Liberal U.S. Bosses Army Following in Nazi Footsteps
Who Won the 1999 Balkan War?
PLP Targets Racism in D.C. Metro Contract Fight
'Stand Up For Steel vs. Sit-Down Strike for LTV Workers
Rank-&-File Mass Militancy Can Foil 1199 Electoral Schemes
For Bosses Kids R Guns
LA Mayoral Vote-Racism/Nationalism A Deadly Trap
Boeing, Union Back Bush Exploit Us Here, Bomb Us Abroad
LA Teachers Back Removed B'klyn PL'er
The Dialectics of Biology: Theres More to Life Than Genes
Unity with Jesse Jackson Is Pact with the Devil
60th Anniversary of Hitler Attack on USSR -- Red Army Smashed Nazi War Machine
Movie Review: This Rose Smells Rotten
Donate Rebate to PLP
Racist Ideas Dont Fall From the Sky
Now Its Ritalin To 3-Year-Olds!
Years of Work Pay Off In UFT
Peru CIA Man Was Capo of Drug Cartel
Anti-Racists Link Fight From Strike To Cop Murder
Peace Carnival Wont Cut It
Steel Steals In More Ways Than One
After decades of imitating Hitler, U.S. bosses have finally begun to give him credit for inspiring them. As they prepare for long-range confrontation with their Russian and Chinese rivals, the rulers look to copy the Nazi army that conquered Europe in the first phase of World War II.
According to the New York paper Newsday (6/13), "A retired general advising Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on transforming the military recommended following in the footsteps of the Nazi army by changing the combat capability of only a small percentage of U.S. forces to achieve a dramatic improvement on future battlefields."
The "adviser" is James P. McCarthy, a former Air Force general. He wants to borrow from the German Armys general staff, which relied on advanced technology to start Hitlers war and on infantry to consolidate strategic victories: " only about 10 percent of the force was transformed with [high technology, Ed.]; 90 % of the forces that eventually conquered much of Europe was foot soldiers So we are seeking a similar type of approach" (Newsday).
Life is now imitating the Broadway stage. The biggest hit in many years is Mel Brooks The Producers, a spoof about two crooks who try to pocket the fortune in money they raise for a show they plan as a sure-fire flop, a musical comedy called Springtime for Hitler. But the "flop" becomes a hit, and the "producers" wind up in jail. Now were getting Springtime for Rumsfeld. But theres nothing funny about this plan. McCarthys advice to Rumsfeld represents an important step toward gearing society and the military for a future of imperialist warfare whose casualties will dwarf the tens of millions murdered by Hitler & Co.
The Rumsfeld-commissioned report is not the work of the open fascists in the Republican "right." It is the brainchild of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a think-tank with impeccable mainstream liberal credentials. Of the IDAs twelve trustees, seven, including retired Army generals John Galvin and Andrew Goodpaster, are members of or advisors to the Rockefeller-run Council on Foreign Relations. Another, Ruth Davis, received the Rockefeller Public Service Award for her work as undersecretary in the Defense and Energy Departments. IDA trustee Sheila Widnall holds a Rockefeller-endowed professorship at MIT.
The bosses recognition of Hitler as a model comes in the wake of two other important developments that underscore the character of the period we are entering. The first is the recent appointment of Thomas White as Bushs new Secretary of the Army. White is a former vice-chairman of the Enron Corporation, which has often pursued profit interests contradictory to the liberal Establishments. However, Enron also has a foot in the Rockefeller/Exxon camp. At his swearing-in, White made clear that he endorses the policy of copying the Nazis: "The Army today is in the midst of an enormous transformation, White said, from a Cold War-oriented force to one that is lighter, faster, more flexible, andmost of allmore lethal." (Stars and Stripes, 6/13, our emphasis Ed.)
The second important development occurred in October 1999, when Clintons Defense Department announced a major shift in U.S. imperialist strategic thinking. U.S. forces in central Asia, which used to be under the Pacific Command, are now under Central Command. This means that all U.S. military operations from the Persian Gulf to the Ural Mountains to Chinas western border have been centralized.
"Since the Central Command already controls the U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, its assumption of control over Central Asia means that this area will now receive close attention from the people whose primary task is to protect the flow of oil to the United States and its allies. (Michael Klare, "The New Geography of Conflict," Foreign Affairs, May-June 2001, our emphasis Ed.) This move clearly benefits Rockefeller/Exxon.
Klare explains "this shift in strategic geography" as a "new emphasis on the protection of supplies of vital resources, especially oil and natural gas with global energy consumption rising by an estimated two percent annually, competition for access to large energy reserves will only grow more intense in the years to come." The problem for the main wing of U.S. bosses has become far more complex than simply dealing with pests like Saddam Hussein. The rulers must now devise a strategy that prepares for eventual military confrontation with both Russia and China.
This is the context in which "Springtime for Rumsfeld" and the expansion of the U.S. Central Command must be viewed. We dont know how far in the future the next war among the main imperialist powers will occur. But it is brewing, and we must prepare for it now. The working class must learn that war and fascism are inevitable under the profit system. Workers must shed the deadly illusion that liberal politicians and bosses who parade as our friends are anything other than gangsters and mass murderers willing to spill our classs blood for their own maximum profits and the preservation of their political power. Only the growth of the Progressive Labor Party can help workers learn these lessons and put us in a position to smash the system that causes such wars.
At the moment, U.S. imperialism retains a lot of muscle and maneuverability. But these advantages are beginning to erode. Remember that the 1999 Clinton/NATO "humanitarian" bombing of the former Yugoslavia was conducted to ensure the U.S. could choose the pipelines that would bring Caspian oil through Turkey to market. The U.S. had favored a pipeline that would reach Turkey via the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, bypassing Russia. The Russians countered with a pipeline deal that would connect Russia to Turkey via the Black Sea. Well, the Turkish ruling class has just signed up for the Russian pipeline, which will increase Turkeys dependence on Russian natural gas from 66 to 80 percent. The U.S. deal is dead in the water, and Turkey is supposedly a U.S. pal. This is a serious defeat for U.S. imperialism, specifically for U.S. oil interests at the hands of their Russian rivals, one the bosses will look to reverse by any and all means.
