U.S. Imperialisms New World Disorder
Anti-Racists Silence Fascists
PLP Leads Fight at NEA Convention For Students Right to Learn
Capitalism Only Guarantees Profits, Not Jobs
Fight Racist Frame Up of Black Dockworkers
Janitors Fight Gang Up of Bosses, Sellouts
Fox Doesnt Fool Workers
Build Red power to Fight Union Hacks
Racist Mayor Schell Cracked
Déjà Vu? U.S., German Bosses Fight Over Europe
Appearance and Essence: Two Sides of a Strike
Music, Food, Comic Kick Off Summer Project
South AfricaApartheid ANC Style
Communism is the Best
Dairy Workers Sour on Sellouts
Liberals Invade Vieques
Did U.S. Navy Missile Down TWA 800?
After the 1991 Persian Gulf oil war, U.S. rulers boasted about a "new world order." They portrayed themselves as the chieftains of the "only remaining super-power" and predicted a long future for unchallenged U.S. global domination.
In a one-sided way, they had a point. U.S. imperialism remains in command. None of its potential key rivals can yet challenge it directly. Chinese bosses, who are developing a long-range strategy for a face-off with the U.S., cant yet contemplate military action even to take back Taiwan, which is in their own back yard. Russian capitalists are making progress toward restoring themselves as a major force, but they have their hands full for the time being with a bunch of upstart gangsters in Chechnya, whom they cant manage to pacify. The German-led European Union wants to raise its political and military might to the level of its economic strength, but is still years away from that goal.
So U.S. bosses, while sitting on top of the heap, are far from sitting pretty. They face many contradictions, both external and internal, which will sharpen over time.
We communists must see both aspects of this process. We must not fool ourselves either into underestimating U.S. imperialisms current power or interpreting every hint of bad news for U.S. rulers as a sign of their impending collapse. On the other hand, we must also see that every one of the imperialists solutions leads to bigger problems for them, problems which will eventually mature into crisis and war. Recognizing this duality clarifies the hard work we must do today, tomorrow and even long after working class seizure of power, to help our Party grow under all conditions.
The U.S. rulers major dilemmas include the following:
A decade after the Gulf War, the bosses main foreign policy think tank, their Council on Foreign Relations (June 2001), admits that all the killing solved nothing: "Saddam Hussein and his regime pose a growing danger to the Middle East and the United States. The regime cannot be rehabilitated." At the moment, U.S. Iraq policy is in disarray. The bosses cant mobilize Arab support for a war to invade Iraq and overthrow Hussein. Russian rulers, who have big energy deals pending with Iraq, have a strong reason to oppose a revised U.S. sanctions policy: They need to use Iraq also as a bargaining chip against the U.S. plan to expand NATO up to their borders.
The breakdown of the peace deal the U.S. had wanted to broker between Israeli and Palestinian bosses is largely and ironically due to the U.S. "victory" in the Gulf War. The war produced millions of refugees, including more than a million Palestinian, Jordanian and Yemeni oil workers expelled from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as politically unreliable. U.S. and Saudi oil barons feared that these workers would side with Arab nationalists against them. Now the dirty work in the oil fields is done by super-exploited workers from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines. The 500,000 impoverished Palestinian refugees forced to return to the West Bank and the Gaza strip add significantly to Israels inability to pacify those areas and to Arafats failure to impose his political will on his base. The continued violence between Israel and the Palestinians is a direct consequence of the "new world order."
The U.S. ruling class really doesnt have a coherent foreign policy. As influential New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (7/10) complains about U.S. failure to deal with enemies like Iraqs Hussein, Libyas Khadaffi, Arafat, and North Koreas, Kim Jong Il, "[Washington] has run out of ideas for how to deal with a certain foreign leader, so your whole approach is waiting for that leader to die. Biology!" The rulers arent stupid. The Bush White Houses inability to produce a unified foreign policy reflects ongoing conflicts and rivalries among different factions of U.S. imperialism. Its sharpest present form is the debate now raging over military policy between forces around Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who view technological superiority as primary, and generals and admirals who know that wars are won on the ground and the sea by politically committed soldiers and sailors (see Nicholas Lemann, "Dreaming About War,"The New Yorker, 7/16).
The rulers are indeed "dreaming about war." The Eastern Establishment knows that its continuing world domination depends on ruling the international oil supply. The Russians and Chinese have long-range plans for replacing the U.S. Therefore, a third world war is inevitable, and the U.S. ruling class needs to prepare for it now, even if it may lie decades in the future. Such a war requires millions of young workers prepared to kill and die for imperialism. The rulers dont have this ingredient in their arsenal, and its absence is their Achilles Heel. Nobody in the imperialist think-tanks, not even in the Hart-Rudman Commission (a coalition of Republicans and Democrats calling for militarizing society and gearing for war) dares utter the words "military draft" aloud. Yet carrying out the big bosses agenda will eventually require a restored draft.
As conditions continue to sharpen, this key weakness will present our Party with expanding opportunities for growth. Even today, despite our small size and therefore relative tactical weakness, due to the rulers Achilles Heel we have good potential to advance. Our recent successful anti-fascist action in Morristown and our vigorous work at the National Education Association Convention provide good examples. The future will hold many such opportunities, both small and large.
The real "new world order" is the road to communist revolution. It is long, uphill and hard, but as the great Russian revolutionary author Maxim Gorky wrote: "Our children are going into the world, our children are going, our blood is going for the truth; with honesty in their hearts they open the gates of the new roada straight, wide road " (The Mother). Later Gorkis heroine shouts: "We will cleanse the whole of life."
