CHALLENGE, July 24, 2002

Biggest Crooks Whack Two-Bit Rivals: Capitalism Is A Big World Con

On Being Crooks, The Liberals Wrote The Book !

Liberal Nazi Scribbler Says Sweatshops Are Good

Civilian-Killing ‘Smart Bombs’ and Vietnam Syndrome

9,000 at NEA Convention Hear PL’er Condemn Oil War

Organizing at AFT Convention Against Leadership’s Support of War Abroad, Fascism at Home

IAM Hacks Hide Behind Flag to Screw Workers

A Lifetime Of Work Teaches Our Brother To Think Of His Class First

Worker-Patient Unity Needed vs. LA Clinic Budget Cuts

Gov’t Uses 9/11 to Terrorize Immigrant Airport Workers

Capitalism Running Rampant in China


Youth Write

On Contradiction

Biggest Crooks Whack Two-Bit Rivals: Capitalism Is A Big World Con

In recent months, the liberal media have written a flood of exposés about greedy business executives making millions by dumping their companies’ stock and awarding themselves record pay packages as company profits fall. The stories aim to mobilize popular outrage into a demand for reforming corporations, their accounting practices and the conduct of their CEO’s. When the most powerful section of the ruling class initiates a "reform" movement, watch out.

The present "clean-up" act lays two traps for us. The first is the illusion that the profit system can ever give the working class a level playing field. That’s impossible. Profits are based on the bosses’ exploitation of our labor power. Workers never get paid the full value of what we produce. "Surplus value" — the part over and above wages and other production costs — is the dirty little secret of the profit system. The current cry over CEO mass thievery is for public benefit but has a different purpose.

For the working class to collectively decide on how to best use this surplus, we will require a communist revolution, the dictatorship of the working class, and political power led by a mass communist party.

The second trap is that the rulers need us to back their oil wars and police state. The present campaign against "bad" executives is in fact a tough disciplining within the ruling class and a general consolidation of the U.S. economy in the liberals’ hands. This is necessary if U.S. bosses’ hope to maintain mastery of the world for the foreseeable future.

The Rockefeller-Exxon Mobil interests want to crack down on upstarts whose narrow profit interests threaten this agenda. They won’t tolerate any newly wealthy two-bit billionaire buying a stable of politicians and influencing U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Workers have no stake in supporting any aspect of the Rockefeller program.

For example, new companies like Enron and WorldCom, which posed a threat to established energy and communications firms, are facing liquidation or complete takeover. Old-line businesses, like defense giant General Electric, receive a verbal scolding in the press and a slap on the wrist. The main wing doesn’t need a big fight over their chokehold on energy and communications. On the other hand, it vitally needs to keep its biggest war contractor healthy.

A brief look at the WorldCom scandal, the biggest yet, reveals part of the reality behind the appearance. WorldCom’s founder, Bernie Ebbers, initially a gym teacher, accumulated a small pile of capital and bought nine Best Western motels in Mississippi. With this stake, Ebbers used the deregulation promoted during the Reagan years to leverage his way into the telecommunication business. After starting WorldCom, he took further advantage of the 1990s speculative boom in high tech to grab MCI, providing a launching pad to compete with old-line communications companies like AT&T and its Baby Bell spin-offs.

But the technology boom went bust; the NASDAQ tanked; and WorldCom and its shareholders were left holding the bag for huge debt and dwindling profits while its CFO stole millions (see below).

Wall Street moved quickly and ruthlessly, forcing Ebbers out of WorldCom in April. Shortly afterwards came the revelations about WorldCom’s crooked accounting practices and the collapse of its share price. Ebbers went down with the ship, but WorldCom’s Chief Financial Officer, Scott Sullivan, made millions. Over several years, Sullivan was able to unload his shares at a high price, knowing all along that the bottom would eventually fall out.

