CHALLENGE, Nov. 28, 2001

FLASH: As we go to press, the situation in Afghanistan has changed quite rapidly, but still the rulers’ two-front "war against terrorism" exposes them as something less than supermen, both in Afghanistan and on the home front. At home they still haven’t figured out the identity of the anthrax terrorists, and the FBI has egg all over its face. Overseas, pacifying Afghanistan to make it safe for Exxon Mobil’s oil profits is more easily said than done. True, the short U.S. bombing campaign appears to have routed the Taliban from Afghanistan’s main cities. But appearances don’t tell the whole story. "War in Afghanistan is not fought in cities and towns," says a Taliban mouthpiece quoted by The Times of India (11/14). "The decisive war is fought in the mountains and caves, and they are under our control."

The Islamic fundamentalist army that later produced the Taliban fought a ten-year guerrilla war against the Russians and won. The Taliban think they can duplicate this success, with some differences, against the U.S. The outcome can’t be predicted at this time. However, certain conclusions can be drawn about this war:

The fight to control Afghanistan is far from over. The present phase, according to a Pakistani military affairs expert, "can be interminably long" (Riffat Hussain, Times of India, 11/14). The Taliban have made an orderly retreat. They are "settling in for the long haul" (Stratfor, 11/14).

The guerrilla war in Afghanistan will once again show the limitations of air power. Making plans to corner oil and gas supplies and delivery routes from Kosovo through the Middle East and Afghanistan is one thing. Executing those plans is another, especially when it requires conquering and holding territory. The job can’t be done from the air. U.S. imperialism will require large contingents of ground troops, and the casualties will mount.

The war will spread beyond Afghanistan’s borders. The Taliban get most of their supplies from Pakistan. A significant faction of Pakistani bosses supports the Taliban. Cutting off the Pakistani source of Taliban supplies may well force the U.S. to extend the war to Pakistan. The rest of Central Asia and the entire subcontinent, including India, could become involved to some extent in the fighting.

The U.S. is already carrying out plans for military bases in formerly Soviet Central Asian republics like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. These bases will become likely targets.

The so-called "Northern Alliance" is basically a fiction. It’s a motley gang of warlords who may have differences with the Taliban bosses but who also fight for power among themselves. The likelihood that U.S. imperialism can mould them into a stable puppet regime is slim. Therefore, the chances of pacifying Afghanistan for Exxon Mobil in the near future are also slim.

Even if the Taliban and Al Qaeda are routed (their reactionary and repressive policies have alienated many of the people who originally supported them), instability will continue in the region. The rulers of Pakistan won't sit idly while their sworn enemies in the Northern Alliance (and their backers in Iran, India and Russia) takes over most of Afghanistan after Bush promised Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf  to keep the NA outside Kabul. Pakistan might grab southern Afghanistan as a buffer zone. And sooner than later, war will erupt between the Northern Alliance warlords and the Pakistani-back warlords.

Capitalism After Sept. 11: War, Mass Layoffs and Police State

Unity With Bosses Is Deadly for Workers

Bush’s ‘Homeland Security’ Would Make Hitler Proud

Giuliani Dump Firefighters for Real Estate Profiteers

Super-Exploitation at Ground Zero

Democratic ‘Hawks’ Say: ‘Prepare for American body bags…’

Who’s the Terrorist Who Blew Up Flight 587? Answer: American Airlines CEO

Anti-War Group Forms at Montclair State University

Big Oil Barons Show Enron Who Is Boss

PLP Indicts Imperialism As Cause of War

PL Forum Links Universities To Pro-War Program

Anti-War Sentiment Grows at University of Washington

Racism Elected NY Mayor Bloomberg

Crisis Won’t Sink the System—That Requires Workers’ Revolution

French Workers Strike

LETTERS: Workers of the World, Write!

Gov’t Is Biggest Terrorist in Chile

Job Cuts Hit LA Garment Workers

Huber über Alles

Capitalism After Sept. 11: War, Mass Layoffs and Police State

FLASH: As we go to press, the situation in Afghanistan has changed quite rapidly, but still the rulers’ two-front "war against terrorism" exposes them as something less than supermen, both in Afghanistan and on the home front. At home they still haven’t figured out the identity of the anthrax terrorists, and the FBI has egg all over its face. Overseas, pacifying Afghanistan to make it safe for Exxon Mobil’s oil profits is more easily said than done. True, the short U.S. bombing campaign appears to have routed the Taliban from Afghanistan’s main cities. But appearances don’t tell the whole story. "War in Afghanistan is not fought in cities and towns," says a Taliban mouthpiece quoted by The Times of India (11/14). "The decisive war is fought in the mountains and caves, and they are under our control."

The Islamic fundamentalist army that later produced the Taliban fought a ten-year guerrilla war against the Russians and won. The Taliban think they can duplicate this success, with some differences, against the U.S. The outcome can’t be predicted at this time. However, certain conclusions can be drawn about this war:

The fight to control Afghanistan is far from over. The present phase, according to a Pakistani military affairs expert, "can be interminably long" (Riffat Hussain, Times of India, 11/14). The Taliban have made an orderly retreat. They are "settling in for the long haul" (Stratfor, 11/14).

The guerrilla war in Afghanistan will once again show the limitations of air power. Making plans to corner oil and gas supplies and delivery routes from Kosovo through the Middle East and Afghanistan is one thing. Executing those plans is another, especially when it requires conquering and holding territory. The job can’t be done from the air. U.S. imperialism will require large contingents of ground troops, and the casualties will mount.

The war will spread beyond Afghanistan’s borders. The Taliban get most of their supplies from Pakistan. A significant faction of Pakistani bosses supports the Taliban. Cutting off the Pakistani source of Taliban supplies may well force the U.S. to extend the war to Pakistan. The rest of Central Asia and the entire subcontinent, including India, could become involved to some extent in the fighting.

The U.S. is already carrying out plans for military bases in formerly Soviet Central Asian republics like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. These bases will become likely targets.

The so-called "Northern Alliance" is basically a fiction. It’s a motley gang of warlords who may have differences with the Taliban bosses but who also fight for power among themselves. The likelihood that U.S. imperialism can mould them into a stable puppet regime is slim. Therefore, the chances of pacifying Afghanistan for Exxon Mobil in the near future are also slim.

