CHALLENGE, VOL. 36,NO. 19, MARCH 1, 2000


May Day Resolution Passed by SEIU Local 371 Delegates Assembly














Jail Can’t Defeat Unam Striker: Jailed striker writes to CHALLENGE

Diallo Murder: A Question Of Class

‘Practice Is Great Teacher...’

Multi-Racial Unity Goes To Church

Teaching Dialectics In Math Class

Bosses’ Solution Healthcare Not

Bush’s Texas: Death Row, Inc



NEW YORK CITY-Feb. 16 — The Social Service Employees Union (SSEU) Local 371 Delegates Assembly voted tonight to urge its members to participate in May Day events, including the PLP May Day march in Washington. The resolution called for the Local to purchase up to 50 bus tickets for members, family and friends. (See adjoining box.)

PLP members raised two issues at the Delegates meeting. We put forward our May Day march in a mass way, calling for an official endorsement. We also raised the idea of workers taking mass action if the four cops on trial for killing Amadou Diallo get off.

Prior to tonight’s meeting, we had many discussions about the Diallo murder, as workers listened to live radio broadcasts of the trial. At one office, a worker urged calls be made to the Bronx D.A. to complain about the poor prosecution case. PLP’ers pointed out that the D.A. couldn’t properly attack the murderous police without also attacking the whole legal system. As CHALLENGE has reported, the fascist community policing strategy advocated by George KKKelling is what led to the killing. That, not just the 41 shots by four racist cops, was part of the reason why Amadou was murdered.

We discussed what to do if the cops were found not guilty or convicted on lesser charges. One worker said a federal case should be started. He pointed out that black workers have never been treated as equals, citing the pre-Civil War section of U.S. Constitution that counted black slaves as "3/5 of a person" (in order to increase Southern representation in Congress).

A PLP comrade concluded that we shouldn’t rely on the bosses’ government for "justice." Rather we should prepare to stop work and hold mass demonstrations. "What would happen if the members of AFSCME District Council 37, SEIU, and Local 1199 all walked off their jobs?" he asked. This electrified the discussion. All agreed this would be a great action against racist police violence. It led to further questions of why the union has been silent about the trial. The PLP member who is the delegate from the office where the discussions were held promised to raise this at the Delegates Assembly.

Before that meeting, a PLP delegate, along with a retired former delegate, sold 45 CHALLENGES and engaged many rank-and-file delegates in discussions. After the usual long speeches by the officers, none of whom mentioned the Diallo trial, a PLP delegate quickly rose to call for each delegate to hold local work-site meetings on the Diallo murder. If the cops get off, he said delegates should urge workers to walk off their jobs.

This idea was first discussed in Party meetings, then among workers on the job, and then brought to the delegates of the 15,000-member union. This call for immediate action on the Diallo murder was followed by the May Day resolution. Thus, our May Day march was seen by the delegates as a logical way to participate in the struggle against the racist capitalist system that murdered Amadou Diallo.

May Day Resolution Passed by SEIU Local 371 Delegates Assembly

WHEREAS, May Day is the international holiday of the working class; and,

WHEREAS, May Day demonstrates the fighting unity of the working class; and,

WHEREAS, members of this local have traditionally participated in May Day events; and,

WHEREAS, issues like the threat of war, prison labor and slave labor Workfare, police brutality and racism affect all members of this Local and must be fought; therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that SSEU Local 371 urges its members to participate in May Day events, including the March on Washington organized by the Progressive Labor Party; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Local purchase up to 50 bus tickets for members, family and friends who wish to attend.


ALBANY, NY, Feb. 22 — Communist-led youth piled out of cars and vans driven by teachers who are members and friends of PLP in central Brooklyn. We rocked the spot. Our signs read, "NO JUSTICE FOR WORKERS UNDER CAPITALISM," "FASCISM MEANS FIGHT BACK" and "THE ONLY SOLUTION IS COMMUNIST REVOLUTION." They couldn’t be missed in the 150 person demonstration. Seventy-five CHALLENGES were distributed.

As two Albany cops stepped into the crowd we led chants and speeches demanding they depart immediately. We told the world that while some may seek justice, we speak for those who seek vengeance.

The speakers from the stage suggested that we "not worry about them [the cops]." What’s the point of a rally protesting the cops’ murder of Diallo if we’re not supposed to "worry" about the police? One speaker from Brooklyn Tech who called for students to join mass organizations and walk out of their schools to protest the cop invasion of school security was a bright point. But the bankruptcy of the leadership of the demonstration became more evident as the rally wore on. They refused to allow a PLP member to speak. Upon returning to our contingent, numbers of youth suggested we return to the stage as a group and demand the right to speak. The leadership was concerned the PLP member might "incite" the crowd and barred us from speaking. At this point our youth were very angry.

The liberals are right about half the story: we communists seek to both incite and educate the crowd. Sharpton and the other liberal mis-leaders seek to pacify and mystify the crowd.

The majority of our youth have only known the Party for a few months, but they saw the real deal at today’s rally. They led sharp struggle against the liberal mis-leaders and for their communist Party. A sharp young comrade compared the mis-leaders to the house slaves (tied to the master, yet still a slave), while we, the Brooklyn youth, represented the field slaves who have only a world to win.

As many speakers in Albany lamented the "miscarriage of justice" inside the Appeals Court, we responded: "Let them do their thing in the courts...we’ll do our thing when we get back to Brooklyn."

Many thousands of angry workers and youth are watching this case closely. PLP will work in the schools and communities to focus a part of this tremendous energy into the positive and only solution: marching on May Day for communist revolution.