The liberal, Rockefeller-wing rulers are the real ones making out like bandits in the wake of WorldCom’s downfall. First, they can blame Ebbers, Sullivan & Co., rather than the system, for laying off 17,000 WorldCom workers. Second, they eliminate an annoying rival and feast on the spoils. The Wall Street Journal (6/27) announced that an Eastern Establishment Baby Bell is likely to acquire WorldCom’s phone business.

Most of the recent scandals follow this pattern of consolidation by the Eastern Establishment. Before WorldCom there was Enron. Behind all the holier-than-thou liberal bombast about the Enron crooks lies the little-publicized tale about Enron’s one significant asset, the 17,000-mile Northern Gas Company pipelines that transport gas from Texas to the Midwest and West. During Enron’s demise, they were transferred to Dynegy, a small company in which the Eastern Establishment through ChevronTexaco and Boston’s Putnam, hold 35.8%. But the consolidation doesn’t stop there. Inter-imperialist rivalry plays a role as well.

French investment giant AXA holds 10.5% of Dynegy. Eastern Establishment oil bosses don’t want one of their biggest European competitors for Iraqi oil to control a base on the U.S. continent. So Dynegy has become the target of a federal probe into alleged sham trades and is seeking a joint venture partner for its pipelines. "Dynegy’s longtime chief executive, Chuck Watson, resigned in May, and it has announced a major restructuring" (Reuters, 6/28).

Sharpening competition with French bosses also plays a role in the WorldCom story. Alliance Capital, a subsidiary of the French AXA, holds the largest amount of WorldCom stock and was the hardest hit by the scandal. Furthermore, Alliance’s chief founder and stockholder, Claude Bébéar, is a major supporter of Opus Dei, the openly fascist Catholic organization that backs the Vatican and European rulers in their present struggle against U.S. imperialists for control of the Catholic Church. To top it all, Alliance also lost out as a major Enron shareholder and as the top shareholder in another scandal-ridden high-tech firm, Tyco, which just bit the dust.

The biggest gangsters are swatting down the little ones, ruling at home with an iron fist. Preparing for a long series of oil wars requires more internal discipline than U.S. bosses have achieved. These business scandals are economic parallels to the political fight for control of the "war against terror." Recent CHALLENGE editorials have exposed the liberals’ dissatisfaction with the Bush White House’s incompetence in building a police state. The screws will tighten for Bush if he fails to bring his business pals into line.

The liberals will stop at nothing to maintain U.S. dominance and maximize profits worldwide. The international working class will pay the heaviest price. The bosses will fight among themselves to the last drop of workers’ blood. There is no "lesser evil." Either we march off a liberal cliff or we choose to build our own revolutionary communist movement, and our own mass working-class international PLP.

On Being Crooks, The Liberals Wrote The Book !

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, John D. Rockefeller founded his Standard Oil empire by cornering markets, building monopolies, using "insider" knowledge and murdering rebellious workers. The Rockefeller interests ruthlessly attacked their chief competitors, the House of Morgan, to consolidate their stranglehold on power. In 1938, former New York Stock Exchange president Dick Whitney entered Sing Sing prison sporting a tie with the emblem of Harvard’s exclusive Porcellian club. His crime was bilking his brother George and other J.P. Morgan partners of millions in loans. Two years later, the disgraced Morgan partnership had to sell its shares on the market and the Rockefeller forces were among the biggest buyers at a bargain price.

Liberal Nazi Scribbler Says Sweatshops Are Good

One might think it difficult to find a supporter of sweatshops outside the Boardrooms of outfits like Nike. But liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff wrote an op-ed piece (6/25) entitled "Let Them Sweat" which extolled the virtues of 8-year-olds slaving away for maybe $2 a day!

