Editorial: Terrrorism Helps U.S. Bosses Pave Way For Oil War and Police State
Capitalism Has Brought Centuries Of Mass Murder -- U.S. Bosses Lead By Far In The Body Count.
Liberal Rulers Bring Hart Rudman Blueprint for War and Fascism Out of the Closet and Into the Spotlight
Communists Must Never Again Pander to Nationalism
Control of Saudi Oil Profits: Big Reason Behind Holy War; Osama bin Laden: the CIAs Frankenstein
Religion Cloaks Bin Ladens, Talibans Capitalist Core
Racism: The More It Seems to Change the More It Remains the Same
War Industry Workers Debate Racist War Rhetoric
Airline Bosses Show Their Patriotism: Make Workers Pay with Mass Layoffs
Students Learn International Unity, Not Patriotism, Is Answer to Bosses Attacks
Supporting Oil War and Racism Hurts ALL Workers and Youth
Students provide protection and solidarity for fellow Arab Students
March in Brooklyn Against Anti-Arab Racism
No More Workers and Soldiers Blood For Bosses Oil Profits
Fight for Knowledge In Capitalist Schools
When Communists and Anti-Racists UniteKKK Runs and Hides
Students Rally Against Racism and Death Threats
Workers in PA Against Bosses War
Churches and Temples Offer Discussions About War
Letter From the Barracks
Cant Brand War & Fascism on Everyone in Texas
PLP Reaches Mountains of Oaxaca
Building the PLP in The Caribbean
The horrendous murders of thousands of innocent workers on September 11 have given U.S. bosses the excuse they need to:
Drum up a flag-waving frenzy for a war that will slaughter millions to protect Exxon Mobils Middle Eastern oil empire;
Disguise this imperialist aggression as a humanitarian crusade against terrorism;
Build political support within the military and society at large for the mass casualties their oil war will require;
Blame terrorism for the economic recession their system faces and use the bombings as an excuse to eliminate more jobs, cut back on social services, and make workers and youth accept a police state;
Wage a virulent racist campaign against Arab workers.
Communists must organize workers, soldiers and youth to smash anti-working class mass terrorism spawned by the profit system.
Regardless of the individual perpetrators identity, the horrific attacks that slaughtered thousands of black, white, Latino, Arab and Asian workers and others in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11 are consistent with the lethal logic of capitalism.
These bombings mark an escalation of the contradictions that are hurling the world into fascism and war.The thousands who died in these attacks are war victims. But they are not the first. They join one million Iraqis killed over a decade of US bombing missions and economic sanctions. They join thousands of Palestinians, millions in Africa and Vietnam, and hundreds of thousands in Latin America.
All these casualties belong to our class, the workers of the world. As long as the bosses hold power, workers will continue to reap what the billionaire terrorist war makers have sown. Organizing against terrorists big and small, from Kabul to Washington, DC, and building a mass international PLP, are the order of the day.
Bushs declaration of war is a challenge that revolutionary communists must answer everywhere. During imperialist war, communists must lead workers against their ruling class. Our job is to fight all the rulers, not to mobilize our class to choose sides among them. This is the task at hand, whether in the US, Afghanistan, Israel, Germany, Russia or Iraq. No worker should blindly follow any boss. We communists have the responsibility of uniting the workers of the world and marching forward on the road to communist revolution. This is necessary and achievable.
Millions of workers all over the world hate U.S. imperialism. At present, this hatred is particularly virulent in Moslem countries. But hatred of one imperialist gang alone cant destroy imperialism. Hatred must be converted into pro-working class politics. It can serve workers only if it becomes infused with a revolutionary communist outlook. The twin poisons of nationalism and religious fanaticism serve only to unite workers with one gang of bosses or another.
As the "only super power," the U.S. rules an increasingly unstable world. This growing instability is evident in Osama bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins history as former allies of the US, former contract employees of the CIA. Saddam was used by the US to attack Iran after the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Bin Laden is a former US "freedom fighter," who was employed to prevent the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan. (See article )
The U.S. rulers are using their mass media to whip up patriotism, nationalism, racism and war fever. They can reach many more people than we can, and will temporarily have mass support.
Many tests, including further deadly terror assaults on U.S. soil, lie ahead for the working class. A more emboldened openly right wing movement may emerge in the unions and on the campuses. Inter-imperialist rivalries will sharpen, and bosses on all sides will spill plenty of workers blood. U.S. rulers will use every weapon in their considerable arsenal to protect their profits, their political power, and their empire. Their anti-worker attacks will increase in viciousness. At some point they will single out our Party.
None of these obstacles should stop the PLP from growing. The communist movement has always managed to thrive under the direst conditions. The only answer to mass terror, regardless of the source, remains: Build the Party. Fight for communist revolution. Do whatever needs to be done, however long it takes and whatever the cost, to help move all the worlds workers together into a collective struggle against all the worlds bosses.
We must not be swayed or intimidated by the difficulty of our task. We must have confidence that we can win the working class to internationalism and revolution. Our confidence will grow as we wage an aggressive struggle in our shops and factories, schools and campuses, neighborhoods and barracks. A mass base for PLP and CHALLENGE can give political leadership to tens of thousands more. As you will see in these pages, our Party has answered the bell, and this process has made a modest beginning. "Workers of the World, Unite!"
Capitalism Has Brought Centuries Of Mass Murder -- U.S. Bosses Lead By Far In The Body Count.
Here is a brief, incomplete summary of the working class blood shed to feed the profit system in North America:
The U.S. ruling class is acutely aware that its armed forces continue to suffer from "Vietnam Syndrome" the unwillingness of working class soldiers and sailors to spill their blood for imperialism. The bosses desperately need to solve this strategic problem. As the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security in the 21st Century wrote months before the World Trade Center attack, mustering "broad public support" for the "sacrifice [of] blood and treasure" remains key to the defense of U.S. imperialism over the next 25 years. Hart-Rudman virtually predicted the World Trade Center/Pentagon incidents, warning of a "hostile attack on our homeland in which Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers." The Commissions report compared such an event to Pearl Harbor and strongly implied that a disaster of this magnitude would be necessary to "galvanize" popular opinion against "a strategic culture that contains minimal tolerance for casualties."
