Militant Janitors, Youth Inspire Communist May Day March
Which Side Are You ON? Excerpts of a speech to the San Francisco May Day.
El Salvador: Communists Are "Alive and Fighting"
Workers March Against War, Bosses Caused Misery
Vieques: Rulers National Security Is Deadly for Workers
Fired PLP Teachers, Janitors Fight Common Enemy
Real Vietnam Syndrome: Mass Red-Inspired Heroism Can Defeat Worst Form of Imperialist Terror
Capitalism Creates Beasts Like Racist Killer of Pittsburgh
PLP Workers Committee Links Class Struggle to the Fight for Workers Power
PLP Leads Campaign vs. Harvard/Kelling Axis
Hell on Wheel: Bosses Racism Is Deadly for Livery Drivers
Vietnam: Politics Trumped Hi Tech
Workers Flag: The Color Is Red
May Day Stickers: a Hit in DC
Who Will you Entrust the Future With?
Greetings from Iran
May Day Made Pessimist an Optimist
Nazi Congressa Flop in Chile
SAN FRANCISCO, April 29-- "It was the most working class, communist May Day I've been to in years. Let me make a donation," said a supporter of the communist movement for half a century.
This was the reaction of one of over 600 workers and youth who marched here for the unity of workers world-wide to end racist exploitation and imperialism and for Communist Revolution.
A highlight of this West Coast May Day was a contingent of 120 janitors fresh from their three-week strike against the LA real estate bosses and cleaning contractors. "You fight openly for communism. I want to be in a PLP study group," said one woman janitor. "Call me right away for the next activity."
"This was a great march," declared another woman janitor who has spent years fighting to build unity among the janitors in LA and years before that fighting fascism in Latin America. "You talk about things we dont hear in the union," she continued. "I want to be in a study group. Call me soon." Another janitor applauded "the multi racial unity of black, Latin, and white youth and workers."
The march began with speeches from two women comrades whove been building PLP for many years. (see box) They said this fight must be a life-long battle, whose rewards consist partly of seeing these young people giving leadership to the Party. A woman janitor who came to her first May Day March with PLP brought a message of unity and militancy from her brothers and sisters who just ended their strike.
Another janitor, listening carefully to these speeches and who helped bring a group of his co-workers, said, "I need to read more of the Party's literature. It's very important to learn as much as possible."
Over 700 CHALLENGES were sold and distributed by aggressive youth under the leadership of young workers on the security team. Unfortunately we made only 120 red T-shirts with the star and fist and "PLP" on them. Everyone wanted to buy and wear one.
The march ended with a dinner and rally in a local school cafeteria. A young factory worker recounted the fight of her co-workers against the mis-leadership of the IAM honchos and the fight to build PLP on her job. "Who are you going to trust?" she asked. The crowd shot back, "The workers!" (see box) So she asked everyone to join PLP to build workers' power, to rely on the working class and not the AFL-CIO leaders and the bosses.
A young garment worker riveted the audience to attention with a communist poem entitled, "There will be war again."
Black, Latin and white high school and college students told of fighting and walking out against racist terror, a campaign against prison labor, and the fight to build the Party in the boss-led mass organizations. At several LA schools, having a UNAM student striker speak helped build the Partys work. A veteran Muni driver told of the on-going fight on his job. "This was a great march," said an aerospace worker. "I want to get more active in the Party."
Another worker saluted the janitors who marched, saying its very significant for our Party. She explained that their militancy and unity was in sharp contrast to the show put on by the union leaders who had Gore, Kennedy and LA Mayor Riordan address the strikers. She urged workers to choose the path of relying on the working class and fighting for communist workers' power and rejecting the bosses' politicians plans for more exploitation, war and fascism.
When the PLP singers sang the militant song "Venceremos," which says "The workers will win!" (adding that the future is communism), two enthusiastic marchers stood up and sang it in Turkish.
A group of LA workers made delicious tamales for all the marchers from that city.
There were friendly, lively discussions on many buses about the Party's ideas. On one, when protest/revolutionary songs were played, workers started cheering and dancing. On some buses there were debates about the janitors' strike between workers who supported the union leaders and those who were furious at them. There were also discussions about Elián, which included a discussion of the inter-imperialist rivalry, and much more.
"Please break down the history of May Day so my 13-year-old daughter can understand it," requested a black worker on one bus. "I want her to be part of this movement." On the return she said, "Thank you so much for inviting me to this march. I want to get CHALLENGE in the mail, and I want to help build this movement."