The recent Bush-Putin love-fest in Slovenia revealed the steadily widening conflicts between U.S. and Russian rulers. After making clear his opposition to NATOs expansion to countries in the former Soviet Union, Putin flew to Kosovo, where he attacked U.S. Balkan policy and pinned medals on the Russian soldiers who still occupy Pristina airport. Russia had seized it from under NATOs nose at the end of the 1999 "humanitarian" air war for energy pipelines (Associated Press, 6/18). The Albanian-backed forces Putin opposes in Kosovo are fighting for the route sponsored by Bushs ally, the Halliburton company, which would transport oil and gas from Bulgaria through Macedonia to Albania. When bosses disagree about pumping, transporting, refining and selling oil, dont expect an outbreak of peace to accompany the discussion.
As we go to press, another conflict emerged: Putin announced that if the U.S. constructed a missile defense shield, "Russia would eventually upgrade its strategic nuclear arsenal with multiple warheads [reversing the arms control agreements] to ensure that it would be able to overwhelm such a shield." (New York Times, 6/19)
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6 Hundreds of workers gathered at the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 meeting for an update on contract negotiations. The local president reported that management continues to stall on the unions big five issues. The union will not continue discussion much longer unless the issues of wage progression (lower wages for the same work), a wage increase, improvements in health care and pensions and restrictions on contracting out of work are discussed seriously.
The Financial-Secretary then reported on wage progression, the unions number one bargaining issue. Its the issue that workers must win on to reach a contract settlement. Its also the issue meeting the greatest resistance from Metro bosses.
When the Metro transit system was created in 1973, wage progression was one year. New operators started at 90% and moved up to full pay after 12 months but new unskilled workers stayed at 90% of operators pay. With the 1974 contract, management began an unrelentingly 27-year fight to extend wage progression for operators and to introduce it into the non-operating classifications, all in order to lower wages.
The basis of these policies is racism, pure and simple. Management gives them many different names (progression, restructuring, longevity), but the bottom line is a racist system keeping black workers pay as low as possible for as long as possible.
The fight against progression is much more than one to raise wages for new operators and unskilled workers. Its a struggle to prevent further erosion of the value of transit jobs. These jobs were won because of the civil rights movement and rebellions of the 1960s. Theyve been the vehicles for thousands of black workers in this area to achieve a decent standard of living. The bosses are using and intensifying racism to push us back.
This racist attack is not only against transit workers. The average life span for a black man here is 59 years and the infant mortality rate is double the national average. The closing of D.C. General Hospital will leave thousands, mainly black people, without any medical care and schools that are a disaster in D.C. and Prince George County. Racist police terror threatens every black worker in the region. Ending wage progression is an important part of continuing the fight against racism.
The workers at the meeting loudly applauded the Financial Secretarys report.
Making wage progression the central issue of the negotiations is no accident. PLP has been fighting over this issue for 25 years. These struggles have slowly raised the political consciousness and awareness of PLP of thousands of workers at Metro, both young and old.
Keeping wage progression central means: (1) Workers understand its relation to the fight against racism; (2) The development of a union committee to provide leadership on the issue; and (3) A more militant approach to achieving progress on the issue.
Ending wage progression will not destroy the wage system or end racism. But we can beat back a racist attack and get a glimpse of the strength of a unified working class guided by communist ideas. More workers can become CHALLENGE readers and distributors, to spread the influence of PLP and win workers to the long-term struggle for communist revolution.
E. CHICAGO, IN, June 14 More than 300 steel workers rallied in the blistering heat against the closing of LTV Steel. Unfortunately, the politicians and union hacks only added to the hot air. LTV, the countrys third largest steel producer, is bankrupt and fighting for its life, losing more than one million dollars a day.
LTV is looking for more than $1 billion in wage and benefit concessions over the next five years. Theyre closing a Cleveland mill, wiping out 900 jobs. They want to cut pension and healthcare benefits to retirees by as much as $600 a month, with the option to terminate pensions altogether "if necessary." They want no limits on contracting out work. They left the negotiations, saying, "Take it or leave it."
This may be more than the United Steel Workers union can give. If the union grants these concessions, the rest of the industry will demand the same. A bankruptcy judge may impose a settlement, taking them off the hook. Or LTV may be thrown to the wolves to cut the productive capacity of the steel industry.
This is a painful reminder that as long as the bosses hold power, the only guarantee is a hard way to go. The working class must seize power and organize production to meet our needs. Profits and wages must be abolished. These are our jobs, our pensions and our mill. But this is not our system. Capitalism is wage slavery. The bosses fight it out for markets, resources and cheap labor. We are cannon fodder, whether in their trade wars or shooting wars. We must keep our eye on the prize of communist revolution as this struggle unfolds.
The USWA has "led" us to "STAND UP FOR STEEL," against Permanent Favored Nation Trade Status for China, and for "import restrictions." "Import restrictions" are a con game. Big Steel imports 20% of all imported semi-finished steel. USX purchased a huge mill in Slovakia, which will account for 25% of its worldwide production. Workers at this mill make $2/hour. Nationalism only serves the bosses. We share one common flag with steelworkers in Russia, Slovakia, Korea, Japan and Brazil: the red flag of internationalism and communist revolution.
"STAND UP FOR STEEL" is an example of how the interests of individual steel companies have run up against the interests of the ruling class as a whole. Wall Street and the auto industry (to name a few) have opposed import restrictions from the start. They are demanding a leaner and meaner steel industry. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has proposed that the government subsidize a 20% cut in the productive capacity. Thats not good news for the 18 bankrupt steel companies or their workers.
Now is no time for passivity. Now is the time to occupy the mill with a sit-down strike! We can call on US and Inland workers to threaten a General Strike. Young workers, fed up with dead-end jobs and racist police terror, can defend the strike. LTV is the weak fish in a tank of piranhas. Thats their problem. A sit-down strike can be a shot heard around the world, teaching the need to overthrow the profit system. It may not win. It cannot lose. Right now, fighting is winning.
