Challenge, March 8, 2000


Editorial: Liberal Democrats Derail Anti-Racist Rage: Cops Get Away With Murder, Again

NYC Welfare Work Stoppage Plans March Against Diallo Verdict

‘Praying won’t stop police killings’

Newark March Links Professor Kelling Theories to Police Terror

Diallo Verdict Is Changing Mood in Campus

Brooklyn High School Roundup

Racist Frame Ups Is Regular LAPD Work

Rising Class Unity Among Boeing Strikers

Beware Of Liberal Politicians And AFL-CIO Misleaders Bearing Gifts.

Postal Workers’ Union Election Opens Doors And Trapdoors

Chicago Postal Workers Fight Police Terror!

Pinochet: Another Pawn in Imperialist Rivalry

El Salvador: Health Care Strikers Take Back Centers from Cops

LETTERS

U.S. Rulers, Racist Murder Inc.

Diallo Verdict Raised at Injustice Conference

On Being a Student and Capitalist Education

Youth Experience at Diallo Trial in Albany

PRD Is No Allied of Students in Mexico

Faculty Should Strike Because Getting into Trouble is Good!


Editorial:

Liberal Democrats Derail Anti-Racist Rage

Cops Get Away With Murder, Again

It should have been a no-brainer. Obviously, the 41 shots fired by four NY Police Department (NYPD) cops at African immigrant worker Amadou Diallo (he was hit by 19 of those bullets) was not "a tragic mistake." It was racist murder carried out by cops following Mayor Giuliani’s Zero Tolerance policies. (As we go to press, another black man was killed, shot in the head, by cops a couple of blocks away from where Diallo was mudered a year ago. Again, local politicians came to the area to calm down angry protestors against this latest killing).

The "justice" system is not blind; it is racist to the core. Never in NYC has a cop being jailed for homicide while on duty. Only one was convicted for manslaughter. Very rarely do cops pay for killing black or Latin workers and youth. The four cops were guaranteed a not guilty verdict from the outset, because both the prosecution and defense agreed that they were "just doing their job," just as the Nazis said at the end of World War II, they were "just following orders."

The racist verdict outraged millions. Mass protests were held in NYC and elsewhere (see articles in this issue). Many are now seeing clearly the racist nature of the cops and the "justice" system. This is good, but much more needs to be done to strengthen the movement against racist terror and its cause, capitalism.

Most of the demonstrators blame it all on NYC Republican Mayor Giuliani, correctly calling him a fascist, even a clone of Hitler. They understand that the four cops who murdered Amadou Diallo were "doing their job" of terrorizing black and Latin workers and youth. In the last few years under Giuliani’s "Zero Tolerance" police policies, "every year tens of thousands"(NY Times, 2/29) have been harassed, beaten and arrested by the cops, and scores have been killed, based on the color of their skin.

The liberal Democrats, like Al Sharpton, Congressmen Charles Rangel, Josť Serrano, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Dennis Rivera, head of the hospital workers union Local 1199 and a big shot in the NY Democratic Party, have done all they could to turn the anti-racist protests into a movement to elect Hillary Clinton NY Senator over Giuliani, and Gore or Bradley president (or whoever becomes the Democratic Party candidate).

These liberal Democrats have also strained to keep the anti-racist protests peaceful, to avoid the 1992 mass rebellions, when the cops brutalized Rodney King in LA and got off. Before the verdict they held "peace" vigils in the area where Diallo was killed.

The Federal Government Is Not on the Side of "Justice"

Now these politicians build peoples’ hope that justice could still be served through the Federal government’s Justice Department. This is the same Clinton administration which paid for the hiring of 100,000 more cops nationally under the guise of "gun control"; the same government which ordered mass racist cutbacks in social services; the same Federal government which has bombed and murdered many thousands in Iraq and Yugoslavia. Building illusions that the Federal government could be on the side of "justice" is also a way to build patriotism for "our" government among those who will be needed to fight Exxon-Mobil’s next oil war in the Middle East. It is hard to convince black and Latin youth to fight and die for Rockefeller oil billionaires when they are being abused and killed by the NYPD, LAPD, etc.

The Cops Cannot Be Reformed

All the liberals, from the New York Times (Feb. 29 editorial.) to Sharpton and Hillary Clinton are calling once again for "police reform." By this they mean adding more black and Latin cops. However, the Klan in blue is still the Klan in blue, regardless of the uniform wearer's skin color. Under the profit system, the police serve as the rulers' first line of defense against the working class. This can never change as long as the bosses remain in power. The police can't be reformed. Racist cop terror against our class can't be voted away. It will disappear only when the working class wins state power through armed struggle and communist revolution.

What Communists and Militant Anti-Racists Must Do

The liberal Democrats can only derail the movement to the extent workers and youth let them. We must fight the negative influence these liberals have on the mass movement. That means getting deeply involved in all the mass movements of workers and youth, and influencing masses of people with the communist understanding of the way capitalism and its state work. The cops, the courts, the entire system serve and protect the bosses. And they MUST be racist, because capitalism since its birth has been based on racism. First it was slavery, and now it’s racist wage slavery: the bosses making hundreds of billions a year in extra profits from paying less to black, Latin and Asian workers. Racism also keeps workers divided, preventing them from uniting against the bosses’ attacks.

If we don’t get deeply involved in the unions, community, church and school organizations, building a political and social base among as many workers and youth as we can, we will be unable to defeat the bosses’ agents who now derail all struggles.