On one bus students saw and discussed the anti-fascist movie "The Seventh Cross." On another, they saw and discussed the movie, "Three Kings." Several people joined the party and many subscribed to CHALLENGE. Some asked to participate in study groups and cadre schools. A group of 23 workers came from one factory. They spoke on the bus about building the fight against the boss and building the Party. Larger groups of workers came from other industrial concentrations as well. A group of garment workers marched with their brothers and sisters janitors. A number of black and latin youth gave enthusiastic leadership to march security.
This May Day march, with groups from San Diego, LA, Delano, Seattle, San Francisco, Texas and Canada, was a modest improvement in numbers over last year. But it was a qualitative advance in terms of the response to the Party, the participation of the recently-striking janitors, who comprised 20% of the marchers, of other workers as well, and the expressions of a desire to join PLP study groups and the Party itself.
We have a long march ahead of us. Our first order of business is to solidify our ties with, and recruit, the many new forces who came to, and applauded, this May Day We need both patience and urgency in accomplishing this. The presence of the janitors testifies to our persistence over time in trying to deepen our work in the factories and unions, as well as the schools, to train new communist leaders of the working class and build a mass communist party. It seems that workers are starting to fight back more. As PLP gets more involved with workers in class struggle, they increasingly respond to our communist ideas. Significant sections are winnable to the Party if we fight hard to win them.
This march gave a strong push forward to that process.
This is my second May Day. I want to recount events at Boeing and in the Seattle area since I was here last year. Boeing union president Bill Johnson appeared on all the local talk shows with none other than Boeing CEO Phil Condit to sell the contract. A shop steward and friend of the Party called, asking why Bill and Phil were misleading the membership about the pension plan. He was the first caller and the host assured him he would get to ask that question. The steward waited for an hour until finally the host told him there wouldn't be enough time for his question. The steward was furious. "You told me I had a great question and I'd get to ask it" The host then admitted that neither CEO Condit nor the union president would answer that question on the air.
Now I ask you: should we put our future in the hands of a union president that collaborates with the boss to hide the facts about our exploitation from us or should we take the future in our own hands, trusting our class and our Party?
While tens of thousands filled the streets of Seattle in opposition to the bosses' imperialism and exploitation of the worlds workers, the leadership had other ideas. John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president, signed a letter to President Clinton saying he "supported U.S. objectives": finding the cheapest labor possible, here or abroad, so U.S. capitalism can compete with other imperialists around the world.
So I ask you again, to whom do you trust your future, the Sweeneys of the world or the working class guided by the communist PLP?
Nearly 12,000 unorganized Boeing workers have petitioned the unions at Boeing to begin an organizing drive. We, in PLP, will be there with these workers every step of the way.
The choice is clear: trust your future, and your kid's future, to our class, the working class.
This year's May Day marches show there are thousands who share our vision of a communist future free of exploitation. Many more will join us as the class struggle heats up.
Power to the working class! Fight for communism! JOIN PLP!
SAN SALVADOR, May 1 A sea of workers wanting communist literature, rushed toward our column of members and friends of PLP distributing leaflets and CHALLENGES literature and making contacts in the May Day March in the capital city.
Seven hundred CHALLENGES 1,500 stickers and 2,000 leaflets proved insufficient for the approximately 5,000 workers commemorating the Workers Day. The workers exposed the capitalists who are attacking workers rights, including firing workers and increasing the cost of basic necessities, especially food.
University students marched, showing their support for the UNAM students in Mexico and those in Guatemala, as well as their hatred of US imperialism which has established a military base of operation in the Compalapa airport here. At the end of the march they burned a figure of "Uncle Sam" along with the U.S. flag.
"Its very inspiring to be distributing the paper," said a teacher who has recently joined the Party. "The workers practically grab it out of your hands," said another youth, a farm worker, who had never been to the capital before but who marched from one end to the other to pass out the only communist leaflets in the march.
Our leaflet read, in part:
THE COMMUNISTS ARE ALIVE AND FIGHTING
Revolutionary greetings from the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) to the working class in all the corners of El Salvador. Around the world our Party fights for Communism. We support the revolutionary slogan, "Workers of the World, Unite!" Our Party is multi-racial; its members come from countries the world over. We are united in the struggle for revolution and the dictatorship of the working class. Our belief is: only one world, only one class, one Party.
Communists are internationalists. With their nationalism, the bosses want workers to respect the border created by the capitalists. These borders are artificial. They exist to divide the workers and maintain different groups of bosses in power.
The workers dont need borders. The workers in one part of the world are no different or better than the workers in another part. Nationalism creates false loyalties. We workers must be loyal only to other workers, never to any capitalist or imperialist.
Our Party fights for a communist society under the dictatorship of the working class. Capitalism is the dictatorship of the capitalists, who maintain their power through their electoral parties, police, courts, army, and their control of the media. What the bosses fear most is the specter of communism, which will continue haunting them until the workers destroy them.
