Wednesday, October 22, 2025

From The Pages Of Workers Vanguard-A Dissenting View- “Occupy Wall Street”: Rebels for Liberal Reform-For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Capitalist Class!

Click on the headline to link to the International Communist League (ICL) website.

Workers Vanguard No. 988
14 October 2011

“Occupy Wall Street”: Rebels for Liberal Reform

For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Capitalist Class!

Below we print excerpts from an October 8 forum by Spartacist League spokesman Irene Gardner in Oakland.

This past Wednesday my comrades and I were at the mass demonstration in downtown Manhattan with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, roughly 700 of whom were arrested by the NYPD at a march over the Brooklyn Bridge a few days earlier. I think the scale and popularity of these protests have surprised the New York City ruling class somewhat. It’s another indication of how much anger is out there.

Each day we open up the paper and discover another set of horrible statistics about the effects of the capitalist crisis on poor and working people. The reality is a lot worse than the numbers. Back in 2008, the con men on Wall Street, whose financial swindles were central to the economic collapse, were bailed out to the tune of trillions of dollars. But the working class, black people, Latinos and the growing mass of the poor have been made to foot the bill, losing jobs, homes, pensions and just about anything else that makes life livable.

Today, one in six people of working age in the U.S. are unemployed, with long-term unemployment the highest since the Great Depression. The Census Bureau now reports that 46.2 million in the U.S. live under the poverty line, and of those, 2.6 million fell into poverty just in the last year alone. Those who still have a job are being squeezed to work harder, faster and longer for lower pay. And there are plenty of people who have given up even looking for a job altogether. A new census report also shows that one in five New Yorkers now live in poverty, the highest level in a decade. Another astounding figure: in New York City the number of homeless students in public schools has quadrupled since 2008, to almost 43,000 as of last October.

Meanwhile, during the past two years, corporate profits have broken all historic records. The government’s “welfare for the rich” schemes have boosted financial speculation, artificially driving up the price of stocks, while the manufacturing and productive capacity of the U.S. has dropped significantly. And now we’re in a global financial crisis with Europe ready to implode.

Even billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg mentioned that riots could happen if job prospects don’t improve. It is the fear that the masses might revolt that concerns union-hating Bloomberg and other multibillionaires like Warren Buffett. President Obama has now been pushing a new tax rate for millionaires (the so-called “Buffett Rule”) in exchange for Democrats’ support to more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid. In reality, this token “tax the rich” scheme is meant to be sugarcoating on another round of anti-working-class austerity.

Obama and the Democrats want to appear as if they care about “the little guy,” but in reality Obama championed the same austerity agenda as the Republicans all summer long, pushing for massive budget cuts. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are a political party of the capitalist class. As one Verizon striker put it, “The Democrats are doing the job of the Republicans, only with a smile.”

Economic crises, booms and busts, are nothing new—they are endemic to the capitalist mode of production. A key contradiction that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels identified is that under capitalism production is socialized. But the means of production remain the private property of a few, who appropriate the wealth that is produced by workers’ collective labor. Those who own the means of production—the factories, mines, railroads, banks—constitute the capitalist class, also known as the bourgeoisie. Those who subsist only on their labor power—their mental and physical ability to work—constitute the working class, the proletarians. Between these two classes lies a variety of merchants, independent professionals and others known as the petty bourgeoisie. But the main, decisive classes are the capitalist class and the working class.

Consciously or not, labor seeks to resist exploitation. It comes into constant conflict with the uncontrollable drive of capitalist production, which is the drive for the accumulation of more and more capital, and the production of more and more profit. This is the basis for class struggle—the irreconcilable class conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

The Imperialist Epoch

V.I. Lenin, leader of the 1917 Russian Revolution, described how capitalism in the late 19th century reached its highest stage—imperialism. He described how the means of production came to be monopolized by fewer and bigger conglomerates with ever-growing needs for investment funds and other financing, leading to the dominance of finance capital, centrally the giant banks. As the capitalists in the advanced industrial countries strove for newer markets to exploit, they carried out wars to redivide the world and secure spheres of exploitation in less-developed countries. In their competition for world domination, the imperialist powers engulfed people around the world in the barbarism of World Wars I and II and waged countless bloody wars in colonial and semicolonial countries.

The way out of the endless cycle of capitalist economic crises and imperialist wars was shown by the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, when workers took power in their own hands, expropriating the bourgeoisie and establishing the Soviet workers state. It is high time that working people, who create the wealth in this society, run this society! We need an all new ruling class—the workers! Fight, don’t starve! Labor must rule!

In a climate conditioned by the imperialists’ proclamations that the destruction of the Soviet Union proved Marxism to be a “failed experiment,” the prospect of proletarian socialist revolution might appear implausible. But the collectivized economy in the Soviet Union worked! Despite its isolation in a world dominated by imperialism, the Soviet Union, arising from deep backwardness and the destruction of world war, civil war and imperialist intervention, became an industrial and military powerhouse, even under Stalinist bureaucratic misrule.

When the capitalist world was in the midst of the Great Depression, the Soviet Union actually increased its industrial output. As Leon Trotsky pointed out in The Revolution Betrayed in 1936:

“Even if the Soviet Union, as a result of internal difficulties, external blows and the mistakes of its leadership, were to collapse—which we firmly hope will not happen—there would remain as an earnest of the future this indestructible fact, that thanks solely to a proletarian revolution a backward country has achieved in less than ten years successes unexampled in history.”

Now, two decades after counterrevolution destroyed the Soviet degenerated workers state, many in Russia long for the days when they were guaranteed a job, education, housing, health care and vacations, regretting that they were taken in by the myth of capitalist “democracy.” What undermined the collectivized economy, and ultimately laid the basis for the destruction of the Soviet Union itself, was the parasitic Stalinist bureaucracy, which robbed the workers of their political power and vainly sought to appease the imperialists by selling out workers struggles in other countries.

Today, the deep economic crisis in the capitalist countries contrasts sharply with the situation in China, where the industries central to production are collectivized. Beijing has massively channeled investment into developing infrastructure and productive capacity. However, China’s Stalinist regime also undermines the social gains of the 1949 Revolution by conciliating imperialism and promoting “market reforms” that strengthen internal counterrevolutionary forces. In its “partnership” with world capital, the Beijing bureaucracy is subsidizing American imperialism through its huge investment in U.S. treasury bonds, which, among other things, are used to finance the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. As Trotskyists, we stand for the unconditional military defense of the Chinese deformed workers state against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. At the same time, we call for proletarian political revolution to replace the Stalinist bureaucrats with a revolutionary internationalist leadership and a regime of workers democracy.

From Spain’s Indignados...

I want to talk a bit about Europe and in particular Spain, where I visited this past summer. Along with the wild roller-coaster ride of the stock market, Europe has been in the news just about every day with the imperialist rulers desperately trying to keep the economies afloat. In Europe, the financial crisis has sharply accentuated the contradictions inherent in the European Union (EU), an unstable consortium of rival capitalist states, some richer, some poorer. At the heart of the EU’s contradictions is the fact that the maintenance of a common currency requires a common state power. That is simply not possible under capitalism. As proletarian internationalists, we have always opposed the EU as an imperialist trade bloc. We say that only the conquest of state power by the working class can lay the basis for a socialist United States of Europe and a rationally planned economy.

In Spain, youth unemployment is around 45 percent. Factories are closing, hospitals are cutting back, and evictions during just three months of this year numbered over 15,000, more than 150 a day. When I was in Spain I got to discuss with some of the “Indignados” (“the indignant”) at their encampment in Puerta del Sol, the central square in Madrid. The Spanish Indignados are essentially a petty-bourgeois movement that arose in response to the austerity measures being enforced by the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) before its huge defeat in the municipal and regional elections in May. The PSOE in power has carried out a relentless capitalist austerity drive.

Those who started the Indignados movement were inspired by the best-selling book Indignez-vous! (Be Indignant!) by Stéphane Hessel, a French anti-communist bourgeois ideologue. They were also inspired by the protests in Egypt and Iceland. They occupied squares in major cities throughout Spain, numbering in the tens of thousands, mostly youth, calling on people to “stand up against indifference in a peaceful uprising.”

Their main organizers, around a group called Real Democracy Now, put out a manifesto calling for an end to corruption and an end to the dictatorship of the markets, “real democracy.” But what is democracy in a class-divided society? Under capitalism, it is democracy for the ruling class, those wealthy few who own the means of production and carry out laws to defend their private property. There are no laws that will establish equality between the capitalists and the working class. The capitalists have a state apparatus, armed bodies of men (cops, courts, prisons) to keep the bourgeoisie in power and repress any challenge to their rule.

So how do the Indignados propose to change society? By endless protests and encampments? You can be indignant all you want, but to really make a change you have to ally with the social power of the working class, the only class that has the power to stop production and has the historic interest to overthrow capitalism. But the leadership of the Indignados movement is anti-union and therefore anti-working-class, because unions are the basic defense organizations of the working class. In Spain early on, the Indignados assemblies would not allow any union or political organization to join with them, “in order to guarantee the political neutrality of this citizens’ movement”! Their so-called “non-political” stance is actually very political—in the direction of anti-communism. This is shown by their exclusion of left groups from speaking at assemblies and attempts to censor left groups from distributing their literature.

Even their anti-leadership emphasis on “consensus” decision-making is undemocratic. Instead of using majority votes to make decisions, people are supposed to debate endlessly until they all agree. Then, of course, a non-elected clique usually makes the decisions in the background.

While the Indignados leadership pushes anti-union politics, it seems that many of the youth don’t necessarily buy into it. One example is that there have been large teachers strikes in Madrid recently, and some Indignados have put out a statement in support.

