September 6, 2000

This is a three week issue of CHALLENGE. We will return to our weekly schedule on the issue going to press on September 6.
  1. Elections 2000, Preparing for War
    1. Candidates Target Baghdad and Young Workers
    2. Bosses' Dilemma Is Workers' Opportunity
  2. PLP Exposes Anti-Globalization Liberals As Pro-War Patriots
    1. L.A.P.D. Attack Youth
  3. Nader, Buchanan also push racist nationalism
  4. Verizon Strikers Must Hang (Up) Union Hacks
    1. Straight from the Horse's Mouth....
    2. Pushing Buttons
    3. `Replacements'are scabs
  5. AC Transit Contract Driving Workers Over the Edge
  6. Dialectical Materialism: Ideas Come from Practice
    1. Think Universal.
    2. Stress That All Ideas Come From Practice and the Real World.
    3. Comments on DM School
    4. Other comrades wrote:
    5. Youth on Dialectics
  7. Renewed U.S. Bombing of Iraq Omen of Gulf War II
  8. Nazi Mass Base Built on Racism, Anti-Communism
    1. Nazis in Chile
    2. Nazi Cops Key to Carry Out Holocaust
    1. Bosses' cops, Flag at Dems sideshow
    2. PLP International Conference a Big Hit
    3. More Open to the party's ideas
    4. A taste of communism
    5. Better Equipped for the Struggle
    6. LA shows mass base needed
    7. Has Slavery Been Abolished?
    8. `Summer School' takes to streets

Elections 2000, Preparing for War

Candidates Target Baghdad and Young Workers

Who can better mobilize the U.S. for the next oil war, Bush or Gore? This issue has been played down but is the main one in the 2000 presidential race. The dominant Rockefeller section of U.S. capital plans a massive invasion of Iraq in order to overthrow Hussein's regime and securely tighten Exxon's access to Mideast crude oil. Unlike Desert Storm I, seizing Baghdad won't be that easy. Young U.S. workers, disproportionately black and Latin, will bear the brunt of the fighting and dying. To help the rulers expand popular support for their coming bloodbath, Bush staged an orgy of multi-racial militarism in Philadelphia, with the highest black official, former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, leading the way.

The Gore camp, not to be outdone, has been just as strident and inclusive in its call to arms. Gore laid his cards on the table in a May 23 speech. "We have made it clear that it is our policy to see Saddam Hussein gone. We have sought coalitions of opponents to challenge his power from within or without.... We have used force when necessary. And we will not let up in our efforts to free Iraq from Saddam's rule. Should he think of challenging us, I would strongly advise against it. As a Senator, I voted for the use of force. As Vice President, I supported the use of force. And if entrusted with the Presidency, my resolve will never waver."

The organizational engine that drives Gore's campaign is the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a centrist group that counts Gore and Clinton as its star protégés. With Joseph Lieberman as chairman, the DLC publishes a journal aptly named "Blueprint," a series of policy pronouncements comprising a blueprint for war and fascism. In the Winter 2000 edition, Robert Satloff says the next president should pounce on Iraq as soon as it provides a pretext for invading. U.S. planners need to actively prepare for a window of political opportunity to attack Saddam. There are two plausible scenarios under which Saddam might "provoke" the United States--and hopefully the Desert Storm coalition--to forcefully intervene with the international community's acceptance. The first would be if Saddam stymied the efforts of a new inspection regime cobbled together by the United Nations Security Council. The second would be Saddam's pursuing some sort of break-out strategy, using terrorism, conventional military means or even weapons of mass destruction.

By choosing Lieberman as his running mate, Gore openly endorsed the DLC's war tactics. The important thing about Lieberman is not his religion but his record. Lieberman had co-authored the Senate resolution authorizing the original Gulf War. Gore's vice-presidential selection panel included General John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Senator Jay Rockefeller (NEW YORK TIMES, 8/9). We're not dealing with empty campaign rhetoric here but an imminent military action directed by the nation's most powerful capitalists. Gore's foreign policy advisor, Leon Fuerth, supports the strategy. He belongs to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Committee for National Security.

Capturing heavily defended Baghdad could lead to far more U.S. casualties than Desert Storm I did. Gore--or Bush--will have to win public acceptance of this grim reality. Gore's DLC team makes overcoming the "Vietnam Syndrome" (see box) a top priority. NY Senator Stephen Solarz wrote in Blueprint (Winter 2000) that immaculate interventions in which there are literally no U.S. casualties are likely to be the exception, not the rule. If the objective is compelling and the risks are made clear, says Solarz, "our" national leadership should be politically skilled enough to secure the support of the American people for military action.

Not everyone, however, will swallow the lie that dying for Exxon is sweet and beautiful. For those who don't go along with the program, the DLC proposes tighter social control. It favors expanding the Clinton Crime Bill. This boils down to more cops in black and Latin neighborhoods, more arrests, longer sentences and more jails. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a DLC policy setter with a liberal pedigree, wants to put cops and probation officers in inner city schools.

Our Party, too, has aims for working-class youth. We work to make them leaders of an organization that can some day, through communist revolution, put an end to the rulers' deadly oil wars.