When the Hart Rudman Commission released its findings over the 2000-01 winter, Challenge was the only newspaper to publicize and analyze them. In the midst of the dogfight over the Bush-Gore election, the PLP explained that despite serious tactical differences among the rulers, a deeper need for class unity would prevail. The Hart Rudman Commission embodies this need. Challenge summarized its key recommendations to militarize society and gear for a succession of oil wars, as well as wars with Russia and China as threats to U.S. superpower status. These included:
As the Commissions co-chair, former Sen. Warren Rudman, admitted to Peter Jennings in a Sept. 14 ABC interview, Bush Vice-President Cheney has been given the job of organizing this centralization of state power. The ruling class didnt wait for September 11 to start acting on Hart Rudman. It did, however, wait for an excuse to start publicizing the Commissions recommendations. Within hours of the World Trade/Pentagon bombings, the Liberal Establishments leading mouthpieces had begun to trumpet the wonders of Hart Rudman. An important September 12 New York Times editorial complained that the Commissions findings and recommendations had at first been "largely ignored." Another article in the same issue headlined whiningly about "Years of Unheeded Alarms" and then admiringly quoted Rudman repeating the Commission reports comparison to Pearl Harbor, along with the idea that "everybody was galvanized." Rudman himself became a media star, shuttling between the commercial networks and PBS. Key Times columnist Anthony Lewis complained that at first "Nobody paid any attention" to Hart Rudman. Republican John McCain quoted Hart Rudman word for word about winning the population to sacrifice "American blood and American treasure."
The rulers started implementing the Hart Rudman plan for fascism and imperialist war the moment it was released. They were merely waiting for the right moment to publicize it.
Somethings fishy about the ruling class medias quickness to embrace Hart Rudman after September 11. The first phase of the report clearly says that a catastrophe on U.S. soil that can blamed on U.S. enemies is the only way to mobilize the population to make the necessary "sacrifice." The report strongly suggests that the authors consider such an event a necessary price to pay for lining up mass political support behind the imperialists war plans. The rulers intelligence services must have known more than they let on. And although the rulers themselves may have gotten more than they had anticipated and although they cant be happy about the financial consequences of September 11, they obviously anticipated some sort of important terrorist attack, did little or nothing to prevent it, and have rapidly found a way to fit it into their plans for far wider terror. Nothing is beneath the ruthless, cynical bosses.
Among other things, the September 11 atrocities should serve as grim evidence that all types of nationalism are deadly to workers. The old communist movement temporarily liberated hundreds of millions of workers and others from the yoke of capitalism. It freed women from religious oppression in Central Asia, and China. It crushed the Nazis. But the communist movement of the 20th Centurys first half failed to understand the deadly character of nationalism. Great communist leaders like Stalin and Mao took the position that the imperialists nationalism was reactionary, while the nationalism of the oppressed could be "progressive." That line helped lead to the reversal of workers power in both the former Soviet Union and China. The international working class continues to pay a terrible price for the mistake. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism and nationalism throughout the Arab world and in parts of Asia exposes the extent to which large numbers of the most oppressed workers anywhere have fallen victim to the trap of all-class unity behind a group of bosses. Our Party has a great responsibility for helping workers everywhere emerge from the wreckage of this fatal error. Sharpening the struggle against racism and nationalism in practice where we have a political base is an essential first step. Our local anti-racist, anti-nationalist actions of today can have worldwide repercussions tomorrow.
On September 17 Bush, who has a long history of racism, surrounded himself with Muslim clerics and hypocritically condemed the growing racist attacks against Arabs.
We shouldnt forget that Bush stole the 2000 election when his brother, the governor of Florida, used local and state police to prevent black workers from voting. Bushs choice for Attorney general, John Ashcroft, is well known for catering to the Republican "right." As governor, Bush helped make Texas the death penalty capital of the world, executing a large majority of black victims. This helped feed the atmosphere that led to the KKK-style lynching of James Byrd, a black worker murdered by neo-nazis.
Now the liberal Democrats are praising his "leadership." That shouldnt come as a surprise. Clintons record exposes the liberals as vicious racist budget-slashers, prison-builders, and warmakers.
Workers shouldnt be fooled. Bushs call for unity is based on the bosses need to recruit workers of every nationality, background, and religion for their next imperialist oil war. Our answer, as always, is to unite the working class for communism.
The New York Times (9/14) published an extensive article by Middle East expert Judith Miller, titled "Bin Laden: Child of Privilege Who Champions Holy War." While it is no secret that Bin Laden was a creature of the U.S. intelligence services, Ms. Miller merely smoothes it over by saying, " the U.S. had worked alongside him to help oust the Russians from Afghanistan " The U.S. "work" poured in $2 billion!
If anyone is to blame for the terrorist activities of Bin Laden, its the CIA.
Why are bin Laden and the U.S. bosses now enemies? Although the present conflict is posed as a "holy war," it is basically for control of the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden represents a section of the Saudi ruling class (from which he comes) that does not want to share this oil with Exxon-Mobil. U.S. bosses know if they lose Saudi Arabia after having lost Iraq, they wont control the biggest oil producers of the cheapest oil in the world. Without it, U.S. imperialist supremacy is in serious question. Bushs "holy war"for oil is likely to wind up with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
In 1979, bin Laden, who inherited a personal $300 million fortune from his father (a construction boss billionaire), decided to abandon his former life of luxury and dedicate himself to fight communism. When the Soviet army entered Afghanistan to support a pro-Moscow government there, bin Laden was recruited by the CIA to become the financier of the anti-Soviet "holy war." In 1986, William Casey, CIA chief under Reagan-Bush Sr., approved an old proposal by the Pakistani intelligence services to recruit Islamic fundamentalists worldwide to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
While the Pakistanis did the recruiting, Saudi Arabia provided money and the U.S. gave political support and "funneled more than $2 billion in guns and money during the 1980s. It was the largest covert action program since World War II (Washington Post, 7/19/92). Soon, 35,000 fundamentalists came to fight alongside the Afghani holy warriors. Sylvester Stallones Rambo III (1988) was based on this CIA vision of the world: then the "good" guys were the bin Laden "holy warriors" types fighting the "evil communist" Soviet empire.
