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Editorial: Bushs Tax Cut Scheme Billions for BillionairesWar for Workers
Hundreds Defy KKKops and Klan:"Stop SingingStart Swinging!"
Demopublican Strikebreakers Begin PATCO;
NY Welfare Workers Endorse May Day, Blast Workfare
Union Hacks Sweeten Pot for Domino Bosses
Angry Workers Tell Off Union Hacks
Bavaria Class Struggle School For Communism
Harvard University: 360 Years of Racism and Counting
Capitalism Wont Crumble Until Workers Rumble For Communism
Black Monday, Wednesday
Anti-Racists Link Clinton Diallo Decision To Fascism
CHALLENGE Sparks May Day Buzz In LA Garment Shop
Are Humans Naturally Selfish?
Fired Daewoo Workers Battle Cops
Workers Have No Nations
ESLers Learn the Language of May Day
Jury Duty: Make-Believe Justice
May Day, Class Struggle: A Winning Combo
Fight APHA Award To Drug Moguls: Health Professionals Resist Sellout
Racism Rules Roost in Newark Schools
When a politician or boss says hes giving us money, look out! They normally give it with one hand and take it back and more with the other. Capitalism, by definition, gives nothing to the working class. The bosses are always on the take.
Bushs 1.6 trillion-dollar tax cut bill is a transparent give-away to the big business pals who helped steal the presidency for him. But lets not fall into the trap of joining with the liberal rulers who oppose it. This is a major tactical fight among the bosses. We have no stake in supporting Bush or his opponents.
As the tax bill moves from the House to the Senate, it has outraged the main wing of the ruling class, the Eastern Establishment liberals. On a daily basis, the New York Times has printed editorials and columns attacking it. "The richest one percent of tax payers would get 43 percent of the benefits," thunders the Times indignantly. "Fifty-five percent of African-American children and 56 percent of Hispanic children would receive nothing from the proposed tax cut," the Times adds (3/1). The paper warns that the Bush plan puts Medicare and even Social Security at risk. But make no mistake. The editors of the biggest capitalists leading mouthpiece havent suddenly become anti-racist and pro-working class. They have an ulterior motive.
The rulers main wing is worried that Bushs cuts will impair its ability to control society and wage war. As CHALLENGEs reporting on the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security in the 21st Century shows, the major U.S. capitalists are seeking a more cohesive and disciplined state apparatus that will enable them to remain "the worlds only superpower." But that requires trillions of dollars. When Bush revealed his plan to repeal the estate tax, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, David Rockefeller Jr., Steven Rockefeller, billionaire George Soros and others protested that, "the billions of dollars in state and federal revenues lost will inevitably be made up...by cutting Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, and many other government programs so important to our nations continued well-being." While theyre worried about Bush cutting social programs too much, theyre even more concerned about the danger Bushs scheme poses to "increasing defense spending" according to Congressional testimony by William Gale, a scholar from the liberal Brookings Institution.
Rockefeller & Co. also fear for their own foundations: "Repeal would have a devastating impact on public charities." Groups like the Rockefeller, Ford and now Gates and Soros foundations exert tremendous influence on what gets taught in schools, how heath care is administered and how the police patrol the cities. These bosses dont want Bush to weaken their leverage.
On March 7, a bi-partisan group of representatives and senators with strong links to the main wing of the ruling class called for limits to the tax cuts. Concerned that the government wouldnt have enough cash for "national priorities," they demanded "triggers" that would hike taxes if the U.S. budget surplus fell below a certain level.
One Republican in that group, Rep. Amo Houghton of New York, is an heir to the Corning Glass fortune. His brother James sits on Rockefellers Exxon Mobil board. Joining Houghton is fellow Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, whos in the Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations. She proved her loyalty to them by crossing party lines to vote against convicting the impeached Clinton. Rep. David Bonior, a Michigan Democrat, also opposes the tax cuts. His 1999 minimum wage bill was formulated by the liberal Economic Policy Institute and financed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Major challenges confront U.S. capitalists in the near and far term. They must forcibly reassert control over Persian Gulf oil and prepare to confront the eventual emergence of rival superpowers based on one coalition or another of European, Russian and Chinese forces. These are vast and costly military undertakings that require the biggest capitalists to impose economic discipline on the others.
But the profit system drives individual capitalists to pursue their immediate interests. The fight over Bushs tax program shows just how hard it is to get capitalists to see beyond their own companies bottom lines. Bill Gates indicates hes joined with Rockefeller to oppose the tax reductions; he now invests in naval shipbuilding as well as software. But Gates came on board only after Clinton had hauled him into court and Wall Street had relieved him of $30 billion during the 2000-01 technology market swoon.
Disunity within the bosses ranks persists despite their serious efforts to reverse it. This disunity and many other factors temporarily hinder the rulers war plans. We should see these difficulties as a chance for us to organize our Party, especially to expose the liberals as the warmakers and fascists. We must rely on ourselves, not on them. Organizing masses of workers and youth to march on May Day is an important element in achieving this goal.
The list of big-gun liberals opposed to the Bush tax package is growing. Two former Treasury Secretaries, Clinton pal Robert Rubin and long-time Rockefeller stooge Paul Volcker, attacked Bushs plan as "too large and risky for the nations economy" (New York Times, 3/13). They made this statement at a news conference sponsored by the Concord Coalition, a "bipartisan" group opposed to budget deficits. The group is chaired by Warren Rudman, the same former Republican senator who co-led the U.S. Commission on National Security in the 21st Century. Rudman is "very nervous" about Bushs tax plan because it threatens the big bosses plan to militarize U.S. society and prepare for a period of major wars. Workers interests can never be served by rejecting one enemyBushonly to unite with an even more dangerous one, the liberals planning a future of mass terror against our class.
