March On May Day! Cop Terror + Global Injustice =Capitalism
Editorial: Don't Invest In Capitalism, Stock Up On Communism!
How Big Bosses Use State Power To 'Correct' the Stock Markets
Building Workers Needs Support of All Workers
Garment Workers Support Janitors -- Beware of Being Gored!
Union Hacks Push Pro-War Anti-Communism Garbage -- But It Is Hard for Workers to Swallow It
May Day Dinner: Workers Political Leadership Developing
Painting The Crimson Red: Communists At Harvard Launch Campaign Against George K K Kelling
What Fidel Castro Forgot in His Speech: Communism Is the Way Out of Imperialist Hell
New Jersey: Feel Workers Power on May Day!
Excerpts From Speech Marching On May Day
Its More Than Just Jobs; Its About Promoting US Imperialism
Strike Against Lockheed Martin
The History Anti-Communists Cannot Erase: How Stalin And The Red Army Crushed The Nazis
Its More Than Just Jobs; Its About Promoting U.S. Imperialism
Becoming A Communist Gave Me Courage
D.C. Cops: You Aint Seen Nothinyet
Miami Mafia Messes Up
Hoffa Heils Buchanan
Reform Capitalism? Aint No Such Animal
Computers Used for Fascist Control
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 18 Thousands of protesters against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) converged on Washington, D.C. for a week of actions aimed at exposing and disrupting the functioning of these two international capitalist institutions. The Progressive Labor Party was involved in many of these activities, urging these young activists to join us on the road to communist revolution by joining this years May Day march.
The Mobilization for Global Justice underestimated the rulers goons, the cops, who were not about to allow a repetition of what happened in Seattle. Thousands of police, metal barriers, and over a $1 million of new riot equipment, creating an army of robocops that blockaded 90 blocks around the two institutions. Moreover, the cops carried out preemptive attacks on the demonstrators, closing down the protest headquarters on the pretext of "fire code violations," arresting 600 the night before the opening meeting in an obvious ploy to reduce the numbers of the demonstrators the next day. They periodically gassed, pepper sprayed, beat and arrested demonstrators. Ultimately, over 1,400 were arrested. D.C. Police Chief Ramsey gloated, "I have absolutely no regrets about anything .I make no apologies for anything that anybody [in the police department] did during this time."
But despite these police attacks, many of the IMF and WB delegates were, in fact, blocked, at least temporarily, from getting to their meetings by chains of demonstrators blocking streets. More importantly, thousands of young people joined in a great upsurge of anti-imperialist sentiment. It is up to us in PLP to make sure this sentiment take a revolutionary road, instead of the reactionary one pushed by many forces in this movement (see PLPs pamphlet "Know Your Enemy: Capitalism. The Truth About the Fair Trade Anti-Globalization Movement).
PLP was actively involved in many of the meetings, teach-ins and planning that led up to the major events and met dozens of young people interested in going beyond non-violent protest. Throughout the main days events, the PLP held a vigorous bullhorn rally calling on the demonstrators to link the fight against the IMF and WB to the fight against fascist police brutality, prison labor, anti-immigrant attacks and domestic sweatshops in the U.S., and thereby build a mass anti-fascist, pro-communist movement that spans the globe. The response was extremely positive. Over 1,000 CHALLENGES and PLP pamphlets were eagerly received, along with thousands of leaflets. Many asked to be contacted, and a local study group is already forming. Several old friends and members of the PLP were thrilled to see us; one attended his first Party club meeting in over 14 years the following day.
There is much political struggle ahead. There are numerous dead-ends in this movement which must be combated. Demonstrators were systematically "trained" in non-violence by the pacifists, who reinforced a fatalistic approach to struggle. Some speakers at various events attacked bosses overseas, such as in China, letting U.S. bosses off the hook and laying the foundation for nationalism. Most of the demonstrators, however, seem wide open to a systematic anti-capitalist, militant, anti-imperialist and anti-racist approach, and are certainly winnable to communism. But we should never stop pointing out the misleading paths upon which capitalists and their agents within the movement will try to place us.
Workers can learn several valuable lessons from the stock markets' recent roller-coaster behavior.
First, as long as the profit system exists, our class will be handcuffed to its stock markets. We're the prisoners of the so-called "business cycle," with its booms and collapses. It's too early to tell whether the April 14th Wall Street swoon will lead to a recession. It could. Recessions always happen sooner or later. They bring a frontal assault on the living standards of millions of workers. But even if the markets recover and a technical recession isn't in the cards, our class has already paid a heavy price for Wall Street's most recent "correction."
Our pension funds, and individual retirement accounts, especially those invested in the hi-tech sector, have taken a big hit. The markets seemed to be rebounding as CHALLENGE went to press, but that doesn't mean anything good for our retirement savings. Our pockets were picked during this "correction," as the biggest investment houses gobbled up chunks of our pensions at fire sale prices. Companies hit hard by this "correction" will try to re-coup losses by taking it out on their workers. Many, with or without IRAs or pension funds will suffer either layoffs or wage cuts or further reductions in services.
Second, the drastic Wall Street price swings show that capitalism is a fundamentally unstable system. Even in the "best of times," financial markets operate on speculation. For example, theres a standard statistic called the "price-earnings (P/E) ratio." It shows the difference between a companys stock market price and the value of its sales. Historically, the P/E average is 13:1. Before the current "correction," some older established businesses had a P/E ratio of 30:1. And the "dot.com" bubble had inflated to the point where numbers of newer Internet stocks were at 200:1.