Bin Laden and his followers learned all their tricks from the master terrorists: the CIA. "It was the CIA which taught him how to be bold It was also the CIA which taught him the tricks of a secret war: how to move money around using ghost companies and off shore fiscal paradises, how to prepare explosives, how to use coded messages to communicate with his agents and avoid detection, how to retreat into a safe base after a big blow to the enemy "(El Pais, Madrid, 9/14).
Soon after the Soviet Army left Afghanistan and the Soviet Union itself imploded, the U.S. and its Pakistani allies began supporting the most backward of all the holy warriors, the Taliban. The Pakistani intelligence services financed all of this by smuggling opium and heroin from Afghanistan. In 1991, when the U.S. led an imperialist coalition against Iraq, and U.S. troops were stationed in the Moslem "holy land" of Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalists united against the new "evil empire," their old friends in the U.S. Bin Laden joined forces with other fundamentalist forces like Islamic Jihad of Egypt who had murdered Anwar Sadat, considered a lackey of the U.S. and Israel. These forces represent a section of the Middle Eastern ruling classes which use religion to cover their desire not to share the oil wealth with U.S, imperialism/Exxon-Mobil.
But even while bin Laden has become the number one bad guy on the U.S. hit list, some of his followers are still serving U.S. bosses. Last April, Secy. of State Colin Powell approved $43 million in "humanitarian" aid for the Taleban. Furthermore, many of the veterans of the Afghan "holy war" were fighting alongside the U.S.-supported Kosovo-Albanian "freedom fighters" during the 1999 air war against the former Yugoslavia. And more recently, some have fought with the Albanian forces against the government of Macedonia.
Again, when one talks about terrorism, dont lose sight of the big ones: U.S. imperialism and its CIA. And dont lose sight of what is behind the "holy war" between bin Laden and the U.S. bosses: control of oil profits.
The media call Osama bin Laden a fanatical Islamic fundamentalist. But make no mistake. Far more than any religious belief, it is bin Ladens struggle with U.S. bosses over profit sources that drives him. The same goes for the Koran-thumping Taliban.
Osama bin Laden came from a family which in the 1970s and 80s amassed billions building mosques and military bases for the Saudi government. But the royal family refused to cut bin Laden a share of the even more lucrative oil business, which it reserves for itself and the Exxon Mobil axis. So bin Laden, with the Saudi capitalist forces he represents, made a bid for state power. In 1990, after Iraq had invaded Kuwait, bin Laden tried to raise an army of his Afghan war veterans [see article on this page] to "safeguard" Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi royals, aided by a half a million U.S. troops, prevented the coup. Bin Laden was promptly stripped of Saudi citizenship for this act of treason and exiled to Sudan. There he began aiding Exxon Mobils rivals in the guise of a missionary. Bin Laden led an Islamic "anti-poverty" project that built a road from Khartoum to Port Sudan, literally paving the way for an oil export pipeline that the China National Oil Company and Frances Total soon exploited. Non-royal Saudi businessmen continue to fund bin Ladens cause in Sudan.
From Sudan bin Laden jumped to Afghanistan, where the increasingly powerful fundamentalist Taliban had hopes of becoming energy barons. In the mid 1990s, Unocal and some non-U.S. firms were proposing pipelines that would carry gas and oil from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. "The Talibans control of the pipeline route made the pipeline possible," said the husband of Pakistans president Bhutto (Taliban : Militant Islam, Oil, and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid ). But almost immediately the Taliban turned against the U.S. oil bosses and vice versa. First, Unocal unilaterally set the Talibans future cut at a miserable 15 cents per 1,000 cubic feet. "The Taliban were incensed because they were not consulted about the gas price, and they demanded a larger transit fee" (Rashid). Then in 1999, Clinton forced Unocal to drop the project entirely. U.S. rulers felt that the Taliban could not or would not guarantee a stable Afhghanistan, especially since Russian influence in the region was rising under the newly elected Putin. From now on, Washington would employ a "get tough" policy against the Taliban.
The planners of the recent UN Conference against racism in Durban, South Africa, which included the Rockefeller Foundation, hoped it would win workers to the lie that the worlds governments can end racism They cannot and will not. Because these states are capitalist their rulers need racism, as much as they need war, to ensure their profits. War is the capitalists ultimate means for crushing their foreign rivals. With racism they seek both to divide and weaken their main internal enemy, the working class, and to stir it up to fight in their imperialist wars. Capitalists cannot survive without racism. The U.S. delegation to the meeting proved this reality by walking out, refusing to denounce Israels anti-Arab racism. Bushs plans for war in the Mideast and Central Asia make crystal clear why Colin Powell & Co, took a hike.
From a working class perspective, the Durban gathering turned out to be a total farce. The UN had chosen Durban to showcase South Africas "anti-racist progress" since the end of apartheid. Black politicians, for the most part, run the country now. But lets look at the facts. Workers have worse conditions than ever. Unemployment is soaring. According to the Christian Science Monitor (7/12/01), "35 percent of blacks are jobless and 61 percent of black families live below the poverty line, defined by the Department of Finance as 1,100 rand ($137) per month per household." The only democratization to have taken place has been the democratization of the working classs impoverishment. Now many white workers are as poor as their black sisters and brothers. "Among whites, 6.8 percent were out of work in 1999 - as compared with 3.3 percent in 1994. The number of white families living under the poverty line rose in the same period of time from 1 percent to 2.7 percent." (CSM).