Many of these youth hate the effects of capitalism but do not see socialism as an alternative. The whole “death of communism” ideology pushed by the bourgeoisie following the fall of the Soviet Union is reflected in such low-level protest movements. This is also a reflection of the betrayals of the Social Democracy and the Communist parties, which have engaged in decades of class-collaboration—the Spanish labor union bureaucrats work hand in hand with the Socialist Party government! We fight to win youth over to the side of the working class, to the program of international socialist revolution, and to the understanding that you need a Bolshevik vanguard party to accomplish this.

...To “Occupy Wall Street”

The new Occupy Wall Street encampment, which has been gaining steam around the country, is in solidarity with the Spanish Indignados, raising similar demands against corporate greed and for a “leaderless resistance movement.” As one columnist put it, it’s like a “festival of frustrations” and people are plenty mad. They also look for inspiration from the “Egyptian Spring.” But look at what has happened in Egypt—the workers continue to get screwed under a renewed military dictatorship. What’s needed is not endless protests and occupations of squares but workers to power!

For many of the youth in the encampment, this is their first protest. Many are pro-union, but they view the working class as just another base of support for their all-inclusive “movement.” We’ve been intervening into the Occupy Wall Street protests, distributing lots of Workers Vanguard, looking to win over those who are open to a Marxist perspective of international socialist revolution.

Many of you have seen the video of the Wall Street protesters getting viciously attacked by the NYPD during a march to Union Square, where 80 people got arrested. The videos show several young women being corralled inside a movable police pen and pepper-sprayed by cops. Others were kicked, bruised and thrown over barricades by the police. And then last weekend 700 were arrested when the police trapped them on a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. According to a recent New York Times article, the NYPD is geared up to deal with “unrest.”

Many of the protesters are saying that the problem with the cops is that they were “unprofessional.” But these cops are as “professional” as they come! They are precisely carrying out their “profession” as the capitalist state’s armed bodies of men. There are massive illusions that “the cops are workers, too,” with slogans like “NYPD is a layoff away from joining us” and “The 99 percent includes cops.” No, the cops are not a part of the working class—they have a special role to play as part of the capitalist state apparatus. We say cops, prison guards and security guards out of the unions!

What we are seeing in the Occupy Wall Street protest is lowest-common-denominator politics, which does not at all challenge the rule of the bourgeoisie. An example of this was seen in the attempt to create a General Assembly declaration: Somebody objected to using the phrase “redistribution of wealth” because it sounded “dangerously similar to theft”! So it was decided, via consensus, to remove this phrase altogether. If you look at their final declaration posted on the Web, it does not even oppose capitalism, it just raises the same appeals for classless “democracy.” This is not new. A lot of these same themes were put forward during the anti-globalization protests of the late 1990s, here and in Europe, which did not go anywhere.

Many of the slogans raised, like “We are the 99 percent,” are totally compatible with the Democratic Party’s line. In fact, the Democrats are working to get on top of these protests as a way of invigorating Obama’s campaign for the next election and to counter the Tea Party. Not only has Obama empathized with the protests, but yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke have expressed sympathy! You also have celebrities like Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon there—one of the first things she asked was if people were registered to vote. And there are the left-talking Democrats like Charles Barron, all looking to corral youth toward the Democratic Party.

As I mentioned at the start, several unions have called for joining the Occupy Wall Street protests. A recent article noted, “The decision by organized labor to join the demonstrations has given them an extra jolt of numbers and credibility, since unions have historically played an important, but waning, role in mobilizing voters on the left” (New York Times, 6 October). The labor bureaucrats’ program is not about class struggle. It’s about pressuring the Democratic Party to go a little easier on their membership during a period of union-busting austerity.

One of the more vocal unions in support of the protests has been the New York City Transport Workers Union (TWU). Like other unions, the TWU is under heavy attack by the bosses. TWU members showed real social power when they went on strike in December 2005, defying the state Taylor Law banning public workers strikes. But the workers were stabbed in the back by the leaders of other NYC unions and the TWU International, and in the end were sold out by their own local union misleaders.

TWU bureaucrats and the rest of the AFL-CIO officialdom are pushing impotent “tax the rich” schemes along with reformist left groups like the International Socialist Organization, the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. These “tax the rich” demands are tailor-made to fit in with the current Obama administration and Democratic Party platform. The corporations and banks are sitting on mountains of cash, but you aren’t going to get your hands on it by appealing to the tax authority of the capitalist state, whose purpose is to guarantee and defend the interests of the bourgeoisie.

This past spring, tens of thousands of unionists and their supporters (including students) came out to occupy the Wisconsin State Capitol to protest Republican governor Scott Walker’s union-busting law tearing up collective bargaining for public workers unions. But the bureaucratic misleaders of the AFL-CIO worked overtime to squelch any move toward actually using labor’s strike weapon. Instead they channeled the anger of the ranks into support for the Democratic Party with a petition to recall Walker and a number of Republican state legislators, which failed miserably. Wisconsin public employee unions have been dealt a real defeat.

Within the labor movement, the proletariat is saddled with a pro-capitalist union bureaucracy that promotes the lie that the interests of labor and capital are compatible. They tie working people and the oppressed to the capitalist system, especially through support to the Democratic Party. The trade-union misleaders poured a whopping $450 million into the 2008 elections, backing capitalist politicians like Obama as “friends of labor.”

It is absolutely necessary to forge a new leadership of the unions to mobilize labor in struggle for its class interests, to fight against all forms of discrimination and for full citizenship rights for immigrants. A strategic question for the American workers revolution is the fight against black oppression, which is rooted in the very foundation of capitalism in the U.S. If the unions are to fight for their very existence, they must take up the defense of the ghetto and barrio poor by fighting for jobs, quality housing, education, health care and more.

The decades of betrayals by the labor bureaucracy have encouraged the U.S. rulers in the arrogant belief that they can get away with doing anything to the working class, the poor and most everyone else without provoking any social struggle. But the rulers and their labor lieutenants cannot eliminate the class struggle. The same conditions that grind down the workers can and will propel them into battle against the capitalist class enemy. Right now International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21 in Longview, Washington, is in a battle for its life, fighting against the union-busting of the EGT multinational conglomerate. They have been facing court injunctions, arrests and police assaults, including pepper spray and cops in full riot gear, in a fight to defend their union.

Renewed labor battles will lay the basis for reviving and extending the unions, with a new, class-struggle leadership coming to the fore. It is crucial that we build a revolutionary vanguard party that will bring the critical element of consciousness to the proletariat, to transform it from a class in itself to a class for itself, fighting to do away with this entire system of wage slavery. Join us in the fight for a socialist future for humanity!

The General Strike In Greece- Make The Bosses Pay-Victory To The Greek Workers!

Click on the headline to link to a BBC online report of the events surrounding the two-day General Strike in Greece.

Markin comment:

The international working class movement and its allies, including in the Occupy movement, needs to support the Greek workers in their General Strike. The line is drawn in the sand. Make the bosses (in Greece, and internationally) pay. The bosses created the mess, let them pay. If not, move aside and let the workers rule. As for the Greek workers, who today stand as the vanguard of the international working class offensive against the bosses austerity drive-Build workers councils in order to prepare to take power and create a workers government. The time is now. Labor must rule

Sunday, October 19, 2025

The General Strike In Greece- Make The Bosses Pay-Victory To The Greek Workers!

Click on the headline to link to a BBC online report of the events surrounding the two-day General Strike in Greece.

Markin comment:

The international working class movement and its allies, including in the Occupy movement, needs to support the Greek workers in their General Strike. The line is drawn in the sand. Make the bosses (in Greece, and internationally) pay. The bosses created the mess, let them pay. If not, move aside and let the workers rule. As for the Greek workers, who today stand as the vanguard of the international working class offensive against the bosses austerity drive-Build workers councils in order to prepare to take power and create a workers government. The time is now. Labor must rule

Friday, July 18, 2025

From The Pages Of "Workers Vanguard"- Greece: Mass Anger Over Savage Austerity-Workers Must Rule!-For a Socialist United States of Europe!

Markin comment:

As always in such general strike and possiblly pre-revolutitonary situations a call by communist propagandists for independent working class organizations to take power is in order. For A Greek Communist Party-Greek Trade Union Federations (and whoever else of the up-against-the-wall middle class and student elements they can bring in) government!
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Workers Vanguard No. 983
8 July 2011

European Crisis and the Bankruptcy of Capitalism

Greece: Mass Anger Over Savage Austerity-Workers Must Rule!-
For a Socialist United States of Europe!

On June 29, as a two-day general strike virtually shut down the country and tens of thousands protested outside, the Greek parliament approved a new round of brutal austerity measures demanded by the Greek bourgeoisie and its imperialist overlords. The demonstrators—who included, in addition to workers, a broad range of the population from students and other youth to professionals and retirees—were viciously attacked by club-wielding riot police. More than a year of unrelenting attacks on the living standards of the Greek population has resulted in seething unrest across broad layers of society. In the last year alone, there have been at least a dozen one-day general strikes and massive protests. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, homelessness has skyrocketed and many people, especially pensioners, are reliant on soup kitchens for their survival.

Video footage of the wanton violence meted out by the cops has provoked widespread indignation, as has another video documenting collusion between the police and hooded provocateurs who infiltrated the protesters. Police fired endless volleys of tear gas and stun grenades and pummeled protesters with chunks of masonry. At least 38 were reportedly arrested in what was blatantly a cop riot. We demand that all charges be dropped against the anarchists and other anti-austerity protesters, including those arrested during the earlier general strikes!

It is clear for all to see that working people are being fleeced to pay for a crisis they are not responsible for. The economic crisis gripping Greece—a particularly severe expression of the world capitalist crisis—was triggered in the spring of last year as global financial capitalists, fearing that the heavily indebted Greek government would default on its loan obligations, began spurning Greek government bonds. The plummeting price of those bonds threatened European banks, especially in France and Germany—foreign financial institutions are exposed to some 340 billion euros in Greek public and private debt.