Kristoff reports on "Ahmed Zia, a 14-year-old….who dropped out of school in the second grade [and] earns $2 a day hunched over the loom laboring over a rug." Then there’s shirt-maker "8-year-old Kainis Saboor, an Afghan refugee whose father is dead and who is the sole [!] breadwinner in his family." Finally there is Noroz Khan, who lives on a garbage dump and spends his days searching for metal that he can sell to recyclers….[for] $1.40 a day, and children earn just 30¢ a day for scrounging barefoot in filth." Kristoff laments the fact that these children could be "better off" if Nike were to build sweatshops in which they could "earn" $2 a day.

Kristoff says anti-sweatshop campaigns become "one more headache for companies considering operating in international hellholes where the only lure is wages so low that it would be embarrassing…asking questions about them."

Kristoff says without sweatshops these poor children would be unemployed! Listen to this degenerate Times writer: "The country [Afghanistan] is full of starving widows who can find no jobs. If Nike hired them at 10¢ an hour to fill all-female sweatshops, they and their country would be hugely better off."

So that’s how U.S. imperialists "liberate" the women of Afghanistan. First they spend $1 billion a month bombing the hell out of them — the latest being a slaughter of at least 40 at a wedding! — leave them starving widows and 8-year-old orphan refugees, and then Kristoff tells them that 10¢-an-hour Nike jobs will make them "hugely better off"!

But liberal Kristoff’s depravity knows no bounds. He reports that an exposé of a Nike sweatshop in Cambodia employing girls younger than 15 caused Nike bosses to close up shop. So 2,000 Cambodians, 90% young women, faced layoffs. Kristoff defends Nike by saying, "Some who lost their jobs probably were ensnared in Cambodia’s huge sex slave industry — which leaves many girls dead of AIDS by the end of their teenage years."

So this is the "choice" Kristoff’s capitalist system gives these children and young women: either sweatshops at 10¢ an hour (enabling Nike to reap billions in profits) or joblessness and murder by the sex slave industry. Either way a life of daily agony and death.

Capitalism’s drive for maximum profits creates U.S. imperialism’s oil wars; bombings of innocent workers; Nike sweatshops; and forces teenage girls into sex slavery. This rotten, mass murdering system must be permanently obliterated and replaced by a workers’ communist system. No bosses, no profits and no Kristoffs sitting in air-conditioned hotel rooms collecting 6-figure salaries and advocating the "benefits" of dirt, disease and death.

Civilian-Killing ‘Smart Bombs’ and Vietnam Syndrome

Forty-eight women, men and children became the latest casualties of the U.S. rulers’ "war against terror" at a wedding in Afghanistan. Several thousands civilians have died since Bush launched his war on Oct. 7 to topple the Taliban-Al Qaeda forces and secure oil and gas pipelines. Two days after this massacre, hundreds — including many women dressed in the traditional burqa (head-to-toe clothing) — held the first anti-U.S. march in Kabul protesting the rising toll of civilian casualties.

The Pentagon initially denied any responsibility for the massacre, claiming they were being fired on. In fact, the wedding guests were shooting in the air, an Afghan tradition. Finally, Bush and the Pentagon sort of, half-way partly admitted their bombs are only "smart" when killing civilians. Meanwhile, the warlords of the pro-U.S. Northern Alliance are back killing each other over drugs and the spoils of war.

The "humanitarian wars" U.S. bosses have been waging in the last few years rely on "smart bombs" dropped from high altitudes. Some U.S. rulers want to whack Iraq, to seize its rich oil supplies, using the "Afghanistan strategy," depending on the Kurds and other anti-Saddam forces to do the heavy fighting, while the U.S. planes bomb Iraq back to the Stone Age. Others realize this alone won’t work. Hussein might actually escape (like Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and most of the Taliban-AQ forces). Eventually U.S. ground troops must engage in actual combat and suffer many casualties. The Vietnam Syndrome still haunts the rulers, who fear workers and GIs won’t accept heavy U.S casualties and will protest and rebel, as in Vietnam . Then the U.S. fascist police state will be aimed not only at Moslem and other immigrant workers, but also at millions of black, Latino and white workers, exposing the profit system as the enemy of the entire working class.