GARY, IN, March 10 Despite overwhelming police intimidation, hundreds of angry workers and youth demonstrated their hatred of the Ku Klux Klan and the cops, rattling the cage we were placed in. It was like a scene out of Nazi Germany (well, not quite yet), as the fascist Klan rallied in an empty sports stadium in a remote corner of a park. The government went all out to prevent any protest. Newspapers withheld information. Several unions and fake radical groups cancelled their plans to protest, as afraid of the workers as they were of the cops.
To get inside Gilroy Stadium, every anti-racist was patted down and passed through a metal detector no coins, watches, jewelry or pens permitted. No cell phones or cameras. No literature or picket signs. Inside and around the stadium, about 300 cops, sheriffs, state police and federal agents were armed with rifles, tear gas grenade launchers, shields, sticks and dogs. They had an entire motor pool of cars, vans and trucks, and three helicopters. All this to protect the Klan. "Free speech," brought to you by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Outside the stadium, a PLP member was arrested for carrying a bullhorn, while one cop shouted racist insults. A youth was later arrested for "intimidating" a group of armed cops!
Inside, we had to walk a narrow path into a holding pen, surrounded by dozens of riot cops and under the constant view of police snipers. They held us in the pen while they gave the Klan a motorcade out of town with a helicopter escort. After the Klan was safely out of the stadium, anti-racists were forced to walk a narrow gauntlet of armed riot cops. The working class of Gary experiences racist police terror every day. But this open display of fascism helped many understand the true nature of capitalism.
Despite this intimidation, the protestors were militant and determined. More than 250 entered the stadium, including about 60 under PLPs leadership.
For over an hour, the KKK was completely drowned out. Much of the anger was directed at the cops. One of the most popular chants was: "The Klan in White, the Klan in Blue F___ YOU!" When a "Jesus Saves" minister tried to pray for love and the KKK, militant youth chanted, "STOP SINGINGSTART SWINGING!"
However, we could have done better at thinking on our feet and providing overall political leadership. In the holding pen many discussions and debates took place in between verbal barrages against the fascists. We discussed May Day, nationalism, fighting for jobs, the need for mass violence and many other questions. But we gave very few May Day speeches to the anti-racists.
Over 70 CHALLENGES and hundreds of leaflets had been distributed at a nearby shopping center a week earlier. We leafleted the neighborhood and a nearby high school the day before and distributed another 40 CHALLENGES and 1,000 leaflets the day of the protest. Overall, about 3,500 PLP leaflets were distributed in the community and the Purdue campus. A number of people asked to be contacted about future activities, and many black residents expressed a strong respect for our multi-racial group.
We raised the issue in steel and SEIU local unions. At the protest, steelworkers and Cook County Hospital workers met fellow hospital workers and union members who had been on strike last year. There was a bold and militant group of high school and college students, young workers and others. The overt display of fascism helped deepen their anger and renew their confidence in the Party and the working class.
We were all disappointed at being unable to physically smash the KKK. But we should be clear about winning and losing. We will not be able to prevent the development of fascism, but what we do will strengthen our forces and weaken theirs! Doing the day-to-day work to build a mass PLP will ultimately destroy the KKK along with the racist profit system spawning it. With all our limitations, this effort was a step forward. Now we can strengthen the Party by building for a strong May Day.
On March 8, strikebreaker Bush appointed a Presidential Emergency Board to block a strike of 10,000 mechanics at Northwest Airlines. The executive order extends the strike deadline to mid-May. Bush said he would take "the necessary steps" to prevent strikes by more than 70,000 workers at other airlines. Northwest mechanics immediately picketed the White House to protest Bushs strikebreaking.
In February 1997, Clinton used the emergency board to order striking American Airlines pilots back to work, five minutes after they walked out. Democrat or Republican theyre all strikebreakers, and workers must be prepared to break their laws when we take them on.
The Northwest mechanics took pay cuts in 1993 to save the fourth-largest US airline from financial collapse. They have been without a contract since 1996. Negotiations have been going on for 4˝ years.
At United Airlines, 26,000 members of the Association of Flight Attendants are beginning a job action called "CHAOS" (Create Havoc Around Our System), after their contract talks broke down. They and 14,000 mechanics in the International Association of Machinists (IAM) want some job protection when United merges with US Airways.
Contract talks also broke down between Delta Airlines and the 9,800 members of the Airline Pilots Association. Baggage handlers and others picketed Southwest Airlines to protest an "unacceptable" contract offer.
American Airlines got a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order against the Transport Workers Union. American claims a slowdown by mechanics forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights at New Yorks Kennedy Airport. The Supreme Court recently upheld Americans claim for $45.5 million in damages against the Allied Pilots Association for a 1999 sick-out one of the largest fines in U.S. labor history. In the original District Court decision, Judge Kendell threatened the pilots that, "If the activity and consequent damages continue...all the assets of the union, including their strike war chest, will be capable of being stored in the overhead bin of a Piper Cub."
Whats more, American is demanding that TWAs 16,000 mechanics, flight attendants and service workers grant major concessions before it buys the bankrupt airline.
The sharpening attack on 100,000 airline workers grows out of the intensifying competition among the bosses. Uniteds "merger" with US Airways and Americans takeover of TWA are reflections of the big fish eating the little ones. With every merger and acquisition, thousands of jobs are destroyed and profits soar. This "consolidation of capital" is a hallmark of developing fascism. So is the more open use of state terror to settle labor disputes.
Since Reagan fired the air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, the past two decades have been a trail of broken strikes and unions. Some of the mile markers on the road to fascism include Greyhound, Hormel, Staley and Caterpillar and more recently, the Detroit newspaper strike (despite overwhelming popular support). It has become legal to fire strikers and permanently hire scabs. For the overwhelming majority of workers, including most of the 13.5 percent in unions, its illegal to strike!