We communists must never forget that this remains our mission. However long the process, our side will win.
MORRISTOWN, NJ, July 4 Hundreds of militant workers and students prevented Richard Barrett and his fascist Nationalist Movement from being heard here today. With shouts, chants, banging on signs and the action of two brave anti-racists who wrecked Barretts sound equipment, the multi-racial crowd followed the lead of communists in PLP to silence the fascists. Todays action was a victory for the working class and for PLP. Many comrades, particularly younger ones, took leadership.
There was a sharper struggle about fascism and the current period within the Party and among our friends this past year. Many agree fascism is increasing. But many still ask: what can the Party do about it?
Our first planning meeting revealed many disagreements. Some felt the Party should retreat because our numbers were "too small" to accomplish much; we should not risk more arrests.
But others thought that staying away and not vigorously organizing against the fascists would be a big mistake. Many recalled the Partys history in fighting fascism. The 1975 Boston Summer Project was a militant struggle led by young comrades, showing its possible to mobilize thousands to fight the bosses attacks. We ended the organizing meeting with a collective decision to participate on the 4th and guarantee certain plans.
We corrected last years mistake by going every weekend, along with our friends, to different parts of the community with leaflets and CHALLENGE. Many people there had no idea Barrett was returning. Some said they wouldnt come on the Fourth but would be attending the candlelight vigil called by politicians and church misleaders. We struggled with them about the importance of being militant and vocal the day of the demonstration.
Other workers from the community agreed immediately that the only way to stop Barrett from spreading his racist lies was to fight back. They promised to join us and said they were happy we were there. This made many of our comrades confident about what we could do, that our strength and power does come from the working class. The more time we spent in the community, the less fearful we became. They were impressed with the youth and with the active roles they took. They led many chants and speeches on the bullhorn.
On the morning of July 4, we held a march and rally with about 30 people at a local housing complex. We marched through the complex leafleting and chanting, "The workers, united, will never be defeated," and "Las luchas obreras no tienen fronteras" ("Workers struggles have no borders"). We were very well received. Many residents took leaflets and supported us. Some came and joined us at the front of the demonstration across from the fascists.
Despite massive police protection, the open fascists were unable to bring out anyone. Steve Ucci, the "Grand Marshal" for their rally, who had promised to bring out hundreds only three weeks before, didnt even show up. PLPs activities before July 4, including leafleting and postering his neighborhood, certainly helped to "discourage" him.
When we reached the police barricades, we led chants. Another group of anti-racists nearby led chants and gave speeches on their bullhorns. It was then that two young anti-racists, who had appeared to be with Barrett, began throwing down his flags, kicking over and disabling his sound system, before being arrested by the cops. These and all the previous actions invigorated the crowd, who began shouting, "Death, death, death to the fascists!" and then tore up the Confederate flag.
Scores of immigrant workers from Morristown joined us in chanting loudly and preventing Barrett from being heard. When Barrett and the one lone fascist with him brought out their pro-cop "Profiling Saves Lives" banner, the crowd began chanting, "Killing fascists saves lives!"
Many of our goals were achieved. The 350 cops ordered out to protect a grand total of two fascists didnt stop us. We prevented Barrett from being heard. Our confidence that the working class, if given the chance, would join us proved to be correct.
The battle against fascism in Morristown is rich with lessons for our comrades, friends and the working class.
Many people do not yet see that the liberal rulers who pose as anti-racist are the main forces behind fascism, U.S. style. It was Clinton who signed the "welfare reform" bill into law that has greatly expanded slave labor Workfare and forced millions off the rolls. It was under Clinton that the prison population soared to two million, 70% black and Latin. And yes, it is the liberals who are building the apparatus of the U.S. police state, including community policing, metal detectors and cameras in most public buildings and a national police/military/ intelligence force, under the guise of fighting "terrorism."
Fascism is a product of the capitalist system in crisis. It is not a sign of strength of the rulers or their system. Rather, it exposes capitalism for what it really is a bosses dictatorship. Under fascism, the capitalists attack the working class, including communists, harder. But the more we inflict defeats on fascism, the weaker the ruling class becomes when it exposes itself as openly fascist. Despite all obstacles, the bosses and their system can be taken. We can further rebuild the communist movement in the heat of these battles.
Fighting the open Nazis is only one part of the struggle against fascism. The same black and immigrant workers who Barrett came to Morristown to attack are part of a super-exploited workforce that fascism generates. The rise of fascism is intense at the point of production.
Right now, the mass organizations we work in are the main battlefront in the fight against fascism. In part because of our efforts against the Nazis/KKK, there is not yet a mass base for open fascism. But it is mainly in the unions, the PTAs, the churches, the communities and the military that the liberal rulers are trying to win large numbers of workers to support their version of fascism and their war plans. This is where communists must recruit anti-fascist workers and others. This is the harder battle, day in and day out. But it is the only way that capitalism will be defeated and communism will triumph.
Historically communists are the leading force in the fight against fascism. This struggle has always required a disciplined party, not the individualism of the anarchists. Only the destruction of capitalism through a communist-led revolution can put fascism in the garbage bin of history where it belongs.
LOS ANGELES, July 6 "Let me give you a hug. Im so proud of you and what you said up there yesterday," a black woman delegate told a PLP member at the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly here. She was reacting to a proposal brought by PLP members and friends and adopted by this annual national NEA convention calling on the nearly 10,000 delegates to condemn the racist theories of "biologically-determined IQ," culture of poverty and related ideas, and to base their pre-professional and professional development programs on the idea that everyone can reach high levels of learning. The woman delegate said she, too, had attended staff development workshops where a NEA consultant taught the same racist "culture-of-poverty" analysis.