Bosses' Dilemma Is Workers' Opportunity

The U.S. ruling class has a big problem. It needs to go to war. The urgency is growing as Venezuela and Indonesia have recently joined France, Russia and China in demanding an end to U.S.-led sanctions on Iraq. But ever since the Vietnam War, U.S. rulers can't be sure their troops will follow orders. Nor can they count on public support.

The Vietnam War laid bare the racist, murderous core of U.S. imperialism. Over three million Vietnamese workers perished. Black and Latin U.S. troops died in numbers far beyond their percentage in the population. Millions militantly opposed the bosses' slaughter. Within the military, mutinies and fragging (killing an officer with a grenade) became common. Once an entire division refused to fight. On the homefront, rebelling workers battled cops and shut down cities. Students seized campuses. Anti-war marchers filled the streets. Our Party played a leading role in this struggle.

The potential for similar uprisings haunts the U.S. high command today. One Gulf War criminal, General Bernard Trainor, discussing a ground invasion of Iraq, complained that the military and the public have become casualty shy (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/3). The Vietnam Syndrome is causing some strategists to take a go-slow approach to invading Iraq. When former arms inspector Scott Ritter says that Hussein doesn't currently pose a threat, he's buying time for a longer-term build-up, recognizing that U.S. forces are unready.

But whatever the timing, Rockefeller & Co. must someday resort to force in the Middle East. The bosses' war preparations open the door for communist organizing.

PLP Exposes Anti-Globalization Liberals As Pro-War Patriots

LOS ANGELES, August 16 -- PLP youth had a bold contingent at the large march on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. We carried two banners: "End Police Terror and Oil Wars with Communist Revolution" and "Worker-Student Alliance Against Capitalist Attacks Worldwide." Many people took up the slogan, "Workers of the World, Unite," every time we raised it. During the week-long protests we have distributed thousands of CHALLENGES, fliers and Party pamphlets. We have also gone to garment factories, where workers have welcomed our literature. Our bold, clear and revolutionary message was well received by most but was contested every step of the way by the leadership of the anti-globalization movement.

The latter, behind many of the protests at the Democratic Party convention, have pushed the line of "Human Need, not Corporate Greed!" They leaders of this movement demand that "our" government control the corporations to limit corporate greed. On the surface, it appears progressive and pro-worker. It opposes poverty wages and prison labor in other countries and says that "the people should take back" the U.S. government, which is being controlled by multi-national corporations.

They neglect to say that the government is set up to serve the interests of the biggest capitalists, who are preparing for Desert Storm 2 (see editorial). Therefore they are building a pro-war patriotic movement that ties workers and youth to the government, rather than exposing it as a weapon in the hands of the racist rulers. The thousands of demonstrators will never end poverty and war by relying on the government and politicians. The main wing of the ruling class wants to use their government to control their rivals, carry out a ground war for oil and enforce more fascist working conditions. The bosses' government can never be "our" government.

The anti-globalization forces are building their pro-war, patriotic and protectionist movement while using anti-communism to bash capitalist China which they call "communist." This is central to all these anti-globalization groups, from Ralph Nader to openly fascist Patrick Buchanan. We in PLP are trying mightily to build the opposite: a communist movement to smash all the bosses and their lackeys.

On the Friday before the convention opened, we held a well-attended forum involving many youth, where we exposed the AFL-CIO and Global Exchange leadership. In rallies before Monday's march, we told the crowd that no matter who wins the election, Bush/Cheney or Gore/Lieberman, the rulers are preparing a ground war to control Iraqi oil.

PLP youth went to the D2K center and found meetings about "white skin privilege" under a sign that read "WHITES ONLY." We exposed this lie and talked about fighting racism to unite the working class. We showed that racism only helps the bosses and is an attack on all workers and youth. The view of workers as helpless victims who should be "saved" by self-sacrificing students stands in sharp contrast to the truth. Workers lead struggles every day and will lead the fight for their own liberation, as they have in the past. We explained that immigrant workers and youth can give valuable leadership in the struggle to end racist police terror, and that we need a powerful worker-student alliance to build a mass PLP capable of turning imperialist war into communist revolution.

Meeting hundreds of angry workers and students is exciting. We're learning that we have to work hard to win them to multi-racial international unity, the antidote to the nationalism and patriotism the Rockefeller rulers dress up in liberal, "humanitarian" garb to win acceptance of a war for Mideast oil.

Most important, many friends are helping to get out our line in the marches, the factories and the schools. We have confidence that millions of workers and youth will carry these fights further. We have a long road to travel, full of contradictions. The other side is trying like hell to win angry workers and youth to one form or another of capitalist pro-war ideology. But history is on our side. Communist revolution is the only solution to the bosses' road to war and fascism.

L.A.P.D. Attack Youth

On the first day of the Democratic Party Convention, a huge number of cops were ordered out during the mass march led by the D2K and Global Exchange. After the march, "Rage Against the Machine" played a free concert for the demonstrators outside the Staples Center (the Convention site). Since the concert was highly publicized, many other youth came. The "Rage" was followed by three speakers who told the youth to vote. One urged them to vote for Ralph Nader.

Then the multi-racial band "Oso Motley" performed. The LAPD turned off the electricity and gave everyone 15 minutes to leave. A few youth threw plastic bottles at the cops, falling way short. The cops then shot rubber bullets into the crowd and beat many youth.