Despite a minor face-lift, this is the same union leadership with the same outlook that left the air traffic controllers hanging back in 81. Although 16 million jobs have been created since 1992, union membership is at its lowest point in over 60 years. The union leaders have been unable to stop the closing of unionized factories, mines and mills. Theyre not looking to wage class war. Like the other small fish, theyre trying to stay in business. This may put them in conflict with the bosses, but above all else they are loyal to the profit system and wage slavery.
In contrast, communist leadership would meet the current crisis with a general strike of all airline workers, grounding every flight and shutting every airport. The government, courts and cops would be mobilized to attack the strikers. The army and National Guard would be used to break the strike. Whole sections of the working class could be mobilized to defend the strikers, defy the courts and hold the airports and jumbo jets hostage.
But even with this scenario, we could break the laws and still lose the reform demands. Look at PATCO I or the Daewoo auto workers in South Korea! Leading the masses to break the law stands in stark contrast to the politicians, preachers and union leaders who want us to fight for better labor laws and trade accords. Exposing the class dictatorship of the bosses helps prepare our Party and our class to make revolution.
We should raise the need to break the bosses laws in our factories, schools and barracks. We can raise resolutions in our unions, encouraging airline workers to defy Bush and the courts. We can make contact with them at local airports and invite them to march on May Day. We can win regular CHALLENGE readers and distributors to spread the word that we must replace the dictatorship of the bosses with the dictatorship of the workers.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., March 6 Tonight, Social Services Employees Union (SSEU) Local 371 voted to endorse May Day organizing, including PLPs march in Washington, D.C., and agreed to buy 50 tickets for members, family and friends who wish to attend. A long-time union member introduced the following resolution:
"Whereas, May Day is the international holiday of the working class, and,
Whereas, May Day demonstrates the fighting unity of the working class, and,
Whereas, members of this local have traditionally participated in May Day events, and,
Whereas, issues like the threat of war, prison labor and slave labor Workfare, police brutality and racism affect all members of this Local and must be fought;
Therefore, Be It Resolved that SSEU Local 371 urges its members to participate in May Day events including the March in Washington organized by the Progressive Labor Party, and,
Be It Further Resolved that this Local purchase up to 50 rickets for members, family and friends who wish to attend."
Anti-Workfare Outburst Stuns Bosses
The following day, rank-and-file representatives on the unions negotiating committee erupted during a bargaining session between the union and city bosses. When the latter sought to shoot down the workers demand that, "No work performed by employees covered by this contract shall be performed by non-city employees, including Workfare participants and Wildcat workers," most members of the 60-member union negotiating committee broke their silence and loudly yelled their support or clapped for the fight against slave labor Workfare, clearly stunning the bosses hired guns.
Normally, members of the union negotiating team speak in the union caucuses but are quiet as the bargaining process unfolds, limiting themselves to an occasional remark. However, when the union negotiator responded to the bosses put-down of the anti-Workfare proposal, saying it "was an important demand and that this local would fight to keep these jobs" (as union rate jobs), the sentiments of the rank-and-file committee representatives rang out loud and clear.
These contract talks affect some 16,000 workers among the Social Service and Related Titles. Currently, contracts for 300,000 city workers have expired, and negotiations have proceeded at a snails pace. Secret negotiations between top union and city boss honchos will undoubtedly seek to establish a wage pattern for all city unions. Its up to the rank and file to break any back-door deals.
PLP has played an important role in making the fight against Workfare a mass issue in Local 371. We know one outburst wont stop slave labor Workfare any more than resolutions will fill a May Day bus. The combination of spreading communist literature and ideas, encouraging and participating in class struggle, and building communist ties among co-workers can establish the basis for a mass pro-communist movement led by PLP that can smash the bosses and their system once and for all!
BROOKLYN, NY, March 5 The 20 month strike at the Domino Sugar refinery ended when workers voted 56 to 48 to accept a contract and return to work. The new contract cuts 110 jobs, shatters seniority and the 40-hour week, and speeds up production with fewer workers, "wiping out the protections people fought for, for 50, 60 years." (New York Times, 3/6). This plant once employed 1,300 workers. It will now dip below 200.
The 300 workers were forced back to work, abandoned by AFL-CIO president John Sweeneys "new labor movement," the International Longshoremens Association (ILA) and the NYC Central Labor Council.
The strikers symbolized the international solidarity of the working class. They included U.S.-born workers, black and white from the North and the South, and immigrants from Egypt, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia and the Caribbean. Their ranks were solid. From June 15, 1999 to April, 2000, not one worker crossed the picket line, even though they received no strike benefits and lost $14.3 million in wages. The same solidarity existed during their five-month walkout in 1994. Last April, 104 demoralized strikers returned to work.
They were fighting the British firm Tate & Lyle, the worlds largest sugar and sweetener company. Over the last two decades, this global conglomerate has made billions in world-wide profits. With holdings in 21 countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, this is the same company that busted the Staley strike (a T&L subsidiary) in the mid-90s. While Sweeney is always ranting about multi-national companies that pit workers against each other worldwide, he did absolutely nothing to defend these courageous workers. Zero, zilch, nada.
PLP members joined the picket lines every week, distributing leaflets and CHALLENGES and talking with the strikers. Several of them now receive the paper regularly. Our worker groups should have organized more strike support, including demonstrations and forums. This might have given some of our co-workers, and possibly some strikers, a clearer understanding of the long-term struggle to defeat capitalism, and drawn them closer to the Party.
The fate of the Domino workers is a glaring example of the limits of fighting for reforms. Domino workers battled for better conditions for 60 years only to see them and 1,100 co-workers wiped out. Why? The bosses hold state power. Over time they will always take back whatever gains we force out of them. As the bosses prowl the globe looking for cheap labor, markets, and resources, more workers will be victimized by fascist attacks. Only a system run by and for workers communism will enable the working class to live a decent life. We call on Domino workers to join the fight for workers power. March with PLP on May Day, the international working class day.
