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Editorial: Bo$$es$ Culture Breeds Vile Sexist Acts
Cops Are the Worst Racist and Sexist Scum
Wars for Oil, Diamonds: That Is Imperialism!
LA Cops Provoke Youth
Factory Workers Must Become Mass Leaders for Communism
Scabs Must Be Stopped
We Need, One, Two, Three, Many Carmens
Stomp Racist Anti-Immigrant VCT!
Make MUNI Contract Fight School For Communism
Workers Vs. Bosses: The Way It Should Be
Black and White Unite Against Racism
There Are No Good Bosses
Using Philosophy To Understand the World
European, Russian and Chinese Rulers Challenge U.S. Superpower Role
Racism Murders Immigrants Worldwide
CHALLENGE Is Key
Nationalism Divides Workers
Reform and Revolution
Workers Organize Against Super-Exploiters
Hostile Take Over of LA Articles Was Mechanical
On June 11, over 50 women were sexually attacked in New York Citys Central Park. Throngs of young men sprayed them with water and pushed, groped and molested them for almost an hour. All this was captured on videotape. The cops did absolutely nothing to stop these sexist assaults.
Then the media and politicians, from Mayor Giuliani to Al Sharpton created a racist lynch mob atmosphere. The TV and newspapers have continuously displayed the faces of suspected attackers who are primarily black and Latin. What these young men did is inexcusable, but the apple doesnt fall far from the tree. Sexism, like racism, is part and parcel of the capitalist system.
Why did these men act in such a vicious way towards these women? On a daily basis, the working class is fed hourly dosages of sexist culture. The hypocritical, liberal media that calls for the arrest of these youth are the same ones that treat women as sexual objects and commodities on television and in the press, in billboard ads and in movies.
The bosses net billions from this sexploitation, which degrades, divides and therefore weakens the ENTIRE working class. It enables them to treat women as "inferior" to men and then pay women a lot less than men for the same work, netting them super-profits.
Jim ODwyer, a NY DAILY NEWS columnist, wrote that the actions of these men arent much different from those of mostly white youths who participate in Spring Break or New Orleans Mardi Gras events where women are openly encouraged to display and expose themselves like cattle. MTV has made millions promoting these drunken orgies and videos that display half-naked women (Currently one of the biggest hits is "THONG Song" by Sisco!).
Last year, scores of women were attacked and raped at the Woodstock Music Festival with the cops involved. In fact, a few years ago, some of these same, mostly white NYC cops went on a similar sexist rampage. Similarly there was the Tailhook Convention where an elite group of white Navy fighter pilots did exactly the same thing. None of these attacks received anywhere near the kind of exposure as Central Park.
Given all this, one can see how the bosses are using last weeks attacks in a blatantly racist way. In the Tailhook incident, no one ever suggested the pilots activities reflected on their "race." No one called them animals. The papers even debated whether or not this was a case of sexual harassment or just a party with a playful bunch of fellows that "got a little out of hand." The idea of it being a criminal attack on women was not even part of the discussion. Nobody was turned into the cops, locked up, had to post bail or ever went to jail.
The sexual assault that happened in Central Park is wrong. PLP has always opposed and fought against such boss-inspired violence. Our outlook is to struggle to win youth to fight sexism and racism. This we do in the process of building the working-class movement and political struggle.
It is impossible to separate what those young men did from the sexist culture of the profit system. The sexist and racist acts committed by these weakened and corrupted youth and their rotten ideas are an extension of the politics promoted by capitalism. It doesnt excuse them. But primarily the ideas that promoted them to do it and their source must be indicted and eventually ovethrown. It isnt because of some inherent "maleness." Hundreds of thousands of men who were at the parade that day had nothing to do with the attacks and many helped the victims.
Vile sexist acts under capitalism are a political question. If one takes high school students to a May Day march that fights racism and sexism and demands that workers receive their share of societys wealth and you might get fired or thrown in jail. But Spring Break and sexism get corporate sponsorship and hours of TV coverage that kids can watch any time and become increasingly impelled to participate. The capitalists need to divert young people from asking too many questions or fighting to change society or building communist relations that will strengthen the working-class movement. Those who perpetrate and profit from this kind of society are the biggest criminals.
This summer PLP youth will hold summer projects in NYC, LA and Chicago, training them to become communist organizers. Young men and women, black, Latin, Asian and white, will join together to agitate, organize and socialize. CHALLENGE will be our ideological weapon. We will be fighting the coming fascist neo-Nazis rally in Morristown, NJ, and the anti-immigrant fascist Voices of Citizens Together rally in LA on the July 4th weekend. We will also be organizing against police terror. Through this, we will train youth to fight for a communist society, where men and women workers and youth will share according to need what they produce.
There have been a lot of complaints about cops ignoring many young women who asked them to do something about the sexist attacks in Central Park on July 11. Some say that cops "have their hands tied," that after the rash of mass protests against police brutality in New York City, cops are being told to "hold back." Some in the media, and even some honest workers, are now saying cops need to be given free reign to stop the "wilding" in Central Park from occurring again.
To ask cops to protect victims of sexist violence is like using Clinton as a counselor at girl scout camp. Even female cops complain constantly about sexual abuses from male cops. Cases of domestic violence in a family where a cop is the father exceed those in civilian society.