BRONX, NY, June 18 On May 16 nearly 4,000 Local 1199/SEIU workers and their supporters rallied at Lawrence Hospital here. The rally was protesting the bosses coercion and intimidation blocking the workers from joining the union. The mostly black workers were given a rough time.
The bosses threatened to replace them; made calls to workers homes pushing a no-vote on unionization; and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire a Kentucky-based anti-union "consultant" to wage this dirty campaign, money the hospital received largely from New York State. The union lost by five votes, 119 to 124.
In 1965 Lawrence hospital workers had struck for 55 days for the right to organize into 1199. At that time hospital workers in New York State were excluded from collective bargaining rights. The Lawrence strike paved the way for such rights for all hospital workers in the State and for the growth of 1199.
However, the comparatively small turnout at the rally demonstrated that the 1199 union leadership refuses to wage all-out battle against Lawrence bosses. The union has over 150,000 workers at its command, but the leadership uses this large group only as an electoral bargaining chip to win a few reforms (maybe) from the bosses politicians. The bosses recognize that the union wont wage an all-out fight. The 1199 leadership is loyal to the bosses capitalist system. They want to keep oppressed black, Latin and white workers in the polling booths instead of waging class struggles against the racist profit system.
The bosses use intimidation, threats, harassment and firing of workers to keep them in line. They violate union contracts. Very often many cases are tied up in arbitration. If the boss loses, the penalties are trivial. However, as long as the 1199/SEIU leadership refuses to mobilize all healthcare workers to fight the bosses attacks, the bosses will have free reign. Through communist leadership which doesnt operate within the bosses laws, the working class can learn the necessity to get rid of the capitalist system.
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers released a report on June 12 protesting the use of 500,000 children worldwide as cannon fodder. It was issued in South Africa because most of the children used in wars are in Africa, although 87 countries throughout the world use child soldiers. The report says Britain and the U.S. are among the few imperialist countries who do. Britain recruits as young as 16 sending them into combat at 17.The U.S. used youth under 18 in the Gulf War, Somalia and the Balkans. Capitalisms technology has developed very light weapons, making it possible for children to use them.
Although a worldwide phenomenon (see CHALLENGE 6/6)), it is worse in Africa because of the many wars for diamonds and other resources. Judit Arenas, Coalition spokeswoman, reported that warring factions and even governments in Africa use children to guard lucrative oil and diamond fields that finance their wars. "Children are actually being kidnapped from other regions and countries where there are no conflicts."
Its obvious that capitalism and imperialism are the worlds worst killers of children. Just prior to this report, another one detailed the worldwide use of millions of children as cheap and even slave labor, including the U.S.
However, these reports wont change the situation of working-class children one bit. For the sake of our children, we must destroy the cause of this horror capitalism by fighting for communism.
Editors Comment: To organize this communist revolution, a revolutionary leadership is needed. These children, who these murderers already train to wage war, can play a key role in turning the guns around to smash the biggest killer of children in modern history capitalism/imperialism once and for all.
LOS ANGELES, June 18 The LA Mayoral election runoff pitted two liberal Democrats against each other. The campaigns last two weeks became a bitter fight based on racism from both sides. As CHALLENGE reported, Villaraigosa was supported by billionaire businessman Eli Broad and LAs current mayor Riordan as well as by the Eastern Establishment and their liberal loyalists. The LA Times revealed that he received a big chunk of money from the East Coast. The old-line LA bosses backed Jim Hahn.
Hahns racism claimed Villaraigosa would be "soft on crime because of his background" and because he had asked Clinton to pardon a former drug dealer whose father is a millionaire businessman and a past Villaraigosa supporter. Hahn said he was a "friend" to black workers. Magic Johnson and black politicians like Assemblywoman Yvonne Braithwaite Burke supported Hahn. But the Police Officers Union also backed him. Hahn has been an LA City Attorney since the 1980s. In 1987 he first implemented massive gang sweeps and gang injunctions. These measures gave cops open season for stopping and arresting anyone they "suspected" of being a "gang member" in any area defined as "gang-infested." This so called "friend" of the black community started by arresting and attacking hundreds of black youth in West LAs Cadillac Corning neighborhood. His gang injunctions have been repeated city-widedirected at Latino and black youthand now in cities across the country as well.
The day after the election, Assemblywoman Burke told the LA Times that Mayor-elect Hahn must retain LAPD Chief Bernard Parks because Hahns black political supporters back Parks. Parks is a close ally and protegé of Darryl Gates, a previous arch racist police chief, a product of the old-line LA bosses.
One of the main issues in this election was LA policing policy. Villaraigosa supported "community policing," the liberal/fascist plan backed by the Eastern Establishment to win black and Latino ministers and others to support the cops and their attacks on black and Latino youth. Villaraigosa was pretty committed to dumping Parks. It remains to be seen how this fight develops.
Villaraigosa had the support of most unions. He appealed both to Latino nationalism and to a multi-racial coalition. He said he was from the heart of LA and "would make LA work for all." But Villaraigosa promised to be even tougher on crime than Hahn. He means itfor black and Latino youth, not for the drug-dealing son of a millionaire supporter. Villaraigosa doesnt represent the interests of Latino, black or other workers anymore than Hahn does! He serves the interests of the countrys top rulers.
A New York Times op-ed article noted that even though Villaraigosa lost, he is the future. These rulers want the politicians who run the countrys second largest city to be loyal to them and their plans for community policing. Their goal is to win Latino workers (now 50% of LA) and black, Asian and white workers to vote and to believe that this system can be reformed to meet their needs. They desperately need a loyal working class to accept starvation wages and willingly send their children to fight coming imperialist wars for the bosses control of oil and empire. Neither Villaraigosa nor Hahn said a word or intend to lift a finger for the thousands of people here who will soon be kicked off welfare and forced into low-paying slave labor jobs.
Since the 1992 multi-racial rebellion, some LA rulers have been trying to build divisions between black and Latino workers. In this election, the bosses pushed racism in their dogfight for control of LA. They also spread the dangerous illusion that racism can be ended by voting for the "lesser evil" politician, or "one of our own."
