central Organization of Cuban Workers (CTC). In tens of thousands of factories, farm cooperatives, and offices, workers are discussing how to assure their revolutionary power, collectively increase production of food and other basic products, combat profiteering by middle-class layers, and defend their socialist revolution against Washington's military threats, economic assaults, and ideological war. They know, as President Fidel Castro recently put it, "there is no alternative to socialism...because without it, we would lose our independence."

For working people in the United States and around the world - from Chicanos protesting racist attacks to strikers defending their picket lines and young feminists marching for women's rights - the example of Cuba answers the well-worn arguments of the oppressor, who always tells the oppressed: "The odds are against you." From the streets of Havana to the fields of Guantánamo province, the reply to Washington has been, and is, "Yes, but we beat you anyway."

That is the truth about Cuba that workers and young fighters everywhere must tell. One of the best ways to find out for yourself is to go to Cuba and attend the CTC convention. In the United States and elsewhere, working people can take part in educational events and protests against the Clinton administration's anti-Cuba policies and undemocratic measures, such as the subpoena of members of Pastors for Peace to appear before a grand jury and the denial of visas to Cuban youth leaders invited to tour U.S. campuses. Through such activities, it will be possible to win more people to demand:

U.S. Hands Off Cuba!

The Militant - 4/15/96 -- Cuba: Rebel, Don't Cower!

Fidel Castro: "Issuing orders is easy, what's difficult is to do things wlth intelligent, political methods"

Full text of the 1988 speech begins on page 9 of this issue:

Fidel Castro on "the political consciousness of Cuban working people"

....In a speech to party cadres and students at the University of Havana in November 2005, then Cuban president Fidel Castro addressed this challenge of communist leadership and political consciousness. He pointed not only to the consequences for working people and youth in Cuba of Washington’s decades-long military threats and economic warfare, but the social inequalities, political pressures, and corruption produced by Cuba’s inescapable immersion in the capitalist world.

“Do you believe that this revolutionary socialist process can fall apart or not?” Castro asked those present at the University of Havana meeting in 2005. When they answered with a resounding “No!” Castro replied: “Have you ever given that some thought? Have you ever deeply reflected about it?”

Earlier Castro had described in some detail the corrosion of proletarian solidarity in Cuba brought about by growing numbers of “parasites who produce nothing and just take”—siphoning gasoline from cars on the street, or from pumps at state-run filling stations, or stealing in myriad ways the wealth created by the labor of working people. He compared the incomes of these individuals to those of Cubans “working in factories, in industries,” in the electrical and water utilities, or even to doctors, engineers, or university professors.

Such theft of social resources and materials, Castro said, is not just “a present-day illness.” Nor is it simply a product, he said, of the Special Period—the term used in Cuba to describe the years of deep economic crisis and hardship in the 1990s following the collapse of Cuba’s trade with and assistance from the Soviet Union and regimes across Eastern and Central Europe. But the Special Period “aggravated” the situation, Castro said, because “we saw the growth of much inequality and certain people were able to accumulate a lot of money.”

“Were you aware of all these inequalities I have been talking about?” Castro asked those gathered at the University of Havana. “Were you aware of certain generalized habits?” Several minutes later, Castro repeated his question: Is the “revolutionary process irreversible, or not? What ideas or degree of consciousness would make the reversal of the revolutionary process impossible?”

Recalling “what has happened more than once” over the past century in countries where bourgeois rule had been toppled, Castro emphasized that “some people thought that socialism could be constructed with capitalist methods. That is one of the great historical errors,” he said, including of “those who called themselves theoreticians, blanketing themselves from head to toe in the books of Marx, Engels, Lenin and many others.

“That is why I commented that one of our greatest mistakes at the beginning of, and often during, the revolution was believing that someone knew how to build socialism.” No, that could only be discovered in practice by the combat-tested and politicized toilers themselves.

Due to the political consciousness of Cuban working people, and their readiness to defend their historic gains arms in hand, Castro said that the danger of destruction of the revolution comes not from an assault or invasion from U.S. imperialism. The Cuban Revolution, he said, has reached “the point where we can affirm today that our country is militarily invulnerable, and not because of arms of mass destruction,” which the Cuban government neither possesses nor aspires to develop or deploy. “We have a people who have learned to handle weapons. We have an entire nation which, in spite of our errors, holds such a high degree of culture, education, and consciousness that it will never allow this country to become their colony again.”

