Taunting Israeli Assassins, Arafat Toys With Palestinian Workers' Lives
The tit-for-tat of Palestinian suicide bombings and Israeli terror shows that every "solution" concocted by the big imperialists and their stooges eventually boomerangs against both them and us. In the immediate situation, Palestine Liberation Organization President Arafat seems to be making a cynical double bet. He's gambling that the suicide bombings will both rattle the Israeli public into clamoring for a deal and provoke the Israeli government into launching reprisals that will kill enough Palestinian civilians to tilt international opinion in favor of the PLO. In Arafat's scenario, an Israeli atrocity, such as the bombing of a Palestinian kindergarten or hospital, would incite the major imperialists to intervene and impose a settlement on terms favorable to his faction's interests. So far his wager isn't paying off. Israelis and Palestinians are dying, but, as the New York Times writes: "Israeli reprisals have not provoked a worldwide rally to Mr. Arafat, and...Israeli citizens have hardened, swinging to the right" (September 2).
The boomerang is also hitting the Israeli fascists. The latest Israeli assassination of a key Palestinian official helped bring together normally warring Palestinian factions "in a new spirit of anti-Israel unity" (NYT, Sept. 2). Far from terrorizing Palestinian youth into submission, each new assassination seems to bring forth many new young people ready to become suicide bombers for Palestinian nationalism and the Islamic religion. The Israelis are proving that one racist anti-working class policy doesn't necessarily destroy another.
The biggest boomerang of all is the one the U.S. imperialists have made for themselves. The present fighting is a direct consequence of various previously U.S.-brokered "peace" deals. Unable to keep the Palestinians and Israelis from each other's throats, the Bush White House is now trying to contain the fighting within Israel and the occupied territories. The U.S. ruling class has bigger fish to fry. It still needs to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq and replace him with a regime friendly to Exxon Mobil. As Challenge has regularly pointed out, wishes aren't necessarily realities. The reign of terror conducted against Palestinian Arabs by Washington's closest pal in the Middle East doesn't help U.S. grand strategy in the region. A wider war pitting Israel against Syria and other Arab countries would further complicate U.S. plans.
Until now, the U.S. containment approach appears to be working. Its short-term success is related to the demise of the former Soviet Union, which had backed Israel's main regional foes, Syria and Egypt. The old USSR had acted as a counter-weight to the U.S. Russia today isn't yet in a position to do so. Egypt now depends on the U.S. for much of its trade and gets $2 billion a year in annual U.S. aid. Bush & Co. are dangling an offer of M1A1 tanks and a computerized mission planning system in front of the Egyptian military. Former Israeli opponent Jordan also depends on the U.S. for trade and aid. Other U.S. bribes to Arab countries include energy deals that would give Yemeni rulers a piece of the action in oil fields due to be exploited by Exxon Mobil.
...But Iraqi, Syrian, And Iranian Rivals Limit Washington's Options
Although the U.S. remains in the driver's seat for now, its ability to control the situation is limited, and the passengers are becoming more and more restless. Perennial Israeli enemy Syria isn't ready for war, but Syrian bosses have begun the groundwork for a military alliance with Iraq. Iranian rulers, who remain a thorn in U.S. bosses' side, are still a threat to upset the cart. U.S. imperialists may manage in the short run to forestall a wider Middle Eastern war in preparation for their own military adventure to seize Iraqi oil fields. However, as one usually accurate capitalist analyst points out: "...nothing guarantees that Israel's neighbors will be forever passive...(A)voiding a conflict today may only postpone it" (Stratfor, Aug. 28).
Additional clouds on the U.S. horizon include Russian and European bosses. The U.S. failure to topple Saddam Hussein in 1991 has given U.S. oil rivals a shot in the arm. The Putin government has a long-term plan to launch Russia as a world oil power. Challenge has frequently mentioned big energy deals Russian and French energy companies are pursuing in Iraq. The Germans have gotten into the act and are poised to become power brokers in the Middle East. Germany has become a major financial backer of Israel and has provided Israeli rulers all sorts of military hardware, including three submarines as nearly outright gifts.
Workers must never lose sight of the forest for the trees. We have to look beyond the shifting sands of tactical maneuvers between various gangs of bosses and grasp the essence of capitalist political economy. Imperialism can never bring peace. Revolutionary communist internationalism remains the working class's only hope for survival.