Unity With Bosses Is Deadly for Workers

"United We Stand" is ringing more hollow by the day. The more powerful U.S. capitalists had hoped to use the Bush presidency to galvanize the nation in a single-minded crusade against the enemies of Rockefeller’s Exxon Mobil following Sept. 11. But the grotesque spectacle of cops and firefighters fist-fighting amid the carnage at the World Trade Center symbolized a fundamental truth about the profit system: capitalists can’t sustain unity for long, even when a crisis demands it. Rival bosses, like bin Laden, using Islam’s religion as a smoke-screen, are seriously threatening the main Exxon Mobil faction’s grip on Saudi Arabia’s oil, the economic lever that allows it to dominate the world. The bigger U.S. rulers must sooner or later widen the war from Afghanistan to Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. To do this, they need a more fascist crackdown at home (see page 2). But conflicts are erupting from Ground Zero to the highest levels of government.

The New York Times (editorial, 11/5) gave Bush passing marks for managing the tactical debate within the main wing over when to invade Iraq (see CHALLENGE, 11/14) but flunked him for caving in to the right-wing leaders of the Republican Party on domestic issues. "Mr. Bush’s leadership on foreign policy ...has been fair and Democrats as well as Republicans. On the home front, however, Mr. Bush acts as if he still cannot afford to alienate the right-wing leaders of the Republican Party and the big business and energy interests behind them." In other articles the Times specifically criticized Bush’s huge "tax stimulus" rebates to non- Exxon firms like Enron and Texas Utilities and his refusal to federalize airport security in favor of private firms owned by supporters of conservative Republicans. To the Times, Bush was forsaking his consensus- building mission.

When the aristocratic Bushes migrated from Greenwich, CT, to Texas half a century ago, they undertook the difficult task of keeping the domestic Oil Patch bosses roughly in line with the Exxon Mobil wing’s interests. This job has proved difficult because the two sides frequently have conflicting business interests. When push has come to shove, the Bushes have usually lined up behind the main wing.

In an important act of obedience to the main wing Eastern Establishment this year, Bush Jr. appointed liberal Republican Tom Ridge to the new position of Homeland Security czar. But then Bush failed to define the scope of his powers. A pro-choicer, Ridge has solid Establishment credentials. When running for governor of Pennsylvania, he employed the same campaign-consulting firm used by blueblood liberals like Massachusetts’ Bill Weld and New York’s Arno Houghton. One of Ridge’s main goals is to bring federal law enforcement agencies and the military under one roof. But Congress is balking at plans to put the Coast Guard and Border Patrol under Ridge’s command.

This pattern of attempts at unity followed by sharpening strife has marked Bush’s presidential career from the outset. At their party conventions last summer, Bush and Gore made identical calls for an oil war on Iraq. Seeming eager to put the Clinton impeachment battle behind them, both ran campaigns that the Harris Poll found unusually free of mudslinging. Then came Election Day and the most blatant manipulation of the courts and partisan ballot stealing, mixed with racism, that the U.S. has ever seen. At his inauguration, however, Bush vowed to bury the hatchet in a speech that the main wing’s most influential mouthpiece, the New York Times, called "A New Vision of Unity." By spring, this vision had blurred. Bush successfully backed a huge multi-billon-dollar tax cut package benefiting the corporations and wealthy individuals that had bought his election while it ignored the imperialist needs of the bigger bosses. Sen. Jay Rockefeller denounced the cuts as irresponsible because they endangered funding for U.S. ground troops overseas.

The main wing cannot afford to allow partisanship to hinder imperialism. As its hold on Persian Gulf oil becomes more precarious, it will increasingly resort to bribery and force to impose discipline.

Bush’s ‘Homeland Security’ Would Make Hitler Proud

With the upsurge of flag-waving U.S. nationalism following 9/11, the bosses are temporarily in a stronger position, and moving quickly, to create a police state. Officially over 1,000 "suspected terrorists" have been arrested, almost all on charges totally unrelated to the World Trade Center attacks. The government refuses to say who they are, where they’re held, or what they’re charged with. This recalls the mass arrests and deportations of tens of thousands of immigrants during the Palmer Raids "red scare" of the 1920s, following the Russian Revolution.

Almost all those arrested since 9/11 are Arab or Muslim, similar to immigrants held in the past five years on "secret evidence." U.S. rulers are counting on anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism to get away with these round-ups. They’re also using fear and hysteria to weaken any potential fight-back.

These actions, however, pale in comparison to what the future holds. Under the new "anti-terrorism" law, the government could hold immigrants "under suspicion of involvement in terrorism" — without charging them with anything — from seven days up to indefinite court-ordered six-month period extensions.

"Suspects" are subject to "roving wiretaps," including secret "intelligence courts," combined with the "alien terrorist removal courts" from a 1996 Clinton law. The latter can receive secret evidence against those "suspected" of involvement with "foreign terrorist organizations" (FTOs). U.S. citizens who "materially support" FTOs can be jailed up to 10 years.

Bush’s Homeland Security Council comes right out of the Clinton-appointed Hart-Rudman Commission report which last April predicted major "terrorist attacks on U.S. soil" that would convince Americans to "sacrifice blood and treasure" for the greater profit glory of U.S. rulers. These blueprints for fascism hope to consolidate different government agencies which have previously fought each other. States like NY and NJ are creating local task forces to overcome past federal-state antagonisms. The NJ agency can make rules and meet in secret, and force compliance with all its demands for information related to "domestic security preparedness."

Communists in PLP must organize the international working class to fight these horrors. Only capitalism would cynically use the mass murder of thousands in the U.S. to justify killing millions more in a war for oil; would feed mass fear to build a vicious police state. Only communist revolution will destroy the warmakers, whose thirst for maximum profits can mean nothing but devastation for our class.

Giuliani Dump Firefighters for Real Estate Profiteers

NEW YORK CITY, Nov. 8 — "The mayor loves us only when we’re dead," declared a Brooklyn ladder company firefighter, reacting to Mayor Giuliani’s decision to stop looking for the remains of the dead still lying in the debris at the site of the World Trade Center "because it was too dangerous."