Some in PLP are already doing that kind of work in the mass movement. We raised calls for work stoppages in several places (see page ??? on the Feb. 28 work stoppage at a NYC welfare office), linking it to the march on May Day. But many more comrades and other honest anti-racist workers and youth need to do that.

In the coming weeks we can spread the idea among workers and youth that capitalism is racist to the core and no reforms can change this system, including the cops’ role as racist goons for the bosses. Organizing alll militant anti-racist workers and youth to march with PLP on May Day and recruiting them to PLP is the best way to avenge the brutal murder of Amadou Diallo and all other victims of racist terror and capitalist misery.

NYC Welfare Work Stoppage Plans March Against Diallo Verdict

BROOKLYN, NY, Feb. 28 —"We’re going to have a special union meeting at 11:00 this morning. Everyone stop work and come up to the third floor. We’re going to discuss the Diallo murder case verdict and how we should respond to it."

That’s how a red shop steward called a meeting of workers at a NYC child support welfare office. Members of two AFSCME locals, Workfare workers, per diem office temps and workers employed by the wildcat contract agency all attended. This meeting of about 100 workers showed the most unity in this office in years. Only a few workers did not attend.

Together we decided to demand that our union leaders call a one-day walkout protesting the Diallo verdict, organize a lunch-time demonstration in the downtown Brooklyn shopping area, boycott companies that helped pay the costs of the defense of the four murderers, contact the U.S. attorney’s office and contact local politicians to protest the acquittal of cops Murphy, Carroll, Boss and McMellon.

Although differing strategies were proposed, we wanted to maintain maximum unity and allow workers to participate in the way they thought was most appropriate. Most workers were happy that it wasn’t "business as usual" on the job today. The non-AFSCME workers attending, not used to this kind of open meeting, applauded at the end. We were taking steps to continue the fight

Flash: On March 2, the day after the police shot another black man several blocks from where Diallo was killed, some 25 workers walked off their job from the Child Support office and, along with hospital workers and people from the area, marched in downtown Brooklyn against police terror. More next issue.

‘Praying won’t stop police killings’

BRONX, NY, Feb. 25— "Hell no! We are tired of praying while the police go on killing us. We need to be angry! Praying will not stop the cops!"

That was the fury vent by working-class woman at a handful of black ministers and one white priest attempting to divert an angry group of demonstrators protesting the "not guilty" verdict for four racist cops who murdered African immigrant worker Amadou Diallo in cold blood. Members and friends of PLP joined several hundred outraged residents of this working-class Soundview section of the Bronx where Diallo lived and was murdered, taking to the streets moments after the Albany jury announced its decision. That result and the ferocity of this racist crime—41 shots aimed at an innocent and well-liked man—had left many in a state of shock and disbelief. They marched to a near-by police precinct but were fended off by the cops. Then it was back to block where Diallo was murdered. Cops flooded the neighborhood, to be met with angry defiance and obscenities. Several people had to be pulled away from physically charging the Klan in blue.

It was when the demonstrators demanded that the cops leave the community that the ministers and priest descended upon the crowd and invited the protesters to form a "circle of prayer." And it was then that the courageous woman vented her rage at this spectacle. Others joined her in shouting down the praying. The youth present began to chant. Even some gang members joined the protest. The clergymen failed to pacify anyone.

The cops and their undercover informants planted in the crowd did not deter the workers’ anger. Some local residents managed to evade the police line, organizing a small march across from the barricade. This action surprised the cops, who were trying to contain the crowd behind the barricade. These cowardly cops were nervous, not knowing what to expect from the working class here. Nonetheless, they were prepared to terrorize people engaging in any decisive organized action. Cold-blooded Mayor Ghouliani had announced ahead of time that the cops would "respond" to any "breaking of the law."

This trial has taught many not to expect one iota of justice from the bosses’ racist courts. Workers may be starting to realize what many workers learned from communists around the world: the best protection against state fascism is our class unity, reliance on each other and mutual hatred of the oppressive ruling class. (

PLP aims to win the working class to destroy capitalism and its countless atrocities of war and racism. Workers and youth need to join our movement. To avenge the death of Amadu Diallo and scores of similar brutalities, become a RED—join PLP and get others to do the same. Only then can we totally destroy this murderous ruling class.

Newark March Links Professor Kelling Theories to Police Terror

NEWARK, NJ, Feb. 28 — About 30 workers and Rutgers students rallied and marched here protesting the acquittal of the four NYPD murderers of Amadou Diallo. Two days before over 200 workers and youth marched downtown demonstrating against the Diallo verdict. PLP members sold over 120 CHALLENGES at that march.

Today’s rally began at the newly-built Rutgers University "Law and Justice Center." This is the headquarters of Professor George Kelling, hired by the Giuliani administration to help institute the NYPD’s "community policing program."

Designed to intensify the oppression and imprisonment of unemployed young black and Latin men, Kelling's program fostered the police-state atmosphere in NYC that made the execution of Diallo inevitable. Fueled by billions from Clinton's government, Kelling's ideas are being spread into many major U.S. urban areas like Newark, targeting black and Latin communities.

After several speeches at the Law Center attacking Kelling, the criminal injustice system and capitalism, we marched to the federal government's office building, several blocks away. Chants of "Racist cops, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide!"; "Amadou, could be you"; and "The cops, the courts, the Ku Klux Klan, all a part of the bosses plan" filled the air of downtown Newark.

