CHALLENGE, June 19, 2002

Bosses’ Oil Wars Spill Tons of Workers’ Blood

India-Pakistan Nuclear Brinkmanship Spawned by War ‘Against Terror’

War Against ‘Terror’ Is Fight for Control of the World

Liberal Democrats Leading Charge to Whack Iraq

Mexico: 10,000 Teachers March, But Bosses’ ‘Democracy’ Won’t Cut It

Los Angeles: Amnesty Marchers Side-tracked Into Electoral Quicksand

Brooklyn: Teachers Support PLP’er Against Racist Red-baiting Union Hack

NJ School ‘Standards,’ Budget Cuts Destroying Youth

War Budget, Enron Plunder Sucks California Schools Dry

NYC: Local 1199 Betrays Homecare Workers

NYC: Rulers Rx for School Problems: Drug the Children

Chicago: Racist Killer Cops Are Bosses’ ‘Insurance’ vs. Rebellion

‘Shakira, Shakira, Sweatshop Diva!’

Memoirs of a World War 2 Vet: Bush Insults the Millions Who Died Fighting The Nazis

Capitalism’s Inherent Thievery Spinning Out of Control

Apartheid: South Africa? Or Long Island?


Fascist Bureau of Intimidation

Gould Exposed ‘Scientific Racism’

Bush on Cuba: ‘Free Elections’ Florida Style

Capitalism Fattens Itself and Us, Too

Colombia: Bosses’ Elections a Bad Brew for Workers

Racism Defines A Society

Liberals Lead Drive to Whack Iraq

Bosses’ Oil Wars Spill Tons of Workers’ Blood

U.S. rulers will most likely launch another war to seize the oil fields of Iraq. Many obstacles, both internal and external, stand in their way, but the imperialists aim to overcome or disregard them to start this war. The nature of their profit system leaves them no choice.

U.S. bosses intend to rule the world for the foreseeable future. This goal requires that they control the international oil business, particularly the cheapest supply sources. Iraq has the second largest crude oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia. An imperialist who could make a deal for Iraqi oil similar to the arrangement Exxon Mobil and other U.S. firms enjoy in Saudi Arabia could eventually become a rival super-power.

Russian and Chinese bosses both have long-range strategies for unseating the U.S., and Iraqi oil stands at the center of their plans. European bosses want Iraqi oil to further their own ambitions. However, no rival is strong enough to challenge U.S. supremacy head-on. This weakness will persist for the foreseeable future, so U.S. imperialists are determined to exploit their relative superiority now. That’s why U.S. rulers feel they must invade Iraq. The liberal Eastern Establishment figures the stakes are too high not to take the gamble. Millions of workers could die in this new oil war, but the rulers have always happily accepted the working class’s blood as the price to pay in defense of their maximum profits.

The road toward this war hasn’t been smooth for the bosses. They’ve encountered a number of political problems without which they might already have landed troops in Iraq:

•The rulers of other Arab nations fear a U.S. invasion of Iraq will lead to mass uprisings against them, so they refuse to back it.

•The U.S.’s inability to stem the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains an important roadblock. U.S. bosses need their Israeli client as a gunslinger to protect their interests in the Middle East. However, tilting too obviously toward unconditional support for Israel threatens to unleash more nationalist-religious anti-U.S. uprisings in the Arab world. On the other hand, disciplining the Israeli bosses too severely runs the risk of alienating a needed junior partner who specializes in pro-U.S. dirty work.

•The Pakistan-India conflict has confronted the U.S. with another headache. These two rivals are at each other’s throats for a favored middleman position in the rising East Asian economy. To launch its "war against terror" in Afghanistan, the U.S. had to make concessions to Pakistani president Musharraf. The deal didn’t sit too well with Indian rulers. Now that Pakistan has moved troops away from the Afghan border, al Qaeda might mount another attack against pro-U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

•For obvious reasons related to their own oil interests, Russia’s Putin and other European bosses aren’t giving the U.S. a blank check to invade Iraq.

On the home front, U.S. rulers aren’t exactly a juggernaut of efficiency. The much publicized foreign policy rift between Powell’s State Department and Rumsfeld’s Defense department reflects real tactical differences over how, when and with whom to launch the Iraq oil war. Despite Bush’s patriotic West Point graduation mumblings, the "war against terror" hasn’t been chalking up brilliant successes within the U.S. Spearheaded by the New York Times, the liberal politicians and media have led the cry for increasing the speed and effectiveness with which the U.S. moves toward becoming a racist police state. The main whipping-boy is the F.B.I. The Times thunders: "Wary of Risk, Slow to Adapt, F.B.I. Stumbles in Terror War" (6/2).

Persistent "Vietnam Syndrome"—the unwillingness of working class soldiers and sailors to die enthusiastically for U.S. imperialism—worries the bosses. The post-9/11 flag-waving hysteria hasn’t significantly altered military recruiting patterns. The young men and women who "volunteer" for the bosses’ armed forces still come overwhelmingly from the most economically oppressed. A significant faction among the Joint Chiefs of Staff is concerned about the military’s political reliability once casualties start to mount. So we are seeing the ironic spectacle of some fascist generals restraining the war fever of the fascist liberal politicians.

However, these obstacles confronting the U.S. ruling class should not lull us into the illusion that an oil war against Iraq won’t happen relatively soon. Imperialism always leads to war. That’s what we must prepare for. The authoritative voices among U.S. bosses are those of the liberals, like the Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon: "We’re Ready to Fight Iraq…American adversaries should have no doubt about our ability to mount a large-scale military operation, and to do it soon if necessary" (Wall Street Journal, 5/29). The cry among liberals to "go it alone," without allies if necessary, is mounting.

Communist philosophy — dialectical materialism — teaches that ideas are a product of developments in the constantly changing real, external world. Its opposite, philosophical idealism, holds that the real world is a reflection of ideas. U.S. rulers are the biggest idealists of all because they believe their system will endure and that they can sit in the driver’s seat forever. They think social development stops with capitalism, and that they can stop history’s forward march by making war. Therefore they will continue to make war as long as we let them.