The cops are part and parcel of the bosses state apparatus, used to enforce the profit system for the bosses. Its an illusion to ask these very enforcers of capitalism to protect workers from the systems worst abuses.
Last week, the World Bank reported what CHALLENGE readers already know, that the real cause of many of the wars in Africa is the fight to control the very lucrative diamond mines. In Sierra Leone and in the Eastern Congo the fight for diamonds is behind the civil wars. But naturally the World Bank does not report that the competition for this wealth reflects the highest stage of capitalism, imperialism.
In Angola, not only diamonds but, more important, oil is the big prize. During the Cold War, after Portuguese colonialism was ousted from Angola in 1975, the pro-Soviet group MPLA took power. But a right-wing guerrilla group, UNITA, financed by the CIA and South Africas Apartheid regime continued a bloody civil war, costing over a million casualties.
The UNITA group controlled the diamond mines while the MPLA government, aided by Cuban troops, protected Gulf Oils holdings in Cabinda province. When the Cold War ended, as well as the Apartheid regime, the MPLA became "born-again free market capitalists," now supported by the U.S., France and South Africa. UNITA found itself alone, but diamonds kept it afloat, selling to French and Ukrainian diamond traders.
Angola is not the only country where "oil (and diamonds) are a curse," as many are now saying. According to the WALL STREET JOURNAL (6/19), proven oil reserves in Sub-Sahara Africa (everything south of the Sahara desert) jumped 50% between 1978 and 1998, to 32.9 billion barrels. Total African oil reserves jumped 30% during the same period. This oil trade has netted huge profits for local bosses, politicians and the imperialist oil companies. For example, former Nigerian dictator Abacha stole some $2 billion while in power. Meanwhile, the new "democratic" government of Nigeria raised fuel prices, sparking a general strike. Many bosses in Nigeria make big bucks supplying the Nigerian-controlled military force occupying Sierra Leone.
But while the World Bank "denounces" wars for diamonds and oil, that didnt stop it from granting a $193 million loan to the capo di tuti capo of the oil business, Exxon-Mobil. This loan, backed by the Clinton administration, is to help finance a pipeline through Chad and Cameroon. The loan is to supposedly help the poor people of those two countries. Chad is so poor that, according to the WSJ, the World Banks Washington headquarters uses as much electricity as Chads seven million people!
The bank knows that the loan is a roll of the dice, but still Exxon-Mobil wants its pipeline (to be the one to "help the poor"?). Otherwise ElfAquitaine (the French oil mogul), or even worse, BP Amoco, Exxons current big competitor, might build it. Some might call that imperialism.
LOS ANGELES, CA., June 19 Hundreds of youth danced around a burning police patrol car. "Dont you love LA?" asked a reporter. "Yes, I love it, but I hate the police," came the reply.
Thousands of youth celebrated the Lakers victory over the Indiana Pacers in the basketball championship and took advantage of the moment to show their hatred of the LAPD.
The police provoked the incident when motorcycle cops tried to force thousands of fans to walk jammed together on narrow sidewalks. People responded by throwing bottles, sticks, and rocks, dishing out minor injuries to 40 cops. The police responded with rubber bullets and nightsticks. The crowds anger grew. Thats when two police cars and two TV camera vans were burned and destroyed. People threw rocks at the limousines and even at Shaquille ONeals luxurious car. Shaq donated money to buy the cops two new patrol cars.
The bosses and LA politicians were worried that the rebellion would escalate, so they tried to avoid an even more violent confrontation. The Fire Chief said, "I have orders from the police that only in case a human life is in danger should we enter the action." Two months before the Democratic National Convention, where appealing to Latinos is on the agenda, the bosses dont want to show that LA is a battleground, especially between Latinos and the cops.
The bosses want to put military weapons in the hands of these same youth, whove been exploited and oppressed by the racist police. Add revolutionary ideas to this already dangerous mixture and it could explode in the rulers faces. CHALLENGE must become the spark for this anti-racist, anti-capitalist mixture. Only a mass PLP can turn these spontaneous fightbacks into a actions with deeper political meaning.
NEW JERSEYThree dozen PLP members and friends participated in a cadre school here, discussing how to improve our political work in factories and mass organizations, particular given the growing fascist-like attacks workers suffer. Some workers complained of the bosses constant cheating on their vacation pay and taking money from their checks for medical insurance without ever getting any benefits. These workers also denounced the union, which only takes their dues and does absolutely nothing to fight for the membership.
One worker said theyre not being fooled by the union leaders, that workers at his factory have seen with their own eyes how these hacks are in cahoots with the bosses. He added that even though he just met PLP. he wants to dedicate his life to it because the Party has shown him in a short time it is fighting for the best interests of workers and against the bloodsucking bosses.
Another worker from the same shop reported he has received many calls from other shops where workers are suffering the same problems with their bosses and union leaders. He declared that a united fight-back of the 3,000 workers in their northern N.J. shops would show the way to thousands of other workers in the area to confront their tormentors.
Still another worker from that same shop explained how the bosses replace documented workers with undocumented immigrants, paying the latter still less than the already low wages paid to the "legal" immigrants. He also said that the same company owns the buses bringing workers from Upper Manhattan to the New Jersey shop, charging them $5 a day for transportation. The shop lays off workers every two or three months, usually cheating them of a weeks pay which they must give to the contractors used by the bosses to get hired and rehired.
