VOL. 36, NO. 22, MARCH 22, 2000

  4. Explanation of Profit System Wins the Day:
    Philly Hospital Workers Defy `Leaders,' Demand Strike!
    1. Surplus Value Explanation Strikes A Chord
    1. Honoring Picket Lines Is Top Priority In Contract Negotiations
    2. Revolutionary Outlook Requires Class Consciousness
  11. NY Metro Area Postal Union Election
    Shows Workers Open to PLP
    5. Iranian Workers Reject Fascist Election Circus


The beauty contest passing itself off as a presidential campaign proves once again that workers have everything to lose by supporting capitalist politicians. In 1996, the bosses were divided, and the fight over control of the Republican Party reflected this split. Now, the dominant, Rockefeller wing firmly controls both parties.

Whether the rulers are divided amongst themselves or more or less together, we must not line up behind any of them. Our job remains the same, regardless of the clique the profit system puts in the White House. We must build our own forces and fight for communist revolution, no matter how long it takes. At the moment, this means organizing successful, mass May Day 2000 marches, sharpening the class struggle on as many fronts as possible, and winning fresh recruits into the Progressive Labor Party.

The bosses' media all recognize that no fundamental distinction separates Bush from Gore. One leading pundit, the New York Times's Frank Rich, says that they're about as " J. Crew and Banana Republic" (March 11). He refers to both parties as bastions of "Rockefeller Republicanism" and takes a few shots at the non-issues raised in the primary campaigns. It's easy to laugh at Bush, who governs the country's most polluted state, when he tries to parade as an environmentalist. Or at Gore, who has pocketed all kinds of funny money, when he starts posing as a champion of campaign finance reform.

But for our class, these insults to our intelligence cover the bosses' real plans, and this reality is no laughing matter. Let's look at two key questions: the rulers' long-range preparations for war and the rise of fascist terror at home.

Neither Gore nor Bush is going to change U.S. foreign policy much. The Rockefeller interests are determined to keep U.S. imperialism on top. They need to continue dictating the flow and pricing of Middle Eastern oil. Every one of their rivals needs to break free of this yoke. The fight to control the cheapest energy sources, which lie in Iraq, can only sharpen. For several years, CHALLENGE has predicted another Persian Gulf oil war. We're sticking to that estimate. President Gore or Bush may well be the one to start it. Workers have absolutely no interest in killing and dying for Exxon Mobil.

But the Rockefellers' long-range interests go beyond the question of oil. Staying on top in a world driven by the violent scramble for maximum profit also means preventing the rise of a rival "super-power." The collapse of the old communist movement and the temporary break-up of the Soviet empire cut U.S. rulers some slack, but only temporarily. Their primary strategy is still geared against the re-emergence of Russia and the rise of Chinese imperialism. Trends in the U.S. military budget make this goal crystal-clear.

Right now, U.S. military expenses are greater than China's, Russia's, Great Britain's, and Germany's COMBINED. The 1997 budget represented 85 percent of the average military budgets at the height of the Cold War. "The supposedly `centrist' Clinton administration is therefore looking to stabilize military expenses at a full-fledged Cold War level into the first years of the 21st century" (Gilbert Achcar, The New Cold War, translation ours, ed.).

U.S. imperialism will probably invade the Middle Easter oil fields again. But this amount of firepower far outstrips the muscle necessary to take on the two-bit military machines of countries like Iraq or even North Korea. The ultimate targets of this buildup remain Russia and China. U.S. imperialism is orienting its entire foreign policy toward the eventuality of a third world war. We aren't crying: "Wolf!" here. This process may take years to unfold. But its general direction is clear, and both Bush and Gore will keep it going.

However, plans for world war require more than military hardware. The political mobilization of the home front is also key. As CHALLENGE has often written, the liberals, who parade as friends of the working class, tell more dangerous, less obvious lies than the more openly right wing Republicans. Gore's support from Sweeney and other labor union bosses is more deceptive than Bush's ridiculous "compassionate conservatism." However, once again, facts are stubborn things.

We still live in an economic boom. For the time being, many workers don't yet have it so bad. But look at the 40+ million who have no health insurance. Look at the millions thrown off welfare and forced into slave labor conditions on "Workfare." Look at the rise in police terror, since the liberal Clinton, with Gore as his vice-president, put 100,000 more racist killer cops on the streets. Look at the growth of the "prison-industrial complex," which combines police state social control tactics with windfall billion-dollar profits made off prison labor." Look at the drastic rise in racist oppression due to all of the above. Black people make up only 12 percent of the United States population, but nearly half of all inmates are black.

As Governor of Texas, Bush is a champion of capital punishment. Gore is a clone of cop-lover Clinton. As president, either one will help sharpen the trend toward all types of racist terror against our class, as well as the long-range drift toward world war.

This isn't a matter of personality or choice. The profit system makes war and fascism inevitable. As the process developing both intensifies, our Party will have a lot to say about the direction in which the working class decides to head. The bosses can't choose whether or not they want to fight each other or conduct reigns of terror against us. But we can choose communist revolution as the only way out of the capitalist nightmare. The last few weeks have seen a healthy upsurge in militant Party activity around racist police terror. We have seen thousands of workers respond positively to our direct leadership and our press. Continuing to sharpen the struggle, organizing large May Day actions, and recruiting to the PLP are the best answers to the murdering lies of Gore-Bush and their billionaire puppet-masters.