Once upon a time, the African National Congress, South Africas current ruling party, was allied to the old communist movement and tried to represent workers interests. But the ANC carried out the old movements fatally flawed line that national liberation would lead to workers power. Black capitalist rulers are every bit as deadly as white ones, and South Africas new rulers are surely capitalist. In 1997, the Oppenheimer cartel willingly sold a big chunk of its gold mining empire to a group of black financiers that included the wife of South Africas president Thabo Mbeki. One hundred seventy five miners, virtually all black, died in South African gold mines last year.
Capitalists like Mbeki can no more end racism than end imperialist war. That takes organizing a mass communist-led working class movement to smash all forms of capitalism.
The bosses and their labor lieutenants in the war industry are using the anti-working class terrorist bombings as an excuse to build public support for a possible oil war in the Middle East and fascist police state tactics at home. We may not be able to turn the tide nationally now, but as a week of struggle on the shop floor and at last weeks union meeting show, we can stake out a place to fight for the working class.
After some comments supporting President Bush, the union meeting focused on the upcoming contract. When it can time for the rank-and-file to comment, the local president rushed to the microphone to read a statement from International Association of Machinists (I.A.M.) President Thomas Buffenbarger, to be read at all union meetings. "The jets we make can carry troops Our members can build fighter jets and bombers Make no mistake about it, we dont just want those responsible for these terrorist attacks. We want vengeance!"
Then it was our turn. Prepared somewhat by the debates on the shop floor, one worker started by condemning these attacks against the working class that have nothing to do with fighting imperialism. "Now Bush is talking about defending freedom," he continued. "Well, if he wants to defend freedom, he has to look no farther than the Charleston 5 in South Carolina."
He described the racist frame-up against these one white and four black dockworkers, who are on trial for defending their jobs (see last Challenge), and how racism hurts the whole working class. "If we really want to fight for freedom, we should start a defense committee for the Charleston 5," he concluded.
Another union member stepped forward and warned, "I condemn these attacks also, but we have to be careful what words we use. Already, there have been racist attacks on anybody that looks Arab. Look what we did during WWII with the Japanese concentration camps. We still havent lived that one down." After the applause, the meeting ended abruptly.
"The meeting wasnt going the way they wanted," said another worker the next day. Neither did the "meeting after the meeting." A group stayed outside the union hall discussing how to build a campaign against racism in support of the Charleston 5. (The union leadership wants to give money to the defense fund and be done with it.)
But one local official got the point. He asked, "So what do you guys think is behind all this?" "Oil," we answered. "Damn right!" he shouted so all around could hear. "Ive been having this debate with other union officers all week. If the U.S. military gets involved you can bet oil and money are the reasons why."
"You got to be careful about words like vengeance," we repeated again. "The bosses already have the Hart-Rudman report which says that only a Pearl Harbor-like incident would get the population ready for ground war and a police state. Bush is using these attacks as an excuse to start an oil war." "Damn right!" he shouted, even louder this time.We should have no illusions. The bosses labor lieutenants will intensify their war campaign. If we take into account the particular circumstances and political history of our job sites and mass organizations, we can carefully map out a strategy to answer the bosses racist war plans.
Airline analysts predict over 100,000 layoffs in the next month. Tens of thousands have already been announced; 12,000 at Continental, as many as 20,000 at United, thousands more at Northwest, American, ATA and others. Midway has gone out of business and others may soon follow.
Now comes the news that 30,000 Boeing workers, who build airplanes, will lose their jobs by the end of next year. Any worker who thought that war equaled job security had better think again. The terrorist attack provides political cover for the sharpening economic crisis and the bosses attacks on the working class. As we enter the contract season, we should not be fooled by the bosses call for unity and shared sacrifice. The billions Congress is approving for war will not go to relieving the misery of our fired and discarded fellow workers! You can bet on that!
BINGHAMTON, NY SeptemberNews of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center spread feelings of sadness, sympathy and confusion on the SUNY Binghamton campus. The compassion people showed was amazing and within hours there were lines around the block of people wanting to donate blood and help in any way they could.
The University immediately called for a vigil, in which hundreds of students gathered to support one another. We quickly put together a leaflet, which condemned all acts of terrorism and invited students to a PLP forum. At the end of the vigil, many students expressed their reactions and concerns about the attacks. One PLPer spoke to all the participants of the sadness, disgust and anger she felt and called for multi-racial and inter-religious unity in combating not only this atrocity but the many other acts of terror against the working class.
We encouraged our base to help us write a leaflet, distribute them and organize the forum. We spoke in class and at our mass organizations that evening about the role of nationalism and patriotism and how the US will use them to gain support for war. Many of the students agreed with a lot of what we said but were wary of putting out these ideas in a mass way.
As we continued to plan for our forum, PLP members and friends saw the importance of discussing the causes of terrorism, building international, anti-racist working class unity and fighting imperialist war. We also wanted to discuss possible ways to reduce anti-Arab racism on campus.
However, as soon as the forum began, many super right-wing conservative students came to the meeting with the goal of disrupting it. They defended the need for patriotism and a "retaliation" by the US military. Our base in the meeting were shocked by the pro-ruling class views their fellow students had. We learned the important lesson that in this intense time of crisis, politics sharpen and there will be those that will viciously attack our line.
Friends at the meeting thought that at a time when emotions are so high and people are upset, we should not be handing out leaflets and attacking the US ruling class. They correctly observed that some people get angry when the actions of the US government are questioned. We must be sensitive and aware that this is a tough time for people, BUT we have to realize that the US ruling class is not wasting any time in preparing for war and riling up patriotism and anti-Arab racism.
A couple of days later, a PLPer had a good conversation with one of these friends who was disturbed by the events at the meeting. I told her about a woman I handed a leaflet to whose family member was killed by the attack. The woman thanked me for giving out leaflets opposing the terrorism and the USs plans for war. In her time of distress she saw the need to unite with our working class brothers and sisters, not bomb them. This showed my friend the importance of strongly promoting international unity over patriotism and opposing the bombing of more working class lives.