They hold the upper hand, for now. But we shouldn’t succumb to appearances. When they launch their oil war, they will give our side an opportunity to grow. We have a long road to travel before our class can challenge them for power, but we can grow, however modestly, under all conditions. Under some conditions, we can grow rapidly and decisively. Imperialism will never lead to anything but war. The only alternative is joining the Progressive Labor Party and engaging in its historic struggle for communist revolution.

India-Pakistan Nuclear Brinkmanship Spawned by War ‘Against Terror’

India and Pakistan have been at war several times since both became independent of Britain after World War II. But now that both countries have nuclear weapons, a new war would be deadlier than all previous wars combined. Under the cover of Hindu and Muslim fundamentalism, the rulers of India and Pakistan are on the brink of nuking millions (esimates run up to 14 million casualties just in the early stages of a nuclear war)..

Actually such a war is partly an extension of — and is linked to — the U.S. attack launched against the Taleban-Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan on Oct. 7. This U.S. imperialist intervention has sharpened all the contradictions in the region.

Ironically the winner of a Pakistani-India war could be Al-Qaeda. According to the strategic intelligence service "…there is mounting evidence that many of the Al-Qaeda militants who fled Afghanistan have regrouped in Pakistan with the aim of destabilizing relations between the two states through a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in India and Kashmir. If so, then concerns that Al-Qaeda could gain access to nuclear weapons may be realized."

Despite repeated claims by the government of General Pervez Musharraf that Pakistani forces have secured the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan (an effort receiving $75 million in U.S. aid), the evidence is clear: both Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces have escaped into Pakistan where very limited efforts have been made to track them down. Intelligence reports indicate that significant numbers have attached themselves to the groups responsible for launching attacks against Indian targets in the disputed region of Indian-administered Kashmir and in India proper.

The two main militant groups bolstered by the fugitives from Afghanistan (many having been trained by Osama bin Laden’s forces) are the Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The former is alleged to have attacked Kashmir’s regional state assembly last October, leaving around 40 people dead. The latter has claimed responsibility for suicide bomb attacks against Indian targets and is calling for jihad or "holy war" to "liberate" all of India from Hindu rule and restore Muslim control. Meanwhile, the Hindu fundamentalist rulers of India aim to destroy Muslim Pakistan.

Despite repeated pledges from Musharraf to crack down these militant groups, Western intelligence experts suggest it would be impossible for them to operate as effectively as they do without some collusion with Pakistan’s notorious ISI (Inter-Service Intelligence agency). The ISI had close links to both the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda. As has been warning for months, the real risk of bin Laden obtaining weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear missiles) comes not from illicit deals with the Russian mafia, but from Al-Qaeda’s close relationship with Pakistan’s military and security services.

Meanwhile, U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan continue to make enemies among the general population, killing civilians and even Afghans on "their side." (U.S. troops killed several pro-U.S. Afghan soldiers near the Bagram air base on May 31.) Now Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a warlord who fought with the CIA against the Soviet army and allies in the 1980s, has called for a jihad against the U.S. and Britain, following the CIA attempt to kill him by launching a missile on his motorcade a few weeks ago. This warlord has much support inside Afghanistan, and is now seeking an alliance with his former foes in the Taliban and Al Qaeda. He’s also supported by Iran and by elements inside the Pakistani intelligence services.

War Against ‘Terror’ Is Fight for Control of the World

So the war against "terrorism" launched by Bush is now turning into unending wars which could lead to millions of casualties. As CHALLENGE has repeatedly noted, capitalism means war, war and more war, particularly in this age of world capitalist crisis. Each capitalist gang masks the real reasons behind these wars, using religion, patriotism, nationalism, etc. The true cause is the need for each set of bosses to reap maximum profits and be the only bully in the ’hood. A major part of the U.S. bosses’ status as the sole superpower lies in controlling the flow and profits of oil (particularly the largest and most profitable oil fields in the Persian Gulf). Without such oil capitalist industries and armies can’t operate, and without control over this oil U.S. imperialism would find it more difficult to squeeze their main rivals into submission. The final blow to the British Empire as the reigning world’s superpower was its loss of control of that region, basically to the U.S., especially after World War II.

Al Qaeda represents capitalist forces which want the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, the entire Middle East and Central Asia. The rulers of India and Pakistan each want to control South Asia and part of Central Asia. Washington’s "war against terrorism" is so full of holes that it’s forced to ally itself with Pakistan, whose missiles were designed by North Korea, labeled by Bush as part of the "axis of evil." Pakistan is also backed by China, which sees the U.S. and India as roadblocks on its own road to rule Asia.

The working class’s answer to this swamp is not through "two, three many jihads" or allying ourselves with one group of imperialists against another. The only way out is building an international communist movement to smash the cause of war — capitalism. Not an easy task, but it’s the only real choice the workers of the world have.

Liberal Democrats Leading Charge to Whack Iraq

[If there’s any doubt that the recent liberal media attack on the FBI/CIA is aimed at fueling an oil war and a police state, read Dick Gephardt’s hard line…,]

WASHINGTON, June 4 (AP dispatch) — House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt is offering support to…use force to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"I share President’s Bush’s resolve to confront this menace head-on," the Missouri Democrat said.

"We should use…military means where we must to eliminate [this] threat…."

"We are fighting a new war and will have to be ready to strike when necessary, not just deter," Gephardt said in the speech to the Council on Foreign Relations. "But on the home front we are moving too slowly to develop a homeland defense plan that is tough enough for this new war…."

He said he would support adding troops to the armed forces, proposed an overhaul of a logistics and supply system that he described as sluggish, and offered to…build support for military modernization.

10,000 Teachers March, But Bosses’ ‘Democracy’ Won’t Cut It

MEXICO CITY, May 30 — After 16 days of a continuous "plantón" (picket line), dissident teachers rallied today to protest the sellout by the leadership of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE).