BROOKLYN, NY -- On March 8, a couple of hundred students walked out of Clara Barton, Brooklyn Tech and Prospect Heights high schools, protesting the not guilty verdict in the Diallo case.

The youth were inspired by the March 3 walkouts and protest by 1,000 students from other high schools all across the city. PLP youth played a leading role in those walkouts and participated on March 8. Hundreds of CHALLENGES were sold at both protests.

At both walkouts, youth first marched and protested in downtown Brooklyn, then streamed across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall. On March 8 an undercover cop used a bullhorn to try to persuade students to end their protest. Militant youth took the bullhorn away from her.

The March 3 protests received lots of publicity in the bosses' press, the NY Times tried to depict it as a civil libertarian action led by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). But only CHALLENGE covered the March 8.

To many youth activists this was an eye-opening experience. They saw first-hand how the bosses' press operates. They try their best to censure or distort any actions led by forces not in their hip pockets, especially where communists in the PLP are involved.

That's why CHALLENGE is a key weapon for workers and youth fighting the ruling racist bosses. CHALLENGE, the communist newspaper, reports events from the working-class point of view. Reading, studying and distributing CHALLENGE is the best antidote to the lies of the NY Times and all the bosses' media.


NEW YORK, March 15 -- On Monday, March 6, students at the alternative high school I teach in returned to school disappointed. Hundreds of their peers marched Friday, March 3 against the Diallo verdict. At our school we only talked about police brutality.

I meet with about 15 students for an hour each day in an Advisory. On Monday, I placed a leaflet on the board and two articles about the Friday demonstrations. "What is to be done here," I asked. "What can we do?" was the reply. Many agreed that the problems of racism and police brutality are not easily mended. We discussed the role of police in a class society and the need to fight to change the kind of society we live in. "But what can we do?" they continued.

The idea came from some corner of the room that we should all wear black armbands on Wednesday. The next day, with a contribution of black cloth from my wife, eight students made 200 armbands in about 10 minutes. "Not enough!" students said. The next morning six students arrived early and finished the next 200. Hesitant at first, these students passed out the armbands to friends who also passed out armbands. By second period, with the exception of late students who made their way to my classroom to get more, nearly every student and staff member had them on.

Everyone was very excited. More importantly, during Wednesday's Advisory we discussed how people can change things, themselves and others by organizing--a lesson we all need to remind each other about throughout the rest of the term and our lives.

East Harlem Red

Explanation of Profit System Wins the Day:
Philly Hospital Workers Defy `Leaders,' Demand Strike!

PHILADELPHIA, PA, March 11 -- Today the Philadelphia local of the National Hospital Workers Union (1199C) held a "leadership summit" on the impact of rising healthcare costs on the June 2000 contract negotiations. Fortunately the leadership emerging from this summit was not totally what the union leadership wanted.

The 1199C leaders called the meeting of over 100 union delegates because the current capitalist crisis has squeezed Philadelphia's major hospitals, leaving the union's citywide health plan $10 million short. Hundreds have been laid off. Only one hospital has declared a profit. The bosses want 1199C members to pay into the health plan for the first time. The 1199C leaders claim Jefferson bosses won't even start negotiations until we agree to pay $10 weekly toward the health plan.

The 1199C leaders' plan was to bombard us with numbers that clearly showed we had no choice but to surrender $10 million worth of health benefits. The delegates would then tell the union leaders what benefits to cut. Then the delegates could be used as a buffer to protect the union leaders because it would look like the delegates were responsible for the cuts, not the leaders.

Obviously $10 million can only be saved by significantly cutting the benefits of the mainly black union members who have greater health problems due to the racism of capitalism. One of the union delegates later agreed that the 1199C leaders wanted us to play the same role as the "Judenrat" in Nazi Germany. Just as these "Jewish Rats" sold out their brothers and sisters by aiding the Nazis, so the 1199C leaders want the union delegates to serve the bosses by helping to cut the health benefits of the workers we're supposed to represent.

Surplus Value Explanation Strikes A Chord

Just before the delegate body broke up into smaller groups, a Jefferson hospital delegate took the floor and pointed out that actually the hospital bosses were NOT paying for our health benefits. Those benefits and our wages came from the value that all the hospital workers produced. Those benefits and wages are only part of the total value that we produce because the bosses steal the rest as profit. If we start paying toward our health benefits or agree to any cuts, the bosses are actually increasing the amount they steal from the value we produce. The delegate said these cuts would have a terrible racist impact on our membership and must be met with serious organizing for a strike.

A wave of agreement swept through the delegates on the floor. Union President Nicholas shot the Executive Vice-president an angry look and then launched into a 45-minute tirade. He said workers weren't ready to fight, almost all the hospitals are "losing" money, so we have no choice but to agree to give-backs. He then dismissed us into smaller groups to figure out what benefits we should give up.