As we marched, many people either raised their fists, joined our chants or held up their wallets along with us. (The four cops claimed Amadou's wallet "looked like a gun"). As one onlooker observed: "Wouldn’t you reach for your wallet in the belief that you were being robbed if you were an African and four white strangers approached you waving guns and yelling at you to stick your hands up?"

This comments and others reveal the mass anger at this racist, fascist verdict. We in PLP and others who came to this rally need to see the real possibilities for organizing large numbers against racist police terror, against the fascist program aimed at preventing urban rebellions by locking up black and Latin youth. This feeds an ever-growing enslaved prison labor pool, providing maximum profits for the bosses.

Resisting The Cops

From the federal building we moved to the Plaza and rallied near a giant bosses’ flag, the stars and stripes. Soon federal cops ordered us off of their "government property." Local cops told us we couldn’t use our bullhorn. We held firm and pressed the limits, refusing to stop our rally until WE were ready.

Many people saw the cops’ role in trying to suppress our anti-fascist action right under their symbol of "freedom and democracy." As the cops tried to grab our bullhorn, a speaker explained clearly that the bosses’ real flag is the dollar bill. The rulers will use force to terrorize the workers in order to protect their profits. The speaker said that just as it took armed struggle involving millions to smash chattel slavery, even more millions would be needed to smash the current system of wage slavery and put state power in the hands of the working class.

The party moved into action with more urgency. Now we need to continue the hard, day-to-day, work that can help move masses of workers and students into motion against cop terror, mass imprisonment and slave labor. This coordinated effort can result in the biggest mass May Day turn out from NJ in years, and recruitment to PLP.

Diallo Verdict Is Changing Mood in Campus

I teach in a school hundreds of miles from New York City. I’ve been discussing the Amadou Diallo case in my classes since the day of the verdict. Before the verdict was announced, I wrote Diallo’s name on the board in two of my classes and asked the students if they knew who he was. Only a few knew much about it. So I summarized the story. In both classes the students were furious.

A student said the Diallo murder was worse than the beating of Rodney King and wondered if people would rebel if the cops were acquitted.

I read to the students a few sentences from an article in the February 24th New York Times It report that Bronx borough president Ferrer had convened a meeting of clergy, and that they had walked through Bronx neighborhoods telling residents "God would want them to act" non-violently, so that they could "close the rifts between the police and residents."

This was the last straw. One student, who is from New York and had participated in a demonstration against the killing, denounced the ministers and especially singled out ex-Congressman and Minister Floyd Flake. Two other students said today was just like under slavery: the oppressors used ministers to control the people. Another student was even more blunt. He said, "Sometimes you’ve gotta throw some rocks and bottles at the cops or burn down a couple of buildings."

At the beginning of class, students had been restless. They would have preferred to be outside on this beautiful sunny Friday with 75-degree temperatures. But once the discussion started, everybody got involved; no one was in a hurry to leave.

On Monday and Tuesday, following the verdict, I discussed the case in all four of my classes. All the students were extremely angry and intensely interested, both those who were surprised by the verdict and those who weren’t. In my two upper-level courses, where previously I had had considerable discussion about racism, capitalism, fascism and communism, the discussion worked its way from the specifics of the Diallo case to the broader trends in society. We went from the Street Crimes Unit in NY to Kelling’s community policing strategy to two million people in prison to the LA cops corruption scandal to the innocent people on death row in Illinois to Prop 21 in California that will put many more young people in prison. We discussed Prop 21 as a "head start" program for prisons.

Some students came to my office to tell me that they want my help in planning a forum or rally. They have a lot of good ideas and are moving forward.

Nearly all of my 160 students are black, and this issue has moved them like no other recent issue. I think the mood is changing, and the opportunities will increase. I distribute about seven CHALLENGES each week among these students, and I hope to increase that soon. I know that circumstances are different at different colleges, but the general trend can probably be felt everywhere.

Red Prof

Brooklyn High School Roundup

Wingate

This promises to be an exciting week at Wingate H.S. The Monday after the Diallo verdict many Social Studies teachers suspended business as usual and taught lessons about the racist murder. Many of these discussions focused on how students could become activists, and what kind of activities to organize. Things heated up Tuesday when a group of teachers put up posters around the school urging everyone to wear black on Wednesday to protest the verdict. The principal demanded the posters be taken down, and guards went around the building, including classrooms, removing them. As quickly as the posters came down they went back up again. There was an exciting meeting after school of PLP students who are eager to organize a mass demonstration. Plans include circulating "Guilty" stickers throughout the school and a picket line outside.

Erasmus

Erasmus students and teachers are outraged and angry about the Diallo verdict. PLP students met after school Monday to plan a walkout protesting of the verdict. Our newest comrades committed themselves to leaflet, organize their friends to wear stickers and make speeches in the lunchroom. Several teachers discussed the verdict in their classes and agreed to support the students’ actions. Dozens of students have agreed to wear stickers and to walk out.

Boys and Girls

In some classrooms at Boys and Girls HS lessons have been suspended for discussion of the Diallo verdict. Students came to a teacher’s classroom eager to talk because the verdict has angered them so much. Students are writing a petition to circulate in school. Some teachers have changed the petition into a resolution that teachers can sign and have the union delegates and chapter leader bring to next week’s city-wide UFT Delegate Assembly. Meanwhile, we will begin distribution of "Guilty" stickers.