Led by the CNTE, a group opposing SNTE leaders, over 10,000 marched demanding an increased educational budget and union democratization, while opposing changes in the pension plan. H.S. students and striking Petrochemical workers from Michoacan joined the protest in solidarity. The teachers came mainly from Oaxaca, Michoacan and Guerrero, where their union locals are negotiating for their demands. They are rejecting the 5% wage increase the union recently accepted.

During the protest a CNTE delegation met with an aide to President Fox, and decided to give Fox "the benefit of a doubt" about starting serious negotiations with them. The CNTE used the marchers’ militancy to engage in this useless talk with the government. Now, the CNTE leadership is continuing the "plantón" in the Zócalo (central square) waiting for the federal government to begin serious talks. Even though the CNTE leadership says it opposes Fox, they still give him some credence. This is based on these union dissidents’ deadly illusions in the capitalist "democratic" system.

During the march, teachers distributed a leaflet with pictures of Fox, former President Salinas and Elba Esther Gordillo, former SNTE President. Salinas privatized many of Mexico’s state-owned industries while stealing millions from the government treasury at the same time his brother was laundering drug money through Citibank. Ms. Gordillo and Salinas signed the "National Agreement to Modernize Basic Education," an attempt to privatize public education and turn it into centers serving corporations.

But the fact is education — public or private — is a failure for most working-class students. The needs of capitalism can never square with those of working-class students and teachers, particularly amid a worldwide capitalist system saturated with wars and fascism. The best lesson teachers and students can learn from this struggle is that capitalism in all its forms can never satisfy us as an exploited class. We need to learn how to fight the bosses, for a society where production serves our needs: communism.

Amnesty Marchers Side-tracked Into Electoral Quicksand

LOS ANGELES, CA. — On May Day, over 10,000 people participated in a march organized by pro-immigrant groups, the AFL-CIO, churches and the local radio and TV. The main demand was for amnesty and driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Hundreds of workers in different contingents chanted pro-worker slogans like, "Workers, United, Will Never Be Defeated"; "Workers’ Struggles Have No Borders"; and, "Jobs Yes, INS No, Workers to Power." PLP’ers distributed hundreds of CHALLENGES and 3,500 leaflets about the revolutionary history of May Day, and called for unity of black, Latin, Asian and white workers to fight racism.

Although the anger and militancy of so many workers showed the potential for fighting racism in the current police-state, patriotic pro-war atmosphere, the main aspect of the march was quite different.

The organizers direct the fight for amnesty towards getting "our elected officials" to pass a law. Illinois Democrat Congressman Luis Gutierrez champions this demand and marches pushing it. These politicians use it to win more votes for themselves and to build patriotism among immigrants. Currently that means supporting the bosses’ plans for an oil war.

The reactionary politics pushed by the bosses and their politicians have influenced some workers. For example, hundreds from a textile plant marched enthusiastically with signs and banners. But one of their leaders said, "In our plant we don’t need any union because the bosses give us good benefits." The bosses will never give workers anything out of the goodness of their hearts. Bosses’ profits come from workers’ labor.

PLP’ers played an important role in contingents of garment workers and community organizations, exposing reactionary pro-war, pro-boss ideas and pushing a pro-working class revolutionary line.

We have a long road ahead, but as the Chinese philosopher Tzu said 2,400 years ago, "If we want to wage 100 battles and come out victorious...know the enemy and know yourself." Currently that means winning workers and others amid struggles inside the bosses’ organizations away from the enemy’s ideology and to the politics of communism.

Teachers Support PLP’er Against Racist Red-baiting Union Hack

I’m a PLP member and a teacher at a large Brooklyn high school. I’ve been a union delegate and attended monthly union Delegate Assemblies (DA) for several years. I always report to my chapter and analyze events, both in the school and elsewhere. I ran for chapter leader two years ago as a communist. The school administration organized against me and I lost the election, but the significant number of votes I received was a victory. I continued attending meetings and writing reports. Many people counted on me to help them understand what’s happening.

The teacher who opposed me and was elected chapter leader is the administration’s guy, and now he’s union president Randi Weingarten’s guy too. He rarely calls union meetings. His reports to the staff simply repeat the union leadership’s reports.

In May, after 18 months without a contract and repeated calls by opposition delegates for a walkout, the union leadership asked the DA for strike authorization. Weingarten wants to appear like she’s fighting for the members and our students, but has little desire to lead a strike. The strike authorization passed almost unanimously.

A delegate from my school put copies of the resolution in our mailboxes, but didn’t include amendments that called for local action, including school strike committees. I reported on these additions and a call at the DA to include pro-student demands. I also reported on a comrade’s proposal to continue having May Day marches, since the union had called a contract rally on May 1. I suggested we form our own school strike committee.

The chapter leader failed to even call a chapter meeting to discuss the strike issues. Instead he put out a newsletter that attacked me. He cited my election defeat and called me a "cancer or better yet, a communist that rejects all American uninvited guest that refuses to leave...[who] forces her radical views on the staff" and should "take her chaotic ideals to her neighborhood, where she resides."

My friends were furious. Some English teachers who edit his reports refused to work on the section attacking me. At a meeting the next day, one of my friends challenged him. He started yelling but my friend interrupted and finally got her say. She charged that if anyone had said, "Go back to your neighborhood" to either of them (they are both black), they would have considered it racist. She said his attack on me (I am white) was racist, and reminded the staff that I live in her neighborhood. She backed my right to publish reports, and laced into him for his nastiness and rudeness.

He kept on interrupting her, and other friends of mine — some of whom disagree with my politics — joined the fray. He screamed that he hates that I sit quietly and "get my friends" to yell at him. The only time I yelled, I asked if he thought the members couldn’t think for themselves.

One delegate called for a return to the strike discussion. I reported on the union struggles and the strike issues. Because of my Party work, and help from other comrades and friends, I know far more about this than he does. By the meeting’s end, the chapter leader looked pretty stupid.