9,000 at NEA Convention Hear PL’er Condemn Oil War

DALLAS, TEXAS, July 5 — "I’m so grateful to you for raising the question of oil war. That took a lot of guts! I want to give you the shirt off my back," said a delegate. With that, he gave a comrade a beautiful shirt.

This was only the first of many comments (although the only item of clothing) that greeted our comrade’s speech condemning the U.S. "war on terror" and its planned extension into Iraq, at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly (RA). About 9,000 teachers heard a speech that deplored the tragedy of 9/11 and condemned using it as an excuse to send our kids to kill and die to secure the profits of the oil companies. Those who objected barely achieved the 2/3 vote required to block discussion of the war. Two to three thousand delegates shouted their vote in favor of discussion, but were defeated.

This was the climax of our Party’s work in the RA this year, the first such assembly since 9/11. The difficulties in 2002 reflect the changes that have occurred since last year. Then we worked with others and raised a new business item condemning the racist theories of "biologically-determined IQ." We called on the 10,000 delegates to reject the "culture of poverty" and related ideas, and to base their development programs on the idea that everyone can reach high levels of learning. Despite anti-communist attacks, we got tremendous support then, and the motion passed.

Our task this year was more difficult. The U.S. is engaged in the initial stages of what promises to be a long war. The invasion of Iraq is being planned. The ruling class needs to build support for war and for the fascist measures that war requires. The unions’ role is an important one for the bosses in building that support. In the wake of 9/11, the NEA published a statement proclaiming that its 2.7 million members "stand as one with the President and the Congressional leadership at this time of crisis." They said, "Those who love freedom and democracy are rallying to America’s flag and to the President’s leadership in this time of terrorism."

The union leaders unite behind the bosses. Communists unite with others to build as broad a movement as possible to oppose their war and fascism, which are inevitable under capitalism. We’re in this for the long haul to organize for communist revolution. Our work at the NEA convention this year was part of this fight. We knew more people this year, both from work in our local unions and from participating in the caucuses last year, and were able to get active support from our friends in developing and fighting for this issue among the delegates. The strengthening of these ties is perhaps the most important fruit of our work.

Organizing at AFT Convention Against Leadership’s Support of War Abroad, Fascism at Home

NEW YORK CITY, July 8 — Next week members and friends of Progressive Labor Party (PLP) will attend the annual American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention in Las Vegas. PLP will join others there in battling the efforts of AFT honchos Sandra Feldman and Randi Weingarten and their underlings to build patriotism leading to fascism among the thousands of convention delegates and the millions of education workers they represent.

Feldman and all the union misleaders are using the 9/11 deaths to win teachers and other workers to support the U.S. ruling class’s war for control of Mid-East oil. They want us to accept and support the murderous actions of the U.S. government as legitimate "acts against terrorism."

Teachers are very important to the ruling class’s plans. They need teachers to indoctrinate children and youth in patriotism, to further their fascist aims. Social studies teachers are expected to teach the lies that the U.S has always fought against "evil" and "for the good of all," and, therefore, if people hate the U.S. government it’s because they’re "jealous of us."

All teachers are expected to participate in this indoctrination. In the battle over the Pledge of Allegiance, the ruling class may debate whether children should say "under god," but there’s no division over the importance of students’ and workers’ saying and believing the lie "with liberty and justice for all."

In the less overtly political subjects, such as mathematics and science, is where many students have their first difficulties with school. In wealthy schools with many resources and small classes, students receive help in overcoming these problems. But in poorer schools with large classes and fewer resources, students receive little help. Thus, these working-class students, especially black and Latin students, are told they must be "dumber" than students in wealthier schools. This has been and will continue to be the method of "teaching" as long as capitalism rules.

Under communism education will serve the needs of those who produce everything of value, the working class and their children. Every effort will be made to give a good all around education to all children.