Voting for slick politicians is a deadly trap. Its clear that PLP must fight hard to unite the working class on every front. The working class must unite so that we can get rid of racist police terror, slave labor, wage slavery and imperialist war with communist revolution. Our urgent job is to build our party and Challenge among black, Latino, Asian and white youth and workers.
The recently signed contract between the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the military division of the Boeing Company in St. Louis generated a lot of interest at the last union meeting here in Seattle. The original deal was overwhelmingly rejected, the rank and file shouting down the union leadership at the ratification meeting. Workers were particularly angry at a provision allowing the company to shift workers among several "families" of job categories, thereby eliminating jobs. The leadership finally railroaded a new deal, seven days later, by offering a few extra bucks and a promise by the company of no more layoffs unless a "catastrophic" setback occurs. As one worker said at the last union meeting, the "no-layoff" pledge was a "sucker punch."
The average age of the St. Louis workforce is 49. (In Seattle its 46.) Many workers will be retiring during the three-year contract. The "no-layoff" pledge focuses our attention on our own job, while allowing the company to eliminate many more jobs through attrition.
"Were supposed to organize for the common good of the working class," a member reminded us. "Is this what Dick Schneider, [International head negotiator] calls good security language?"
But class-consciousness is the last thing these misleaders want us to develop. "Think only about your own job" is their motto.
The International has taken this selfish ideology to its logical conclusion in the latest IAM Journal. "Bombs Bursting in Air" is the lead article and subject of International President Buffenbargers editorial. In supporting Bushs plan to build a star wars missile "defense," the International pushes the usual imperialist claptrap about "rogue nations." Besides devoting nearly the whole magazine to this warmongering, theyre also distributing a free "Bombs Bursting In Air" video as well.
Class-consciousness, on the other hand, can lead to questioning to what use our labor is put. The bosses want to exploit us as much as possible to build weapons that kill other workers in pursuit of still more exploitation and profit. We must reject not only the union misleaders sellout contracts, but their nationalism and selfishness as well.
For the bosses its "Bombs Bursting In Air"; for us it must be "Workers of the World, Unite!"
LOS ANGELES, CA, June 6 Teachers in United Teachers Los Angeles Central Area voted overwhelmingly to support Progressive Labor Party member Joan Heymont in her struggle to return to her Brooklyn, NY science teaching position today. Teachers pledged to endorse a new business initiative supporting Joan in the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly in Los Angeles this summer.
As readers will remember, Joan Heymont is a veteran science teacher at Brooklyns Boys and Girls High School. She was removed from her job and sent to mark time in a district office for inviting students to a Saturday May Day march in Washington, D.C. Her colleagues, students and parents have mobilized to support her, and to protest the harassment and threats against students who have worn stickers and circulated petitions calling for her return. They have been threatened with suspension or not being allowed to graduate, and her students had no regular teacher to prepare them for the Regents exams.
The struggle to return Joan Heymont to her job teaching science at Boys and Girls HS and years of PLP activity in the unions Delegate Assembly has forced the teachers union leadership to offer nominal support, evidenced by an overwhelming vote favoring her at the unions Delegate Assembly meeting. Union president Randi Weingarten promised to move quickly in Joans defense, but as of this writing, the case is not yet resolved. Teachers around the country must support her fight.
The Triple Helix, by Richard Lewontin, discusses evolution and genetics from the perspective of dialectical materialism. It is a useful weapon to combat biological determinism being pushed at college campuses and medical centers. According to Lewontin, the idea that the development of living beings (organisms) is just a matter of genes is wrong.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the large molecule that makes up our genetic material. The idea that DNA sequence determines protein structure is overly simplistic and mechanical (as opposed to dialectical). One example of the dialectical complexity of protein formation is the production of artificial insulin.
Insulin controls blood sugar and is a critical medicine for people with severe diabetes. Scientists learned to transfer the insulin gene to bacteria, and tried to use these bacteria to create insulin in vats. They had the right protein sequence, but the "insulin" didnt work right. They had to change the environmental conditions in the vat to get the bacteria to produce insulin.
One of the major themes in this book is the dialectical contradiction between genes and environment. Lewontin explains how knowing the genes of an organism (genotype), isnt enough to understand its physical properties (phenotype). One must know about the environment in which the organism develops.
Lewontin gives several examples. Flowering plant A is genetically different from Flowering plant B. Plant A is taller than plant B at sea level. In the mountains, B is taller than A. Or, fruit fly Type A lives longer than Type B at one temperature; at another temperature, fly B lives longer than fly A. The characteristics of living beings reflect the dialectical contradiction between genes and the environment (elevation or temperature.)
Lewontin notes that geneticists tend to use a mechanical outlook in which genes alone determine physical characteristics. They ignore all the dialectical contradictions of genes and environment.
Lewontin again uses fruit flies to explain the general dialectical category of contingency (chance) and necessity. The number of sensory hairs beneath the wings is different under each wing. This cant be due to genes, since its the same genes in one fly. It cant be due to the environment, since it is the same on the left and right side. The answer lies in random (chance) events.
Three cells give rise to the sensory hairs. They come from one "starter" cell. To produce hair, the three cells migrate to the surface of the developing fly. If division of the "starter" cell takes too long, the three cells may not arrive in time. Such random processes, not genes or environment, underlie a great deal of the differences between organisms.
Environment is not fixed and unchanging. For example, waste products for one species are food for another. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. The flower takes in carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen. All organisms alter not only their own environments, but the environments of other species as well. Genes, organisms and environments have a dialectical interrelation.
Organisms are built on the complex interaction of many relatively weak forces that keep it functioning fairly stable. For example, no matter what the temperature is outside or how hard were working, our body temperature stays around 98.6° F. This is due to many different biochemical and physiologic processes. Only when the organism is subject to major stresses that push it beyond certain limits do these regulatory devices break down. If you sit out in 120° weather for a few hours without water and shade, youll end up with hyperthermia (elevated body temperature, or heat stroke). Mechanical geneticists often ignore the many influences on the development of a biologic function.
The "sensitive dependence of initial conditions" is an example of the second law of dialectics, quantity into quality. Very small differences in starting conditions can result in extreme differences in the final outcome. All species are the result of a unique historical process that might have taken many paths other than the one it actually took.