The school made an ambitious plan to develop hundreds of workers, who in turn could win thousands more from all over the NY-NJ metropolitan area. We will fight every bosss attack, on and off the job. This way our Party can win masses of workers to become communist organizers, turning their struggles into what we call schools for communism: learning how to fight the capitalist class as a united working class with communist politics as our guide.
In the process we will expose the union leaders role as bosses agents inside our ranks. We will show that without workers bosses cannot produce anything, and that the bosses "democracy" is just a dictatorship of the capitalists over workers. Building a mass PLP of workers will enable us to wage a real fight for workers power, a society without bosses and where workers produce for their needscommunism.
All rose at the end with fists high to sing the Internationale, the working-class anthem.
GARY, IN., June 21- The strike by 650 workers against Methodist Hospital is entering a critical stage. SEIU leaders are putting on the best show the bosses will allow. The overwhelming support of workers in the area has not been tapped. Instead of calling out thousands of workers to shut down the hospital, various union leaders are called on to pledge their support and deliver a few checks. When one worker was asked about the threat of a court injunction he said, "We aint done nothing yet."
The hospital is open and garbage and medical waste are being picked up. Strike rallies take place at visitor entrances while nurses, supervisors, and scabs are allowed to cross the lines. A few strikers have reportedly returned to work.
Morale is generally high, but workers are starting to feel the heat. At a rally at the Southlake campus last Thursday, a black worker said that after 17 years he makes $10.35 an hour. A white woman standing next to him said after 20 years shes making $9.50. These two spoke for many when they said, "We have nothing to lose."
PLP is organizing strike support among postal, steel, and Cook County Hospital workers. But strikers need to take leadership away from the sellouts. This is the best way to learn how to fight for political power. The hospital must be shut tight and the patients moved. Let someone else collect the insurance money. The $1,000/week strikebreakers must be sent packing. Roving groups of strikers going to the mills and Cook County Hospital could draw on thousands of workers to strengthen the picket lines. The enthusiastic response of the strikers to CHALLENGE and PLP is a good sign for the future of the revolutionary communist movement.
San Salvador Carmen works in a maquiladora called AMITEX. For five years she has put up with enormous exploitation from her bosses. She was a member of the Federation of National Unions of Salvadorian Workers (FENASTRAS) and attended meetings with other workers from the factory. She was a very active union member, helping other workers and leading strikes. She has seen the bosses insatiable greed and always wanted to fight for the interests of the working class.
The bosses decided to give the workers a "holiday gift." It was a watch with a message saying, "Now you have no excuse to oversleep." One angry worker responded, "These sons of dogs think we are dumb and dont know how they exploit us."
Carmen began to see more closely that the union was selling out the workers. It became so apparent that she could not continue this game and decided to leave the union.
Carmen was greatly criticized because she did not take part in workers struggles. The sellout union leaders try to make her life in the factory impossible by controlling when she can go to the bathroom and when she can arrive at work. In this factory, they charge you 60 cents for every minute you are late. If you are late twice they send you home without pay and you lose your seventh day pay.
The union leaders see Carmen as an enemy because she wont sell out. They have tried to drive her crazy so shell quit and not expose their dirty work. We have struggled with her for years not to waste her energy with the garbage union leaders throw at her. Instead she should join PLP and organize factory workers for communist revolution. For now she is a CHALLENGE reader.
There are millions of Carmens with similar stories. They need PLP, and we need them to direct the anger of workers into revolutionary struggle against capitalism. This is how we will inspire workers around the world to fight for communism and win the life we desire, without bosses and profits.
LOS ANGELES, June 19 On his weekly radio program, Glen Spencer, head of VCT (Voice of Citizens Together) spews racist filth against immigrants to divide the working class. On a recent show he attacked PLP for stopping their rally several years ago. He also attacked us for making calls at the amnesty rally here to smash all borders.
VCT is planning a rally on July Fourth at the Federal Building in Westwood. They brag that featured speakers include Roger Barnett, the Arizona rancher who has shot immigrant workers trying to cross the border. These workers have been forced to areas like Barnetts ranch because Clintons "Operation Gatekeeper" has nearly doubled the number of border patrol agents at major border crossings like San Ysidro (San Diego) and El Paso.
Several immigrants rights groups plan to bring members to the rally to oppose VCT. PLP is encouraging workers and students to come to the Federal Building in Westwood at 9:30 am (the racist rally is scheduled for 10 A.M.). Were calling on our friends and co-workers to help stop the racists, and to show that Barnett, Spencer, Clinton and Gore are all racist killers. Capitalism produces big and small racists to keep the profit system in power. The unity and militancy we need to stop VCT will help us organize the long-term fight to end racism and capitalist-created borders with communist revolution.
SAN FRANCISCO, June 21 MUNI contract negotiations have stalled. "The biggest obstacle we have is motivating the workforce," said MUNI boss Michael Burns (SF CHRONICLE, 6/13).
They were motivated all right last Monday night when Burns and his sidekicks showed up at MUNIs Metro (trains) Green Division. Workers gave them hell. Theyre furious over 16 drivers being removed from the second car of two-car trains come September. Concern for safety and human life is being ignored to serve the needs of the Downtown Corridor.