U.S. strategy seeks to cut Yemeni rulers a bigger slice of the oil action. Last year, "peacemaker" George Mitchell's Washington law firm represented the Yemeni government in a dispute with Saudi Arabia involving some important oil fields. Yemen won title to the fields and the privilege of having them exploited by U.S. oil companies, including Exxon Mobil. Previously, Yemen oil bosses had partnered with Russian and French oil firms. But the U.S. bribe was also accompanied by threats. The U.S. Navy began making calls at the Yemeni port of Aden during the treaty negotiations. As the Cole bombing showed, not all Yemenis welcomed the U.S. presence.
But this is more than a simple trade union issue. It is a fight against racist terror and a result of the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry. Charleston, South Carolina has become the second most productive port in the world, next to Hong Kong. In the past 10 years subsidized by hundreds of millions in tax breaks the number of factories in this state has increased 10-fold.
Openly racist right-wing politicians who fought to keep the Confederate flag flying over the statehouse are welcoming Daimler, Bosch and Siemens, the same companies that used slave labor in Nazi Germany.
The local bosses and Republican Party politicians want to keep South Carolina a non-union, low-wage haven. They want to make an example of the mainly black local, and crush any thoughts of unionizing. (North and South Carolina are the two lowest "union density" states in the US). The AFL-CIO and Democratic Party, with the blessings of Ford and GM, are fighting to organize the South. They want to maintain the flow of union dues and have a political battering ram against the "new money" capitalists who are opening the gates to German and Japanese auto assembly plants all across the South.
Local 1422 is a very active local of 800 workers. The vast majority are black. In fact, given the racism and "color coding" of jobs, the docks are nearly all black (there are only two white dockworkers), while the office workers are all white. The local was very active in organizing to remove the Confederate flag and has been called on to support other organizing drives in the area.
Riley, who himself received 12 stitches in his head from the police riot, told of the local union's participation in helping to defeat a union decertification at a local factory. He said that many white workers at the factory would not talk to the black workers from 1422. He made the point that their own racism kept them oppressed and that the bosses use racism to attack all workers (a far cry from the "white skin privilege" mumbo-jumbo being pushed in the anti-globalization movement).
Even with all this, without a revolutionary perspective and strong anti-racist and anti-scab militancy this struggle will become a tool to elect Democrats to the state house and probably add Riley to the Board of Supervisors of the Charleston docks. On our jobs and in our unions, we must make the points about inter-imperialist rivalry, expose the AFL-CIO and Democratic Party misleaders, fight racism and show how only communist revolution will destroy these bosses and their racism. We urge all PLP workers to circulate the national petition to defend the Charleston 5. Raise resolutions for your union to participate in the International Day of Action when the trial opens. Use these discussions to increase the mass base for CHALLENGE.
Over the last three decades, the bosses have taken steps to limit the power of transit workers. First they passed laws eliminating the right to strike. This has dramatically altered the balance of power between labor and management. Arbritration is no substitute for fighting back. The bosses are not going to give us the right to strike. We must take it.
Second, they have threatened privatization, and in some cases carried through on these threats. The union's response has been to lobby federal, state and local politicians, while granting concessions to reduce our wages and benefits so they can compete with private contractors. This will not defeat the bosses' plans for lowering labor costs, whether we work for a private company or a government agency.
Third, the bosses have used wage progression to divide and weaken the union, replacing "Equal pay for equal work," with "Screw the new guy so I can get more for me." This is also a racist attack, since many of the new workers are black and Latin. Local 689 in Washington, D.C. will introduce a resolution to make fighting wage progression a central focus of the union.
The convention can be an opportunity to change course and be more aggressive in fighting the bosses. This should begin in the Bay Area over the new BART contract. PLP has been active in the ATU and the TWU for many years and has fought many battles against the bosses and the union misleaders. We must organize to pressure the International Office to coordinate the activities of the ATU in the Bay Area and reach out to the TWU for their support. When BART goes out, every transportation local in the area should go with them and lead a general strike, reminiscent of the San Francisco general strike in the 1930's.
The convention will also consider a resolution to make May Day a union holiday (also from Local 689). May Day is celebrated in almost every country in the world, and was established after the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago in 1886, in the fight for the eight-hour day. Because of anti-communism and Cold War politics, the AFL-CIO separated itself from this holiday. Support for May Day is a statement of international working class solidarity against wage slavery and the profit system.