There are two kinds of rhinoceros. The one in India is one-horned. The one in Africa has two. The best explanation for this is two alternative outcomes of the same selective process (the horns probably serve a protective function) beginning with somewhat different initial genetic conditions.
Finally, Lewontin shows that one must view "causes" at many levels. The death rate among the working class declined dramatically in 19th Century Europe. The "cause" was the decline in infectious disease. The bigger "cause" was the rise in wages and nutrition. And this could be traced to the struggle of the working class. Or, consider pollution caused by deforested mountainsides and non-degradable waste dumps. The "greater" cause is capitalist production for profit.
The Triple Helix (136 pages) is not easy reading. But it will reward you with a deeper understanding of the dialectical interplay of genes and environment in the development of all living beings.
ANN ARBOR, MI, June 3 This weekend a multi-racial group of hundreds of students met at a National Conference to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration, proclaimed by the leadership as the founding of "a new Civil Rights movement.
Reports included student fights: at Berkeley and Michigan against attacks on Affirmative Action; at Brown against the racist ad placed by David Horowitz, (see CHALLENGE, 4/25); at Penn St., against a state of racist terror on the campus; and at Harvard by students and workers fighting for a "Living Wage."
Conference participants discussed linking these struggles, and whats next in the anti-racist fight. The conference was led by the Michigan chapter of the National Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration by Any Means Necessary, or BAM (By Any Means). Many BAM members were in the Trotskyite Revolutionary Workers League, which despite its name advocated forming alliances with Jesse Jackson.
Jackson spoke and tried to win support for the Democratic Party, saying (when pressed) that hed help mobilize a September rally against racism at Penn State. A PLPer moved to amend the Conferences basic statement to disassociate the new movement from Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow/PUSH coalition, declaring that Jackson was part of the ruling class. He noted that Jackson supported Clintons Democratic administration that attacked workers with more prisons and prison labor, Workfare, more racist cops and the accompanying terror, the bombing of Yugoslavia, etc. He said Clinton was a war criminal, noting that Jackson was Clintons "spiritual adviser," supports U.S. imperialism and pushes U.S. patriotism. He declared that support for Jackson legitimizes capitalism and the racist/fascist attacks it was increasingly launching due to its growing crisis. He said Jackson has no place in our struggles against racism, exploitation and oppression. His motion of opposing Jackson was voted down 62-25 with 7 abstentions. In later discussions with students, several from Penn State agreed with this analysis of Jackson.
Our comrade kept communist ideas in the forefront. In discussions of the Harvard Living Wage sit-in and in a flyer he exposed Harvard as a booster of racism, capitalism and imperialism, inventing napalm; having Herrnstein, author of the racist Bell Curve, as head of its psychology department; Henry Kissinger as a professor; promoting E.O. Wilson, a Harvard professor responsible for sociobiology "all human behavior is determined by genes"; and sponsoring the liberal fascist professor William J. Wilson who divides anti-racists by arguing that white workers are "too racist to be won to anti-racism." Professors like Wilson, along with the AFL-CIO leadership, are attempting to build a worker-student alliance for imperialism.
The PLPer also noted that the whole capitalist education system generates inequality. He called on all those at the conference to fight for a communist revolution to destroy capitalism and its universities. He distributed nearly 40 CHALLENGES and obtained around 20 contacts.
The Penn State struggle highlighted the conference. In the past year, ten black students received death threats. Many racist/fascist groups are on campus and in the area. Campus cops racist tattoos signify membership in fascist groups and/or that theyve killed at least one person of color. Lucrecia Wolf (Black Student Organization president) received a death threat; a week later the dead body of a young black man was found near where the death note had indicated.
In response, a multi-racial group of hundreds of students took over the building which houses the African American studies department. Thousands rallied outside. They decided to hold a demonstration in early September at Penn State protesting this racism.
Communists in PLP must be there to join the fight against the fascists, and to expose misleaders like Jackson as enemies who must be dumped for the fight against racism and fascism to succeed.
On June 22, 1941, more than 3,000,000 Nazi troops invaded the Soviet Union. Fascist troops from Finland, Rumania, Hungary, Italy and Spain later joined them. The largest military attack in history was a second attempt by the capitalists to smash the worlds first workers state. Only 16 years earlier the Bolsheviks had defeated imperialist troops from 14 countries, including the U.S., Britain and France, who had invaded the Soviet Union in 1917 to "strangle the socialist infant in its cradle." Though 4.5 million Soviet workers lost their lives, the communist-led Red Army defeated them. Now Hitlers armies would meet a similar fate.
Virtually all Western military experts predicted Hitler would be in Moscow in six weeks. Less than four years later, Soviet troops marched triumphantly into Berlin, having smashed the "invincible" Nazi war machine.
About 80% of Hitlers armies were tied down in Russia on the 2,000-mile-long Eastern Front. By the time the allies launched the D-Day invasion of France in 1944, the Red Army had already swept the Nazis out of all of occupied Russia and part of Eastern Europe and Soviet tanks were rolling towards Germany at 40 miles a day.
Today a flood of movies, books and TV specials tell us how the US single-handedly won World War II, saving "Private Ryan" and the world. In fact, U.S. rulers were worried that if they didnt invade France when they did, the Red Army would liberate all of Western Europe by itself.
Even Western historians agree the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the battle against Hitler and the Soviet victory at Stalingrad was the turning point of the WWII. The USSR lost over 20 million lives defeating the Nazis (75 times the 300,000 U.S. deaths). In the Nazi-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, "about two-thirds of the houses and productive capacity was destroyed." Not one bomb fell on the U.S. during the entire war. [All figures from The World Almanac of World War II.]
The imperialist conspiracy to smash the Soviet Union began long before WW II. The British and French rejected five separate Soviet proposals for an alliance against Hitler in the 1930s. The West supplied Hitler with oil, rubber and bank loans for his war machine. They hoped Hitler would move east and crush the Soviet Union and thereby prevent the spread of the overthrow of the profit system. When Hitler marched into Poland, Britain and France "declared war," the "Phony War," because 110 Western divisions did nothing while the Nazis mopped up in Poland, hoping Hitler would continue to move east.
