No Matter Whos Elected, Organize to Fight Terror, Oil War
AFL-CIO Leaders Protect Corporate Profits, Not Workers
Ralph Naders True Colors
What Is to Be Done? The Crucial Questions for Fighting for Communist Revolution
Communist Revolution Will End Police Terror -- Communism Equals Production for Workers Needs
Garment Workers: Unite to Smash Sweatshops Worldwide
Special! Anti-Nazi Book Reviews
Nazis in Chile
Nazi Policy: Jewish Labor, German Killer
Bush and Gore are vying for the presidency of the United States, but no matter who wins the top bosses plans for a ground invasion of Iraq will go forward.
Both candidates are backed by the Rockefeller oil companies, the dominant section of the U.S. ruling class. Gore's National Security Advisor, Leon Fuerth, has been a leading advocate for an Iraq invasion in the White House policy debates and his advisor on Middle East affairs, Robert Satloff, has stated that the new president must "have a strong commitment to engagement" in Iraq. (Jordan Times 6/11/00). Joseph Lieberman, a member of the Democratic Leadership Council, co-authored the resolution to support Gulf War I to the Senate. He also rallied support for the bombing of Yugoslavia based on the lie that it was a humanitarian mission.
Bush is also connected to the oil war plans. His advisor Condoleezza Rice, a foreign policy expert at Stanford, is pounding the war drums. "Iraq," she has cried, "is an outlaw state." (Financial Times 7/25/00). Rice favors a ground invasion over Clinton's ongoing air strikes. She is a star among Rockefeller oil policy makers, a director of Chevron and an advisor for J.P. Morgan, Exxon's premier overseas bank. Now Bush has chosen Dick Cheney, the original Gulf War's architect and the head of the world's largest oil field service company, Halliburton. No matter who wins the presidency a ground invasion of Iraq is almost assured.
Whether we vote for Bush, Gore, Nader or abstain, the period of the elections provides the ruling class a national forum for intense political propaganda. They spend billions of dollars on it. With its domestic foes like Gingrich defeated this election hands the Rockefeller forces a blank card. They will use to try painting a picture of a democratic, anti-racist US imperialism. We have already seen Colin Powell at the Republican Convention and we can expect to see much of the Harvard trained Caldera, who is the first Latino Secretary of the Army. The rulers are trying to win the youth, especially black and latin youth to believe this system represents their interests. Yet it will be a tough sell. Apart from the world record two million in jail they have millions of civilian corpses - from Vietnam to Iraq - to hide.
We must be clear, a U.S. invasion of Iraq will be solely to protect the oil interests of the Rockefeller oil giants. Exxon/Mobil/Chevron's domination of the world oil market is threatened by Iraq's oil reserves. These companies already control the major oil fields of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq contains some of the largest and cheapest oil reserves and is out of their control. A Russian consortium has a signed contract to exploit an Iraqi field with 7.5 billion barrels of reserves if and when sanctions are lifted. France's Elf Aquitane, a major U.S. competitor, has a similar deal for a field with reserves of 9 billion barrels. A major oil expert predicts that with this deal, "the size of Elf as a company would double overnight." (Wall St. Journal 2/23/98). For the last fifty years the Rockefeller oil bosses have been able to control their competitors economies by controlling all major oil production areas. The Europeans, Chinese and Russian rulers have signed oil deals with Iraq. For the U.S. imperialists to maintain their dominance they must go to war.
This time an air war will not suffice. Oil fields can not be controlled from the air, as the Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned repeatedly. They are well aware that nothing short of a ground war can guarantee Rockefeller's hegemony over Iraq and the whole Middle East. This means they will send working class youth to fight, kill and die for their oil profits. The only things the working class will get from these wars are caskets.
We have to expose and organize against these imperialist war makers. On the campuses, we need to target policies, courses and institutions that support imperialist war. The only way to end these wars is to destroy the capitalist system that requires them. To do this our long term strategy is for communist revolution and a system based on the production of goods for the needs of the world workers. We need to expose the humanitarian hype as lies and to build unity with workers, students and soldiers for a communist revolution to destroy the imperialist butchers.
The unions program now is wide-ranging and activist. They call for amnesty for undocumented workers, core labor rights as a condition for world trade, and a living wage. They organize demonstrations like the anti-WTO one in Seattle. The AFL-CIO is raising its fist and, from a distance, looks progressive.
It has folded its arms, though, in places like Torrance and Long Beach in Southern California. Since 1988 these two towns have seen 234,000 jobs in aerospace get axed. The AFL-CIO has not organized one march in protest.