Friends at school stop me and shake their heads at the chapter leader’s behavior. Some of the younger teachers, with previous doubts, are now convinced he’s worthless. Others wonder why he thinks the members can’t think and make decisions for themselves.

In the midst of class struggle,

A Brooklyn teacher

NJ School ‘Standards,’ Budget Cuts Destroying Youth

NEWARK, NJ, June 3 — For many years, New Jersey parents, teachers and students have fought for parity in funding for elementary and high schools. This struggle began in the late 1960s as an outgrowth of the civil rights movement and the fight against racism. But eight decisions by the New Jersey Supreme Court have not made urban schools equal to those in wealthy areas. And since Sept. 11, a far more punitive approach to the interests of working-class parents, teachers and students has become the pattern.

• Striking teachers in Middletown, NJ, were forced back to work under threat of mass jailings and firings. One politician branded the strikers "un-American."

• The new high school standardized test will result in more students failing, only giving them a "certificate of attendance," not a diploma, increasing unemployment.

• City and state budget cuts threaten to decimate many programs. For example, the Irvington school system is laying off 270 employees, a huge percentage of its total staff.

It is good that some parents, teachers and students are organizing to fight the cuts. But the other attacks listed above and many more have gone unchallenged. Why? U.S. rulers are trying to convince workers of ideas which are harmful to our class interests. For example, since September 11 more people believe that all "Americans," regardless of class, need to unite with the government so as not to hurt the "fight against terrorism."

But the reality is we live in a class society. The government represents the interests of the ruling class. Family income in cities like Newark, East Orange and Irvington actually declined during the "boom" years of the 1990’s (Newark Star-Ledger, 5/24). Wealthy areas can afford increased property taxes to avoid the cuts that will have to be made in urban and middle-income districts. Raising "standards" combined with cuts in urban districts is a blueprint for large numbers of students to drop out. This will lead to many more children winding up in prison or being forced into the military to fight and die in a war to secure U.S. bosses’ control of oil.

The state government jailed striking teachers fighting for better conditions. The federal government is profiling and jailing tens of thousands of immigrant workers who happen to be Muslim. But meanwhile the criminal bosses of Enron stole hundreds of millions of dollars and go scot free while thousands of workers are laid off and their pensions destroyed. The ruling class uses racist cops to shoot and kill black and Hispanic youth like Amadou Diallo, Earl Faison and those in the van on the New Jersey Turnpike.

Although under captialism we can never reap the full fruits of our labor—most of it stolen by the bosses—the working class is not powerless to change things. Some now realize the power we have. More of us will do so as the fight against their oppressive system gets sharper. Workers must take power away from the ruling class with a communist revolution. Then we can build a society without bosses and profits and oil wars, and education will serve the interests of the working class.

War Budget, Enron Plunder Sucks California Schools Dry

LOS ANGELES, June 3 — Students, teachers, and other school employees here face a Board of Education contract offer that threatens to increase class size by two students per class in grades 4-12, reshuffle classes at mid-year, cut medical insurance and freeze wages. This is unacceptable.

The Board of Education claims it has no money. California schools are funded through the state budget, which faces a $23.6 billion deficit. (Before Enron manufactured an "energy crisis" and stole billions, there was a state surplus.) But there’s always money — it just depends on where it’s spent.

Workers produce all value. A huge chunk is stolen as corporate profit. Another chunk fills the tax coffers which pays for whatever the ruling class decides. Right now federal assistance to education is $11 billion nationally but the 2002-2003 federal budget calls for an $86 billion increase for war and Homeland Security, for the tools of a fascist police state. The military budget is approaching $400 billion annually. No wonder the budget for schools and social services is being cut. Workers’ tax money must pay for military bases that protect the bosses’ oil investments in the Mid-East while killing workers in the process. (See editorial, page 1.)

The union leadership’s response — cut administrative expenses, rather than classroom instruction — doesn’t deal with the reality of the bosses’ worldwide imperialist plans.

Some union members are proposing a split-roll property tax (tax the rich). But the discussion must be made broader: who produces and pays the taxes and who controls the state.

The proposed education cuts are directly linked to the funding for war and fascism. Some teachers are demanding "No War Contract!" Some students in student organizations are calling for "Books not Bombs!" and talking about learning the truth about workers struggles worldwide. A fight against the attacks on students is part of the fight against intensifying war and fascism. Students and teachers need to build a force that can take on the union hacks as well as the Board of Education.

We are also educating ourselves — teachers and students — about the fight over the long haul to get rid of capitalism and build a communist system where the wealth that we produce is in our hands and goes to improve the life and education of the working class, not to kill workers around the world to protect the bosses’ profits.

Local 1199 Betrays Homecare Workers

I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to homecare workers, part of the 210,000-members SEIU, Local 1199 in NYC. Homecare’s 80,000 workers comprise the Local’s largest division. There are thousands more non-union homecare workers here and many homecare provider agencies.

The number of homecare workers will increase as the most "cost effective" option to care for the large number of aging baby boomers. Homecare is part of the third largest and fastest-growing segment of the NYC economy, the non-profit sector.

NYC homecare workers are overwhelmingly women, almost exclusively immigrant, mostly Hispanic, Caribbean black and Asian, plus growing numbers of Russians. Many are former factory workers whose bosses have moved mainly to free enterprise zones in the workers’ countries of origin. They still face exploitation similar to their experiences as immigrant women factory workers. Hourly wages range from $6 (non-union) to between $7 and $9 (union). The SEIU-1199 contract includes 12-hour shifts with no time-and-one-half pay after eight hours. Workers on duty in the home for 24-hour shifts are only paid for 12 hours.

Home health aides are certified to provide other care, such as taking blood pressure and giving medications. But while these aides perform home attendant, housekeeper and medical responsibilities, they usually earn less as non-union workers. Obviously home health aides are in demand by homecare agencies. Entrepreneurial job-training welfare-to-work programs receive thousands of dollars to train and place home health aides in non-union, low-wage jobs.