At the convention, we must show teachers that the same politicians and bosses who steal our pensions and cut back school budgets want us to support their war for oil that is already killing children from Afghanistan to Iraq. The police state measures the government has taken will be used against us, like the jailing of striking teachers in Middletown, N.J. last Fall.

We must join with our working-class students and their parents to fight against budget cuts and against other attacks against our schools.

IAM Hacks Hide Behind Flag to Screw Workers

WASHINGTON, July 8 — A number of International Association of Machinist (IAM) members and volunteers were talking at the "Membership Appreciation Day" at the Monroe Fairgrounds. One woman noticed an attention-grabbing road sign that said, "This way is to the fairgrounds, Across the street to the reformatory." As CHALLENGE readers are aware, Monroe State Prison is notorious for producing Boeing parts with captive prison labor.

This scene mirrored the contradictions facing us as we approach the July 9 Boeing strike sanction vote. Thirty thousand jobs have been lost in the last nine months, while the company continues to offload work to Monroe Reformatory in one of the more blatant examples of fascist exploitation. The union leadership failed to expose the fascist nature of Boeing’s attacks, even as thousands of our members and their families gathered for a free day at the fair, within a stone’s throw of the slave labor site.

Capitalism Kills Jobs …And Our Children!

Alan Mulally, president of Boeing Commercial Airlines Group, has no intention of ever rehiring our laid-off brothers and sisters. "The United States has no divine right to our standard of living," Mulally said, defending Boeing’s worldwide search for the cheapest possible labor (Tacoma News Tribune, 7/3). "That’s what we believe in. That’s capitalism. That’s market forces." Apparently, this doesn’t include himself and his tens of millions in salary and bonuses.

Faced with this worldwide attack on aerospace workers, the union leadership felt incumbent to show some resistance. They recently convened the World Aerospace Conference of the International Metalworker Federation (IMF). IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger heads the Aerospace Department. Our local union president reported that the issues around the world "are identical to ours." Union delegates condemned downsizing, subcontracting, companies taking advantage of 9/11, pitting workers from one country against another and the race to the bottom with no regard for human rights, safety, or environment.

"Did I forget to mention loyalty to the very workforce, communities, and families who built these aerospace companies?" our local president wrote, ending his litany of corporate evils. "Not at all." He concluded his report with, "Right now though, our top priority is [the upcoming] contract."

Fair enough. Then the International union’s chief negotiator, Dick Schneider, added, "The Company has no loyalty to the [U.S.] flag!" The union’s fancy pamphlets emphasize how the Company is harming "our defense capabilities" by off-loading jobs abroad. But the union leaders didn’t raise a finger to support the 2,000 wildcatters at the Airbus wing plant in Broughton, England, or the 8,000 IAM members that wildcatted against Bombardier, Canada, in April.

You can’t have it both ways. Either you unite with the world’s workers or you unite with the national bosses. No matter how many "international conferences" the union calls, its main job is to build nationalism.

U.S. bosses, like Mulally, will use all this flag-waving to destroy jobs and promote their endless wars. Children of workers here and worldwide will be sacrificed on the fiery altar of the bosses’ oil wars. Even now they’re preparing for another bloodbath for the massive Iraqi oil fields.

A Lifetime Of Work Teaches Our Brother To Think Of His Class First

"Of course, the union leaders are going to wrap themselves in the flag when they have no intention of fighting back," reported a veteran machinist about to retire.

Drawing on his lifetime in the factory he said, "We’re lost if the union leadership can get us to buy into their cynical view of the world. They use the fact that capitalism can’t provide job security to win us to ‘take-the-money-and-run,’ and ‘think-only-of-yourself.’ You need a class view if you’re going to fight for the jobs of the laid-off and future workers. All this talk about ‘stronger’ contract language against off loading is just a cover for not fighting for every job. What will happen when I retire? If the union had a class view, they wouldn’t worry about whether the law allows them to negotiate for past retirees. They’d just demand that our brothers and sisters —working or retired — get treated decently."