In the last 5 years the number of cars assembled by one auto worker in one year has shot up from 57 to 72. US plants are now producing 15% more automobiles with 10% fewer workers but the AFL-CIO has launched no nationwide struggle against speed-up and productivity. There are no fists in the air here.
That is not to say they have done nothing. Today, if you work in auto, you are acutely aware of auto workers in every corner of the globe. The Union and company never stop presenting them as a threat to your job, as your cut throat rival. It is the same in any basic industry like steel or aerospace. Workers of the world are presented as your enemy. Neither folding their arms nor raising their fists, here the Unions are raising the stars and stripes of nationalism and protectionism! They seek accommodation with the US rulers, the biggest imperialist killers in the world.
Today, if you work for Boeing as a free laborer, you work alongside skilled prison labor. Daimler Aerospace in wartime Nazi Germany was the last aircraft manufacturer to use prison labor. Boeing has bettered their record - using prison slave labor in peacetime. No living wage here!
Today, if you are young, chances are you work as a Temporary without any benefits. Or perhaps as a part-timer. Or as a lower tiered worker. Or you are on-call or on probation. Or perhaps you find yourself on Welfare-to-work. In which case you will see the unions scrambling to administer the workfare workers! No core labor rights here. In fact it is the US, not China, that has the world record 2 million people in prison!
When Bush launched the vicious Desert Storm against Iraq the unions were among the first to support the genocide. Never mind there was mass sentiment against the war or that the desertion rate in the military was higher than at the height of the Vietnam War, the AFL-CIO in effect condemned this opposition. Just like it supported the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia where thousands upon thousands of industrial jobs from auto to oil to transportation were destroyed. The AFL-CIO helped push the lie that the bombings of Iraq and Yugoslavia were for humanitarian reasons, rather than control of oil and profits.
The AFL-CIO raises the stars and stripes in the fight against fast trackthe trade deal that would extend NAFTA throughout the Americas. But as long as capitalism exists, corporations will cross all borders for cheaper labor and maximum profits! Fighting for laws to enforce "high standards" for workers and to protect goods made in the US will not protect US workers jobs nor will it raise the standards of workers around the world. The strength of workers lies in our ability to unite to stop production and to make revolution. Workers in the basic industries like auto, steel and aerospace produce the key tools the system needs not only to function but also to wage wars. When these workers, as well as their brothers and sisters among garment workers, farm workers, janitors, and millions of others, fight the greedy corporations at the point of production, thats when they see their power to hurt the bosses and potential to run society without them.
Students need an alliance with the workers to build a movement capable, in the long run, of defeating this racist system of exploitation and replacing it with workers power, communism. The AFL-CIO leaders try to divert workers from fighting for power at the point of production. They would lead us on the deadly road of supporting the US rulers tin the sharpening fight with their rivals. Rather than relying on the bosses laws, we need to unite for power.
On the campus, we need a campus worker-student alliance. Together, with workers in the lead, we can build a world without exploitation, racism, or wars for profit, a true communist world where well produce and fight for the needs of the majority, not for the profits of the Exxons of the world!
Some are supporting Ralph Nader as a champion of fair trade. Nader has said that he would spend $200 billion on defense. He has not said anything critical of the US bombings of Iraq and Yugoslavia. He is not opposed to exploitation and racist police terror. He wants to protect "American" jobs. Nothing in his platform would do that. It would, however, build the deadly idea that the interests of US workers go hand in hand with the interests of the "good" US companies, the ones owned by the most powerful wing of the US ruling class, the Rockefeller wing.
Youth and workers are faced with crucial choices in confronting the attacks on our class and in building a movement to fight them. Will we succumb to racist, nationalist divisions, or will we unite as one class world wide against our oppressors? Will we build patriotism or internationalism? Will our long term goal be to fight to destroy this racist system of exploitation or to accommodate to it? Will we unite with workers of the world or with the biggest imperialist war makers the world has seen? Will we turn every attack by the cops and the bosses into a fight to unite our class? Will we succumb to spontaneity or will we fight for the long term to build, brick by brick, a powerful revolutionary movement that cannot be stopped by any fascist repressive force of the bosses? In short, will we follow the road to revolution, learning from the strengths and weaknesses of past revolutionary movements, or will we be led by wolves in sheeps clothing down the road of war and fascism? Progressive Labor Party is building a base in the schools, factories, hospitals, neighborhoods, fields and barracks to turn the bosses attacks and their coming wars into the long term fight for a communist world where those who produce everything of value also run society for the needs of the workers of the world. We are one class. We need one flag and one party. Join us!