SF BÓGOTA, Colombia, May 1 Over 100,000 workers celebrated May Day amidst the growing threat of imperialist military intervention and economic attack. President Pastrana is negotiating a deal with the International Monetary Fund to get $1.6 billion in military aid.
While the reformist union hacks and fake leftists offered workers and youth no real solution to the capitalist attacks, the PLP contingent of workers and students was able to lead a good number of workers with our communist slogans against capitalism. We distributed 3,000 PLP leaflets and sold 250 CHALLENGES and 50 PLP pamphlets about the history of May Day. PLP youth took a leading role in these activities and in carrying the Party banner that led our contingent.
Instead of the reformists and pacifists calls for "peace" and pleas to the bosses and their goons to stop attacking and killing us, our politics show the nature of these attacks and the need to organize a mass communist movement to end them with communist revolution.
Three U.S. warships carrying 1,000 marines, federal marshals and cops from the PRPD are ready to evict the demonstrators who have occupied the U.S. Navys prime Atlantic training ground for almost a year. It began after civilian security guard was killed by stray bombs from a fighter plane which "accidentally" hit the guards post.
The Pentagon insists the firing range is vital for "national security." In January, Clinton and Puerto Ricos governor Rosello signed a deal allowing the Nazy to resume limited bombing until the 9,400 residents of Vieques decide in a referendum next year whether the Navy should leave the small island.
The main lesson to be learned from this struggle is that the "national interest" of the imperialists is deadly for workers and youth. Not only have the people of Vieques lost a good chunk of the island to the Navy, but the training weapons used here for half a century have raised the cancer rate higher than in the rest of Puerto Rico. U.S. Navy out of Vieques! Smash the imperialist warmakers!
CHICAGO, May 2 The same Board of Education that is trying to fire two communist teachers is putting the squeeze on 1,500 mostly black and Latin janitors, cutting their wages and benefits. In a speech to a janitors rally where School Board boss Paul Vallas was given the "Hypocrite of the Year" award for his attack on the workers, a PLP high school student told the workers:
"We came to support your struggle for better pay and health care for your children. We students are struggling too. We have teachers that dont teach, we are attacked for not having the right shoes or uniforms. Every day we suffer from Paul Vallas wrath. Im a member of Progressive Labor Party and we have two teachers from CVS High School who Vallas is trying to fire because they taught students to fight against racism, against police brutality. They are being fired because of their political beliefs, communism. Keep fighting and never give up."
Chicagos public school janitors were Board of Education employees, entitling them to benefits and wage increases. However, Mayor Daley and his "city that doesnt work" for workers and youth have privatized their jobs by hiring outside contractors. The Board has eliminated mandatory family health insurance from its bids, meaning contractors will only be required to cover the individual workers, not their families.
When the janitors worked for the Board, they averaged $8 an hour and were promised an increase to $11.40. But now the same workers, when employed by the contractors, average $7 an hour, a 30% cut from their former scheduled rate. Furthermore, seniority rules are out the window. No matter how long janitors have worked at a school, they will return to the starting rate once a new contractor is brought in.
PLP student comrades and friends joined the rally and distributed leaflets exposing Vallas and the Board in trying to fire communist PLP teachers Moises Bernal and Carol Caref from CVS H.S. Many workers at the rally who took the leaflets and CHALLENGE gave us their names for future contacting.
The workers were supportive when we explained the teachers were "charged" with teaching students to take a critical look at capitalism and why our class must change society. They were taken aback by the Boards "charging" Carol and Moises with taking students to anti-Klan and anti-police brutality rallies. They should be rewarded, not fired, for these anti-racist actions.
Our young comrade is correct; we must never give up fighting and having confidence in our class to support us when we do fight. We have a defense committee to help with fundraising and will fight to pack the open hearings on May 9-11.
Demonstrate Against the Firing of Communist Teachers Moises Bernal and
Monday, May 8, 5 P.M., Board of Education, Clark & Adams
Fill the Courts, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, May 9, 10, 11, 9 A.M.
U.S. rulers war of aggression in Vietnam ended 25 years ago with the biggest defeat in U.S. military history. The media are spilling a lot of ink to mark this anniversary. The bosses hope to turn a war they lost on the battlefield into a series of lessons their class can use as it prepares for future imperialist wars. The working class can also use the occasion to draw our own lessons as we gear our Party for the long struggle that will lead to communist revolution.