But at the table where the Jefferson delegates sat, the talk was not of give-backs but rather of the need to organize a strike. The 1199C Organizer assigned to our table did her best to steer the conversation toward cutting benefits. Yet the majority of the Jefferson delegates always returned the discussion to the need to strike against givebacks.

Each table had posterboard on which to write our suggestions to show the rest of the delegates. The Organizer at our table finally gave in and wrote in large letters on our posterboard: "STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!" When each table showed the rest of the delegates their ideas, our call for a strike received loud applause and cheers.

But just as interesting was that over half the other tables of union delegates also called for a strike against the givebacks. The tables that actually proposed particular cutbacks were roundly booed. It got so fierce that delegates who had followed the President's call to find cuts became very defensive and would apologize or beg for us to give them a chance to finish before they were booed.

After each table finished their presentation, President Nicholas lamented that the union leaders actually had not received the kinds of suggestions they wanted from the union delegates. He finished by challenging us to take up the task of organizing the workers to strike, adding that this challenge might make one of the Jefferson delegates "stop wishing for the revolution." What he fears is that struggles like today, to intensify the class struggle, can become a school for communism, building PLP and changing the "wish for revolution" to reality.


SEATTLE, WA, March 9 -- At tonight's union meeting International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 751C passed a resolution, seconded by 25 Boeing workers, calling for a "Day of Solidarity" with striking Boeing Engineers and Technical workers. "I want to thank you for raising that resolution," said one shop steward from another building to the member who introduced it. "Call on me and we'll join your building on the picket lines."

This comment reflects the widespread distrust of the IAM leadership. They have organized next to nothing in support of the SPEEA (Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace) strike. Nevertheless, hundreds of Machinists have joined the picket lines and organized material support on their own. In fact, our Party and friends organized 35 workers on each shift in just one building to join the lines at lunch-time in answer to SPEEA's invitation the same day. These same workers wrote, introduced and seconded the "Day of Solidarity" resolution.

No sooner was the resolution passed then the leadership tried to "clarify" it. They began pushing to hold the "Day of Solidarity" on a weekend in order not to violate Article 18--the no-strike clause in our contract. Rules are rules, they say. As usual, as soon as the Local president mentioned Article 18, members shouted, "Get rid of it!"

The resolution will now be kicked upstairs to the District Council to be voted on March 14. Rank and filers are organizing to make sure our "Day of Solidarity" is held during the workweek. Our aim is to "get hundreds, if not more, of our members to the picket lines," as stated in the passed resolution.

Honoring Picket Lines Is Top Priority In Contract Negotiations

Negotiations began Tuesday between Boeing and Teamster Local 174, which represents hundreds of truck, bus and taxi drivers at the company. The contract expires March 31. Under organized pressure from the rank and file and shop stewards, the union president vowed a "top-priority bargaining item" would be the removal of a clause forbidding Teamsters from honoring the picket lines.

"Good luck," said an IAM spokesman, who asked the local papers not to identify him. He said he'd be surprised if the company would agree to such a change. So we must organize to force that agreement.

The union leadership has been hiding behind the "no-strike" clause for too long. Honoring picket lines is a key test of working-class solidarity. That's become all the more important now that the mergers have multiplied many fold the number of contracts and unions at Boeing. Are we going to allow the company to pick us off one at a time?

Revolutionary Outlook Requires Class Consciousness

Changing the history whereby each union "goes alone" at Boeing will not be easy. We will have to start thinking as a class. Our Party has proved indispensable in this effort.

The Party and our friends can do more around the country. Expressions of solidarity from other unions and professional organizations will help highlight the class nature of the demands of the day. When we fight racism, fascist police terror and imperialist wars, we always emphasize it is the working class--conscious of itself and its historic mission--that will put an end to these capitalist evils with communist revolution. This strike gives us another avenue to fight for that revolutionary class perspective.


So this is their democracy where "majority rules"! Take a poll of Boeing Machinists. They'd vote in the thousands to walk the lines in solidarity with the engineers. It's in their class interests to support the strike. But the law says they can't!

The law rides roughshod over the wishes of the vast majority and defends the class interests of industrialists and bankers who sit on Boeing's Board of Directors. The majority doesn't rule; the majority is ruled! That's why communists call capitalism a class dictatorship.

And that's why thousands of Boeing Machinists feel frustrated. Seven thousand non-union engineers have joined the strike, but tens of thousands of union machinists have been held back.

Don't talk about democracy! The law is even-handed all right; it even hands the bosses everything they want! But when it comes to "hands," workers have thousands and thousands of them. And on any day they're quite capable of "taking the law into their own hands!"


QUEENS, NY, March 12 -- Approximately 30 students participated in a rally protesting the murder of Amadou Diallo and the not-guilty verdict of four NYPD killers. It was a great turnout and many students passing by joined in. Others stood at a distance but listened to what we had to say.

It all started a few weeks ago right before the verdict. Although people were angry at the blatantly racist murder, they were not angry enough to begin organizing a rally the day of the murder. Many students had confidence in the courts and believed they would provide "justice" for Amadou and his family. Many good discussions took place about the nature of this racist system and its need for the cops to terrorize black and Latino youth.