BROOKLYN, NY A group of a dozen disgusted Domino Sugar rank-and-filers descended on their union leaders to read the riot act to them after they betrayed the workers 20-month strike. The 12 angry workers shouted and screamed at the union hacks that while they were mad at the company they were even madder at the union, the International Longshoremens Association (ILA).
"We lost the strike," said Bobby Horn, a company mechanic for 27 years. "Our union didnt support us. They didnt help us in any way." The workers were angry with the union for not having provided any strike benefits and for failing to rally other workers to their side. Horn was furious at ILA president John Bowers for never even visiting the picket line in one of New Yorks longest, hardest fought strikes in decades.
"I always thought the ILA was a real powerful union," said Horn. "I guess we all learn."
ColombiaWorkers at the union meeting of Bavaria brewery workers here in Colombia were angry as hell. They damned Minister of Labor Angelino Garzón ex-union leader and ex-member of the old "Communist" Party as a traitor to the workers for sending the strike to arbitration. Workers know arbitration means the bosses will win easily. But despite that, workers recognized the limitations of the situation: if they rejected the deal the government would ban a strike and workers were not ready to directly confront the cops and the army that would have been sent to force us back. So most voted to return to work, to continue the struggle inside the plant.
For 72 days, workers and their relatives shared each others lives. We sang together union songs and The Internationale, the revolutionary workers anthem; shared food, wine and a place to sleep; and developed close friendships. We also organized conferences, watched videos about things like Plan Colombia, the U.S.-Colombian governments war plans for the country and had sharp discussions about the worlds labor movement. We realized that our problems at Bavaria were similar to those faced by workers internationally.
We received support from many other workers and unions. We built trenches around our strike tent, with bags of sand, rocks and even barbed wire. Workers bravely kept guard, armed with lead and rubber pipes and bats. We constantly chanted against capitalism.
All these images reminded one of the Bolshevik headquarters at the Smolny Institute in Petrograd, Russia, in 1917 described by John Reed in Ten Days That Shook the World. Indeed, for over two months the strikers tent became a center for workers fighting the bosses fascist drive.
All this time we shut down 18 breweries owned by one of the biggest capitalist groups in Colombia (the Santodomingo family), causing them millions in losses. We marched into the plants and took them over. We broke up secret scab meetings, confronted the bosses mass media lies and refused to be intimidated by the constant threats from the cops. When workers unite lots more can be done.
When tractors demolished the tents a lot of workers cried. "The tents come down but the strike continues," said many defiantly. Now the bosses and the arbitration board are taking away some of the gains weve had for decades. The union executive board exposed itself more by building illusions that were shattered.
We have won a lot politically. For many workers it was the best school in class struggle theyve ever had. PLP is proud of being part of it. Our literature, videos and leaflets were there all the time. We tried to give political leadership at decisive moments. Many workers in several breweries are now reading CHALLENGE. Weve made new friends and new comrades.
Finally, we thank all the people and unionists who showed political and financial solidarity with the strike. This support helped us maintain this anti-capitalist struggle for 72 days.
Harvard students are outraged by the racist comments of government professor Harvey Mansfield who spread the racist lie that the admission of many black Harvard students in the early 1970s was the sole cause of a supposed "lowering of standards and grade inflation" (Boston Globe, 2/7). Mansfield continues a long Harvard tradition of defending racism and imperialism. It was founded from the profits of the slave trade. Its more recent racist/imperialist faculty includes Henry Kissinger, George Kelling (the father of community policing), and Richard Herrnstein, author of the notoriously racist tract, The Bell Curve and head of the Harvard psychology department when he wrote that trash.
On Feb. 13, more than 60 students held a silent sit-in in Mansfield's class, organized by the Black Students Association (BSA). A member of PLP participated. Although a number of students took a PLP leaflet, no student in Mansfield's class confronted him about his racism.
Mansfield asked the protesters if we wanted to talk, but, because the BSA leadership explicitly called for a silent protest, no one spoke. Mansfield should have been prevented from holding class.
The BSA leadership's reasons for a silent protest were, (1) acceptance of Mansfield's "right of free speech," and (2) the threat of expulsion. Prior to the sit-in a comrade pointed out to BSA rank-and-filers and leaders that racist words lead to racist acts. Moreover, while the expulsion threat for stopping Mansfield's class is real, not attempting to do so out of fear only spreads demoralization and only helps the racists. From the Social-Democrats of the 1920s and '30s who handed Germany over to Hitler, to the Al Sharptons and John Sweeneys of today, misleaders have used fear of the bosses' retaliation to keep workers and their allies from fighting back.
We believe the BSA leadership is choosing what they believe is the best way to combat the racism. However, opposing militant struggle against racism only ensures its triumph. Indeed, had Harvard expelled militant, protesting students, it would have sharpened the class struggle and raised the consciousness of many more about the true nature of Harvard. Also, more militant tactics might have had a better chance of silencing Mansfield and/or forcing Harvard to fire him.
Before and after the protest, I distributed about 100 PLP leaflets calling for communist revolution to destroy racism. The leaflet exposed Harvard's long history of defending racism, fascism and imperialism. The leaflet also called on all students to unite to fight racism in the interest of all workers and students. It also invited students and workers to march on May Day. I also made a new student contact and raised the struggle against Mansfield and his racism in the classroom.
This experience shows the importance of PLP members joining a student group. I've been active in the BSA for several years, building social ties with other members. I've also tried to sharpen anti-racist struggle, attempting to involve BSA in fights against racist police terror and prison labor. To have more of an impact on such protests, I need to give more leadership in them and be involved in their preparation.
We will follow up our new contact and learn from these experiences how to unite all workers and students, a prerequisite for successful communist revolution.