The revolution “can self-destruct,” however, Castro reiterated. “They can never destroy us, but we can destroy ourselves, and it would be our fault.”

Full article here:

Fidel Castro in defense of socialism

Building socialism requires

‘moral factor and consciousness’

In Defense of Socialism: Four Speeches on the 30th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution by Fidel Castro is one of Pathfinder’s Books of the Month for November. The excerpt is from the Jan. 8, 1989, speech “The Young Generation Must Improve and Defend Socialism.” It was given at Ciudad Libertad, formerly Camp Columbia, the main army base under the Washington-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, turned into a school after the revolution. Castro talks about what motivated the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who volunteered in Angola and risked their lives to defend that newly independent country from invasion by South Africa, helping to deal the apartheid regime a crushing blow in 1988. Copyright © 1989 by Pathfinder Press. Reprinted by permission.


When slavery was abolished — and the abolition of slavery last century was the product of the heroic struggle waged by our mambí independence fighters in the war of 1868 — in theory the slaves were freed but in actual practice they went on working for the landowners, the plantation owners, and the capitalists in exchange for a wage of next to nothing. Property did not go to the slaves, property did not go to the people.

Even when the independence of Cuba was formally proclaimed at the beginning of the century and an allegedly Cuban government was installed, with the constitution that carried an amendment, the so-called Platt Amendment, entitling the United States to intervene in our country, this did not change anything. The ownership of the land and industry continued to be in the hands of those who owned them: the plantation owners, the capitalists, the landowners, and a growing number of foreign corporations. There was absolutely no change.

With the revolutionary triumph of January 1959, for the first time in the history of our nation, property was transferred from the hands of the exploiters into the hands of the people; for the first time a true social revolution took place; for the first time a profound change took place in our people’s political philosophy and consciousness. As could be expected, this unleashed the hatred and antagonism of the U.S. imperialists. They could not conceive of anything like it; they could not conceive of a socialist revolution in our country. They viewed our country as their property and our people as a herd of sheep. …

During these thirty years the revolution defended itself against imperialist threats, imperialist aggressions, imperialist plans, imperialist subversion, imperialist crimes. It defended itself against the counterrevolutionary bands, mercenary invasions, plans to sabotage our economy, attempts to assassinate revolutionary leaders, repeated threats of direct aggression, and an economic blockade that has already lasted thirty years. But imperialism has not disappeared, imperialism is right there. Capitalist ideology has not disappeared and neither has capitalism. Capitalism and capitalist ideology are right there. Imperialism’s threats have not disappeared, they are right there.

It would be an illusion to think that the whole difficult period for the revolution and for the nation is over. That would be an illusion that the current generation and the coming generations can never harbor. Imperialism has not renounced the idea of liquidating socialism in Cuba, of liquidating revolutionary ideology in Cuba; imperialism has not renounced the idea of liquidating our revolution. Imperialism might change its tactics, its weapons, but U.S. imperialism is too arrogant, too high-handed, too haughty to renounce the idea of overturning the Cuban revolution, to renounce the idea of liquidating socialism in Cuba. …

Capitalist society is based on material incentives and it does not pay any attention to moral factors. Building socialism cannot follow the capitalist formula of giving the main weight to material incentives. I already gave many examples of accomplishments where material incentives play no role. We cannot speak of building socialism if we don’t give all due weight to the moral factor and consciousness.

On January 4 I was really impressed when giving out diplomas to some workers at ExpoCuba who had made a tremendous effort. I remember one compañero who was always working; whenever I went day or night I would always find him there. He contributed 3,500 hours of voluntary work. I did some figuring and found it was the equivalent of almost two years of work, in voluntary hours after his eight-hour day. [Applause] What motivates that man, what amount of money? No money can buy that. …

When we mobilize, train, and arm millions of citizens of this country to confront an invasion, we know millions are ready to die. What can we pay them with? How much will we give each of the men and women of our armed forces, the Territorial Troop Militia, and the Production and Defense Brigades, for defending the homeland? They are defending an idea, the sacred value of the homeland! [Applause] What amount of money will we give the combatants going on internationalist missions, the hundreds of thousands who went and risked their lives for an idea, for a principle, for solidarity, for internationalism, for honor?