Many of these Internet companies were making billionaires out of their top executives while actually losing money. Sooner or later the bubble had to burst. Now, in classic capitalist behavior, a shake-out is taking place. Many "dot.coms" will soon be "dot.gones," and many small-time speculators will find themselves holding a bag of debt for bad investments. The winners will be the biggest brokerage houses and banks, who still have the massive wealth to buy up these now cheaper stocks at bargain rates. In essence, a huge transfer of capital is taking place. The big fish are devouring the small fry.
Third, this consolidation of capital has an important political aspect. The main wing of the ruling class is using its control of the government to discipline a number of upstarts. The Eastern Establishment couldn't prevent the rise of Microsoft or the huge increases in wealth created by the New Money technology sector. But once the Rockefeller interests decided things had gotten out of hand, that massive capital was being accumulated by others independent of them, they acted quickly and ruthlessly to cut these rivals down to size.
They used every legal weapon at their disposal: the Justice Department, the leading think tanks, the Federal Reserve System and the liberal media (see box). Bill Gates and his cronies have had their wealth cut sharply. Gates still holds a huge personal fortune, but Microsoft and many other upstart hi-tech companies will no longer enjoy freedom from the eastern banks. When these newer high-tech companies need capital to expand, their reduced assets will now force many of them to borrow from these eastern banks or, at the very least, to admit Establishment bankers onto their boards. This is a good object lesson in class dictatorship and its use of state power.
Fourth, even some of the Establishment forces had to take a hit in this battle. The banks and most industries are tightly connected to hi tech, as both investors and users. Lucent, Morgan Stanley, IBM, Goldman Sachs and Chase Manhattan didn't get socked as badly as Microsoft or American OnLine since the beginning of the year, but they lost hefty percentages of their value. Interestingly, Exxon-Mobil, whose profit rate depends not on microchips but on Washington's ability to hold the Persian Gulf at gunpoint, has lost little.
Finally, as the poet Jean de La Fontaine wrote over three hundred years ago: " the little folk/Have always paid for follies of the great." However, the biggest folly is believing that the present society can solve the problems it creates. If we want to stop paying the price for capitalist instability and the periodic blood-letting of bosses' conflicts among themselves, we have to fight for a different system. Only communist revolution can create an economy based on workers' class needs rather than on maximizing capitalist profit.
What can be said for a system whose stock market considers a drop in unemployment "bad news," except that it belongs on history's manure pile? The job of putting it there will be long and difficult, but it's the only worthwhile goal for us as individuals and members of the working class. This is the goal for which the Progressive Labor Party will lead thousands of marchers in San Francisco and Washington this May Day 2000.
* Summer 1999: Two scholars from the Rockefeller-run Brookings Institution launch the Internet Policy Institute (IPI) and stack it with anti-Microsoft forces. The IPI defines "briefing the President" as its main goal. It underlines the importance of high tech as an edge for U.S. imperialism against foreign competitors but at the same time warns against exceeding "economic speed limits."
* September 1999: Mary Meeker, Morgan Stanley's top high-tech analyst, cautions about "gargantuan losses" in this sector ("Business Week" interview).
June 1999-April 2000: Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan raises interest rates five times, hurting the highly capital-dependent hi-tech sector.
* April 2000. A Federal court nails Microsoft on anti-trust charges.
* April 6, 2000. Clinton presides over a White House conference on the "new economy." Bill Gates attends. Alan Greenspan tells him that the Fed will keep raising interest rates to slow down the market boom, making it more expensive for him and others in the hi-tech field to raise capital for future investment. Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman, now an investment banker, predicts: "There's going to be a correction; it's probably going to be a sharp one, at least in terms of technology equity values." But he reassures established companies like Intel that they won't be badly hurt. Even Goldman Sachs, which has big bones to pick with Rockefeller, climbs on board. Abby Cohen, their tech guru, calls for a market slow-down (Washington Post, April 7).
NEW YORK CITY, April 18 The 26,000 workers of Local 32BJ, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) representing janitors, elevator operators, doormen and maintenance workers in 2,900 apartment buildings here are fighting for a new contract. Their current one expires April 21. They work long hours, many standing on their feet for their entire shifts. Union demands include a wage increase, improved health care and job security.
Over the last decade there has been a surge of new buildings. The rents and maintenance charges tenants pay have increased at an astronomical rate. The real estate barons have made enormous profits. And now these bosses are demanding greater "flexibility" to lay off workers. They planned to recruit subcontractors whowith Mayor Giulianis blessingssaid they would recruit Workfare workers as scabs. However, the outcry by other unions caused Giuliani to scrap this pland.
Local 32BJs leadership has no plan of action to win its demands. Its parent union, 1199/SEIU, is the largest union in the state, with a membership of over 240,000. So far this union has failed to build mass support for a potential strike, neither massive rallies nor calling out health care workers in Local 1199. Its given only limited support to striking janitors in Los Angeles and Chicago.
This leadership, especially from Local 1199, now the biggest single force in SEIU, has made deals with everyone from Governor Pataki to Giuliani to the hospital bosses. Their main thrust is to suck workers into looking to the Democratic Party for their salvation, not to their own strength as a militant rank and file that can stop production.