Local 1199’s answer to this racist exploitation is to support a living wage law — usually $10-an-hour for workers paid by agencies with City contracts. Backing living wage legislation while ignoring homecare workers’ long hours and the potential class struggle power of such a huge union is mainly a conscious political gesture by 1199 to pull the largely immigrant workers into the electoral arena. It is not primarily to gain a significant reform. And even this goal may be illusory amid wartime budget restraints and scapegoating of immigrants.

In my ESL classes we are discussing and researching these issues, exploring why such conditions exist and are tolerated by both workers and clients and what rank-and-file workers can do. I’ve introduced CHALLENGE to some of my students. Two are joining a Party study group and one has joined the Party. We need to investigate the future of homecare in an imperialist U.S. at war, and particularly the living wage legislation currently being sponsored in the NY City Council.

A comrade

Rulers Rx for School Problems: Drug the Children

NEW YORK CITY, May 28 — As conditions in the schools worsen and the stresses on children increase, the schools are relying ever more heavily on psychiatric drugs to control children. From 4 to 5 million children are now on various psychoactive drugs, and the prescription rate continues to rise. PLP members have been participating in a group of health workers and community activists here involved with this issue. The group began organizing four years ago against racist research at Columbia Medical Center, which attempted to show that violence and crime spring from biological abnormalities in the brains of young black and Latino boys. However, these same researchers are now mainly promoting the use of Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs for children as young as three. Drug companies pay for, and the federal government sponsors this research.

They tell teachers and child welfare workers that a child having trouble behaving or learning in school has a neurological disease — the problem comes from within the child. Environmental factors, such as large classes, inexperienced teachers without adequate support, and family stresses — unemployment, poverty, emotional problems, lack of sleep or poor nutrition — are not even considered. Psychiatric training is now almost all about pharmacology — counseling is hardly included in many programs. Genetic and biologic abnormalities supposedly account for all problems.

Recently a mother of a 2nd grader who lives in a working class Manhattan neighborhood contacted the group. Her son’s class was totally out of control, with 34 students and a new teacher. Although not behind academically, her son may have been one of the noisiest kids in the class. The school vice-principal told the mother her child had ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), needed Ritalin and should be placed in special education. Even the school psychologist disagreed, suggesting he only needed a more structured learning environment, but the boy was sent to a psychiatrist at Columbia. After 15 minutes, this doctor said the child must be medicated. The mother disagreed and appealed to her school district. They told her if she didn’t medicate her son, she’d be reported for "medical neglect." This parent put her son in Catholic school (where he’s doing very well in a small class), an option she can ill afford.

After publicizing this case in the school district, the group was contacted by a social worker and a psychologist in special education at the district level. They’re disturbed about the frequency with which drugs and special ed are recommended and know almost nothing about Ritalin or other drugs. But they say they have nothing else to offer children — no small classes, tutoring or counseling. Nonetheless, they’re anxious to help better educate their colleagues. Our group hopes to participate in this effort.

The reliance on diagnosing diseases whenever people are unable to adjust to their environment is part of the growth of fascism. Not only is there direct coercion of parents and children here, especially poor, mainly black and Latino families, but children are blamed for society’s problems.

In the course of these struggles PLP members have presented many of the Party’s ideas, showing that in a fascist, war-driven police state, instead of dealing with children’s real problems, they will just be drugged into submission, unable to fight for themselves and for a system that serves the working class. Slowly we’ve introduced CHALLENGE and other Party literature to a few people we’ve come to know. We need to step up this effort since more and more of our friends will be questioning the ruling-class "solutions," if not capitalism itself. The opportunity to learn from history and revitalize the communist movement is in our hands. Our children’s future depends on it.

Racist Killer Cops Are Bosses’ ‘Insurance’ vs. Rebellion

CHICAGO, June 1 — Headlines read: "Officers won’t be charged." The cops here have the green light to further terrorize and kill black workers. In three separate incidents all charges were dropped against these racist cops, including the two black cops who murdered unarmed motorist Latanya Haggerty and unarmed college student Robert Russ and the ones who gunned down a man on his front porch in Harvey (an all-black Chicago suburb).

By mid-week Judge Clayton Crane acquitted four white Cook County Sheriffs’ cops and one former cop of hunting down unarmed black motorist Corey Simmons and Dominique Mapp. The couple’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) allegedly cut off the cops’ SUV on the cops’ way home from drinking at a sheriffs’ fund-raiser. The cops chased the couple through several communities, in a fusillade of more than 20 shots. Judge KKKrane said the charges of attempted murder were unfounded.

On the one hand, State legislators are aiming to balance their war budget on workers’ backs — slashing funds for healthcare, childcare and education. Fearing rebellions against these attacks, they need this racist police terror to pacify the working class. This creates a sharp contradiction for the ruling class, since it also needs these workers and youth to fight in their oil wars

The fact that the liberals are leading the way towards this fascism (see CHALLENGE, see pp. 1-2) was apparent at today’s protest at the Cook County Sheriff’s office led by misleader Jesse Jackson. While 200 mostly black workers and youth protested these dropped charges, Jackson clearly expressed his service to the ruling class. On the one hand he called for peace in the Middle East. But he supported U.S. rulers’ aims to control oil there to "maintain our way of life." Whose way of life? Rockefeller’s Exxon Mobil and U.S. imperialism’s drive to exploit the world’s workers for maximum profits. While appearing to condemn police terror, he’s clearly willing to send these same anti-racist workers and youth to fight and die for the profits of the bosses.

PLP’ers participated in this protest, distributed CHALLENGES and collected phone numbers from demonstrators who asked us to contact them. We aim to intensify activity in mass organizations to expose the Jackson liberals and their ilk.

‘Shakira, Shakira, Sweatshop Diva!’