What men do for honor and moral principles — when I say men, I mean men and women — what human beings do for moral principles and honor they won’t do for all the money in the world. And I think it is an insult to the revolutionary ideal, to revolutionary ideas, to claim that man is only motivated by material interests.

I want to make this clear so we won’t be misunderstood. We have our feet on the ground, very firmly on the ground! That is why we consider all these examples, and I’ve enumerated some unique examples, which are part of the education of our young people.

There cannot be socialism or a communist society without education, without having certain ideas become indispensable ethical principles for every citizen and every human being.

It is in this light that the younger generation, this generation, must work, must create, and must improve our system.


The Militant - November 9, 2015 -- Building socialism requires ‘moral factor and consciousness’

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Post from a friend:

Abraham Lincoln established the Thanksgiving holiday by proclamation in October of 1863 "in the Midst of a Civil War of Unequalled magnitude and severity." It was intended to rally the spirit of a battered population, and help to remind those witnessing violence and misery that 1863 had still been a bountiful and promising year. That the wealth of land and labor, and the imminent promise of slavery's demise still gave cause for reverence.

I know for most of my friends 2016 was a rough year. So was 1863. I know that many are disgusted by the lie of the holiday's origins, especially when juxtaposed with the brutality that natives face today at Standing Rock. 1863 had no shortage of cause for disgust. I know that plenty take a look around and come up short on thanks, or resent being asked to give it. If an entirely reasonable anger eclipses your sense of gratitude so be it, but I have less sympathy for despair.

The deprivations and violence of our era are cause enough to animate every person of conscience, but by no means is the world bleaker today than it was in 1863. The battles of our day have yet to unfold and we should retain every confidence that they can and will be won. If you can muster the sentiment, I'm certain that there's plenty to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What the 2016 U.S. election revealed


....Trump’s demagogy about the problems facing working people did absolutely nothing to advance class consciousness. To the contrary, everything he stands for aims to keep workers divided and weak — a danger to the working-class and labor movement. Like Obama, Clinton and the Democratic Party, he talks about the classless “we” in order to paper over the irreconcilable conflict between the interests of working people and those of the capitalist rulers.

Full article:

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Against deportations, internments, registrations

....We promote the fight against every attempt to deny political rights and equal treatment, on and off the job. We join the fight to stop immigration raids and deportations, including the latest move by the German government to speed up removals of those they say are “economic migrants.” And we oppose the fences, internment camps and troops deployed by the capitalist rulers.

The line of march of the working class is toward overturning the dictatorship of capital and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat — a struggle that takes place within national borders in some 190 different countries today. “Working men have no country,” Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto in 1848. But, they immediately add, “Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy … it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.”

Friday, November 18, 2016

Separation of powers: the Marxist view

....Working people should care if the president can act as if Congress does not exist. We should recognize and be concerned about moves that strengthen the powers of the executive branch of the bosses’ government—and no less so when it is done with a veneer of doing “good things” for the people.

Obama’s NLRB appointments and other executive decrees represent an acceleration of a dangerous trend toward elements of Bonapartism, a trend that gained some momentum with executive actions under the presidencies of George W. Bush and William Clinton.

Bonapartism is a term coined by founders of the communist movement out of experiences with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte’s regime in France from 1852 to 1870. It refers to a form of capitalist rule resorted to during times of sharpening class struggle characterized by a strong executive power that demagogically appeals to “the people” and seeks to appear to stand above class conflicts. While this is not posed today, the Obama administration’s drive to strengthen its powers over those of Congress and the courts greases the skids for reactionary forces who in the future will look to give growing Bonapartist trends more backbone.