To try to head off the crisis, at least temporarily, the European Union (EU) and the IMF agreed last year to a 110 billion euro “rescue package” on condition that Athens impose draconian austerity measures on Greece’s working people. The October 2009 elections replaced the right-wing New Democracy (ND) regime with the bourgeois-populist Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) of George Papandreou, with the bourgeoisie calculating that the masses would more readily accept “sacrifice” if demanded by PASOK. The PASOK government answered the EU and IMF’s ultimatum with a year-long campaign of slashing public sector workers’ wages, gutting pensions and ramping up taxes. These attacks hit hardest at the poorest in society, including immigrant workers. In addition, Greek officials, in response to EU/IMF demands that they raise cash by privatizing a host of state-owned enterprises, have launched what the bourgeois press describes as a “fire sale,” auctioning off airports, ports and prime land.

European capitalists fear that a default by Greece could immediately pose a similar collapse by other heavily indebted countries such as Ireland and Portugal, which have already received bailouts from the EU and IMF, and Spain, whose economy is larger than that of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined. Fearing the potentially catastrophic effects of such contagion, the EU/IMF hastily agreed last month on a second “rescue package” for Greece, amounting to a further 120 billion euros. Yet hardly anyone believes that these bailouts will do more than delay the inevitable default.

Everyone can see that the fate of the Greek working class, and much of the petty bourgeoisie, will be ever more dire without a radical solution. The working masses have demonstrated their combativity time and again. But the workers’ leaders, whether the despised PASOK-loyal tops of the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Confederation of Public Servants (ADEDY) or the far more militant-sounding Greek Communist Party (KKE) and its PAME labor front, have thus far succeeded in channeling workers’ anger into what amounts to militant parliamentary lobbying. In effect, they appeal to the Greek capitalists to stand up to their senior partners in Germany and France. This nationalist class collaboration is a recipe for demoralization and defeat.

The allies of the Greek proletariat are to be found not among its “own” exploiters but among the workers elsewhere in Europe and beyond. A proletarian upheaval in Greece could trigger a wave of class struggle throughout Europe against the ever more brutal and incessant attacks of the capitalists against the jobs, benefits and living standards of all workers on the continent. A workers government in Greece would immediately repudiate the imperialist debt. Such an act would require a direct appeal to the proletariat, from Germany and France to Spain and Portugal, to come to the defense of their Greek class brothers and sisters against the combined forces of the European bourgeoisies.

As long as Greek workers are mobilized primarily against the foreign diktats of the IMF and EU, they will be unable to see that opposing the imperialists is intertwined with overthrowing the Greek bourgeoisie. The Greek government is not simply a tool of the European and other imperialist powers, as some signs in the Athens demonstrations suggest, but of the Greek bourgeoisie that has always exploited, suppressed and bled the working class in the pursuit of profit.

The question that is objectively posed is the need for the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist order and the establishment of working-class rule. Yet there is a huge disparity between the objective needs of the Greek working class and oppressed on one side and the political program of their leadership on the other. The repeated strikes and protests are designed to dissipate the anger of workers, whose militancy is clearly not the issue. The problem is that the working class is hamstrung by a leadership that accepts the need for the working class to bear some degree of austerity to “bail out” capitalism, while objecting that the terms and conditions dictated by the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) are too severe.

The program of the labor bureaucracy—defined by what is “practical” under capitalism—has led to disaster for the working class. To overcome the gulf between the workers’ present consciousness and the necessity for a workers government based on organs of proletarian power, a Leninist-Trotskyist vanguard party would put forward a series of transitional demands, starting from the felt needs of the masses and pointing the way toward the seizure of state power by the working class and the expropriation of the rapacious capitalist class.

To combat mass unemployment, it is necessary to demand the sharing of available work, with no loss of pay, and a massive program of public works. To protect even their current living standards—already among the lowest in Europe—workers must demand that wages be indexed to inflation. To unmask the exploitation, robbery and fraud of the industrialists and bankers, workers should demand that the capitalists open their (real) books. With the imperialists demanding the dismantling of state enterprises, the proletariat must fight for the expropriation of the productive property of the capitalist class as a whole and the establishment of a planned economy under workers rule, where production would be based on social need, not profit.

Combat National Chauvinism!

Throughout Europe, the capitalist press and politicians have been whipping up a chauvinist frenzy against Greeks, who are portrayed as lazy, ungrateful scroungers. Last year the right-wing German Bild (27 October 2010) screamed: “Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks…and the Acropolis too!” A recent London Financial Times (9 May) editorial demanded: “Athens must be put under the gun.” For all the talk of bailing out Greece, the only “bailout” that is taking place is that of Europe’s banks. Columnist Martin Wolf noted in the Financial Times (21 June): “It is far less embarrassing to state that one is helping Greece when one is in fact helping one’s own banks.”

With chauvinist arrogance, the European imperialists, led by Germany, are seeking to impose on Greece, an EU member state, the kind of diktat they are accustomed to issuing to neocolonial countries in the Third World. The Financial Times (17 June) reports that officials of the “troika”—the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission—are demanding that “outsiders” be brought in “to make Greece’s privatization program happen,” adding that “because Greece seemed incapable of collecting taxes, international experts would come in to do that, too.” The article further reports that Finnish officials were insisting that “Athens assets should be securitised so they could be used as collateral. If Greece defaulted, lenders would gain an airport or some other utility.”

The imperialists’ dismissive attitude to Greece’s sovereignty has in turn fueled national chauvinism in Greece. Right-wing opponents of the EU/IMF’s bailout include New Democracy, Greece’s main opposition party. ND represents Greek business interests that have no intention of paying the imperialists’ extortion themselves and fear, as BBC economics editor Paul Mason put it, “a tax bill the like of which they have never dreamed, nor indeed paid.” However, ND and PASOK are united in the determination that Greek working people pay for the country’s economic crisis.

Recent months have seen the explosive growth of a new movement, the so-called “indignant citizens” movement. The “Indignados” placed themselves at the head of the mass mobilizations outside parliament, where Greek flags proliferated, the Greek national anthem was sung and anti-American and anti-German sentiment was rife. Protesters have waved EU flags with a swastika at the center—equating “German” with “Nazi” and invoking the spectre of World War II, when Greece was occupied by German imperialism (followed by rampaging British troops).

In Spain, the Indignados movement arose in response to the austerity measures that were being enforced by the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Party government before its huge defeat in the last elections. In Greece, the petty-bourgeois Indignados emerged in the context of the abject failure of the trade-union bureaucracy to present any way forward for the struggles of the working masses. The two main trade-union federations, the GSEE and ADEDY, representing the private and public sectors respectively, are controlled by PASOK, which is imposing the austerity measures. Despite the “socialist” reference in its name, and the credentials given to it by opportunist left groups, PASOK is a capitalist party.

Broad layers of the middle class that could be rallied behind an insurgent proletariat struggling for power are instead being drawn into virulently chauvinist, anti-immigrant and anti-working-class movements. Displaying overt hostility to the organizations of the working class and the left, the Indignados present themselves as a “pro-democracy” movement of all classes. As in Spain, all leftist political parties and trade unions, as well as red flags and banners, were banned from the Greek protests at first. Not surprisingly, given the nationalist fervor whipped up by the Indignados, Golden Dawn and other fascist outfits have been seen at the protests.

There has been an ominous rise in racist attacks, as desperately impoverished immigrants are used as scapegoats for the economic devastation. Earlier this year, fascist thugs rampaged through a heavily immigrant area of Athens, killing one person and wounding many more. Golden Dawn got over 5 percent of the vote in municipal elections in Athens late last year. According to the London-based Institute of Race Relations, Golden Dawn’s Nikos Michaloliakos, accompanied by eight apparently armed bodyguards, gave a Nazi salute at a council meeting in Athens in January.

The fascists are emboldened by the racist policies of the government. Greece’s border with Turkey is one of the front lines of “Fortress Europe,” with EU border patrols employed to keep immigrants out. The Greek government has announced plans to build a razor-wire fence, equipped with sonar systems and thermal sensors, along the border. The workers movement must fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants and to unionize foreign workers. For union/minority mobilizations to stop fascist provocations! For integrated workers defense guards to protect immigrant neighborhoods!

Communist Party: Left Face of Greek Nationalism

The Stalinist KKE adopts a posture of militant opposition to the PASOK government and promotes PAME as a class-struggle alternative to what it calls the “government- and employer-led” trade unions. But the Greek Stalinists present no fundamental alternative to the betrayals of the GSEE/ADEDY union misleaders. Despite its occasional verbal radicalism, the KKE is hostile to the program of workers revolution to overthrow Greek capitalism.

The KKE’s political bankruptcy is evident in regard to the Indignados. In an article in Rizospastis (5 June), the KKE correctly noted that “the ‘anonymous’ leaders of the ‘movement of the squares,’ the ‘non-partisan,’ ‘spontaneous,’ ‘non-politicized’ citizens, appear to be politicized, declaring themselves ‘anti-left’.” The article adds that with their slogans “Out with the left,” “Parties out” and “Trade unions out,” the Indignados are “not that democratic, or, to be more accurate, they are undemocratic.” What the KKE cannot challenge, though, is the virulent nationalism of the Indignados, which the KKE itself shares.

Indeed, the KKE has made defense of “national sovereignty” its own calling card, and is particularly virulent in espousing Greek nationalism in relation to Turkey, the traditional enemy of its “own” bourgeoisie. For example, in a speech last year, KKE general secretary Aleka Papariga complained that the EU was not taking account of “our national sovereignty rights” when considering Turkey’s bid for membership. She went on to chastise Papandreou for “trying to cover up the issue by dividing the Aegean, something that will have an adverse effect on the islands’ defense.” Nationalism within the workers movement is the chief obstacle to constructing a genuine revolutionary workers party in Greece.