The hypocrisy of capitalism knows no bounds. After weeks of proclaiming the firefighters as heroes, now that the bosses’ profits depend on starting redevelopment as soon as possible, it’s time to dump the heroes (and hire day laborers under the most exploitative conditions to finish the job — see below). Only a society based on production for need —communism—instead of profits of a few bosses can end this kind of hypocrisy and exploitation.

So the firefighters were bitter at Giuliani’s decision to slash their workforce there from 180 to 24. "Yesterday they were heroes, today they’re going to be landfill," commented one firefighter, referring to the removal of the debris, filled with the bodies of 253 firefighters which have still not been recovered of the 343 who died in the September 11 attacks.

They pinpointed the reason for Giuliani’s decision: the city’s financial and real estate interests want to speed up the removal of the debris in order to begin the redevelopment of the site. Capitalism triumphs again. "They get worried about safety only when it serves their interests," said the Brooklyn ladder company firefighter. "They didn’t worry about it on September 11 or in the weeks after."

The situation was highlighted when 1,000 firefighters refused to follow their union leaders’ call to disperse at a Nov. 2 City Hall rally. "They got their gold," many shouted, referring to the removal of tons of gold bricks stored in basement vaults. They charged that recovery of these assets was the city’s main aim, and to hell with safety and finding the remains of the 253 dead firemen. "The mayor sends us out in fire trucks and now wants to take us out in dump trucks," said one.

They began shouting "Shut it down!" and surged southward towards Ground Zero. They broke through police barricades and marched onto the World Trade Center site, chanting "bring the brothers home." Fistfights broke out between the marchers and Giuliani’s "hero" cops, who arrested a dozen protesters, holding some incommunicado into the night. The heroes who Giuliani was building his reputation on were initially charged with inciting to riot, trespass and other criminal acts. Later all charges were dropped, except for one firefighter.

Ironworkers, construction workers and operating engineers stopped work with their heavy machinery and equipment and joined the protest. Afterwards hundreds marched back to City Hall shouting, "Rudy must go!"

One former firefighter compared Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen (who left his job as union president to become the Commissioner) to a stoolpigeon. "Tell everyone Von Essen is the Fire Department’s Gyp Nolan," said Tommy Gates, referring to the 1930s film, The Informer, in which an IRA member became an informer for the British. (Newsday, 11/6) The head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association labeled Giuliani a "fascist."

In recent years a four-hour slide show dealing with terrorist incidents was given to firefighters, which explained little more than telling them that the first fire companies arriving at a disaster were expected to die.

Now 4,000 firefighters are suffering with chronic coughs and other lung conditions, labeled "World Trade Center Syndrome." They’ve received hardly anything more than dust masks while the cops get filtered respirators. A consultant for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences said, "It’s the worst site I’ve ever seen, extremely hazardous."

An Environmental Protection Agency report said the toxic chemicals and metals in the air and soil pose long-term risks for hundreds of workers at the site, including leukemia and bone marrow damage.

Super-Exploitation at Ground Zero

Meanwhile, the capitalist profit motive has reared its head even more intensely in the shape-up hiring of day laborers at $7.50 an hour. They don’t want to pay regular asbestos workers $18 to $22 an hour. "This is another way of exploiting workers," said one laborer. These workers hired to clean up and remove debris are on the job up to 12 hours a day, with no overtime pay and without the most basic safety gear. They had to ask the Red Cross for dust masks and then got the cheapest 99˘ variety.

The ruling class that oppresses workers here for the greater glory of maximum profits is the very same class that has launched a war killing Afghani workers and plans to expand it to control the oil and gas reserves and supply lines from the Middle East to the China Sea. It’s the job of the international working class to strangle that imperialist beast so it can exploit no more.

Democratic ‘Hawks’ Say: ‘Prepare for American body bags…’

The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 9]

WASHINGTON — Several…Democratic presidential contenders…are urging President Bush to intensify and expand the war….

Sens. Joseph Lieberman of Conn., John Kerry of Mass. and Joseph Biden of Delaware…have taken positions more hawkish than the president. On issues from the use of ground troops in Afghanistan to the targeting of Iraq…. Lieberman and Kerry in particular have echoed conservative activists pressing Bush to pursue the war more aggressively.

"…Lieberman and…Kerry have been closer to us than parts of the Bush administration," said conservative strategist William Kristol, a leader among Republican hawks….

The other leading Democrats — including former Vice-President Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri — have supported Bush’s decisions…without reservations….

Biden…told the [Rockefeller] Council on Foreign Relations…."I think the American public is prepared, and the president must continue to remind them to be prepared, for American body bags coming home…."

Lieberman…has been…insistent…in arguing that the U.S. must target Iraq as part of the war…— whether or not it is directly implicated in the Sept. 11 airline highjackings or the subsequent anthrax attack….

Workers Must Swing Away At Rulers’ Liberal Curve Ball

In baseball, the pitch that dips or breaks unexpectedly is much harder to hit than the straight one. In politics, the sweet-talking enemy disguised as a friend is far more deadly than the one who wears a sign saying "Bad Guy." As the rulers’ oil war widens beyond Afghanistan and they develop their plan for a police state on the home front, workers need more than ever to avoid the traps set by liberal politicians, who pose as our allies but slit our throats. Hundreds of millions of lives and the future of humanity depend on our ability to absorb and act on this lesson.

Workers must never choose sides among bosses or line up behind any of their politicians. Our ability to build a movement that can turn the horrors of imperialist war and fascism into the fight for a decent society depends on our recognition of all our class enemies and our reliance on ourselves to win. Our goal remains communist revolution. Our organization is the Progressive Labor Party. Our friends are our fellow workers, students, teachers and soldiers. Our enemies are all the bosses and their agents. No exceptions.

Despite the support Bush continues to enjoy in the wake of September 11, many people understand that this racist and his sidekicks, Vice-President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Treasury Secretary O’Neill and Attorney General Ashcroft are no friends of the working class. Their "national unity" act is wearing thin, as every day brings fresh revelations about Bush’s attempts to reward his campaign backers with profit windfalls from the "anti-terrorism" business. Billion-dollar payoffs to the drug companies and the private airline security rent-a-cop companies are just two examples.

To prepare our class for the immense battles that lie ahead we need to see through the murderous schemes being carried out against us under our noses by the liberals, Democrats and Republicans alike.