The resolution struck a nerve, and helped us show that communists take the lead in fighting racism. In the struggle we met dozens of people who helped us fight for it in caucuses, state delegations and on the floor. Hundreds took CHALLENGE and our pamphlet, Racism, Intelligence, and the Working Class.
When we raised the motion in the Hispanic caucus, someone objected, saying this proposal would undercut the inservice training currently given on working with poor children. A delegate answered, "Ive been in NEA-sponsored workshops, where the speaker said that poor peoples homes were chaotic, and that poor people have no respect for education. These training sessions are based on the idea of a culture of poverty and must change. As a teacher and a child of poverty, I support this New Business Item [NBI the above resolution]." She also spoke for it from the convention floor. Another speaker said that the Nebraska caucus had supported our proposal because they were concerned the press was labeling the children of Mexican immigrants in the meat-packing industry there as "hard to educate."
Another delegate spoke from the convention floor supporting the resolution with tears in her eyes as she recalled being taught in teacher education classes that black and Latino people have "smaller brains" and are "thus less able to learn." All these friends were undeterred by the red-baiting of an anti-communist speaker who attacked the resolution as "communist-inspired" by the PLP.
The speech moving this resolution stressed that racist ideas underpin the racist and blatantly unequal outcome of our educational system, justify the income gaps between rich and poor and lower expectations of students abilities to learn. These racist ideas also flood the public schools and justify class society. In fighting these ideas, we encourage our students to fight to learn and learn to fight for a world without racism and inequality. It emphasized that teachers must be defenders of the working class.
We also presented NBI 47 which called on the NEA to support Joan Heymont, a New York PLP member and veteran science teacher, attacked for inviting students to our May Day march in Washington, D.C. This resolution had been endorsed in principle by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). Our supporters in UTLA willingly backed it in the California caucus and helped get it to the floor. After it was moved and we spoke for it, someone objected to it being considered. That required a 2/3 vote, which they barely achieved. At least 2,000 teachers rose to vote in favor of considering the resolution supporting our comrade. When over 2,000 teachers are ready to stand up openly to defend a communist, you know anti-communism has taken a beating.
A PLP dinner meeting emphasized that, as Marx said, it is the historical destiny of the working class to eliminate class society and rule the earth. Racist ideas saying not all students can learn at a high level are part of the ruling classes justification of the growing inequality and attacks of capitalism. Students and workers can and must learn to read, write, do math, think and analyze the world. We cant wait for the capitalists to do it because it is not in their class interest.
This struggle cannot take a back seat to reform struggles for smaller class size or more supplies. Instead, we should learn the lessons of the literacy campaigns in Russia, China and Cuba that sent people to teach reading to millions of others and were successful because much of their motivation was to create working-class leaders. Contrast this with the failure of United Nations progams to reproduce these literacy campaigns in countries with fascist/imperialist rulers.
As teachers and students join together to fight against racism, imperialist war and capitalist exploitation, education takes on new importance. The relationship between teacher and student becomes one of comrades, where each learns from the other. Capitalist schools have been failing to teach what most students need to know. Either we blame the students and their parents, or we ally with them to fight to teach and learn how to understand the world and change it.
NEA teachers are open to these ideas. We can and must win them to join us in teaching our students to understand the world, fight racism, to make a revolution and build a communist society. Part of this is a struggle against racist ideology in classrooms, lunchrooms and union halls. Another part is the fight over the content of what we teach.
The work at this convention strengthened our understanding of what it means to "Fight to Teach/Teach to Fight." Our collective met daily to discuss the days events, plan strategy and struggle over the content of the resolutions, leaflets and the CHALLENGE article. Participants in the LA Summer Project passed out literature outside the convention as well. Altogether we distributed 3,000 leaflets and 350 CHALLENGES. Many of our friends actively supported the fights for these resolutions. Were in a better position to struggle at a higher level in the future, including at next years convention in Dallas.
One feature thats built into capitalism says that any concession workers wrest from their bosses will drive those bosses to invest in new technology that will wipe away those workers gains and lead to even worse conditions. Under capitalism, bosses are impelled to seek maximum profits or be driven out of business by their competitors. In every case, its the working class that suffers the brunt of this cutthroat system.
A clear example of this axiom can be seen in the problem facing U.S. longshore workers. In the 1960s, containerization was introduced to ports on the East and West coasts. By packing individual products into a single large container perhaps one story high that are placed aboard ships and unloaded that way, the individual manual handling and checking of thousands of these items is avoided. This time-saving process reaps much greater profits for the companies.
The bosses, however, faced temporary opposition to this from the two longshore unions, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) on the West Coast and the International Longshoremens Association (ILA) on the East and Gulf coasts. Containerization threatened thousands of jobs. Soon the two unions agreed to it if the bosses would guarantee the jobs of the then current workforce. This also guaranteed that the bosses would have a free hand in using containers that would cut down on the number of future jobs required to handle a growing volume of cargo. So the unions, in "looking out for themselves" (and the ILWU was a left-led union), screwed the job potential for other unemployed workers and for the children of the working class in general. This clamping down on the number of higher-paying jobs lowered the overall wage standards of the entire working class.