As long as the bosses hold power, we will never get off the endless treadmill of trying to keep from going under. We need revolutionary leadership, which can lead the fight to destroy capitalism. As the bosses' economy slips and they prepare for another war in the Middle East (using our children as cannon fodder), they are increasing racist terror. The struggle on the job and in the unions must lead to building the revolutionary struggle and a mass PLP, to destroy the profit system, and build a communist society.
In January, ATU 1277 members with little confidence, signed a contract which union president Silver promised would save the pension plan. Now there is a new crisis. Workers planning to retire after January 1, 2002 face a cut of up to $45,000 from their pension cash out. And a pension cash split the local 1277 union executive board. The ATU International union has done an investigation.
The reaction of the union membership has been mixed. Some workers think we have to choose sides in this Executive Board. Others say they should have worked their differences behind closed doors because the open conflict only helps management by exposing the union's weaknesses.
Another group of workers sought out a private pension attorney to advise them on legal action to stop the company and union from "adversely affecting any accrued rights". It is common to hear frustrated workers say they want to throw out the whole Executive Board and run a fresh slate for office in 2003.
A service attendant from a valley division who has become active said to a comrade, "It's hell of a thing when you realize that our enemy is not only the company but the union leadership too." Surely there are more workers like him that we can get Challenge to on a regular basis.
Whether or not ATU 1277 workers can stop the company and union in court, and maybe we will throw the bums out of union office, one thing is certain: these are not the last attacks we will face as the company demands cuts and the union leadership tries to sell them to us. The only guarantee is that the bosses will try to take more from us and give back less.
Each attack is an opportunity for workers to counter-attack and for CHALLENGE drive home the point that, for the working class, the only guarantee capitalism offers is to take more from us and to give back less.
A Transit Worker
As the demand for urban transit grew, union membership gradually increased to nearly 2,000 members. In the early 1980's, the BA benefit was raised to $3,500 and could be taken upon retirement as well. The BA was thriving and even had enough to purchase the old Carpenter's union hall. But the local leadership had already begun to sow the seeds of the BA's demise.
In the late 70's - after its defeat in Vietnam - the US economy weakened. Japan and Germany began to invade key auto markets and profits declined. The capitalists wanted cuts in taxes and social services - and the union leaders asked, "How much?" In 1977, local leaders convinced senior workers to allow a 30-month wage progression and a 30% cut in starting pay. In 1980 they agreed to a 10% part-time workforce. By 1986 it was 17% and hundreds of suburban jobs were lost to low-wage privatization. The conversion period to full-time went from months to years.
The growing number of super-exploited part-timers, barely able to feed their families, succeeded in making the BA a voluntary association. Most pulled out, leaving each $3500 payout to the remaining - and declining membership. Now there are only 665 members and 190 of those have paid their entire $3500. Each remaining member now pays over $6 for each retiree. With a debt burden of $2.3 million, practically no assets and the union hall worth less now than when it was bought, the pyramid is about to collapse - on the highest seniority workers.
Some workers are blaming Local President Christine Zook, who has neglected this crisis during nearly 8 years in office. While it's true the International told her to solve this problem in 1994, the racist and divisive wage progression, part timing and job cuts, all approved by the International as well as Zook, are what really caused the collapse. Ironically, current ATU International Secretary-Treasurer Oscar Owens was vice-president of Local 192 in 1980, and part of this all along!
At the upcoming Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International convention, we will bring a resolution to make the ATU International pay off the remaining members of the Benevolent Association. We are also raising resolutions to fight racist wage progression schemes and eliminate mandatory part-time work. Another resolution would make May Day a union holiday. Whether or not any of these resolutions pass, fighting for them can help us to introduce many delegates to CHALLENGE and increase the Party's influence in the union. We are in a fight for the political leadership of the workers. This fight takes place primarily in the job, fighting the bosses. But conventions like this are surely part of this struggle.
On Sept. 4, phone workers driving their Telmex phone trucks -- along with many other workers -- snarled traffic for two hours downtown in support of the 12,500 striking Volkswagen strikers. Similar solidarity actions took place in five other cities.
Meanwhile, the VW strikers in Puebla (about 100 miles southeast of Mexico City) overwhelmingly rejected the company's latest offer of a 10.2 percent raise. The strike is in its third week. The Independent Union of VW workers (SITVW) has reduced its demands to 19 percent, down from 30 percent, but the bosses may be waiting for the strike to run out of steam.
The plant is the only one that produces the new Beetle model, along with Jettas, Golfs, Cabrios, and the classic Beetle. The workers build 1,500 cars and 2,000 engines a day. About 80 percent of the cars are exported, mainly to the U.S. The strike has cost Volkswagen $30m a day in lost sales.