The first is their oil war disguised as a "crusade against terror." Because Bush is president, he appears as the main "crusader." But the groundwork for the oil wars of the recent past and the present was laid by liberal Democrat Jimmy Carter, who in 1980 announced a doctrine bearing his name: "An attempt by any outside forces to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

The "Carter Doctrine" led to Bush, Sr.’s. 1991 oil war in Iraq. Months before announcing U.S. imperialism’s determination to control Gulf oil at all costs, Carter heeded his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and cynically provoked the former Soviet Union into a bloody war in Afghanistan. The U.S.-backed anti-communist forces in that war included Osama bin Laden—the demon the bosses now love to hate—as well as thousands of Islamic fundamentalists who are now fighting—as the Taliban— against the U.S. in Afghanistan. These forces also want to replace Exxon Mobil’s chokehold on the Saudi oil prize. So the liberal Carter and his entourage were directly responsible for the process that has led to the present bloodshed and will lead to much more.

Continuing the oil war by other means, the liberal Democrat Clinton’s sanctions policy murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in his eight-year tenure, terrorized the former Yugoslavia from the air to secure Balkan energy pipelines and attacked workers from Haiti to Somalia and Afghanistan for various tactical goals.

As CHALLENGE reported (11/14), Bush now faces pressure from the Republican "right-wing" to widen the Afghanistan war into Iraq immediately. The Democrats and liberal Republicans like Secretary of State Powell are speaking with the "voice of reason" against this move. But the debate is purely tactical. The "get-Iraq-now" gang is a dirty alliance of domestic oil bosses, whose profits are being hurt by cheap Iraqi crude coming onto the U.S. market, and arms manufacturers who see a chance to grab some quick profits. The Democrats and Powell have a "better idea."

They speak for the main Rockefeller Exxon Mobil wing of U.S. rulers. They don’t disagree about forcing Saddam Hussein out of the picture and setting up a pro-U.S. oil puppet government in Iraq. They also know that the biggest prize of all, Saudi Arabian oil, is facing a serious threat from within, and that a U.S. occupation of that country may be necessary. These liberals believe that the time is not yet ripe for an invasion to seize Persian Gulf oilfields.

Crucial for workers is to avoid falling for the lie that Powell and the Democrats represent an "anti-war" faction of the ruling class. In fact the opposite is the case. Exxon Mobil’s liberal representatives are planning to lead us eventually into the widest, most destructive war in history. On occasion, they will let the truth leak out. The liberal Democrat Joe Lieberman, Gore’s Vice-Presidential candidate in 2000, demanded a "phase two" response to September 11, "stopping short of calling for an immediate strike on Iraq," but nonetheless warning: "As long as Saddam is there...Iraq is going to be a threat to our lives" (Associated Press, 10/16).

On the home front, Bush just signed an "anti-terrorism" law that is really a blueprint for a police state. The bosses’ government will now be able to define as "terrorist" activity any form of militant organizing against it. The disguise is the promise to protect us against repetitions of September 11 and against "bioterrorism." The reality is the rulers’ growing need to govern with mass terror, as conditions sharpen and U.S. imperialism requires more cannon fodder for its oil wars and complete political obedience from the working class. Of course, this blueprint for fascism has been wrapped in the red-white-and-blue and heralded as a measure necessary for the preservation of "democracy."

The liberals play a crucial role in pitching this curve ball. They’re doing so in three ways:

First, the liberal Clinton White House, in addition to paving the way for the present war, also greased the skids for today’s "iron heel" measures. Clinton ended welfare and replaced it with the slave labor "Workfare" scheme. Clinton hired 100,000 more racist cops to terrorize working-class communities. He beefed up border patrols and took other measures to brutalize immigrant workers, thereby preparing the conditions for Ashcroft’s present summary jailing without charges of over 1,000 Arabs. So Clinton in many ways gave the rulers the straitjacket they’re now outfitting for all of us.

Second, the liberals helped Bush write and pass the legislation that legalizes fascism. The law is called the "Patriot Act". When it was still a bill, it was named after Wisconsin Republican representative James Sensenbrenner and liberal Michigan Democrat John Conyers. Conyers, who is black, has made a career of helping the bosses implement their most racist policies. His contributions hark back to avid support for the Vietnam War. The "Patriot Law" he just co-authored "lays the foundation for a domestic intelligence-gathering system of unprecedented scale" (Washington Post, 11/4). It will enable the rulers to brand anyone who disagrees with them or organizes against them as a "terrorist" and will centralize and further militarize every policing function of the state apparatus, from the FBI and CIA all the way to the Treasury Department. Liberal politicians head the cheerleading squad. House Democratic majority leader Gephardt and the rest of his buddies want to authorize billions of additional dollars beyond the $40 billion already spent to hire FBI agents, Customs agents and Border Patrol cops. Florida Democrat Bob Graham, chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, praised the Patriot Act as "long overdue" (Washington Post).

Third, some of the police-state liberals are also hypocritically parading as guardians of "freedom," warning that things mustn’t go too far. One such is Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who served as Senate negotiator of the Conyers-Sensenbrenner bill, all the while "agonizing" about the possibility that the new presidential powers it provides "could be used to violate civil liberties" (Washington Post). But never fear: to ease his conscience after getting the bill passed, Leahy will crusade for the Justice Department to "consult" with his Senate Judiciary Committee while the government jails and tortures workers.

The liberal New York Times (11/10) has also added its own editorial "tsk, tsk," calling on the White House to "step in" and make sure the Justice Department can "investigate domestic attacks while respecting the basic rights that we are in this war to preserve."

The imperialists have learned their lesson from Hitler, whose biggest slave labor camp had on its gates the grotesque slogan "Work Makes You Free." Today, the main wing of U.S. bosses wants us to fall for similar lies while lining up for a bloodbath and cheering for the vise they’re clamping around our necks. Our class’s road away from the horrors of oil war and fascism begins by rejecting the liberals’ Big Lies. Only the communist analysis and leadership of the Progressive Labor Party can get this crucial job done.

Who’s the Terrorist Who Blew Up Flight 587?

Answer: American Airlines CEO

NEW YORK CITY, Nov. 14 — "I believe that a terrorist blew up the American Airlines plane bound for Santo Domingo. They just don’t want to admit it because then nobody will fly and the airlines will sink completely," a PLP member’s friend told him.