NEW YORK CITY, May 31 — Chanting "Shakira, Shakira, Sweatshop Diva," several protestors crashed the Latin pop singer’s live appearance on NBC-TV’s Today Show. Shakira’s latest hit, "Underneath Your Clothes," has promoted Delia’s clothing, manufactured at Danmar, a Brooklyn sweatshop. One protestor, Maria Arriaga, was fired from the sweatshop after reporting the rotten conditions. She and many other workers, all Latino, were forced to work nights and Saturdays without overtime pay to sew garments for Delia’s. The latter gave away free Shakira CDs to customers in exchange for Shakira promoting her clothing line. Shakira also appeared as Delia’s "poster child," appearing in a catalogue mailed to four million teenagers.

As reported in CHALLENGE (6/5), Shakira also promotes Pepsi, which super-exploits workers, mostly women, at its Pepsi Snacks plant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Shakira’s boyfriend is the son of former President De la Rua, kicked out of power by a mass demonstration of hundreds of thousands who surrounded Argentina’s presidential palace. De la Rua had to flee in a helicopter. Shakira has nothing but praise for this exploiter.

These "superstars," particular Latin and black, are promoted in the U.S. as "models" to show youth they "can make it" under capitalism. Apparently, workers in sweatshops are not included.

Memoirs of a World War 2 Vet:

Bush Insults the Millions Who Died Fighting The Nazis

[[Bush’s recent European trip reinforced the picture many have of Dubya as an idiot. London’s Independent said Bush "sometimes seems unsure which European country he is visiting." London’s Daily Mirror reported "bumbling Bush was lost for words last night." Even in important moments, like signing the treaty with Putin to "reduce" nuclear warheads, Bush made a fool of himself when he was filmed discarding a piece of gum in his hand before signing the treaty. Worse yet was Bush insulting the memories of the tens of millions who died fighting the Nazis by first laying a wreath honoring Red Army soldiers who smashed Hitlerism and then traveling to Normandy, France, to compare World War II to U.S. imperialism’s current "war against terrorism." WW II was a war against fascist terror, of which U.S. imperialism is now the world’s champion.

The following, by a PLP WW II veteran, was first published in CHALLENGE in 1995, marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Nazi terror regime when the Red Army entered Berlin and raised the Red Flag over the Reichstag.]

When I was a teenager living in New Jersey and seated on a train from Bound Brook to Trenton, I noticed my English teacher sitting right behind me, talking to a friend. The latter said the Nazi invasion of Russia would triumph in six weeks. (This was the length of time The New York Times’ military "expert," Hansom Baldwin, wrote it would take the Germans to defeat the Soviet Union.)

I remember vividly to this day my English teacher’s reply: the Nazi hordes would "never defeat the Red Army." I only knew the teacher as a student, so I didn’t really understand why he said the Russians would win. In my limited circle we all supported the Soviets. And if my English teacher said they would win, that was good enough for me.

As the war progressed the Soviets seemed to be losing every step of the way. My family, friends and I all felt real bad about that. Every day you picked up the paper, you read that the Nazis took this city and that city. The Nazis claimed they killed zillions of Russians and captured what was left of the Red Army. It seemed the Nazis were as "invincible" as they and other capitalists claimed. But somehow, the Soviets continued to fight.

As the war ground, on the Germans entered Stalingrad. Somehow we all knew, as many "experts" claimed, that if the Russians lost Stalingrad they would lose the war. And it looked like they would lose. Our spirits sank to new lows when we heard about each Nazi advance in Stalingrad.

Then, as if by magic, the Nazis’ relentless drive into Stalingrad began to slacken. The next thing we heard was that the "defeated" Red Army and all their "dead and wounded" soldiers had trapped the huge German armies ringing Stalingrad. We saw movie newsreels showing the heroic Red Army herding the bedraggled, dazed and defeated Nazi "supermen" harmlessly into prisoner-of-war camps. We, and much of the world, breathed audible sighs of relief because of the great victory of the Red Army at Stalingrad.

Shortly thereafter I landed in the U.S. Army. We were shown a training film called, "The Battle for Stalingrad." It depicted the incredible mass bravery of the Red Army soldiers and of the Soviet workers who kept on producing the Red Army’s weaponry inside Stalingrad at the very moment the Nazis seemed to control the city. (This film was taken by Red Army photographers, many of whom were killed in action.) The workers and soldiers never wavered. They kept working and fighting until victory.

But the most fantastic thing in the movie was how, while the Red Army was fighting for every wall, house, apartment, etc. they were being reinforced by people and machines from east of the Ural mountains. These troops, artillery, tanks, etc. poured into Stalingrad in seemingly limitless numbers. Lines of troops crossed the Volga River as far as the eye could see. Ultimately, the Soviets outproduced and outfought the "invincible" Nazis. Hitler’s legions did have enormous resources but their forces were outfought at every turn at Stalingrad.

After that the war turned in the Soviets’ favor. Amid heavy fighting, the Soviets were pushing the Nazi beasts out of the Soviet Union and inevitably back to Germany. By the time I landed in Italy, the situation on the Russian Front was so favorable that, at our first orientation, a U.S. Army captain told us, "Uncle Joe will save you yet."

I was taken aback. I didn’t expect a U.S. officer to say something positive about Stalin. Being naive and incredulous, I turned to my buddy and asked, "Who is Uncle Joe?" His answer was short and sweet, "Stalin, you dope."

Our present situation is not totally unlike the Red Army’s at Stalingrad. The international working class has its back to the wall. The bosses gloat over the demise of the international communist movement. Our forces are small. Tactically, the bosses are stronger than we are. But because of our communist ideology we can reverse the present situation. Our forces can ultimately triumph. Stalingrad was one outstanding example of this.

Capitalism’s Inherent Thievery Spinning Out of Control

Given the history of Enron-type swindles, a few people may go to jail, but it’d be a shock if it were more than that. A 1990 Wall Street Journal review of the Savings & Loan scandal said that the list of scoundrels was "so long that some observers conclude there is something profoundly wrong with the country’s political and financial systems, which appear easily undone by feckless and reckless behavior. In fact, they say, the behavior of this legion calls into question the performance of this nation’s professional class itself." No kidding!