Lesson 1In class struggle, political ideas and the commitment to fight for them are more important than weaponry and technology. In the 1960s and 70s, U.S. imperialism had the most awesome military machine in the world. Vietnam was a poor agricultural country with little heavy industry. Yet, despite a death toll of nearly four million (more than ten percent of the entire Vietnamese population), Vietnamese farmers and workers, often armed with little more than rifles, bloodied and battered the cream of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The "secret" weapon: a concept known as "Peoples War." Vietnamese communists in both the north and south mobilized the vast majority of the population to struggle against the U.S. invaders. Mass heroism, inspired at least in part by a communist outlook, defeated the best-equipped fascist terror.
Lesson 2Fighting for anything short of communism inevitably turns the most valiant struggle into its opposite. The Vietnamese leaders fought for a blend of socialism and nationalism, not for workers dictatorship, and unfortunately the workers and peasants followed them. Socialism preserves the wage system and, therefore, capitalist social relations. Nationalism is a deadly form of all-class unity, with bosses on top. The result, after all the blood and sacrifice, is the brutal capitalist dictatorship ruling Vietnam today, with every one of the profit systems typical horrors, including mass poverty, drug addiction and prostitution. The Vietnamese working class battled valiantly for a decent society, free of imperialist exploitation. Instead it has seen its country once again invaded, this time "peacefully," by Asian, European and U.S. corporations scrambling to squeeze maximum profit from cheap Vietnamese labor power. The result proves overwhelmingly that nothing can substitute for communist politics, leadership and social relations at every stage of a struggle.
Lesson 3The specter of "Vietnam Syndrome" still haunts U.S. rulers. The main internal weakness that crippled the U.S. military machine was the unwillingness of working class GIs and sailors to fight for imperialism. This "syndrome" took many forms. Tens of thousands deserted. Many others engaged in "fragging," acts of violence against their racist officers. In 1971, for example, the Americal Division reported one "fragging" incident a week. A significant number of enlisted men defected to the other side and began fighting against the U.S. Gustav Hasfords novel, "The Phantom Blooper," describes this phenomenon. As a leading military apologist for U.S. imperialism admitted in 1971: "The morale, discipline, and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States" (Col. Robert D. Heinle, Jr.; North American Newspaper Alliance; Armed Forces Journal, June 7, 1971).
But this morale problem isnt ancient history. Despite George Bushs claim that Exxons 1991 "Desert Storm" for oil had ended the "Vietnam Syndrome," the U.S. military is far from cured. The rulers are still worried sick that they cant motivate their armed forces to make the massive sacrifices necessary for a sustained ground campaign. Most U.S. military adventures since 1991 have been conducted from the air. Last years "humanitarian" slaughter for oil pipelines in Yugoslavia is a case in point. Clinton made clear from the outset that he wasnt about to send in ground troops. He had several reasons, among them a split within the U.S. ruling class about the importance of Caspian oil. But the main reason was the bosses continuing fear that their Army may not fight when the going gets tough. The PLP estimates that this fear is based on reality, and that for the foreseeable future U.S. imperialism will be unable to field a politically reliable military machine. This doesnt mean that the bosses wont go to war, or even that they wont send in a large ground army to defend their Persian Gulf oil interests. However, the gap between the rulers needs and their ability to meet them will offer our Party and the working class a tremendous strategic opportunity as conditions continue to sharpen over the coming 10-20 years.
Lesson 4Even a small number of determined communists can provide crucial leadership in the fight against imperialist war. The PLP was a fledgling organization when U.S. rulers began their Vietnam escalation. Yet, despite our many weaknesses and limitations, we were able to play a key role on a number of fronts. When various liberals initially supported the war, PLP organized the first demonstration to demand the U.S. get out of Vietnam. Then, when the U.S. appeared to be losing, the liberals and fake revolutionaries began calling for a negotiated settlement and to "stop the bombing." But PLP continued to fight for U.S. imperialism to get out of Vietnam and for GIs to "turn their guns around." When ruling class-backed opportunists pushed the illusion of a "new working class" and openly expressed contempt for industrial workers, our Party fought to build a militant worker-student alliance. When these same opportunists tried to turn racist, war-making universities into "counter-institutions," the PLP organized strikes to shut down these same universities and drew the correct political lessons about the nature of state power in capitalist society. For many reasons, we were unable to retain leadership of the mass movement that erupted against the Vietnam War, but our accomplishments at the time and the lessons we learned from them should enable us to do much better the next time around.
Lesson 5Never take aid from the class enemy and never negotiate when youre winning. The Vietnamese leadership committed both of these crucial errors. They relied on the Soviet Union for military hardware and advice. The Soviets had long since abandoned the fight for communism to become imperialists in their own right. They viewed the Vietnamese workers struggle as a trump in the rivalry between the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. The Vietnamese leaderships continued reliance on Soviet "aid" made the Vietnamese anti-imperialist struggle a hostage to Soviet rulers designs. The Soviet rulers wanted a negotiated settlement that would give them favorable terms for the redivision of world markets. And so they forced the Vietnamese leaders to the bargaining table, at the very moment when Peoples War was routing U.S. imperialism. This seeming paradox was the inevitable result of a bad political line. Workers today are paying the price all over the world.