Obama and the bourgeois-minded professional layer he belongs to are not property-owning capitalists. While useful to the ruling class in maintaining the social relations of capitalist production, they have no direct hand in production or capital accumulation itself. This self-styled meritocracy exists at the behest of and is beholden to the ruling families in power, making them both insecure in their social status and fearful of the working class. They display some of the strongest tendencies toward Bonapartist powers in politics today. But when their penchant for executive power runs into conflict with the interests of the capitalist rulers, the meritocracy’s illusion that they wield some independent power in politics gets slapped down.

The separation of powers and curbs on the executive branch of government drafted into the U.S. Constitution slow down and sometimes “gridlock” the ability of the capitalist rulers to make and carry out decisions. This is good for the working class; it affords us more space to organize and act in our separate interests.

The meritocracy has disdain for both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which for them are passé documents that get in the way of carrying out their “progressive agenda” for the people, who would be more “grateful” if they weren’t so dumb and backward. “Our founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes,” Obama complained in a Feb. 6, 2012, interview with NBC’s Today Show.

What the ruling class and its meritocratic lackeys fear above all is a confident working-class movement that fights for its own independent interests. Defending constitutional and democratic protections is part of carving out political space to organize and build such a movement.

As they say at Starbucks, it's a free country: The deplorable U.S. working class

Steve Clark's 2000 article "Two conflicting class views" deserves to be read in its entirety. 

But one of its points, made in response to middle class radicals' dismissal of the revolutionary potential of the U.S. working class, will ring a bell for readers today buried under a mountain of "racist white working class" liberal-left hysteria resulting from Trump's election.

Excerpt from a 2000 article:

'Buchananite proletariat' 

When we hear about the stable or improving living standards of "much of the working class," a view typical among better-off professional layers (and much of the trade union officialdom as well), that is a clue that the phrase "Buchananite proletariat" encompasses quite a broad spectrum. "Them!" Pérez takes as proof of the SWP's orientation to such a layer--whatever it may be--the statement in the May 8 Militant editorial that "if the only voice working people and worse-off layers of the middle classes hear speaking out against such indignities [as brutal federal police assaults, farm foreclosures, and regressive taxation with complex codes to benefit the rich] are those of reaction, if no angry and determined working-class voice is heard pointing a class-struggle way forward, then the radical siren song of fascist demagogues will gain an ever more receptive ear."

Like so many of his class, Pérez cavalierly dismisses this judgment. So be it. As they say at Starbucks, it's a free country.

But the unions, farmers movements, and organizations of the oppressed in the United States would place themselves in deadly peril were they to follow that lead, instead of the class-struggle line of march of the communist movement.

One need not go back to the 1920s and 1930s in Europe to confirm what the consequences would be. The more recent example of Chile in the early 1970s is closer to home for many of us. The political default of the social democratic, Stalinist, and centrist parties handed over leadership of growing layers of the middle classes, as well as sections of the working class, to the fascist-minded forces led by Pinochet's officer corps. The women's "march of the empty pots" spelled the impending doom of the Allende regime and the coming horror for the toilers.  
Rightist 'culture war' 

Shortly after the April 22 Miami assault organized by Clinton and Reno, Buchanan's "Internet Brigade" (which we're supposed to ignore, while referring to layers of working people as "Buchananite") opened its home page with a reactionary cartoon. The cartoon depicted a mock movie poster with a sexist caricature of Janet Reno as Rambo, letting loose with a clip, and the words: "Fighting for Marxism: No man, no law, no court ruling can stop her" (see elsewhere on this page).

On one level, the cartoon bore testimony to the statement by Barnes in a November 1992 talk in Capitalism's World Disorderthat "the assaults on the rights and basic humanity of women" by Buchanan and other ultrarightists "are so strident and vulgar that they sometimes seem irrational. But they are not." To the contrary, as part of their "culture war," these voices of capitalist reaction are going after "the economic, social, and political gains women have won in the last half century."

And the "Fighting for Marxism" reference should serve as a reminder that, as the class struggle heats up, fascist groups will shift their bead from Establishment figures in the bourgeoisie to the fighting vanguard of the working-class movement.

But the key caption--"Coming Soon, to a Neighborhood Near You"--was aimed at a much broader audience than the woman-hating and anticommunist cadre of the ultraright. It targeted the tens of millions of working people and sections of the middle class--men and women; urban and rural; native-born and immigrant; Black, white, and otherwise--who know from the murderous record of federal, state, and local cop agencies that the prognosis is accurate, and will become more so.