Last week a teenager fell between two MUNI trains. Only the presence of the driver in the second car applying the ER brake saved this youth from certain death. Burns characterized one drivers concern for the life of this teenager as "ridiculous!" Drivers left the meeting clearly understanding Burns would ignore their concerns. Whats worse, at the MTA (transit authority) meeting the next day, the union leadership ignored the issue. Their silence was deafening.
Many drivers ask, "Why can't we negotiate until we get what we want." Others have proposals for action. "I think we should strike!" "How about stopping the busses for an hour during rush hour?" Resolutions passed at union meetings declared, "We have nothing to give up," and some things are "non-negotiable."
Many drivers are sick of giving up something to get something. They want to fight and reject wage progression. They hope the PLP member on the union bargaining team will keep things honest. We appreciate their confidence, but we must arm the workers politically to activate many more.
Pro-boss think-tanks like SPUR and the Committee On Jobs (the 36 biggest CEO's in town), are using the MTA to press their demands for on-time, rush hour service, "efficient and cost-conscious work rules," control of absenteeism and more service to commercial areas. This is happening because big business faces global competition from capitalists in Europe and Asia. To keep the economy "booming," they must reverse any modest gains won in earlier battles.
Through the contract fight, PLP wants to help workers understand the political and economic world we live in. Reading and distributing CHALLENGE is central to this process. As long as the bosses hold power, they will resolve their problems on workers backs. As fights against the bosses intensify, millions can be won to understand this system will never work for us. It must be destroyed. Society must be reorganized so that we replace working for an individual wage with a system where we produce for the needs of our fellow workerscommunism.
Workers and bosses have irreconcilable differences. Yet the AFL-CIO accepts capitalism and the exploitation of workers as the necessary motor of society. Workers are forced to sell our labor power, and owners profit from paying us a fraction of the value we produce. In contract negotiations workers try to take back part of the value the bosses steal from us (Marx called this "surplus value").
When communists led the early Transport Workers Union (TWU), workers rejected the idea we must suffer so the rich can profit. They knew that the rich own the government and dictate laws to keep themselves in control. If you followed the bosses laws, you would never win anything.
In 1937, communist-led workers in NYC seized and occupied the Kent Ave. power plant, the source of all power for Brooklyn trolleys, to protest the firing of three TWU organizers. Communists from other jobs mobilized hundreds of workers to surround the plant and defend it from the police. After three days, the bosses rehired the fired workers and recognized the union.
In 1966, 33,000 NYC transit workers struck in defiance of the law outlawing strikes by city workers. The union demanded amnesty for all strikers and refused to negotiate until the City agreed not to fire anyone. This boldness was possible because masses of black and white workers united to break the laws to fight for their demands.
But with all these apparent victories, the bosses still hold state power. They still have the power to erode whatever we have gained. And so they have, with two-tier pensions, part-time labor, wage progression, use of slave-labor Workfare programs, layoffs and more.
On Sunday May 28, I received an urgent call from a friend, asking me to meet him at the Beverly Woods Condominiums. A majority of the condominium owners are black.
Across the entrance someone had printed, "Ghetto Ass Woods." Although no one saw who did it, a neighborhood resident saw three cars of white youths speeding through the alley the night before.
My friend introduced me to some of the residents as a member of Unity in Diversity (UD), a local anti-racist group. They were angry over the graffiti and a tire-slashing incident in the parking lot two weeks earlier. Some expressed fear for themselves and their children. This is not what they anticipated when they moved here.
Beverly and Morgan Park make up one of the few racially mixed areas of heavily segregated Chicago. Along with mainly white Mt. Greenwood, they make up the 19th Ward. This area is economically stable, with low unemployment and a low high school dropout rate. It gives the appearance of an integrated community, but racial tensions are increasing. Groups like the skinheads operate freely while liberal Democratic Party politicians try to protect property values by covering up the problem. Many city workers and cops live here, and the Democratic Party machine doles out a generous share of city services. Yet it has one of the highest rates of reported hate crimes in the city.
UD was organized here in l996, following a similar incident of racist graffiti. I joined two years ago and currently chair the group. With only a dozen or so active members, we have responded to other racist attacks by supporting victimized families, canvassing their neighbors and publicly raising the issue in community meetings. As a result our monthly meetings have attracted many new people and are much more integrated.
The police and States Attorney appear to be investigating these crimes, but they make very few arrests and resist designating them as hate crimes. Many white cops live in Mt. Greenwood, specifically because there are hardly any black residents.
While it may appear that people are passive about fighting racism, they enthusiastically respond to anti-racist leadership. We sponsored an integrated contingent of 40 adults and 20 children in the local Memorial Day parade. We prepared a flyer describing the racist graffiti incident, and three members canvassed the surrounding neighborhood. One resident volunteered to distribute the flyer to all the others, and an anti-racist white teenager told us that neighborhood kids had slashed the tires. "I stay as far away from them as I can," he said. Neighbors were encouraged to raise this issue at an upcoming community-policing meeting, and to attend the next UD monthly meeting.
My Party club discussed a plan to help me build the PLP. It includes introducing more of my friends in UD to CHALLENGE and developing a distribution route. It also includes starting a readers group from among the CHALLENGE regulars.