The last time 32BJ struck, the bosses were able to institute a 2-tier wage system. There were a number of rank-and-file marches and demonstrations. With the leadership lacking a plan and more concerned with controlling workers militancy, the rank and file will have to take matters into their own hands. Mass picket lines surrounding buildings can stop scabs. All NYC workers must unite with welfare clients forced onto Workfare to prevent their being used as scabs. All workers who live in these buildings must refuse to do the work of the strikers.
PLP members and friends should organize on their own jobs to win workers to join the strikers picket lines, raise money to give directly to the strikers, perhaps "adopting" a particular building to support. We should press our unions to turn out en masse at strikers rallies, help block scabs and even call one-day strikesor moreto help the workers defeat the real estate bosses. Students in colleges and high schools, who themselves have organized anti-racist walkouts over the Diallo verdict, could repeat these actions to support the overwhelmingly black and Latin 32BJ workforce.
If a strike does occur, the union leadership may very well turn it into a political battleground allying with the liberals representing Hillary Clinton against Giuliani. But all these politicians are only concerned with enforcing the bosses laws that repress the working class. The class interests of these servants of the ruling class automatically unites them with the real estate bosses. Workers must not allow ourselves to be sucked into relying on liberal politicians who themselves take thousands of dollars in contributions from these very same real estate barons.
In the final analysis, this struggle is aimed at winning reforms. History shows that whatever concessions the bosses might be forced to give, they are able to take them back in other ways. They have state power and often use it to break strikes. They contract work out to non-union subcontractors who many times are able to displace the union workforce. The bosses already rob workers by paying them only part of the value of their labor. The rest the bosses keep as profits, or pay to the banks as interest, which becomes the bankers profits.
For workers to reap the full value of our labor, we would have to destroy capitalism with communist revolution. Communists can relate all the issues described above to why the profit system must be destroyed altogether. A big step on this road would be linking the intensification of this class struggle to winning these workers to march on May Day in Washington, D.C., May 6, uniting with workers internationally under one flag, the red flag of a communist-led working class.
LOS ANGELES, CA., April 18 Garment workers have been supporting the striking janitors in their marches and picket lines, bringing coffee and food to the strikers picket lines at night. The enthusiastic reception from the strikers has inspired the garment workers. It led to vital discussions about international workers unity, about capitalism causing poverty level wages and about the need to destroy it.
The strikers are open to new ideas. "The workers lined up to get the Partys leaflet," said one striker. "The comrade from PLP was passing out leaflets and distributing CHALLENGES with both hands."
With fellow strikers and friends, the strike has been useful to show the militancy of workers and their families fighting for $1/hour more per year. Most are now paid $6.80/hour. It shows the potential of workers in general once they understand we can fight for the whole pie, not just for tiny reforms the bosses dont want to give us.
In discussions in garment factories, weve exposed the cops role of using terror to protect the private property and profits of the bosses who own the big office buildings cleaned by the janitors. Weve also discussed why Cardinal Mahony, Mayor Riordan, other politicians and even bosses say they support the strike. Last year, Mahony told a conference of Churches for Labor Justice, "We must support labor struggles from the pulpit if we dont want the workers to become reds and look for other alternatives."
But the cleaning contractors answered back, "Its fine that theyre building all this political support with the Mayor, the Cardinal and the Vice-President, but even if they bring the Pope, were not giving in." So far the support of these politicians and the union leaders fighting within the laws and limits of the capitalist system havent been able to win the $1/hour per year increase. And it wont solve the problems of the working class.
"Your fight is for everyone, for your families, for justice, dignity, equality," presidential candidate Al Gore told the striking janitors at a rally last Saturday. The day before, Gore dined with rich backers of his presidential campaign in a Hollywood mansion at $100,000 a plate.
Gore is no friend of the workers. Hes the representative of the big banks and the millionaires who dictate the policies of organizations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, who, together with the bosses in general, murder hundreds of millions of workers throughout the worldfrom hunger, poverty and war. Gore represents the most bloodthirsty ruling class in the history of humanity. The blood of millions of workers from Mexico, to Central America to Africa, Asia and the Middle East is on their hands.
We can help change the balance of forces by winning striking janitors and workers from other factories, unions and community organizations to stop the scabs who are cleaning the buildings and turn this strike into a rebellion against capitalism. We must depend on our fellow workers, not on the bosses, to win.
Were fighting to turn this strike into a school for communism, by using every aspect of this strike to show the potential of workers unity and power and the need for communist revolution. This is a good opportunity to distribute CHALLENGE more massively in the factories, on the picket lines and in the schools and also to mobilize strikers and other workers to March on May Day in San Francisco and join the Progressive Labor Party.
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 14 Over 15,000 steel, auto and textile workers and Teamsters rallied on the Capitol steps, listening to various politicians and union leaders attack China. The workers came because of growing insecurity, despite the bosses claims about the "longest period of economic growth ever." It appeared as an effort to stop China from getting permanent normal trade relations with the U.S. The essence was politicians and union hacks winning us to war!
The Teamsters had the union-busting Hitlerite Pat Buchanan as the main speaker at their rally. But Hoffa and Buchanan had nothing on the "liberals" who lead the USWA, UAW, and UNITE!
On Wednesday, at a symposium on lobbying the next day, a speaker said that while Russia and the U.S. have cut their military budgets, China is using the $68 billion trade surplus with the U.S. to buy armaments from the Russians. He said that during the Cold War, the U.S. sold Russia some grain, but nothing of military significance. Paraphrasing Marx (although he attributed it to Lenin), he said some U.S. companies were selling China the rope they will use to hang the U.S.