In this so-called "democracy," oppression of the working class, especially black and Latin workers, is the order of the day. In 1994, there were 1 million people in US federal and state prisons. Now there are 2 million inmates in US prisons and jails including a disproportionately large black and Latin population. Meanwhile, legislation such as the 3 strikes law and Prop 21 will increase these already staggering numbers. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners are forced to work for as little as 20 cents an hour and some as low 75 cents a day. They produce everything from clothing, eyewear, furniture, aircraft parts, vehicle parts, Microsoft software, telemarketing, and on and on. US bosses, unable to provide many youth with jobs, either entice them into the military or drive them into prison where they are "hired" at slave "wages." There they make products that undersell those made outside the walls, leading to thousands of layoffs and the lowering of the overall wage scale of the entire working class.
As the working class living standard deteriorates, the ruling class (through its voice in the media) speaks of an "economic boom." They say the economy is the best its ever been, yet millions throughout the world suffer from rampant, curable diseases, from starvation and poverty, and from endless wars over profits while a few select members of the ruling class enjoy the latest advances in technology and luxury. Still, despite this incredible disparity, the capitalists dont offer more job security, better healthcare or education. Instead they offer a systematic attack on our class through the racist police and fascist criminal justice system. They use fascism in an attempt to control workers and youth to secure the stability of capitalism.
Another aspect of this rapidly growing fascism is the daily police brutality through out the country. The racist murders of Amadou Diallo and most recently Dorismund in New York reveal a shoot to kill policy. In Los Angeles, cops shot Ricardo Close in East LA 38 times when his wife called 911 because he was depressed. The Rampart scandal exposed extensive and deliberate this police terror that goes on in every LAPD Division. In Montebello the cops shot and killed Jason Rodriguez, who was unarmed. It isnt just a few bad apples but the entire system!
Many say if we vote for the Democrats it will get a little better. The reality is that both Republicans and Democrats have equally contributed to the growth of these attacks on our class. Clinton and Gingrich both cut spending for schools and health care but vastly increased the amounts spent on building more prisons. Clinton, specifically, financed the release of 100, 000 more fascist cops into our streets. And Gore just called for 50,000 more. The AFL-CIO, which claims to look out for working class interests, O.K.d prison labor. "Use of prisoners for productive work simmers as an issue for unions The AFL-CIO backs the idea of inmates working but wants it done carefully." (Wall Street Journal, June 29, 1999)
There is little difference between Democrats and Republicans, but there is a difference of opinion in how the ruling class wishes to implement fascism. Consider this: years ago, the LAPDs gang crash units were made a national model of policing. Then Police Chief Gates led massive arrests of black and Latino youth who "violated curfews" for things like taking out the trash at night.
These tactics have led to a dangerous (to the rulers) hatred towards cops. Today, Mayor Riordan and Police Chief Parks are trying to recover from the Rampart scandal and maintain their control over the city. But theyre losing. The US Justice Department, representing the dominant Eastern ruling class, is asserting its power over the LAPD. They have a new strategy. They plan to implement fascism under the guise of "community policing" where ministers and other community leaders are encouraged to snitch or rather "police" the neighborhood. The dominant section of the ruling class wants to try to fool us with a nicer appearing fascism. They understand that they need to maintain a base of support among workers to defend their empire and accept low wages. However, this wage system needs racist terror to keep workers and youth in line. Only revolution can change that!
Every time the police attack one of us, we need to organize strikes, walkouts and demonstrations. Killer cops must pay for their crimes. So should the system that creates them! Most of all, we need a mass revolutionary movement to turn the cops terror around by uniting against racism and fighting for workers power.
"You live in the greatest democracy in the free world! Voting gives everyone an equal say in running the system." Thats the bosses story. Theyre sticking to it. Karl Marx exposed this lie, explaining voting under capitalism: "Every few years the workers are given the opportunity to choose from among their oppressors who will represent and repress them." The bosses will never give up the real questions to elections. Will we ever be able to vote on whether production should be for workers needs rather than profit? Or whether the US government should drop bombs on Iraqi towns? Whether cops should brutalize and murder? Can we vote the bosses out of power? Of course not.
Is there anything to be said for preserving the capitalist system, which through its world wars has given us the bloodiest century in human history? For preserving a system based on exploitation of the masses, and which has never served the needs of the working class? "Human Need, Not Corporate Greed" makes sense only if it is a call for revolution to smash the system that has always placed profits before human need. Capitalism cannot end exploitation, racism, sexism, poverty or imperialist war because it thrives off of them. These are the weapons they use to divide and weaken us to keep the profit system in power.