Los Angeles, CAOn Tuesday after hearing about the anti-worker terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we put out a leaflet condemning the terrorist attacks at several high schools and colleges as well as in factories.
On Saturday, a group selling CHALLENGE and passing out leaflets in South Central LA got a very good response. One woman said she would fight against her grandchildren being sent to defend Exxons oil profits. "Weve seen this before," she said.
Party members and friends wore black arm bands, explaining that they stand for mourning the victims of terrorism in NYC, Washington, and Pennsylvania as well as the victims of terrorism in Iraq, Central America and Yugoslavia.
We attended several vigils. At one, after someone said "Were all Americans. We have to get revenge", a party member explained that its always workers who are killed in the bosses wars for profits. She said that Bush would not be sending his two daughters to fight in the Middle East, but the sons and daughters of the working class, who have no interest in killing and dying for oil companies profits. A sharp discussion ensued and several people asked for CHALLENGE.
Another comrade went to an anti-war vigil where he put forward the need to fight imperialism rather than only demand "peace". The very nature of capitalism means competition and war for profit. He plans to continue to be active in the group.
Many friends asked for the partys opinion and literature about the events. House meetings and dinners were hastily arranged to talk about the events.
At a local college, students passed out PLP leaflets on Wednesday, including in class. The discussion in class was good because many students saw that the racism and nationalism of the media is bad, as well as the racism and nationalism of some Israelis and Palestinians. The next day, they had a meeting of 15 students who discussed what happened in New York and Washington and the fight against imperialism and racism. A student in PLP pointed out that this was really a fight for profits and control of oil, not primarily a religious fight as the media says. The group agreed to keep meeting. Students plan to organize actions on campus against racism and imperialist war.
One worker is involved in contract negotiations with his union. The company has refused every demand, including to give the workers breaks, a wage increase, and to pay for health benefits. This comrade is asking his fellow workers, "where is the freedom and unity that Bush tells us were fighting for? When it comes to war, were all supposed to be united, but in these contract negotiations and in life, were enemies. What freedom? What unity?"
In another factory, the PLP leaflet led to a sharp struggle over who are the main terroriststhe US bosses or other workers. Many workers agreed the bosses and their system are the terrorists.
In many discussions, people expressed the desire to answer patriotism and racism with internationalism. This is a very good sign. Many have expressed confidence in our party because we warned about the Hart-Rudman report. We aim to turn this confidence into more action against racism and imperialism and more people joining PLP. Thats how to answer the fascists who are fighting to win masses of workers to fight for US imperialism.
These modest steps show us that we can and must step up our activity in the coming period to boldly organize in the schools, factories, unions and other organizations to fight against fascism and imperialism and build PLP.
CHICAGO, IL September 18At Chicago State University, Malcolm X College, University of Illinois Chicago and several other campuses, thousands of leaflets and scores of CHALLENGES were distributed, many by students who took bundles to pass out to their friends. There were serious discussions in class, and at one school we organized an escort program to provide anti-racist protection and solidarity for Middle Eastern students and faculty.
On another campus the university called a forum that attracted 250 students. Two professors, one a former State Department flunky, said that terrorism was bad. Several students spoke from the audience, some expressing concerns about a bigger war. When a professor spoke from the audience detailing how U.S. imperialism has killed many more than the terrorists, and created the circumstances that allow the terrorists to gain strength, dozens of students applauded. Two students agreed to be in a study group and one donated $100 "for the cause!"
On Saturday, we held a rally near where an Islamic mosque had been attacked. There was some hostility, but in general the response was positive! Hundreds of leaflets were distributed and we collected $50.00 for 110 CHALLENGES. A bullhorn rally in another neighborhood drew a similar response. Many workers expressed opposition to a U.S. war in Central Asia or the Middle East.
PLP workers spent the weekend making visits to steel workers, Cook County Hospital workers and V&V Supremo strikers and other immigrant workers. At the main Post Office, we distributed hundreds of fliers and sold CHALLENGE. Here workers are organizing worker-to-worker relief for the victims in NYC, while putting forward anti-racist and anti-imperialist politics.
At one church, 18 people participated in a political discussion, planned for a forum and will activate the racial justice committee to offer support and protection to an Islamic mosque in the neighborhood.
One teacher at a South Side high school said that she had never seen students read anything as enthusiastically and intensely as they read the PL literature. Some students were for "retaliation" but many spoke out against a war. At another school, an anti-racist student organization did a leaflet to oppose racism against Arabs. Reactions among the teachers are mixed. There is a lot of patriotism but also a lot of fear and confusion.
At one school, a teacher sharply criticized a PLP member. A couple of days later she thanked that same member for helping explain what was really going on. The principal called for everyone to gather in the hallway to sing a patriotic song, but several teachers called for a moment of silence for all the victims, including those who are victims of U.S. imperialism.
Many students and workers want to become active. What we do makes a difference, especially in those places where we have been working patiently, rooting ourselves in mass organizations and building strong, deep ties with people.
BROOKLYN, NY, Sept. 17Several thousand people marched last night in a vigil to call for unity and solidarity with the Arab community which became a victim of racism after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Several hundred Arab workers are among the thousands buried under the Twin Towers. Many marchers held up anti-war and anti-racist signs against jingoism and racist assaults against Arab workers. People from many different backgrounds, including Jews opposed to anti-Arab racism, participated. American flags were present, but not in great number.
PLP members handed out the Partys leaflet condemning terrorism and exposing U.S. rulers as the biggest terrorists of all. Other PLPers held up signs attacking U.S. imperialist butchery in Kosovo, Rwanda, Iraq, and Vietnam, as well as the bosses fascist anti-worker assaults in New York City and Belfast. A group of young women next to two PLP members offered to hold the Party signs and did so for nearly two hours. The Party encountered minimal hostilityfrom a couple of Zionists and from a reporter of the rightwing NY POST, who then wrote a slanderous racist column about our well received leaflet.