He said that those who believe the old saying, "Countries that trade with each other wont go to war with each other," are wrong. He pointed to the two World Wars, and said the U.S. could be at war with China in two to three years! There was no clapping or cheering during this speech. The workers understood the connection between trade wars and shooting wars, and are not won to going to war for the bosses.
A big aspect of the anti-China campaign is anti-communism. USWA president Becker called China an "evil empire." This was matched by a T-shirt of a pro-U.S. "dissident" being manhandled by two cops. The caption read, "Workers Rights, Chinese Style." Many refused to buy it. Most refused to wear it. They really should have put Amadou Diallo on the shirt. The truth is communism means abolishing wage slavery and the class of bosses that lives off the exploitation of our labor.
China is the worlds largest steel producer. Russia is the biggest steel exporter. In 1998 China produced 14.2% of the worlds steel. The U.S. produced 12.6%. Chinas production is steadily increasing. U.S. steel imports from China are up. U.S. steel exports to China are down. As Chinas industrial capacity grows, its need for oil will eventually challenge the U.S. grip on the Middle East.
China is also the worlds largest textile exporterwhich threatens the racist, union busting U.S. textile industry. It was sad to see so many UNITE! (garment/textile union) members at the rally because they are so poorly paid themselves. Talk about fighting over crumbs! Clearly all the talk about "human rights" is a smokescreen to cover the increased inter-imperialist rivalry between capitalist China and the U.S.
There are disagreements among the rulers over how to treat China. Sweeney and Becker are at odds with their bosses on this, but they are 100% loyal in the long run. The revisionists (phony "leftists") suck up to the union leaders and lead workers into this fascist, nationalist trap. This racist, pro-war movement cries out for a revolutionary communist solution.
Our participation in, and exposť of this rally, is helping us to slowly emerge as political leaders in the union. We are more active in local union elections and strike support. We need to raise our communist worldview from many vantage points and confront the pro-boss, pro-war line of the union leadership. We met and talked with many workers, and got several addresses of workers to visit and show CHALLENGE. The storm clouds are gathering, and the Party is growing among steel workers.
CHICAGO, IL, April 15 "Why didnt you tell me more about May Day before? My friend got shot by the Chicago police 13 times, and we had a march against his murder. Im going to see if his family can come to the march." "I wish I knew more about the march earlier. Now I have to try and change my vacation plans."
These were comments of postal and steel workers who attended our clubs May Day Organizing BBQ and Fish Fry. Postal workers helped buy the food and did most of the cooking. Amidst the aroma of barbecue and frying fish, more than 35 people attended our most successful club event yet. The house was so packed we had to have three different showings of the May Day video.
A PLP member just back the United Steel Workers anti-China protests in Washington, D.C. said that after seeing the racist, pro-war union leaders at work, May Day is more important than ever. A steelworker who had also been to Washington committed herself to going to May Day and trying to bring others.
The dinner itself reflected our slow but sure emergence as political leaders on our jobs, in our unions and in our communities. It became evident that years of struggle and base-building at the Chicago Post Office built up a lot of support for the Party and May Day. But we have a long way to go.
Just about everyone who attended the dinner, and many who didnt, can become CHALLENGE distributors and May Day organizers. This will impel more workers to join the Party and become political leaders themselves. Well be visiting and struggling with these workers in the next few weeks to come to Washington, and to bring their family and friends.
CAMBRIDGE, MA, April 17 For the past several weeks, PLP members and friends at Harvard and other universities have been involved in a campaign against Rutgers professor George Kelling, a fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Weve been petitioning Harvard to disassociate itself from Kelling. This is part of a broader struggle against Harvard's role in developing fascism. We are also preparing for a rally on April 25 at the Kennedy School.
The petition charges that Kelling is one of the main architects/popularizers of the liberal fascist strategy of community policing which calls for the police to "reclaim" urban areas by taking severe action against even the pettiest of "crimes." Kelling's anti-working class, racist views have helped strengthen the ruling class' official policy of police terror. Harvard's support of Kelling continues a long history of Harvard's backing of U.S. imperialism and its racist, fascist, genocidal policies..
We have now collected hundreds of signatures from students and workers at Harvard and other schools in classes, at student group meetings and during public mass leafleting. Harvard's Black Students Association and Haitian Student Alliance have not formally endorsed the campaign. However, we are struggling with Harvard La Raza and the Harvard Progressive Student Labor Movement for their endorsements. In this campaign we have linked Kelling and Harvard as being in large part respnisble for police terror. Kelling, the liberal ruling class and their community policing scheme have played a key role in the mass imprisonment of many of the two million workers in the U.S. Furthermore, Kelling-type strategies used in Boston have helped to more than doube Massachusetts' prison population. We have declared that the only way to end racism and fascism is with communist revolution.
This campaign has deepened our struggle with our friends to connect poverty wages, racist police terror and developing fascism. The many workers who have signed this petition, in connecting these struggles, have helped combat the cynicism of some of our friends.
A student from Wellesley, a womens college near Boston, has become one of the campaigns leaders, collecting over 70 signatures. Shes also coming to PLP's May Day march.This week were having a meeting at Wellesley to build support for our Harvard rally.
Many workers and students hunger for an alternative to the fascist future which capitalism offers. However, we must do more. We must strengthen all social ties to grow and ensure students move toward the need to smash capitalism with communist revolution.
HAVANA, April 16 The Southern Summit meeting (or Group of 77), representing the underdeveloped countries, ended this weekend here in Cuba with a speech by Fidel Castro denouncing the ravages suffered by most of the worlds population.