It is a travesty that the KKE retains a reputation as militant fighters against capitalism based on the Resistance against the Nazi occupation and the subsequent Greek Civil War of 1946-49. In pursuit of its program of class collaboration with the Greek bourgeoisie, the KKE handed power back to the bourgeoisie following World War II. The working class, backed by the peasantry, was the decisive force in the anti-Nazi Resistance, mounting massive strikes and demonstrations from late 1942 until the withdrawal of German troops in 1944. The working class, arms in hand, had state power in its grasp. But its leaders, the treacherous KKE, actually welcomed the arrival of British troops into Greece, enabling the imperialists to stabilize the situation, bring back the hated monarchy and massacre the workers.

The Greek Stalinists lived up to the terms of the secret Tehran agreement, whereby Stalin granted the imperialists the “right” to preserve capitalist rule in West Europe and Greece. Politically disarming the proletariat, the Stalinists went so far as to join a “national” government of the bourgeoisie. In February 1945, they signed the Varkiza agreement, which physically disarmed the KKE-led Resistance forces as British troops and the Greek National Guard were preparing to unleash a full-scale wave of terror against the masses. Only in February 1946 did the KKE finally abandon its suicidal policy and take up the “armed struggle” again. In October 1949, after ferocious repression, the Civil War was ended. The KKE ranks had fought heroically. But needless to say, the KKE learned nothing from the tragic consequences of its treachery and continues to pursue its bankrupt program of subordination to the Greek bourgeoisie.

What the Trotskyists wrote at the end of World War II holds true for the role of the Stalinists throughout the Civil War:

“The Greek masses were burning with revolutionary determination and wished to prepare the overthrow of all their oppressors—Nazi and Greek. Instead of providing the mass movement with a revolutionary program, similar to the Bolshevik program of 1917, and preparing the masses for the seizure of power, the Stalinists steered the movement into the blind alley of People’s Frontism. The Stalinists, who enjoyed virtual hegemony of the mass movement, joined with a lot of petty bourgeois politicians, lawyers, professors, who had neither mass following nor influence, and artificially worked to limit the struggle to the fight for capitalist democracy.”

—“Civil War in Greece,” Fourth International, February 1945

The social-democratic reformists in Greece—such as the Socialist Workers Party (SEK), which is affiliated to the British group of the same name, and Xekinima, the Greek affiliate of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI)—stand to the right of the KKE in their enthusiasm for the anti-Communist, anti-working-class Indignados. For example, Xekinima calls to “Extend the movement to all work places, workers’ neighbourhoods, and the youth” (socialistworld.net, 27 June). The notion of classless “democracy” that these groups promote has long been an anti-Communist code word that actually means support to bourgeois class rule. Thus, both the SEK and Xekinima supported capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union in 1991-92 and hailed counterrevolutionary forces such as Polish Solidarność and Boris Yeltsin’s Russian “democrats.”

For Workers Revolution!

The Trotskyist Group of Greece fights to forge a Leninist-Trotskyist party capable of leading the working class to power. Above all, this means breaking the workers from nationalism and winning them to a revolutionary internationalist perspective. During Round One of the present crisis, the TGG issued a 28 April 2010 leaflet that opposed the widespread Greek nationalism as “poisonous to class consciousness.” Any effective struggle against the bosses’ attacks must begin with the understanding that the workers have no country, until they seize the one they’re in. Our comrades insisted: “What is needed is international workers solidarity across the EU against capital” (see “Down With PASOK Government’s ‘Stability Program’!” WV No. 959, 21 May 2010).

The Greek financial crisis has increased the seething national antagonisms in Europe, as seen in the diplomatic spats between France and Germany. German chancellor Angela Merkel, unpopular at home and with a shrinking majority in the Bundestag (parliament), has clashed with French officials and with the ECB over whether the bankers have to accept some losses. Following pressure from the IMF, Merkel agreed to a new bailout package while the French banks have offered to roll over Greek debts for 30 years. Whatever divisions there may be within bourgeois circles over how to deal with the catastrophic financial situation, in Germany, France, Britain and Europe as a whole, each government is determined to make the working masses pay for a crisis that is caused by the capitalist system itself.

The EU is an imperialist trade bloc, centered on a pact between the French and German capitalist rulers to ratchet up the exploitation of the working classes at home while trying to gain advantage over their imperialist rivals as well as the smaller European states. At the same time, the EU is an unstable formation that intensifies national antagonisms and fuels chauvinism.

We Marxists oppose the EU from the perspective of proletarian internationalism. The comrades of our German section, the Spartakist Workers Party, last year published an article titled “Solidarity with the Greek Workers! For Class Struggle Against the German Capitalists!” (Spartakist No. 183, May 2010), which noted:

“The chauvinist campaign against Greece is being set in motion so as to prevent the German working class from hitting on the idea of placing blame for the crisis at the feet of the capitalist system and its own rulers. The workers movement in Germany must mobilize in solidarity with Greek workers and all the other victims of the EU imperialists—after all, they’ll be confronted with similar attacks in the immediate future. The witchhunt against Greece also serves to split and weaken the multiethnic working class in Germany.”

Today, despite the relentless bleeding of the Greek working people, the country remains mired in deep recession. The bankrupt capitalist class manifestly does not have any crumbs that it is willing to throw to dampen workers’ anger. Short of a struggle for working-class power, the workers’ struggles will continue to be frustrated. The perspective for Greek workers must be that of common class struggle with their class brothers and sisters—from Turkey to Germany and elsewhere around the world.

As the TGG wrote in its leaflet: “What’s needed is a socialist revolution to overthrow the capitalist state and replace it with a workers state that will lay the basis for building a socialist society. For that, you need to build a revolutionary workers party—a party like Lenin and Trotsky’s Bolsheviks—which will fight for a workers government. The TGG, Greek sympathizing section of the ICL, seeks to build such a party” (our emphasis).

Thursday, June 26, 2025

* From The Voice Of NPR's Legal Reporter- The 2008-09 United States Supreme Court Session- 3 Key Decisions

Click on title to link to National Public Radio(NPR) Legal Reporter Nina Totenberg's take on some important legal decisions from the 2008-09 sessions. Let's make it easy-get rid of their capitalist 'injustice' legal system by getting of their whole system. Right?

Friday, February 28, 2025

*From The "SteveLendmanBlog"- Global Sweatshop Wage Slavery

Click on the headline to link to a "SteveLendmanBlog" entry, a report on the world wage scale, aptly termed sweatshop.

Markin comment:

Karl Marx said it long, too long ago- not a fair day's wage but abolish wages. He spent his life also saying, and more to the point for us- don't just analyze the world, do something about it. And you know what that means.

Friday, November 08, 2024

From The Pages Of Workers Vanguard-Democrats, Republicans: Parties of Capital-“Occupy Wall Street”:Capitalist Crisis Sparks Populist Protests-For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Bourgeoisie!- A Critique Of The "Occupy" Movement

Click on the headline to link to the International Communist League (ICL) website.

Markin comment November 3, 2011:

We have won a tremendous victory in Oakland. No, no the big dent in the capitalist system that we are all looking for but the first step. And that first step is to put the words “general strike” in the political vocabulary in our fight for social justice. This is Liberation Day One. From now on we move from isolated tent encampments to the struggle in the streets against the monster, the streets where some of the battles will be decisively decided. Yes, our first day was messy, we took some casualties, we took some arrest, we made some mistakes but we now have a road forward, so forward. No Mas- The Class-War Lines Are Being Drawn- There Is A Need To Unite And Fight-We Take The Offensive-Liberation Day One-Defend The Oakland Commune-Drop All Charges Against The Oakland Protesters!


P.S. (November 4, 2011) I noted above some of the actions were messy in Oakland. This was so partly because it was seen as a celebration as much as demand-ladened, hard-nosed general strike started as a prelude to anything immediately bigger (like the question of taking state power and running things ourselves) but also because people are after all new at this way of expressing their latent power. 1946 in Oakland, and anywhere else, is a long political time to go without having a general strike in this country. Even the anti-war mass actions of the 1960s, which included school-centered general strikes, never got close to the notion of shutting down the capitalists where they live-places like the Port Of Oakland. There are some other more systematic problems that I, and others, are starting to note and I will address them as we go along. Things like bourgeois electoral politics rearing its ugly head, keeping the thing together, and becoming more organizationally cohesive without becoming bureaucratic. Later.
***********
Workers Vanguard No. 989
28 October 2011

Democrats, Republicans: Parties of Capital

“Occupy Wall Street”:Capitalist Crisis Sparks Populist Protests

For Workers Revolution to Expropriate the Bourgeoisie!

OCTOBER 25—An amorphous group of protesters, ranging from student youth and jobless workers to veteran liberal activists, has now been camping out in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park under the banner of “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS) for over a month. With its rallies and marches in New York City drawing from a few hundred to over 10,000 people, OWS has tapped into widespread anger over corporate profit-gouging, mass unemployment and stark economic inequalities.

Similar occupations have spread to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and many other cities and towns across the country, even as police have repeatedly attacked and arrested large numbers of protesters. On October 15, hundreds of thousands turned out across Europe and elsewhere for solidarity demonstrations with OWS, which itself has drawn inspiration from the “Indignados” (indignant ones) in Spain and Greece. Today, hundreds of riot-equipped cops wielding flash grenades, tear gas and billy clubs surrounded the “Occupy Oakland” tent city at Frank Ogawa Plaza in the early morning hours. With helicopters hovering overhead shining a spotlight on the scene, the cops moved in, ripping apart the encampment and arresting more than 75 people. Drop all charges against the protesters, from Oakland to NYC!