But before they took on the Soviets, the Germans occupied Holland, Belgium and Norway. Hitler then invaded France. The French high command went over to Hitlers side, allowing him to march into Paris in three weeks, driving British troops into the sea at Dunkirk.
In almost all of Europe, the communist underground led the resistance that helped defeat the Nazis over the next four years. Communist-led partisans behind enemy lines in the Soviet Union alone destroyed one million Nazi troops, more than the combined total destroyed by the U.S. and British in the entire war.
When Hitler finally invaded the Soviet Union, the predicted "six weeks" victory never happened. German troops found total destruction and desolation in every captured Russian city or town the "scorched earth" policy. Soviet defenders burned everything to the ground that they could not take with them and then organized armed resistance behind enemy lines. Over 6,000 factories were dismantled and moved east of the Ural Mountains, re-assembled to produce weapons again, a feat requiring total unity and support of Soviet workers, unmatched by any country, before or since.
By Dec. 2, 1941, the Nazis were just 20 miles from the Kremlin. Stalin stayed in Moscow throughout this period and rallied the Soviet workers and Red Army. On Dec. 6 (the day before Pearl Harbor), the Soviets launched a counter-attack on a 500-mile front and drove the fascists from the gates of Moscow. Hitler was forced to halt this offensive.
By September 1942, the Nazis had begun another offensive, reaching the outskirts of Stalingrad. They planned to take that city and then seize the oil of the Caucuses to the south (bordering oil-rich Iran) and drive on Moscow to the north. But it was not to be. Soviet soldiers and workers fought for Stalingrad block-by-block, house-by-house and room-by-room to halt the "unbeatable" Nazi invaders. Workers in arms factories produced weapons for the Red Army working 24 hours a day. When Nazi troops captured factories, heroic Soviet workers and soldiers would take them back.
The entire German Sixth Army and 24 of Hitlers generals were surrounded and killed or captured in the battle of Stalingrad. Never again would the Nazis mount an offensive against the Red Army. Stalingrad was truly the turning point of the Second World War. The communist-led Soviet Union smashed the largest and most powerful army every mounted by a capitalist power.
Internal weaknesses eventually destroyed the first workers state. Socialism retained too many capitalist concepts, especially wages and money. But as a British general remarked in introducing a documentary about the Battle of Russia, "if it were not for the heroism of the Soviet workers, if Hitler had conquered the Soviet Union, millions of citizens in Britain and the United States would be dead today." We are slowly learning the hard lessons from the defeat of the old communist movement. But emulating the mass heroism and determination they displayed in defeating fascism is the goal of PLP in our fight for communist revolution.
"The union leaders gave free tickets to see the movie. My friends and I tore them up!" exclaimed Julio, a janitor for 20 years and a rank-and-file leader, about the new film "Bread and Roses." "They told us we could be extras in the movie for $200 but how many millions are they going to make? They put the sellout union leaders in the movie to make them look good."
Another worker commented, "Theyre trying to use our struggle to make people think the system can be made to serve our needs."
This started a lively discussion on a film, made by Ken Loch, about the struggle to build the union among Los Angeles janitors. The New York Times and the head of the LA County Federation of Labor are recommending it. Union organizers are being encouraged to see it as a "training film." It says that capitalism can be made to be worker-friendly and democratic todays unions can give immigrant workers a piece of the "Great American dream."
The movie does show immigrants forced to cross the border illegally and then clean the big LA office buildings, "rewarded" with racist and sexist harassment. One good scene shows a worker teaching his new co-worker how to clean the grooves on the ground at an elevator entrance. Two lawyers literally walk over them to get on the elevator, never even noticing them. But the film never blames capitalism for the rotten conditions workers face.
In the movie, two Mexican capitalists offer a scholarship to a janitor struggling to go to law school if he can only raise the rest of the money. Mexican capitalists are big friends of the workers, right? An activist janitor tells him not to forget about his co-workers and then risks everything to help him. Its clear: college is the way up and out.
The janitors leader is a young ex-college student who "defies" his leaders by organizing actions to embarrass the building owners into recognizing the union. But his leaders let him do this. And the owners give in because his publicity stunt makes them look bad. Its not the loss of profits based on workers strength that forces the boss to give in temporarily its the exposé in the liberal media. The student tells the union leader that the union is more interested in giving money to the Democratic Party than organizing the workers. In reality, the janitors are forced to pay increasing union dues for Democratic Party candidates like Antonio Villaraigosa who are loyal only to the liberal bosses.
The older sister of the movies central character tells her shed become a prostitute to support the family in Mexico, going on and on about it. While some women are forced into prostitution, making this the symbol of immigrant women is a racist and sexist slap at all the women whove worked long hours in factories, clean houses and lead fights against oppression to support their families.
Most striking janitors felt they got next to nothing about a 30¢ hourly increase not the huge victory depicted in the movie, which says small reforms, led by the AFL-CIO, are our only goal.
The janitors did win a victory. Some now see the fight against racist and sexist oppression as part of the international working class fight against the capitalist system. More see the limits of reform struggle and the need for a long-term, revolutionary communist outlook.
If you see this movie, see it with friends and then discuss workers real conditions, what causes them and how to end oppression and racism.
In the movie, a janitor tells a rally that he had organized workers, students and farmworkers in El Salvador to unite, and that he was doing the same here in LA. The promoters of this movie would like to turn such past fighters against U.S. imperialism into current fighters for crumbs, loyal to the AFL-CIO, liberal Democratic politicians and U.S. bosses. While our task, to fight for communist revolution, is not easy, capitalism is bucking the tide of history.
George W. Bush has presented us with a great opportunity to collectively spit in the governments eye. Lets take the tax rebate most of us will get this summer and give it all to the Party.
Think of the satisfaction! The ruling class is in desperate straits, brought on by the contradictions of capitalism, and some of them are hoping this tax rebate will help their economy. Instead, lets use it to build the Party that is working for their destruction. If every Party member and friend contributed their tax rebates, that would be a big help to the Partys continuing to build for communist revolution, covering the expenses of international work, youth work and publishing CHALLENGE.