Earlier, the site of the Shadow Convention--a group of left liberals who have some criticisms of Clinton and Gore--was shut down by the LAPD, claiming a "bomb threat." A SWAT team ordered everyone out of the hall. It appears that the threatened civil rights lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department accusing the LAPD of systemic "misconduct" has not stopped the cops from doing their customary brutal job..

By working in the mass organizations and in the classrooms, we can win many of these angry youth to become fighters against police terror and imperialist war, on the side of the working class.

The coming oil war in Iraq and the fascist attacks on workers demand that PLP work very hard on the campuses, in the classrooms, the factories and the barracks to win these youth and workers to the long-term fight for communist revolution.

LA Comrade

Nader, Buchanan also push racist nationalism

The 2000 elections have become a platform for all forms of nationalism. The nationalism of Gore/Lieberman and Bush/Cheney is openly pro-Big Oil (particularly Exxon-Mobil). The liberal nationalism of Ralph Nader, under the guise of fighting globalization, is based on anti-communism (bashing capitalist China and mislabeling it "Red" China). Many youth and rank-and-file workers who might support Nader and his Green Party must not forget that his counterpart Greens in Europe supported the U.S./NATO air war against the former Yugoslavia. The Greens in Germany, in the government as part of a coalition led by the Social Democratic Party, supported this war under the guise of "liberating" Kosovo from the bloody Milosevic regime. They knew full well that the war was for control of oil routes and pipelines (see page 8).

Patrick Buchanan represents another form of racist, fascist nationalism. Forced out of the Republican Party by the Rockefeller wing of the U.S. ruling class, as it regained control of the GOP, anti-Rockefeller Buchanan hijacked Perot's Reform Party. He chose Ezola Foster, a black woman, as his candidate Vice-President. Mrs. Foster is a member of VCT (the anti-immigrant group PLP has fought many times in Los Angeles) and of the anti-communist, ultra-right-wing John Birch Society. Mrs. Foester's acceptance speech reflected her racism, even attacking ballot instructions in other languages besides English. She was a leader of California's anti-immigrant Proposition 187 movement.

Buchanan has been financed by protectionist billionaire textile boss Milliken (who has also financed Ralph Nader). In his acceptance speech Buchanan not only attacked immigrants and "Red" China but also the foreign policy which protect the oil profits of Exxon-Mobil: "We will no longer squander the blood of our soldiers fighting other countries' wars....All troops will come home from Kosovo, Kuwait and Korea. We will put them on the borders of Arizona, Texas and California and we will start putting America first."

Voting for any of these politicians is a vote for war, fascism and racism. Don't vote; organize and join the PLP!

Verizon Strikers Must Hang (Up) Union Hacks

NEW YORK CITY, August 12 -- The strike of 86,000 telephone workers across 13 northeastern states against Verizon confirms that the "new technology" of capitalism still functions according to the old laws of the system:

* The bosses still drive for maximum profits and squeeze as much as they can out of the workers' labors;

* Capitalist oppression of the working class generates class struggle between the workers and bosses;

* The rulers' state apparatus is still used as an instrument of oppression to enforce the bosses' profit system; and,

* No matter how much the ruling class prattles about competition and the break-up of Ma Bell into scores of "Baby Bells, the laws of capitalism drive relentlessly towards monopoly. (The industry is now dominated by four large corporations, with Verizon the largest.)

This strike also demonstrates that the union leaders are wedded to the bosses' system--they refuse to really shut down production because it means violating the bosses' laws.

The bottom line of this struggle is signified by the company's aim to maintain and expand its profits, which, in the second quarter of this year were a whopping $4.91 BILLION! (WALL STREET JOURNAL, Aug. 9) Verizon's 32,000 non-union wireless workers EACH generate $325,000 revenue per year and are paid ONE-TENTH of that in wages. The fast-growing wireless division generates $532 in annual revenue per customer, 60% more than the local telephone division. (NEW YORK TIMES) According to one union official, "In ten years everything will be wireless," which means an astronomical increase in profits produced by each worker's labor.

The strikers want the jobs installing the high-speed Internet connections which are now contracted out to lower-paid non-union workers. Of Verizon's 32,000 wireless division workers, only 50 are in the CWA (Communications Workers of America).

The workers' demands center around forced overtime, job losses due to mergers (Verizon is the result of a merger between Bell Atlantic and GTE) and contracting out of work and job stress (see box). The union wants a provision for "card check" which would mean that if a majority of non-union workers at any job site were to sign union cards, the union would be certified without an election.

That appears to be the limit of the union leaders' "militancy." They content themselves to telephone "hot line" soundbites supposedly "informing" the members about the strike while some stewards and chief stewards talk friendly and joke around with management scabs.

So far the strike has had a limited effect on parts of the company's operation, although its automated equipment has maintained most of it. There have been delays in repairs, installations, operator-assisted calls and in answering billing questions.