The OWS protests have touched a real nerve in large sections of the population three years into the deep, ongoing economic crisis. Homeless shelters are filled to capacity. College students and recent graduates are choking under a mountain of debt, facing an increasingly bleak future. Many workers who have managed to hold on to their jobs have been made to swallow lower wages, with their benefits shredded and their pensions looted by the bosses and bankers. With the trade unions taking it on the chin, many workers have greeted the OWS protests as an outlet for their own anger. Meanwhile, the bulk of the capitalist ruling class has made out like bandits, with the Obama White House, following George W. Bush, showering hundreds of billions in bailouts onto the banks and auto companies. Fed up with government lies, foreign wars, the ban on marijuana and worsening unemployment, one protester in Phoenix said, “All the world’s problems run downhill, and I’m at the bottom.”

Many young occupiers are participating in their first political protest, and most enthusiastically embrace its democratic pretensions and “grassroots” origins, seeing the potential to do something, anything about what’s happening to themselves and so many others. While the OWS organizers pride themselves on not having a clear political agenda, affiliation or even a fixed set of demands, they do have a program: liberal reform of capitalism’s financial sector. Issuing patriotic appeals to this country’s purported democratic values, they raise slogans like: “We are the 99 percent,” “Tax the rich,” and “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” Like the populists of more than a century ago, their program amounts to seeking to elect a government that would defend the interests of the little man against the “robber barons” of Wall Street.

It is false that “99 percent” of the population share common interests. There is a fundamental class divide in society between the capitalists—the tiny group of families that own industry and the banks—and the working class, whose labor is the source of the capitalists’ profits. The working class is not just one more victim of capitalist austerity within the “99 percent.” It is the only force with the potential power and historic interest to sweep away the capitalist system and rebuild society based on a centralized, planned economy.

In our interventions in NYC and around the country, the Spartacist League and Spartacus Youth Clubs are fighting to win militants to the Marxist understanding that the capitalist state cannot be reformed to serve the interests of workers and the poor, but must be shattered through proletarian revolution. Ending poverty, oppression and imperialist war requires workers rule internationally, opening the road to a world socialist society. We Trotskyists are dedicated to the task of building a revolutionary workers party to organize and lead that fight. Our model is the Bolshevik Party of V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky, which led the workers to power in the October 1917 Russian Revolution.

Our Marxist outlook is diametrically opposed to the OWS program of liberal, bourgeois populism, which comes wrapped up in red, white and blue, as seen in the number of U.S. flags flying in Zuccotti Park. At a recent OWS General Assembly meeting, a Spartacist League spokesman drew opposition when he denounced the presence of U.S. imperialism’s banner, saying: “This is the flag that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki! This is the flag that bombed and attacked Vietnam! This is the flag that represents oppression to the people of the world!”

Whatever the claims of the OWS organizers to the contrary, the dominant politics of the protests point straight to support to the Democratic Party, which no less than the Republicans is a party of the capitalist exploiters. One Democratic official recently observed of the protests, “Sure, there’s been some crazy anarchy stuff, but overall, the Democrats like their message about Wall Street and accountability,” adding that “it overlaps with our own message.” In fact, with Obama channeling OWS grievances in his stump speeches, Democratic Party stalwarts like MoveOn.org are involved in organizing OWS actions for the purpose of bringing disenchanted voters back into the fold. Meanwhile, some Democratic Party strategists worry that signing on to the protests will alienate some of their financial backers. Key to mobilizing the workers in class struggle against the decaying capitalist order is the fight for their political independence from all bourgeois parties—Democrats, Republicans and Greens.

Protest organizers propound the “belief that the American dream will live again” (as one OWS Web site posting said) and argue that the government, which is the executive committee of the ruling class as a whole, should do something good like regulate banks. This is a dead end for youth looking for revolutionary answers. American democracy is the democracy of the capitalist class, whose rule is based on brutal exploitation of workers, murderous oppression of blacks and other minorities and imperialist marauding around the world. As the 1960s militant Malcolm X remarked, “I’m one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy, nothing but disguised hypocrisy.... I don’t see any American dream; I see an American nightmare” (“The Ballot or the Bullet,” 3 April 1964).

American Populism and the Democrats

Appealing to the common man against the financiers has a long history in American bourgeois politics. The 1892 platform of the Populist Party strongly indicted the “Gilded Age”: “The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few unprecedented in the history of mankind.” The Populists did not desire to abolish but to moderate the despotism of the “few,” to curtail the powers and reduce the privileges of the magnates of industry and finance. The movement reached the peak of its influence in 1896, when the Democrats ostensibly adopted its aims and Populist leader William Jennings Bryan won the Democratic presidential nomination, losing in November to Republican William McKinley.

The Populists were initially a multiracial movement, encompassing poor white and black farmers as well as small businessmen. But the heroic efforts of its organizers in the South were defeated when the local ruling class launched a wave of racist demagogy and violence. Many Populist leaders, such as Tom Watson in Georgia, turned against impoverished blacks and openly embraced racism. Many did this to carve out a niche in the Southern Democratic Party, which ruled over the Jim Crow system of entrenched racial segregation through police-state terror supplemented by the KKK’s extralegal violence. On the other hand, the Populist movement also included people who would become key figures in the labor and socialist movements.

The Populist movement emerged in the period when the U.S. was preparing to enter the world stage as an imperialist power, one of a handful of advanced capitalist countries whose competition for spheres of exploitation around the world would lead to the devastation of two world wars and countless colonial wars. As Lenin described, imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism: the economy is dominated by monopolies, with the capital of the large banks combining with the capital of industrial corporations.

This crucial understanding is completely blurred by populist ideology. As we wrote in our 1997-98 series “Wall Street and the War Against Labor”:

“Central to the liberal populist outlook is a belief that the capitalist class is divided into two classes, so to speak: those directly involved in producing and marketing goods and services, and those whose incomes derive from financial dealings. The former are regarded as at least relatively progressive, while the latter are deemed outright reactionary....

“The common interests of all elements of the American capitalist class—whether Wall Street investment bankers, Midwestern manufacturers, Texas oilmen or California agribusinessmen—are qualitatively greater and more important than their differences. All want to maximize the exploitation of labor and to minimize the overhead costs of government social programs.”

— reprinted in the 2009 Spartacist pamphlet, Karl Marx Was Right: Capitalist Anarchy and the Immiseration of the Working Class

At the core of populist protest, yesterday and today, is the petty bourgeoisie, which is a heterogeneous and highly stratified social layer comprising, among others, students, professionals and small businessmen. Lacking social power and its own class perspective, the petty bourgeoisie is incapable of offering an alternative to capitalism. As the Trotskyist James Burnham wrote in the 1930s, during an earlier period of economic crisis and mass discontent, “The middle classes are seeking a way out of their impasse. But they have no possible way out of their own. And at last they must, in whole or in a division, face the ultimate choice: to line up behind one of the two basic classes and its program, to swing to the side of the bourgeoisie or the proletariat” (The People’s Front: The New Betrayal, 1937).

A case in point is Adbusters, the Canadian magazine that issued the original call for a Wall Street occupation. This “anti-corporate” outfit has received funds from the Tides Foundation—a clearinghouse for the Ford and Gates foundations. But Adbusters doesn’t just take money from fat cats; it also runs its own “grassroots capitalism”—the production of sneakers, which they hail as “ethical.” Ask the workers in Pakistan getting the pitiful local minimum wage as they produce these “no logo” kicks if it feels more humane to slave over hemp rather than nylon.

The capitalist rulers have unleashed their police thugs on the “occupy” protests, even though this movement does not hinder the functioning of the profit system. It is an altogether different matter when workers cut off the flow of profits through strikes and other labor actions. When auto workers occupied plants in Flint, Michigan, in 1936-37, winning recognition of the United Auto Workers, they were part of a militant wave of labor struggle that gave rise to the CIO industrial unions. Those struggles were pitched battles between the workers on one side and the cops, company thugs and capitalist courts and government on the other.

After decades of defeats for labor, most young activists view the working class as irrelevant to struggles for economic justice. Setting the stage for those defeats, the bureaucratic misleaders of the labor movement by and large abandoned the class-struggle methods that built the unions. In their role as the capitalists’ labor lieutenants, they tie workers to their class enemy by promoting the interests of U.S. imperialism and supporting the Democratic Party.

The occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol earlier this year ended in defeat precisely because the union leadership refused to use labor’s strike weapon, instead diverting protest into a (failed) campaign to recall Republican politicians. The result is that the state’s public sector unions have been decimated. Facing a great deal of disillusion with President Obama, who is a Wall Street Democrat, a good section of the trade-union officialdom has endorsed the OWS protests, seeing in them a means of re-energizing liberal support for Obama in the 2012 elections. The same purpose drives pseudo-socialists like the International Socialist Organization and Workers World Party, whose hailing of the OWS protests is but the latest chapter in their history of reformist pressure politics.

The Fraud of Bourgeois Democracy

No protest movement will convince the capitalist ruling class and its government to change their stripes and begin acting in the interests of the “people.” This country’s “democracy” was founded on the enslavement of black Africans, and to this day black oppression remains a fundamental underpinning of the American capitalist system. The “American way” has meant the genocidal extermination of Native Americans, waves of deportations of immigrants, bloody battles with striking workers and a long list of savage wars the world over, most recently the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and this year’s bombing of Libya.

As opposed to the OWS organizers who endlessly speak about restoring democracy, Marxists understand that there is no “pure” democracy. As Lenin observed: “Even in the most democratic bourgeois state the oppressed people at every step encounter the crying contradiction between the formal equality proclaimed by the ‘democracy’ of the capitalists and the thousands of real limitations and subterfuges which turn the proletarians into wage-slaves” (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, 1918).