Now the inevitable "worm has turned." Asian and European shipping bosses are using still newer technologies to speed cargo faster and cheaper than in the U.S. Hong Kongs port can handle up to four times the amount of containers per acre than Los Angeles. In Singapore, a "crane driver" operates a joystick and video monitors and shuffles huge cargo containers by remote control as if they were childrens building blocks. In Los Angeles, the same operation requires two drivers, a clerk to coordinate and a signalman who acts as the drivers eyes and ears; some work still performed manually. Meanwhile, in Rotterdam, Holland, unmanned robotic cranes controlled by sensors have cut the workforce in half. Asian ports can load and unload ships in 40 hours. In Southern California it takes 76 hours.
Thus U.S. bosses are losing the battle to keep up with the growth in world trade, costing them an estimated $1 billion annually. With the volume of cargo expected to double in the next decade, if U.S. shipping bosses dont improve productivity once again, the congestion of waiting truck traffic and ships will produce gridlock at U.S. ports. Still further, U.S. bound cargo could be shifted to ports in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean and transported the rest of the way by truck, rail and feeder ships.
U.S. shipping bosses blame the union work-rules they negotiated in the 60s in exchange for the efficiencies of that era. The unions took those efficiencies on the theory theyd be saving those workers jobs. But now the laws of capitalism have driven the bosses to new technologies and/or shifting cargo work to lower-paying, non-union sites. The West Coast shipping bosses say they will "guarantee" the ILWUs current 10,000-worker force if they get a free hand to use the new technology. That "guarantee" will last only as long as the introduction of some new technology, to make still greater maximum profit.
Therefore, winning some temporary reform concession can never cut it. The more the trade-offs by any workers, the more other and future workers are screwed into lower-paying jobs or unemployment.
Only with the elimination of the profit system will new technologies be sued to produce a better life for ALL workers. That will only happen when workers get off the treadmill of reform crumbs and take the high road of communist revolution.`
CHARLESTON, SC Black dock workers in this port, in leading a fight to stop scab labor, are facing the full wrath of the bosses state apparatus. In January 2000, hundreds of mostly black members of the International Longshoremans Association (ILA) Local 1422 massed at the waterfront to stop the unloading of a freighter by scabs. They were attacked by hundreds of city cops and state troopers and fought back with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on. Eight workers were arrested and five of them (the Charleston Five) have been held under house arrest awaiting trial on felony charges, facing five-year prison terms.
These militant workers answer to the bosses drive to lower wages and conditions on Charlestons docks sharply contrasts with the union leaderships policies on both coasts to "negotiate" job-cutting productivity increases. (See adjoining article.)
On June 9, over 4,000 workers and their allies from near and far rallied in the State Capitol at Columbia demanding freedom for the arrested longshoremen. Speakers included representatives of South Korean Daewoo autoworkers who face mass layoffs under a GM take-over. But the rally was organized and led by AFL-CIO hacks who are using it to divert the workers anger into supporting the Democratic Party as their "savior." This is the same party that has maintained the anti-union, racist "right-to-work" laws in the state and throughout the South for decades. Charleston mayor Joseph Riley, who had his police chief order the anti-worker onslaught, is himself a Democrat. Trusting these capitalist politicians and their labor lieutenants is like cutting your own throats.
All workers should raise the cry in their own unions to stop these pro-boss trials immediately and release the Charleston Five. Masses of workers could be organized to descend on Charleston and surround the courthouse. Charlestons working class, with rank-and-file leadership, could map a general strike to shut down the city unless the dockers were freed.
The battle of these militant workers proves once again that the government local, state or national is not "neutral" but represents the class rule of the bosses. The only permanent answer to such attacks is smashing the capitalist state apparatus with communist revolution which installs the working class in power.
LOS ANGELES, July 17 "With anger and sadness, hundreds of cleaning workers left their jobs and part of their lives in these luxurious buildings," said a janitor here. "Some had 15 years seniority. Now, once more and under worse conditions, they must confront looking for another job in order to survive," said another. The DMS cleaning company fired 550 men and women janitors after a racist Congressman sparked an INS (Immigration Department) investigation by complaining that undocumented workers were cleaning his offices.
Both the owner of DMS and SEIU Local 1877 union leader Mike Garcia kept this attack secret from the majority of janitors and the working class in general. The union never called a general meeting or mass protest to expose this racist attack.
With the help of the PLP youth Summer Project, the Party distributed a leaflet calling on workers to fight back. Capitalism uses borders and the Migra to terrorize all workers. In the long run, workers need to destroy capitalism with communist revolution.
The workers were glad to see us. Many bought CHALLENGE and some gave their names to plan action against this attack. Summer Project volunteers leafleted as workers angrily confronted SEIU reps visiting the area.
There is a lot of anger towards the union leaders, who only a few months ago called on the janitors to support and give money to Democratic Party politicians. Now that the workers are being attacked, these leaders try to blame the workers for not having "legal" documents.
Some workers believe the bosses are attacking because they dont want other workers to follow the militant lead of the janitors. Others believe that the Republicans are attacking union members for having supported the Democrats during past elections. The union organized many of these workers to actively support Antonio Villaraigosa, who recently lost the mayoral election.
In work locations around the U.S., thousands of workers are being harassed and fired for not having "legal documents." Meanwhile, four million people, mainly single mothers of nine million children, will soon be barred from welfare. They could also be sent to work in the few jobs still left in the garment industry (and the worst-paying).
The essence of this racist attack is to terrorize all workers in order to increase profits. Recently, different cleaning companies have begun using "work teams" to eliminate jobs. "The work that ten of us have done will now be done by six," said a janitor.
Rank-and-file janitors aim to fight these firings and those that are sure to follow. They plan to fight for these jobs and for the union to pay a monthly stipend to the fired workers so they can survive until they find other work. PLP will fully support this janitors fight.