Castro said: "Before people talked about apartheid in Africa. Today we can talk about apartheid in the world. More than four billion people lack the most essential rights of human beings: health, education, drinking water, food, housing, jobs, the hope for a future for them and their children In less than 18 months the world suffered natural disasters never seen before in the 20th century, in Central America, Venezuela, Mozambique and many other countries, almost all of them in the Third World. Tens of thousands died in these disasters caused by the change in climate and the destruction of nature."
Correctly, Castro blamed the rich imperialist countries for all of this: "The rich world pretends to forget that the causes of underdevelopment and poverty were slavery, colonialism, the brutal exploitation and pillage suffered for centuries by our countries. They look at us as inferior, blaming it all on the so-called incompetence of people from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America ."
This all sounds good, but an important element is missing: the rulers who met in Havana are part of the problem. They are not allied with the exploited workers and masses being ravaged by imperialism but with one group of imperialists or another against the people they rule. One reason imperialism is still able to get away with its savagery is the cooperation of these rulers. They side with one imperialist against another for their own interests, never for the well-being of the people.
Take Africa, where a "little" regional war is occurring in the Congo (Zaire). Armies from Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda are helping one side or another in the war between two sets of local rulers fighting to control the Congos diamonds and other mineral wealth. France, the U.S. and Britain are also deeply involved, arming and training one side or another.
The solution, long forgotten by Castro, is not for some kind of "unity" by rulers of the "Third World," but for unity of workers and peasants from Kinshasa to Paris to New York to Mexico City to Tokyo to build an international communist movement and put an end to the scourge of the earthcapitalism.
ORANGE, NJ, April 9 Police terror, war and the vital need to March on May Day and join the PLP were the themes of our May Day dinner/forum here in New Jersey. Forty-five comrades and friends enjoyed a spirited evening of good food and music, strong political speeches, and a discussion about the importance of bringing large numbers of people to this years march.
Our dinner was well organized and showed a new level of collective effort for us in New Jersey. Even more importantly, the evenings political program involved several younger and relatively newer members, reflecting more working class leadership in the Party here. In particular, the inspiring speech about why workers and others should march on May Day (see below) was greeted by rousing applause.
Although our turnout could and should have been larger, several comrades seem more determined this year to organize for May Day, including some newer comrades, an important development in light of the growth of fascism this past year.
Recently, several people have joined the Party and others can be recruited by May Day. Our sales of CHALLENGE have increased. When we fight hard, we can make advances, however modest they may appear. Todays small victories are the building blocks for our communist revolution.
May Day is pretty special to me I joined the Party a few years ago on May Day. It was the first time I truly felt workers power Now I call on you to march on May Day.
We need to wake up and smell the fascism, the fact that our cities are turning more and more into police states, the fact that we are being exploited by the ruling class. We need to see that there is no difference between ourselves in the working class, we are more alike than different. Thats why we all need to march on May Day.
You see, the emancipation proclamation is nothing but a figment of the imagination. Instead of using chains and shackles they use ideological chains to bind us. Instead of whips, theyre using bullets. The more things change under capitalism, the more they stay the same.
The ruling class and their front line soldiers, the Klan in blue, are the real culprits You cannot be a black man in the ghetto with a wallet, a pager, a cellular phone or a set of keys because the Klan in blue will be quick to open fire on your ass.
The problem with brothers like Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, and Earl Faison is that they fit the description that the ruling class wants to fill up their jails with to create more prison labor.
You may look at me and judge that I am white or latino, red is the only color that can represent me. Red, the color of our blood. The color of passion and rage that comes over me when my brothers and sisters blood is spilled. Thats why we need to march on May Day.
Thats what May Day is all about, and you will feel it, you will see workers power on May Day and we will do it as a collective, men, women and children, no matter the color of a persons skin...And soon the masses of people will realize that the only solution is a communist revolution.
Seattle, WA, April 13I started a good number of conversations about the Teamsters Anti-China rally today by asking workers if they knew who was the featured speaker. Nobody guessed Pat "we-shouldnt-have-fought-Hitler" Buchanan. Some were quite upset. One friend immediately began to talk about the fight against Nazis in his "native" country.
Another guy hated Buchanan, but was torn because he didnt want China to get permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) status.. "Boeing will ship all our jobs to China if they get NTR status," he warned.
This led to a discussion about imperialisms need to drive down the standard of living of all workers. In particular, we zeroed in on the increase in prison labor.
"Why dont the unions focus on prison labor here, where they can have an immediate impact," I asked.
"But prison labor here is only a small thing," my friend answered.
"Thats what the AFL-CIO would have you believe when they focus your attention on China. In fact, the US has the largest prison population in the worldhalf a million more than China, which has five times the population of the USand racist slave prison labor in the good old U. S. of A. is mushrooming. Even Boeing is getting in on the act."
Then we got down to brass tacks. "Look," I said, "Lets say the unions manage to derail MFN for China. We still loss if the hacks can use this campaign to build a big anti-communist crusade."
He smiled at that.
"If, and when, we ever actually end up fighting a war with China," I continued, "Do you thing these hacks will say, dont support this war because if the US wins, the corporations will have all this cheap labor to threatened our jobs? "
"When pigs fly," he assured me.