In a speech to the OWS crowd, liberal ideologue Naomi Klein hailed the 1999 anti-globalization protests for condemning corporations that were supposedly “becoming more powerful than governments,” saying that this was “damaging to our democracies.” The fact that capitalist governments the world over have been bailing out failing industries and banks during the current economic crisis exposes the fallacy that corporations have superceded the nation-state.

Klein sows illusions in a mythical golden age of “democratic” accountability. The reality is that for the capitalists, “democracy” serves as a veil to hide their class dictatorship, which they enforce through their state apparatus—armed forces, cops, courts and prisons. Cop brutality and the arrest of protesters are almost daily occurrences, giving a small taste of the terror daily meted out to ghetto and barrio residents. Yet the OWS organizers have continued to call on the “blue-collar police” to “join our conversation” and “speak of the crimes of your supervisors.”

Neither is the problem simply one of “police misconduct.” All cops, whatever their background and rank, are the attack dogs of the capitalist class. An SYC speaker stressed at a recent OWS General Assembly, “Cops are not workers. They beat strikers, kill black people and arrest protesters.”

Apostles of “Democratic” Counterrevolution

Liberal ideologue Naomi Klein and pseudo-Marxist academic Slavoj Zizek—leading lights at the OWS protests—like to rail against China as an affront to “democracy.” In this, they are providing ideological service to Wall Street.

The 1949 Chinese Revolution overthrew capitalist rule, liberating the country from imperialist subjugation and leading to massive advances for workers, peasants and deeply oppressed women. However, the peasant-based revolution was deformed from its inception, putting into power a bureaucratic nationalist regime akin to that of the Soviet Union after its degeneration under Stalin. Today, despite major inroads by both foreign and indigenous capitalists, the core elements of China’s economy remain collectivized. State ownership of the banking system has promoted massive economic growth in China, mainly through investment in infrastructure. This stands in stark contrast to the profit-driven world’s dominant capitalist economies, which have been mired in crisis. As Trotskyists, we stand for the unconditional military defense of China against imperialism and internal counterrevolution. At the same time, we fight for proletarian political revolution to replace the parasitic Stalinist bureaucracy with a regime of workers and peasants soviets (councils) committed to the fight for world socialist revolution.

The current protests against Wall Street are deeply stamped with the “death of communism” ideology that has been propounded by the bourgeoisie and its ideologues since the restoration of capitalist rule in the former Soviet Union in 1991-92. Zizek, who sometimes spouts “revolutionary” verbiage when it serves his “bad boy” image in academia, lectured OWS protesters about how “Communism failed absolutely.” The core of his politics was seen when he hailed Obama’s 2008 election as “a sign of hope in our otherwise dark times.”

A measure of the bourgeois politics that define the OWS protests is the invitation offered by one organizer to former Polish president Lech Walesa to speak at Zuccotti Park. Walesa was the principal leader of Solidarność, which originated in 1980 out of workers strikes in the Polish deformed workers state but rapidly adopted an openly counterrevolutionary program for the restoration of capitalist rule. This was the only “union” beloved by the likes of right-wing U.S. president Ronald Reagan and his British counterpart, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. With the backing of the U.S. and European imperialists, the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracies and the Catholic church, Solidarność became the principal force for capitalist counterrevolution in Poland. We denounced Solidarność at the time as a company union for the CIA, bankers and the Vatican.

The government led by Walesa that took power in 1989 dismantled Poland’s collectivized economy and implemented an economic “shock treatment” that destroyed the bulk of the social gains Poles had enjoyed under the deformed workers state—from virtually free health care to cheap, subsidized housing to pensions one could live on. In line with Catholic “family values,” the right to a safe and free abortion was abolished. Inviting Walesa to speak at Zuccotti Park was to invite a Wall Street stooge to…“Occupy Wall Street”!

Today the basic premises of authentic Marxism must be motivated against the false and prevalent misidentification of the collapse of Stalinism with the failure of communism. Against those who purvey “death of communism” and illusions in capitalist “reform,” we revolutionary Marxists tell the truth: the only road to eliminating economic scarcity is the fight for new October Revolutions. We have no illusions that this is an easy road. But the destructive anarchy of the capitalist mode of production will, if not overthrown, plunge all humanity into barbarism. The key task is the forging of a Leninist vanguard party, the necessary instrument for bringing revolutionary consciousness to the proletariat.

Monday, November 13, 2023

The Golden Age Of The B-Film Noir- Paulette Goddard’s “The Unholy Four” (1954)

The Golden Age Of The B-Film Noir- Paulette Goddard’s “The Unholy Four” (1954)




DVD Review

By Film Critic Emeritus Sam Lowell

The Unholy Four (released in England as A Stanger Came Home), starring Paulette Goddard , Hammer Productions, 1954

In my long career in the film reviewing racket, a profession if you will which is overall pretty subjective when you think about it, I have run up against all kind of readerships and readers but my recent escapade with one reader takes the cake as they used to say in the old days. As the headline above indicates I have been doing a serious of reviews of B-grade film noirs by the English Hammer Production Company from the early 1950s. A B-grade film noir is one that is rather thin on plotline and maybe film quality usually made on the cheap although some of the classics with B-film noir queen Gloria Grahame have withstood the test of time despite that quality. I contrasted those with the classics like The Maltese Falcon, Out Of The Past, The Big Sleep, and The Last Man Standing to give the knowledgeable reader an idea of the different. In the current series the well-known Hollywood producer Robert Lippert contracted with Hammer for a series of ten films which would star let’s say a well-known if fated Hollywood star like Dane Clark or Richard Conte as a draw and an English supporting cast with a thin storyline.     

I had done a bunch of these reviews (minus a couple which I refused to review since they were so thin I couldn’t justify the time and effort to even give the “skinny” on them) using a kind of standard format discussing the difference between the classics and Bs in some detail and then as has been my wont throughout my career giving a short summary of the film’s storyline and maybe a couple of off-hand comments so that the readership has something to hang its hat on when choosing to see, or not see, the film. All well and good until about my five review when a reader wrote in complaining about my use of that standard form to introduce each film. Moreover and this is the heart of the issue she mentioned that perhaps I was getting paid per word, a “penny a word” in her own words and so was padding my reviews with plenty that didn’t directly relate to the specific film I was reviewing. Of course other than to cut me to the quick “penny a word” went out with the dime store novel and I had a chuckle over that expression since I have had various contracts for work over the years but not that one. The long and short of it was that the next review was a stripped down version of the previous reviews which I assumed would satisfy her complaint. Not so. Using the name Nora Charles, the well-known distaff side of the Dashiell Hammett-inspired film series The Thin Man from the 1930s and early 1940s starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, she still taunted me with that odious expression of hers. (By the way one of the pitfalls of citizen journalism, citizen commentary on-line is that one can use whatever moniker one wants to say the most unsavory things and not fame any blow-back.

Here is the “skinny” on the film under review The Unholy Four (released in England and on the continent as A Stranger Came Home which as usual in this series is closer to the nub since in fact a stranger does come home to face all kinds of hell) in any case as is my wont and let dear sweet Nora suffer through another review-if she dares. Four guys, four rich guys not of the nobility in England anyway, took a trip not shown trip to Portugal and only three came back. One guy vanished for four years and as the film opens up he shows up unannounced one party night. The guy, a guy named Phil, had this dishy wife, Angie, played by fading American screen star Paulette Goddard the first female fading star in the series which as mentioned before jacks up the film more than if there were only English nobodies playing the roles, who the other three guys on that fateful trip were in varying degrees interested in. Our man Phil, kind of a chain-smoking cuckoo, was waylaid by one of the three guys and he is well enough now to go the distance to find out who fucked him up enough that he lost his memory and is now seeking revenge-or at least answers to what happened to him and to his wife.



Problem, big problem, or really two problems one of the three guys winds up very dead the night Phil comes back home and guess what he is built to specifications to be the fall guy, to take the big-step off since everybody in their set knew that dead guy was crazy for Angie. Still the peelers don’t have enough evidence to throw him in the slammer and throw away the key. That second problem is that Phil is not altogether sure that good-looking if faded whorish Angie wasn’t playing footsie with one or more of the guys while Phil was lost in the rain out in Lisbon waiting with Victor Lazlo for some airfare to the States. She has a hell of a time trying to persuade Phil and the coppers for a bit that she did rub the dead man out. With only two guys left though Phil honed in on the killer and his lamester reasons for bopping Phil and killing the other dude. Phil lays the dude down and he and Angie head off into the sunset or something like that. For a while the film took turns like a real thriller but the dialogue and the wooden acting by the Brits (and by faded Paulette too) make this thing a holy goof. Despite the come hither title and the titillating advertisement poster (see above) for the film this one fades away on its own dead weight. B-noir but seriously B not heading to classics-no way.                       

Sunday, April 23, 2023

*James Connolly-Commandant- Irish Citizens Army- A Critical Appreciation Of Easter, 1916

Click on title to link to "Workers Hammer" (International Communist League/Great Britain newspaper) critical appreciation of James Connolly, a hero of the Irish rebellion of Easter , 1916.

"James Connolly"

The man was all shot through that came to day into the Barrack Square

And a soldier I, I am not proud to say that we killed him there

They brought him from the prison hospital and to see him in that chair

I swear his smile would, would far more quickly call a man to prayer

Maybe, maybe I don't understand this thing that makes these rebels die

Yet all men love freedom and the spring clear in the sky

I wouldn't do this deed again for all that I hold by

As I gazed down my rifle at his breast but then, then a soldier I.

They say he was different, kindly too apart from all the rest.

A lover of the poor-his wounds ill dressed.