"You’re partially right," the PL’er responded. It was a terrorist act, but one the government won’t go after. It was caused by the greed for maximum profits by the big terrorist, American Airlines. Why doesn’t the new Homeland Security Agency arrest the CEO of AA in Dallas?"

The Airbus 300 plane exploded right after leaving Kennedy airport, killing the 260 passengers and crew members. Up to nine people are missing in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of the Rockaways where burning sections of the plane fell. The second engine of the plane was due for a major overhaul. Engines are supposed to get major overhauls after 10,000 hours of use. This one had 9,700 hours.

Since 1990, the Federal Aviation Administration has recorded at least 37 accidents or incidents for the Airbus 300 series. The plane’s GE engines had a history of problems. Since 1988, the Airbus has returned to airports three times because of smoke in the cockpits.

The lives of the passengers, most of them Dominican workers visiting relatives on the island, including a couple that survived the World Trade Center attack, the flight crew and residents of Belle Harbor, were all sacrificed on the altar of corporate maximum profits. That’s capitalism!

Anti-War Group Forms at Montclair State University

MONTCLAIR, NJ, Nov. 11 — Montclair State University students formed an anti-war group a month ago, with the help of a faculty member who was active in the anti-Vietnam War movement. Thirty students came to the first meeting. There have been four more since. "Students Against the War" sponsored an anti-war forum last week, attended by about 40 students and several faculty and staff.

The anti-war students represent several different viewpoints, from pacifist (against all war), to liberal anti-war, to various kinds of Marxist and communist viewpoints. PLP’s view is representative. At a meeting of a smaller group today, four of the five students were reading CHALLENGE shortly after the meeting began.

A number of students say they are "anti-capitalist." Capitalism is certainly the cause of the war but there is confusion, and some disagreement, over what "anti-capitalism" means. PL’ers are struggling to show that the war is an imperialist one, over oil, a point on which most anti-war students seem to agree. But PL’ers must struggle harder to show that imperialism is essential to capitalism, and can’t be "reformed" out of capitalism.

Some students are anti-communist, based on anti-communist lies from the educational system and mass media, the old phony "communist" movement in Eastern Europe and the USSR since World War 2 and Trotskyist lies about Stalin. But in general they are very open, and we PL’ers must be more open to them!

Ten to twelve CHALLENGES are being distributed weekly, a big increase since before 9/11. Two students are coming to a PL study group. We’re working to create a study group on campus too.

Most students at Montclair commute, so meetings are difficult to schedule and planning is even more necessary. Organizing by phone and in person, often one on one, has proven much more effective than reliance on e-mail, which not everyone checks regularly. E-mail has been useful for distributing articles, including CHALLENGE articles, to the wider readership of 40-50 students who have joined the local anti-war mailing list.

We need more, and more militant activities: another teach-in, and a march. We’re planning a general open letter or petition against the war, another forum and a film showing later this week.

Most important is to build both study groups and recruit some new members to PLP, so we can win yet others to the only solution that will work for the working class and the human race: a communist society. Revolution is the only way to achieve that goal. We must do much more education by spreading CHALLENGE among even more students and faculty.

Big Oil Barons Show Enron Who Is Boss

Remember the California "energy crisis" earlier in the year? Workers there paid through the nose for the windfall profits of the Enron Corporation, the largest U.S. buyer and marketer of natural gas. But Enron’s gouging of the California market was also viewed as a double-cross by the main energy bosses of the Eastern Establishment. Enron is now paying the price for showing no honor among thieves. It’s just been gobbled up by an Eastern Establishment firm.

Workers should care less who wins squabbles between big bosses. However, studying these fights is important to understand the class forces at work and learn how our side can take advantage.

The Enron case parallels the main rulers’ strong-arm political tactics at home and widening oil war abroad. It proves their aim is to squash all opposition to their agenda for world domination. Briefly, here’s what happened.

Control of Enron had been split for the past few years between the Eastern Establishment and Texans, like its Chairman, Kenneth Lay, who was Bush’s biggest 2000 presidential campaign contributor. When Bush stole the election with Enron’ s help, Lay and his buddies figured they were entitled to a payoff. Bush tried to repay this debt by using the presidency to give Enron a big "emergency tax stimulus" rebate. But Enron wanted more, so it jacked up its prices in California. But the Rockefeller Standard Oil California gang couldn’t tolerate this attempt to take over West Coast pricing by a company it didn’t fully control. So they mounted a counter-attack.

It took two forms. The first was the direct use of state power. Enron became the subject of an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission, a government agency traditionally loyal to the Eastern Establishment, for insider dealings that wiped out $1.6 billion in shareholder equity. This attack shattered shareholder confidence. The price of shares nose-dived, setting the stage for the second phase, the takeover.

With Enron’ s value down, a company called Dynegy stepped in and bought it. Chevron of the Rockefeller wing owns 27% of Dynegy and Fidelity, an old-line Boston mutual fund company, owns 7%. The takeover involves a cash infusion of $2.5 billion directly from Chevron.

The main rulers’ power grab of Enron signals their resolve to end the days of power sharing with forces they don’t trust who engineer rip-offs behind their backs. The largest single stockholder in Enron is the New York Belfer family, which has long owned gas fields in partnership with the old money Cabot family of Boston. The Cabots and Belfers merged these holdings with Enron. Endowments from these two families have transformed Harvard’s Kennedy School into an important foreign policy "think tank" with a focus on energy. The Belfer Center at the Kennedy School runs a Caspian Studies program funded by Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

The Lay wing of Enron had an interest in keeping cheaper supplies of energy, such as Iraqi crude, off the U.S. market. This isn’t the Exxon Mobil and Chevron agenda. As CHALLENGE has reported, these main oil barons are marketing Iraqi oil on both coasts of the United States and intend to exert "full spectrum dominance" over all the world’s cheapest, most plentiful energy supplies. This is the principal purpose of the so-called "war against terror" in Afghanistan.