The strikers' militancy and black-white unity has led to a reported 455 "incidents," as of August 8. Trying to answer Verizon's use of its 30,000 "managers" as scabs (working 12 hours a day, seven days a week), the workers have blocked entrances in Philadelphia and Delaware, burned a scab truck in the Bronx, lowered an electronic gate onto a scab maintenance truck, removed lug nuts from scab vehicles and hurled eggs, stones and bottles at entering scabs. Slashed wires have cut off telephone service to thousands. Two dozen workers have been arrested and nine pickets have been hit by scab vehicles.

However, all this militancy has not prevented the company from maintaining well over 90% of its service (while saving millions in wages). Firstly, the bosses got a judge--all of whom are elected through or appointed by the political parties absolutely controlled by the ruling class--to issue an injunction barring pickets from blocking entering scabs. But more important, the union hacks, in working within the bosses' system and rules, refuse to lead the workers in the only serious way the company could be shut down: by organizing a sit-down strike INSIDE the work locations and putting the kibosh on all computerized operations. As one union official admitted, the workers "know the infrastructure because they built it."

Of course, if that occurred, the ruling class would answer with the National Guard and the army to keep their communications system going. Then the workers would have to be prepared for a battle on a higher level, including opposing the union leaders who are pulling them in exactly the opposite direction, kowtowing to the bosses. Such leadership rarely seriously challenges the bosses and never challenges the system that drives the bosses for maximum profits.

This would be especially true at this time during an election year with the CWA tied so closely to the Democratic Party, being one of its biggest financial contributors. A massive sit-down strike shutting Verizon completely would be extremely embarrassing to the Gore campaign.

The kind of leadership that challenges the system itself can only be provided by a revolutionary communist party. It is only when such a base is built and telephone workers join PLP that they and the entire working class will be able to overthrow the bosses' profit system and establish communism, the answer to capitalist oppression.

Meanwhile, every worker should be supporting the strikers' efforts, joining their picket lines, participating in their anti-scab efforts and trying to help them up the ante of class struggle. In the course of such activity, communists will be in a better position to win some of the strikers to PLP's ideas, the biggest victory that could be gained in this strike.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth....

"This [moving production to where labor is cheapest] is something we consider essential to the functioning of our company on a competitive level," said Eric Rabe, Verizon's spokesman. "This is about the workings of capitalism."

Pushing Buttons

The anarchy and insanity of capitalism is vividly portrayed in the kind of job stress Verizon forces on its workers. The following is from the August 12 NEW YORK TIMES:

Dawn Barbour, a customer service worker for Verizon--then Bell Atlantic--had just made an angry customer stop ranting, solved his problem and even elicited a kind word.

"I hate Bell Atlantic, but you're the nicest rep I ever had," the caller said.

A simple "thank you" seemed the right reply, but Ms. Barbour had to follow the script.

"Did I provide you with outstanding service today?" she inquired.

"Isn't that what I just said?" barked the customer, steaming right back up again.

I felt like a total idiot," Ms. Barbour said. But Verizon requires customer service agents to ask the "outstanding service" question at the end of every call...and if she had dropped it, a supervisor listening in could have deducted points from her performance....

New technology means customer calls now roll in assembly-line style...mean[ing] frequent mandatory overtime, disrupting family schedules. Today's heightened focus on earnings growth [read maximum profits--Editor] requires...pitch[ing] products to all callers, even those who do not want to buy anything.

Customers sometimes become angry and abusive, but the representative cannot slam down the phone, hide in the bathroom or do much else except follow the script, since their supervisors may be listening in and rating them....

Recent studies suggest that "emotional labor"--acting friendly when you're seething inside--can actually weaken one's immunity and overload the cardiovascular and nervous systems

....The median length of absence for occupational stress is more than four times that of other workplace injuries and illnesses.

....The stress became much worse after Verizon installed a system that automatically routes a call to a representative two seconds after his or her previous call disconnects.

"There's no downtime. The customer disconnects and the next call's right there. Try living like that, taking calls every two seconds

Compounding the pressure is the need to sell to virtually every shift the a sales pitch....Strikers say...selling causes stress [when] having to do it according to standard scripts when common sense tells them not to....

"It fights with the inner part of the rep. She's thinking, `Look at this poor 80-year-old woman, what does she need three-way calling for?' I'm offering her gadgets and she can't even see the pushbuttons on the phone."

But if the workers do not make the offer, a listening supervisor may note the failure.

`Replacements'are scabs

The role of scabs in essentially breaking strikes is especially glaring in the phone workers' walkout at Verizon. Sixty years ago the use of 30,000 scabs would have been unheard of and considered a crime against the working class. Virtually no one crossed a workers' picket line in the 1930s and 1940s. If they did they were taking their life in their hands. This was particularly true in the basic industries, when communists were in the forefront of many industrial unions.

Workers considered a scab--one who violates class solidarity by crossing the line during a strike and immediately pits worker against worker--subhuman, the lowest form of vermin, the scum of the earth.

The ruling class has the indispensable help of their lieutenants in the labor leadership. Through them they're able to erode this working class solidarity with a combination of weapons: (1) anti-communism, ousting reds from union leadership; and, (2) using their state apparatus--the cops and courts--to O.K. and escort scabs across picket lines. The union leaders, by organizing workers to "obey the [bosses'] laws," have contributed their full share to this violation of workers' solidarity. A class-conscious leadership would attempt to shut down the entire industry, not just Verizon. (Interestingly, the deaths of people who died in Ford cars equipped with defective Firestone tires can be traced back to the period when the Decatur plant producing them was run largely by scabs--NY TIMES, 8/15.)