What the leadership of the fascist cadres don't say is that as class polarization accelerates, government commandos will be joined--and at a late stage increasingly pushed aside--by the extralegal deputies and fighting units of reaction.

Barnes's New Year's 1995 talk in Los Angeles was in part a celebration of the recent publication of New International no. 10, which featured the twin articles "Imperialism's March toward Fascism and War" and "Defending Cuba, Defending Cuba's Socialist Revolution."

"Fascism and war is the logic of the march of finance capital," Barnes explained to participants in the Los Angeles gathering. "That is what imperialism has inflicted on humanity twice before in this century, and that is where capitalism is heading once again."

Barnes then called attention to the article on the Cuban revolution in NI no. 10. "Because as Cuban working people have shown," he said, "what is far from inevitable is that the outcome of the workings of capitalism will be triumphant fascism and a third world war. Along the road to such an unthinkable catastrophe, the ruling capitalist families all over the world must try to fight their way through hundreds of millions of working people like us and like those in Cuba."

The U.S. proletariat in its vast majority will not become "Buchananite." But its capacity to triumph in the streets over those who do will be determined by what those in the working-class vanguard do now, in the course of day-to-day activity, to develop and strengthen habits of discipline, proletarian functioning, and communist political clarity....

Caleb Maupin’s synthesis of Jew-hatred and anti-communism

....As capitalism’s slow-burning international depression in production and trade continues, and world disorder begins to pose the fight for workers power, we will see more of Maupin’s brand of Jew-hating historical falsehood against the international working class movement and its communist vanguard.  This is not an academic question; the ability of the working class to think socially and act politically, to organize itself as a class, includes rejecting this brand of poison. 

Full article here.

Workers World Party opportunist whateverism and the LGBT milieu

Trust the leadership of Workers World Party to over-egg the pudding of Stalinist ideological rationalizations
Sam Marcy and his epigones excel at this kind of subjective, feel-good boutique politics. The question of political weight is unknown to them.
I'm sure capitalists like Tom Ford and Peter Theil are duly mortified to find themselves co-opted into the proletariat.
"Our party needs to explain that women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming people are part of the working class. Those leftists who dismiss this as “identity politics” — I question them as Marxists and revolutionaries."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Election 2016


....Millions of workers have grown frustrated and angry by the impact of years of smoldering depression conditions on their lives and refusal of any party in Washington to do anything about it. They don’t buy President Barack Obama’s assurances, echoed by Clinton, that “America’s economy is not just better than it was eight years ago — it is the strongest, most durable economy in the world.”

Most workers face a sharply different reality — high unemployment and underemployment, speedup and unsafe working conditions, and an epidemic of opiate addiction and other social disasters arising from the moral and political crisis of capitalism.

“Far from representing a sweeping victory for the right, Trump’s election shows the impact of years of capitalist crisis on working people,” Alyson Kennedy, who ran as presidential candidate for the Socialist Workers Party, told the Militant Nov. 9.

“There is a hunger among workers for a way forward. Before the election and after, the SWP is focused on talking with workers on their doorsteps,” she said. “Many respond to our call for uniting workers to organize unions, oppose Washington’s wars, support a woman’s right to choose abortion, defend immigrants from attacks and oppose attacks on Muslims and mosques. They are open to what we say about ending the capitalist dictatorship and establishing a workers and farmers government.”

Full article:

Dialectics and physics

Full article in this issue:

The 1981 All Peoples Congress fraud

Full article can be read on page 9 of this issue:

Limitations of Howard Zinn

Kathleen Denny's review sums up Zinn's petty bourgeois radical prescriptions:

This lack of historical perspective comes to the fore in the concluding chapters, in which Zinn expresses his hope to end exploitation and oppression through the enlistment of the middle classes in a movement of the 99 percent with no direct interest in the capitalist system.