The strike could affect thousands of workers at over 400 auto parts suppliers, who may be forced to shut down during the strike. Grupo Antolin SA, which sells nearly 70 percent of its car seat fabrics to the struck VW plant, forced 180 workers to take vacation last week. Antolin's head of sales said, "Sending everyone on vacation bought us time, but they begin to return this week."
The strike is being carried out in the midst of soaring unemployment due to the US economic slowdown and Mexico's economic recession. In January 2000, 231,000 workers were laid off. The following May, 400,000 workers lost their jobs, mainly due to Chrysler plant closings and layoffs at Volkswagen, DINA, Ford, and GM. This year in the border state of Chihuahua, 64,000 maquiladora workers lost their jobs. President Vincente Fox, who promised to create 1.35 million jobs a year, eliminated 40,000 federal jobs. According to one estimate, ten jobs have been destroyed for each one created.
At Ford's Cuautitlan assembly plant, workers are facing mass layoffs and increased productivity, the bosses' solution to the growing crisis of overproduction. This crisis, created by the bosses' thirst for maximum profit, affects the workers of the world. Ford, VW and all the bosses do the same thing. Their need to produce cheaper than their competitors is diametrically opposed to the needs of the workers to have a decent life. This contradiction gives us the opportunity to show that only communist revolution can meet the needs of the working class. If this idea grows among the workers in our strikes and struggles, we will advance.
We must fight back in every factory. A Ford worker complained, "We've been fighting for years and we never win anything." It's true; the trade union struggle is limited to the margins that the capitalists mark. The union leaders defend the bosses' solutions and set us up to compete against each other. They spread defeatism and demoralization and build patriotic nationalism so we will accept what the bosses dish out.
We must use our revolutionary outlook to fight for the political leadership of these struggles and spread them. Ford and VW workers can extend their reach around the globe. "Workers of the World, Unite," is a powerful weapon to defeat the bosses' attacks.
Parents and students were called, a letter was distributed in the school, and petitions were circulated. Some teachers and students attended a rally outside the school, despite warnings and threats. We petitioned and picketed the UFT Delegate Assembly in May. Joan addressed that meeting and received a pledge of support from UFT president Randi Weingarten, based on the overwhelming support from rank-and-file delegates. Friends and comrades wrote letters to Joan's principal, and we hired a lawyer who has filed a Federal lawsuit against the Board of Ed and Joan's principal.
Teachers removed from their classrooms under suspicion of improper activity are usually sent to their district office. Sometimes they wait for years until they are charged and a hearing is held. Most teachers follow the union's leadership, file a grievance and wait. It is very unusual for teachers to make public their removal from their schools
But because of the pressure put on the Board of Ed., Joan spent only 1 month in her District Office, and another month at another school in a non-teaching job. We wanted to show people that we could fight the Board.
At the end of the school year, Joan was charged with violating the Chancellor's policies on school trips and collection of money and given an unsatisfactory rating for the year. She was offered a deal. The Board would remove the U rating if she agreed to teach in another school. Joan refused. She visited union headquarters to see if Weingarten's promise of support was real. Not only couldn't she see Weingarten, she couldn't even make an appointment without permission to make an appointment!
Meanwhile, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) passed a resolution supporting Joan and we brought another resolution to the floor of the National Education Association (NEA) Convention (see Challenge 8/1/01). Lo and behold, at a meeting with Weingarten lieutenant Papppas the following week Joan was told she'd be returned to Boys and Girls in September, and was asked how she managed to get her case on the floor at the NEA convention.
Joan won her job back because we fought for it. To the surprise of many, she will be returned to her school. While many people were intimidated, this victory shows that we can fight and by fighting, bring our friends closer to the Party. Joan thanks all of the comrades and friends who helped her in whatever way they could.
In the last few years one worker was hospitalized after suffering back burns. Another lost several fingers and a third was killed when a machine smashed his head. Many workers suffer respiratory ailments because of the dust permeating the entire plant.
Almost all workers liked the leaflet. "It says the truth" many said. But the bosses and their stooges had an opposite reaction. The mechanics' supervisor got pretty angry when he saw his name in the leaflet. Boss Dale Arthur had an even worse reaction forcing one of the workers who gave out the leaflet to sign a warning because he "gave out literature on private property."
When workers learned about this, some said "what private property. All of this has come from unpaid labor."