When workers call on us for help, we should be prepared to make the most of these opportunities to build PLP. It may appear that organizing the community to pressure police and politicians to prosecute racists can solve these problems. In reality it is their job to protect the racists and maintain racist divisions, making it easier for them to control and exploit us. We can only be free of racism by eliminating the capitalist class with communist revolution.
LOS ANGELES, June 18 The Democratic National Convention of 2000, or D2K as its been tagged, is coming here this summer and the struggle has started.
Recently PLP members attended a UCLA teach-in on the convention. After a speech about the farmworkers movement under Chavez, a PLP member declared that capitalism can't be reformed, that we need a society based on production for need, not for profitcommunism. This contradicts the slogan of Cesar Chavez, late pacifist leader of the farm workers, "Si se puede," meaning, "Yes, we can" (reform capitalism).
By attacking militant farm workers, pushing pacifism and excluding "illegals" from the union, Chavez showed he was on the bosses side. That's why liberal politicians here are calling for a state holiday in his honor. The newly-named Cesar Chavez Ave. runs through East LA, the same neighborhood where LA County Sheriffs murdered Ricardo Close a year ago and Richard Garcia three weeks ago, both in cold blood.
The next speaker at the teach-in described the organization Direct Action Network (DAN), saying it was "non hierarchical" and "non authoritarian" and "has no leaders."(!) A movement with no leaders is like a car without a steering wheel, a family without a parent, a classroom without a teacher. Leaders are important. Progressive Labor Party believes workers and youth must lead our movement. One of the most important tasks of a leader is helping others learn to lead.
There could be no more hierarchical system than capitalism. We want to bring revolutionary ideas to the members of DAN, about a society organized based on communist centralism.
Some are calling for a march during the convention that will start downtown and conclude at a "corporate target" like the GAP since they advance the idea that there are "good" companies and "bad" ones like the GAP. But we know that all capitalists exploit workers and support wars for profit and all pay workers as little as possible. Thats what capitalism is based on.
If we march on the GAP, we will point this out. But we think we should be seen by the workers who sweat every day to make the clothes for ALL garment companies. We should march through the downtown garment district where over 150,000 immigrant workers earn poverty wages. We should march there to support these workers and win them to fight for workers power. This will also show students the power of workers, that it is workers who make everything of value and should run society. It will reveal more about the nature of capitalism.
Our work in DAN and other mass organizations is crucial. Most of the membership honestly wants to fight racism and oppression and are open to PLPs ideas. Instead of staged arrests against "corporate targets," designed to show some bosses are "better" than others and capitalism can be reformed, we must build strikes, walkouts and marches that forge working-class solidarity.
When the working class is united, the contradiction between workers and bosses will become the primary one. Instead of the rivalry between stronger and weaker bosses, the class struggle will determine which way the wind blows.
Every gain in building for revolution is a blow to the other side, and is important. As night gives way to day when the side of light is strong enough, so a communist day will dawn when the side of the working class is strong enough.
Strengthen the side of the working class!
Everything in the world is composed of contradictions in the dialectical sense: a pair of opposites that are in constant struggle against each other.
The main contradictions that determine how society moves and changes are:
Working class vs. ruling class;
Rival sections of bosses within the U.S. ruling class;
Inter-imperialist rivalry, between the bosses of different nations fighting over control of resources, markets and labor.
These are the main contradictions. The liberals would have us believe that black vs. white, citizen vs. immigrant or undocumented, U.S. bosses and workers vs. Chinese bosses and workers and Democrat vs. Republican are the main contradictions. While there are conflicts among these groups, they are not the main ones but rather antagonisms under capitalism both created and intensified by the ruling class.
Racism and immigrant-bashing exist because, in the contradiction between workers and bosses, the bosses are dominant. The electoral struggle between different politicians to win office or determine foreign policy with China exist because of the contradiction between U.S. bosses, and also between the imperialist powers. Today, the strongest section of the ruling classin the conflict between rival bossesdetermines whose policy dominates in the U.S. and in relation to workers here and around the world.
In mid June Clinton tried to sell U.S. plans for a limited missile shield to Russias President Putin. After Clinton left, Putin flew to Germany to sell his own proposal for a Trans-European missile defense built with Russian technology and German money. At his meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Putin proclaimed, "Germany is Russias leading partner in Europe and the world." (Josef Joffe, co-editor of the German weekly DIE ZEIT, in a NEW YORK TIMES op-ed piece, 6/20) To which the Chancellor cooed back, "Germany is interested in developing a strategic partnership with Russia." (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16) The TIMES reported, "Germany appeared closer to Russia than the United States on the question of missile defense." (6/17)
How could this have happened in a world with "only one remaining superpower?" An examination of the worlds aerospace industry provides some clues.
Based largely on aerospace sales to India and China, Russia has come roaring back to become the second largest exporter of military hardware behind the U.S., with plans to increase exports another 20-30% this year. (REUTERS, 3/7) China is also advancing in missile and aerospace expertise. Clintons national security advisor Samuel R. Burger fears that if the U.S. goes ahead with its limited missile defense plan, China will quickly expand and modernize its offensive missile arsenal. (NEW YORK TIMES, 5/28)
U.S. rulers view Russia and China as long-term strategic enemies. The rivalry is particularly sharp around Caspian and Iraqi/Iranian oil reserves. Control of Mid-East oil is central to Exxon Mobil and Rockefellers oil empire.