On Sat. Sept. 15, PLPers rallied in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. "Thank you so much, Im an Arab. Let me take some of those newspapers, too," said one woman who took our leaflet attacking all forms of terrorism and pointing out the terror perpetuated by the US ruling class.
The leaflet also called on workers and students to unite in an international movement instead of helping the ruling class attack Arab workers and students. We also marched on Flatbush Avenue chanting "Arab, Latin, black and white/Workers of the world unite." The response around us was enthusiastic.
Overall our efforts indicate that we can have confidence that the working class is winnable to our line, provided that we put it forward vigorously.
As a former soldier, I am concerned with some comments many are making concerning the bosses plan to launch a war in the Middle East. Workers should realize that the bosses are using the terrorist attacks to their advantage. It is crucial to explain U.S. interests in the Middle East to those who are showing support for a U.S. invasion. When the situation is analyzed, they will realize that the essence of this fight is not between Arab and American, but between bosses. It has nothing to do with the interest of American soldiers and workers.
Working class soldiers will be sent overseas to carry out murderous acts and start something that can easily explode into a major war. U.S. bosses are rallying everyone into a patriotic frenzy to support their plans, but we should talk to soldiers and inform them that this has everything to do with oil in the Middle East. Nationalism only blinds us from what is really going on. What happened in New York is horrific, and must be condemned as an anti-working class massacre. But soldiers should not go astray and forget the terrible reputation that the U.S. has around the world. Soldiers should realize that the U.S. government has done many things to make people around the world hate them. Anti U.S. sentiment in the Middle East is high because of U.S. government support of Israelis against Palestinians and the sanctions against Iraq that have killed hundreds of thousands of children. Also the presence of U.S. imperialism is a threat to regional oil bosses.
As their fight between capitalists sharpens, we should carry out sharp discussions with soldiers and not let them fall into the trap that the bosses have set. Friends that have been reading CHALLENGE have commented on how accurate our analysis is of the situation. Small political discussions that seemed insignificant at the time, can now have a more serious impact.
When the bosses start war abroad, we should not respond with support for their oil interest. We should respond with the interest of the working class: WORKING CLASS SOLIDARITY, INTERNATIONALISM, and in the long run, COMMUNIST REVOLUTION.
A Former Red Soldier
NEW YORKOn Tuesday, it was clear that capitalist schools are centers of ignorance. While other workers were glued to TV, radio, and Internet investigating the days events, in our school in the heart of the city, teachers and students were kept from knowledge of the tragedy, even lied to. When we returned to school on Thursday, our principal forbid us to conduct lessons on the attack. "This is a normal day," "The students dont need it," "They come to stay away from the news." A PLP member rose-having prepared for this fight-and made the case that our working-class students have an absolute need to fight to understand the roots of this tragedy.
Teachers and students need to engage in scientific investigation (communist dialectical materialism) to arm themselves with the knowledge to understand and change the world.
Another teacher made the point that students need to educate themselves to prevent the anti-Arab racism that was already infecting the neighborhood. With the help of several other teachers we then organized a school-wide program that included the reading of anti-racist, anti-imperialist poems (including the one below by the German communist Brecht) and the writing of letters to families of victims and the many working-class volunteers who helped save lives.
General, your tank is a
It smashes down forests and crushes a
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more
than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.
When the last war came to an end
There were conquerors and conquered.
Among the conquered the common people
Starved. Among the conquerors
The common people starved too.
Bertholt Brecht, German Communist
LANCASTER, PA., Sept. 15. On September 8, 15 PLP members and scores of supporting Lancaster workers and students succeeded in keeping the Ku Klux Klan out of this city.
In early July the KKK announced plans to rally on the steps of the Lancaster County courthouse. PLP members began weekly trips here and were welcomed by hundreds of workers and students. Many gave their names and numbers to be re-contacted. Because these and many more were waiting, ready to "kick ass," the Klan backed out, appearing unannounced in a small town 17 miles away.
During July and August, thousands of leaflets calling for "Death to the Klan" and many copies of CHALLENGE were distributed, introducing many to the Party. "Wanted For Racist Crimes" flyers flooded the working-class neighborhood of Klan leader Roy Frankhauser in nearby Reading.
This steady work gave a focus to workers and students anger and hatred of the Klan, producing positive results. When word spread that communists were organizing here, Lancaster liberals and politicians got nervous. (The mayor, showing his true colors, later told a reporter, "I knew the Klan itself wouldnt have caused any damage. I was more concerned with the self-described anarchists and communists who did show up.") The ministers of the black churches also began to feel the heat. These misleaders decided to boycott the liberal-inspired Unity Day activities and instead gathered 150 men to occupy the courthouse steps for an all-male "nonviolent confrontation with the Klan." Were sure that our communist organizing had much to do with their being there theyre more afraid of what we say to Lancaster workers than they are of the Klan.
A troop of Anti-Racist Action youth, including anarchists, appeared at the courthouse to battle the Klan. They had done little or no organizing in Lancaster. As a result they stood separate from Lancaster workers and students, many of whom were with us.
One worker told a member of our group, "Ive been looking ever since I came here for someone who thinks like I do. Im really glad you came!" There are dozens more here who are ready for communist ideas.
We learned two important lessons in Lancaster: what you do really does matter; and a few people can make a big difference.
STATE COLLEGE, PA, Sept. 16 As many as 1,000 students and workers came to a rally and conference against racism at Penn State this weekend. This gathering of anti-racist students was prompted by racist attacks. At least 10 Black students, including the Black Student Caucus (BSC) president, received multiple death threats in the past year. Many racist/fascist groups are present on campus and in the area. Many police, as well as some workers at the campus, have webbed tattoos, signifying membership in fascist groups and/or they have killed at least one person of color.
In response to these racist death threats a multiracial group of hundreds of students came together and took over the building that houses the African- American studies department, and thousands participated in rallies outside. Since the WTC and Pentagon bombing, Arab students have become targeted as well. Among other things, racists threw rocks at one Arab student.
