Venezuela: Myth vs. Reality


CARACAS – For some time now, the eyes of the world have been fixed on Venezuela, following news of unrest and an election which the bourgeois media, particularly in imperialist countries, depict as illegitimate.

However, Worker’s Spatula is pleased to announce that we have sent a special correspondent from Buenos Aires to the tropical island nation of Venezuela to see what all the brouhaha is about.

Additionally, hubbub.

While countries as diverse as the United States and the United States’ closest allies continue to repeat rumours of a crackdown, our correspondent could find no evidence of any recent violence of any sort in any of the neighbourhoods of Caracas which he visited. Locals attributed the rumours of unrest to the US-based “International” “Socialist” “Organization”.

“Definitely, the ISO have made up all the stories about clashes between protestors and police. They do it to make themselves look like they have something to say. Like they’re important. Actually there’s nothing happening at all around here,” explained bored Caracan José Marquí González. “I may go see what’s on television.”

Questions about the PSUV and Maduro produced blank stares from most Caracans, until our correspondent was enlightened by local university student Maria Martínez Flores: “The PSUV and Maduro are just stories made up by the PSL so they can feel like they’re in solidarity with something big and important in some better country than their own.

“It’s honestly a bit sad. Impressive that they got most of the world to believe it though.”

The news of the non-existence of the PSUV which Worker’s Spatula readers have been supporting for years stunned our correspondent, who closed out his report with the following editorial statement, the contents of which do not necessarily reflect those of Worker’s Spatula:

We’ve spent quite a few years defending the supposed gains of the Bolivarian Revolution, only to find out that it was all just stories made up by tiny Marxist groups to sell their awful papers. This is even worse than when we found out that there was no refugee crisis from Syria, no war in Syria, and no country called Syria to begin with, because the SWP had made them all up.

What’s next? Are we going to find out that the NPA invented Western Sahara, and the EMEP invented Tunisia?

We may just have to stop basing our entire politics on holding the right positions on international affairs without having any concrete reflection in our own countries’ practical politics.

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Communist Menace Just Silly Children Who Need to Grow up


LONDON – Following the military defeat of ISIS leader Owen Smith by guerrilla forces under the leadership of John McDonnell and composed primarily of Worker’s Spatula cadres, the latter have returned to their journalistic duties.

Among the surprises which met our English correspondents in their return to civilian life was the fact that the Welsh socialist group which may or may not still be known as Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr has yet to drive out British colonial rule through a Popple’s Wor, and the Scottish are still dragging their feet on secession as well.

So it looks like it’s up to England to save the day AGAIN.

However, communists in the UK can expect a bitter struggle within and beyond Corbyn’s anti-austerity political campaigns, not least because the communists are a dangerous element whose fanatical ideas could lead to the deaths of millions in Britain, and also because they are a marginal and infantile trend who will soon come to terms with the real world, grow up, and become Blairites themselves.

Yes, sources across the UK political spectrum, from the Tories to the Red Tories, agree that communists are all just idiotic student union members looking for attention that must not be taken seriously. Moreover, it is agreed that they constitute a real threat to the Labour Party and Britain that must be stopped.

“This is hardly a surprising development,” said UK politics analyst and Trotskyite extraordinaire Richard Seymour, when pressed for comment. “It’s well known that anything left of bourgeois centre in the UK is both a threat to our very way of life and also a passing fad barely worth a mention. Having young people running about, waving red flags and singing about red flags and that, it’s definitely an issue for people who understand how much they alienate the entire population of Britain except a ragtag gang of student losers, and also understand that they will one day topple the British state and have us all killed for being revisionists or reactionaries of one sort or another.

“One needn’t look to the murderous hordes of Stalinists who control Wales and parts of London to see evidence of this fact: One need merely take note of Corbyn himself, whose fanatical support drowns out the need to discuss his troublesome lack of popularity which renders him fundamentally unelectable.

“This trend shows little chance of decline. I personally have been told to join the SWP three times today.”

As of press time, a group calling itself “the Red Hand of Blair” has claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Brighton which claimed the lives of several known Corbynite figures. The statement reads, in part: “We have been forced to take up arms to defend the fundamental moderation of the Labour Party from the unelectable views endorsed by the electorate. Dialectics, innit.”

Leftist New York Jews Condemn US SWP


NEW YORK CITY – In response to one Seth Galinsky’s piece in The Militant condemning the BDS movement as indicative of “Jew Hatred” and an attack on “free speech”, assorted red diaper babies in New York City have condemned of the SWP as “Zionists” and “shmendriks”.

“Is this meant to be a joke?” asked Joan Weiss, a member of Jews Say No, an organisation which regularly organises protests to condemn Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. “I was a Trot back in the day, and we never had a problem with making ‘a pariah of Israel’.”