This struggle gives us the opportunity to build the PLP and CHALLENGE among the janitors. This will help build the long-term fight to destroy this rotten capitalist system, which thinks nothing of sending 550 workers and their families into the streets. Liberal union leaders, who defend capitalist laws, cannot meet workers needs. The solution is to build the PLP and develop leaders who rely on the workers to fight for our interests. We must unite as a class and build a communist world without borders, documents or exploitation.
CHICAGO, July 15 The visit of Mexicos President Vicente Fox did not turn out as well as planned. A "verbena" (Mexican style fiesta) was planned in the mostly Mexican working-class Pilsen neighborhood. About 50,000 people were expected to welcome Fox but only 4,000 showed up.
Many expected Fox to discuss a general amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Others, like the V&V Supremo strikers (see CHALLENGE, 7/18), said they wanted to talk to Fox about intervening on their behalf with their Mexican-owned company. The strikers marched to the park to present Fox with their grievances. Fox ignored them and did not talk about amnesty. He supports Bushs proposal for a slave-labor bracero-style temporary visa program.
Community leaders from 100 organizations came to voice their concerns. But Fox paid very little attention during the meeting, his eyes often wandering to the ceiling. Some of the participants yelled several times, "Lets talk about amnesty, about political rights for undocumented immigrants."
Finally Fox said his government had no money for protecting those forced to come to the U.S. Someone yelled, "Return the towels!" (recently "Los Pinos," Mexicos White House, bought $1,400 luxury towels and bed sheets worth thousands). Others said if the Mexico-U.S. border is open to free trade among bosses, it should also be open for free transit of workers. Fox basically said forget about amnesty, the bracero program is whats coming.
Workers knew Fox wouldnt respond to their demands. They know they have no friends in high places. PLP received a warm welcome from workers in the park. We distributed thousands of PLP leaflets and strengthened our ties with the V&V Supremo strikers. Over 1,400 signatures have been collected on petitions demanding unconditional amnesty for all undocumented workers. We must work to win many of these workers to PLP and fight for communism from Mexico City to Chicago.
NEW YORK CITY, July 14 On June 20, the SSEU-Local 371 Delegate Assembly approved a second $1,000 union contribution to the Morristown Legal Fund to help defray the legal expenses of those anti-racist fighters arrested at the July 4, 2000 demonstration against Richard Barrett and his fascist, pro-racial profiling Nationalists. A PLP member made the motion, which was seconded by several delegates. Local president Charles Ensley promised to recommend it strongly to the appropriate union financial committee, which meant the check would be forthcoming. The motion was then passed unanimously.
Our next PLP club meeting discussed why Ensley did not oppose this motion. The member making the motion felt that because the Party has not been attacking him for his hypocritical do-nothingism, Ensley decided it was politic to throw us a bone. This fit right in with his policy of "inclusion" everyone from conservative to communist can work together under the union umbrella.
The club leader said this was too one-sided. He pointed out that 30 to 40 CHALLENGES are sold every month at the Delegate Assembly. Another 60 to 70 are sold every issue at work locations. We have collected over $160 from rank-and-file members of our local for the Morristown Legal Fund in the last two months. At almost every DA, a Party member will speak from the floor, advancing some Party idea. These efforts have influenced a significant number of Delegates to accept our positions on such issues as Workfare and the need to fight racism. This, in turn, has forced Ensley and the Locals leadership to at least mouth opposition to Workfare and other anti-worker policies.
The club leader granted that Ensley accepted the motion because of his policy of inclusion. He added that building a massive movement against the scheduled ruling class plan for ending benefits for welfare recipients reaching their five-year limit and turning welfare centers into Jobs First Centers would be the fight that revealed the difference between our communist strategy and the tacit support Ensley and other union leaders give to the Rockefeller/liberal wing of the ruling class. Its important to have secured this $1,000, but the Partys main task in Local 371 remains to expand our CHALLENGE sales and our base to build a real political force pointing workers towards communism as the solution to the ravages of capitalism.
SEATTLE,WA., July 17 The big hit everybodys talking about has nothing to do with the recent baseball All-Star game here. Rather, its about Mayor Paul Schell being smacked across the face with a megaphone at the Unity Festival in the Central District (C.D.). Standing only a few feet from a memorial erected by neighborhood residents to Aaron Roberts a 35-year old black father of three gunned down by Seattle cops last month Schell was decked by a nationalist as he spoke of "unity" to promote redevelopment of the area.
Schell originally ran for mayor years ago on his record as city economic development director and Dean of the University of Washingtons School of Architecture and Urban Development. He lost because he was pegged as a tool of downtown developers.
Immediately upon losing, he proved his critics correct. He became head of Weyerhauser development and proceeded to destroy all the low-income housing on Seattles waterfront, making room for high-priced condos and Microsoft millionaires.
Now, that he has finally been elected mayor, he has the same plan for the Central District. For the past forty years it has been a predominately black working-class area with modest homes. It is also near downtown, making it a prime target for Schells gentrification.
"Im mad because my kids will never be able to afford a house in this neighborhood where they grew up." said one long-time resident.
Apparently, making black workers the target of cop bullets is also part of Schells plan.
"What do they expect with these cop murders?" said another neighbor when informed by a reporter of the hit, "Everybody to go around happy?!"
The vast majority of the thousands that have fought and demonstrated against cop murders and gentrification justly hate what the racist bosses have done to themselves and their children. Unfortunately, the established opposition to Schelland even Schells attackerstill believes in capitalist redevelopment. Schell and the established opposition are only fighting over who gets the spoils.