He faced us like a man who knew a greater pain

Than blows or bullets ere the world began: died he in vain

Ready, Present, and him just smiling, Christ I felt my rifle shake

His wounds all open and around his chair a pool of blood

And I swear his lips said, "fire" before my rifle shot that cursed lead

And I, I was picked to kill a man like that, James Connolly



A great crowd had gathered outside of Kilmainham

Their heads all uncovered, they knelt to the ground.

For inside that grim prison

Lay a great Irish soldier

His life for his country about to lay down.

He went to his death like a true son of Ireland

The firing party he bravely did face

Then the order rang out: Present arms and fire

James Connolly fell into a ready-made grave

The black flag was hoisted, the cruel deed was over

Gone was the man who loved Ireland so well

There was many a sad heart in Dublin that morning

When they murdered James Connolly-. the Irish rebel



"James Connolly"

Marchin' down O'Connell Street with the Starry Plough on high
There goes the Citizen Army with their fists raised in the sky
Leading them is a mighty man with a mad rage in his eye
"My name is James Connolly - I didn't come here to die

But to fight for the rights of the working man
And the small farmer too
Protect the proletariat from the bosses and their screws
So hold on to your rifles, boys, and don't give up your dream
Of a Republic for the workin' class, economic liberty"

Then Jem yelled out "Oh Citizens, this system is a curse
An English boss is a monster, an Irish one even worse
They'll never lock us out again and here's the reason why
My name is James Connolly, I didn't come here to die....."

And now we're in the GPO with the bullets whizzin' by
With Pearse and Sean McDermott biddin' each other goodbye
Up steps our citizen leader and roars out to the sky
"My name is James Connolly, I didn't come here to die...

Oh Lily, I don't want to die, we've got so much to live for
And I know we're all goin' out to get slaughtered, but I just can't take any more
Just the sight of one more child screamin' from hunger in a Dublin slum
Or his mother slavin' 14 hours a day for the scum
Who exploit her and take her youth and throw it on a factory floor
Oh Lily, I just can't take any more

They've locked us out, they've banned our unions, they even treat their animals better than us
No! It's far better to die like a man on your feet than to live forever like some slave on your knees, Lilly

But don't let them wrap any green flag around me
And for God's sake, don't let them bury me in some field full of harps and shamrocks
And whatever you do, don't let them make a martyr out of me
No! Rather raise the Starry Plough on high, sing a song of freedom
Here's to you, Lily, the rights of man and international revolution"

We fought them to a standstill while the flames lit up the sky
'Til a bullet pierced our leader and we gave up the fight
They shot him in Kilmainham jail but they'll never stop his cry
My name is James Connolly, I didn't come here to die...."

Monday, February 27, 2023

"The Times Are Out Of Joint"- I Am Already Tired, Heartily Tired, Of The Obamiad

Commentary

Well, never let it be said that this blogger doesn’t give everyone his or her “fifteen minutes of fame”, as the late Andy Warhol is said to have put it. That goes for the lowliest worker to the American imperial president. With the exception of the very pressing issue of the fight against the Obama Afghan war policy, both as to troop escalation and funding, this writer has held off from in-depth comment about the new regime. However, ever since the dust has settle on the last Inaugural ball, if not before then I have had this aching feeling that something is not right here. As the headline to this entry says- “the times are out of joint”.

Readers of this space are aware that the fundamental political axis that drives the commentary here is an oppositional anti-capitalist perspective. Thus, last fall, during the lead up to the November 2008 presidential elections I called for a NO vote for Obama, McCain, Nader (Independent) or McKinney (Green). However, Obama’s victory led me to a ‘feeling’ that a new wind was blowing in the American political universe that, sooner or later would, accrue to the benefit of leftist militants. I encapsulated that ‘feeling’ in the slogan, somewhat jokingly- "After Obama, Us". The truth of that slogan right now is neither here nor there for what concerns me is that right from the Inaugural Address this Obama ship has been listing, badly. I came of political age with John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address with its soaring rhetoric and call to the “better angels of our nature” in modern times. Although I long ago, as I have detailed elsewhere in this space over the past year or so, gave up on the Democratic Party as a vehicle for social change that speech still stands as a benchmark for bourgeois political rhetoric.

And this is not merely some nostalgia for the good old days (that did not exist, in any case). Nor is it a rebuke at the new technologies that have created the Obama aura or changed the nature of the way bourgeois electoral politics are practiced here. What bothers me is rather those continuing pictures from places like New Orleans, Detroit or other “Rust Belt” cities where formerly employed, mainly black, workers are lining up for charity, or in order to fight ‘pursue’ minimum wage careers as places like Wal-Mart. Or the continuing occupation of the black ghettos by hostile police forces prone to shoot first and ask questions later, as recent headlines have made apparent in places like Oakland, California . The outlines of that alleged “post-racial” society that was supposed to be ushered in by Obama are beginning to look very thin on the ground.

On another front we can all have a good laugh over the arrogance of the muffed Cabinet choices, grind our teeth at Obama’s emphasis of the forces that are to benefit form his stimulus package and rage at the misplaced mechanics of the financial bail-out plans that continue to reward those finance capitalists who got us into this fix in the first place. All of the above have given me a very different ‘feeling’ from that of last fall that Obama and his cohorts are in way over their heads. Only in comparison with the out-going Bush regime do they look good. That, my friends, is a very low bar to cross. All of this makes me think that we may not have the luxury of that “After Obama, Us” slogan. We had best get to that task of building a workers party that fights for a workers government. Pronto.

Friday, January 06, 2023

*From The Archives-The Struggle To Win The Youth To The Fight For Our Communist Future-In Honor Of The Three L’s-In Honor Of Karl Liebknecht-Revolutionary Socialism in Germany(1916)

On The 100th Anniversary Of Newly-Fledged German Communist Leader Rosa Luxemburg And Karl Liebknecht-Oh, What Might Have Been-


By Frank Jackman

History in the conditional, what might have happened if this or that thing, event, person had swerved this much or that, is always a tricky proposition. Tricky as reflected in this piece’s commemorative headline. Rosa Luxemburg the acknowledged theoretical wizard of the German Social-Democratic Party, the numero uno party of the Second, Socialist International, which was the logical organization to initiate the socialist revolution before World War II and Karl Liebknecht, the hellfire and brimstone propagandist and public speaker of that same party were assassinated in separate locale on the orders of the then ruling self-same Social-Democratic Party. The chasm between the Social-Democratic leaders trying to save Germany for “Western Civilization” in the wake of the “uncivilized” socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 had grown that wide that it was as if they were on two different planets, and maybe they were.

(By the way I am almost embarrassed to mention the term “socialist revolution” these days when people, especially young people, would be clueless as to what I was talking about or would think that this concept was so hopelessly old-fashioned that it would meet the same blank stares. Let me assure you that back in the day, yes, that back in the day, many a youth had that very term on the tips of their tongues. Could palpably feel it in the air. Hell, just ask your parents, or grandparents.)

Okay here is the conditional and maybe think about it before you dismiss the idea out of hand if only because the whole scheme is very much in the conditional. Rosa and Karl, among others made almost every mistake in the book before and during the Spartacist uprising in some of the main German cities in late 1918 after the German defeat in the war. Their biggest mistake before the uprising was sticking with the Social Democrats, as a left wing, when that party had turned at best reformist and eminently not a vehicle for the socialist revolution, or even a half-assed democratic “revolution” which is what they got with the overthrow of the Kaiser. They broke too late, and subsequently too late from a slightly more left-wing Independent Socialist Party which had split from the S-D when that party became the leading war party in Germany for all intents and purposes and the working class was raising its collective head and asking why. 

The big mistake during the uprising was not taking enough protective cover, not keeping the leadership safe, keeping out of sight like Lenin had in Finland when things were dicey in 1917 Russia and fell easy prey to the Freikorps assassins. Here is the conditional, and as always it can be expanded to some nth degree if you let things get out of hand. What if, as in Russia, Rosa and Karl had broken from that rotten (for socialism) S-D organization and had a more firmly entrenched cadre with some experience in independent existence. What if the Spartacists had protected their acknowledged leaders better. There might have been a different trajectory for the aborted and failed German left-wing revolutionary opportunities over the next several years, there certainly would have been better leadership and perhaps, just perhaps the Nazi onslaught might have been stillborn, might have left Munich 1923 as their “heroic” and last moment.  


Instead we have a still sad 100th anniversary of the assassination of two great international socialist fighters who headed to the danger not away always worthy of a nod and me left having to face those blank stares who are looking for way forward but might as well be on a different planet-from me.  

Markin comment:

One of the declared purposes of this space is to draw the lessons of our left-wing past here in America and internationally, especially from the pro-communist wing. To that end I have made commentaries and provided archival works in order to help draw those lessons for today’s left-wing activists to learn, or at least ponder over. More importantly, for the long haul, to help educate today’s youth in the struggle for our common communist future. That is no small task or easy task given the differences of generations; differences of political milieus worked in; differences of social structure to work around; and, increasingly more important, the differences in appreciation of technological advances, and their uses.

There is no question that back in my youth I could have used, desperately used, many of the archival materials available today. When I developed political consciousness very early on, albeit liberal political consciousness, I could have used this material as I knew, I knew deep inside my heart and mind, that a junior Cold War liberal of the American For Democratic Action (ADA) stripe was not the end of my leftward political trajectory. More importantly, I could have used a socialist or communist youth organization to help me articulate the doubts I had about the virtues of liberal capitalism and be recruited to a more left-wing world view. As it was I spent far too long in the throes of the left-liberal/soft social-democratic milieu where I was dying politically. A group like the Young Communist League (W.E.B. Dubois Clubs in those days), the Young People’s Socialist League, or the Young Socialist Alliance representing the youth organizations of the American Communist Party, American Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party (U.S.) respectively would have saved much wasted time and energy. I knew they were around but not in my area.