Our Party has a crucial role to play here in building a communist base in the working class which will spread the cardinal principle that workers everywhere support workers anywhere engaged in militant struggle against the rulers. The ruling class knows this danger too well and pulls out all stops to control it. That's why they produce such "comedies" as the new movie "The Replacements," which glorifies a gang of scabs who replace striking football players. The very use of the term "replacement worker" is the bosses' attempt to prettify strike-breaking and banish the word "scab" from the workers' vocabulary, as they papered over layoffs with the word "downsizing."

It becomes the task of communists and all militant workers to support all strikes of workers against bosses in any way possible, and plant the seeds of class-consciousness in these struggles. A working class that accepts scabbing is a working class unprepared to fight the ruling class. Barring trying to win over scabs in certain circumstances, smashing them is one important class-conscious step on the road to working class unity and turning class struggles into schools for communism.

AC Transit Contract Driving Workers Over the Edge

OAKLAND, CA., August 12 -- Here in the SF Bay Area, the capitalist "boom" means "bust" for the working class. In the heart of the "El Dorado," housing prices have risen 30-50% in the last year. Rents in new units have skyrocketed and evictions have increased by over 300%.

So what do AC Transit bosses and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 192 leaders propose? Cut drivers' starting wage to $13.04/hr (65% of top scale) and lengthen the new-hire wage progression period from 30 to 48 months! The new contract offer projects a workforce of all full-timers, largely because management needs the manpower and the flexibility to use lower-wage workers for overtime. And the low-wage supply will comes from requiring new hires and current part-timers to work two full years to reach 75% scale.

When AC Transit is about to receive over $15 million/yr in new revenue, why do union leaders expect workers to sacrifice so much? Because they defend a profit system in which the capitalist class fuels its economic boom through racist wage cuts, layoffs, part-timing, Workfare and prison labor, and they need to keep milking that cow.

An AC Transit job used to be a plum, but a $13.04 starting wage guarantees survival and nothing much for other workers to look up to. The new contract means that, based on a 46-hour work-week, each new hire will be robbed of $15,000 to $20,000 in the first year alone and at least $50,000 in the four-year wage progression. That's millions of dollars every year taken from working-class families and communities.

One thing leads to another. Now other workers must reduce their expectations, too. ATU para-transit drivers, who pick up disabled riders, are also employed by AC. They are mainly black women and receive only $10.30 to 11.34/hr. Their contract expires next year and they will be hard-pressed to get a decent wage and benefit increase. So this current contract binds them to virtual poverty, too.

These are the economics of fascism. Although most workers don't see it in such political terms, few are surprised the union leaders--long-time sellouts--endorse them. The question is how fiercely will the rank and file fight them. Some activists have been inspired by the stand and organization of the MUNI drivers. A caucus is meeting once again.

Simultaneously some drivers have begun again to distribute CHALLENGE, with several others doing it for the first time. These are important steps as we all begin to realize that the contract is not just a trade union matter. We are beginning to see it as a political struggle against the on-going development of racism and fascism.

This, of course, raises all sorts of questions. Some think it makes the fight so big that it becomes impossible to deal with. Others think drivers will never understand it. In one way or another we are all affected by these ideas. It is here that CHALLENGE can play a vital role by reporting on the political struggles of workers throughout the world and so keeping our eye on the prize.

In the inflationary housing market of the East Bay, $13.04/hr. spells racism and a 48-month progression spells fascism. But PLP's CHALLENGE spells working-class power. Sitting "side by side with management in collaborative bargaining," the union leadership has dismissed the working class. Calling on the unity of Para-transit and MUNI workers with AC drivers, PLP is rallying the working class.

Dialectical Materialism: Ideas Come from Practice

(The following selection from a study guide on Dialectical Materialism used in the PLP cadre school on the subject discusses two important aspects of this philosophy.)

Think Universal.

The two "magic words" to keep in mind at all times are objectivity and universality. Dialectics begins with materialism: "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness" (Marx). But materialism applies to everything. Dialectical materialism isn't just a guide to political practice. It is that; however it is much more. It provides the foundation for a scientific understanding of all nature, society and human thought. In our school, we should concentrate on politics. But we should also show dialectics' universal validity. Use a wide variety of examples. Think about daily life, the human body, child-rearing, the production process at work, math, the weather, attitudes--anything with which you and others in the group are familiar--and examine it from a dialectical perspective.

Stress That All Ideas Come From Practice and the Real World.

This is true not only of political ideas but of all thought as well. To learn swimming, you have to swim. To learn fighting, you have to fight. To become a guitarist, you have to play the guitar. To build a political base, you have to make friends and raise the ideas with them in a wide variety of situations. We've talked a lot lately about the importance of fighting to teach, fighting to learn and learning to fight in our schools and on campuses. Some of the conversation has centered on math. To make a revolution, workers need many things, including math. Capitalism presents math as a mystery, knowable only to a handful of "brains." Well, everyone has a brain. As the English author Lancelot Hogben wrote in Mathematics for the Million: "Our studies in us that whenever the culture of a people loses contact with the common life of mankind and becomes exclusively the plaything of a leisure class, it is becoming a priestcraft. It is destined to end, as does all priestcraft, in superstition." This insight is valid for all forms of thought. The school can help us reaffirm the primacy of practice and the crucial role of theory in helping improve it. We can spend useful time examining some of our errors.