After the verdict was announced, the Party once again tried to organize a rally and this time students were ready. With another Queens College student, we began the process: we wrote leaflets, talked to other campus student organizations and had heated discussions with other students about the importance of fighting back against attacks on the working class.

After looking back we realize we made one big mistake--going through the administration. Since other students thought it would be best to do things the "right way," we asked permission for our rally. The administration really jerked us around. Different administrators told us to do different things, and very conveniently "forgot" conversations they had with us about the rally.

Because we waited for their go-ahead, we did not distribute our leaflets until the last moment, two days before the rally. We, and many other students, learned a good lesson. They saw the way the administration protects its system.

Despite these few setbacks it was a good rally. Students angrily attacked this racist murder. After having read PLP's new pamphlet, one student tied it to the growing prison labor. CHALLENGES, leaflets and more prison labor pamphlets were distributed. But, most important, we were able to get to know many more students and struggle sharply over the inherent necessity for racism under capitalism and its only solution, communism! This won't be the last fight at Queens College. Many students are now excited about organizing another rally.


NEWARK, NJ March 8 -- About 150 students at Rutgers-Newark University (RNU) rallied in opposition to the racist murder of Amadou Diallo and the acquittal of the killer cops. Students were serious, listening attentively to the speakers. The latter expressed outrage at the murder and the verdict and held serious doubts about, and criticisms of, the criminal injustice system.

PLP comrades played a key role in organizing the rally. Some groups probably would not have taken participated in such a mass event if PLP members had not raised it in mass organizations.

Once the ball got rolling, many students actively helped make the event happen. Initially, two organizations dropped out because they refused to take a position on the verdict. They only wanted an "open-ended" discussion. One student organizer responded, "If they won't be against this verdict we don't need them. Cross their name off the list!" By the week of the rally at least four other student clubs stood up to take their place.

The rally was sponsored by a multi-racial group of students and clubs. However, most of the clubs and rally participants were black. During the rally, a petition against the verdict and police brutality was circulated. In addition, about 30 students signed a contact sheet indicating their interests in helping to organize further mass demonstrations around this issue. One Party member, along with a close friend, distributed about 20 CHALLENGES toward the end of the rally.

One Party speaker described the general trend toward fascism shown by the rise of police murders of working-class youth. While presenting a general class analysis of racism and the police, the Party speaker also encouraged further class struggle by calling for more organizing. At the end the comrade strongly everyone to oppose all capitalist exploitation by marching on May Day in Washington D.C., May 6.

A RNU professor spoke more specifically about the fascist professor George Kelling. Students were shown the implications of having their university participate in the development of fascist ideology and policy designed to oppress and further exploit the working class. The method of police terror called "community policing" is largely the brainchild of this ivory tower fascist, Kelling. This professor held up Kelling's book Fixing Broken Windows and urged everyone to read and expose it, particularly where Kelling refers to black youths as "predators."

The racist murder of Amadou Diallo must be taken up by the Party to expose the true fascist nature of the capitalist system. We can turn it against the bosses. With the acquittal of the four murdering cops the bosses have thrown down the gauntlet and are daring the working class to strike back. Let's give them the shock of their new millennium and organize our class to take up their challenge with the red gauntlet of communism.


LOS ANGELES, CA.--The Rampart police division has again exposed the corrupt, racist and murderous U.S. justice system, as well as the role played by the capitalist politicians, in this case the Latino elected officials here.

"I don't want to attack the agents who protect my wife and my children, just because there are a few rotten apples in the LAPD," said U.S. Congressman Javier Becerra. "No one asked me anything until now," said Antonio Villaraigosa, State Assemblyman and Speaker of the California House. Other Latino politicians remaining silent are: Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, Assemblywoman Gloria Romero, U.S. Senator Richard Polanco, and Board of Supervisors member Gloria Molina.

Even though most of these "leaders" are liberals, and call for FBI and Federal investigation of the LAPD, they live in LA where the LAPD has powerful friends who retaliate against any and all criticism. These politicians have no principles. They side with whoever pays them. The power struggle over policing strategy and how to hoodwink the masses is coming out into the open. At a City Hall press conference, Mayor Riorden presented the LAPD's report on "cleaning up its own house." He supported it. Councilwomen Rita Walters and Jackie Goldberg tried to attend the press conference to attack the report and call for civilian over-site of the LAPD, but Riorden ordered City Hall security guards to keep them locked in their offices.

Walters and Goldberg are reading from the script of the Rockefeller Eastern establishment which wants civilian review of the LAPD. They want politicians who denounce the supposedly few "rotten apples" and call for police reform. The LA ruling class has traditionally demanded that black and Latino politicians support the cops, but this adds to a huge cynicism and mistrust of all politicians. It was the absence of such a buffer of "trusted" polliticians which allowed the 1992 rebellion to erupt here after the acquittal of the cops who beat Rodney King.

One reason these up-and-coming capitalist politicians haven't spoken out is that the community which the Rampart police terrorize isn't powerful and doesn't vote. Many are not citizens and many see no point in voting. These same politicians view the terrorist LA Police Association as a force capable of deciding the next LA mayorality. "When the theme is police brutality, the reaction of the City Hall is to hide," said LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

Rather than defending the workers, these Latino politicians are opportunist defenders of capitalism. They do the bosses' bidding. Who needs leaders like this?