But we will not have to pay it forever. The ultimate defeat of the Vietnamese peoples heroic struggle and the collapse of the old international communist movement cannot obscure the titanic, inspiring achievements of both. More imperialist wars lie on the horizon. Communists today are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. We must learn from them, rebuild our forces, and do everything we can today, tomorrow and forever to wipe the profit system and its horrors from the face of the earth. Fighting to build the international PLP today is the best way to honor the millions of heroic Vietnamese workers and farmers who fought and died for aspects of this goal and whose leaders betrayed them.
PITTSBURGH, PA On April 28, Richard Baumhammers, 34, white supremacist and fascist thug, went on a murderous, racist shooting spree over a 20-mile area throughout the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pa., killing five people.
His first victim was a man of Indian descent at an Indian grocery store. Then he shot two Asian employees of a Chinese restaurant, a black man at a martial arts school and finally a 63-year-old Jewish woman was found dead at her home.
Witnesses claimed Baumhammers carried out his killing orgy while appearing very calm, climbing into his Jeep and methodically driving from place to place. The police had been notified after the first murder. Yet it was nearly two hours and four murders later before the cops caught up with him. By then he also had shot at two synagogues and had enough time to spray-paint a swastika and the word "Jew" on one of them (attended by the slain Jewish woman). So where were these "defenders of law and order"?
This sharply contrasts with the quick action of racist cops when "suspecting" black or Latin workers, pumping 41 bullets into an innocent Amadou Diallo as one example.
In recent years, fascist groups such as the Klan, the Adolph Hitler Free Corps, National Alliance and Nazi skinheads have been very active in Western Pennsylvania. The KKK held a rally in downtown Pittsburgh a few years ago. According to reports, Pennsylvania ranks fourth in the nation for fascist groups. Western Pennsylvania was targeted when the steel mills and mines shut down in the late 80's.
There is no doubt that this racist killer was emboldened by his friends in these fascist groups and also by the killing spree by KKKops across the country recently. A few years ago, Jonny Gammage, a young black man, was pulled over by the cops in an all-white neighborhood in Pittsburgh and a half-hour later was dead on the road. "Strangulation" was ruled as the cause of death; the cops had him on his stomach and were pressing their knees into his back. They got off scot free, and one of them was promoted.
The recent racist TV ad about China placed by the AFL-CIO social-fascist leadership does much to spur racist terrorists such as Baumhammers. Recently, Hitler-loving swine Pat Buchanan spewed nationalism at a Teamster rally, blaming exploited workers in other nations for the problems facing U.S. workers.
In recent years there have been numerous racist killing spree by some associated with a fascist group such as the Aryan Nation. The capitalist press loves to blame this sort of racist terror and murder on the "lone deranged individual," but it is clearly the capitalist system and its drive towards fascism that spawns such fascist activity.
In the final analysis, the only real solution to racist shooting sprees and growing fascism is to build a mass movement for a workers' revolution against capitalism. This movement must have communist leadership to fight for workers power and a communist society where there will be no room for such people as Baumhammers and others of his ilk. March on May Day with PLP for Workers Power and Communist Revolution and against police and fascist terror.
NEW YORK CITY, April 28 Organizing for May Day 2000 has energized PLPs Factory Committee here. In early March a PLP factory worker spoke at a May Day dinner. A construction worker, a regular CHALLENGE reader, responded, "Were fed up. This system has got to go." The comrades Party club produced her story as a May Day invitation to other factory workers. This leaflet reached workers in several factories. The bosses at our members factory saw "red" as they searched for the leaflets "writer."
Hundreds of leaflets were distributed outside a local factory and at two locations where factory workers board buses and vans to their jobs. "Miss, this is all true. Give me extra copies." "Its even worse," said a worker waiting for his van. "Where I work there are large numbers of undocumented workers paid below minimum wage and even under-age children."
The Factory Committee launched a Project for Factory Workers in New York and New Jersey. It links the May Day march to plans to fight back inside the factories and to learn how the capitalists profit from workers labor all over the world. The Project will also begin Saturday classes in English as a second language (ESL) for factory workers. Hundreds of flyers about the Project were distributed.
Soon afterwards, a group of workers called us. They had been laid off from a large industrial factory. These documented immigrants had refused to work mandatory overtime on Good Friday. They were denied paychecks, called stupid and violent, and told to leave. Cops escorted them out. Three male cops and two male supervisors followed one of the women workers into the bathroom to take her out. They pushed another woman. Cops told the workers waiting for their van to get off company property.