The archival material to be used in this series is weighted heavily toward the youth movements of the early American Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party (U.S). For more recent material I have relied on material from the Spartacus Youth Clubs, the youth group of the Spartacist League (U.S.), both because they are more readily available to me and because, and this should give cause for pause, there are not many other non-CP, non-SWP youth groups around. As I gather more material from other youth sources I will place them in this series.

Finally I would like to finish up with the preamble to the Spartacist Youth Club’s What We Fight For statement of purpose:

"The Spartacus Youth Clubs intervene into social struggles armed with the revolutionary internationalist program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. We work to mobilize youth in struggle as partisans of the working class, championing the liberation of black people, women and all the oppressed. The SYCs fight to win youth to the perspective of building the Leninist vanguard party that will lead the working class in socialist revolution, laying the basis for a world free of capitalist exploitation and imperialist slaughter."

This seems to me be somewhere in the right direction for what a Bolshevik youth group should be doing these days; a proving ground to become professional revolutionaries with enough wiggle room to learn from their mistakes, and successes. More later.
********
Karl Liebknecht
Revolutionary Socialism in Germany

Source: The Social Revolution in Germany, by Louis C. Fraina, The Revolutionary Age Publishers, 1919
Transcription: Sally Ryan for Marxists Internet Archive
Markup: John Wagner for Marxists Internet Archive
Online Version: Karl Liebknecht Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2002

Note: Karl Liebknecht was sent to prison by the government of the Kaiser for four and one-half years because of propaganda against the war. Released from prison by the Revolution, Liebknecht is now the dynamic individual expression of the Revolution.

On August 4, 1914, the representatives of the Social-Democratic Party in the Reichstag, speaking through their official spokesman, Hugo Haase, approved and voted for the first war credit. On the second credit, Karl Liebknecht voted "No!" On December 21, 1915, eighteen Social Democratic representatives, the Haase-Ledebour Group, voted against the fifth war credit, and on March 21, 1916, they voted against a special credit. This created a storm, the eighteen were expelled from the Social Democratic Party.

Many Socialists considered that these eighteen represented revolutionary Socialism, that they voted against the war because of revolutionary convictions. This was not the fact, as Karl Liebknecht makes amply clear in this article to the comrades, written after March 21, almost two years ago.

The eighteen of the Haase-Ledebour group subsequently organized the Independent Socialist Party. This party was neither one thing nor the other; it was against the war, but not on definite Socialist issues; it wanted to go back to the days before August 4, instead of forward to the new tactics and the new International. Liebknecht and other revolutionary Socialists in Germany attacked this party; and today the Independent Socialist Party, by its wavering and essentially counter-revolutionary policy, is confirming the analysis Liebknecht makes in this article of their tendency. The intellectual expression of this party is Karl Kautsky, the moderate and compromiser, the man who manufactured one theoretical justification after another for the Social Democratic Party's abandonment of Socialist principles, the man who declared four years ago that all Socialists were justified in supporting their governments since all nations were on the defensive.

This article of Liebknecht's is an historic document and deserves the serious study of every Socialist.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What was the meaning of March 24, 1916? The eighteen delegates who finally decided on December 21, 1915, to vote against the first war credit, voted on March 24th openly against the proposed special war budget. While in December they issued a "declaration," they now gave the motives for their vote in a speech. The content of this speech, however, did not go beyond the declaration of December. Even the excuse that Germany was safe against invasion was again brought forward. What was it then that caused a sensation on March 24th? It was the wild uproar of the Socialist majority, together with the bourgeois parties, the infamous attitude of the president, the expulsion of the eighteen from the official party parliamentary group. But in this action, the eighteen were "object" and not "subject"; this action was forced upon them and they disliked a rupture so much, that they tried their best to avoid, still in January, 1916, an open break with the treacherous majority, as well as tumultuous scenes against bourgeois parties. And even now on March 24, 1916, they play the part of offended innocence rather than that of showing the clenched fist of rebellion.

What, then, is the meaning of March 24th? A true opinion can only be formed in connection with the general situation. The new Arbeitsgemeinschaft are the same eighteen, the "neither flesh nor fish" policy of whom proved a failure in December and again in the submarine issue on March 22nd, and again in discussions March 23rd. Could you expect the lambs of yesterday to become all of a sudden lions?

Just now the so-called Losenblätter (loose leaflets) are published by comrades affiliated with the group of the eighteen. These leaflets do not even mention the important fundamental problems which are at stake. Direct taxes instead of indirect ones are about the highest wisdom of the program of taxation of the eighteen in the midst of the world war! They do not show any deeper insight into the problem of taxation. They do not even see as was stated in the resolution of the Convention in Chemnitz, that direct taxes can as well be saddled upon the masses and that the decision as to what part of the burden will rest on each class, finally is a problem of political power, not a problem of tax reform; that it depends upon the political and economical situation as a whole, the tax policy being an organic part of the general policy. They do not even see, that the best possible direct tax on top of a system of indirect taxes may easily become a fig leaf of the system and a barrier against a thorough reorganization of the system of indirect taxes. Under the heading "How long will it last," the loose leaflets of the eighteen talk about war in sentimental language, without saying a word about the imperialistic causes of the war. The war is considered due to stupidity of the rulers! They give as highest wisdom the theory that Imperialism has led to a deadlock out of which the Governments cannot find an escape, so that they need the advice of the loose leaflets...a pitiable mixup indeed!

And what about the stand of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft in the first test in the budget committee? Two days prior to the expulsion, this group did not take any decisive stand on the submarine issue. Now the delegate in the budget committee argued, on humanitarian declarations about the horror of the war, against the sinking of vessels without warning. No understanding was shown that the submarine issue is first of all decided by the ultimate aim of the war, as the result of a struggle of groups of capitalists for the control of the war-policy according to the sharpening of the war political situation, and a fight for political power in home policy, in which the scene was carefully prepared to stage Bethman-Wollweg as a liberal and moderate Imperialist, in order to facilitate the treacherous policy of the leaders of the party and labor unions. The delegate of the eighteen even went so far as to advocate again the abolition of the right of confiscation, to attack the English capitalists instead of the German Government at a moment in which this latter Government capitulated before the most unscrupulous war fanatics and needed the most energetic opposition. This policy means a continuance of the Baralong policy of Ledebour on January 15th.

Whether all of the eighteen and all of the "official" opposition in Berlin accept the responsibility for the loose leaflets and the policy of their delegates or not — a group, leaders of which express such opinions, are very far from a policy on principles, although they may claim so loudly. The formal combination of all kinds of indefinite oppositional feelings and motives is always a great danger, especially so in a time of world changes. This means confusion and dragging along on old lines, it sterilizes and kills the militant elements which get into this mixed company. What must be the conclusion from all this?

The warning against uncritical overestimating of the action of the eighteen and of the events on March 24th. The warning, to keep your eyes open, not to forget that if we should join the eighteen unconditionally, this would mean the surest way to make the new group a shield to cover the governmental policy, and to make the 24th of March a mere phantom, just as December 21st has already become a ghostly historic event. In so far as March 24th means progress, this is to a great extent due to the uncompromising critics of all half-heartedness; it confirms the efficiency of these critics on the strengthening of the oppositional spirit.

The tactic of endless consideration and avoiding of conflicts and decisions is damned by the events on March 24th. In the turmoil of a world war all compromising breaks miserably together. Whoever tries to move around between warring armies will be shot from both sides, unless he saves his life in time by joining one party or the other, where, however, he will be received not as a hero, but as a fugitive. The way of the eighteen was a round about way, and not a pleasant one either. Not one advantage worth while to a serious man in this serious period has been gained by this delay.

The masses were ripe for the test already at the beginning of the war. They would not have failed. The only result of the hesitation and doubt has been the strengthening of poisonous opportunism.

Clear cut principles, uncompromising fighting, whole-hearted decision!

Uncompromising Socialist action against the war, against those who caused it, who profit by it, who want to continue to support the war! Also against the supporters of those who slander the name of Social Democrats. Against the policy of the majority, against the National Committee and the Executive Committee of the party, against the Central Committee of the labor unions and all instances of the party and the unions that carry this treacherous policy. To counteract this policy with all means is now the main issue of the war against war. A struggle to gain the majority against the party, misrepresented by the demagogues of the majority. A struggle for democracy in the party, for the rights of the masses of the comrades, against the failing and treacherous leaders, who form the main supporters of the war. Against all of those who in peace time have played into the hands of militarism by opposing mass action in favor of law and order, and who now hang around in the waiting rooms of the army headquarters and the imperial ministers.

Now is the moment to throw away all formal considerations. The party machinery is used ever more and more without scruple by the bureaucrats to enforce their policy. Autocratic decisions are standard features in the party. After the methods of von Puttkamer, power is used to force the opposition, the meanest methods of Prussian-Russian policy brutality are used by the party leaders against the minority. The independence of the party press is disregarded with growing brutality by the so-called party majority. Even the censorship of martial law is beaten by the docile scholars of the military terror of the official Socialist party. War against this party all along the line, to conquer the party for the party! War against the traitors and usurpers, who must be driven from their jobs by mandates laden with the disgust of the workers!

Reconquering of the party from the bottom up through revolt of the masses, who will have to take their organization into their own hands! Not only words, but deeds! Away with all doubt and cowardice! Away with half friends, feeble lily of the swamp! Away with half friends, feeble mindedness and sentimentalists! Those are out of place where the fight is heart against heart. The struggle for a decision in the party is on! It must be fought without and consideration for the sacrilegists, the traitors, the deserters from Socialism.

To the present system of party politics, not a man and not a cent, but a fight to a finish. Those who are not with us in this fight will be considered against us!