Of course, we could use this tax rebate for many things, but lets face it, we didnt expect to have this money and most of us can do without it. Think of how much more satisfying it will be to be part of a collective cash donation to the Party.
Im Always Broke Too But Thats How It Is Under Capitalism And Thats One Reason We Need Communism"
I work in a large Chicago area hospital. Over the years Ive experienced a number of racist incidents. Once a black man, a pedestrian hit by a car, arrived in the emergency room via ambulance. A resident doctor examined him, and although the man was unconscious, complained about how bad the patients feet smelled. A co-worker and I wrote a letter to the head trauma doctor about the incident. Although we received no reply, the offending doctor was not seen again.
On another occasion, a co-worker stated, "They hired another dirty n- while we were getting her report for the previous shift. When I confronted her about her racist remark, she blamed her mother for raising her that way and verbally attacked me for my communist ideas. After word spread about the incident, I was called into the bosss office and threatened with suspension if I continued mentioning it.
Most recently, a co-worker described racist remarks shed heard from the night shift nurses. Some disparage the young black and Latino patients because they assume theyre all gang members. My co-worker had a similar experience when visiting a relative whod been shot. She thought his treatment was affected by some of the nurses less-than-favorable attitudes. I encourage my co-worker to write to CHALLENGE to expose these incidents.
Racist ideas dont fall from the sky. They are fostered and nurtured by the capitalist system (through TV, books, newspapers, movies, etc.). If we are only exposed to racist ideology, racism will flourish. By distributing more Party literature, like CHALLENGE, and discussing anti-racist ideas with our friends and co-workers, we can make progress in the anti-racist/anti-capitalist fight.
Chicago hospital worker
Last week 50 people from various churches and organizations concerned about the abuses of the foster care system and the overmedication of children with psychiatric drugs picketed an office of the Administration for Childrens Services (ACS) in the Harlem State Office Building.
The most moving speaker was Cecil Reed, whose 16-year-old son died while a patient at Bronx Childrens Psychiatric Hospital. Unbeknownst to Mr. Reed, his ex-wife had turned over custody of their son to ACS, which approved the use of multiple anti-psychotic drugs for Cecil, Jr., over the objections of Mr. Reed. He pointed out that nearly all the children in state psychiatric facilities are black or Latino, and that nearly all are on multiple psychotropics.
Presumably his previously healthy son died from the effects of these drugs, although now, a year later, an investigation has yet to be launched. Moreover, the main reason the son was barred from moving in with Mr. Reed and his second wife was that their apartment was "too small." But neither ACS nor the Housing Authority, for which Mr. Reed works, was willing to help them find a larger apartment.
Over half of all children in foster care are on psychiatric medications, many because of the trauma suffered by being removed from their families abruptly and placed in group homes or in multiple foster families. Although ACS may save some children from imminent danger, they remove many children on the slimmest of pretenses and without any investigation. Recently, children have been removed for "medical negligence," meaning parents object to giving drugs like Ritalin to their children. Poor parents, the main victims of this system, have no access to meaningful legal assistance. It often takes years for them to recover their children despite the often fraudulent allegations against them.
Other speakers discussed the rash of psychiatric medication of school children, 20% of whom are diagnosed with "mental illness" and given drugs like Ritalin or Prozac. The National Institute of Mental Health is currently sponsoring a national study of Ritalin in 3-year-olds. They want to pacify our children so they will not become restless or distracted in crumbling, overcrowded schools whose aim is to teach children to conform and take multiple choice tests. A union member from AFSCME Local 371 of welfare and ACS workers pointed out that an alliance between his members, professionals and the workers they serve is necessary to fight these fascist conditions that are increasingly evident in education, social services and psychiatry.
Relative to the article, "Fight Grows Behind PL Teachers Battle for Job"(CHALLENGE, 5/6), for eight years PLP members have been active in the UFT Delegate Assembly. Some were also active 30 years ago. People often remind us about the "old days," but most of us know little about that, not having been involved in those struggles though we understand our history.
The CHALLENGE article made it appear as though we had some kind of power that overwhelmed the UFT leadership who then let Joan Heymont speak after she boldly demanded the floor. However, eight years of hard work and gaining the respect of the membership did that.
During these years weve sold CHALLENGE outside every meeting (more than 80), and distributed communist leaflets on some current issue. We have raised May Day on the floor every year, struggled with people, made friends (and enemies), had suppers with friends after the meetings, brought friends from work to the Assembly, and so on. After every Assembly we would write a delegates report for our respective schools, always raising communist ideas. Weve brought specific problems in our schools to the Assembly and brought the answers back to the schools, including fights over a fired teacher, a teacher removed from his school, etc. We have also become active in UFT committees.
Because of our consistency and the fact that we make sense, teachers have become more interested in our communist ideas. Eight years ago we had a more reformist line in the Assembly. Since the PLP document "Road to Revolution 4.5" we have brought more advanced political ideas directly to the Assembly (after some struggle among PLP members).
In some respects we have helped change the nature of the Delegate Assembly. Because of our presence and our communist ideas, other people are now able to express more left idethat previously would have been considered "too radical." In addition, the former UFT local president, Sandy Feldman, has become the head of the national union and been replaced here by Randi Weingarten. With a new contract currently being negotiated, Weingarten who has her own style must take into account membership rejection of the previous contract recommended by the Feldman leadership and therefore be wary about the reaction to any new contract. (When the UFT membership finally accepted the last contract, it followed the AFSCME DC 37 contract pattern which, as it turned out, had been "approved" by a fraudulent vote concocted by DC 37 leaders who have since been convicted of vote-fixing.)
Over the last five years we usually get the floor regularly, now being recognized as the 3rd or 4th force in the Assembly. In our struggles there and with individuals members as well as in our work in general, we have gained confidence in our ability and experience in action. And within the Assembly weve gained grudging respect for our persistence and for our communist ideas.
No victory comes easy under capitalism, and all victories come under attack within a short time. In the Delegate Assembly and in our schools we have become a little more seasoned and can make our way through some of the muck and mire. The article does not give full credit to that process.