HIDALGO, Mexico, Feb. 20 — Thousands of farm workers, workers and students in Tepatepec, Hidalgo captured 65 cops and re-took the National Rural School of Mexe. Two hours earlier it had been seized by the police sent from the state capital. The cops’ were disarmed and their cars were burned. Those cops who weren’t able to run away met with popular justice. They were tied up with the ropes they used to arrest workers, undressed and taken to the town’s central plaza. The population sent an ultimatum to the governor: "If you don’t free the jailed students, the cops will be burned." Hours later the governor let hundreds of students go free. They had been in jail for months for the "crime" of occupying the school to stop the government from closing it. The rulers tried to justify this by saying there was no academic excellence.

"We need these kinds of actions in the factory to confront the company and their union thugs," was a general comment by many auto workers who joyously celebrated with joy the Mexe rebellion. "We can follow their example to get rid of all the bosses," proposed another. The set the workers thinking.

For decades, students and graduates of this school have taught the farm workers and community here and throughout the state of Hidalgo to read and write. They’ve also politicized the workers. That’s the real reason the rulers are trying to close the school. These militant students believe in the fight for socialist revolution. The communists of PLP have concluded that the socialist revolutions in Russia and China maintained key aspects of capitalism, like the wage system and division of labor that led to the return of capitalism in those countries. We call on these socialist students and the workers of Mexe to take an ideological step forward and help advance the fight for communism, where the wealth created by the working class will be distributed "from each according to his/her commitment, to each according to his needs". That’s the only way that the working class can maintain power and prevent capitalism from returning.


Meanwhile, in nearby Mexico City, the fascist judge handling the cases of the 260 students jailed after the 9-month UNAM strike, presented a huge broadside of charges under capitalist laws that condemned 16-year-olds as "terrorists." He declared, "The students will not be freed because they are a social danger." In doing so, he carried out the exact wishes of the top bosses to punish the strikers under phony charges.

"They can jail us but not our consciousness!" is the united cry of all those in jail. [See Letter p. 6] This spirit of struggle has spread to the other prisoners who also chant slogans with the strikers. Ever since the students were arrested, thousands of people have camped day and night in front of the jail demanding their freedom. Shouts of struggle from the outside are answered from those inside.

All this has put the authorities on the defensive. They’ve had to give unusual treatment to those who have been arrested. Now the other prisoners are demanding the same treatment. The discussions, assemblies and even study groups that were begun during the UNAM strike have been transferred inside and in front of the prison. "I already felt like a communist," said one 17-year old when he heard an explanation of communism after just being freed from jail when he heard an explanation of communism.


Goose-Stepping German Bosses Next?

VIENNA, Feb. 19 — Over 100,000 people marched here today to denounce fascism, racism and the new coalition government, which includes pro-Nazi Jörg Haider’s Liberal Party. The march occurred in the Plaza of Heroes, the same place where thousands cheered Adolf Hitler in 1938 during the official confirmation of Anchluss (when Austria joined the Third Reich).

The Vienna march was part of an international campaign against racism and fascism. Smaller marches took place in other European cities as well as a protest in front of the Austrian consulate in New York City. It’s good for so many people to protest fascism and racism. However, many of these protestors don’t want to recognize that racism, fascism and capitalism go together.

For example, Austria’s Social Democratic Party—which ruled the country before pro-Nazi Haider and the Conservative Party formed a new government last month—is the same party that in the past enforced many of the anti-immigrant attacks which Haider now pushes. Many of the international celebrities at the Vienna march, like French philosopher Bernard Henry-Levy, are very right-wing and anti-communist and feel that Haider and the Conservatives in Austria "exposed" their own conservative politics for what they are: fascistic.

But more important is what’s happening in Germany. The corruption scandal surrounding former Prime Minister Kohl and his Christian-Democratic Party (CDU) has discredited both. An interview in the Argentine daily "Página 12" with Alfred Bauer, an Austrian anti-fascist exiled in Buenos Aires since the 1938 Anchluss, describes how the CDU’s collapse could lead to the formation of another right-wing party. However, this time it would be openly pro-Nazi, uniting all the smaller neo-Nazi groups in Germany now that the CDU umbrella is discredited.

He also warns about the "revanchist" elements in Germany: "It attracted my attention the trip made to Berlin by Haider and Schuessel (the conservative who shares power in Austria)….While most of the attacks against Haider come from France and Belgium, Germany defends him. It must be understood that the real power in Germany, the monopolies or big capital, is trying to aggressively recover from the defeat it suffered in 1945. It wasn’t just the Nazis who lost in 1945; German imperialism lost, too. Up to now with Khol, and without any serious resistance from the SPD (German Social-Democrats), these monopolies are doing very well. Kohl was able to swallow East Germany and extends their power eastward. But now they will need a more aggressive tool, and I see what is happening in Austria coming to Germany."

We in PLP don’t believe that history simply repeats itself. The Fourth Reich that German bosses are dreaming about will not exactly duplicate Nazi Germany. But it will have the same goal: grab as much power for German big capital as possible. Sharpening rivalry among the world’s imperialists means war. All mass, anti-fascist movements must have this understanding: capitalism makes war and fascism inevitable. The only alternative is to build a mass revolutionary communist movement to destroy capitalism.


NEWARK, NJ, Feb. 21 — Workers here are angry about the possibility that the four cops who murdered Amadou Diallo may go scot free, or be convicted on lesser charges, getting a "slap on the wrist." We in PLP are planning to mobilize this anger when the verdict comes down. A Party member pointed out that Diallo, a black immigrant worker, had to slave twelve hours a day as a street vendor only to be shot down like a dog by the Klan in blue That’s something no jury verdict can cure.