“They’re Shachtmanites,” retorted her friend and salsa dancing enthusiast Andy Bernstein, who lives with his much younger partner Pablo on the Upper West Side and writes for Socialist Worker. “Shachtmanites wreck everything. They wrecked US Trotskyism and now they want to wreck our solidarity with the Palestinian people! Wreckers!”

“The Militant, they call themselves,” laughed mockingly one Sam Schmidt, RCPUSA activist and Chinese culture expert. “These Trots wouldn’t know militancy if it walked up and introduced itself, selling a copy of Revolution. By the way, check out our latest edition of Revolution!”

Spartacist League activist Ruth Gold refused to condemn the SWP’s stance on Israel and BDS, but insisted we print her correction about our characterisation of the SWP as “Trotskyists”: “I wish you Stalinists would stop calling the SWP Trotskyists. I mean, we don’t consider the UK SWP Trotskyists either, because we are the only real Trotskyists, but the US SWP explicitly rejected Permanent Revolution, making them Stalinists.”

The PFLP has not issued a response to the SWP’s criticisms, much to the surprise of SWP activists. One of their number, Abe Singer, responded: “They like Che Guevara, we like Che Guevara, I’m sure if they came over for a traditional Christmas dinner from Peking Kitchen at my place they would see that there are Jews whose views are just like theirs.”

“Except, you know, we’re more concerned with condemning Hamas than Israel. Except that one part.”

Sectarian Disputes within Turkish Trotskyism: AKP State to Prosecute Tariq Ali


ANKARA – Turkish courts have made the decision to prosecute Onur Erem after Erem published an interview with well-known international Trotskyist commentator Tariq Ali after Ali called Erdoğan a “tin-pot dictator”. Future investigation of Ali is possible, but clearly the importance of this case lies not in the legal questions, but in the power struggle within Turkish Trotskyism.

Assessments of the situation from the various sides of this struggle were ready at hand. Erdoğan himself mentioned the case of Tariq Ali at the G-20 meeting in Antalya. In his speech Erdogan suggested that the recent terror in Europe was a result of “capitalism’s greed” and proceeded to denounce Ali as a traitor to permanent revolution. He said: “Look at this person. What does he want? Who does he think he is? Look at the world situation today. Mursi and I were carrying the flag of permanent revolution together, but now Mursi has been brought down by the Stalinist Sisi. Yes, Sisi! Yes, so I am the last one standing, surrounded by enemies.

“I thought Ali was on our side in this. After all, he is a Muslim, and therefore a Turk. We are both Turkish Trotskyists and therefore naturally comrades and brothers. But clearly, his class background as the son of a rich Pakistani family led him to betray our movement.” The chairman of Turkey’s biggest holding by far, Ali Koç, rushed to the assistance of his leader: “Capitalism creates poverty and terror. It has to go. Degenerate bourgeois like Tariq Ali will go down together with capitalism.”

Reactions within Turkey were mixed. Turkish IST affiliate DSİP issued a statement saying: “We understand that Ali is not a supporter of our sister party in the UK, the SWP, which already makes him suspect. However, we did not think he would go as far as denouncing our president as a dictator, which would put him in the same category as Stalin and therefore completely unacceptable. We call on Ali to renounce his statement. If he does, we hope that our president will reconsider his intentions, as the movement for permanent revolution should not be split in such dire times.“

A protest note came from the HDK in a joint statement: “Seriously? We say things much worse on a daily basis, providing a much deeper understanding of the AKP regime. Why give such importance to Tariq Ali? By this standard, thousands, if not millions of members of the various organisations which make up the HDK should’ve been arrested in the past few months.”

A short message to Ali was sent from the KCK in the Qandil Mountains: “Heval Tariq, please ignore all the slander and attacks. We wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if we had listened to the naysaying of our enemies. We see that you are serious, so we invite you to join our ranks to take up the armed struggle. We leave it up to you whether you would prefer to fight against ISIS or the Turkish state.”

One of the first international reactions came from Alexis Tsipras, a columnist for a pro-AKP newspaper who splits his free time between his hobbies of being Prime Minister of Greece and being the chief critic of the Prime Minister of Greece: “I really think this is not the time for this. As I recently wrote in one of my columns, we have to cooperate on the central issues of our time. I would be willing to mediate between the two camps. I recommend as a compromise that Erdoğan will condemn his own policies, while Tariq Ali will come to Turkey and encourage Turkish citizens to vote for the AKP.”

SWP Releases Statement Calling for Morrissey’s Death


LONDON – British IST affiliate Socialist Workers’ Party has shocked their Egyptian sister party, Revolutionary Socialists, by calling for the speedy execution of Morrissey.