U.S. rulers want to prevent an alliance between Russia and China. This was the main impetus for granting Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PTNR) to China. At the same time, they are tightening restrictions on exports to China even remotely related to military production.
Profits from foreign military, civilian aircraft and space sales, which helps finance the U.S. war machine, have taken a beating at the hands of the Europeans. Since 1985, the US share of global aerospace sales fell from 72 to 56 percent, mainly due to competition from Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer. (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/22) Exports of U.S. satellites have dropped 40%. Airbus has out-sold Boeing in civilian aircraft for the last year and a half. Orders are piling up for the new Airbus Jumbo Jet, challenging Boeings 30-year monopoly in large aircraft and the companys cash cow. (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/24)
On the other end of the product line, the Iranian government has offered Russia financial support for a small twinjet that would sell for half the price of the Boeing 717 (AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 1/10). Brazils aircraft manufacturer Embrear just received an infusion of French cash. (AEROSPACE DAILY. 10/27/99)
The U.S. responded to this challenge by merging manufacturers under the leadership of Rockefeller Eastern Money. Boeing was the chief beneficiary of this consolidation. They set out to set back Airbus, as well as European military aerospace manufacturing. It failed spectacularly.
The European Union responded by merging German, French, Spanish and Italian civilian and military producers into the European Aeronautics, Defense and Space Corporation (EADS). About the size of Lockheed Martin (Americas second largest aerospace company), EADS is designing and producing new missiles for the Eurofighter and a new large military transport. EADS beat out Raytheon despite heavy lobbying by Clinton. In response to the U.S. lead in air power during the Kosovo war, these same governments decided to form a purely European rapid-reaction force. (DOW JONES, 4/20)
The success of EADS and the new European Security and Defense Initiative (ESDI) changed the U.S. direction in midstream. Boeing accepted a minor part in the European missile initiative. Lockheed Martin chairman Vance Coffman pleaded with Washington to remove export restrictions on the vital technology transfers to "boost transatlantic collaboration on defense programs" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/5) and thereby enhance U.S. corporations competitive position.
In the past, the State Department supported these restrictions, to keep U.S. bosses technically superior. But the emergence of Russia and China, and the development of "rival fortresses on both sides of the Atlantic," has forced a drastic change (INTERNATIONAL DEFENSE REVIEW, 5/26).
Unable to crush the competition, the U.S. is hoping to bribe some European players. The Pentagon has led the way, hoping companies will "build the political constituencies required" to maintain the transatlantic alliance (DEFENSE DAILY INTERNATIONAL, 5/23). Britain and Australia will become the first countries granted limited exemptions from export licenses for sensitive technologies. A key goal of this new initiative is to split Britains BAe, the company with the most extensive ties to Boeing, from the continent. Yet, even here, the response has been less than wholehearted.
Europe is plotting a more independent course as the strategic rivalry between the U.S. and Russia (and possibly China) develops. Europes own economic interests often put it and the U.S. on opposite sides of the imperialist battle.
Workers have no interest in taking sides in this bosses battle. The sharpening imperialist rivalry means both economic and political attacks on our class. The 20th Century showed that the bosses need to be top dogs and eliminate or control the competition, Their needs for maximum profits force them to do this. And just like mobsters need to eliminate the enemy before it whacks them, capitalists need to bury or control their competition. This is what makes imperialist wars inevitable. Ultimately the bosses will use their weapons, go to war and kill workers to secure their profits. Workers must organize themselves NOW to fight their way out of this death spiral of imperialism. The long, hard struggle to build a mass communist PLP is the only way out of this hellhole.
FLASH As we go to press, Boeing has announced its negotiating sale of the St. Louis fabrication division involving 1,700 workers. The company will be studying options to sell its bigger fabrication divisions in Auburn and Spokane in Washington State. Boeing is following a Pentagon task force recommendation to maintain the "health and competitiveness of the U.S. defense industry." (AEROSPACE DAILY, 2/3) In addition the company allowed Auburn workers time off with pay to attend on-site union meetings to discuss this issue.
Auburn workers have already resisted this company-government-union gang-up, turning the union meetings into sharp confrontations. Many have argued that Boeing is using the threat of the sale to break all the work rules, making the Auburn division an even more inviting target for sale. The full story of our fight-back in the union meetings and on the shop floor, confronting business agents and bosses, will appear in the next issue.
LA PLP is planning to protest against the racist anti-immigrant VCT (Voices of Citizens Together) on July 4. Racism against immigrants is growing internationally. On June 19, 58 Chinese workers being smuggled into Britain died of suffocation in a container attached to a truck. The day before a military patrol murdered six Haitian immigrants and a Dominican driver returning from Haiti to their construction and domestic service jobs in Gurabo, Dominican Republic. The super-exploitation and smuggling of undocumented immigrants is a billion-dollar business worldwide. In Europe, it nets more profit than drug trading and other illicit activities. Gangs of Russian and Albanian smugglers work in cahoots with custom officials and bosses who super-exploit these workers.
No sooner did "Another Veteran Comrade" (AVC) write CHALLENGE, June 21) that he was glad to see the editorial calling for doubling the papers distribution, he then proceeded to say that, "The issue is more than distribution." AVC claims the editorial puts "a straw man up and knocks him down," and doesnt present "the whole argument" of someone who "has a different take on the situation." I think this reflects disagreements with the need for a campaign to mobilize the Party and the workers to double the circulation of CHALLENGE.