Comments on DM School

Following the July PLP International Communist Conference, several dozens comrades from the U.S. and other countries took part in a three-day cadre school on dialectical materialism. Here are some of their comments:

"The school gave us new weapons to fight back and to win other people to the Party by sharpening our own internal contradictions and analyzing the mistakes we make in our political work," said a new young comrade.

"The school convinced me to move from being an emotional organizer to a more objective one. This requires a planned practice, concentrating our efforts where there is more potential. We must be consistent in our work to achieve qualitative changes. We must take into account the external contradiction, such as how the mass movement is led by pro-boss forces and how the contradictions among different capitalists reflect themselves in that movement. Then we must use this contradiction to sharpen the boss-worker contradiction, which give us fertile ground to win the masses to our communist ideas," concluded a veteran comrade who rekindled his revolutionary fervor during the class and the international conference.

Other comrades wrote:

"Dialectical materialism makes even illiterate people into scientists." "The collective discussions were great and it clarified how to build the Party in my work place." "Each time we study Dialectical Materialism we learn something new. The entire universe runs based on the laws of dialectics." "Building the Party is the key to turn what is today a secondary contradiction, workers vs. bosses, into the primary one." "To change things we must sharpen contradictions."

"The school was like an injection of political consciousness and gave us a more scientific basis to win workers to communism. I was very moved seeing workers using Dialectical Materialism to evaluate their political practice. That is how, as Marx said, the ideological struggles become a material force."

"I want to thank PLP for inviting me to the class. The two comrades leading my group were very good. They were patient in allowing each one of us analyze things to get better results. One suggestion is to have more discussions on the contradictions facing us women workers, to make future schools more complete."

Youth on Dialectics

Our recent three-day international cadre school about Dialectical Materialism was certainly a step forward for the Party. At the same time that "the bosses have shit to offer us," this school raised the seriousness of many of our members. Older and younger, newer and more veteran members, all re-educated themselves to more serious study of all of life's processes using Dialectical Materialism as a guide. This short cadre school pointed us to a more profound understanding of all aspects of our lives.

Dialectical Materialism is universal to all processes, whether political, cultural, scientific, personal, etc. A deeper understanding of all the happenings (processes) in our lives should keep us steady and fight subjectivity during the long haul toward communist revolution. But this can only happen if this cadre school is just the beginning. All Party clubs must take up the study of this working class philosophy of ours and try to apply it in practice.

Controversy and struggle brewed during the week about how the classes were grouped. It was decided that the school would break up into two beginner and two intermediate classes. Some comrades thought it would have been better if comrades with various levels of understanding were mixed in the same classes. Some of the young comrades felt they could lead introductory classes for other youth. Teachers would learn and learners would teach. This issue was not resolved.

But everyone thought that the classes were too large and that 8-10 was the best size. Since the Party has not organized such an international cadre school in many years, if ever, mistakes are inevitable. As we continue the study of our philosophy and apply it in our practice, we will do better.

There were a few other suggestions about how to improve future cadre schools. Many comrades, but especially the young people, felt that they needed more time, but, at the same time, the days were too long. One way to solve this problem is to study 365 days a year, which everyone wanted to strive for. But for the young people, future summer projects can solve this problem by focusing on both the study and application of Dialectical Materialism.

It was also suggested that it might be useful to have one entire cadre school try to apply all the laws and categories to just one process. A related suggestion was to have a report of someone's work and try to evaluate it using all the laws and categories.

The key idea is to study and apply this philosophy all the time. We can then put into practice many of these excellent suggestions. We will then also be able to develop a curriculum that includes different levels and different areas for study, both political, cultural and scientific. We are on the right track.

Renewed U.S. Bombing of Iraq Omen of Gulf War II

After a short lull, U.S. and British planes resumed bombing Iraq on August 12. The Iraqis reported an attack on a railroad station 170 miles south of Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Pentagon claimed they bombed "hidden anti-aircraft batteries." In war, truth is the first thing to go, so it's hard to know who's lying during this continuous air war. However, given the Pentagon's history, the Iraqi spokesman's question, "Is a railroad station now a weapon or missile?" is probably closer to the truth.

The bombing of Iraq has resumed for many reasons. One is the recent visit by President Chavez of Venezuela to Saddam Hussein a day before the bombing resumed. This visit, bitterly opposed by the State Dept., was the first one by an elected Western leader since 1991, again breaking the U.S.-imposed isolation of Iraq. However, the more important reason is that the U.S. bosses are preparing for another Desert Storm to guarantee Iraq's oil doesn't fall into the hands of anti-Exxon-Mobil forces (see editorial).

Meanwhile, a recent confidential report by Britain's Ministry of Defense revealed that six of ten missiles launched by the British during the air war against Yugoslavia failed to reach their objectives. Overall, only 2% of the bombs hit their targets. Similar figures have been reported in the past about the U.S./NATO air war.