PLP students participated in the discussions and workshops that followed the rally. Throughout the weekend, students expressed their opposition to racism and to the bosses war plans. All whom we spoke to, even those who lost family in the bombing, opposed any war. Most, if not all, of the students understood that the terrorism in NYC grew directly out of U.S. imperialist policies.
One comrade spoke of how the capitalists are our enemies, and that they are responsible for racism and racist terror, as well as unemployment. He drew a connection between the closing of mines and mills in places like PA and Binghamton, NY, and the rise of the KKK and other racist groups that serve to divert white workers anger away from the bosses and onto workers and students of color. He also made a friendly criticism of the emphasis on "spirituality," which many workers and students had in their speeches. He expressed the view that religion served to divide workers and students, rather than unite them, and thus was harmful to the antiracist struggle.
Throughout the conference, we distributed at least 40 Challenges, 100 leaflets opposing racism and the terrorists who bombed NYC/DC and US imperialists, and gained at least 25 contacts. Students welcomed our perspective that workers and students of all races and nationalities need to unite against racism and not with misleaders like Jesse Jackson, who never showed up for the conference.
As one comrade noted, the students ability to continue the rally without Jackson, demonstrated to all that our struggles depend on our own efforts, and that we dont need misleaders like him. The Penn State students hatred of the Klan and of racism was clear throughout the conference and their commitment to fight against their racist administration is an example for all students to follow. If we follow up with those students who we met at the conference, it will mark one step on the long road to communist revolution, the only movement that can truly end racism.
Workers Of The World, Write
PLP members in this city have found a wide range of reactions to the bombings. A very small minority of people are so won to the bosses ideas that they are beyond reach. With most people there are tremendous opportunities to advance PLPs criticisms of capitalism and the need for communist revolution.
Two days after the bombings PLP members leafleting one of the citys major hospitals received an overwhelmingly positive response with very little hostility. Several workers took flyers to distribute inside.
At another hospital workers took stacks of flyers to distribute themselves. In spite of some strong disagreements our long history of organizing struggles against racism and the bosses caused even our most vocal critics to listen to our position despite their anger.
Some of us had dinner with some white workers who live in the suburbs. Dinner was interrupted when our host ran outside to participate in a candlelight vigil for the bombing victims. Everyone was sad and angry about the bombing. But then we discussed how the bosses use this incident to build a base for fascism and war to control Middle-East oil. No one wanted his children to die in such a war. These folks are not familiar with PLPs ideas yet. But even in the suburbs people are very cynical about the government.
Over the next few weeks we will organize more meetings. Two Party members were just invited to a meeting of 30 50 people organized by some old friends. Others will organize a meeting with the Lancaster PA workers who joined us recently in protesting against a KKK rally. We are also planning to work in our unions and other organizations in the relief efforts.
On Tuesday I observed the Jewish New Year in New York, with a modern congregation that reserves a part of its service for open discussion. Of more than 20 people who spoke, only two bought into the cowboy vengeance being pushed by Junior Bush and the U.S. ruling class. One other person (and only one) said the attack had deepened her sympathies toward Israel, but even she characterized the Israeli government as "fascistic."
On the other hand, most speakers voiced skepticism or outright opposition to any broad-scale U.S. military retaliation. One woman noted that bin Laden was a creature of the CIAs anti-Soviet operation in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Another said that she most feared the wave of knee-jerk flag-waving and where it might lead. A friend added that we cannot trust the U.S. government to wage a just war.
When I said that we must condemn ALL terror, and that the most murderous terrorism is state-sanctioned (as the U.S. demonstrated in Vietnam), several people made a point of approaching me later and voicing their agreement. All in all, the discussion suggested that support for the Bush "crusade" may not be as deep or wide as some polls suggest.
A Brooklyn Friend
My church had a special service on September 12th with about fifty people, including half a dozen guests from the local Islamic center. The minister set the tone with readings along the lines of "love and peace, not vengeance or retribution." He quoted Gandhi about "answering physical force with moral force." Two other church leaders said similar things. They warned against racist attacks on Arabic people. The hymn was about joining together with love and justice to build a nobler world.
During the "time for sharing," nearly everyone who spoke talked about the families and friends of the victims, about the heroes who were risking their lives in rescue efforts, and about their personal desire for peace. An Islamic woman related that many Islamic women were afraid to go out on the streets. She described an attack on a co-worker.
When I spoke, I mentioned another church member, stranded on vacation. Then I quoted the passage from the Apostle Paul ("as a man sows, so shall he reap") and listed some of the seeds that the US government has sown: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Indonesia, El Salvador, Vietnam, South Africa, the Iraq sanctions.
Afterwards, three church members and most of the visitors thanked me for what Id said. One guest said she was about to say the same thing, and then decided Id spoken for her already.
A few days later, five of us from church and two other friends, got together for dinner and discussion. We shared questions and stories, described the reactions of co-workers, pooled information about the history of U.S. imperialism and the bosses plans to put the U.S. on a war footing.
There seemed to be general agreement about the evils of U.S. imperialism and the dangers of nationalism (especially when combined with religion). There was some discussion about how we were going to individually fight anti-Arab racism. Everyone was glad we had gotten together. We will meet again, and invite more people.
The sharpest disagreement came when I started talking about revolution. Several people called it impossible because the bosses are too strong, saying we should use elections instead. But when I passed Challenge around, the person who had argued most strongly against revolution said, "Do you have more of these?" I gave him all I had, and promised to get him more.
We got this letter from our son in the army just before the terrorist attacks.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Great news. Tonight I engaged at least 10 soldiers in a very sharp political discussion around the issue of race, class, the military, prisons, immigration, police and Bill Clinton as the "Black Pres."
At first it was me-vs.-everyone. But as it progressed, one guy was defending me and eventually most of the others were agreeing and making supporting comments.
One soldier said he is here because he lost his job to three "illegal" Mexican immigrants. Eventually, a few of us showed him that the boss was totally to blame.