Several workers took leaflets for their friends and relatives outside the plant. The leaflet has now turned up all over the area.
Fightback Committee of Skyrotek
Spanish-speaking women workers from Lancaster joined this effort during August. And we listened better than before to what workers had to say to us.
Many of the hundreds of people spoken to gave their addresses and telephone numbers to be recontacted. One after another, they took the leaflets and said, "Yes, I'll be there! I HATE the Klan," and "Let's kick their butts!"
The City of Lancaster and various Lancaster liberals are urging everybody to avoid the Klan by attending a "Unity Day" elsewhere. But a group of black ministers is calling on all black men to go to the Courthouse and "Face the Klan with prayers and non-violence." And in a sexist move they ordered black women to stay home! Only the PLP is calling on all workers and students to unite and destroy the Klan, and is saying that women must lead this fight.
Meanwhile, other Plers distributed WANTED flyers in the Reading neighborhood of Klan leader Roy Frankhauser, the notorious racist slimeball behind the Lancaster rally (see related letter).
Read the next issue of Challenge for a report on the Lancaster anti-Klan rally.
A Philly Comrade
They were facing charges of criminal mischief, harassment and disorderly conduct for knocking out the fascists' sound system. Their action emboldened hundreds of chanting voices, pounding drums and stomping feet to shout down the fascists.
Supporters cheered as the defendants told the court, "Racist speech is violence and must be stopped!" Among them were several defendants facing felony charges from the protest against the same fascists one year ago, when the racist cops went wild to protect the fascists. These defendants stood in solidarity with their working class brothers. The steady determined movement to oppose the influence of fascism in this community has made us all stronger.
The prosecutor dropped two of the charges and the two pled guilty to disorderly conduct. When their lawyer pressed the court to drop all charges, the irate prosecutor said, "Look, I've already dropped two of the charges and reduced the remaining one. What do they want, a bouquet of flowers and a pat on the back?" The judge gave a speech about democracy and fined each defendant $600.
The heart of our line is our confidence in the working class. They will fight racism, welcome bold communist leadership and be won to wipe out racism by destroying capitalism.
Frankhauser had terrorized her by sitting outside her office everyday on a bench. No one took any action against him. I was angry and depressed over this rotten passivity.
As part of Philadelphia PLP's organizing against the upcoming Klan rally in Lancaster, PA on Sept.8,we located this racist at his Reading "church" and paid him a visit. We distributed leaflets in his neighborhood describing his racist crimes.
He came out on the street to confront us. My blood was boiling as I found myself face to face with this ridiculous old man. My comrade had to caution me that we were not there for any individualist acts of violence.
We found it incredible that this racist dog could live right in the middle of a primarily black and Latin working class community. At first I
took a cynical attitude toward these workers. Why would they allow such a situation to continue?
Some people told me they were afraid of going to jail if they confronted him. Others asked if the city government and the police knew about him and couldn't do anything, then what could they do? After a while I changed my view. I learned that many workers hated this man's presence in their community. But no one has ever given them any leadership in trying to drive him out.
This situation helped me to understand the necessity of communist leadership. We have made some contacts with anti-racist workers in Reading and our collective will be discussing a plan to continue the struggle against racism and Klan terror there.
Later anti-racists spotted four Klansmen standing underneath a tree in the back of the protest. The anti-racists led an integrated group of about a dozen young workers from the neighborhood to smash the fascists. The Klansmen were beaten senseless as there were no KKKops to protect them. One young comrade spotted several teeth flying out of one of the Klansmen's mouths as he was stomped into the ground by the anti-racists.
PLP gave a lot of bold leadership to this protest and all told, about 3,500 leaflets, and hundreds of Challenges were distributed. Also 900 "SMASH THE KKK" stickers were handed out. Whenever these racists show their faces we will be there to counter their filth with workers' power!
PLP's arrival with red flags, anti-racist placards, and literature was greeted with an attack by the right-wing Jewish Defense League (JDL) who claimed to be there to help the protest. Irv Rubin, leader of the JDL, has attacked affirmative action and supported the KKK in the past by bringing a Klan robe to a speech by David Duke. When he saw us arrive he asked if the protesters would allow communists to join them. After they responded by welcoming us he quickly left.
We immediately started a picket line and led chants which we used to build multiracial and international unity. We chanted "Asian, Latin, Black and White, To smash racism we must unite." "Hitler rose, Hitler fell, Nazi punks go to Hell."