Now the New York Times (6/2) headlines the "Boom in White-Collar Crime." The Times reports "a surge in business fraud and corruption….[and] a marked increase in accounting and corporate infractions, fraud in health care, government procurement and bankruptcy, identity theft, illegal corporate espionage and intellectual property piracy." The article says it’s not new, citing "the savings and loan crisis a decade ago,…a wave of corporate scandals in the 1970’s, and…during the Great Depression."

The editor of White Collar Crime Reporter says, "White-collar crime is spinning through the roof….The incidence and amounts of money being stolen are incredible." Why? "If you want to commit a crime," says the founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, "fraud is the way to go. The take is better and the punishment is generally less."

Of course, neither the Wall Street Journal nor the Times mentions the biggest thievery of all — the robbery of the working class through capitalist exploitation. Workers produce all value in capitalist society but most of it is stolen by the bosses in the form of surplus value: paying workers as little as they can get away with and keeping the balance as profit. This adds up to trillions every year. That’s what keeps bosses, including the likes of their media mouthpieces, in business — and in power through their control of the government. The white-collar fraud is just the icing on the cake.

Apartheid: South Africa? Or Long Island?

NEW YORK — "It’s almost like a township in the South African sense," during apartheid. That’s how Queens College sociologist Andrew Beveridge described the racist segregation on Long Island, billed as "the nation’s most segregated suburb." (New York Times, 6/5) A study sponsored by the Long Island Community Foundation found that "74% of Long Island’s blacks would have to move to be evenly dispersed across the population."

The Times reports that, "Long Island’s suburbs got off to a segregated start when….the initial leases in Levittown, America’s pioneering post-World War II suburb, announced in bold capital letters that its homes were not to be ‘used or occupied by any person other than members of the Caucasian race.’"

For those who look to the courts for change, note that the Supreme Court nullified Levittown’s racist rules in 1948. Today, 54 years later, the Times says, Levittown is over 99% white.


Workers of the World, Write!

Fascist Bureau of Intimidation

Last October, I was working out at 24-Hour Fitness in San Francisco. Several of us got into a heated discussion in the locker room about 9/11. One guy said, "bin Laden is really an asshole for killing all those people." "You’re right," I said, "but Bush is an even bigger asshole; he’s killing people all over the world for oil profits." Then I made a few more points about capitalism, racism, fascism and war.

One person in the group had received CHALLENGE before, and we had been friendly prior to all this. But during the discussion, he attacked me the sharpest. "You should be thankful for all that you have here in America," he said. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that he called the FBI.

Several days later, two FBI agents appeared at my apartment. "Do you belong to 24-Hour Fitness? Someone reported you were talking about 9/11, Bush, bin Laden, Afghanistan and oil wars" they said. "A lot of people are talking about these things," I replied. "Of course," they said, "you have the right to freedom of speech." "Thanks!" I replied, "and this ends our discussion" "But we have to file our report," they announced. I said, "Goodbye," and closed the door.

At a meeting of PUEBLO, [People United for a Better Oakland], a friend suggested I call the National Lawyers Guild about the FBI visit. A Guild lawyer said they had received a number of calls about people being visited by the FBI. A woman at the Guild said several liberal reporters wanted to do a story about my experience. Later, CBS-TV called and came to interview me.

On May 15th, CBS "Eye on America" ran my story. Although they had "promised" to run it several months ago. It’s interesting they picked this week, coinciding with "revelations" that Bush and his crew knew about the possibility of an attack months before 9/11.

So don’t rely on the media and the powers-that-be. Rely on the working class and build PLP. Keep up the good work in CHALLENGE.

Oakland Comrade

Gould Exposed ‘Scientific Racism’

Biologist Stephen Jay Gould died of cancer on May 20. Renowned for his evolutionary theories and popular science writings, he was a lifelong foe of theories of biological determinism and "scientific racism." His influential books, like "The Mismeasurement of Man" and "Ever Since Darwin," proved the racist history of IQ testing and the non-existence of "race" as a scientific category. His scientific ideas bear the stamp of dialectical reasoning. Gould’s view of life was richer and more multi-layered than that of biodeterminists, who look for a single engine of change.

As a scientist, Gould was best known for his controversial idea (with Niles Eldredge) of "punctuated equilibrium," which says that the pace of evolutionary change is not smooth but proceeds in fits and starts. In the fossil record, many organisms seem to putter along over eons without obvious change, then change drastically in a relatively short time. In "Wonderful Life" Gould enriched Darwin’s theory by emphasizing the role of contingency (historical quirkiness).

Though he claimed to have learned Marxism "at my father’s knee," Gould was politically liberal rather than anti-capitalist. While campaigning against the racist theories of Jensen in the 1970’s, he shunned open confrontation, and sat out the battles led by PLP and other anti-racists against sociobiology and his Harvard colleague E.O Wilson. By the ‘90’s, he was mainly campaigning against creationist influence in the schools, and hoped to reconcile religion and science (an impossible quest).

Red Biologist

Bush on Cuba: ‘Free Elections’ Florida Style

In Jay Leno’s May 20th monologue, he referred to Bush’s Florida speech that day addressing right-wing Cuban exiles celebrating Cuba’s "independence day" — actually the day in 1902 when the U.S., which seized Cuba from Spain in the 1898 war, made the island a U.S. protectorate through the Platt Amendment. Bush, countering Jimmy Carter’s recent visit to Cuba, said the U.S. embargo will end only when Cuba holds "free elections." Leno joked: "Just like his brother Jeb held in Florida on Nov. 4, 2000."

That was the day when the state police and other racist authorities physically barred many African-Americans, Haitian immigrants and others from casting ballots. Widespread fraud throughout Florida prevented determination of a winner for over two months — unprecedented in U.S. presidential elections. Then, to protect the interests of the entire ruling class, the Democrats made a deal with the Republicans, accepting the racist fraud which landed Dubya in the White House.