We also struggled about racism and "white skin privilege." Some of the black soldiers thought that the white soldiers were here because they wanted to be. But after a survey, we learned that they were all here for money for school or job training. They see the army as their last option for a better life. None of the soldiers in my company are willing to fight or die.
One thing that I really enjoy about my company is that there are no racial barriers to keep us apart, or any barriers between urban and rural workers. Everyone from the North gets along really well with the soldiers from the South. One of the main reasons we all get along so well is because we all hate the drill sergeant.
With all my love,
In Texas, workers, students, sailors, and university faculty are open to anti-racist and anti-imperialist ideas. In one restaurant, a 20-year old waitress wearing a red-white-and-blue ribbon said that she didnt support war or patriotism. She said several of her friends agreed that youth should not be sent to invade the Middle East, and that her closest friend, who joined the Navy because of unemployment, was strongly opposed to Bushs plans.
Young workers on many other jobs were equally skeptical of the governments war plans. In fact, almost everyone wearing a red-white-and-blue ribbon is inviting a conversation about patriotism, imperialist war, and anti-racism. The terrorist murders of workers in New York and Washington are horrible, and there are many opportunities to show people the importance of PLPs ideas.
This week some university students and faculty have actively opposed the whipping up of hatred toward Muslims, and called upon others in the classes to oppose racist attacks they have observed. At the University of Texas, many students spontaneously made anti-war and anti-racist signs and argued with would-be "patriots." At another university, discussions turned to the question, "Why is the U.S. hated?" Most students had no knowledge of the role of U.S. imperialism and were open to learning and considering this history. In one classroom, the discussion focused on the ethics of terrorists killing innocent people, and the difference between terrorism and mass working-class action against capitalism. Professors are beginning to analyze how E.O. Wilsons racist theories of genetic/cultural determinism will be invoked to justify Bushs war efforts. The struggle against these ideas can be linked to actions against imperialist war. These discussions are just a beginning, but they show the opportunities that are before us.
I'm a new Party member in the mountains of Oaxaca. To build PLP into the mass party necessary for communist revolution we must understand the methods of recruitment and consolidation of new members. Class consciousness is crucial. It always led me to fight the system's repression.
I come from a very humble Mixteco-speaking farm family from an area between the Mixteca Region, the Central Valleys and the southern mountains of the state of Oaxaca. My mother speaks no Spanish and never went to school. I lived there through secondary school. My father always fought all kinds of exploitation, although without a well-defined communist ideology. My brothers and I, in the state capital to learn a trade, constantly went hungry. After finishing that course, I went to a northern state to study for an Agronomy license.
But like all education in Mexico's universities, agrarian education corresponds to the interests of the ruling class, not the reality of the countryside. So a group of us students organized demonstrations, strikes and building occupations to demand better education.
Our movement was progressive but had no defined ideology. Although a mass movement, it won no reforms. We became an independent student organization. Sympathy from the student community led to the error of thinking that by winning elections to the University's Board of Governors we could change the university. This was impossible, since the Board was a legalistic parliament designed to represent the interests of the rulers. Moreover, we were only 12 of 36 members within it. Once inside we forgot all about political agitation. However, our general character as an organization of struggle sparked contact with students in the General Strike Council of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Through them we attended an International Student Congress where we met various radical groups, including two comrades from PLP, one a brother of a member of our organization. TheParty's ideas and a conference on Marxism inspired study groups on Lenin's State and Revolution and Marx and Engel's Communist Manifesto. We began to understand how society functions and why the rulers act like they do. It gave our struggles a communist perspective.
From these basic readings and many meetings with Party members, we became increasingly convinced of the need for communist struggle. More importantly we were able to distinguish between the the old communist movement and the line of the PLP.
Although three of us quit school, we met with other comrades still at the University to plan joint struggles of students and ex-students. When two PLP'ers talked to us more deeply about the ideology and political line of the Party, we joined immediately. We realized it's the only group that really fights to smash capitalism, instead of trying to reform it.
Now living in southern Mexico I am part of a PLP group fighting capitalist repression and for communist revolution.
I believe we need to understand the diverse methods of recruitment, enabling us to fight for a new society, free of sexism, racism, individualism, exploitation and wage slavery. That's communism.
Comrade from the Mixteca Region
Last month PLP held two cadre schools, one in Haiti and the other in the Dominican Republic, to train comrades and friends in our communist politics. This took place amidst growing struggles by workers and their allies in both countries (which share the island of Hispaniola). We aim to win more and more workers and youth to join and build an international revolutionary party capable of channeling these struggles into a fight to smash capitalism/imperialism and build a society where production is based on workers' needs (communism).
Those at the school in Haiti felt very motivated and really liked CHALLENGE. They agreed to write articles about the situation in Haiti and their organizing efforts there.
In the school in the Dominican Republic we used many class struggles as points of discussion. Most participants were workers from the Free Trade Zone, where mass layoffs are occurring because of the U.S. recession (most of the production is exported to the U.S.). We discussed spreading CHALLENGE in the shops and building Party clubs and fractions there to strengthen PLP's ideas among these workers.
Both schools discussed how to bring our communist politics into the reformist struggles of workers and youth, how the Party must organize inside the mass movement to train ourselves in the heat of class struggles and build a mass communist party.
The schools decided to:
Write political guidelines to avoid the trap of reformism and to bring communist politics to the class struggle.
Increase CHALLENGE circulation in the shops, schools and fields where PLP is being built. Publish a local CHALLENGE newsletter reflecting our political work and use it to train comrades to write regularly for the international CHALLENGE.
Reprint leaflets put out in Haiti and Dominican Republic for distribution inside the mass movement's fight-backs.
Organize a Caribbean communist conference in the coming months to build our Party throughout the region.
Consolidate the two dozen new comrades who've joined PLP since May Day into clubs and train them as Party organizers.
Win some veteran comrades who have moved to build the Party in their new residences.
PLP in the Dominican Republic