John Jay

The week at John Jay High School started with discussions in many classes about the Diallo verdict and what response we should organize. Monday after school over 100 students remained outside the building chanting, "It's only a wallet, not a gun" at the cops who are lined up there every day to "patrol."

New members of PLP at the school have eagerly started to organize a student walkout and protest. One PLP’er had another student approach her to ask if she would be part of the walkout. This blew her away! Word and interest had spread that quickly through the building.

"I'm glad you introduced me to communism," she excitedly told her teacher. "This is really the way to change the world."

Robeson

Students are calling for, and organizing, a forum on the Diallo verdict.

Westinghouse

The students and many teachers are angry about this verdict. The students and teachers are taking as many "Guilty" stickers as can be produced. The Phoenix council of students and teachers is meeting to talk about turning this anger into action. Staff members are supporting the student walkout.

Murrow

Organizing a walkout at Murrow has been going great. On Monday, five students met after school to plan it. We’re also trying to combine all schools having walkouts in a large student demonstration in Downtown Brooklyn. We’ve written a flyer and are distributing stickers. The response in general for walkout is very positive.

Racist Frame Ups Is Regular LAPD Work

LOS ANGELES, March 1 — The ongoing scandal at the LAPD Ramparts precinct is exposing the cops as murderers, thieves and liars. The neighborhood around Ramparts is made up of Latino immigrants. Rafael Perez, a cop-turned-informant, has revealed that he and his fascist buddies planted evidence (drugs and guns), shot victims and routinely lied to put victims behind bars for years. He reported that the Ramparts cops had the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) deport at least 160 people for being "gang members" even though the cops knew they were not. These victims were witnesses to LAPD crimes and were deported so they wouldn't testify or expose the cops' lies.

One of those being held for deportation is Alex Sanchez. He was a witness to the fact that 15-year-old Jose Rodriguez was with him at a meeting and could not have committed the murder the cops accused him of. Even more importantly, he was a community activist who organized meetings at a local church to end gang in-fighting. For this, he was constantly harassed and threatened by the Ramparts cops until they had him deported.

The unraveling of this scandal has different government agencies pointing the finger at each other for crimes they all commit every day. The Feds have come in to "clean up" the LAPD. Meanwhile, Chief Parks and DA Gil Garcetti (famous for prosecuting all "Three Strikes" cases to the limit) are accusing each other of being too slow to act.

The real agenda here is to bring the LAPD under the firm control of the Rockefeller wing of the U.S. rulers. These bosses want to "reform" the LAPD in order to fool us into thinking they’re on the anti-racist side. But Clinton, who represents the Rockefeller interests, beefed up the border patrol to deport more workers and put 100,000 more killer cops on the street.

While some of the victims will have their cases reviewed and could be released from jail after serving years for crimes they didn't commit, we shouldn't have illusions this will change the racist nature of the cops. The FBI and the Attorney General's office are investigating the cops. But the same FBI told INS agents to cooperate with the Ramparts cops as they arrested and deported witnesses to police crimes. It was the FBI whose agents infiltrated the KKK in the 60's and instigated the burning of black churches to terrorize civil rights organizers. The Federal Government is just as racist as the LAPD, and has been responsible for the deaths of infinitely more people in the rulers’ fight to defend their empire.

It's a bigger illusion to think that the LAPD will stop using racist terror against the working class just because this scandal is being exposed. They'll fire some people and set up a new review board to "supervise" the cops. Even if the bosses want to curb the more outlandish gang-style CRASH units, the fact is they need the cops to terrorize youth and workers, especially black and Latin youth. Therefore, they’ll carry out racist terror against the working class. That's their job. After the 1992 rebellion, when the cops who beat Rodney King were acquitted, the Christopher Commission was established to "reform" the LAPD. Now there are even more cases of racist terror—this time against Latino immigrants.

PLP is organizing a demonstration at the Ramparts police station to condemn these racist cops and their cynical attacks. They are a product of the capitalist system. Capitalism is racist to the core. The bosses fret that they must "clean up" the LAPD so people will have confidence in the system. We must not fall for the liberals' assurance that capitalism will reform itself. The way to deal with the Ramparts cops, the Diallo verdict, Proposition 21, expanding prisons and prison labor is to march on May Day and build the revolutionary movement for communism, workers' power.

Rising Class Unity Among Boeing Strikers

SEATTLE, WA., Feb. 28 — Striking members and friends of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) ringed the Downtown Four Seasons Olympic Hotel picketing the Boeing Board of Directors meeting. Last weekend negotiations broke down when the company insisted on medical give-backs and "merit" raises, both of which have already been rejected—twice!

The negotiations were preceded last Wednesday by a march of 2,500 to Corporate Headquarters in Tukwila, WA. These workers seem to have been mobilized solely about economic issues. Nevertheless, whenever Boeing workers do battle with Boeing bosses over "economic" issues, the political ramifications soon reveal themselves.

The key provision of the proposed contract deals with "merit" raises. For example, the company proposes to give engineers raises from a pool of money representing 8% of their salaries the first year and 4.5% each of the next two years. The increase for Techs will be less. Not only will the amount you actually get depend on the whim of your boss, but a large portion of the pool, if not the majority, is reserved for software engineers and others the company deems vital. In order to hold onto these employees who command higher salaries in today’s economy, Boeing is perfectly willing to sacrifice the rest.