Our demonstration will attack Rutgers professor George KKKelling, whose "community policing" strategy is being used by politicians to win workers to actively support a racist police state. Two months after the execution of Diallo, Kelling was featured in the NY Daily News and Wall Street Journal, basically calling for not guilty verdicts in this case. Kelling and his followers have been funded and built by the liberal section of the U.S. ruling class.

The demonstration will end at the federal building here. Clinton made the hiring of 100,000 "community policing" cops a centerpiece of his program for "fighting crime." Hundreds of thousands have been added to the prison population as a result of this and other bosses’ programs. One-fourth of all prisoners in the world are now in U.S. jails. Racist cop terror, prisons and prison labor, welfare slave labor—these are the faces of U.S.-style fascism. Our Party’s job is to organize communist revolution to put fascism and its backers under the ground. This demonstration is a step toward that goal.


SEATTLE, WA, Feb. 18 — As the Boeing SPEEA (Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) strike enters its second week, our Party can be proud of the dozens we’ve organized in the plants to join the picket lines in solidarity. Hundreds more have spontaneously joined the lines. This coming week, our Party will mobilize our members, friends and co-workers in the schools and in other unions to join the lines. Meanwhile, some blue-collar Boeing workers refused to run scab programs or work with scab techs or engineers. All this is happening without the aid of the Machinists’ union (IAM) leadership. These small but significant acts of class solidarity are happening, in many cases, despite the downright opposition of the union hierarchy.

The strikers have won the grudging respect of the blue-collar workers (Machinists). It isn’t every day that 19,000 workers walk out and stay out even though only 12,000 are in the union. The strikers’ resolve and the solidarity we’ve organized have changed the climate somewhat in the shops. Opposition, such as there was, to our active support of SPEEA members has become less vocal.

Class Struggle Helps Create Leaders

One argument expressed by some Machinists opposing the campaign to (eventually) honor the SPEEA picket lines is, "They [SPEEA] crossed our lines [in a previous IAM strike]." "But," another Machinist answered, "We’re the big brothers here!"

Blue-collar IAM workers have had more experience in class struggle and strikes. Little by little, these struggles have changed how we workers think and relate to one another. When the engineers and technical workers marched through the plants and drummed on their desks with pencils, they were doing more than just imitating our tactics of "Rolling Thunder." The strikers were benefiting from the blue-collar workers’ greater understanding of the true nature of class relations.

It stands to reason that production workers will lead the struggle for working-class unity and to end the division between "mental" and "manual" labor. Our practical participation in class struggle—and for some of us, revolutionary struggle—has equipped us with greater knowledge in this arena. Who, but the more advanced, will lead?

This lesson can be applied to our class as a whole. Black and Latin workers are the most exploited and oppressed. This oppression has taught many of these "minority" workers invaluable lessons that will benefit our whole class. Fighting racism does more than unify our class; it allows all workers to benefit from the most militant leadership.

As we build unity between unionized white-collar and blue-collar workers, we should remember that more than 50% of each Boeing plane is produced by low-paid subcontractors. Boeing even uses prison slave labor. We have to unite with, and take leadership from, these super-exploited workers if we are to build a fighting force capable of battling this global giant.

Working Class Power Or Contracts?

The union leadership says we can’t honor the picket line because of the contract’s no-strike clause. They’ve even tried to convince workers to use scab programs or work with scab labor "because of the contract," although many workers have drawn the line there! "There’s the law, the Company policy and the contract. If one doesn’t get you, the other will," insisted a woman on the shop floor.

Under capitalism, we are wage-slaves. The contract only spells out the terms of our enslavement. The tiny class of capitalists invented the law, the state and contracts (with the help of union leaders) to exploit the vast majority. The power of a unified strike would benefit the vast majority of Boeing workers. So the bosses use the contract and their laws to impose their will on the rest of us. To end this domination, we have to assert the will of our class. "If we honored those lines," said an IAM member at the last union meeting, "that would be the end of that damn ‘no-strike’ clause!"

Ultimately, it all comes down to power. Do we, the working class the vast majority, exercise our power? Do we unite with the leadership of the most exploited of our class brothers and sisters to forge a revolutionary party to smash the power of the bosses’ state and all its legalities? Do we absorb the lessons of class struggle to wield ourselves into a Red Army that can build a communist future, where collective labor will smash elitism and privilege? A contingent of Boeing workers at this year’s May Day march in San Francisco will lay the groundwork for a positive answer to those questions.


"Fighting against these racists attack will train us to become revolutionary leaders of our class…."

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 21 — This last week here, high school and college students, teachers, comrades and friends of the Party participated in a lively forum on California’s Proposition 21 (known as the "Juvenile Gang Crime and Prevention Initiative"). If passed the proposition will allow for the increased wholesale incarceration of youth, particularly working-class youth of color, into adult courts and adult prisons by placing the decision of whether to try a juvenile as an adult into the hands of the prosecutor. But it doesn’t stop there.

The Proposition will also expand the current "3 Strikes Law" which has played a major role in California’s huge prisoner growth. In many cases it will lower the limit on what is considered a felony (thus making it easier to get a "strike") and create new felonies as well.

Prop. 21 also includes new powers for police repression, allowing them to: wiretap suspected "gang members," create and expand databases on people they "consider" gang members, and make some "gang-affiliated" crimes punishable by death. Prop. 21 even prevents the courts from sealing a juvenile’s record, making it almost impossible for someone who was involved in the courts as a youth to ever find a job.

A community activist spoke about the fight to amend the 3 Strikes Law, saying that control in prisons is becoming a guide for control in schools. One student pointed out that at his school if more than three students are walking together, they are considered a "threat" and separated! A student said, "The schools are becoming mini-prisons." The rulers are afraid of youth, especially the most oppressed.