That air war did "achieve" the death of many innocent civilians (as in Iraq). The effects of the air terror launched against Yugoslavia's civilian population, particularly children, continues. "Children still remember the 78-day air war and every time they hear a plane they tremble and grab their mothers," said a Spanish Red Cross worker stationed in Belgrade, Serbia. "The mothers must explain to them they are passenger, not military planes."

The 1999 air war in the Balkans, Desert Storm I and the continuous bombardment of Iraq have nothing to do with "fighting rogue states," as the State Department claims. The real reason is Exxon-Mobil's drive to control oil and oil routes and pipelines (in the case of the Balkans war).

Nazi Mass Base Built on Racism, Anti-Communism

As we begin the 21st century, workers and youth worldwide must never forget the horrors of Nazi fascism and the heroic struggle waged by the Soviet Red Army to crush them. The Nazis built the most successful mass fascist movement in history. Millions and millions helped them, even among those they murdered and killed. Fascism, Nazi-style, is not an aberration but just the cruelest form of capitalist rule. It can and will happen again.

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 descendant 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.

Nazis in Chile

Two recent books on the Nazis show how widespread the Nazi movement was worldwide. "Los Nazis en Chile" by historian Victor Farias, a Berlin University professor, exposes the links between the Nazis and leading political and religious figures in Chile. From 1934 to 1940, 479 orphaned and poor children were given as guinea pigs to a German Nazi doctor. Those responsible for this horrendous act were important figures among the Jesuits, Salesian and Sacred Heart Catholic denominations.

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."

Nazi Cops Key to Carry Out Holocaust

Holocaust historian Christopher Browning deals with several aspects of the Holocaust in this book NAZI POLICY: JEWISH LABOR, GERMAN KILLER. One is of particular interest for those who need to understand the racist nature of cops under capitalism. His study of the German Order Police is even more interesting because many of these cops were not lifers but conscripts and this force was a key instrument in deportations, ghetto-clearances and massacres." (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/6).

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, fascism and anti-communism 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.


Bosses' cops, Flag at Dems sideshow

A friend and I attended a small sideshow to the Democratic Convention, a "Unity Over Hate" rally of about 250 people in the San Fernando Valley. Big, small or medium, every event in and around this Convention built patriotism to the bosses' interests. It marked the anniversary of a neo-Nazi shoot-up of a nearby Jewish daycare center last year, after which the same gunman killed Joseph Aleto, a Filipino postal worker. The rally was organized by Congressman Brad Sherman, who hogged the limelight to showcase a federal "hate crimes" bill he's sponsoring, along with other liberal politicians and the LA County Human Relations Commission. The "Million Mom March" group, which mainly pushes for "sensible gun control" legislation, brought the most people.

Most of the crowd wanted to hear the Aleto family and other relatives of hate crime victims, but first there were two dozen politicians and celebrities all wanting to toot their own horns. Worst of all, two of the featured speakers were LA Police Chief Bernard Parks and LA County District Attorney Gil Garcetti. They and their departments commit more hate crimes against black and Latin workers each day than everyone else put together! When I said this to my friend and a few other people, they all agreed.

From beginning to end, the rally pushed one political theme: Americans are all united in our diversity, except for a few crazy people who commit hate crimes. This was not an anti-racist rally--the word "racism" was not even used once!--but rather a patriotic rally to build the Democratic Party.

As one politician put it, "This is what we do when we salute the flag--we are dedicated to liberty and justice for all." They tried to get us to take home posters saying "Pass Hate Crimes Legislation" with a picture of the American flag. The rabbi who gave the invocation even used his so-called "prayer" to promote Gore-Lieberman by celebrating the move toward "more inclusion in national politics" that had happened last week. Next thing you know, he and the rest of the politicians will be blessing the mass destruction of Iraq in the name of "stopping hate crimes" by Saddam Hussein, or some such thing.

It was frustrating to be at this rally without having the base in the organizations represented there that would have made it possible to confront and expose the hypocritical racist cops and politicians. We have a lot of work to do.

West Coast Comrade

PLP International Conference a Big Hit

A big family debating ideas

The conference was a great experience for me. I was surprised to know PLP existed in Turkey. Meeting new people that share your ideas is great. We were a big family debating ideas, and sharing them. The cadre school taught me a lot. I can understand dialectical materialism and the Party's line better. The people who participated in the conference, the cadre school, security and the food did a great job; thank you. I'm more open after the great experience I had during the week, and I grew greatly as a person. Viva PLP!


More Open to the party's ideas

The conference was great. It made me feel so good that so many people shared their ideas with me. Seeing so many people from different states and countries made me feel more confident about the Party. Now after the conference and the cadre school I feel more open to the Party's ideas and more committed to it. The people in charge of the food, the conference, the cadre school and security did a great job. Thanks to all the comrades who made this great experience possible and congratulations to the people who came to these events and learned as much as I did. Keep up the good work and fight for communism!