Enron’s takeover by the Exxon Mobil-Chevron-Eastern banking wing is an excellent object lesson for workers in the class nature and use of government under the profit system. The government serves the bosses. The bigger the boss, the more compliant the state apparatus. In its first year, the Bush White House has shown divided loyalties between the main wing and Enron-type pretenders. This takeover is one sign among many that the Eastern Establishment means to grab state power by the jugular and wield it to discipline all of society. Our class must have no illusions about who’s in charge or about the need to build a movement that can smash all the rulers and their centers of power.

PLP Indicts Imperialism As Cause of War

BERKELEY, CA—About 500 people from the western U.S. attended the California Schools Against War (CSAW) conference held over the November 10th weekend. PLP students’ and friends’ goal was to introduce revolutionary politics and plans for action and build closer ties to others there.

One opening speaker said "You" — meaning the students AND the U.S. government—"bombed Afghanistan." Nothing about a war of inter-imperialist rivalry and little blaming of capitalism. In the panels and workshops, we explained this was an imperialist war for control of oil, rooted in capitalism’s contradictions.

Little time was allotted for questions or comments in the panels and workshops. The conference leadership clearly was not interested in what people thought.

The PLP-led workshop entitled, "Hart/Rudman Report –Building a Police State" (omitted from the conference schedule "by accident") fought this trend. Thirty attended. We showed how fascism was not planned by one "madman" but by a ruling class bent on imperialist war for oil profits, saying fascism must be defeated by communism. People feared that their own organizing activities could be defined as "terrorism" in the newly-passed Patriot Act. Distributing Party literature and one-on-one conversations produced a contact list.

The next day delegates met to decide the coalition’s future but discussions were limited. Delegates were frustrated, trying to speak but never called on. One delegate rose to say, "I may be out of order, but this process is not democratic at all!" A PLP member said seriousness was needed and therefore we should eliminate "time restraints." When he said, "This is an imperialist war," he was applauded. The moderator halted discussion over this issue and time restraints stayed.

Finally a delegate announced a meeting outside for all those who were unhappy with the proceedings. Around 60 of the 160 total delegates walked outside and started discussing the problems. PLP members said the leadership had no confidence that the masses could understand politics. They see any debate as divisive, and don’t want the war traced to the ruling class. The fact that 60 people organized a dissent group shows there was a clear desire among a majority of delegates to have political discussion. The "moderators" systematically denied that desire. PLP members struggled with many to stay at the conference and fight the leadership’s splitting tactics. After agreeing on a list of improvements, the dissenters returned and presented them to the meeting. An alternative e-mail list was created for those unhappy with the process.

The Southern California Coalition Against the War resolution to organize campus campaigns against war research, racist and pro-war ideology and ROTC, was raised at the conference. The resolution also stated the need to create teach-ins about imperialism and oil. The leadership refused discussion on the resolution, but many students liked it. The leadership pushed formation of a national "coordinating committee" that would make decisions for the student anti-war movement. We said we all needed political discussion of imperialism and about actions to be taken so people would be truly won to doing them.

Some people from the dissenting group talked candidly over dinner about what had happened. PLP members will fight alongside our fellow students to implement the resolution of the Southern California Schools Against the War and help build a bigger anti-war coalition which fights imperialism and racism on the campuses. That could change the nature of future events.

We drew closer to our friends throughout the weekend and heard many positive comments about PLP. We sold about 100 CHALLENGES and distributed many PLP leaflets exposing the universities as centers of racist ideology and pro-war research.

PL Forum Links Universities To Pro-War Program

BOSTON, MA, Nov. 11 — PLP members and friends participated in the regional college conference against war and racism. Over 300 students and workers from 40 colleges attended the panels and workshops the first day.

PLP organized two workshops, one on Mideast/Caspian Sea oil and the war in Afghanistan and another on patriotism/nationalism and the war. Seventy attended the workshop on oil. PLP members gave presentations on capitalism and its drive to maximize profits, which lead to imperialism and war, and explained the importance of Mideast oil (especially Saudi oil) and Caspian Sea oil in prompting the war in Afghanistan. Copies of recent CHALLENGES articles on the topic were distributed to everyone.

During the patriotism/nationalism workshop, one panelist related the importance of Mideast oil to this war. A former Students for a Democratic Society member stressed the importance of building worker/student unity to oppose imperialist war and the universities’ connection to war. He recalled fighting against the universities’ pro-war and racist ideology and opposing ROTC/CIA recruiters and military research on campus during the Vietnam War.

Saturday evening PLP organized a discussion on a communist alternative to war and capitalism; the difference between socialism and communism; how to end war; what revolution means; why capitalism breeds war; the importance of oil; and the need to sharpen the struggle at our colleges.

On Sunday about 110 delegates discussed the future of the northeast campus anti-war coalition. However, the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and some other students were determined to run the meeting bureaucratically, stifling real political discussion of anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist views. It became clear to many that the ISO is not interested in building collectivity but instead in grabbing power. This bureaucratic maneuvering stems from their opportunistic politics: they blame only Bush for the war and won’t discuss the underlying reasons for it or plan campaigns against it. Their outlook ends up supporting the Democratic Party.

As the war drags on, more students are opposing it. As communists in PLP, we must be in this movement, fighting for a real revolutionary communist answer to imperialist war and capitalism. We must lead the fight against the Universities’ support for military research, ROTC and racist ideology.

Many battles lie ahead. As part of these battles we must indicate that unless we destroy capitalism with communist revolution, there will only be endless wars.

Anti-War Sentiment Grows at University of Washington

Today 200 people rallied against the war on the University of Washington campus. Several speakers revealed the history of, and reasons for, U.S. government attacks on the people of the Middle East. One reported how the CIA trained Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviet Union. Another spoke about U.S. sanctions on Iraq. I explained the main reason for U.S. expenditures of money and effort in the Middle East is to control the worldwide supply of oil. Some applauded while many others nodded in agreement

I also noted a resolution being debated on the floor of our student senate that says students here support the U.S. government’s "war on terrorism." Many people opposed it in committee, including students in the Black Student Union, MECHA and the University Coalition Against the War. Instead, an alternative resolution was drafted resolving that the students not support the U.S. actions. Upon hearing this, four senators asked me to put their names on as co-sponsors. Even more people are expected to support this one in committee.

Many members of a study group I’m forming on campus attended this rally and have become more committed to coming to the study group and campus activities.

We also distributed about 50 CHALLENGES. Lots of people approached me asking for a paper and to agree with what I said. There’s a lot of potential on campus and much work to do.