A Brooklyn teacher
General Barry McCraffey, anti-drug Czar during the Clinton administration, used to congratulate the now fugitive Vladimiro Montesinos, for "his important actions against drug trafficking." Montesinos was the real power during the Peruvian regime of Alberto K. Fujimori (1990-2000). Montesinos was also an active operative of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Now, a 1500-page report issued by the interim government which replaced the Fujimori-Montesinos duo, revealed that all along Montesinos had been Perus biggest drug dealer. He ran a cocaine-processing lab in the port of Pisco, south of Lima, and supplied the drug cartel of Tijuana, Mexico, with mountains of drugs.
Montesinos also dealt with drug cartels in Colombia. Roberto Escobar, brother of slain Medellin drug lord Pablo Escobar, reported that Pablo and Montesinos worked together, and that Escobar helped finance the 1990 Fujimori electoral campaign. Montesinos, along with General Nicolas Hermoza, army chief, jointly protected landing strips used by drug lords in Peru. They also stole $246 million from overcharging the government for MIG-28s purchased from Belarus (part of the former Soviet Union). The aircraft were so run-down they couldnt be used (one pilot died during a crash when testing one).
The Drug Enforcement Administration not only praised Montesinos and Fujimori, but also ran bases in Peru to supposedly interdict drug shipments. Today, the U.S. governments Plan Colombia is supposed to be fighting drugs in that country. Well, expect the drug problem to worsen as U.S. involvement grows in that part of the world.
Say no to drugs. Fight capitalism!
Class struggle has been heating up in two Seattle neighborhoods. In a 3-week period, three groups of workers struck at the University of Washington. Meanwhile, nearby the cops killed Aaron Roberts, an African-American father of three. Angry workers immediately took to the streets of the Central District, spontaneously showing hatred for the racist cops.
The rulers' response in both areas was to ensure its lackeys maintained control. The union misleaders carefully led striking workers away from militant actions, from truly uniting with students, and from fighting for their class interests against police brutality (see recent CHALLENGE articles).
Meanwhile, so-called "community leaders" are diverting anger over the Roberts murder away from a class outlook, pushing nationalism and pleading to reform the system. The People's Coalition for Justice, associated with the New Hope Baptist Church, held a rally and march. Hundreds showed up. Speakers were mainly leaders of churches and nationalist groups advocating "unity" but emphasizing that a civilian review board and electing better politicians would bring justice. Despite this crap, the marchers were spirited and seemed glad to be in the streets.We started some good chants and people joined in. Another brief rally was held at the spot where Roberts was murdered. From there the march headed to the nearest "cop shop," where more speeches and some disagreements about tactics ensued. Eventually the crowd scattered.
At a community meeting the following Saturday, a multi-racial group of over 300 filled the New Hope Baptist Church The main speaker was the church minister Rev. Jeffrey, a powerful orater. Within minutes most of the crowd was vehemently responding to his emphatic message. (He reminded me of another black minister who has misled large numbers of black and other workers, Jesse Jackson.) He called for an Independent Review Board for the cops. These powerless boards are designed to deceive people into thinking justice is possible under capitalism. The other proposal was a boycott of the Central District Starbucks. I'm happy to boycott Starbucks, a notorious exploiter of workers in coffee-growing regions as well as of its own workers here, but his demand was for more black-owned businesses. (Ironically, this Starbucks is owned by Magic Johnson!) Just like Jackson, he calls for black capitalism to solve the problems of black workers. Capitalism exploits workers no matter what the boss's color.
We brought some people to the rally and had some good struggles with them. We sold too few CHALLENGES, which hampers out winning workers and students away from these misleaders. We will try harder to connect these two struggles for our friends. When university workers see the importance of fighting racism and police murders, and black workers and youth join strikers on the picket lines to demand access to university jobs, then real class unity will emerge.
Struggling Seattle Comrade
On June 2, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) held a "peace carnival" in Glasgow, Scotland. They were very disappointed at the turnout, expecting 2,000 and getting about 300.
Literature stalls included Trident Ploughshares, the Communist Party of Scotland, Communist Party of Britain, the Greens, the Scargill Labor Party and several others.
About 12:15 we marched around the block led by the Socialist Workers Partys (SWP) front group, Globalize Resistance. There was little chance to get active in the march, as the SWP had the megaphones.
Speakers included Robin Harper from the Green Party, who, standing with his hands on his hips, acted as though he was superior "because hes a Green." He pictured himself as a left activist, bragging, "a few months ago, we were demonstrating in Paris against the French", while totally forgetting why he was demonstrating. This brought a few laughs from the local anarchists.
Then Tommy Sheridan, a left standby, spoke, in a sense doing exactly what Hitler did in his book, Mein Kampf he criticized present society and gave only a very vague picture of what "socialism" would be like. Sheridan seems to love himself; hes depicted on all of The Scottish Socialist Partys election posters shaking his fist.
After this, people lost interest and started leaving a very unsuccessful day for the anti-nuclear movement. The event was scheduled to last until 6 P.M. but most people, including this PLP member, left around 3.
The people in power are not going to be pressured into getting rid of nukes just because people want them to. Theyve had them 40 years and still have them. We need to organize within one party and take over the positions these politicians hold so that we dont just demand a better world, we take it for ourselves.
Glasgow Youth Comrade
The crisis in the steel industry is affecting the schools that depend on tax revenues from steel mill jobs. Retired steelworkers could lose a large portion of their pensions and healthcare. If they do, it will affect the health-care providers that depend on the workers health insurance to pay medical costs. Directly or indirectly the working class pays out a large portion of their income for education and healthcare. The bosses steal the best for themselves and spend a small portion of their profits for education and healthcare for the working class.
Workers produce the steel and should control education and healthcare. In a capitalist economy, the bosses control these things based on their need for profits. Money, wage labor and profits will not exist under communism. Workers, led by their revolutionary PLP, will decide what and how much to produce, and control the distribution of necessities like education and healthcare. The choice for international communist revolution, led by PLP, is a choice to begin the process of achieving control of our labor as a class. At the moment, taking control means leading all workers in your community to join PLP and work for communist revolution.