A taste of communism

My experience in the conference was great. We had a little taste of what living in a communist society would be like. I learned about a struggle for the Party around the world. It was inspiring hear about them. Although I thought it was a short time to learn about dialectical materialism and the Party's line, this experience made me grow more towards--and inspired me to work harder for--our Party. Congratulations to all the comrades who took part in the conference and cadre school. Long Live Communism


Better Equipped for the Struggle

When we discussed the role and the importance of the military work in our party I realized we hadn't discussed it in our club and that we remain unaware of our options about the military. I brought it up at our next meeting and we plan to discuss what the work in the military is like and how we "can be all we can be" for the working class.

The conference helped me analyze my work and better understand capitalism. It defined what fascism is, sharpened my perspective about cops and their role in a class society. I feel better equipped to struggle with people. Also, it helped me analyze my first few months of organizing in the classroom and in a mass organization. I had decent CHALLENGE sales and was good at arguing politics with teachers and the club leader but I neglected making friends and earning the trust of my classmates. It was a weakness that made my work less fruitful. This term I hope to take what I learned at the conference to continue arguing for the working class, deepen my relationship with the classmates I met last term and make new friends along the way.

Sometimes being a small Party can make you feel isolated and overwhelmed but seeing workers from around the world, and hearing about the circumstances that others have to work in, strongly inspired me and made me realize I could be doing much much more.

The workshops were great. They enabled us to learn from the mistakes and achievements of Party members nationally and internationally. Most important for me is to take our raised inspirations and what we learned and apply it to our work.


LA shows mass base needed

People have come to LA with lots of good intentions--a long wish list for a better world--but lots of confusion about how to get there. For example, people demonstrated to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, but no speaker, no leaflet, no demonstrator that I spoke to, said exactly HOW to free him. At some point, we need a plan about how to get people out of prison.

Another example is non-violence vs. violence. Non-violence was assumed because it was a pre-condition for having legal marches. It wasn't debated so that neither the arguments for non-violence nor for revolutionary violence have been sharpened even to the point of say Martin Luther King vs. Malcolm X, or Malcolm X's "The Ballot or the Bullet."

The only thing that keeps us from leading all the marchers with our chants is our small number. The people around us readily take up "Policia, cochina, racista y asesino," "The cops, the courts, the Ku Klux Klan, all are part of the bosses' plan," but we don't have enough people to be in the front, back and middle of the march.

I think the main opportunity for us in LA this week is being around large groups of people who don't agree with us. We have much to learn from a small group of us participating in a meeting of say 50 people or a march of 5,000.

The young people in the Party are awesome. They love the Party and its ideas and hate the misleaders.

A friend of the Party

Has Slavery Been Abolished?

I am a new member of PLP and was recently introduced to the Party's pamphlet, "Prison Labor--Fascism U.S. Style." It hit close to home because I have a loved one currently serving time. Over the years I've watched him suffer due to forced prison labor so I quickly mailed him the pamphlet. He received it but lived in fear of getting caught with it; any inmate attempting to organize a protest or demonstration will be written up on a major infraction, causing them to lose up to 180 days of "good time." However, he did read it and passed it on to a friend.

A short time later I went to a "celebration" at the prison called "Juneteenth," which commemorates the end of slavery (in Texas). The inmates and their guests were enjoying the food and speeches. Then to my surprise and delight, one inmate got up and made a speech on prison labor that reflected the Party's line! I discovered this was the friend who had received the pamphlet from my husband!

I hope many other inmates get to read it because then they will understand how the bosses use them to keep wages low for all workers, and guarantee bigger profits for themselves. This form of super-exploitation is the reason for longer sentences and "three strikes" laws. Prisons-for-profit are the fastest growing industry in the U.S. Just today (Aug. 10) my local paper reported, "The number of people behind bars in the U.S. broke the two million mark last year, a record high despite the slowest prison population growth rate in 20 years." This must mean that more people are serving longer sentences.

These prisoners have organized hunger strikes, and, in the month of August, are boycotting the prison's phone system that makes tons of money ripping off the inmates and their families. I want to applaud the work that the prisoners are doing, but say that we can stop this exploitation only with communist revolution. I think that we should refuse to celebrate "Juneteenth" because slavery is not dead. It is happening here and now. And we definitely need to insure these incarcerated workers receive our paper CHALLENGE by any means necessary! I encourage any CHALLENGE readers to do the same if they know someone in prison.

A new comrade

`Summer School' takes to streets

I want to share an example of how working in youth programs can help build working class consciousness. I direct a summer program for youth in grades 2 through 10. We try to develop academic skills and a career interest and have sports and cultural activities. A local activist group, "Homes Not Jails," occupied a vacant property near our summer camp to demand that the property be turned over to a family who needed housing. We discussed the civil rights struggles and organized class work to encourage small group cooperation.

I felt our summer program students could learn a lot from the Homes Not Jails occupation, especially a sense of the historic and current struggles against racism and about basic workers' rights. We spent the better part of the afternoon discussing housing as a right, about the unfairness of homelessness and how we could support the occupation.

We made posters with a variety of slogans on them. I wanted our 40 children to march in front of the occupation, but some of the counselors and teaching assistants feared doing that without first getting parental permission and a parade permit. A vigorous debate ensued and we decided to march holding the posters from the site of the summer program to an elementary school so the students would have some experience participating in social action. I think that more such education could help lay a foundation for youth becoming active in the revolutionary movement.

Red Director