Boeing’s chief competitor, Europe’s Airbus, plans to build a number of new commercial jets. Boeing’s strategy, on the other hand, is to ring the last ounce of profit out of existing programs. They plan to lay off and cut to the bone.

Boeing’s "people strategy," as the bosses refer to it, is to split a few privileged elite from the rest of the technical workforce. Most engineers and technicians will get next to nothing as the company diverts the funds from the pool to their privileged few. Much to the bosses’ surprise, the technicians and engineers have responded with a spontaneous, albeit limited, class unity.

Beware Of Liberal Politicians And AFL-CIO Misleaders Bearing Gifts.

When it became apparent that the SPEEA strike was for real, Bill Bradley and Al Gore made a beeline for the picket lines. Last Sunday, Gore kissed a few babies on the line, but refused to speak before the crowd lest he seem to encourage their class consciousness. This pathetic show didn’t deter the SPEEA Executive Director Charles Bofferding from declaring "friends" in high places, like Gore, would pressure Boeing to settle.

Tomorrow, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney was scheduled to visit the lines. He, like his pal Al Gore, wants to divert this new-found class consciousness into support for the liberal bosses who run the Democratic Party. A quick look at the Boeing Board shows it is precisely these same bosses, the main section of the old Eastern money crowd, who run Boeing. So much for friends in high places!

We in Progressive Labor Party have a different strategy—to follow class consciousness to its logical conclusion, communist revolution. The development of revolutionary workers is the great promise of this strike.

Our party has joined the lines, organizing supporters from the factory floor, the schools and other work-sites to build on this class consciousness. When striking Boeing workers and their working-class supporters march on May Day, in San Francisco on April 29, they will take a crucial step in fulfilling the promise of this strike.

Postal Workers’ Union Election Opens Doors And Trapdoors

NEW YORK CITY, Feb. 28 — PLP is participating in the upcoming New York Metro-Area Postal Union (NY-MAPU) elections. In this campaign, we will use CHALLENGE to expose workers to broader issues affecting our lives, and try to convince them of the necessity of fighting back, joining PLP, marching on May Day and building a revolutionary communist movement.

One key issue is the threat of privatization. The work at ten Priority Mail centers around the country has been contracted out to Emory Air Freight, along with the sale of postage on the Internet to a few private companies. Privatization reflects the larger pattern of anti-worker attacks by U.S. bosses. Specifically, the loss of full time industrial jobs coupled with the dramatic increase of part time and temporary jobs, and the growing use of prison labor and Workfare. A ruling class that must allocate billions for war to control Mid-East oil necessarily must cut costs of workers’ benefits at home.

At the February 23rd regular membership meeting, over 100 workers were nominated to compete for 32 full- and part-time positions as officers and trustees. A PLP member was invited to run for "Trustee" on the CANDIDATES FOR CHANGE slate (CFC).

NY-MAPU has over 10,000 members. It is the largest local of the American Postal Workers’ Union (APWU). For almost 20 years it was tightly controlled by President Josie McMillian. She was hand-picked to succeed Moe Biller after he was elected President of APWU. Her leadership was characterized by the "file-a-grievance" strategy, even though the grievance procedure is stacked for management. She was rarely opposed, even as workers became increasingly dissatisfied with the leadership.

In 1997 a group of six rank and filers and one experienced shop steward were ruled ineligible to run against the top union leadership. This insurgent CFC group won an appeal to the Department of Labor. Last Spring, McMillian was forced to hold an election. The arrogant full-time union leaders did little campaigning. The CFC campaigned vigorously on a platform of making the union serve the members, and won a surprising victory by an average of about 55% to 45% of the 3,500 ballots cast.

Immediately, the defeated leaders and the remaining part-time officers who ran unopposed in the election began disrupting the membership and Executive Board meetings to thwart the new leadership. The CFC persevered with support from some shop stewards and many newly-involved rank-and-file union members.

While McMillian dropped out of the picture after her loss, the old leadership planned to regain control of the union in the March/April 2000 election. But they could not agree on details and broke into a few different slates.

The new leadership cut the exorbitant salaries of all full-time union officers, and used union funds for the first ever NY-MAPU picnic. They also exposed the improper use of union funds, which could lead to criminal charges against the old officers.

PLP disagrees with some CFC strategies. For example, they rely heavily on the Courts to "enforce the contract." Firstly, the contract overwhelmingly favors postal management; secondly, the acquittal of the four NYC cops in the racist murder of Amadou Diallo once again reveals a legal system stacked against workers. A system run by and for profiteers cannot, by definition, favor workers, whether in contracts, courts or racist police actions. The bosses establish this apparatus to protect their own class interests.

The CFC has also injected religion into union meetings. Nonetheless, it has the support of many honest rank-and-file workers who want to fight the bosses, and has formed a full slate of nominees.

The campaign has begun in earnest with mass leafleting at the huge Morgan, JAF and Bronx GPO postal buildings. Distribution of CHALLENGE has increased, including to several members of the CFC slate. (More in future issues.)

Postal Workers Fight Police Terror!

CHICAGO, Feb. 28 — The cops who killed Amadou Diallo get away with murder. The Chicago cop who murdered Northwestern University senior Robert Russ last June, gets a 15 day suspension (postal workers are suspended for two weeks for calling in sick or being late too many times)! The bosses are letting their fascist cops know that it’s open season on black and Latin workers and youth.