He considers soldiers and police, professionals and production workers, administrators, judges and transport workers equally important to the maintenance of the present system, and to its replacement.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sam Marcy's "utter contempt for the working people of Poland"

"Poland: why alliance with farmers is

vital for working class -

A reply to Workers World Party"

By Suzanne Haig

The Militant. 6 February 1981

Page 13-14

Full issue:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Workers World Party: Workers who voted for Trump have "crossed the line"

....For the most part, those who attend and cheer at Trump rallies are deplorable. They go along with the racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric, challenge freedom of the press, believe that a wall on the Southern border will bring back jobs and stop the “browning of America,” threaten Black people’s right to vote, don’t agree that Trump offends women or people with disabilities, and excuse Trump’s misogyny — all such stands are indeed deplorable.
While the left must not give up on all these people, most have crossed a line. They reflect a danger, whether Clinton wins or not....
Full article:
An even more appalling expression of contempt is expressed in this editorial from today:
....Trump did NOT get as many popular votes as Clinton.
Whether they realize it or not, when they voted for Trump they identified not with the working class, in which the majority are now women and/or people of color, but with the ruling establishment.
In this Fox-dominated atmosphere, which extends from films to radio and television to comic books, many bought into Trump’s outright fantasy....
Don’t just mourn, organize – Workers World

On Trump's victory

Some comments on the Trump electoral victory from comrades on Facebook:

Strange how all the so-called educated liberals are dumbstruck by the events unfolding and can only recourse to non-sense to explain them: it's all the fault of racist white workers! It's white peoples fault! The idea that capitalism is the issue does not cross their minds, apparently.

This is what bourgeois education offers: the incapacity to understand how the world functions and what must be done to transform it for the benefit of toilers the world over (most of whom have lived in a nightmare for centuries due to the condemnation to misery that certain countries are destined to under imperialism)

Meanwhile, all those "ignorant" working people that toil in this country have shown more political clarity. Through political actions workers have shown a better grasp of the problems we face and have taken steps to address them through the only option available to us: struggles against capitalism in all its manifestations.

Liberals shouldn't kid themselves: How can they sing defeat because of trumps presidency when in reality the struggle against capital is barely in resurgence after its historic defeat in the 20th century?

Liberals and other 'progressives' will show their true colors when they pick sides not in the voting booth but where it matters: in the streets and demonstrations and picket lines that will proliferate in the coming days weeks and months.


Are you stunned by the electoral victory of demagogue and turn-working-people-on-each-other Donald Trump against Wall-Street-Pentagon Hillary Clinton? Don't be!

Whomever was elected was going to rule on behalf of the ruling class of the last empire on Earth, offering working humanity a prison-house of more wars and more misery.

THAT is the only future that capitalism can offer the workers of the world. That is their "answer", their "solution".

We - on the other hand - have to offer ourselves another future, a political future based on the coming together and solidarity of the class - the proletariat of the world - whose labor makes possible the progressive transformation of nature, making possible culture and the beginning of a truly Human history.

But if you insist, if you were betting on "business as usual"... a shake-up or two was coming your way, the powder kegs of imperialism go off in one country after another. Get yourself a stronger stomach, because the ride is going to get bumby, a rude awakening is waiting for you.

If you are a fighter in heart and soul, if your spine is not broken; if your place is in the struggle for dignity, among the ranks of world labor destined to rise up: there is no place for fatalism or despair.

Don't let the fears of the imperialist oppressors become your next-to-last "hope", nor their inhuman calculations become your horizon.

There is nothing to mourn; there is a world to win. Move forward and join the banding together - worldwide in scope - of the workers who have nothing to lose but their chains. Their political imagination is the promise of a truly livable future. But if you ask me where the greatest danger is, I tell you this:

"...The greatest danger we've faced for a while now is not recognizing the degree to which every fighting worker and workers grouping that uses its strength, imagination, commitment, integrity, and capacity - that acts in a timely fashion, with all the weight it has - can work in a way that brings together on a national and international scale these experiences of working people. It can affect events. It can attract other sections of the population to the liberating spirit of these battles - beginning with the youth, beginning with those who don't have a million conservatizing worries and commitments draped on them from the past."

("Linking Up With The Past, Present, And Future Of Groups Of Vanguard Workers And Farmers In Struggle", in the Feb.15, 1999, issue of the Militant.)