“Morrissey is actually a counter-revolutionary, merely posing as a critic of the establishment, with his petty-bourgeois idealism and his empty words. We demand that the Egyptian state quickly chop his ugly head off, before any more Egyptian Trotskyists are tricked into supporting his dangerous rhetoric.”

Revolutionary Socialists, contrary to the reputation of IST affiliates to slavishly follow orders from London, issued this fierce response:

“Our message to Callinicos, you donkey: Morrissey is still the only democratic leader of the Egyptian people, ever. Every other leader of the Egyptians, from Nasser to Sisi, have all been Stalinists. We will never abandon Morrissey, even if the rest of the IST does. To die by his side? Well, the pleasure, the privilege, is ours.”

The Spartacist League of Britain, known in very hip circles for their artisanal paper, Workers Hammer [a name clearly chosen to capitalise on the popularity of Worker’s Spatula – WS], pointed out in a lengthy rant that “the Cliffites” had until recently supported Morrissey’s presidency, disrupted an SWP “Kill Morrissey” rally in order to demand an explanation.

“We, the Spartacist League of Britain, are the only real communists in Britain, and indeed, the world!” screamed the leader of the Spart gang, Linda Harris, through a megaphone. “We never supported Morrissey or any other popular leader ever! That’s how you know we’re pure! But still, these pseudo-revolutionaries should have to explain to the working class their unprincipled and opportunistic zigzags! Why are you all such fucking shits?”

An unfazed Callinicos quickly regained control of the rally, taking hold of an even larger and less bureaucratic megaphone, to respond: “You lot support ISIS.”

After the rally, a member of the SWP agreed to speak with Worker’s Spatula on condition of anonymity. “We did support Morrissey, we did zigzag, the Sparts are right on this one.”

“The thing is, we really liked his early work, back under Mubarak, with the Smiths.”

Image credit: “gleepii” on Reddit.

Corbyn Victory a Victory for the International Proletariat

StalinCorbynLONDON – In news which will surprise absolutely no-one, Jeremy Corbyn has won the election for leader of the Labour Party of the United Kingdom. His former rivals, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and Liz Kendall, have all been reported missing, with many officials openly voicing their suspicion of foul play by Corbyn’s fanatical supporters.

Just prior to the start of Corbyn’s victory speech, a young woman was hauled off by police after physically assaulting SWP members who were peacefully selling newspapers outside. As she was dragged off, she continued screaming “WRECKERS! WRECKERS! JEREMY’S IN CHARGE NOW, OUR DAY WILL COME!”

Corbyn began his speech much as expected, with references to the historical role played by great proletarian theorists such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Enver Hoxha, and Harold Wilson. Cheers were heard from the crowd as Corbyn referenced the “inevitable victory of our partisan forces fighting in Sheffield against fascist Tory encirclement.”

“¡VENCEREMOS!” He shouted over the already ecstatic crowd. “We will win!”

“This victory is not just a victory for left Labourites like ourselves, but a victory for the entire international proletariat. It is a victory for the guerrilla forces fighting in Rojava, in the Philippines, and all the real revolutionaries across the world.”

“Without further ado, I would like to announce my good personal friend, and head of what is now our fraternal party in Germany, Stefan Engel!” boomed Corbyn as Stefan Engel emerged from backstage, waving the ICOR flag.

“We are proud to accept the UK Party of Labour into the ranks of ICOR, and we hope this represents a great step forward for international revolution. Or maybe it’s just nothing, like every time the British get excited about anything, with your royal babies, and your cheeky Nando’s. Either way, I want you all to know that the English and Welsh translations of my children’s book ‘An Illustrated Guide to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’ are now available at Waterstones.”

Amidst the triumphant atmosphere, Corbyn soberly reminded the crowd of Labour’s past “revisionism”, and the danger that the revisionists might again seize power. He concluded by saying:

“There is not the slightest doubt that at the ‘top’ of our Party there were noticeable vacillations that nearly became ruinous, because the struggle was developing; under certain conditions, at a certain moment, vacillations may ruin the cause. We must put all our forces into the struggle, we must uphold the correct line of the party of the revolutionary proletariat before it is too late.”

The crowd, a sea of red banners, photographs of Stalin, and right fists raised in fierce defiance, chanted in unison: “UPHOLD THE CORRECT LINE! UPHOLD THE CORRECT LINE! UPHOLD THE CORRECT LINE!”

“With the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism, a weapon more terrifying to the bourgeoisie than the atomic bomb, we can and will emerge victorious!” screamed an increasingly hoarse-voiced Corbyn. “Develop and put into practice real revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, here in Britain, today! Raise up the blood-red banner for all our comrades across the globe! Workers of the world, unite!”