The laid-off workers, members of a Teamster local, said they know the company is trying to get rid of documented workers, especially militant ones, while hiring many undocumented workers (including under-age children) from a local contractor. The Teamsters take $14.85 in dues from documented workers and $21.00 from undocumented ones! The laid-off workers told us they know the boss is the enemy and want to unite with the undocumented workers.
The PLP Factory Committee and workers made plans to fight for their jobs. This included a protest at the local office of the governor and inviting workers from immigrant and legal rights groups, from other union locals and university students, especially those involved in the anti-sweatshop movement. We will expose sweatshops in the state and the hypocrisy of the AFL-CIO, which calls for "labor standards" outside the U.S., but are bosses goons in factories here.
A contingent of these workers plans to march on May Day. Six have signed up for ESL classes and the project, joining up to 70 more factory workers. Three long-time friends of PLP "discovered" each other in a van they take to their job. "Rosa is winning a lot of our co-workers to come to May Day," Fresa informed us enthusiastically. About 30 workers are coming from several other factories. More factory workers have become May Day organizers. They all will help organize the Factory Workers Project and summer ESL classes on the May Day buses and after the march. This is possible because PLPers have solidified ties with these workers over many years, eating, struggling, crying and hanging out together. The road is bumpy but our hands always reach out.
We plan to connect with garment workers and janitors in California and with factory workers in "free enterprise zones in the Caribbean and Central America. "Workers of the World, Unite. Same Enemy, Same Fight." "Las Luchas Obreras No Tienen Fronteras." These well-known May Day chants in English and Spanish come alive through the long-term, ups and downs of many struggles, persistent efforts and leadership of communists in PLP. Workers: join our Party on May Day. For us, "Si, se puede" means, yes, workers can take power!
CAMBRIDGE, MA, April 25 "Hey Harvard, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide!" chanted workers and students today at a PLP rally against Harvards association with Rutgers professor George Kelling. The rally occurred at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where Kelling is a fellow (a paid researcher). Kellings fascist zero tolerance idea on policing has strengthened the ruling class official policy of racist police terror. The rally was the culmination of this semesters, campaign to force Harvard to stop funding Kelling's research and expose the Universitys role in developing fascism in the U.S. Weve collected over 300 signatures against Harvards association with Kelling.
Many people walking and driving by supported our rally with some honking their horns against racist police terror and racist professors. We sold CHALLENGES and distributed several hundred leaflets. A friend from Wellesley College came with two other students and spoke on the bullhorn.
This campaign has increased PLPs presence at Harvard, in the classroom, in mass student group meetings and on the campus in general. Many students now know about Harvards support of fascist Kellings racist police. We must now develop the long-term struggle of deeper ties with students and organizing class struggle. Most importantly, we must win students to the Party and to fight for communism.
NEW YORK CITY, May 2 Manuel López became the 9th livery taxi driver to be murdered in the last few months. He was found shot in his car at 3:50 A.M. on Elton St. in Brooklyn, with $8 in his pocket. He left a widow and three young orphans. Driving a livery cab has become one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S.
Livery drivers are demanding a fund for the relatives of those murdered and for partitions in their cars that could save their lives. All workers must support this demand. A meeting of yellow cab drivers in the Taxi Workers Alliance agreed to raise money to help the relatives of murdered livery drivers. In an English as a Second Language class in the Bronx, a group of home attendants, members of Local 1199, are writing to the union to help the livery drivers.
While workers are trying help these drivers, politicians and cops are trying to take political advantage of their misery. Mayor Giuliani and his police commissioner organized a special unit of 300 cops to "help" the drivers. Giuliani, who did nothing in the past when these drivers were murdered and robbed, suddenly saw a golden opportunity to clean his dirty image after the rash of recent police murders. With the support of the self-appointed "leader" of the livery drivers, businessman Fernando Mateo, Giuliani sent the Street Crime Unit, the same unit responsible for murdering Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, to "help" the drivers. It hasnt helped. Since the cops were sent out, more drivers have been killed and robbed.
Bronx borough President Freddy Ferrer and Senator Charles Schumer, both Democrats and supporters of Hillary Clinton, couldnt let Republican Giuliani get all the credit. Theyre asking for federal aid to help livery drivers put partitions in their cars.
All these politicians are part of the problem. They all have supported the powerful Medallion Taxi (yellow cabs) owners, which pressured theTaxi Limousine Commission to ban livery drivers from picking up street fares. So when the already low-paid livery drivers have not made enough money after 12 hours or more of picking up passengers who call their taxi base, they risk driving late at night, particularly where, because of racism, yellow cabs wont go. Eighty percent of all robberies and seven of the nine livery drivers murdered recently have occurred because of these conditions.