"My two cents on the election results.  Keep in mind that millions of people who voted for Trump also voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 AND Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary. I believe the main motivation for these voters is change, although it is true that some of them, a minority, were motivated by the chauvinist demagogy of the campaign.  And now Trump has to try to implement what he has promised, the good, the bad and the ugly. He will not be successful in doing so, regardless of whether we are talking about "building a wall" or "bringing back good-paying jobs". The capitalist parties are in crisis and this does not, in my view, represent a move to the right by the working-class electorate, which is multinational. In fact, it appears that Afro-American participation was significantly down and the expected Latino participation apparently never materialized.  This is the first time in my life that the capitalist class and it's meritocracy has developed an acute fear and loathing of the working-people, in part for not doing what they were supposed to do, which was to nominate Jeb Bush and then elect either him or Clinton.  Whether a Clinton or a Trump presidency, the need for our class to organize to defend it's interests would not have changed."


Donald Trump beat Romney among latino and black voters by a significant margin. He won hundreds of thousands of those who voted for Obama twice, especially in Pennsylvania.

Irredeemable bigotry and misogyny didn't decide this election, broad working-class discontent at an increasingly crisis-ridden world did.

Donald Trump IS a crude bigot, a misogynist, and a demagogue. He warrants no one's confidence. He's a billionaire capitalist who can and will do nothing to resolve the crisis that we face. But it's a losing recipe to double down on resentment and anger towards millions of workers who may have cast a ballot for him.

Fight and build organizations worthy of the mantle of leadership. My confidence remains with working people the world over. We have lessons to learn and a world to win.

"White America" does not exist - bourgeois class blindness

From 2012:

Capitalist pundits election ‘analyses’
show their class disdain, blindness 
(lead article, commentary)

The big-business media, from the left to the right, has spilled much ink analyzing the recent U.S. elections. What comes through in their various demographic theories is a bourgeois class blindness that prevents these “experts” from understanding attitudes and trends in the working class and how they may or may not be reflected in the elections.

Among these “theories” are conjectures about voting patterns of the majority of so-called whites, whom they often refer to in writing as blue-collar or poor whites, but whom they view with disdain as “white trash.”

But the “white America” the pundits write about doesn’t exist. And they prefer not to see the reality of an America that is increasingly class divided.

In the mind of self-styled progressive liberals, heavily represented by bourgeois-minded meritocrats and professionals, workers who are Caucasian are essentially ignorant, reactionary, and becoming increasingly racist as a natural response to the effects of the economic crisis on their lives. According to this view, these workers can be expected to vote Republican in general, and all the more so in the recent election in order to vote out a Black candidate. This is why a layer of Democratic Party liberals write off any effort to win the so-called white vote and instead focus on the so-called Latino and Black vote, along with those of “smart people” like themselves.

This sentiment was partially captured by Obama himself in 2008 when he spoke about workers in small towns in Ohio and Pennsylvania: “It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment.”

Another notion that flows from this outlook is the idea that growth of reactionary views among working people in the U.S. are part of a similar trend around the world.

A good example of this is an article by New York Times guest columnist Thomas Edsall, who interviewed Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the American Center for American Progress and adviser to the Obama campaign.

Edsall writes: “In the United States, Teixeira noted, ‘The Republican Party has become the party of the white working class,’ while in Europe many working-class voters who had been the core of Social Democratic parties have moved over to far right parties.”

Conservative pundits hold a similar version of the same class prejudices about workers who are Caucasian as liberals do, but instead of lamenting about it, many wish it were more true.

Attitudes in the working class are not something that can be directly gleaned from election results or any other method by those who live in a world entirely outside of the working class. Workers’ views only find distorted reflection in the bourgeois electoral arena, where, in the absence of sustained class-struggle battles from which workers gain self-confidence and a sense of political independence, most today look for a “lesser evil” to vote for.

One thing the election results do not support is the view that there is a rising tide of racism among workers today. There are plenty of reasons why one would not vote Barack Obama, from his open disdain for working people to concerns about growing government interference in people’s lives.

The most striking thing about the election is that—after four years of the most profound economic crisis in living memory—the lesser evil for most workers, including a substantial section of those who are Caucasian, was not the challenger but the incumbent. And an incumbent who has not even talked about a real jobs program much less shown an inclination to enact one.