The Daily Mail has responded by issuing a paper comprising nothing but an enormous picture of Corbyn’s face where the front page ought to be, followed by pages and pages of the words “We told you so.” repeated over and over again in various font sizes.

Scandal looming at 2016 Marxism Conference

LONDON/ISTANBUL – DSİP, the Turkish Section of the International Socialist Tendency and thus the sister party of the Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP) has announced that it is likely to boycott the 2016 Marxism Conference in London.

A spokesperson of the party declared: “We feel the need to express our discontent with the leadership of the SWP. Alex Stalinicos has abandoned all principles of democratic centralism and is ruling the party as if it was his private property. Which is something we actually like if autocratic Islamist rulers like Morsi or Erdoğan do it, but not when communists do it, or when we feel the need to accuse communists of doing it because we disagree with them.”

However, there are rumours that the real reason behind the discontent is the fact that the SWP did not provide the necessary material means for the Turkish Marxism Conference held by DSİP in a five star hotel in Taksim in recent years. “They were so used to have nice meeting rooms in five star hotels with plenty of space, especially since nobody ever shows up.” we were told by one insider. “But, you know, Trotskyism doesn’t really exist here in Turkey and after so many people left the SWP because Comrade Delta betrayed them… well, the money isn’t flowing like it used to.”

Asked about these accusations, a DSİP spokesperson responded: “Well, the real reasons are complicated actually, but the Turkish people are too stupid to understand them, so we didn’t want to go into detail. Really, they are just too stupid, otherwise why would they support Marxist-Leninist parties and not us? Anyway, if you must know, yes, we were not happy with some decisions made by the SWP and yes, the money flow has dried up somewhat. The takeaway is this: Callinicos? More like Stalinicos. Whenever you have a problem with someone, compare them to Stalin, because what could be worse than Stalin? Does the comparison have to make any sense? No, but it still works. If you don’t think it works, you’re probably a Stalinist yourself.”

Upon learning that the SWP had been declared “Stalinist”, TKİP sent a letter of solidarity to Callinicos, in which they hinted at the possibility of joining the IST. “So we always tell people we’re Marxist-Leninists, but we basically act like Trotskyites, and you’re officially Trotskyites, but someone called you ‘Stalinicos’, and you know, it seems like a good fit.”

A representative of the SWP reacted to the upheaval from Turkey in a press conference: “So this really hurts us, you know? Our political principle is internationalism, which means for us to be present everywhere and relevant nowhere. However, at the Marxism Conference we gather once every year in London and let representatives from our different sections around the world explain to the audience that they are in fact relevant parts of the movements in their respective countries. If DSİP boycotts the conference, people might get the idea that we’re not leading the revolution in Turkey, and then you know, it’s a slippery slope to British people suspecting we’re not leading the revolution anywhere.” He lowered his voice slightly before continuing: “I mean, what do they want anyway? Do they think they can rely on Turkish people to support them? Well, mate, think again. I suppose they want more money. You know, we basically give all our organisations around the world money in order to pretend that they are a vital and strong political player. If they want more money, others might start wanting more as well. This is not great for us. You know how much money we had to pay them in order to shut them all up about all the rape scandals here at the SWP central committee?”

As was to be expected, there was an intense discussion about these dramatic events. Counterfire immediately published four articles, one for each regular Counterfire contributor, with similar content, namely praising itself for leaving the SWP long before it became cool to leave the SWP among British Trotskyists. Chris Nineham stated: “You know, when it became cool to leave the SWP and uncool to support it, we briefly considered re-entering the party. But as Callinicos got wind of that discussion he sent us a private e-mail that he would rather take an ice axe to the head than breathe the same air as traitors like us, so that was that.”

Sebastian Budgen of Verso Books, a regular reader of Worker’s Spatula, who shares each and every of our articles so long as he is not mentioned in it, asked in a Facebook post: “Does anyone know how to make a poorly-selling e-book out of all this?”

International response was more muted. Stathis Kouvelakis of the newly founded Popular Unity in Greece and a regular participant in discussions with Callinicos commented to our Worker’s Spatula correspondent in Athens: “Should I care? Who were they supporting at the end in Greece? See, the reason I am in a party is so I don’t have to deal with this question every day, Greece is far too complicated. I think it was your paper in which I read about a KKE scale on Greek politics. Obviously, they are crazy sectarians, but I like the concept. What was the question again?”

Our German correspondent called MLPD chairman Stefan Engel to learn about his take on the complex situation. He excused himself for 5 minutes to learn more and promised to call us back, which he did: “I’ve talked to our Turkish and Kurdish comrades. No one of them has ever met anyone from DSİP, but they knew that the party supported Erdoğan’s 2010 referendum alongside many liberals. I believe them to be the perfect representative of Trotskyism in Turkey and the SWP should do everything to keep them happy.”