So there you have it! You can either succumb to nationalism and cynicism and bow down to capitalism’s anti-working class rules, or you can fight for every job and reject alliances with the bosses who plan to kill our jobs and our children in their endless wars.

Our Party advocates class struggle so our class can learn how to end Mulally’s capitalism. What makes him think he has the "divine right" to subjugate billions of our class brothers and sisters to his bloody profit system, anyway?!

Worker-Patient Unity Needed vs. LA Clinic Budget Cuts

LOS ANGELES, July 9 — The "war against terror" is becoming more and more a war against workers and youth at home. The latest case was the Rodney King-like beating of Donovan Jackson, a sixteen-year-old black youth by Inglewood cops. Police terror is also accompanied by massive budget cuts.

"Who needs Al Qaeda when we have the County Board of Supervisors?" That was the sign carried by one demonstrator protesting massive service cutbacks at several hospitals and the closing of 11 clinics, leading to thousands of layoffs. Those are the real-life results of a $688 million budget deficit.

LA County has more uninsured than any county in the U.S. These attacks will be felt the hardest by the poorest workers, who will face agony and deadly waits in Emergency rooms.

"The exercise we’re going through here is to try and balance a budget, not to meet all the health needs…in Los Angeles County," admitted Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, the county’s new health director. "That’s not what we’re trying to do [meeting health needs]. It’s not like we’re meeting those needs already." (LA Times, 6/18)

Cynical Garthwaite says the budget’s all about the bottom line, not the health needs of the poor and working people. These big shots say the U.S. is leading the fight against terrorism, but many agreed that these cuts are racist, "state sponsored terrorism."

Bush and Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put spending for war and "homeland security" first, nearly $400 BILLION a year. Their "war on terrorism" is for U.S. imperialism’s control of the oil in the Middle East and Caspian Sea region. Thus their plan to invade Iraq and seize its vast oilfields. Then they’ll control who gets how much and at what price to "allies" and rivals in Europe and Japan at a big profit. That’s how control of oil means world dominance. Their "Homeland Security" is aimed at stopping workers’ protests against such budget cuts and war plans.

Many angry County workers agree these cuts are terrorism. There have been united worker-patient work actions at some clinics. Strikes must be organized against the rulers’ plans. Begging the Board of Supervisors and Congress won’t stop these politicians, hell bent on war and building a police state. Massive unity is necessary for an effective fight-back. But indispensable is leading the resistance that will permanently end such oil companies’ wars.

This capitalist system, based on enriching the few and racist inequality producing super-profits, puts such profits — via war and a police state — as the top priority at the expense of workers’ jobs and lives. Workers create everything of value. Bosses send our children to kill and die to keep and control that value. When workers unite, they increase their power tremendously, but our goal is to direct that power towards making a revolution, eliminating the warmakers and running society for our own needs, not for the billionaires’ profits. In the coming fights against the cutbacks, we must start building that power, unity and direction.

Gov’t Uses 9/11 to Terrorize Immigrant Airport Workers

At the airport where I work, the bosses, police and Federal government are fingerprinting all workers. This is fascism. They are using 9/11 to: (1) keep track of immigrant workers; (2) criminalize all workers by making us believe that terrorist suspects "may be among us"; and (3) develop a computer database with background checks of airport workers. These are marks of a police state. The FBI and Immigration agents have been terrorizing Latino workers at the airport, approaching them and demanding "papers." If they don’t have "proper documentation," they’re arrested on the spot.

Many of my Latin co-workers and friends, including some CHALLENGE readers, have quit rather than risk being arrested and deported. This is outrageous! The FBI and Migra thugs treat immigrant workers — documented and undocumented — like criminals and terrorists. Meanwhile, I’ve seen Nazi party members with swastikas on their shirts visiting the airport. Where are the FBI and airport police then?