FORT WORTH, TX, April 19 2,300 blue-collar Lockheed Martin workers here have shut down production of the Air Force F-16 fighter jet. Mediation talks failed on Monday, sending the strike into its second week. Because of layoffs and subcontracting, the average age of these strikers has grown to 52 years.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martins competitor, Boeing, was caught trying to bribe a member of the UAW negotiating committee at its Long Beach, CA. Plant. That contract expires April 30.
According to the worldwide capitalist media, "communism is dead." Yet they have kept up a constant drumbeat of how "bad" communism is, had been, would be. The ruling classes know that the international working class has not quite been won over. So they feel they must maintain this barrage of anti-communism.
The linchpin of this campaign, the bugaboo that the rulers feel they must scare workers with is one wordStalin. Hardly a week goes by when Stalin is not somehow reviled in the bosses media. Books, editorials, letters, TV series and movies appear all with one aim in mind: Stalin is the most foul person who ever lived, "worse than Hitler," worse than anything one could imagine.
This anti-Stalin campaign has been occurring for over half a century. The anti-communists try to rewrite history, but there are millions that still remember the accomplishments of Stalin, the Soviet workers and their Red Army. In the dark days of World War II, when Hitler was seemingly unstoppable and threatened the world with the most brutal dictatorship ever seen, it was Stalin and the Soviet Union who first stopped the Nazis, and then, 55 years ago May 5, flew the communist Red flag over the ashes of Hitlers Berlin and his murderous Third Reich.
For those who may have forgotten and for the many others who are too young to remember, it is instructive to read what one of the most anti-communist of all the bosses had to say about Stalin and the USSR in 1942. Time Magazine, of the Henry Luce Time-Life-Fortune empire, selected Stalin as "Man of the Year" in 1942. In its January 4, 1943 issue, with Stalins picture on the cover, Time entitled its story, "Joseph Stalin: Die, But Do Not Retreat." Here are excerpts from that tribute.
"The year 1942 was a year of blood and strength. The man whose name means steel in Russian was the man of 1942 .
Had German legions swept past steel-stubborn Stalingrad and liquidated Russias power of attack, Hitler would have been undisputed master of Europe, looking for other continents to conquer. He could have diverted 250 victorious divisions to new conquests in Asia and Africa. But Joseph Stalin stopped him. Stalin had done it beforein 1941when he started with all of Russian intact. But Stalins achievement in 1942 was far greater. All that Hitler could give he tookfor a second time .
The 1942 accomplishments of Churchill and Roosevelt pale by comparison with what Joseph Stalin did in 1942.
At the beginning of the year Stalin was in an unenviable spot .Gone was roughly one-third of Russias industrial capacity .Gone was nearly half of Russias best farmland.
With all this gone, .Stalin still had the magnificent will to resist of the Russian people .[but] the strongest will to resist can eventually crack under continued defeat .
With these reduced resources, Stalin tackled his problem, trying to pick able leaders for his Army, trying to improve its resistance, trying to maintain the morale of his underfed people .
Only Stalin knows how he managed to make 1942 a better year for Russia than 1941. But he did. Sevastopol was lost, the Don basin was nearly lost, the Germans reached the Caucuses. But Stalingrad was held. The Russian people held. The Russian Army came back with four offensives that had the Germans in serious trouble at years end.
Russia was displaying greater strength than at any point in the war. The general who had won that overall battle was the man who runs Russia.
Joseph Stalin worked 16 to 18 hours a day. Before him he kept a huge globe showing the course of campaigns over territory he himself defended in the civil wars of 1917-20. This time he again defended it, and mostly by will power. There were new streaks of grey in his hair and new etchings of fatigue in his granite face .But there was no break in his hold on Russia and there was long-neglected recognition of abilities by nations outside the Soviet borders .
For his armies Stalin coined the slogan "Umeraite No Ne Otstupaite" (Die, But Do Not Retreat). It had been shown at Moscow that a strongly fortified city can be held as a strong point against attack by mechanized forces. Stalin chose to make Stalingrad another such point .Stalin was organizing the winter offensive which burst into the Don basin with the fury of the snowstorms that accompanied it .
Stalin called to his people to sacrifice collectively to preserve the things they had built collectively .Production norms were increased, apartments went unheated, electricity was turned off four days a week. At years end, the Russian children had no new toys for the New Years celebration .But there was rejoicing. [Russia] had been saved for the second time in two years .
On the 25th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin, in his big state speech of the year, reviewed the past and for the future struck the note of statesmanship.
The Past. The Revolution that was begun in 1917 by a handful of leather-coated working men and pallid intellectuals waving the red flag, by 1942 had congealed into a party government that has remained in power longer than any other major party in the world. It began under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, on Marxist principles of a moneyless economy which challenged the right to accumulate wealth by private initiative .
Stalin faced the fundamental problems of providing enough food for the people and improving their lot through 20th-Century industrial methods. He collectivized the farms and he built Russia into one of the four great industrial powers on earth. How well he succeeded was evident in Russias world-surprising strength in World War II. Stalins methods were tough, but they paid off .As Allies fighting the common enemy, the Russians have fought the best fight so far."
Postscript. As it turned out, the Red Army encircled the Nazis at Stalingrad and forced the remaining 330,000 troops to surrender in February 1943. The Red Army was never to retreat again, in little more than two years forcing Hitlers legions to retreat all the way to Berlin. The Soviets had battled 80% of the Nazi army on the Eastern Front, far more than the rest of the Allies combined.