The LAPD history has always been filled with racism, terror, murder, fomenting gang violence and corruption, directed mainly against black and Latin workers and youth. What's new is the publicity the bosses' media has given these cases. The biggest bosses, controlled by Rockefeller, are using these events to try to discipline and control the LA cops. They worry about controlling the workers and winning them to have confidence in a system that attacks workers every day. Their problem is how to terrorize workers but simultaneously win them to be loyal to their system and plans for war. The racism and corruption of the LAPD inspire the opposite. That's why they need politicians who call for getting rid of a "few bad apples." But it's not a few bad apples. The whole system is rotten.

Both the police and these politicians are enemies of the workers. PLP is supporting a mass demonstration against the Rampart police called by community organizations on Saturday, April 1st at noon. It's very important to show unity against these fascists.

The best way to answer the Rampart police scandal is organizing in the factories, schools, churches and neighborhoods to expose the role of the bosses, their cops and politicians. CHALLENGE newspaper is crucial. That's how thousands of youth and workers will see that the best way to "clean up" the police is by destroying the profit system--based on exploitation and terror--with communist revolution. The key answer to the Rampart scandal is to March on May Day and join the long-term fight to end the rule of the racist bosses.

Becerra and Villaraigosa remained silent on Proposition 21, which targets youth, especially Latino and black youth, for prison. On the other hand, Henry Cisneros, Director of Univision and Clinton's ex-Secretary of Housing, used his TV station to rabidly back Prop 21. Cisneros attacks youth as gang bangers, but fails to say that the cops foment gang violence and attack those who work for gang truces. These politicians help the bosses build fascism.


(Most of this letter is reprinted from Michael Moore's [`Roger and Me,' and `The Big One'] Web page)

Isn't it enough that tens of thousands of lives in Flint have been wrecked, destroyed by the greed of General Motors? Isn't it enough that tens of thousands of others had to leave Flint in the past 20 years to find work far from family and friends? Isn't it enough that Flint suffers the highest or near-highest per capita rates of murder, rape and theft in the nation?

What else must the people of Flint go through while the evening news proclaims, "This is the best economy ever!" Yesterday, a 6-year old boy brought a semi-automatic gun to Buell Elementary school and killed 6-year old Kayla Rolland in their first grade classroom. Six years old!

That's about the only thing the national media got right about the story. Twenty satellite trucks ring the school, but all that technology cannot find the truth. The local officials hide from the responsibility they share in Flint's destruction.

You have probably heard that this school shooting took place in "Mount Morris Township," a "suburb somewhere near Flint." There is no such place. Buell Elementary is in the Flint Beecher school district, the poorest in Genesee County, and perhaps the poorest in Michigan. According to the federal government, 82% of its children live below the "official" poverty level (meaning the number of kids in total poverty is even higher).

The family of the little boy who killed the girl had been evicted from their home just last week. Homeless and fatherless (his dad is in jail as 30% of all black men in the U.S. will be at some point in their lives), the boy was staying at his uncle's. In the house were guns, as there are in every home in this devastated and desperate area. The media shows the school sitting in the middle of a bombed-out neighborhood and says, "This is the youngest child to kill another child in a school shooting."

Beecher is 60% black, 40% white. No municipality in Genesee County wants to govern it, so it exists as a No Man's Land on Flint's northern city limits. It covers a small portion of two different townships. But when you hear the word "township" used in the case of Beecher, they mean it in the way the word was used in South Africa. Buell Elementary has a Flint address and a Flint phone number, but the black city officials in bed with General Motors claim, "This school really isn't in Flint!"

Let's do something about the poverty in which so many kids still dwell. What are we waiting for? This tragedy took place in a township that no town will claim and was followed by a gun nut near Pittsburgh entering a McDonald's or Burger King on the same day. Fried or flame-broiled, it's our unique American Hell.

A Reader


CHICAGO, IL, March 13 -- "We did all the right things. We worked hard. We moved to a good neighborhood in the suburbs. We put Bobby in a good school. We got him into one of the best colleges [Northwestern], so that he could live a good life. But all of that didn't matter. Two weeks before he was to graduate, the police bumped him off the road, got him out of his car, put him on his knees, and killed him. Why? Because he was a young black man." These were the opening comments of Vera Love, a retired postal worker and the mother of Robert Russ, who was murdered by the police last June.

There was silence as she spoke but enthusiastic applause when she finished her talk to the monthly meeting of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Chicago Local. A fellow postal worker had invited her, to bring the fight against racist police terror to the union.

The Local vice-president chairing the meeting said, "We have to take this issue of police brutality seriously. I was picking up someone at the union hall a few weeks ago, waiting out front. A squad car pulled up and two cops jumped out with guns drawn, demanding to know what was I doing there. All I could think was that they could kill me right here."