As our Party members and friends continue and broaden the fight against racist cop murders and gentrification, it is imperative that we struggle against the notion of black capitalism, as well as against having faith in liberal reforms. Defeating racism requires smashing capitalismin any and all forms. There can be no justice under capitalism, even with one or a million civilian review boards. Make no mistake about it recruiting more fighters for communist revolution is the true victory for our class in this struggle. The thousands that are fighting racism deserve no less!
First, former Yugoslavian leader Slobodan Milosevic is deported to The Hague to face the international war crimes tribunal. Then the same court indicts two Croatian generals for war crimes during that countrys war with Serbia ten years ago. But the biggest war criminals are the imperialist rulers in Washington, London, Berlin, Brussels and Paris. They were behind the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and armed their own factions to wage war. They wont be facing any war crimes tribunal.
The trials of Milosevic and the Croatian generals reflect the imperialist dogfight over control of the Balkans and Europe. Despite apparent collaboration in the Balkans, particularly during the 1999 air war against the former Yugoslavia over control of Caspian oil pipelines to Western Europe, contradictions abound.
Milosevic was overthrown last year and is now on trial because of U.S. and German pressure and aid to the opposition. The indictment of the Croatian generals has more negative implications for the U.S. Heavy U.S. aid enabled the Croatian army to wage war. Londons OBSERVER (7/8) proceeded "to lift the lid on one of the murkiest episodes of the Balkan wars: the secret arming of the Croats by the U.S. The history of U.S. assistance to the nationalist regime of former President Franjo Tudjman [a Nazi collaborator during World War II, Ed.] dated back to March 1994." The U.S. government has refused to collaborate with The Hague tribunals on the Croatian situation.
The Croatian army was trained by Military Professional Resource Inc. (MPRI), based in Virginia, a private Pentagon contractor run by former U.S. generals. In 1995, the Croatian army attacked the Krajina region, home of Serbs in Croatia. With MPRI advising, an "ethnic cleansing" expelled 150,000 Serbs, destroyed 22,000 homes and murdered hundreds, many of them elderly or sick.
Since 1994, MPRI has flourished like many other contractors that make up what is known as "Mercenary Inc." Founded by Ret. General Vernon Lewis, in 1988 it had three full time employees. Today it has 850. It is so profitable that it has been acquired by L-3 Communications (an offshoot of Lockheed) and is traded on the stock market.
While the U.S. and German imperialists imposed a Nazi-like ethnic-cleansing division of the former Yugoslavia, their overall differences widened. Bushs recent visit to Europe failed to resolve any of the major disagreements between the European Union and Washington, from Bushs missile shield to the Kyoto environmental protocols to the death penalty.
The main dispute revolves around the kind of Europe being forged. Berlin wants to take political control of Europe as the next step to being the economic engine of the "old" continent. Germany is proposing a political structure for Europe similar to the federal (lander) set-up of Germanys state system.
U.S. rulers fought two World Wars to keep Germany from controlling Europe, and arent eager for a third. A Europe unified around Germany could forge an alliance with Russia, with its military power and access to Caspian oil and eventually Iraqi oil. This could mean the end of U.S. domination here, especially over Britain. The U.S. ruling class will surely do everything possible including using London and Paris to sabotage German plans for a 4th Reich. They will try to maintain a U.S.-controlled NATO, especially as a check on the "independent" European Rapid Deployment Force.
The 1990 collapse of the former Soviet Union left the U.S. as the "worlds only superpower." Now the old imperialist contradictions that sparked two world wars in the 20th century are sharpening. Lenins study of World War I proved that "imperialism inevitably leads to war." The Hague trials may eventually bring more instability. According to Stratfor.com (7/9), "When the realization sinks in that little of substance will actually occur, the pro-Western politicians in the Balkans will likely be swept aside in an anti-Western and nationalist rage. Apart from the opportunity of Russia to take advantage of [this], the fact is it will create a situation that will make the 1990s pale."
The international working class must be prepared for another round of imperialist wars. World War III may not be around the corner, but there wont be "peace on earth." Building a mass PLP now will eventually allow us to turn the next imperialist war into communist revolution.
NEW YORK CITY, July 16 A funny thing happened on the way to our study group about dialectical materialism. We went to a support rally for striking workers. The class was to discuss appearance and essence. We decided to apply this philosophical category to the rally we had just attended.
What was the appearance? Thirty-two young Mexican men were striking because one had been fired for distributing a "know-your-rights" flyer at the Tuv Taam kosher food processing plant in Brooklyn. He was the second worker fired for union organizing. About 25 older Polish women who feared loss of income were still working. The bosses had also recruited about seven Latin workers to continue working there. The strike was nine days old.
Many in the study group detailed the conditions described by the strikers: Wages of $4 an hour or less with no time and a half for overtime (theyre demanding $6.50); 12-hour shifts, often reaching 70 hours a week; few breaks, no water, filthy bathrooms, no vacations, no health insurance, etc. No wonder the workers are striking. They want a union and are organizing in the United Electrical Workers.
The rally drew many supporters. Everyone was very spirited and determined to win. Speakers included a rabbi who said plant conditions violated kosher laws. A Party member received a loud cheer when advancing the need for revolution. Everyone followed his lead in chanting in Spanish that workers should not recognize any borders.
In our study group we disagreed about whether the various groups at the rally were just trying to put forward their agenda or if it was a real show of strength and solidarity. We then tried to figure out the essence of the situation. This was more complicated.