Although this was a step in the right direction, more than at any other time we must realize the importance of our ideas and be bolder in these coalitions and while speaking at rallies. People must realize that sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry is causing this war, as a direct result of capitalist economics. Without seeing this, people will not completely understand our idea that the only way to stop war is to have a revolution for communism.µ

—A U. Wash Comrade

Racism Elected NY Mayor Bloomberg

NEW YORK CITY, Nov. 7 — "You know who I voted for?" asked my friend. "Green," I responded, knowing well that he, like many Latin and black workers, usually vote Democrat, no matter how bad they are.

"No, I voted for Bloomberg," he responded. I wasn’t really that surprised. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, a Republican, will become New York City’s next mayor, basically because the liberal Democratic candidate Mark Green blew it.

All the political pundits are saying Bloomberg won because he spent $50 million in ads and got current Mayor Giuliani’s endorsement. Since Sept. 11, the media has turned Giuliani into a national hero. Until then he was the most hated mayor in recent history among black and Latin workers. But the real reason Green lost and Bloomberg won was racism. Despite all the claims by the bosses and their media that, after 9/11, New Yorkers became "more united than ever," the fact is racism is still king in this city.

Black and Latin politicians did very little to turn out the vote for Green because Green’s people waged a racist campaign in Brooklyn during the primary runoff between him and Fernando Ferrer. They spread racism among white voters, saying that if Ferrer won, Al Sharpton would become Police commissioner. (Sharpton led a series of protests against police brutality when African immigrant Amadou Diallo was shot 41 times by the cops in the Bronx.) Green refused to fire the campaign workers involved.

So Roberto Ramírez, head of the Bronx Democratic Party political machine, refused to get out the Latino vote for Green. The night before the election, Sharpton basically called for people to vote for Bloomberg. Many black and Latino workers either voted for Bloomberg or sat out the election.

What’s next? Bloomberg’s main job as Mayor will be to impose draconian measures against city workers and workers in general, to make them pay for the economic crisis which NYC faces (worsened by 9/11). Bloomberg knows he needs Democratic support. Immediately after winning the election, Bloomberg met with Weingarten (head of the Teachers’ Union), Saunders (head of District Council 37’s city workers union) and with Ferrer and Sharpton. He must ensure these bosses’ lieutenants follow the rulers’ plan to "rebuild NYC" (meaning workers will pay for it). This will increase racist attacks against black and Latin workers. That’s the real purpose of the bosses’ electoral system.

Nearly 900,000 U.S. jobs have disappeared since March, nearly half since October alone. Workers’ wages fell. Bosses and union leaders blame the layoffs, wage cuts and impending service cuts on the World Trade Center attack. Yet New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote (9/30), "the economic repercussions from the World Trade Center, unnerving as they are, would soon fade out if the economy had been strong to begin with….even before the attack, our economic condition was looking unusually precarious."

Japan, the U.S. and Europe are all in an economic downturn, simultaneously for the first time in 20 years. Argentina is in a sharp crisis, with devaluation inevitable and default probable. Meanwhile, U.S. politicians are doing their patriotic duty by bailing out the corporations, while screwing the unemployed. Health benefits for retired workers are "expendable" but corporate debts must be honored!

The rate of profit has dropped from 13% in 1997 to 8% now. In the 3rd quarter of this year U.S. corporate profits were 25% lower than last year’s 3rd quarter. Overproduction has spread from the high tech industry to steel, auto and aerospace. The bosses "solution" is more layoffs and sharper competition to destroy their rivals, meaning misery and death for workers here and worldwide.

The New York Times (11/11) says, "The problem is that when the world’s pie is not growing, debates over dividing it become fiercer." These "debates" lead to more wars and eventually world wars over control of resources and markets.

Capitalist exploitation and competition for profit inevitably produces consolidation, overproduction, layoffs and war. Workers can’t have any "patriotic" unity with these bosses or their politician/union leader henchmen who are the very ones attacking us! Never has the slogan "Workers of the World, Unite!" been more important.

Crisis Won’t Sink the System—That Requires Workers’ Revolution

The day before the attack on the World Trade Center, the U.S. found itself economically and politically more isolated than it had been for over a decade. It had walked out of the UN Conference on racism, refused to sign on to the Kyoto agreement on global warming and turned its back on agreements outlawing the use of landmines and child soldiers.

In an August article, the British magazine The Economist had written: "If one assumes that growth in the second quarter was close to zero in America and the euro area and that Japan contracted sharply, the …rich economies will have contracted for the first time since late 1990. But, unlike 1990, a growing number of emerging economies are also sliding into recession."

Like others, the Economist sees four negative forces at work.

First, the bursting of the hi-tech bubble. Secondly, since early last year stocks fell 28% worldwide, wiping out $10 trillion worth of stock value. (Millions of workers whose pension plans were invested in these stocks took a major hit.) Third, last year’s slump in energy prices reduced profits in oil-producing countries. And, finally, the spillover from the U.S. downturn. The Economist pointed out that the U.S. "accounted for two-fifths of the world’s GDP [Gross Domestic Product] growth over the past five years….That dependence left the world more vulnerable to an American slump."

The article offers two signs of hope. First, the continual cuts in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Banks to stimulate the bosses’ economy. Secondly, the oil price drop.

Both signs present problems, but the drop in oil prices is especially dangerous since it means a decline in oil revenues. That is already a shaky proposition for the stability of the main U.S. ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. "Accustomed to an annual income of over $100 billion, the Saudi government can’t cope with anything less….The yearly per capita income plummeted to $6,000 in 1993, compared with $14,600 in 1982. Jobs are so scarce that unemployment among new university graduates is over 25%. Its lateness in paying foreign workers has led to sit-down strikes in Jeddah, Qassim and the Easter province." ("The House of Saud," Said Aburish, 1996) These conditions have only worsened since then and are fertile ground for political unrest.

The drop in oil prices also makes the more expensive, lower quality oil fields in other parts of the world increasingly marginal economically. This combined with the general crisis of overproduction — from oil, to steel, to autos to computer chips — means that whichever imperialist power controls the Middle East and Caspian Sea oil production, will in fact, dominate the world’s economies. The current economic downturn will likely sharpen the rivalry among the major imperialist powers for control of that most valuable of all raw materials, oil.