SEATTLE, WA., March 3"I didnt think Seattle would ever have much of an earthquake," began our May Day dinner speaker, quoting an 18-year veteran flight controller at Seattle-Tacoma airport. After the control tower collapsed around him, the flight controller admitted: "I guess I was wrong."
"This controller learned you cant ignore faultsprimary contradictions," continued our speaker. "Even if you cant predict exactly when the next big one is going to hit."
"Just so, capitalism is riddled with contradictions that cant be ignoredlike overproduction and inter-imperialist rivalry. We cant predict exactly when the next depression or world war will come, but just as assuredly as that control tower came tumbling down, so capitalism will eventually lead to depression and war."
Even as we dined on the delicious food prepared by our comrades and sipped good Seattle coffee, our speaker described the first tremors of economic uncertainty and the rumbles in the manufacturing sector. Key Mid-West states, like Michigan, are officially in recession. Basic industry has laid off hundreds of thousands.
Stresses are building internationally. The lead article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, the magazine of Eastern Moneys foreign policy think-tank, warns of "Americas Two-Front Economic Conflict." The U.S. bosses are heading for "double trouble," says this article, in uncharacteristically blunt language. Asians and the Europeans are on the "brink of major trade and economic conflict" with the U.S.
Trade wars eventually lead to shooting wars, while the shooting wars seem to be spreading. Plan Colombia has spilled over into neighboring countries, according to the New York Times. The Middle East continues to be the mother of all hot spots.
Locally, the bosses media is building racist hysteria over the fights at Mardi Gras. Every major paper has run half-page pictures of black youth beating up partygoers. Where are the pictures of the racist cop assassins that murdered the son of our friend at the dinner?
While all this is happening, the King County Labor Council (KCLC), AFL-CIO, has endorsed demonstrations to reform the upcoming Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA)the plan to extend NAFTA to the whole hemisphere. Changing the language or even abolishing these trade accords will not eliminate the contradictions of capitalism. The KCLC wants to apply a new coat of paint to the same old rickety shack, and then tell us its earthquake proof.
"To deal with the faultsthe primary contradictions," concluded our speaker, "we have to build a movement to end capitalism with communist revolution. Unlike the control tower, capitalism wont collapse of its own internal weaknesses without the efforts of conscious revolutionaries with a long-term outlook. Building this communist movement and developing those revolutionaries is job #1 of May Day. We have limited numbers so lets concentrate. For the next two months, we can do no better than to build for the May Day March."
At the dinner new comrades signed up to march. Others had sharp, but comradely questions. After tonight, we have a shot at bringing one of the largest Seattle contingents ever to May Day. Hard work over the next two months will make the difference.
As we go to press, the Dow Jones, Nasdaq have plummeted. Trillions in paper money have been lost. It is not just speculators who are losing money. Workers pensions and retirement funds have been invested in the stock market. PLP members should not only lead struggles against this robbery of workers livelihood, but also use the opportunity to explain workers how capitalism really works, and workers always pay for the bossescrisis. Fight for communism! March on May Day!
Newark, NJ February 15, 2001A small, but dedicated group of anti-racists held a lunchtime rally at the Federal Building here today. We were protesting the Clinton administrations decision refusing to prosecute the NYC cops who executed Amadou Diallo two years ago.
People from several local organizations came to the rally. Speakers exposed how the bosses government allowed this racist atrocity to stand, connecting it to deepening fascism. One student speaker eloquently explained that shes viewed as a criminal by the Newark police merely because she happens to live in a high-crime neighborhood. Many people stopped to listen. Thirty CHALLENGES were distributed.
PLP has begun a campaign in some of the organizations represented here today to expose the creation of a police state in New Jersey, NYC and elsewhere. We will link this growing fascism to the need for communist revolution.
This police state has many components: the explosion of "community policing," spearheaded by Rutgers professor George Kelling; massive racial profiling by the NJ state police; police murders like that of Earl Faison (killed by Orange, NJ cops); links between local cops and federal plans to suppress demonstrations under the guise of "fighting terrorism"; the mass jailing of mainly black and Latin youth; and the use of prison and Workfare slave labor.
The Diallo case reflects several of these trends. After Diallo was murdered, Kelling wrote several high profile articles in NYC newspapers basically saying the cops "made a mistake" and should walk. The court system in New York State made sure that happened.
Then "community" leaders and politicians like Al Sharpton misled thousands of angry demonstrators by calling for a federal civil rights investigation. Clintons Attorney-General Janet Reno deliberately withheld the no-prosecute decision until after the Bush inauguration. According to a NY Times article, Reno/Clinton did this to limit the number of angry anti-racists who otherwise would have joined the thousands who had already planned to protest at the inauguration.
We in PLP must take advantage of this anger of the masses against growing racism, fascism and war. If we persistently build our Party among the honest people in mass organizations, we will move ahead. A big step along this road will be bringing these people to the May Day march in Washington, D.C.
LOS ANGELES "Last night I prayed to God that the boss would read this CHALLENGE article, so that she would shake with fear, because were tired of all this harassment!" declared a garment worker. She was referring to the article in the March 14 issue about the successful struggle to stop the firing of a worker. Despite our disagreement over religion, this religious co-worker respects our Partys commitment to defending the workers and fighting the bosses.
The workers response to the article was magnificent. Some workers read it to others. Still others asked, with respect and admiration, "who wrote it?" The article provoked many discussions inside and outside the factory. This has created the basis for more struggle to mobilize more workers to march on May Day.
Conditions in this factory and in the citys entire garment industry are sharpening. The bosses continue to move production abroad where they pay workers $2 a day. This competition drives bosses here to lower wages even more. Many mid-level bosses cant compete with the big manufacturers who send their production to other countries. One garment boss told a group of workers, "The Korean Association of garment bosses wants to increase restrictions on imports." The main way they try to resolve their crisis is to attack workers here even more.