The worker who invited Ms. Love spoke from the floor saying, "The bosses need cops like these because they have no future for young black and Latin workers. There are two Americas being built by the bosses. One consists of millionaires and billionaires getting rich off the stock market. The other consists of two million mainly minority workers locked up in prison. We need to take a stand. I move that our local union endorse the April 4 march against police brutality and the massive growth of the prison population, and that we organize workers to march behind our union banner." The motion was seconded several times and passed unanimously.

The growing hatred of the cops, fueled by the racist acquittal of the four NYC cops that killed Amadou Diallo, is a good opportunity to build the Party at work and in the union. The hard work begins now. Many postal workers know about PLP and have read CHALLENGE. We are building a committee to win workers to participate in the April 4 march, called by Jesse Jackson and PUSH.

We are deepening our involvement in the union, while at the same time showing how it is led by the bosses' ideology. This is true of every mass organization. Workers are fighting against unsafe conditions on the job. When management moved most of the manual flat cases to make room for the latest automated sorting machines, they put the cases directly under the overhead belts, which move the tubs and trays of mail around the building. There is a constant danger of being hit on the head by falling grease, debris and whole trays of mail.

After weeks of complaining, several workers wrote up a petition demanding that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) force the U.S. Postal Service to correct this situation. The petition explains how the bosses' need for increased profits through automation drives all of their decisions. They have no concern for our safety. They use prison labor to repair all postal mail sacks, and want to replace as many career employees as possible with low-paid, temporary workers. Two workers got almost 40 signatures in their area, and we will bring them, "Priority Mail," to OSHA.

To build the revolutionary movement, we must fight for the political leadership of millions of workers who are being mis-led by organizations like the APWU and PUSH. By winning workers to participate in the PUSH march under our leadership, we can change the political climate at work, in the union, and set the stage for our best May Day yet.

NY Metro Area Postal Union Election
Shows Workers Open to PLP

NEW YORK CITY, March 13 -- Supervisors often unjustly discipline postal workers. The experience of so many delayed and/or lost grievances proves that the grievance procedure gives little hope for justice. Referring to some problem or supervisor's direct order, postal workers often ask, "Can they really make me do that?" Frequently the answer is, "Yes, because the contract says..."

The contract and the Employee and Labor Relations Manual were not designed to be fair. They were written to control, and get the greatest productivity out of, postal workers. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has not received any government funding for decades. In fact, they neeted between hundreds of millions and over a billion dollars in profits in each of the past five years!

Isn't the same true of the so-called "justice system?" We need look no further than the acquittal of the four racist NYC cops who murdered Amadou Diallo. If a defendant is wealthy, or is a cop, they get away with murder. If a person is poor, especially black or Latin, forget it!

There are some capitalists (UPS, FedEx, etc.) who want to grab some of those profits for themselves. The threat to privatize the USPS is not idle talk. There are others who want to keep the booty out of their competitors' hands, and have so far successfully had their hand-picked politicians vote against privatization in Congress. The fact is, public or private, no workers will benefit from these bosses.

The only long-term solution is for workers to seize power from the bosses with communist revolution, and take control of all of society. We must establish workers' power through the dictatorship of the working class, led by a PLP of millions. By acting in our own best interest, including eliminating profits and money, postal workers and all workers can achieve a meaningful level of security.

There are several slates of candidates running in the NY Metro Area Postal Union election. The "Candidates For Change" (CFC) slogan is, "Members First." They have made union meetings more accessible to differing points of view, cut the salaries of full-time union officers, and refused to allow two increases in union dues as mandated by the national union (APWU). These new union leaders invited others to join their slate, including some experienced shop stewards (among them a PLP member).

The other slates are led by one or another former union leader who claim they are "experienced" at filing grievances. For years they helped run the union with unquestioned loyalty to Josie McMillian, the long-time President who was defeated last April. They want to regain control of the union.

While focusing on the corruption of the old leaders, the CFC slate has sounded the alarm about the threat of privatization. However, explaining the threat of capitalism, and the need to destroy it, is the responsibility of PLP. The hand-to-hand distribution of CHALLENGE has more than doubled over the past three issues, from an average of 25-30 copies during the past couple of years. Several of the 32 members of the CFC slate have begun to read and discuss CHALLENGE for the first time.


The anti-Semitism for which the Pope is asking "repentance" began simultaneously with the birth of Christianity, when Jews were accused of "murdering Christ." The first known Church pogrom exploded in the year 388, when a bishop led hundreds of Christians in the main city of Byzantine, Mesopotamia to burn synagogues and kill Jews. Word of this pogrom spread and synagogues were burned in Italy and North Africa, and many more Jews were murdered. The Church then criticized Roman Emperor Theodosious for trying to keep the peace in the empire by rebuilding the synagogues. The Church won and by 438 a Roman imperial law branded Jews as an "evil sect."

From then on anti-Semitism reigned supreme. In the years 556 and 600 there were rebellions by Jews in Caesarea and Antioch, followed by mass reprisals. When the Persians invaded Jerusalem, Jews welcomed Islam, which was much more tolerant of Jews. In Arab-dominated Southern Spain, Jews were welcome. In the year 1096 the first Crusade was organized, supposedly to "liberate" Jerusalem. On the way to Jerusalem, the crusaders murdered and pillaged in the name of the Cross. The massacres that followed reached a level never seen before, mainly in France and Germany where one-fourth to one-third of all Jews were slaughtered in less than six months, many burned inside synagogues.