Though we kept the Nazis from having their show we were unable to stop them from driving by. The coward fascists drove by twice; the first time they had a Klan flag hanging out their window, but the second time their windows were rolled up tight. Each time they were faced with loud cries of "Death to the Fascists" and "Nazis go to Hell".
We talked to many of the protesters and sold 20 CHALLENGES. After the protest ended a fellow protester and friend joined PLP.
Keep Our Eyes and Ears Open
Flash: This past Sunday these racists came back and organized another concert. We were unable to organize people in time to get there. Suposedly, some 200 Nazis showed up. We have to be prepared for more concerts, rallys and demonstrations from these racists.
"But Rappaport, you used to be a skinny man, now you're a fat man!" -- "I'm not Rappaport!" "But Rappaport, you used to be a tall man, now you're a short man!" -- "I'M NOT RAPPAPORT!" "And Rappaport! You've changed your name!"
In Walter Matthau's vaudeville routine, the joke is the geezer's stubborn preconception in the face of overwhelming evidence. Scientists are not supposed to think like that geezer. But science is not an open window on the world; it is a focusing lens. When distorted by profits, racism, and religion, science is more like a funhouse mirror. Nowhere is this more obvious than in debates about "race". Despite overwhelming evidence that should have killed off "race" within science, it is being revived by drug companies, forensic scientists, and by nationalists seeking to validate origin myths. Race is creeping back with the cutting-edge tools of the genome revolution.
Molecular genetics has discarded racial pigeonholing. Most human diversity is found within any population, not between populations. Population categories are arbitrary; there is nothing "natural" about a particular way of grouping people. We are genetically very similar because we are a young species. All humans alive today descend from a small population living in Africa around 140,000 years ago. People didn't leave Africa until about 70,000 years ago; all geographic differences must post-date that dispersal. Not enough time has elapsed for many differences to arise.
So what are we to make of the following announcement, in an Israeli magazine?
" New genetic research shows the vast majority of kohanim, the Jewish priestly class, to be descended from a single ancestor--scientific confirmation of an oral tradition passed down through 3,000 years ... If tradition is accurate, all the men reciting the priestly blessing and their counterparts across the Jewish world are direct descendants of Aaron, anointed the first high priest by his brother Moses...Kohen status is passed from father to son. Kohanim often have last names indicating their status, such as Cohen, Kahn, Kaplan, Rapaport, Katz"...
This startling claim for Biblical literalism was based on a 1998 paper in Nature, a prestigious science journal. The authors were looking at the Y chromosomes of Jewish males who claimed Cohen descent. Y chromosomes are good for tracing ancestry because they are handed down essentially unchanged from father to son. A haplotype is a specific combination of alleles (genetic variations) found on a single chromosome, a sort of genetic signature. The researchers found that a certain Y haplotype (the "Cohen modal haplotype") was more common in Jewish men who claimed descent from the Cohen priesthood, than in other Jewish males.
Used correctly, haplotype analysis is a powerful tool for studying human history. But the Cohen study was biased by sample selection: only Jewish men were compared, and the data were wildly over-stretched. The study was initiated by a Cohen priest who believed the Bible story. According to molecular anthropologist Jon Marks, "what they're doing is Mickey Mouse social science... there's no reason to think that there even was a priestly Aaron. It's an origin myth. To take at random something from the deep hoary past as if it's literally true and use that as your starting point, there's a problem with that. It's not science."
Nevertheless, the Cohen story was uncritically bought by most scientists and the media. In 1999, the plot took on a new twist. The Lemba are black southern Africans who claim ancient Jewish descent. Many Lemba men were found to have the "Cohen haplotype"; this was taken to vindicate the Lemba's oral tradition. This story seemingly softened the racist edge of "Jewish genes." But the use of DNA testing to underwrite an origin myth is a scary new trend with Nazi overtones.
Forward to 2000. Scientists finally look at the frequency of the "Cohen haplotype" in the non-Jewish Middle Eastern population, the information missing from previous studies. Turns out it's a common genetic pattern among Mediterranean men, including Arabs, Italians, Syrians, Turks, and Armenians. Palestinian Arabs and Jews are so close genetically as to be indistinguishable.
This debunks the biological specialness of being a Cohen, or a Jew. Somehow this story gets lost in the telling. According to the New York Times: "this analysis provides genetic witness that these communities have... retained their biological identity separate from their host (European) populations, evidence of relatively little intermarriage or conversion into Judaism over the centuries". Through spin control, the real story--evidence for the common gene pools of Middle Eastern people-- is downplayed in favor of claims for the ethnic purity of Jews!