At the Chicago post office, we’re organizing against these racist murders. The parents of Robert Russ are both postal workers, who worked hard all their lives to give him a chance to "make it" in this capitalist world. Two weeks before graduation, he was gunned down by "Chicago's Swinest." PLP members and friends at the post office collected money and signatures of support, which we presented to the family.

We are trying to have Robert's mother speak at our monthly union meeting. We’re collecting signatures on a resolution condemning the killer cops, so it can be raised on behalf of many workers. Most workers have long ago written off the union as the bosses' best friends. It is hard winning them to see why we want to raise this resolution. Although there is a lot of truth in that, the union is the mass organization to which workers turn, to fight the boss. Our Party must be fighting inside the union, to expose the dead-end of reformism, and, through struggle, to win through struggle, workers who are open to communist ideas.

Pinochet: Another Pawn in Imperialist Rivalry

On September 11, 1973, Augusto Pinochet overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende, ushering in an orgy of fascist terror and murder, leaving thousands dead and tortured. But Pinochet was not alone Behind him was IT&T, Kissinger and Richard Nixon, along with the biggest bosses of Chile and the heads of the Catholic Church.

Twenty-seven years later, we in Chile have not forgotten the Pinochet terror. For over a year this dictator has been under arrest in Britain but still hasn’t paid for his crimes. Millions have been spent by his defenders and prosecutors with no real movement. Why? Everyone knows he’s guilty of mass murder. Was Pinochet arrested while in London for surgery for other reasons? Are the rulers of Spain, Britain and France—his main accusers—now anti-fascist? Of course not. The European imperialists are as much butchers as the U.S.

The fact is, the European rulers are using Pinochet as a pawn in their rivalry with U.S. imperialism. Recently the Wall Street Journal reported that Europe is now challenging the U.S. as the leading investor in Latin America. The arrest of Pinochet is being used by the Europeans to portray themselves as "more concerned" about human rights than the U.S. which instigated Pinochet’s bloody coup (just as U.S. bosses pretend "concern" for "human rights" around the world to "expose" their competitors in the World Trade Organization).

If we workers, youth and the thousands of victims of Pinochet’s terror want Pinochet, Kissinger and all the murderous bosses to pay for their crimes against the working class, we need to fight for a world without any bosses, for communism. The PLP Club in Chile is contributing its efforts towards that goal.

Comrades in Santiago, Chile

PS: After sending this letter, Pinochet was released from London for "medical reasons" and is being sent back to Chile. Again, workers shouldn’t expect justice from any capitalist.the8e

Health Care Strikers Take Back Centers From Cops

SAN SALVADOR, Feb. 29 — Striking doctors and workers at ten community clinics of the ISSS (Social Security Institute) here were evicted by rifle-toting cops who crept in during the early morning hours. The cops were ordered in by the ISSS director who had sworn previously never to do that.

The ISSS bosses plan to militarize all the struck clinics and hospitals, using the army as scabs. But the strikers have upped the ante to stop more police actions. They told other workers, "If any administrators come to remove medicine from the pharmacy, or for anything else, call us."

Strikers at the Zacamil medical center re-took the center after being evicted by the cops. Yesterday workers barred hospital administrators from the building. Strikers at the MQ (Surgery Medical Hospital), largest in the ISSS system, took over the main streets of San Salvador. When the anti-riot cops appeared, the strikers blocked the streets with ambulances.

The ISSS workers and doctors have had mass support from other workers. "I’m not going to a military hospital," said an angry patient, referring to the ISSS bosses’ use of military clinics and hospitals to provide scab health care. The ISSS has also used paramedics and untrained soldiers to pose as doctors to scab.

We in PLP support these heroic strikers. But these doctors and health care workers must see the contradictions that cause their strikes. Capitalism and its health care are deadly for all workers. It says, "if you don’t have money, you don’t get care." This causes the suffering of patients and health care workers.

Many strikers are beginning to learn this through PLP’s activities. CHALLENGE is being read by many. "Every week I download CHALLENGE and read its excellent articles on the strike," said a young doctor. "Several workers discuss those articles." A hospital worker also hit by the CHALLENGE "bug" told us, "PLP is a Party with a very well-defined line against capitalism. That’s what we workers need."

We in PLP are trying to become the international Party of the working class, fighting to end the cancer of capitalism with communist revolution.

CHALLENGE readers can send solidarity e-mail to the ISSS strikers: to STISSS@saltel.net

LETTERS

U.S. Rulers, Racist Murder Inc.

I happened to catch a short video clip about the verdict in the trial for Amadou Diallo tonight. It was the first time I'd heard the news. While mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters cry real tears, one of the murderers is taped crying crocodile tears on the witness stand while the same outrageous message can be heard in the background: People of the working class are "fair game" for brutal, racist cops everywhere.

If we listen to their explanations, Amadou Diallo's murder was a "mistake" made in the "war against crime". This so-called war against crime only exists in the bosses' media. The real criminals are trained, protected and paid by the bosses to sell out their class and keep the wage slaves in line. This is systematic murder of working class youth by the bosses' goons.

Perhaps the bosses think they are "conditioning" us to accept the murders of our brothers and sisters everywhere in the world with their media hype about "rising crime in our schools and in our communities" and "violation of human rights" in "foreign nations". I hear them: Step out of line and we blow you away. Nothing gets in the way of our profits.