Four centuries later, the Spanish Catholic kings kicked out the Arabs and the Church launched the Inquisition, which murdered thousands of Jews and Arabs. The Inquisition spread to the "New World", as Columbus and the Conquerors murdered millions of indigenous people and African slaves with the Church's blessing. Britain, Portugal, France, and later the U.S. took part in this mass murder, probably the biggest holocaust ever.

When scientific advances made many of the old feudal anti-Semitic beliefs outdated (for example, bad crops had been blamed on the "evil magic" of the Talmud), a new form of anti-Semitism developed, based more on physical features than religion. The Nazis transformed the old religious anti-Semitism into its new, more deadly form, mixing it with anti-communism and blaming Jews for the Bolshevik revolution. This led to the holocaust during World War II. While the Vatican kept silent and even helped the Third Reich, the communist-led Soviet Red Army smashed the Nazis murderers and their fascist allies.

The Vatican is still a pillar of capitalism and fascism all over the world.


LOS ANGELES, CA, March 9 -- More than 1,000 students from the Evans adult school marched to the Board of Education offices to protest its plan to move students to another school to make room for the Belmont students. These students have no school after the banks, construction companies and Board of Ed. spent $100 million to build one that can't be used because it was built over a toxic dump. During the protest, one speaker said, "The bosses spend billions of dollars on their wars to protect markets and oil. They spent billions to build Twin Towers Prison, the city will spend $2 billion for the Rampart scandal, yet they don't have a single dollar to spare to build schools."

Some teachers furiously criticized the student speaker for attacking the police, stating the police had "protected" the march and that if the bosses want to spend lots of money on their wars, it's no business of ours. Other teachers and students defended the student, shouting that what the speaker said was true: "She said what a lot of us wanted to say."

A black worker hugged the student, saying, "What you said about the police is true. I have family members who have been attacked by the police. I really feel badly that some of the teachers have attacked you. Thanks for helping."

The truth is, the police were not there to protect the students, but to protect the School Board FROM the students. They built the useless Belmont school. Now they are using the adult students as guinea pigs to avoid building a good school for them.

Many students and teachers applauded when the speaker stressed the need to join together to demand the construction of a new school. Unlike the other speeches, limited to begging on bended knee, the student who created the firestorm sparked heated discussions about the true nature of the problem. What we say and do counts. Now we are inviting our classmates to come to the April 1 march on the Rampart police station and to march on May Day. When we are attacked by the enemy, it is because we are advancing.



March 8 was International Women's Day. Here in the Dominican Republic each year more and more women are victims of domestic violence, many time at the hands of their spouses our boy friends. But this is just one form of violence women suffer under capitalism. As many more women sell their labor power as wage slaves in the free-trade zones and other workplaces, rotten working conditions maim thousands and kill many, sometimes little by little, but kill them anyway.

For example, chemicals poison many women who work in cigarette factories and warehouses. Horrendous working conditions in the free trade zones' garment shops are another cause of death.

Over 60% of the workforce in this Caribbean country are female; 35% of them are heads of households. Working hours run to 60 hours a week. Wages, although low for both genders, are even still lower for women. On top of that, many bosses make women pass pregnancy and infertility tests before hiring them.

Prostitution is another major form of exploitation, particularly in the tourist zones. Poverty forces thousands of Dominican women to travel to Europe and other countries to sell their bodies. Just a few weeks ago, a Spanish newspaper exposed a ring led by Spanish mobsters and a Dominican Army intelligence officer, that charges thousands to bars in Spain to smuggle young Dominican women into that country. The tourist zone hotels hire many women as temporary workers to do cleaning work. They are fired after three months, making them ineligible for benefits due permanent workers.

Women organized in the PLP know that only capitalism is capable of creating so much death and division among the working class. PLP plans to increase CHALLENGE circulation in the free trade zones, cigarette factories and hotels, and win more women and men workers to fight together to end this living hell of capitalism.

PLP Comrades, Dominican Republic


"Who wants tickets for the march?" asked a PLP member and many hands shot up as people said, "Give me five"; "I'll take ten"; and, "I think you should take 15." This was part of a pre-May Day dinner of workers who had braved a driving rain to attend.

There was a warm atmosphere of struggle, helped along by the PLP video, "Red Flag." This was followed by speeches about the history and importance of May Day and the need for building a new communist movement.

New members spoke about the impact of growing fascism in the U.S. One of these young workers recited a dramatic poem called "Bitter Truths," with revolutionary changes to the original. Others reported on the struggle at UNAM in Mexico, a coming demonstration in front of the LA Ramparts police station on April 1st and the need to fight fascism every day and build the revolutionary movement to destroy it.

The inspiring speeches, the delicious food, and the personal discussions spurred the unity and struggle to build the May Day March on Saturday, April 29 in San Francisco.