Panelists and audience members at the forum connected the Proposition to the educational system, prison labor, racism, and ruling class interests under capitalism. They showed that this Proposition is not about the ballot box or the interests of a few evil government "right-wingers," but rather, it is a logical byproduct of an inherently racist system based on exploitation and oppression. Thus when participants raised the need for direct action in the streets and in our communities, local high school students took leadership by suggesting walkouts at their school. Plans were made to start coordinating the walkouts. People committed themselves to take the struggle further by joining PLP in some upcoming demonstrations and educating their friends, students and co-workers.

"This generation is being attacked more and this generation will produce leaders for revolution," said one participant. We talked about the ongoing scandal at the Ramparts Police Station. This is the tip of the iceberg, showing that the racist cops’ job is to put thousands of people in jail by lying, planting evidence and murdering thousands in cold blood. Participants said that a system that uses terror, forces youth into prison, and gives the army as the alternative, is a system that has to go. We need a revolution for communism. Many took tickets and vowed to build for a big April 29th May Day March in San Francisco to answer these attacks.


The U.S. bosses’ Big Lie, "War = Peace," has taken on a new twist in recent weeks. The focus is Iraq.

On February. 1, 70 Congressmen sent Clinton a letter demanding the removal of economic sanctions begun by U.S. imperialism in 1991. The leaders included California Republican Campbell and Michigan Democrats Conyers and Bonior—all liberals, like most others on the list.

The sanctions were designed to make Saddam Hussein bow to U.S. wishes. CHALLENGE readers know the Iraqi working class has been the main victim. The cost in human terms has reached genocidal proportions: more than one million Iraqis have died since the elder Bush began the blockade in 1991. The majority of these deaths are children under the age of five. Sanction-related hunger and disease kill more than 4,500 children every month (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF).

So how come all these U.S. politicians are calling for ending the sanctions? Have these liberals suddenly had a change of heart and decided a ground war to take over Iraqi oil is no longer necessary? Don’t believe appearances. People over 50 remember that the same Kennedy liberals who had begun a war of mass murder in Vietnam in the early 1960’s suddenly started singing "Give Peace a Chance" a few years later when they realized the U.S. military was going to be beaten on the battlefield.

Something similar is happening in Iraq, on a smaller scale. A million dead Iraqi workers and children, as well as daily terror bombings by the U.S. and British haven’t done the trick. Saddam Hussein remains in power and continues to thumb his nose at the U.S. The sanctions and bombings have been a political fiasco. The liberals now recognize this. These repulsive hypocrites, who supported all of Bush/Clinton’s murderous tactical policies until recently, also understand that murdering Iraqi babies isn’t exactly compatible with the "human rights" cover U.S. imperialism has been trying to use to hide its aggression (remember Kosovo and Clinton’s "humanitarian" air war?).

The liberal politicians who front for the Rockefeller oil companies haven’t budged an inch on the goal of removing Saddam Hussein. This is clear to anyone who reads the fine print of the bosses’ media. For example, Ohio Rep. Kucinich told a February 16 press conference: "It could be argued that the sanctions have in fact strengthened the regime and weakened the people who would be needed to overthrow the regime." (Dow Jones Newswires) The letter’s signers make a point of saying they oppose only the economic warfare. Though decrying the sanctions, they stand squarely behind military action against Iraq. Overthrowing a government as firmly in control of the state apparatus as Saddam Hussein’s can’t be done from the air. And overthrowing Saddam Hussein has become one of the Rockefeller interests’ main aims. "Blueprint"—the Democratic Leadership Council’s magazine—leaves little to the imagination. The DLC, which promoted Clinton and backs Gore, speaks for Rockefeller. Here are its winter 2000 marching orders: "Urgent planning must begin now [for] Saddam Hussein’s ouster. Now that we have defined [this] as our goal, every day that he remains in power is a setback for U.S. interests, prestige, and credibility." (article by Robert Satloff)

As CHALLENGE said two issues ago, all four of the presidential candidates have foreign policy advisors who are pushing for Gulf War II. As the campaign heats up we should expect a torrent of Big Lies about defending "human rights in Iraq," neutralizing Saddam Hussein’s "weapons of mass destruction," and bringing "democracy" to the Persian Gulf. But the truth is that liberal bosses’ only concern here is Exxon-Mobil’s "right" to control the world’s cheapest source of oil. As our Party kicks its May Day organizing into high gear, we must continue to expose the truth behind the rulers’ hypocrisy, to sharpen the class struggle and to show workers that only communist revolution can end the bloodbaths for oil and profit that imperialism makes inevitable.


The liberals leading the charge to end sanctions and prepare for ground war in Iraq include politicians with close links to the AFL-CIA. Democrats Bonior and Conyers, for example, get their main backing from the labor unions. Bonior is an ally of Jay Rockefeller. He works closely with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a think-tank hoping to mobilize working-class support for Rockefeller policies. The EPI is closely linked to the Brookings Institute, one of the liberals’ most hawkish foreign policy mouthpieces. Last year Bonior helped implement a "community policing" project that has cops working inside schools in his district. As for Conyers, he has long carried out the assignment of trying to convince Detroit’s working class to back U.S. imperialism. Other congressional signers of the petition to end sanctions include such Establishment bootlickers as NY’s LaFalce and Major Owens, Ohio’s Strickland, Texas’s Jackson-Lee and, of course, Illinois’ Jesse Jackson Jr. With "friends" like these, who needs enemies?


Four years ago, John Deutch headed the CIA. He led the Clinton administration’s efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein through a combination of murderous economic sanctions and aerial terror bombing. After nine years of this campaign, Saddam is still in power. Now Deutch is being raked over the coals in the liberal media. His supposed crime? Conducting CIA business from his home computer!