Production for profit is the basis of capitalism. Communism is based on production for need.
The PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY fights directly for communist revolution. This is a long term struggle. We dont have any illusions in "quick fixes." Politicians want to convince working people that with a little push, the system worksthat capitalism can be reformed to meet our needs. This outlook condemns workers to fight against the bosses (or even each other) for crumbs, not the whole pie. Thus while we fight hard for a "living wage"just enough to satisfy basic needswe are always forced to fight on the defensive.The bosses cops and courts cant be reformed to be on the side of the workers. This system is a dictatorship of the bosses.
Many past revolutionaries believed that reform struggles would become more militant and eventually (magically) transform into revolution. This was a fatal error. Reform did not lead to revolution in the 1930s when communists organized 5,000,000 workers into the CIO. History shows us that trying to win immediate reform demands can never, by itself, lead to a revolution.
The Progressive Labor Partys fights in the mass movements to expose the limits of reform and win millions to make a revolution that destroys the system. A crucial question we must ask our selves today is: What do we want from these days of protest? How are we going to create a new society to end exploitation, to end imperialist war, to end police brutality, sexism, and racism? We need to think long term. We need to become fighters everyday for our class, embedded in the working class. Our goal should be a society without exploitation. We need to build a mass party capable of taking power. A ruling class willing to kill 1.5 million Iraqis to try to control Iraqi oil cant be shocked into ending racist exploitation and wars for profit. We need an armed revolution in which millions participate. Today, we need to fight racism and build a base to unite our class to create the conditions for revolution to become possible in the future. Isolated terrorism will not help build this movement.
The essence of communist revolution is the workers running society for their own needs, not for the profits of the rich. The bosses say that communism failed. That is a lie. The old communist movement showed workers can cooperate to get rid of the bosses. The Russian communists led millions to defeat Hitler. In China, the Great Leap forward built communes of hundreds of thousands that temporarily eliminated money and wages. The old communist movement was reversed because socialism contained too many features of capitalism, especially wages and production for sale. By learning from the strengths and weaknesses of the past, this time workers and youth will fight to eliminate the wage system and money. Workers and youth will produce and live collectively for our own needs. It will take time, but by fighting everyday, we can build a mass revolutionary party that crosses all borders, and develops millions of leaders to lead workers and youth to take power and build a world without exploitation or racism.
There are about 150,000 garment workers in the LA area, contributing about $38 billion a year to the Southern California economy. Despite producing this enormous wealth, most garment workers work long hours just to make the amount earned at a minimum wage job. Since garment companies use a piece rate system (a system which pays pennies for each operation that assembles the whole garment) many of the workers slave up to 60 hours a week for less than $20 a day for less than $200 a week. Garment workers have no health insurance, no pension, no hope for a vacation, no overtime pay, no union, and no benefits. What they can count on are sub-minimum wages, buildings full of code violations, constant threats of deportation and of moving production to another country, and frequent physical abuse.
These conditions are prevalent here in the "prosperous" United States just as in many other countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. What system justifies this misery internationally and here in Los Angeles where the famed Democratic National Convention will be held?
Some feel that the answer to these problems can be found within the U.S. system. Some say we can just ask the government and Gray Davis to solve this dilemma. But the government exists solely to protect capitalist profits.
Many say that garment workers are being super-exploited because they are undocumented, and that granting legal residency would solve the problem. Even though we need to fight for unconditional amnesty, granting garment workers amnesty is not the solution: undocumented or not, all are exploited. Thousands of garment workers are legal residents or citizens. Others argue that garment workers are not unionized, and clearly they should be. But unions are not organizing workers for power. The workers have to organize ourselves starting with committees of struggle in every factory. Many say that we should fight for a living wage. But what is a living wage?
Companies like Guess, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hillfiger all pay at a piece rate, both here in LA and in other countries. This piece rate is lower than the piece rate in 1980. When the hourly wage rose, tens of thousands of garment workers were forced to work harder, faster and longer because the piece-rate did not increase.
Capitalism is to blame! Capitalism is in a worldwide crisis, and as the crisis deepens, so does capitalist misery! We could spend our time choosing between Nike and Nautica, Guess or Polo, deciding who exploits which worker more, but that is not the point. All bosses have one thing in common: they all put profit before human need. Exploitation is not a foreign conceptit is alive here, just as in every corner of the capitalist system. The owners of the means of production cannot survive without the increased competition among capitalists in the race to find the most minimum of wage at maximum profit.