A good friend and co-worker from El Salvador (who reads CHALLENGE) came here looking for work. He said many El Salvadorans emigrate to the U.S. to earn some money so their children don’t starve back there. U.S. imperialism impoverishes these workers in their home country and then tries to arrest them here for seeking a better life.

I discreetly distribute CHALLENGE to my co-workers. Some are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Africa. One day I overheard two bosses saying that the FBI has been interrogating people because they’re "concerned about airport security." The anti-immigrant, racist climate at the airport requires care in distributing the paper on the job.

The international working class needs a communist revolution now more than ever to smash the rising tide of U.S. fascism.

Airport Red

Capitalism Running Rampant in China

Super-exploitation at $2 a day, prostitution, unsafe mines killing thousands of miners are symptomatic of full-blown capitalism behind the label, "Made in China":

• Rebellion erupted at the 15,000-employee Nanxuan textile factory in the booming Pearl river delta near Hong Kong after company goons beat a worker for "jumping a meal line." Thousands fought cops during a 3-day strike. The area is called the "workshop of the world" as foreign corporations take advantage of the $2-a-day wages paid to mostly migrant workers, part of a surplus rural labor force of about 170 million, 30 million working here.

• When the exploited workers are laid off from the "backbreaking factory jobs, construction and restaurant work," they enter "an industry that has served as a financial backstop for millions of China’s rural migrants: the sex trade," (New York Times, 7/2) which had been eliminated in Red China. Prostitution rings employ teenage girls who have few rights in the southern boom towns of Guangzhou and Foshan in Guangdong province. "All of the hotels…are filled with prostitutes," said the sister of one caught in the sex trade. The latter now works "six days a week in a factory…where she assembles fashionable shoes for export." (NYT) The migrants’ "cheap labor is the fuel that powers Guangdong’s thriving economy, which accounts for half of China’s gross domestic product."

• The fatal ignition of explosives in a gold mine in Shanxi province killed dozens of miners, some of whom "had asked to leave the mine when a fire broke out…but had been instructed to keep working….Mine bosses spent a night using two trucks to haul away bodies." (NYT, 7/2) Many more fatalities were expected, part of an annual death toll of 5,000 to 10,000, "with 3,394 mining deaths officially reported" since January. "The more dangerous jobs are…filled by work gangs from distant impoverished areas, men desperate enough to work long hours in appalling conditions for $70 to $100 a month." (NYT)

These are just the latest victims of capitalism’s "free market" which is bringing untold suffering to hundreds of millions of China’s workers. Capitalism is deadly in all its forms, made deadlier by the defeat of the international communist movement, particularly in places like China and the USSR where workers had tasted a bit of communism and then reverted back to the profit system. No wonder workers in those two countries want to return to that sweatshop-free era. Now workers must learn from the mistakes and achievements of that movement to begin the fight for revolutionary communism, in which production serves the needs of the working class.


Workers of the World, Write!

Youth Write

At our NYC high school a group of students has started organizing against Mayor Bloomburg’s proposed education budget cuts, proving once again that the working class has abundant talent which the rich rulers try to stifle. These students debated the issues, made posters for the rallies, and organized their friends to attend two rallies against the cuts.

At these rallies we were one of a few organized groups. Others had signs and there was a group of students under the communist banners of the Progressive Labor Party. Our signs held high not only attacked the cuts, but also the huge spending on the "war against terrorism" and on prisons. Our spirited chants included, "Hey, Hey, Ho Ho, Bush’s war has got to go."

Various Hip-Hop artists promoted the second rally on many radio stations, drawing many young people to it. When we arrived the situation was very intimidating. The crowd was huge, jammed into pens by the police. The sound system didn’t work everywhere. We couldn’t hear anything. Although somewhat discouraged (but not for long),. a few of our bolder youth started chanting. Things changed quickly and dramatically. Others began chanting. Some of us stood on a small bench holding our signs high for all to see. Several made impromptu speeches criticizing those coming just to see the artists. They addressed the seriousness of the issues and even tore up and stomped on flyers advertising the Hip-Hop artists.