Several said this was a very heroic struggle. They could find other jobs that were equally lousy and maybe better, but they chose to stay and fight. One comrade said these workers could lose. A male striker had said they operated some of the more complicated machines and the women workers did not, which would force the bosses to rehire them. But several youth felt the bosses could train others to operate these machines.
One comrade noted the bosses preparedness for workers unity: "Its no coincidence they only hired young Mexican men and older Polish women." One of the strikes main weaknesses is nationalism. The language barrier makes it difficult for the strikers to organize the Polish workers. They must win the inside workers to see that striking is in their class interest and that they have a better chance to win better wages and conditions if united. Another difficulty is coinciding the hours of the picket line to the times workers enter and leave the plant. But we all agreed that the strikers showed amazing class solidarity in standing up for their fellow workers.
Then came the questions. Was it wrong for the workers to fight only for a union and better conditions? Should they also fight for communism? After all, $6.50 an hour is still lousy pay. The workers would still be exploited. Does defiance alone equal revolution?
Several comrades thought that fighting back means the strikers are already winning. Someone said a strike is a step to communism. Another said only communists can bring communist ideas to a strike: "Workers cant learn about communism from their strike. Communist ideas have developed over 150 years of both study and struggle. No one can figure all this out by themselves. Thats why we have a communist Progressive Labor Party, to lead the working class to overthrow the capitalists with revolution."
Our disagreements remained unsettled. Understanding the essence of the strike comes not only through investigation in a study group but also through the practice of the workers and the Party. This understanding will deepen with the outcome of the strike and what the workers and the Party take from it.
The strikers are facing tremendous obstacles in a militant wildcat strike at a time when even union-led strikes are rare. The strikers efforts should not be underestimated. We will return to support them and continue bringing them our idea of revolutionary communism.
NEW YORK CITY, July 14 A Saturday, July 7th dinner kicked off PLPs annual summer project. Since joining the Party, Ive been to three and co-hosted two with a young comrade.
Usually theres food, entertainment and politics but this year was a little different the appearance of two accomplished "professors."
The PLP Singers opened the evening and gave their usual sterling performance throughout.Next came Professor Irwin Corey, "The worlds foremost authority on everything," who entertained the crowd with political jokes of yesteryear and today. ("A committee investigating if Gorbachev was a communist found no evidence to that effect.") Then "Professor Louie" performed political rap/poems about drugs, romance and Mayor Giuliani, among other subjects. He was accompanied by "Fast Eddie" on the drums. Two comrades performed a punk song about the Morristown case, "A bullet named Barrett."
Another two comrades related their experiences at last years July 4th demonstration. Still another comrade was justly greeted with a heros welcome for his actions in this years event. He was one of two comrades who disabled the sound equipment at the Nationalist Movements fascist rally. Money was collected towards their legal defense.
This kick-off dinner promoted the importance of a worker/student alliance and got everyone psyched up for the upcoming summer projects. A great time was had by all.
Workers of the World, Write!
Well, its been seven years since South Africa got its black president, which supposedly brought liberty for black people because apartheid is over, but the present situation shows otherwise. South Africas government, complying with the court, last week evicted more than 2,000 squatters from Bredel, outside Johannesburg. They were settled in a ragged stretch of land which government agencies and a private farmer claimed to own. This is part of a policy to make investment more profitable and win Western capitalist support.
When the ruling African National Congress came to power in 1994, the masses of black South Africans believed they finally had tasted the fruits of black liberation. But appearances are deceiving; the color of the rulers does not change the logic of capitalism. The oppression and exploitation of workers remain the same regardless of white or black rulers.
The South African black government claimed "since coming to power it had built 1.1 million low-cost houses providing five million people with shelter, water and sanitation." (L.A. Times, 7/14). But government statistics show that about 7.5 million South Africans lack proper housing.
Instead of building shelters for the squatters, the government sent more than 300 cops equipped with water cannons and emergency crews to Bredel to destroy flimsy shacks built by the squatters. This clearly exposes on what side the government stands and the illusion that black rulers mean a better South Africa for blacks.
The major South African press never mentioned this action. Unemployment and racism, the twin evils of capitalism, are rampant. Thats what created this volatile situation.
Many people are angry and feel the government has betrayed them. The only liberation for black or white workers is to destroy capitalism and build a communist society based on the interests of the whole working class. For this to happen we need to build Progressive Labor Party all over the globe.
An LA Reader
I am a student at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). Im very interested to learn more about PLP. I am totally convinced that communism is the best socio-economic and political system, but my practice has been limited. In 1999 I participated in the UNAM strike. We carried out a fierce struggle against the pro-capitalist school authorities. Although the Strike Committee made some errors, I gained lots of experience. It demonstrated that to achieve communism well have to wage a violent bloody revolution to destroy the savagery of capitalism.
I met PLP through some close friends at the university. PLP attracted my attention because since its birth its understood the necessity for violent revolution. Im also impressed with PLPs fight against racism, nationalism and sexism.
I havent met any organizations calling themselves communist that carried on that kind of struggle on these three issues. PLP also develops a form of struggle that unites its members. Such unity is crucial in building a strong force against capitalism/imperialism.I want to keep in touch by all possible means.
A UNAM Student
I work in a Chicago dairy company. We went on strike May 29, after the company refused to bargain with the Teamsters as our union. This dairy has been in business 36 years and is one of the markets strongest because of the quality of its products, which can be traced to the quality of the workforce. But we receive inhuman treatment. The bosses exploit us to the maximum, refuse us wage hikes and force us to pay for our health insurance.