Of course, this tribute by Time accentuates the accomplishments of Stalin as an individual and underplays the role of the Communist Party he led. It was this and the dedication of the Soviet people who followed communist leadership, the Red Army and the workers on the production front at home that indisputably saved the world from a fascist victory.
It was a British general who said, in an introduction to a TV series "The War in Russia," that had it not been for the Soviet people, the Red Army and Stalins leadership, untold numbers of British and U.S. citizens would not be alive today.
Five months ago I joined a PLP club. In the past whenever my husband talked to me about the Party, I was apathetic and said that I didnt want to know anything about politics. He always looked for ways to bring communist ideas to me. I remember that once he told me to come with him to a cadre school to make food for those at the meeting. I went. While preparing the food I listened to the conversation and liked the way it was going. This gave me a better idea of what it was about. From that time I indirectly reminded my husband of the meetings and asked him questions about the Party. He said they were forming a club with the wives of some of the comrades to learn about the Party and the Party to learn about us.
My husband said it wasnt correct to have a permanent club made up solely of women because we arent trying to form feminist groups. This would be anti-Party. The plan was to introduce us to the Party, get to know each other and share communist ideas with our children and among ourselves.
Ive always been timid, but we started to meet and developed confidence in each other. I started understanding the main problemthe bosses exploitation of the workers.
I work in a maquilla. Sometimes I have to work twelve or thirteen hours a day for minimum wages. But since I wasnt thinking about the boss exploiting us for his profits, I was thinking mainly about being careful and acting correctly so that I didnt lose my job. Now I understand that our wages are based on eight hours and that the bosses are stealing from me and robbing me of five hours more every day in addition to the profits they make off my work for the entire day. Its the same with millions of workers around the world.
Because of my timidity I never talked back to the bosses and I thought that was the reason I had lasted eight years on this job. I didnt know that the bosses only saw me as a tool that was useful for their interests.
But now the supervisors have driven me to desperation. My husband was right when he said I had to confront the bosses, because I was putting myself at their mercy. I would carry out their every whim and generate more profit for them. Living in this system is living in hell.
Its gotten so bad that I wanted to quit my job. I havent done it because of the great needs of my family and because now Im a member of the Party which has taken away my fear and timidity! Now I confront the supervisors who are the servants of the boss!
The other workers support me. They tell me it took me a long time, but thats how it has to be. I cant let the bosses mistreat me. The workers admire me now because I used to just put my head down in front of the supervisors.
Thanks to PLP Im not afraid of the bosses and I defend myself. Im not afraid of being fired for responding to the supervisors. Im learning all this from the discussions we have in the club meetings and the cadre schools, which are helping us develop communist ideas.
There are moments when I ask my husband why, having such great communist ideals, he has so many weaknesses. And he tells me that while we live in this capitalist system that isnt for the working class, its difficult to be pure communists. But our struggle is aimed at developing the masses of workers in the best possible way to fight for communist ideas so that we can destroy the capitalist exploiter and achieve a communist society.
A PLP Comrade in El Salvador
My experiences in Washington, D.C. at the recent anti-globalization protests revealed to me just how brutal fascist cops become when defending their bosses system. While distributing PLP leaflets, we saw the Klan in blue in full riot gear, firing shots from air rifles as helicopters flew above. The question was not would the police attack but when.
With other comrades we set up a literature table and spoke on a bullhorn. Thousands of protestors came by in waves. While distributing May Day stickers and leaflets, I asked one what the cops had done. She said a cop had run over her friends foot with his motorcycle. When she demanded an apology, the cop snarled "You aint seen nothing yet," and beat her with his nightstick, bruising her liver and kidneys. This protestor seemed ashamed over being beaten. I told her the cops are ordered to do this to workers and students, that it was "not her fault." She gave us her name and address. I gave her CHALLENGE and May Day stickers and asked her to invite other protestors to join us at May Day. She agreed to help.
I next got on the microphone and asked the protestors, "How many of you were beaten by the cops?" One third raised their hands. I then asked, "How many of you are sick of this?" and was greeted by a loud shout of agreement that the cops must be stopped. I invited them to May Day and attacked the cops for their fascist actions. Other comrades called for smashing the police and capitalism, the system which needs police brutality. While distributing stickers I spoke with 30 protestors who the cops had attacked, mostly white workers and students, many new to such experiences. I pointed out that the attacks the bosses have gotten away with against black workers for decades, they are increasingly doing to white workers today.
On the bus returning to Boston, I told all the protestors we need to destroy the fascist cops and their capitalist system, which needs cop terror and all these bosses global financial institutions.
This protest was the largest Ive been to and the first time I personally saw and heard just how fascist the police are when the bosses feel threatened. Both the KKKops and capitalism must be smashed!
The editorial and article on little EliŠn (CHALLENGE April 12, 19) really shed light on this soap opera, and the capitalist forces behind it. Here are a couple of other observations.
Firstly, the Cuban exiles ("gusanos" or worms as they used to be knownnow the Miami Mafia) have not only exposed themselves as fascist and arrogant, but have actually made their nemesis, Fidel Castro, look good. Despite all the anti-communism pushed by the Miami Mafia (and a good deal of the press, particularly Univision and Telemundo, the two Spanish TV networks in the U.S.), most people, including non-Cuban Latinos in Miami and throughout the U.S., support Eliancitos return to his dad and to Cuba. Given that most people see the father and Cuba as communists, thats a blow to anti-communism.