There are no easy solutions to livery drivers problems. Capitalism is dangerous to workers all the time, but some changes could be fought for. One would be ending the monopoly of the 12,000 medallion bosses (it cost some $200,000 to buy a medallion). One union of all taxi drivers, both livery and medallion, might also help. Today there is no union for any drivers. In 1970, when AFL-CIO Local 3036 representing 39,000 yellow cab drivers struck for 15 days, they forced taxi ownersafter years of renegingto provide partitions in cabs. The labor boss Van Aarsdale eventually dissolved the local.
In the final analysis, however, low wages, crime and rotten working conditions wont disappear as long as capitalism exists. Fighting for a society without the profit system is the only real long-term solution. Thats what PLP fights for. Join us!
Twenty-five years after the fall of Saigon, the Vietnam War haunts the ruling class and shapes its military strategy. The main lesson of the war was that political commitment will defeat technological superiority. The Vietnamese were able to defeat the U.S. because they mobilized the entire population to fight U.S. imperialism. This was primarily a political victory for the Vietnamese. Based on defending Socialism and anti-imperialism, the Vietnam workers made tremendous sacrifices to defeat first the French and then the U.S.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of this sacrifice, was the willingness of the Vietnamese to die in battle.
Participants in the war say it over and over again. In the first chapter of a very good book called "Flower of the Dragon," a war correspondent witnesses U.S. soldiers mutilating a North Vietnamese soldier alive, in an effort to make him talk. The writer commented on the stoic look in the young boys face as he died without talking, and the writer concluded the U.S. would never win the war.
The lack of political commitment of U.S. soldiers is still a fundamental weakness for the capitalists. Although able to field an army that will kill for imperialism, they have been unable to field one that will die for it. This weakness has shaped their military strategy for the last 25 years and is the core of what they keep calling the Vietnam Syndrome. It is partly why they pulled out of Somalia after 18 soldiers got killed, why they pulled out of Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks, why they have yet to get rid of Saddam Hussein.
The capitalists have been unable to solve the contradiction of having to rely on hundreds of thousands of black and Latin youth, who have been brutalized by a racist system, to field an army. Obviously this doesnt mean that all these soldiers are ready to pick up guns to fight for communism today. The collapse of the old communist movement, combined with decadent culture, selfishness and the limits of our own movement are all things we must overcome. Still, the specter of the military falling apart as it did in Vietnam, and young soldiers with rifles not following the bosses orders, sends shivers up and down the spine of the ruling class.
A group of PLPers went to the "May Day" march in NYC organized by the garment workers union UNITE, by Tepeyac, a Mexican immigrant group, and others. The crowd of about 2,000 mostly Mexican immigrant workers gathered at Union Square and then marched to City Hall chanting, "We are here and we are not leaving"; and "Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants."
Helmeted cops were all over and even arrested a group of young anarchists for "wearing masks while loitering."
It was good to see so many workers marching in what they thought was May Day, but the history and significance of May Day was hardly mentioned, particularly its revolutionary content of workers fighting for a new society.
The few of us in PLP did bring that message. Many took our CHALLENGES and May Day stickers which they pasted on their jackets and signs.
May Day also means internationalism and the carrying of the red flag of workers revolution, not nationalism. It doesnt mean waving the flags of different countries, like marchers did here.
We made some contacts and hope to bring some of these workers to the PLP May Day march in Washington, D.C. There they will see the difference between PLPs communist politics and those of the UNITE union hacks who have a long history of helping the bosses keep workers in garment sweatshops in the U.S. (despite what they say about "fighting sweatshops" overseas). March on May Day for communism and internationalism on May 6!
I wish to tell the high school students who designed the May Day stickers that they were a great success in Washington, D.C. We stickered on Sat., April 15th near several IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank conferences. When people saw PLP's table, they commented on the stickers. They were pleasantly surprised to see that a May Day march was planned.
On Sunday, PLP set up a table at the ellipse and members stickered the area. The young demonstrators eagerly grabbed extra stickers on the table. They were impressed with the eye-catching colors and the design. Having the website on the sticker was a real plus. Keep up the good work and keep making our Party vibrant with creative ways to get our revolutionary message across.
(The following was part of a speech given by a PLP teacher at San Franciscos May Day.)
Progressive Labor Party offers workers and students the red flag of the international working class. It is red with the blood of workers all over the world who have fought the whip of the capitalist oppressors. It is red with the blood of 30 million Soviet workers who died beating back Hitler, and with the blood of the workers who sacrificed their lives for their class in fighting for the Paris Commune, the first communist workers state.
The red flag unites workers all over the world in the struggle for workers' power and a communist society where there will be no rich and no poor, where each will work and contribute to the society according to ability and commitment, and where scarcity or abundance will be shared.