But many saw Romney as more out of touch with the crushing effects of the capitalist crisis. Many assumed a second Obama presidency might at least be more open to providing government relief from the crisis.

The exit polls reflect some of these sentiments. While 51 percent of voters said that government was too intrusive in their lives, 55 percent said the U.S. economic system favors the wealthy. And the majority thought that Romney’s policies would favor the rich.

“Romney did terribly among the white working class” in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, complained Steven Sailer, a conservative with openly racist views, on Nov. 7.

And some 9 million workers who are Caucasian were among the millions of working people who didn’t bother to vote for either of the bosses’ parties.

This doesn’t mean Romney didn’t win votes from lots of working people who are Caucasian, particularly in more rural areas and parts of the South. He did, especially from those fed up with the accumulated economic blows suffered over Obama’s first four years. But there is no reason to assume that a growing—as opposed to shrinking—minority did so for racist reasons. There is no rise in KKK violence or other evidence to support such a contention.

And workers on the job know that coworkers who voted for Obama or Romney are equally likely to jump into discussion about how to meet the bosses’ attacks and fight together, regardless of racial, religious or other differences.

Profound social changes resulting from the massive proletarian Black rights battle of the 1950s and ’60s that smashed Jim Crow segregation have wrought irreversible changes in the working class that have opened the door to greater unity in action. And today working people in general are feeling the effects of the crisis and increasingly look to advance their classinterests above all.

This is true within the Black nationality, where conditions of life for workers—both absolute and relative to others sections of the working class—are getting worse under the impact of the economic crisis. And the crisis is reinforcing forms of national oppression endemic to social relations under capitalism. At the same time, class divisions among African-Americans are widening.

The fight against racist discrimination and to overcome national divisions remains one of the biggest tasks ahead in forging a working-class vanguard in the U.S. But, contrary to the hopes of conservative pundits and the accepted wisdom of liberals, racist bigotry against African-Americans and other forms of prejudice are not on the rise among working people who are Caucasian or of other backgrounds.

This conclusion is consistent with the personal experience of many working people today on and off the job. This is one of the strengths of our class, the only truly progressive class, in the U.S.

Votes on ballot measures

Another more recent shift in attitudes among working people in favor of equal rights and against bigotry was registered in votes on a number of ballot referenda. In Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota, millions of workers voted to push back state laws that discriminate, based on prejudice, against equal rights in marriage based on gender and sexual orientation.

In Florida, a measure to strengthen discriminatory restrictions against young women’s ability to get an abortion was rejected. The vote also upheld legal protection for the right to privacy.

Some measures put on the ballot by labor unions did not fare so well. But here it would be wrong to think the vote is a reflection of those who are for and against organized labor. Rather the referenda highlight the failing strategy of the top labor officialdom.

Among the ballot measures, in Michigan leaders of the Service Employees International Union and others organized an effort to write into the state constitution the right of public sector unions to bargain collectively and a prohibition against the legislature enacting “right to work” laws.

The measure, Proposition 2, failed by 58 to 42 percent.

The Socialist Workers Party called for a yes vote. “Not because restrictive laws are the reason our unions are getting weaker, a rationalization often heard from union officials,” James Harris, SWP presidential candidate said, but as part of “laying the groundwork to transform our unions into effective working-class combat organizations against the bosses’ deepening attacks.”

At the same time, such substitutes for organizing unions or bringing union power to bear are not something workers will or can rally around. The ballot measure is put forward by the same labor officials who, contrary to leading battles against efforts by politicians and employers to slash our rights or wages, have worked overtime to avoid and limit such fights while supporting some of the same capitalist politicians leading the assault.

Regardless of which “lesser evil” they pulled the lever for, or if they stayed home, or how they voted on any referenda, workers by the millions are feeling the squeeze from the propertied rulers’ attacks and are looking to discuss where they come from and a way to fight back.

Through these discussions and coming battles, workers will gain experience and self-confidence, and will begin to transform themselves by the millions into actors on the stage of history. And along the way, they will stop looking for lesser evils and start looking for a way to replace the rule of the propertied class with a government of workers and farmers.