Now, with the increase in the minimum wage to $6.25 an hour, the bosses have sped up workers to produce more and make them pay for their "wage increase."
During the successful struggle against firing the worker, the boss declared, "Im the owner of this factory and I do what I want" if the workers let her. Under capitalism, the bosses own the factories, but we workers produce ALL the value and their profits. For example, if the boss pays even $1,000 a day for a machine, it still wont sew a stitch of clothing by itself, nor make any profit for the boss. Only if a worker sits at the machine and sews the clothing will new value be created. A small part pays the workers wages as small as the boss can get away with; the rest becomes the bosss profit. This is the key to capitalismthe bosses robbery of the sweat and blood of the workers.
Under communism, the working class as a whole will own the factories. Well produce to meet the needs of the international working class, not to fill the pockets of the greedy bosses. Garment workers will work to clothe all workers and their families. Today there are thousands of stores full of clothing while millions of people worldwide barely have a shirt to cover themselves.
We have a long road to travel to achieve a world where workers control society. But with increased struggles in the factories, the discussion and spreading of communist ideas through CHALLENGE and a mass May Day March, we will advance towards our goal. In uniting with our co-workers in class struggle, we welcome disagreements whose resolution will become a key to building a revolutionary communist movement.
Azalea, a rhesus monkey at the Wisconsin Primate Center, was born with an extra chromosome and multiple disabilities. Slow-moving and slow-witted, she cant figure out the rules of rhesus society and would never have survived in the wild. But others in her group protect her and overlook her social blunders. To treat Azalea so tolerantly, monkeys must have qualities rarely attributed to animalsempathy, to grasp that she functions differently from them, and sympathy, to make them want to help her 1.
Frans de Waal, Dutch-born scientist who studies the behavior of non-human primates (monkeys and apes), uses stories like Azaleas to argue that human morality has deep evolutionary roots. His lively books challenge the conventional wisdom that human nature is innately selfish, male-dominated, and warlike.
Konrad Lorenz, Austrian founder of ethology, the study of animal behavior in nature, argued in "On Aggression" (1967) that humans had an innate drive to violence, at best feebly suppressed by "civilization." (Lorenz may have been justifying his own past: he would later be exposed as one of Hitlers professors, who taught during WWII that Jews should be exterminated.)
Similar ideas have flooded popular culture. The 1950s novel "Lord of the Flies," still a staple of high school classrooms, features shipwrecked boys who revert to "killer ape" instincts and vote each other off the island with sharp weapons.
Sociobiology and its current alias, evolutionary psychology, echo Lorenzs ideas, invoking genes for rape, war, racism and sexism. If, as sociobiologist E.O. Wilson says, our genes keep us on a short leash and make us mean, there is not much hope for transforming the world.
Despite de Waals inconsistent and often reactionary political ideas, his writings are useful in countering this cynical, unscientific view of human nature. De Waals chief contributions are a more balanced approach to animal behavior, an explanation of the role of reconciliation in primate societies, and evidence for culture in animal societies. ("Culture" in this context means nongenetic transmission of behaviors and inventions.) He points out that many complex behaviors are not properties of individuals, but are aspects of interrelationships between individuals. Aggression, for instance, does not belong to a chimpanzee, and is not inherently good or bad, but is a socially imbedded interaction. This is a step toward a dialectical understanding of animal societies.
According to de Waal, acts of reconciliation between two chimps, following an act of aggression, are just as important to their relationship as the aggression. Shortly after a fight, the combatants often hug and kiss each other, while other chimps may intervene to prevent fights from arising in the first place Sociobiologists are one-sided in their neglect of reconciliation, which de Waal considers the essential glue that holds primate societies together. Some of de Waals open-mindedness may stem from his experience studying bonobos (a rarer ape species related to chimps). Bonobos are more egalitarian and peaceable than chimps, share food, and have female-centered societies that use sex to promote social cohesion 2.
Culture and behavioral flexibility, once thought to be exclusively human, are found throughout primate societies. In a revealing experiment, young rhesus monkeys were housed with slightly older stump-tail monkeys. On their own, rhesus tend to be aggressive, fighting at slight provocation. Stump-tails are more peaceful. After months of co-existence the rhesus adopted the easy-going behavior of stump-tails. Even after separation, the rhesus retained these friendlier behaviors. De Waals experiment shows that behavior can be culturally (not biologically) transmitted, and can change within a generation. It also suggests that conciliatory behavior has a social usefulness apparent even to monkeys.
De Waals research argues against a narrowly deterministic view of ape (and human) behavior 3. Without culture and history, there is no human nature. We say that capitalism, not biology, encourages wars, racism and sexism.
While his optimism about human potential may help us counter cynicism, dont count de Waal as a political ally. He is crudely anti-communist, railing against formerly socialist East Germany and China. He prefers Adam Smith (father of capitalist economic theory) to Karl Marx. He is often sexist, suggesting innate gender differences in our ability to sympathize with others, and racist, speculating that "an impoverished social environment" may rob poor children of peacemaking skills 4.
De Waal accepts sociobiological assumptions even as he undercuts their foundation. Indeed, one sometimes wonders whether he has read his own books." It is remarkable," Marx noted drily, "how Darwin recognizes among beasts and plants his own English society with its competition, opening up of new markets, and the Malthusian struggle for existence 5." De Waal, who naively praises the European Community as a model of peacemaking 4, seems to recognize among conciliatory apes the shaky "peace" deals and shifting alliances of European imperialism.
1de Waal, F. (1996) "Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals." Harvard University Press.
INCHON, SOUTH KOREA, March 7 About 1,500 workers fought thousands of cops in the streets with rocks, bricks and Molotov cocktails as the Daewoo auto factory reopened today. The plant had been closed for three weeks to reduce excess inventory and slash 1,750 jobs.