Distribution may not be the only issue, but it is THE issue. There is no revolution without the Party, and there is no Party without CHALLENGE. Every time we let up on distribution, circulation slips. As we continue to make modest advances marching into the enemys camp, the distribution of CHALLENGE becomes a more urgent task.
A Party-wide campaign and commitment is required, involving dozens and hundreds of workers, soldiers and youth in creating a mass base for CHALLENGE. This is possible but far from automatic. It requires leadership. It requires political struggle and motivation. It also requires organization. In the small pamphlet, "On Organization," communist leader Josef Stalin wrote, "After the correct political line has been laid down, organization is everything, including the fate of the political line itself "
While AVC correctly points to the need for more writers, we dont need more people writing for a paper with a shrinking circulation. More writers and more time spent with co-workers, neighbors and friends wont lead to much if it doesnt lead to more CHALLENGE readers and distributors. At a recent cadre school attended by 30 workers here, six workers signed up for a CHALLENGE writers class. A big part of this class will be to see how the participants use, or dont use the paper, on the job and in the class struggle. SPREADING CHALLENGE IS A CRUCIAL PART OF BUILDING A COMMUNIST BASE.
We are a small communist party in a capitalist chamber of horrors. We have many tasks. Of all these tasks, we must decide which is the most important, and mobilize the Party around it. Every club, section and city committee should map out plans for this battle and set optimistic goals.
A worker told him his nationalism was bad and dangerous. The nationalist got upset, stood up and started arguing with another worker who told him that the working class is one class and that it doesnt matter what color the bosses are because their class interest impels them to exploit the working class. This experience showed that when Party members struggle for our communist political line it makes an impact among workers.
Some Party members have been active in this group for about a yearand before that other comrades were activeand we can see the results. Once workers understand the dangers of capitalist ideas, they are ready to confront these nationalists and racists. Although at times it seems workers dont understand PLPs political ideas, everything we say or do counts and sticks in their minds. It prepares them to challenge dangerous nationalists and racists as they did to this man who, objectively, is a representative of the bosses. Some workers decided to go to the amnesty rally next week and invite other workers to confront the VCT (Voices of Citizens Together) racists on July 4th. Surely some will agree that Clinton and Gore are just as racist!
Recent CHALLENGES have dealt with the issue of reform versus revolution. Articles pointed out that the recent move to grant amnesty to immigrants is an attempt to sweep them into the arms of the Democratic Party and patriotism.
During the Great Depression of the 1930's, the segment of the ruling class led by Roosevelt realized it was necessary to grant concessions to the working class to pacify it and save the capitalist system. Although a weaker wing of the ruling class was adamantly opposed to the New Deal, it was clear to the main bosses that the class war of this period and the move to the left led by the Communist Party necessitated gaining the workers allegiance through reforms in capitalism for which workers would be asked to die in the coming World War.
Today there are many moves by the most powerful segment of the ruling class to clean up capitalism's act by putting on a new, less intimidating mask to win the hearts and minds of the masses to the system and prevent protest movements from moving toward an anti-capitalist outlook. One such reform movement is the attempt to abolish the death penalty. Even a pro-death penalty governor, Illinois George Ryan, placed a moratorium on executions. Capitalist papers like the NEW YORK TIMES and the CHICAGO TRIBUNE have featured front-page articles and editorials about the racist nature of capital punishment, as if that was some great discovery.
Executions are becoming an embarrassment to U.S. bosses. Other industrialized nations without it use this issue as a weapon in their competition with U.S. capitalism. For the U.S. to improve its "humanitarian" image, it must portray itself as willing to listen to numerous protest movements fighting against things like the death penalty and anti-immigrant policies. Its goal, as CHALLENGE has shown, is to channel all protest and the working-class movement into the arms of the Democratic Party and into a patriotic mindset.
So it is necessary to work in reform movements, but primarily to rip that mask from capitalism and show its true face: imperialist war, racism, sexism, exploitation, filthy rich parasites, alienation, prison labor, sweatshops, etc. Their magicians are at work here and hope to create illusions for the masses. Its all smoke and mirrors. Those attempting to protest these issues can become easy targets for the magician if they lack a communist outlook. Many do, and fall for the bosses anti-communist China bashing campaign, which blasts its cheap labor capitalism while using prison slave labor right here in the USA. Liberalism is the puppet master here, and the strings are attached to people who claim to be anti-capitalist.
The International Socialists have called on their members to flood George W. Bush with phone calls to stop executing people. What will be next? Phoning all capitalists and telling them to stop exploiting workers? Or phoning the military and telling them to stop meting out capital punishment to the Iraqi people?
This endless tactic plays the bosses game on their stage with their rules. Winning people to prevent a few "legal" executions while allowing ever-more millions to be slaughtered and led to early deaths through wars and poverty is no victory for the working class. The role of communists has nothing in common with this pointless method. We must win people away from the impossible goal of reforming capitalism and must develop tactics to build communist consciousness.
In the final analysis, the task facing communists is recognizing and exposing these capitalist-directed reforms to drag out the killer behind the mask.
A group of 25 workers from Upper Manhattan, NYC, but mainly working in New Jersey, met to plan a workers committee. The plan includes ESL classes to help immigrant workers learn English. We will also study political questions, like dialectical materialism, to help us fight to transform society.