The U.S. bosses are afraid that we will repeat our struggles of the past when the working class here rose up in organized solidarity against racist oppression and imperialist war for profits. Even then, some fought for communism. If the bosses' want to believe they have us in check, that's ok. In reality, there is a social movement in the world that will never accept anything less than the complete freedom that only a communist society can guarantee for the international working class.

Working class brothers and sisters should hit the streets and march against racist police terror in every community across the U.S. Show the bosses that we are unified and will never be intimidated by their fascist attacks on our class no matter how long, in how many ways, or how often they attack us. If you've reached a point of zero tolerance for racist police terror, read Challenge and join a PLP study group in your community and learn what lurks behind the thin veneer of the "war against crime". Learn why racist police brutality and police states are a necessary evil of capitalism. Learn why, as a unified class, we have a solution--communist revolution. The only way to eliminate an effect is to eliminate its cause. Join us wherever you are in the world in our marches on May Day 2000 against capitalism.

Indiana Reader

Diallo Verdict Raised at Injustice Conference

As we were driving to a conference on women and the criminal "injustice" system, a friend and I heard about the acquittal of the racist murderers who killed Amadou Diallo. We arrived in the middle of a session, and did not know anyone there. But we were both mad as hell, so when the session ended 15 minutes later, I told the conference organizers about the verdict and suggested the conference speak out against it. They seemed open to the idea, but hesitant about doing anything.

But during the conference break, another woman (whom I was told was completely outraged about the verdict) stood up on a bench and announced it to everyone. Since some people did not hear her, I rose after her and repeated it. By then the place was buzzing.

The next session was about the "Prison-Industrial Complex." During the discussion period, I commented on the crisis of U.S. capitalism as the root of both the rapidly growing prison system and the trend toward war. A few minutes later, a different woman (who said she represented a community center) read a statement that she and others had drafted. It said: "We hereby express outrage at the verdict exonerating the four police officers that murdered Diallo and resolve that there should be an immediate investigation into the mishandling of that investigation. We are infuriated at the actions taken by the City of Claremont [where the conference was held] concerning the [police] murder of Irvin Landrum, Jr. We demand that justice be sought and realized concerning the misconduct of the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart 77th Division, and all other existing corruption."

A student volunteered to type it up, and the next day it was on the table for people to sign. I think they’re sending it as a letter to the newspapers.

I am planning to stay in touch with several of the activists I met at this conference. But for me the biggest "plus" was the effect on my friend. She really liked what happened, though she says she is too shy to do anything like that. She was especially pleased when I told her (truthfully) that without her I would not have had the confidence to speak up when I did, and might not have gone to the conference at all. When I asked whether my comments at the session made sense to her, she said, "You always make sense."

On the way home, we made a plan to bring materials from the conference to our union meeting. We intend to raise a resolution that the union take some real action to implement its stated position against Proposition 21, the fascist measure that would expand California’s "Three Strikes" law and allow prosecutors to try 14-year-olds as adults.

California Reader

On Being a Student and Capitalist Education

In response to "Red Bengal’s" letter to CHALLENGE (2/23):

You are struggling with the most vital questions of your life. As a student, I felt much as you do now. But that was 40 years ago. The USSR had just launched sputnik, the first satellite, which scared the U.S. bosses silly. They felt a panic to catch up, so they decided to start a mass campaign to train engineers. Suddenly they wanted myself and hundreds of thousands more (white male) students to be rocket scientists.

Even though I did poorly in school through lack of effort, I was continually given "another chance." This continued through college. I even got a scholarship my senior year. Of course, life as an engineer wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. I alternated between 60-hour weeks and unemployment for about a decade until I couldn’t take it any more. But with my degree I was able to get a job teaching, which I liked much more.

Today, things are different. The education I was able to get basically tuiition-free now costs tens of thousands of dollars. Though the bosses still need some engineers and technicians, this whole industry is now much more efficient, mainly due to the computer. They need fewer scientists, engineers and technicians (as a percentage of the workforce) than when I graduated.

I give you that personal history to make these points. First: you need math and science to think well enough to make things happen that you want. The bosses understood that—that’s why they trained me in math and science. As members of the working class, we need those skills to make a revolution. The struggle for communism is long and protracted, and science is our most powerful tool for understanding reality. We need it and we must learn it.

Second: the bosses fill our heads with a lot of crap in school, as you correctly point out. But mixed in with all that crap are elements of the tools we need. We must plow through the garbage to find what we need. This takes incredible stamina and determination, especially now that the bosses see less and less reason to teach most of us the skills to learn how to think. Those skills are reading, math and science.

I don’t remember most of the math and science I studied. But I can analyze information. I can separate disciplined analysis from bullshit. And I can communicate effectively. It was these skills which left me open to a communist analysis of the world. I am living proof of the reason why the capitalist class doesn’t want to educate workers beyond the point they need to, in order to exploit our labor.

Yes, it’s hard and it’s frustrating. But out of this struggle we’ll grow strong. Nothing worth doing has ever been easy. Don’t fall for the bosses’ line and take "the easy way out." You’ll only be hurting your self and your class, the working class.

A Communist Student, Parent, Teacher

Youth Experience at Diallo Trial in Albany

Today three PLP members (two teachers and a student) came here to protest (before the verdict) at the trial of the four cops who murdered Amadou Diallo. We joined two busloads of mostly workers who were organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights, a liberal legal reform group, and others.