Every day in garment factories from LA to El Salvador, workers organize struggles over piece rates and bad conditions. As a garment worker stated, "We workers are the creators of all wealth, even though we are poor." This contradiction is played out daily in a struggle between workers who want more wages and bosses who need more profit. The union leaders talk about low labor standards in other countries. But what about here in LA?
The 150,000 garment workers in LA if united, in a movement that organized on the shop floor, could be a powerful force to challenge the racist bosses, their immigration terror, and their slave labor conditions. Garment workers in LA must unite with workers worldwide. The unity of workers is more powerful that any bosses laws! The solution is in our hands! In the final analysis, the only solution to this problem is for those who create all the wealth to build a mass revolutionary party to fight for power. Students need to ally with the workers and soldiers to fight these slave labor conditions. Together, we can build a powerful party, the PLP to fight around the world against exploitation and to build a world where those who create all the wealth enjoy the fruits of our labor!
The controversy around 80-year old Israeli rabbi Ovadia Yosef is not surprising. Yosef, after insulting Palestinians, claims that the Jewish victims of the holocaust died because they were "reincarnations of sinners"(NY TIMES, 8/8). Yosef, spiritual leader of the extreme right-wing Shas party in Israel, represents the Judenrat (Jewish Council), traitors who helped the Nazis carry out the Holocaust. An article in PÁGINA12 (8/8), Argentina, compares Yosef to the Taliban and the fascist priests who helped the Nazis, adding, "In 1939, as soon as the Nazis entered Warsaw, the right-wing Jewish community leaders ran to save their skin. The organization and resistance of the Warsaw ghetto was led by the `Jalutzians' (pioneers) movement, the Bundists (socialists) and the communists: Indeed it was a left-wing rebellion of the Jewish Combatant Organization, not the ritualists. Yosef, a descendent of those who ran, totally agrees with the anti-Semites to deny the victims of the Holocaust."
Nazism is alive and well. Hundreds of terrorist acts by Neo-Nazis in Germany have attacked immigrants and Jews. On August 7, a bomb was placed in front a Jewish man's house (it was disarmed). Weapons and explosive were found in a racist cop's house (he was fired). Neo-nazi activities are so rampant that Jewish organizations are threatening to warn the few thousands Jews remaining in Germany to emigrate. It is therefore important to understand more about the Nazis, and how to fight them.
In 1939, secret documents revealed the Chilean foreign ministry ordered its consulates in Europe to deny visas to Jews.
Both fascist dictator General Pinochet and socialist President Salvador Allende, overthrown by Pinochet, as well as world renown pianist Claudio Arrau all either had links to the Nazis or allowed them to function.
The Nazis and the Chilean ruling class maintained their relationship after the war. Nazi hunters tried for many years to seize Hermann Julius Walter Rauff, a war criminal who invented the mobile gas chambers that killed 97,000 during the Holocaust. Rauff lived in a high-class neighborhood in Santiago for 26 years until he died in 1984. His name was listed in the telephone book. He was arrested on December 3, 1962 in the city of Punta Arenas and freed by Chile's Supreme Court in less than five months. In September 1973, Simon Wiesenthal asked socialist President Allende to change the Supreme Court verdict but Allende said he couldn't do it.
When Allende was overthrown, Rauff worked for the Pinochet regime's DINA (secret police). In 1983, Nazi hunters Wiesenthal and Beate Klarfeld and David Kimche of the Israeli foreign service, asked Pinochet to send Rauff to Germany to face trial for his crimes. Again Rauff was left alone.
Rauff is buried in Santiago. His tombstone reads, "Heil Hitler, Heil Rauff."
This study shows that no matter how "compassionate" cops might be to some of their victims, as a few of them were, in essence that means zilch. "There is a letter [in the book] from a Jewish survivor remembering the kindness of some of the policemen, who tried to help him escape... The unhappy conclusion Browning draws is that even there though there were many individuals who were sickened and distressed by what they did, their scruples counted for nothing. A core of eager and dedicated officers and men, abetted by a larger body of men who did what they were told, reluctantly or not, carried out racist murder on an immense scale."(FT).
The fact that millions helped the German ruling class carry out its fascist Holocaust and fought and died for the Führer more ferociously than any other capitalist army demonstrates the need to fight racism and fascism now and all the time. We in PLP are very conscious of this and always fight every act of racism, every fascist KKK or neo-Nazi scum that today try to terrorize workers and youth. Our message is to not only fight fascism and racism, but also the creator of these monsters--capitalism.