On the face of it, this is a joke. Why would a former CIA director show up as a bad boy on the front pages of the New York Times for the equivalent of sending job-related e-mail from his house? Actually, Deutch is a "fall guy," taking the rap so that the big criminals over him can keep their business going.

The real deal is related to the liberal bosses’ need to punish others who carried out a flawed policy. Deutch represented a faction that wanted to dislodge Hussein without a ground invasion. It didn’t work.

This tactical difference reflects a somewhat deeper conflict among the rulers. Deutch is now on the board of Schlumberger, an international oil equipment firm currently helping service Iraqi oil rigs. His present job isn’t exactly in tune with the Rockefeller position of ousting Saddam Hussein. Deutch isn’t the only former U.S. government big shot "guilty" of offending Exxon. President Bush’s Defense Secretary Dick Cheney is in the same boat. Cheney helped Bush murder 500,000 Iraqis during Desert Storm in 1991. Now he’s CEO of Halliburton, a Dallas-based oil equipment giant fulfilling a huge contract to rebuild the Iraqi oil industry.

Iraqi oil is the world’s cheapest to produce. Therefore, it reaps the biggest profit. And whoever controls the cheapest source of a commodity controls the market, especially during a glut. Rockefeller’s oil empire is threatened by its lack of control over Iraqi oil.

For Iraq’s oil industry to get completely back on its feet (it could more than double its current daily production of two million barrels), Iraqi bosses need the U.S. oil equipment industry for the job. Deutch’s Schlumberger and Cheney’s Halliburton can make a fast few billion bucks by helping Iraqi bosses reach that goal.

But Rockefeller’s oil empire (Exxon-Mobil and Chevron) can’t permit that to happen if it doesn’t control Iraq’s oil, which is the case now. In fact, currently Rockefeller’s oil companies are buying up one-third of Iraq’s production in an attempt to gain some measure of control over Iraqi oil. However, because the sanctions policy prohibits U.S. oil companies from making direct purchases, "The Chevrons and Exxons of this world have to buy from the Russians, the French, and the Chinese traders…" (International Herald Tribune, Feb. 21) This means Rockefeller & Co. must pay even more for this Iraqi oil, and pay it to their chief competitors to boot!

As long as Hussein holds power and makes deals with Exxon’s international rivals, the Rockefeller interests must prevent Iraq from reaching its capacity. But meanwhile Halliburton, Dressler-Rand, Ingersoll (Cheney has ties to all three), as well as internationals like Deutch’s Schlumberger are looking to make the fastest buck they can, re-building Hussein’s oil industry.

The dominant Rockefeller interests can’t accept having to enrich their chief international competitors in order to get at cheap Iraqi oil. Nor can they continue permitting Halliburton or Schlumberger to build up Saddam Hussein at Exxon’s expense. So the Rockefeller interests have no choice but to plan Hussein’s ouster in the only way possible: a ground invasion by U.S. troops.

The current presidential campaign will see this set of contradictions sharpen and shake out as the rulers prepare for the next stage of their struggle for world domination. But the most likely outcome will be another war to plant the Exxon flag, with its star$ and stripe$, in the Iraqi desert.


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 — Nearly two dozen people attended our PLP club forum on the Fair Trade movement. Several contacted us afterwards to continue the lively discussion. Two comrades who participated in the "Battle of Seattle" last November said the Fair Trade leadership was building a movement to support U.S. imperialist wars, in the name of "freedom and democracy."

One person argued that there wasn’t enough evidence that the U.S. would become embroiled in major wars, and that trade treaties such as the WTO might prevent trade wars from becoming shooting wars. We said that the historical record proves that the capitalists violently attack each other, as well as the working class, in their competition for maximum profits. The past 140 years has seen an unending series of wars, including World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Kosovo, and hundreds of others. The speakers pointed out that the internal contradictions among the capitalists caused the collapse of the WTO meeting, not the anti-WTO demonstrations.

We criticized the labor leaders, environmentalists and consumer advocates for crying crocodile tears over prison labor in China. Several people said it sounded like we were defending exploitation in China, and that people who oppose China’s abuses deserve support, not condemnation.

We agreed that Chinese workers are suffering terrible exploitation. In fact, during the late 1960’s and 1970’s, PLP broke with the Chinese Communist Party over its return to capitalism, and predicted the exploitative labor conditions currently condemned by the Fair Traders. But PLP advocates another communist revolution in China, while U.S. imperialist reformers collaborate with the exploiters of prison labor here. The AFL-CIO "carefully supports" the use of prison labor in the U.S., and has done absolutely nothing to stop Boeing’s use of prison labor at the Monroe State Reformatory. When U.S. troops invade foreign countries, they wear uniforms made by prison labor.

We were criticized for "condemning" the tens of thousands of workers and students who demonstrated against the WTO. We differentiate the angry, honest demonstrators from the conniving leaders who are in bed with the ruling class. We were inspired by the big turnout in Seattle, which also inspired our friends to come to our forum.

However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Millions of German workers and students joined the Nazis to fight against corruption and unemployment in Germany and surrounding countries. How can we compare this movement to the Nazis, who were openly racist and anti-Semitic? The leaders of the Fair Trade movement stress "national sovereignty," and the dangerous idea that bosses and workers in an industry need government protection. They ignore or "carefully support" prison labor here, among overwhelmingly black prisoners.

Someone else said that we don’t seem to have any plan for moving people from their present reform beliefs to revolution; no way of getting "from point A to point B." We were on the streets of Seattle, and we are involved in mass organizations, to expose the Fair Trade movement, struggle against racist oppression, and win masses to communism. By moving people into struggle around our ideas, such as opposing racist prison labor, we expose the true allegiances of the reformist leadership, and show the fundamental need to destroy the profit system.