Fed up with all this we struck. The bosses thought we couldnt do it. Weve been out for a month, but since most of us dont speak English we dont know whats going on. After the first week the union told us the company had accepted our demands and we would soon have contract. But now were told there is no contract.
I ask, whos winning with this strike? On the one hand, the lawyers on both sides seem to be raking in lots of money. But we workers have no money to pay our debts. Why doesnt the union tell us whats going on in the negotiations if we are the most interested party?
Ask an activist in Puerto Rico about Vieques and you'll get a speech and an attempt to recruit you. Vieques is still a hot topic amongst workers here, but not as intense as in the past two years.
One reason for this decline is the leadership offered - it's plagued with reformist views that dont deliver the goods for the working class. This leadership is a coalition of civic organizations like the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques, a great number of churches and, since the past elections, the power and logistics of Puerto Rico's Governor and her political party (PPD).
Governor Sila Maria Calderon has used this issue first to advance her cause during the elections and second to take command of this movement. By making it an official cause she has essentially pacified it. Throughout the island's history, revolutionaries and independence-seekers (though different in nature) have been marginalized, persecuted, attacked, incarcerated and killed by the Federal government and by its main collaborator, the PPD, the party in power! So now this party has officially taken command of the struggle, thereby weakening it and promoting disinterest amongst the workers.
The local government can also always count on the "usual suspects" for help. Recently more professional advocates of human causes like Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Dennis Rivera have visited the islands of Puerto Rico and Vieques and have gotten themselves arrested in solidarity with the leaders of the reformist movement. The latest was Jesse Jackson's wife. She was viewed by all as she trespassed through a hole in the fence and waited to be arrested, proclaiming that her "actions were justified because they were inspired by humanitarian righteousness." She didn't specify when or how, but added that the people of Vieques had the right to live in peace and that this struggle would be won.
Most Puerto Ricans view her intervention (as well as others like Edward J. Olmos, Al Sharpton, etc.) as comical. The island's workers didn't identify with her presence or actions. We were upset that once again we were invaded, even in our own struggles. Many Puerto Ricans told me they were witnessing an attempt to revitalize a Kennedy-type liberal movement with the visits of these professional activists.
There is dissatisfaction everywhere. The daily news reports yet another government official attempting to steal public funds. Outsiders would think that these politicians are persecuted because it happens so often. Meanwhile, the workers face murders, robberies, mass firings, mental health issues, fathers sexually attacking their natural or stepdaughters. Another phenomena are the recurrent births of Siamese twins and the struggle to gather enough money to operate for a successful disconnection. The powers-that-be lack the courage to state that these births are not "blessings from God" but really the result of contamination of our food and the environment.
Communism is the real and only solution to these dramas here. The workers are ready to hear and see something different. It will not be as easy as it sounds. Repression here is very real. The island of Puerto Rico is their "jewel," as the armed forces have stated on many occasions. The bosses with their mercenaries will not tolerate an attack on their training site and base of Operations for the Americas. But it shall be done and subsequent reports will verify our progress.
A Comrade in Puerto Rico
On the fifth anniversary of the crash of TWA flight 800, Long Island Newsday (7/15) has reawakened claims that a missile, not a mechanical problem, was responsible for killing all 230 people aboard. Scores of eyewitnesses, who testified to seeing "a streak of light" shooting towards the plane moments before it exploded, were ignored or dismissed by the FBI and other government agencies.
According to The Downing of TWA Flight 800 (James Sanders, 1997), just as Flight 800 was in its final boarding process at 8:00 P.M. on July 17, 1996, the U.S. Navy activated military zone W-105 for the final testing of a new tracking system. This zone covers thousands of square miles south and southeast of Long Island.
Since the end of the Persian Gulf War, the military had been developing a multi-billion dollar radar tracking system to distinguish "friend" and "foe," among commercial aircraft and hostile missiles. They chose this area off Long Island to test the new targeting software because it was as close to the Persian Gulf environment as they could get without leaving U.S. coastal waters.
The Navy launched a pilot-less drone "hostile" target near Shinnecock Bay, at about the same time Flight 800 was leaving Kennedy airport. A Navy Standard anti-missile missile was then launched from the east to "attack" the drone missile. Its on-board computer was supposed to lock in on the drone target.
As TWA 800 headed east it unknowingly crossed into the military exercise zone. The missile's on-board electronic receiver waited for commands from the Navy task force below, but heavy electronic jamming caused the tracking system to go blind (as it had in two earlier tests). The anti-missile missile, no longer under Navy control, continued westward at 3,000 feet per second "searching" for a target. Its radar locked in on TWA 800, painting an electronic bull's-eye just in front of the right wing. Then it slammed into the fuselage at full speed, just below the passenger cabin, slicing through and exiting the plane's left side.
A Federal Aviation radar technician filed a report saying he saw "conflicting radar tracks that indicated a missile" approaching Flight 800 just before it disappeared from radar. Two officers of the New York Air National Guard piloting an HH-106 helicopter saw "something" traveling from east to west slam into Flight 800 and saw it break up and crash into the ocean. They were close enough to see bodies falling into the water.
With Clinton's re-nomination only weeks away, a massive cover-up began to hide the fact that a mis-directed Navy missile had killed 230 U.S. and French citizens. Gradually, the few clues discovered by a few reporters were neutralized. A ruling class that killed half a million Iraqi civilians in the 1991 Gulf War could easily dismiss 230 civilian guinea pigs to develop a weapons system to kill millions more to protect their profits.
A Brooklyn Old-timer