The 7,000 workers still employed at the plant had to be brought in on 100 buses from four different pickup points. About 200 workers tried to block the buses while others tried to enter the plant grounds. More than 9,000 cops did what cops are paid to do: protect the bosses and scabs from workers.
Surprising the police, the workers marched about a mile to Inchon University of Education, where about 500 students joined them. A scuffle broke out and a dozen workers and students and six cops were injured. They tried to redirect the march toward the Pupyong railway station, but lines of police blocked them.
In 1999, Daewoo Motor collapsed under a debt load of more than $10 billion. Since then they have slipped from second to third place among South Korean automakers. The creditors who control the bankrupt company want to sell to General Motors. But GM is demanding more massive job cuts before making an offer.
The South Korean rulers struggle to increase profits by restructuring the economy and coping with a huge debt threatens more job cuts, which is spawning more resistence from workers. Bank workers have protested mergers in the banking industry, trapping one chief executive in his office for several days. Cutbacks in auto and shipbuilding industries are being met with sit-down strikes and mass militancy.
At the time of this battle, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung was in Washington and Chicago assuring U.S. bosses they shouldnt worry. GM Chairman Jack Smith introduced him to a luncheon at the Chicago Hilton. To attract investors, Kim, the bosses Nobel Prize winner, boasted that his government had cracked down on illegal labor actions, saying he will not tolerate union violence. He said that foreign investment totaled $24 billion in the three years before he took over but its now at $41 billion. Bush and GM should award him the "Piece Prize" for giving them a bigger piece of the action.
One of the dismissed workers said, "GM will close this factory if they take over Daewoo." He may be right. Factories at Kunsan and Changwon are much more modern than the 29-year-old Inchon plant. In this global crisis of overcapacity, the weak will be swallowed by the strong. Just as Daimler grabbed Chrysler, GM will keep what is profitable from Daewoo and destroy the rest.
Workers Have No Nations
This same worker added, "We have to struggle for our survival, for our lives, for our nation. I dont like foreigners to take over." Here he is dead wrong. Unlike union leaders from Detroit to South Korea, we can use this fight to build international solidarity and the revolutionary communist movement. Nationalism is a completely reactionary idea because it ties workers of one nation to our exploiters. "Buy Korean" is as bad as "Buy American." Imperialist competition for markets, resources and cheap labor inevitably leads to war. Autoworkers must unite across all borders, against all bosses.
We salute the mass heroism of the Daewoo workers. All PLP workers collectives, especially in basic industry, should organize letters of support at our jobs and in our unions. And when we march on May Day we will tell this Daewoo worker, Korea has never been nor will it never be "your nation," but it can be your world!
I work part-time in a Chicago community organization, preparing immigrants for the U.S. citizenship test. Most of my students are adults who speak little or no English.
My PLP club discussed how to invite my students and many others waiting for an amnesty and their immigrant papers to participate in the May Day march in Washington, D.C. All my students and those working in the center (including the director) know CHALLENGE and PLP.
One day I was preparing my students for the exam, and simultaneously presenting a working-class view of history. A week before we had discussed May Day and they all had tickets. I said they should all come to the March and invite their friends and relatives. I told them I wouldnt be teaching this Saturday (March 10) because Id be in Gary protesting a KKK rally. I invited them to participate. Immediately a 65-year-old woman added, "Yes, its important because those killers should not be allowed to speak. If we dont fight them they will continue murdering people at the border and all over. I am sorry I cannot go because I can hardly walk."
A student then said he wanted to pay for the May Day ticket and gave me $60. Another gave half the ticket money, and even though she couldnt go she said she wanted to pay for someone else to go. We continued talking even after class.
Later, a cousin of mine said shed received a call from one of my students, who happened to be a relative of hers, inviting her to May Day!
I learned workers can relate things quite well. They link the fight against the racist KKK to marching on May Day, to the fight for an amnesty for undocumented immigrants, and so on. Sometimes we dont do our job of explaining the relationship between all these struggles. Talking and listening to workers I can see how we are all part of the same working class with a common interest. Fighting for communism is the best we can offer workers, the best way to win workers to our Party. The struggle is just beginning.
Juana Gallo, Chicago
Recently, I was called as a potential jurors in a police brutality case. Some of us were asked to explain why we had stood in response to any of the questions the judge posed earlier.
I said I believe the police serve capitalism, and that capitalism requires the police to be racist and brutal. The judge then asked, would my beliefs prevent me from rendering a fair and impartial judgment. I said I would surely be fair, but not impartial! (Are the cops impartial when they choose who to brutalize?)
That did it! The judge removed me on the spot from the pool of potential jurors.
Apparently, in cases like these, "jury of ones peers" means excluding anyone who doesnt feel some peer kinship with the cops. Anyone with a little awareness of police brutality and its roots in capitalism is quickly excluded. I suppose were not reliable actors on the stage of make-believe justice.
A majority of the population in Baltimore is African-American. One might think that white people living in a majority-black city would have a better-than-typical understanding (for white folks) about police brutality. However, when the judge asked if any potential jurors would be prejudiced about any cops testimony as witnesses either favorably or unfavorably virtually every white person who stood said they would believe the word of a cop more than other witnesses. Clearly, we in Progressive Labor Party have a major job ahead of us, winning white workers to understand that racism is real and must be fought!
Finally, I met up with a friend and former colleague was also assigned to jury duty for that day. She said a family member of hers had been a cop working for an internal unit investigating other cops. He had shown her papers revealing that the police chief himself was getting large, routine payments from major drug traffickers.
When my friend was asked, as a potential juror, if she would be prejudiced about the testimony of cops as witnesses, she said loudly and clearly that she wouldnt believe anything the cops said!
When I was leaving the courtroom my friend and I smiled to each other, and so did a new acquaintance who had gone to lunch with us.