The bosses lie when they offer young workers instant gratification. We tell the truth: most of life will be one of struggle. The first May Day Progressive Labor Party celebrated on the West Coast was in 1971, here in San Francisco. I marched in that May Day (pregnant with the young poet you will hear in a minute) when Richard Nixon was negotiating with a Chinese "Communist" Party that had betrayed communism. Progressive Labor Party picked up the red flag that the Chinese threw in the dirt, and has proudly carried it ever since.
This May Day we ask you, will you entrust your future to the bosses' liberal politicians or to the working class? Will you join Progressive Labor Party? You need to fight to put an end to this bloody capitalist systemyou need communism, and for that you need Progressive Labor Party.
Living a life where you put your trust in the working class is the best life, a life-long struggle as a member of PLP to become a good communist, to understand capitalism and how to fight it, to develop the qualities of serving the people while we struggle against the weaknesses that capitalism has saddled us with, both personally and with our friends. Its a good struggle, one which brings the deep happiness of knowing that your life has meaning, that youre fighting not just for yourself but for the whole working class around the world.
Join PLP and help to put an end to a system based on racist murder, exploitation and war, to create a communist world where people can join together to work for human need, where workers are not divided by "race" or national boundaries, but where the international working class will be the human race. Long live Communism! Long live May Day!
(The following is drawn from a letter received from an Iranian revolutionary living in Europe.)
It is time for Revolution in Iran! Twelve pro-USA, liberal-fascist newspapers have been shut down by the Islamic "hardliners" who want to be more closely tied to Russia.
Students and workers are protesting all over the country. I have been working hard, but we need funds for our solidarity with Iranian workers! We read CHALLENGE regularly and thank you for sending the article about Stalin. I wish all my comrades strength and unity to fight together on this May Day!
This was one of the best organized May Day marches I have attended. The group was disciplined, very serious, focused and most importantly very conscious. They had done their homework to organize and bring workers hit worst by the system.
It was the best mixture of peoplemostly Latin working class blacks and most importantly the youth. The slogans were well selected. It was not your every day touchy-feely demonstrations with women strapping chain saws around their waists as "dicks" (environmental marches), or clowns on stilts. This was a POLITICAL march.
CHALLENGE was distributed to onlookers by young people and to my amazement people really took them with curiosity and support. I was watching this closely, since it reflects (to me anyway, this is my gauge) how the message of the rally goes to the people. Many more cars than usual supported with their horns, and shaking fists. People accepted the literature well.
Slogans I loved: "The Only Solution is Communist Revolution" and "Kick the bosses in the ass; Power to the working class." I for one, a pessimist, was surprised by this march that showed people still do care and that all youth are not hedonistic and apathetic. It is which youth you look at I guess.
I am very glad I went.
A Friend of PLP
A group of Nazis from several countries held an international meeting in Chile celebrating Hitlers 111th birthday. The so-called "National-Socialist Convention 2000" was organized by a local Nazi group which got lots of free publicity from the commercial press here. Even though the Nazi group tried to "cleanse" its racist image by "uninviting" a Nazi group from Uruguay because of its too open racism, Nazis and racist terror go hand in hand.
So while the local Nazis denied they were "racist," the head of the Chilean Nazis which organized the group even tried to deny the Holocaust saying: "I dont know if six million Jews were really murdered since there is a debate between the traditional historical view of this and a revisionist one." There is no debate. The Nazis murdered millions, most of whom were Jews, communists and other political opponents. Gypsies, homosexuals and other "inferiors" were included.
A group of fake leftists and some intellectuals led the opposition to the Nazi meeting. These people never present any alternative that will lead to smashing fascism. They are supporting newly-elected President Lagos, of the Socialist Party. But Lagos has continued the free market policies of the previous conservative President, so workers are still paid low wages, putting huge profits into the pockets of a few local and international bosses. Local Jewish groups also protested the Nazi event.
Eventually the Nazi "congress" turned out to be a flop. Alexis López, local Nazi head, was arrested for bouncing checks. He was jailed during the Nazi meeting.
Workers in Chile suffered a small imitation of a Nazi regime for many years under Pinochet, when former SS Nazis were used to train fascist torturers and murderers. Pinochet also came to power through the biggest Nazis ever, U.S. imperialism. Kissinger, the CIA, Nixon and AT&T were directly responsible for the fascist coup that put Pinochet in power. Although we are not yet a real alternative to fascism here, we must grow to achieve what the Red Army did to Hitlers Third Reich in 1945, and then bury capitalism and its creation, fascism, once and for all fighting for a communist society without any bosses.
PLP Club, Santiago, Chile