These tales might seem like Mel Brooks material, except that they are, as sociologist Troy Duster has noted, "the edge of the wedge". Duster argues that DNA markers have become a 21st century proxy for race. Fuzzy science bolsters racist claims for the origin of Hindu upper castes in an "Aryan" invasion. A Korean company claims to be sequencing an "authentically Korean" genotype as a prelude to devising ethnically based pharmaceuticals. In 2001, a new drug, BiDil, was introduced specifically for black Americans; if profitable, other ethnically-targeted drugs are sure to follow.
In recent months the dominant wing of U.S. capitalists, judging by the New York Times, has been criticizing the concept of race. Does this mean that they are abandoning racism, capitalism's foremost weapon? Quite the opposite; racism is intensifying everywhere. But the rulers need flexibility. They can concede cruder forms of racism while re-introducing more sophisticated forms as needed. After all, racism doesn't require biology. No visible differences separate Jews from Arabs, or Ethiopians from Eritreans, yet racism and nationalism delude members of these groups into hating and killing each other. Although we should arm ourselves with science in order to fight racism, the best scientific knowledge in the world won't defeat racism until we get rid of capitalism.
1.Duster, T. Buried Alive! The Concept of Race in Science. in NIH Record 6/12/01 .
2. Nebel, A. et al. High-resolution Y chromosome haplotypes of Israeli and Palestinian Arabs reveal geographic substructure and substantial overlap with haplotypes of Jews. Hum Genet 107, 630-641 (2000)
3.Thomas, M.G. et al. Origins of Old Testament priests. Nature 394, 138-140 (1998).
The Oil Patch opposed the use of U.S troops overseas; the main wing needed a military that could ensure continued U.S. domination of the world, largely through control of the Middle East's oil. The upstarts demanded an end to the federal regulations by which the Establishment kept a handle on the domestic economy. Led by the Koch family, oil billionaires from Kansas, they organized a broad popular base that ranged from conservative Christians to the militia movement. But things change. In any struggle, one side must win out. The story of how the main wing prevailed over the chief Oil Patch leader, David Koch, by might and persuasion, offers many lessons in politics and dialectics.
Like ancient Roman emperors, U.S. rulers have a double-edged method for dealing with rivals. Some they seek to destroy; others they take on as junior partners. Koch had been Dole's top donor in 1996. After Dole's defeat, the main wing made Koch an offer he couldn't refuse. In 1998, Exxon Mobil began importing into the U.S. vast amounts of low-cost Iraqi crude, which sharply undercut the traditional domestic suppliers of Koch's refineries. Rather than take serious losses, Koch joined his old archrivals in buying from Iraq. In so doing, he bought into their need to retake control of Iraq's oilfields from Saddam Hussein and his French and Russian allies. Soon Koch Oil was acquiring refineries in Europe and Asia. The arch isolationist had abruptly turned imperialist. With the integrity typical of a capitalist, Koch held true to only one principle, profit maximization.
A similar fate befell Koch's gas business. In the 1990s, a massive regulatory restructuring of the U.S. electric power grid shifted control from hundreds of industrialists who provided fuel (like Koch) or generated electricity to a handful of financiers who peddled energy contracts. Enron began to behave more like a brokerage house than a gas producer. Goldman Sachs became a big energy trader. To play on this new field, Koch has recently formed a 50-50 partnership with Entergy, an old-line power company well connected to Establishment moneybags. JP Morgan Chase and Boston's blueblood Fidelity and Putnam own controlling shares in Entergy. The Koch-Entergy venture now trades energy throughout the U.S. and Western Europe.
Koch's strategic outlook has undergone considerable change as a result of his family firm's newfound internationalism. The Cato Institute, a think tank he founded and still funds, used to call for a U.S. withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and opening up Alaskan wildlife reserves to oil exploitation. Now it admits that the U.S. needs the Mideast's oil far more than Alaska's. "[G]overnment policies that restrict drilling on attractive public lands in Alaska and off America's coasts aren't primarily responsible for our heavy reliance on imported oil. This is: It costs between $5.00 -- $7.50 to produce a barrel of domestic oil versus about $1.50 to produce a barrel of Saudi crude. As long as the Persian Gulf nations have a lot of $1.50 a barrel oil laying around -- and they do -- they're going to dominate the world market whether we allow drilling in environmentally sensitive areas or not" (Cato, 9/00).