Capitalism creates its own grave-diggers throwing workers together in large numbers, thus helping us organize and spread the truth! All in all, a pretty good day!
A Baltimore Comrade
Early one morning two workers are huddled in an out-of-the-way corner at a major hospital. From their pockets come wads of crumpled money and some unsold tickets for the areas PLP May Day dinner. "Yeah," says Jewel, "Billy says shes coming and Angela says she can take the train to the job, but shell need a ride from here." "I saw Marilyn when I punched in today," says Lenny. "She told me you also sold her a ticket and did a good job of explaining what the dinner was about."
Jewel is selling the May Day dinner tickets like shes got some kind of fever. Many, many workers are buying them. Some are planning to come to the dinner and are interested in coming on May Day. But then theres a large group who are buying a ticket because they like Jewel. We can always use money. But part of our organizing this year is to work with Jewel and figure out how to win more of these workers to actually come to our dinner and to the March. Thanks to Jewel we are now talking about May Day and PLP to many workers for the first time.
During lunch Linda and Izzy meet casually on the street and appear to be watching the traffic go by. But Linda and Izzy are actually meeting to organize a group of women with young families to confront a hospital boss. Some had to leave work early because their children were dismissed from school due to a snowstorm scare. This boss then threatened to fire one of the women.
Izzy had written a rough draft of a letter from the workers demanding a meeting with the boss. "Me and the other women didnt like what you wrote Viejo," Linda says to Izzy. "You made us sound like were whining."
"So write it the way you want it," answered Izzy, "I just want us to get this fight on!"
Linda and the other women are taking this fight very seriously and are doing a good job of preparing for it. Linda started reading CHALLENGE during our involvement with our unions contract struggle last year. She missed the March then. This year Lindas more involved with workers fights on the job and therefore with us in PLP. Were fighting harder to ensure she and her friends join us in Washington.
Later that day Lenny meets with a group of black and Latin women workers who feel theyre being passed over for full-time, higher-paying jobs. Ronnie, one of the black women, is the most outspoken and has decided to run for union delegate in the department. Lenny, Ronnie and the other workers develop a plan to deal with the departments union delegates who dont want to confront the boss. They dont want to rock the boat. Later Lenny laughs and says to Ronnie, "Its a small world."
Ronnies uncle "JJ" had been a PLP member for several years and is still very friendly. Ten years ago JJ and Lenny were side by side when PLP organized a fight that stopped a KKK march in a small nearby town. Now were in a fight side by side with JJs niece. We will introduce Ronnie to PLP, CHALLENGE and May Day.
PLP members participate with our co-workers in many fights, big and small. But through them all we struggle with our co-workers to do three things: read CHALLENGE, march on May Day, join PLP.
A Hospital Comrade
A fight has erupted at the American Public Health Associations (APHA) governing council for the maternal and child health section (MCH) over a new award to be named after Glaxo, an international drug company thats raking in profits over the dead bodies of AIDS victims in Africa. This is extremely offensive.
Many of us in APHA want to "serve the people" in some capacity. The main thing transnational corporations serve is their bottom line profits. They may produce some good medicine, but money controls which ones and how much.
The major health problem today is capitalism. Profit-driven health care is NOT the best way to serve the needs of the greatest number. Capitalism is very good at accumulating capital. Sometimes its even good at promoting innovation. But it is not designed for distribution to the people according to their needs. Only communism is.
At APHA meetings I see many who protested U.S. imperialism in the anti-war movement. This is where the old civil rights protestors have landed decades later. But with the collapse of the old communist movement political forces are pulling people so far to the right that naming an MCH award after a multinational corporation seems almost OK.
Glaxo has billions to entice professionals to its side. Communists offer love and respect for the masses of people. Most people are either cynical or misled about communism so they cant see how to eliminate capitalism. We may not be able to prevent its flagrantly murderous excesses. But we dont have to embrace it, bow down and worship it and name the finest efforts of colleagues after its corporate icons. With a long, hard fight, many intellectuals and professionals will be won over.
I am the parent of a high school student in Newark, New Jersey. Many years ago, Newark schools were "good" by ruling class standards. One high school was considered one of the country's best. Then the Newark rebellions of the '60s, led to "white flight" from the city. Services of all types declined. Once Newark's population became mostly working class black and Latin, the ruling class dropped its school funding far behind the predominately white suburbs. Even the New Jersey Supreme Court, unable to justify the disparity, ordered equalized funding.
But the state legislature refused to fund city schools at that level. The schools' decline continued. In a last ditch effort to appear "concerned," the State took over Newark's schools six years ago.
The State's first "improvement"? Metal detectors in all high schools! Some well-meaning parents, teachers and students believe this will ensure students' "safety," but it merely continues ruling class efforts to get city kids used to being treated like criminals and believing they're "bad." In fact, the president of the State's school psychologists' association said metal detectors actually make students feel less safe!
Recently, the State-appointed Superintendent of Newark schools decided to install video cameras in all high schools. Students will be continually videoed in all common areas - hallways, stairwells, cafeterias and gyms - with a security guard watching the video screens all day. Talk about schools feeling like prisons! This is happening after statistics show violence actually declined in Newark schools by 50% during the 1998-99 school year.
It's no accident this is all occurring precisely when the bosses are pushing more "community policing," the U.S. prison population is the world's highest and the federal government - in line with the Hart-Rudman Commission report - would consolidate all governmental law enforcement agencies. This is fascism, U.S. style.
It's critical for parents, students and teachers to unite to stop this increasingly repressive criminalizing of our children. Communists understand that the criminals are the rulers, not our young people. It's true that many students are less passive and more angry nowadays. Unfortunately, some of that anger is misdirected towards fellow students and teachers, rather than against this violent, racist, capitalist system which causes all this harm. We must point out that only a communist society will enable children to direct their energy and exuberance towards positive, collective goals, beneficial to the working class.
A Newark Mom