LA Comrades


Last week I attended a forum on California's Proposition 21 here at the University of California's Davis campus and was inspired by the students' response to the call for action against this fascist attack on the working class. There were three speakers: an assistant to a California Assembly person, a former prison guard-turned-teacher, and a UC Davis student who had been in the custody of the California Youth Authority several times since age 14. As recently as three weeks ago, police in his hometown of Richmond had threatened him, apparently ready to plant stuff on him if he didn't cooperate with them.

The room was packed with black, Asian, white, Latino and Middle-Eastern students-every section of the working class. It was the most diverse crowd at any political event I've been to on this campus. The mood quickly moved towards expressions of anger as we listened to the speakers' experiences with the "injustice" system.

The best part was the dialogue created by the assemblyperson assistant. He gave a really well analyzed description of what this law meant for the working class. He made comparisons of this proposition to laws targeting Jews in Nazi Germany before things got really nasty. Some questioned his comments about fascism. Through those questions the speaker and the audience agreed that this was a move toward fascism. It really brought a feeling of solidarity to the forum.

Even people who favored the Proposition engaged in the kind of good debate that sharpened the distinction between the ruling class' desires and the well being of the working class. I distributed several copies of the new PLP pamphlet on fighting prison labor in the U.S. and made several contacts. A fellow student said, "I'm glad to see you guys are here and putting out these information packets!"

The most satisfying thing about this whole event was the unity of a diverse group of students, representing how the working class could be united against attacks on our fellow workers. There was a common goal, a common ideal and a common anger toward this attack on our class. This unity can be built, and from what I saw that night the task is not as hard to accomplish as it can seem to be.

In solidarity, A Comrade in Davis


A recent departmental meeting on my job had a couple of sharp exchanges between the workers and our head supervisor. He said, "I've been telling you guys for years that if you don't work hard, they're going to give our work away." An alert worker quickly responded, "Oh, so you're saying that if work real hard, you're going to hire more people?" "Well, of course not," he stammered in reply. "That's what we thought," the worker angrily pointed out.

Then this same supervisor passed an ugly ultimatum to us from the district head. If any one of us was seen wearing work gloves from the line department, they will be confiscated! Several people jumped on this. Only linemen are supposed to have them, but for a while we have also been able to get them out of the storeroom. We are wearing old ones that we found or saved, and a couple of beaten-up gloves were provided as evidence.

This glove issue really insulted us. You would think if the boss knew that we liked the gloves, and need them for our work, that he would make sure we all had them! But oh, no! We are thieves that had to be watched and threatened. This reminded me of an incident just before the Bolshevik Revolution where the workers in a factory demanded Ventilation and Socialism.

I have been getting more involved in the union over the past year, and I'm running for union office. I must distribute more CHALLENGES, and see more of my co-workers off the job. This will give me the opportunity to raise the Party's ideas. More to follow.

Red Gloves

Iranian Workers Reject Fascist Election Circus

Ten days after the election in Iran, the situation is still confused. Twelve million working class people did not even vote. Many groups, including the revolutionary communists, do not accept the "Islamic Republic of Iran." The Iranian working class must take power; this is the alternative to the election.

The liberal-fascist parties have split into two groups. One supports the religious-fascist mullahs (priests) and their leader Rafsanjdany, who is more nationalist and allied with Iranian capitalists. The other group is allied with the monopoly capitalists and wants closer ties with the imperialists from Europe and North America. They support more liberal cultural regulations but also support the fascist oppression of the working class.

This fascist circus must now come to an end! Iranian workers will destroy this system! We are not like the moderate pro-imperialist social-democrats and we are not like the "Euro-revisionists" who pretend to be Marxists! The only "election" we support is the revolutionary war to destroy the capitalist system and build a communist society! We are the only alternative to the liberals playing their games.

Long live communism! Power to the Workers! Fight alongside the PLP!

Iranian Comrade


A high school counselor in my town was recently arrested for assaulting a KKK member during a rally. This led to a lot of discussion in the high school and local newspaper. Both a newspaper editorial and an opinion piece by the head of the Board of Education attacked the counselor for "flying off at the handle" and setting a "bad example" for students. But many students supported this action, knowing the difference between uncontrolled rage and planned, militant, anti-racist action.

I wrote a letter to the newspaper, responding to their attacks on this anti-racist. I pointed out that sometimes violence is justifiable and necessary to combat racists. The history of anti-racist struggle is filled with effective, violent actions, including slave rebellions, the Civil War, World War II and more recent struggles.

Several people responded positively to this letter, including a teacher in my daughter's middle school and some of my fellow church members. However, my church minister said he never disagreed so strongly with one of his members. He offered to debate violent vs. non-violent methods in fighting racism. I agreed. This debate will open more people 's eyes to the nature of racism , the role of the government and newspapers in siding with the KKK against anti-racists; and the need for both violent and non-violent tactics in fighting racists.

Suburban Church Member


Hello. How are you again? This is L., the one that works at Inland ISPAT Co. I want to thank you for sending me the revolutionary CHALLENGE newspaper. I read it, and share them with my co-workers. They look forward to getting them, and are involved in fighting for workers' rights. Please continue to send them. Send them more often. I thank you so much for being involved from your heart. Keep up the good work. I am very much involved! I look forward to much more.

Red Steel Worker