All these contradictions, however, in and of themselves will not sink the system by itself. The only thing that capitalism cannot survive is the working class organized into a mass communist party to make revolution. Presently U.S. rulers have a large measure of unity behind their policies, which can’t be dismissed. Secondly, they are still the world’s number one imperialist power and can export a lot of misery, which they are certainly doing now in Afghanistan. Finally, U.S. workers are not mobilized to oppose the rulers’ fascism and thus far, for the most part, have not fought the bosses’ "sacrifice-for-the-war-effort" ploy. It is up to our Party and our class to take advantage of the bosses’ dilemmas, heat things up and take the offensive. Joining and building PLP is the prerequisite for this to occur.

French Workers Strike

PARIS, Nov. 12 — Workers sitting in at a bankrupt Moulinex microwave plant in western France are threatening to blow the place up unless the company agrees to give $11,000 extra severance pay to each of 1,300 workers scheduled for termination. They have already set fire to one plant. The signs read, "Either the money or Kaboom"; and "Shutdown."


Workers of the World, Write!

Gov’t Is Biggest Terrorist in Chile

Chile’s rulers have used the September 11 attacks to impose more police state measures on the working class. Soledad Alvear, foreign minister of Chile, has asked Congress here to approve Bush’s call to "fight international terrorism." At the same, Socialist President Lagos has called for the formation of a new intelligence agency to protect the "national interest."

The role played by Pinochet’s intelligence agencies (CNI and DINA) is still remembered by the working class of Chile and of many other countries in the region. They helped murder, torture and persecute thousands of workers and students opposed to the Pinochet-Kissinger-AT&T 1973 fascist coup. They also coordinated "Operation Condor" with the CIA, carrying out assassinations internationally, including the killing of exiled Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C. Letelier was a major liberal opponent of Pinochet. It was the first major terrorist act carried out by a foreign body in the U.S., long before Sept. 11.

Amid plans for the new repressive police agency, the government is already set to attack workers. Recently, 100 cops manufactured an "anti-drug" operation, viciously raiding La Legua, a poor neighborhood in Santiago. Instead of providing jobs, the rulers use their cops to jail working class youth with the lame cover of going after a few drug dealers.

This raid is seen by many as the first of many more to come to stop workers from fighting back. Already, the official unemployment rate has reached 15% in Santiago and 10% nationwide.

So when the bosses talk about protecting the "national interests," they mean attacking workers.

A Comrade, Chile

Job Cuts Hit LA Garment Workers

I’m a Los Angeles garment worker who’s just been attacked once more by racist, criminal unemployment. My factory had 120 workers. Now that’s been cut in half. In what turned out to be our last day, the supervisor said, "There’s no work." Then the boss told us, "Those who can collect unemployment insurance should go." But one needs to be a legal resident to qualify. If not, you get nothing.

These are daily experiences in many garment factories. Although the economic crisis of unemployment and low wages has existed for eight years, after September 11 unemployment has risen sharply, leaving thousands more in greater poverty.

Our current plan is to organize with other laid-off workers in community groups and churches for aid, including food and rent money, especially for single mothers, who’ve been hit the hardest.

Garment workers problems have several causes. First, there’s the economic crisis confronting worldwide capitalism. Another factor is racism — the majority are immigrants, many undocumented. Most garment factories don’t even pay the minimum wage, despite working eight hours or more and subjected to speed-up and harassment. The bosses’ drive for maximum profits, their need to beat out the competition for markets, drives the speed-up.

These signify a system in crisis, willingly sacrificing the working class in order to maintain power. We must not allow these conditions to demoralize us. We’re determined to have confidence in our ço-workers to fight these attacks and to lead our class on the road to communist revolution. Everything depends on what we do now.

During my years in this factory, I’ve made many friends. Some are regular CHALLENGE readers. During breaks we discussed political ideas. We fought together against slashing piece rates. We will maintain ties with these workers so they can continue to read and distribute CHALLENGE to other workers and build the long-term fight against this profit-hungry system.

Costurero Rojo

Banks Win, Workers Lose

While newspapers report that workers’ consumption of meat in Mexico has declined 20%, consumption of tortillas is down 10% and tens of thousands are losing their jobs because of the capitalist crisis, not everyone is suffering. Although 5,000 bank workers have been laid off, the profits of five leading banks there have soared.

Under capitalism the rich get richer and the poor poorer, and fewer and fewer bosses control the wealth of each country and of the world. Bank workers are being fired as big banks swallow smaller ones (e.g., Citibank recently absorbed Banamex, Mexico’s largest bank; big Spanish banks are taking over local banks).

The government has cut social services for workers and their families but the banks have been getting a great deal from the rulers. Mexico’s government has paid the big banks regularly the high interests charged for helping bail out the savings institutions going bankrupt after the big peso devaluation in 1994. As Marx said, the state is a loyal servant of the capitalist class.

President Fox, the first in 60 years not from the old PRI Party, naturally, continues to favor the big banks. Fox, Bush’s buddy, came to power promising big changes. Now, because of the world economic crisis, mass layoffs are making life even more miserable for the workers here.

The lesson is that workers should never trust any politician: they all serve the bosses, not the workers.

A Comrade

Huber über Alles

CHALLENGE has correctly warned workers throughout the world not to choose sides when bosses fight each other. We should organize to get rid of all the bosses. While U.S. imperialism continues in its Nazi tradition of "collateral damage," murdering civilians with its terror bombings of Afghanistan, the Nazi connection also includes the bin Laden group.

Ahmed Huber, a Swiss businessman and former journalist who converted to Islam, is on the Bush’s administration list of financiers of the Al Qaeda-bin Laden group. Who is this guy? Herr Huber is well known in Switzerland and Germany as a person who has tried to forge links between Islamic fundamentalists and neo-Nazi groups. He’s also a member of the group which claims the Holocaust never happened. He has been a regular speaker at NPD rallies (Germany main neo-Nazi outfit).

What unites Herr Huber with the Islamic movement? Millionaires from the Moslem world are backers of his Nada Management, a financial services and consultant firm.

Indeed, if workers should side with Nazis aspiring to replace the U.S. bosses as the ruling Nazis of the world, we lose.

A Teo