Secondly, even if the Miami Mafia has lost some of its usefulness among certain sections of the U.S. ruling class, its still treated with kid gloves. After all, they have openly defied the Federal government. Its true that Janet Reno doesn't want another Waco, but still, if the family had been Haitian, Dominican, Mexican or Afro-American, the Feds would have seized the kid right away.
The new PLP pamphlet "Know Your Enemy: Capitalism," discusses organized labors role in preparing a patriotic, "America first" working class. The union leaders have a difficult task since they have allowed corporate America to devastate the working class to fuel the current boom.
The leadership of the AFL-CIO talks about internationalism in its Campaign for Global Fairness (CGF). "We have reached an historical turning point. It is time for a Campaign for Global Fairness that writes new rules for the world economy, a campaign not just about trade and the institutions that govern trade, but a campaign for a new internationalism." But the main focus of their campaign is to attack China. They oppose granting capitalist China Normal Trade Relations or admitting them to the World Trade Organization.
Malcolm X once said, "Racism has you looking East when you should be looking West."
Enter Pat Buchanan. At the recent CGF rally in Washington, he told 5,000 Teamsters, "If I was in the White House and the Chinese communists came to my office, I'd tell them 'stop threatening my country, stop persecuting the Christians, or you will have sold your last pair of chopsticks at any mall in America." (SF Chronicle, 4/13)
Of course, Buchanan knows full well that China is a capitalist country, but he labels them "communist" to spout both anti-Chinese hatred and especially anti-communism. The media publicized it far and wide. There were no denunciations of his racist "chopsticks" remarks from the union leaders or liberal politicians who shared the stage with him.
While posing as a workers "friend," Buchanan actually represents the Southern textile industry, one notorious for its racism, low wages and murderous conditions. These small-fry manufacturers don't have the investment capital to move their production off-shore to make extra profits from cheaper labor in other countries so they are demanding that the U.S. Government impose tariffs to protect their markets. Buchanan already showed his fascist side when he said that the U.S. had no reason to fight Hitler. Now he is trying to lead a working-class movement based on racism and "America First," and convince U.S. workers to support their own bosses. In Germany this fascism was called National Socialism.
Here in the Bay Area in the Transport Workers Union, we plan to mobilize a counter-attack to this racist campaign and build real working-class international solidarity. It is especially important for union workers to lead the fight against anti-Asian racism because we have a large number of Asian workers in our industry. Back in the 1880s, the union movement collaborated with the Southern Pacific RR, Leland Stanford, and the biggest Bay Area bosses to lead anti-Chinese raids that divided and weakened working-class struggles. During World War II, the internment of Japanese-Americans was centered in California, and Asian workers have been the source of huge profits in many industries such as agriculture and garment.
PLP's May Day marches are a clear alternative to Buchanan and the AFL-CIO leadership. The working class has a proud tradition of anti-racism and international workers unity. May Day is the workers' day around the world, and PLP has been restoring it as a revolutionary communist holiday for 30 years. This is the best answer to Buchanan and his corporate backers' filthy racism. This march is squarely against capitalism, which is killing working people here and around the globe.
Red Transit Worker
On April 14th, we attended a conference at the University of Washington. Workshops included issues such as racism, sweatshops, the UNAM strike, the Zapatistas, police brutality and the prison industrial complex, and how they related to globalization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
At one workshop panelists representing various organizations spoke about the LA janitors strike, the UNAM strike, the Chiapas rebellion and immigration. They agreed global capitalism is the source of the problems workers face worldwide. Their answer? Reform capitalism and somehow make it more "democratic."
During the discussion, a young PLPer said these problems resulted from capitalism, which is fundamentally flawed. It is a system based on commodity production where profit is valued more than human life. He explained that this truth is kept from workers since it might lead them to crush the system and fight for communism. He said the discussion should center around that point to resolve the problems affecting the international working class.
Then the focus shifted to a debate over capitalist and communist ideology. One panelist said when you mention the "S" word (Socialism), people would not understand how it relates to their lives"most workers dont know socialism from shit." The other panelists agreed.
This lack of confidence in the working class stems from a misunderstanding of the revolutionary role of the working class and its capacity to change society. Another young PLer explained that capitalists push this false consciousness on workers, all the more reason why we should educate our class.
Cynicism about the working class has no place in our movement. If anyone could understand communism and the need for revolution, its the working class.
Red College Student
You read a lot these days about how computers and the Internet are supposed to improve education. It turns out that one of the ways our bosses plan to use them is to spy on students and keep them in ever more prison-like conditions.
I recently went to a teachers meeting to see a demonstration of video-conferencing. Instead we got a demonstration of a system that can put dozens of miniature spy cameras all over a school and send the pictures to the deans or principals officeor even, they bragged, over the internet to the local police station. They talked about putting cameras in classrooms, in the cafeteria, hallways, locker rooms everywhere. They already have one system installed in this area, at Malcolm X Shabazz H.S. in Newark.
The presenter claimed it was for the "security" of students and teachers, and that it could have saved lives in incidents like Columbine, but it is clear that this is a next step in the increasingly prison-like atmosphere they are building in the schools. First cops in every school, now electronic watchtowers, and soon, perhaps, machine-gun towers at the school walls.
Ironically, the company claims it first invented this system so that parents could log in and watch their children playing happily in daycare! But the real agenda is to pressure and intimidate teachers and students alike, to keep us fearful of being on "candid camera." Let this new taste of Big Brother remind us that the real criminals are on the other side of the cameras. We dont need Internet security cameras to know what the enemy is doing!