We'd hoped to go with at least nine other students from our recent communist camping trip. But when only the three of us could (or would) go, we debated whether it was "worth it." But since we had told all of our students, friends and many co-workers we were going, we felt we had to go. We brought about 50-60 Challenges with us.

On the bus, in talking to several people sitting around us. We found why some had come. One worker said because she'd been "out there" during the civil rights movement, and felt this protest was continuing the fights that had begun back then. Others were there because they were fighting for their kids—young black men like Diallo. One woman argued that we, as teachers, should strike for our students.

In our experience, liberal groups and unions often try to stop us from distributing CHALLENGE, but that never happened on this bus. We met great people, and the limits were only ours.

Once here, we joined a rally across the street from the courthouse. In front of a platform with a mike there were around 175 protesters, some holding signs and some distributing leaflets.

We sold many CHALLENGES and spoke to many angry people. Most of the speakers were reverends or priests; their speeches tended to be religious and passive. However, some speakers were angry workers, ready to fight, with fairly class-conscious ideas.

A comrade who had signed up to speak said it’s not just a few bad cops, it's the whole system. He presented the big picture and tied everything into the need for communist revolution.

We continued to sell CHALLENGES, and on the return bus made several contacts. We had distributed about fifty papers, and made many friends. Most important, we won the struggle with ourselves not to stay home because there were only three of us, and to lead with a revolutionary communist line.

Because of our doubts, we had left our bullhorn and signs at home, all of which would have been useful. But overall it was a great day. We regretted leaving our new friends with whom we'd argued and laughed, but that, too, was a lesson—to always have confidence in our class.

A Brooklyn High School Student

PRD Is No Allied of Students in Mexico

Recently the people of Tepatepec Hidalgo, Mexico were brutalized by cops sent by the state of Hidalgo (one of the poorest in Mexico) to the town of Mexe to oust students guarding the Rural Normal (a school over 100 years old). The students were trying to prevent the government from closing the school. The police attack on the students and the general population unleashed a furious worker/student counter-attack that drove out the police, re-took the school and paraded 65 of the cops (many in just their underwear) in the town square, tied together by rope. (See CHALLENGE, March 1.) What happened here inspired us and showed the need to organize and do everything possible to support the struggle of the masses.

This provided one more example of the need to build a new society. Capitalism gives us no alternative but to win workers and youth to take up arms and fight for communist revolution.

The PRD (the liberal opposition party) is acting sympathetically to the students of the Rural Normal school and population of Mexe, supposedly "bravely" supporting them, but really only to solicit votes for the 2000 presidential election. We know very well that the PRD is in no way interested in the students’ well-being. On the one hand they helped the government seize City University (UNAM) and jail many of the UNAM student strikers. On the other hand they act as if they support what happened in Mexe.

This, dear comrades and friends, shows us that any party that fights for capitalist democracy, that participates in the capitalists' electoral contests, that represses and supports repression of the working class, is an opportunist party. It is not fighting for the workers’ class interests.

We should organize international support for these jailed students and for the many who participated in the struggles in UNAM and Mexe whose whereabouts are unknown. Now more than ever, we need to organize and explain the role of education under capitalism, sell CHALLENGES and distribute leaflets. Our best weapon is the understanding of, and reliance on, the working class. We must work now to prepare the road to communist revolution.

To be a revolutionary is to be a radical and to be radical is to get to the roots of the problem.

Mexican Student

Faculty Should Strike Because Getting into Trouble is Good!

As I walked across campus carrying my picket sign on February 22, I was told, "Don’t get into trouble!" Those words were spoken with real working-class solidarity and concern. For this was the first time in at least 12 years that picketing had been called at this southwestern college. The faculty had authorized a week-long informational picket line to publicize their two-year struggle to win a new contract. The pickets had started the day after a rousing rally, which brought together faculty, students, staff and local unions fighting similar struggles. The primary issues in the contract fight were a retroactive wage increase, paid office hours for part-time instructors, and increased funding for classroom instruction.

I, too, wondered if I would "get into trouble." One of the first things we learn in capitalist society is that it is bad to get into trouble, whether with our parents, our teachers, the principal, our supervisor, or with anyone who has the authority to punish us. And who could punish us more than our boss, who has the authority to fire us and make it difficult for us to find another job? Our parents may want to protect us, our teachers may want to make sure we graduate, but the boss has none of theses concerns; s/he is driven by economic and political interests, not by love. So yes, "getting into trouble" is particularly dangerous on the job.

My walk across campus carrying a picket sign could have been seen as a job action, expressly forbidden in our staff contract, and might have led to disciplinary action. What it did do was enable me to talk to several students about the faculty’s contract demands, and about the importance of confronting the administration with anger and determination. It also allowed me to think about the need to increase our struggle against the ruling class. Not to struggle, not to "get into trouble" allows the ruling class to accelerate its devastating oppression of the working class. Communist theory and practice has taught us that to not push in every way we can for the victory of the working class is to allow capitalism to increase its grip on our lives and in fact to kill us! In order to build a movement capable of overthrowing capitalism, we must fight against police terrorism, Klan demonstrations, and hate crimes. We must carry picket signs across campus and put them in prominent display in our offices, regardless of "no-strike" clauses. We in the Progressive Labor Party have a responsibility to "get into trouble" and to help our working class brothers and sisters to do the same.

Red Professor