Koch has even climbed on board Hart-Rudman, a high-level government commission that has drawn up a fairly explicit blueprint for putting the U.S on a war footing, both for a near-term conflict in the Middle East and an eventual world war with Russia or China. Hart-Rudman reports detail the need for unifying the military with local police and for a Pearl Harbor-like incident on U.S. soil to mobilize a population beset with the "Vietnam Syndrome." (unwillingness to accept casualities) David Koch belongs to Business Executives for National Security, which embraces Hart-Rudman and has made Warren Rudman himself (a co-leader of the commission) head of its task force on the military and safeguarding U.S. infrastructure.
The Rockefeller and Koch factions have buried the hatchet. But in this case the bosses'domestic tranquillity aims at imperialist slaughter.
Next: In addition to these objective reasons, many subjective, personal factors account for Koch's conversion. We'll look at them in the next issue. Communists must take into account all aspects of an important process.
Several teachers said they were glad this resolution had been brought up, and talked about how important it is to have high expectations for working class students. One said that the difference between a liberal and a progressive is that liberals see our kids as victims, while progressives fight for them to learn at a high level.
Another said that we must fight against the idea that kids who are learning English are "pobrecitos" (poor little things) who can't be taught at a high level, and should just be drilled on how to bubble in the answer sheets of standardized tests. Out of thirty-five teachers a dozen signed up to work with us in the ongoing fight within the NEA against racist ideology. It's clear, once again, that when we fight for a principled position, others will respond and follow our leadership.
An article in the NY Times (June 17: Schools' Difficult Search for 'Just Right' Standards) reveals the hidden agenda of forces who, in fact, are using this movement to re-institute overt tracking in the schools. Tracking (also known as "ability" grouping) is actually segregation. It has nothing to do with actual ability, and everything to do with racial and class bias against non-white and working class children. And it has never really gone away.
For example, even when black students show potential that is equal to or above that of whites, they are 40% less likely to be placed in advanced or accelerated classes, according to the head of the College Board. Despite evidence of ability, blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be placed in remedial or low-track classes.
Precisely because tracking has been so widely exposed as racist (even the head of the College Board admits it) state and local boards of education have been reluctant to advocate overt tracking of students. However, parents in Scarsdale, N.Y., and other affluent communities who complain about standardized tests are actually calling for tracking. "Our kids are smarter than inner city kids," they cry. "One size doesn't really fit all!" In response, New York is creating higher tracks in math (than the Regents) for "high-achieving" students, as well as pushing to establish a separate test with a lower standard for vocational education students. And then we will have three tracks, correlated again, with students' race and social class.
Our Party's advocacy of the position that all students can learn at a high level is more important than ever. Capitalist education is racist to the core. The only way to even the score is with communist revolution.
Upon hearing of the Never Again rally in Tulia we in PL decided to take a couple of friends with us to the rally to distribute literature, talk with old friends, and meet new students and workers. At the rally, we distributed and sold 20 Challenge-Desafios and had many conversations with groups representing various regional and national affiliations.
Many of the students at the rally were a part of the "Freedom Rides" from Austin and represented many different leftist causes. Many were serious fighters against the War on Drugs and its effects on minority populations. Our paper and the communist anti-racist line of the party were well received at the rally. Several workers are now reading Challenge-Desafio regularly.
In the second paragraph, one sentence reads, " Being seen as openly racist toward Mexican workers allows their rivals to become `lesser evil' imperialists and gain `sympathy' among workers there." Challenge does not want to imply in any way that the US bosses can stop being racist toward Mexican workers. The sentence should have read, "US bosses must try to camouflage their racism towards Mexican workers. Otherwise their rivals will more easily gain sympathy of workers in Latin America as the `lesser evil' imperialists."
In the 3rd paragraph from the end, beginning with "But other bosses, who see immigrants exclusively as cheap labor..." the sentence that states "But the Mexican government has insisted on a bracero/amnesty package deal" should be removed. It leads the reader to think that the Mexican government is actually looking out for the interests of Mexican workers. The Mexican Foreign Secretary actually stated that it was up to the US government if they wanted to allow immigrants to become citizens. If a package deal is adopted which includes braceros and limited amnesty, it will be because the US rulers think it's needed to win the loyalty of immigrant workers.
Finally, the following phrase "While such plans may aggravate rising US unemployment, " needs to be eliminated. This statement is untrue. Granting amnesty to people already living and working in the US will NOT cause unemployment to rise in the US.
Challenge apologizes for these errors.u