Meanwhile, Dubya and the right-wing Cuban exiles in Southern Florida also attacked the Castro government because it has "sunk the Cuban people into poverty." Well, when it comes to poverty, they needn’t look too far. According to the latest Census figures, the percentage of poor families has "risen in Southern Florida, including Miami-Dade county, which, at 14.5%, is higher than the state’s 9% average." (, 5/29). In that region, the highest poverty rate was about 47% for single women with children under five in Miami-Dade.

Many of these poor workers are immigrants, like the Cruz family who came there from San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 1988. The father works for Mecca Farms, living in a company mobile home with a cracked living room floor and undrinkable tap water. His $300-a-week wage, for very hard work, pays mostly for food and clothing.

Because of heavy anti-communism that right-wing Cuban exiles foster in Southern Florida, the fight-back against this exploitation is almost non-existent. Poverty and rotten living conditions are the "fruits" such anti-communism doles out to workers.

A reader

Capitalism Fattens Itself and Us, Too

The article "Capitalism Gives Heart Attack to Workers in China," (CHALLENGE, 6/5) proves a recent report by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) about the rise of obesity in both the imperialist and poorer countries of the world. Most of us see obesity as a problem of the imperialist countries, instead of dialectically, as a problem of capitalism poisoning the whole world. According to the FAO, the world produces enough to feed the entire planet a healthy diet. It’s a problem of distribution and bad food.

According to the Worldwatch Institute, 780 million of the 815 million suffering hunger worldwide live in the poorer countries. Additionally, there are now as many undernourished people in the world as there are overeaters. In Togo, 10% of the population is underweight while almost 20% are overweight. In Ghana, 20% are underweight and 20% overweight. The latter is mainly an urban problem, where a more sedentary population eats less healthy food. In Sub-Sahara Africa, obesity and hunger are both increasing, particularly among women. In Colombia and Brazil, 40% are overweight, similar to many Western European countries.

In inner city poor neighborhoods, like New York’s Harlem, there are more diseases caused by obesity than in the general population due to fried and fast food hamburger joints. Lack of fibers, fruits and vegetables and over-consumption of sugar and saturated fats lead to heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, etc. And the fatter one gets, the harder it is to exercise.

The solution is not easy. Replacing all fast food restaurants and most processed food producers with restaurants serving healthy and tasty food would be an answer (but virtually impossible under this profit system). Exercise is another answer. Some people act individually, but obviously that’s not the answer since the problem continues to grow.We are constantly bombarded with ads for Big Macs, Coke and Pepsi, etc. We also don’t have enough money or time to eat properly. Therefore, the answer’s not that easy. I know; I’m an overeater. The answer lies in what CHALLENGE always proposes: fight for a new society without bosses and profits.

Fat and not proud

Bosses’ Elections a Bad Brew for Workers

In April here in Colombia, Bavaria brewery bosses called on workers to unite with it to "defend democracy" and participate in the electoral farce held late in May. (Uribe, the Presidential candidate of the death squads, won). Union leaders supported this call, hoping to win some "friends" in the bosses’ parliament, as the way to collect some crumbs for workers. While these ruling-class patriots ask workers to defend the system, the bosses’ state expands its war against the guerrillas. Bullets and ballots are the choices offered by capitalist democracy.

Bavaria bosses understand well that patriotism and elections add up to fooling workers while attacking them. Bavaria has closed 15 plants in three years leaving 3,000 workers jobless. The cover for these cuts is the need to "restructure" Bavaria. Many technicians and engineers went along with this and many of them also lost their jobs.

Such restructuring is actually due to capitalism’s crisis of overproduction, causing millions of workers to lose their jobs which happens worldwide.

We in PLP are committed to explain to these workers the real cause of these job cuts, to expose how the bosses’ patriotic electoral circus is a trap for workers, and to show them the only way out of this living hell is to fight for a society where workers rule and produce for their needs, instead of for the profits of leeches like the Santodomingo bosses (among the richest in Colombia and owner of Bavaria). That system is communism.

A comrade, Colombia

Racism Defines A Society

I disagree with the letter "A Clearer Definition of Racism Needed" (CHALLENGE, 6/5). It proposes the following definition: "Racism is the idea that there are fundamental differences between the different human population on the globe."

I believe that fundamentally racism is not an idea but rather defines a society. A racist society is one where racial (or similar) categories are used to create and perpetuate lower wages (super-exploitation), higher unemployment, more intense police terror, and higher rates of imprisonment for a particular group of people. The U.S. is a racist society. People identified by the category "black" receive (on average) lower wages, suffer twice as much unemployment, more intense police harassment and are imprisoned at seven times the rate of "white" people. Racist ideas are used to justify that racist super-exploitation and oppression, but material racism is primary.

Palestinians are the "black" people of the Middle East. They live in intensely impoverished towns and camps and are a major source of low-wage labor for local capitalists.

The actions of the Israeli military are racist: the Israelis are determined to keep Palestinian workers in their inferior position, to retain and extend Israeli control of crucial resources and land.

The actions of Palestinian suicide bombers follow the nationalist logic of replacing Israeli oppressors with Palestinian. They are also effectively racist against Palestinian workers: they do not fight capitalism and the racist super-exploitation of Palestinian workers. Ultimately they will strengthen the grip of racism on these workers. For proof, look at how racism in South Africa is stronger under ANC rule.

For years we have distinguished nationalism from racism and said that the key to fighting nationalism is to fight racism. We would not work extensively inside pro-Israel groups; they are racist. We would work inside nationalist-led anti-Zionist groups; the rank and file are there because they hate racism. They are tired of being treated as inferior beings. We would fight the nationalist leadership by sharpening the fight against anti-Palestinian racism, fighting Zionism, fighting for better wages and against police terror.

The key to communist politics in the Middle East is not just internationalism and the battle against all forms of nationalism. It is also the fight against racism. We must point out how all nationalism, including Palestinian, extends racism against Palestinian workers.

Another Chicago comrade