A campus worker brought two co-workers to the forum. One told how she had first met our comrade during the Gulf War. At a union meeting, the chapter president made a motion for a day honoring U.S. troops. Our comrade proposed a day to honor those who refused to fight, and defended her position despite heated attacks from the local leadership and several patriotic members. Her co-worker heard about it and figured our comrade was someone she wanted to meet. Through her, she met the other worker. This kind of consistent communist work in mass organizations, over years, is a critical part of going "from A to B."

We need all of our friends to bring PLP’s analysis into mass organizations. Based on the tremendous interest in our speeches, leaflets and CHALLENGE among the masses in Seattle, it’s a good time for doing so. The ideological struggle generated at our forum, and the growing Fair Trade movement, is a growth opportunity for PLP. Progress can be measured in how many of these militant fighters march with us on May Day.

LA Comrades


WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 19— Angry public school workers in the courtroom let out a collective, "NO!" Judge Zeldon shot back, "There will be silence in my courtroom," as she extended the temporary restraining order (TRO) until March 3. The TRO basically makes it illegal for workers to even breathe the word "Strike" or "Job Action." A hearing on ordering a permanent injunction was set for February 28. The union and school management have met twice in contract negotiations, but the bosses refuse to give back any wage concessions lost from 1997-99.

We drafted a Party leaflet calling for a strike on March 4, defying any court injunction. We’ll use this at the next two union meetings to counter the judge’s intimidation tactics. At the last union meeting, we distributed about 30 CHALLENGES with the article about the District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) workers and handed out many leaflets before the meeting. Workers read the article and asked for fliers to pass out to co-workers. It is very isolating to have only three or four maintenance workers at a school, and many say they never see the union on their job. Some were so ill-informed, they thought they were voting on a new contract!

Letting the union hacks know their feelings about the injunction, workers inside the hall shouted at union leader Feaster, "When are we going to jail?" "What’s going to happen March 4?" The workers were more agitated than at the last meeting. When one of the union hacks handed Feaster a copy of our leaflet, he read the whole thing out loud. He denied having a "cushy job," but said his retirement package was so good, he could leave anytime he wanted! However, he stayed on for another term, he said, because some members had asked him to. Feeling the heat, Feaster called on the goons to remove a non- DCPS employee out of the union hall and off the premises.

We want to win more workers to write, produce and distribute PLP and strike literature in the schools. This includes teachers who can distribute literature to maintenance workers. We are also trying to win teachers to show up in solidarity at the next union meeting.

The fight for communist revolution is an uphill battle. But we are raising communist politics in this contract fight to show how the system works. DCPS workers can use these ideas as a weapon against the bosses and union sellouts. Even more, we can win some of these workers to march on May Day and see the need for a communist revolution to end this rotten system.


LOS ANGELES — The recent call by the AFL-CIO for "Unconditional Amnesty for Undocumented Workers" for the six million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has created a torrent of questions among thousands of garment workers here. "When the bosses need low-paid workers, they open the border a little more," said a garment worker. But with this call for "amnesty," the bosses are thinking about filling something in addition to the factories and the fields. They want to use immigrant workers to fill the army, the unions and their campaigns to support the imperialist bosses. In essence it’s another step in building fascism in the U.S.

The new AFL-CIO policy seems to contradict its position for the last 100 years and its position during the 1986 campaign for the law which treated immigrant workers as criminals. The hacks accused immigrants of being strike-breakers, stealing jobs and causing many other of society’s problems. It was the AFL-CIO that pushed for the law to fine employers who hire undocumented workers. Why have they changed their line?

The AFL-CIO leaders are not really responding to the interests of the working class, but rather to their agenda of bringing workers into the camp of the main wing of the U.S. ruling class, Rockefeller, Inc. Firstly, today the economic and political situation confronting these bosses differs from that of the 1980’s. Currently, U.S. bosses feel their economy is growing and they need low-paid workers. But they also need to control them politically. Today, they view their main problem as the fight with European and Asian imperialists for markets and cheap labor. War in the short- and long-run is their solution. And war, despite all the hi-tech weapons the bosses flaunt, still needs foot soldiers to fight and control territory.

The AFL-CIO, always loyal to the U.S. bosses’ plans for war and fascism, wants to play an important role in winning the confidence and loyalty of the workers here to get them to accept low wages and send their children into the army. The call for unconditional amnesty is part of that plan. According to studies, the majority of Latin immigrants are between the ages of 17 to 34. Other studies show that Latin males are the group currently most willing to stay in the army. The army desperately needs more recruits.


The New York Times (2/22) editorialized against a general amnesty. The liberal rulers need to keep using the Migra as a club over the heads of immigrant and all workers to force them to accept low wages. But the union hacks still have their own agenda, even inside the Rockefeller camp and will wage this campaign.

PLP members will get involved in this struggle, putting forward our politics of amnesty for all workers and to smash the bosses’ borders with communist revolution. By getting involved with many workers in this fight, we can win many to fight the bosses, the hacks and join PLP.

We will tell workers that whether or not this campaign is successful in winning amnesty, we will still be oppressed by capitalism, through low wages, racist police and INS terror, sending our youth to fight the bosses’ wars to die and kill other workers. We will also fight for the unity of all workers, immigrant and citizens, black, Latins, Asian or whites.

Building a communist PLP to fight for a society where production corresponds to workers’ needs is the only way to eliminate the "undocumented" label. PLP’ers will fight to organize factory committees to build a garment workers’ contingent for the May Day march in San Francisco demanding amnesty for all workers, "deporting" the bosses and hacks to the land of no return!


Jail Can’t Defeat Unam Striker: Jailed striker writes to CHALLENGE


Two hundred sixty students, teachers and workers of UNAM [National Autonomous University of Mexico], members of the CGH (the General Strike Counsel) are imprisoned in the Northern Jail of Mexico City due to the fascist repression led by Zedillo and the capitalists he represents.