We began by thanking the family who provided their apartment for the meeting. Then workers reported abuses theyve suffered at their workplaces. Many workers, particularly immigrants, are usually surprised to find that this type of super-exploitation is so rampant in what the bosses propaganda describes as "this wonderful country."
Some said they are usually harassed and humiliated like animals if they cannot keep up with the assembly line speed-up. Many workers felt helpless to fight this situation and "solved" it by quitting their jobs. But once we discussed organizing to fight back against these attacks, many felt that as united workers they have the strength to do something about it.
Everyone felt satisfied with this opportunity to be heard and to be able to organize a movement to fight these capitalist oppressors.
A Worker, Always in Struggle
I could be wrong, but last weeks article on the "Hostile Takeover of LA" raised as many questions as it answered. Id like to focus on a couple. It says that one of LAs elite used his home for the transfer of Chinese money to the Democratic Party. So did Clinton and Gore. Are they anti-Rockefeller forces?
The article also mentions Boeings takeover of McDonnell-Douglas. M-D was a major imperialist "defense" contractor for the U.S. ruling class. Simply being taken over doesnt make you "anti-Rockefeller." Consolidations and mergers are part of the general period as the bosses sharpen their swords for intensifying global competition. Big fish are eating little ones in all factions of the ruling class.
The third point is dividing ruling class factions based on their outlooks towards the unions. While there is some truth in this, we should not be mechanical. The coal and steel industries are now less than 50% unionized. The auto industry is less than two-thirds unionized. These are some of the most significant drops in union membership, and its not the Hunt brothers who are responsible. In fact, union membership is at an all-time low nationally.
Even in NYC, the seat of Eastern Money, union membership has been under attack. The garment industry has shrunk to less than 40,000 workers while the financial district has exploded to over 400,000, all of it non-union. Workfare and slave-labor sweatshops are more abundant here than anywhere. All ruling class factions seem to agree, to one extent or another, on the advantages of dealing with unorganized workers.
I agree 100 percent that the main wing of the ruling class is consolidating its grip and disciplining its enemies in LA and everywhere. The article makes some convincing points. But that is not the same as saying that forces hostile to the main wing of the ruling class control the second biggest city in the U.S. We should guard against being mechanical.
Its true we should guard against being mechanical. The domestic "Oil Patch" bosses and Rockefeller are not the only two divisions within the U.S. ruling class. BP Amoco-Arco has both united with and divided from the Rockefeller Exxon forces. They agreed to bomb Yugoslavia to defend oil pipelines. But BP and the LA TIMES wanted ground troops while Exxon and the NEW YORK TIMES didnt. These oil barons also differ on policy in Colombia and the Middle East.
Its also true that McDonnell Douglas (MD), along with other "defense" manufacturers which World War II generated in southern California are not mere upstarts. On the other hand, they didnt have the same policy goals as Rockefellerespecially in the Middle East and China. MD had developed the best plans for the joint strike fighter. Boeing tried to take over MD before Clintons election. It failed. After Clinton took office, the defense department rejected MDs joint strike fighter plans. Then Boeing was able to take over a weakened MD. The NEW YORK TIMES cited MDs willingness to transfer technology to the Chinese as part of the reason for this take-over. Big fish are eating smaller fish, but the U.S. defense department policy helped guarantee MD becoming a smaller fish. When MD tried to borrow money from Taiwan to prevent the Boeing take-over, Laura DAndrea Tyson, head of Clintons Council of Economic Advisors, said it would weaken Boeing. MD never saw that money.
As part of the concentration and centralization of capital, the Rockefeller forces are guaranteeing the fight for their empire. In the past, the LA TIMES was the only newspaper besides the NY TIMES and WASHINGTON POST to have its own foreign bureau, giving it a certain measure of independence. It often printed stories differing with Eastern Establishment papers. But now the LA TIMES is being taken over by the CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
The main wing of the ruling class is urgently concerned with controlling workers in the heavy war industriesaerospace, auto, steel and coal. Thats why they need the unions in these industries, even though outsourcing may mean a drop in membership. Jay Rockefeller harps on the need for unions in the war industries.
These bosses need the AFL-CIO to win workers to active loyalty to their rotten system. Thats why the janitors strike received such favorable nightly publicity on LA TV. The AFL-CIO is sponsoring big rallies for amnesty and union contracts in LA, although it hasnt made a move to organize LAs 150,000 garment workers.
The bosses know this is a two-edged sword. They do need to pay lower wages. But if they can allow some unions to organize and still pay low wages, fine. This would give the AFL-CIO a little standing, the better to be able to control the workers and maintain loyalty to U.S. capitalism. Our Party can grow in fights for unions, if we put forward our ideas. But we should recognize that the unions play a key political role for the Rockefeller rulers.
The letter makes a good point that both Eli Broad and Clinton/Gore took money from the Chinese government. Clinton and Gore caught hell in the Rockefeller-controlled press for dealing with Chinese fund-raisers.
Southern California has its think-tanks and universities supporting the interests of some of the LA rulers, including Occidental Petroleum. Ken Starr was offered a post at LAs Pepperdine University as a reward for his attack on Clinton. We need to know much more about the LA think-tanks to expose them to CHALLENGE readers. Were working on it.