Far from smashing the student movement, we’ve stayed strong and firm in defense of education for all people and against the capitalists and their imperialist partners who repress us today. We understand that fascism is growing daily. We live in inhuman conditions inside the jails, and outside as well. Here inside we see how the evils of capitalism are sharpening. The capitalists claim that the jails are "centers of social rehabilitation." But it’s one more form of oppression. We also know that it’s not human nature to be violent and criminal. It’s capitalist exploitation, poverty and oppression that corrupts society and drives some to petty crimes. Our struggle has been understood and supported by many of the regular prisoners.

Yesterday the guards beat, robbed and tear-gassed prisoners who demonstrated in support of us. This gives us the responsibility to be more committed in organizing among the prisoners. We’re planning a protest against the prison authorities. We’ll be participating in cultural committees with other prisoners. I’ve had good discussions with my fellow prisoner-strikers. We will overcome the anti-communism among some of them, ideas the capitalists prejudices that the capitalists push every day.

Striker Jailed for Class Consciousness

Note from CHALLENGE: To help the jailed students we urge people to send donations, resolutions and letters of support to GPO Box 808, Brooklyn, NY 11202

Diallo Murder: A Question Of Class

The murder of Amadou Diallo a year ago by four cops has outraged many decent anti-racists in New York and elsewhere. This creates the opportunity to start these people thinking about the nature of our society in class terms.

I recently began working with a community organization that actively attempts to combat racism. However, they view the problems of society in terms of "fairness" and "justice." Most people in this group believe racism can be overcome within the framework of capitalism. The Diallo case enables me to talk with them about cops not merely as individuals who act in a racist manner, but who—given their role as guardians of the ruling class—did what they were supposed to do. This case enables me to talk about the class nature of society.

It seems to me that a substantial part of our activity as communists in this period should consist of involving ourselves in, and leading, the struggles of working people around many issues, which in and of themselves may not be revolutionary. We must get to know these honest people and offer a revolutionary way of thinking so they can understand these problems are not solvable aberrations, but rather inevitable and constant under capitalism. The problems can be solved only by communist revolution.

Old NY Red

‘Practice Is Great Teacher...’

Once again our camping/cadre school in Connecticut was a great success. Many east coast high school students, teachers and parents attended last weekend. Our slogan, "Learn to fight and fight to learn," was definitely carried out.

The weekend began with a very uplifting speech on the necessity of patience, urgency and a good dose of class hatred in the life of a Communist. It was very inspiring to see so many young people taking PLP so seriously. We all received a small taste of what communism will be like. Young people arose early to make breakfast, clean up and start our meetings on time. Everyone worked collectively to make sure things went smoothly.

We all read, discussed and struggled over the article,"On Practice" by Mao Tse Tung. Everyone learned that in order to understand anything there must be practice and an attempt to change it. No one can truly know what a pear is until it is tasted, just like no one can truly understand class struggle without participating in and leading it. Everyone made plans to return to their areas and organize class struggle at all levels to protest the racist murder of Amadu Diallo by four fascist New York City cops. This Cadre school was a big step towards realizing the Biggest May Day March in years.

Brooklyn Comrade

Multi-Racial Unity Goes To Church

We have had some modest victories at the church where we have been members for about seven years. One was a multi-racial unity party (we called it the Unity 2000 party) in January. Nearly 75 people attended on a cold, snowy night for a potluck dinner and a dance in the sanctuary to the music of a DJ. It was the kind of multi-racial crowd I have seldom seen except at PLP events. At one point about 30 people of all ages, including the minister, the custodian, long-time and new members, teenagers (including one on crutches) and elementary school kids were dancing and clowning around while most of the others watched.

The prevailing analysis of racism in our denomination is "White Skin Privilege." This means that all white people, not capitalism, are responsible for racism. Therefore, the way to fight it is for white people to "confess" (to paid trainers) and repent. Since all black people are victims of racism, they can’t be racist, from killer cops to budget slashing politicians. The multi-racial unity party was, in part, a way to combat this flawed analysis.

We introduced the idea of this party into one of the committees we lead and sought co-sponsorship by another committee in which we participate and which is led by a close friend. She suggested we get even broader co-sponsorship. The Religious Education Council agreed to support it also. Eventually, we had nearly one-third of the families in the church committed to doing something for the party. Many said we should make this an annual event.

We have also been working with other church members to fight Chicago’s new anti-loitering law, as well as the school superintendent’s continued enforcement of the "no-beeper" law for public school students, even though it was repealed by the City Council. We are trying to extend discussions on the class nature of racism in two committees into church-wide discussions (including a discussion of the book, "Learning To Be White"), and to involve our church in the campaign against racist sterilizations of drug addicts.

One might ask, "How does this build the Party?" We distribute an average of six CHALLENGES every week. Over the years, one person has joined the Party, and others have attended various Party activities, or mass activities under the Party’s leadership. We have a small study group that meets infrequently, and have raised communist ideas about the wars in Kosovo and Iraq, and police brutality. Sometimes we wonder how we will lead large numbers of people under the Party’s line. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but the main thing is, organizing our lives around the people we’re trying to lead.

‘Does The Chicken Ever Cross The Road?’ Teaching Dialectics In Math Class

A report about the Party’s work among teachers emphasizes the importance of bringing communist ideas into the classroom. Part of the report dealt with how teachers could introduce dialectical materialism into math classes.

An article entitled, "The Dialectics of Mathematics," appeared in CHALLENGE (9/21/88).It was based in part on a book by Soviet communist mathematicians. The article makes two major points: (1) Math is very dialectical. The laws and categories of dialectical materialism operate throughout the world of numbers, shapes, and formulas; and, (2) mathematical ideas reflect the real world. They didn’t drop out of the sky or arise from the brains of a few geniuses. Math’s ideas grow out of humanity’s practical needs and real life struggles. Some highlights of that article are:

(1) Counting, and the simplest arithmetic involves dialectical categories like likeness and difference, general and particular. Suppose you’re counting cars in a parking lot. The cars are alike in having a gas combustion engine and four wheels (that’s part of what makes them "cars"). But cars also differ in color, size, age, rust, etc. When you just count cars, you focus on the general, not the particular.

(2) Math involves abstract concepts (things outside the material object itself). When you count, you focus on the general (the abstract). This is called abstraction. Workers handle abstract ideas every day (counting, adding, subtracting). Abstraction is not something reserved for professors with lots of advanced degrees.

(3) Early humans went through this abstracting process over many thousands of years. They progressed from concretely counting, "one, two three logs," or adding "one log plus two logs makes three logs," to the abstract mathematical concepts of—and symbols for—numbers (1,2,3) and addition (1+2=3).

(4) Similarly in geometry: humans took geometric forms from nature: a circle, the crescent of the moon, the straightness of a ray of light or a tree, etc. They worked out more general, abstract notions of these figures when they had to manufacture objects more regular in shape (cutting stones, stretching bowstrings, etc.). In measuring fields and estimating their area, for example, early humans developed the more general and abstract notions of geometric shapes and formulas for calculating areas.

(5) How do you divide three eggs evenly between two children? Simple. You make scrambled eggs. This illustrates an important dialectical category in mathematics: discrete—limited, confined—(the simple eggs) vs. continuous (the expanded "smooth scrambled eggs).

6) Does the chicken ever really cross the road? First it has to go half way. Then it has to go one half of what’s left. Then it has to go half of that quarter that remains. And so on. It appears the chicken never gets there. But in fact, the chicken does cross the road. This illustrates the dialectical concept of finite vs. infinite. The sum of the infinite (unending) series of finite (definite endings) fractions, ˝+1/4+1/8… is the finite quantity 1—that is, the chicken finally crosses the whole (one) road.

Marx, Engels, and Lenin all wrote about mathematics or the process of abstraction. Excerpts from these communist leaders could be used in the classroom. Integrating dialectical materialism into math classes is just one example of how communist theory will become the intellectual property of billions of workers.

Midwest Math Teacher

Bosses’ Solution Healthcare Not

Several years ago some of our Party members joined a liberal group that’s demanding universal healthcare. We thought the growing healthcare crisis might become a mass issue. The organization’s growth proved us correct, but we may have been right for the wrong reasons!

Our club leader believed universal healthcare would become a mass issue because of the widespread anger among workers at the lousy healthcare system under capitalism. He thought a struggle would grow from the needs of the working class. It now appears that there WILL be a mass struggle around this issue, but it is arising from the needs of the main wing of the ruling class.

The Party pamphlet on healthcare reform points out that the "Old Money" Eastern Establishment capitalists have a desperate need to gain control of the healthcare industry. This sector of the economy is a major drain on the profits they need for war preparations. They will build a movement for universal healthcare in order to gain government control of healthcare and institute rationing.

Our discussions paid off at the next general meeting. One of the liberal leaders of this group reported on his experiences at the Families USA Conference. He said there is now a groundswell of support for universal healthcare—that we are no longer viewed as the political opposition but are now "part of the mainstream of American political thought."

Party members along with other people in this group jumped into this discussion. We introduced aspects of the Party’s ideas. We won support for a continuing discussion of what this group means by the slogan "universal healthcare." We saw that most people in this group do not want to build a movement that is co-opted by the bosses to serve their own profit interests. Our Party discussions made us realize we will not be able to stop this co-optation merely through agitation. We will have to build a base around our ideas. We would like anyone with ideas on universal healthcare to contact us through the CHALLENGE office. Thanks.

Philadelphia comrades

Bush’s Texas: Death Row, Inc

A friend and a member of the Socialist Party USA gave me a copy of The Socialist, his organization’s magazine. This party has broken with its social-democratic past, and now speaks out against liberal reforms. It is advocating a grass roots movement to overturn the capitalist system. Although PLP would not agree with everything this group stands for, the ruling class hates them.

On December 9, Socialist Party member James Beathard was executed by the state of Texas. George W. Bush, the bloodthirsty governor of Texas and presidential candidate, signed the death warrant. Beathard was convicted of helping his friend kill the friend’s parents in 1984, although the friend stated plainly that Beathard was innocent.

Texas is now a killing machine, and leads all states in executions. Bush also signed a death warrant for a mentally retarded man. Bush has used execution as a tool to further his political career. While on Death Row, Beathard counseled other death row inmates and talked about the racist, anti-poor nature of the death penalty.

I think that it is important for communists to know about this since it was known by Bush that Beathard was against capitalism and that Bush wanted him dead primarily for that reason. This is another example of the growth of fascism, and it demonstrates that in "human rights" capitalist America that those who stand up against this system are viewed as enemies to be destroyed, framed and killed, just as the Nazis had trade unionists, socialists and communists rounded up and killed or placed in death camps. All were forced to wear a red badge, regardless of their particular socialist or communist convictions.

Prisons are being built rapidly, and-as PLP has pointed-out, more people will be placed there. It is highly likely that the filthy rich ruling class will attempt to use them to jail opponents of capitalism. Thus, the necessity of building a mass party now to fight against fascism and capitalism.

James Beathard was killed and died as a socialist opponent of this capitalist system. He did not back down, and I think that his execution by fascist killer George W. Bush should be known. Smash Fascism with Workers’ Power.

Road Runner