Many people congratulated our spirited group and took our pictures. One prospective teacher mailed us some, writing, "Congratulations to you and your student activists. You are an example of the type of Social Studies teacher I would like to become; one that educates students not only in past history, but also in history that is ongoing and that they can become part of."

It was a great experience. However, the rulers want the exact opposite, to have teachers indoctrinate their students with patriotism, passivity and obedience. The working class can learn to fight for its liberation only by studying communist ideas and putting them into practice.

Two other student groups raised their signs at the rally and had a leadership impact. One young woman said she had spoken to a group of about 50 youth about the issues. Back at school we also learned that well over 100 people had gone to the rally on their own.

These young people and millions like them worldwide can really make communism a reality. Contrasted to scum like Bush, Cheney and Powell running the world now, there’s really no comparison. The world would be a great place led by these young people with such honesty and integrity. Such a vision should motivate all of us to keep fighting to build the Party and the fight for communism. (Some student responses to the rally follow.)

I attended "The Big School Rally" at City Hall in Manhattan. I was pleased with the turnout, but most people were there for the rap stars. The rally centered on halting education budget cuts, but the demonstration was little more than a photo-op. It was a case of quality versus quantity. Quantity won. The angry spirit of protest was sacrificed for large crowds.

Bothered in Brooklyn

Going to the rally to fight school budget cuts was gratifying but different than what I expected. If everyone had chanted together, the effect would have been incredible. But most were there to see the celebrities. I’m not mad at that because many uninformed people learned about the real issues and even chanted. I thought it was a great turnout. With about 20,000 people present, I learned that numbers are very important, even if some didn’t know the cause. I would do it again. I enjoyed making signs and preparing for the rally. I think my classmates and I made a difference, and being there and experiencing a rally was priceless, as well as seeing how teachers from various schools were proud and surprised and ecstatic at our devotion. I learned that one can make a small difference but thousands can make a deeper impact.

Learning in Brooklyn

Attending the June 4th rally at City Hall against the NYC budget cuts wasn’t what I expected. Many were there not to protest but for the celebrities. Despite this, many students and teachers, young and old, were there to protest the biggest school cuts ever. I saw many active students with their signs, chanting. Everywhere you saw different groups joining each other in marches, chants and speeches. It was a great success!

Those who felt students could care less about the budget cuts and couldn’t have a forceful impact were wrong! We do care and we will not allow a capitalist war to rob us. Teachers aren’t getting paid enough and students have a very high dropout rate. Mayor Bloomburg wants to have total control of the schools and the first thing he does is cut the budget, expecting no protest. Well, we were heard! We will not allow Bloomberg to take our money to finance an imperialist war.

Young Brooklyn Red

On Contradiction

To better explain whether or not a contradiction is antagonistic or non-antagonistic we should start from some basic dialectical concepts and then assess the problem.

First, all processes are driven by internal contradictions. Second, the basis of change for any process is its internal contradictions. The resolution of these internal contradictions ends the process, as we know it. The resolution can propel the process to a higher stage (the negation of the negation) or cause it to recede to a lower stage. It never remains the same.

A contradiction is the unity and struggle of opposites. This is a life-and-death struggle, resolved when one opposite side (the secondary aspect of the contradiction) becomes primary and thereby vanquishes the opposing side that was primary. This doesn’t happen peacefully; it is a violent process. This is true in nature, in society and in the world of ideas. Therefore, all contradictions (the unity and struggle of opposites) are, by that very relationship, always a violent process in themselves; their resolution always involves even greater violence (death, no matter what dies, is the highest expression of violence). Therefore, all contradictions are antagonistic by their very nature; there are no such things as non-antagonistic contradictions.

The problem the honest forces in the international communist movement faced in dealing with this issue was that they were not separating the two things that can affect a process, namely, the internal and the external. In any process, the internal (its internal contradictions) is the basis for change and the external (the environment and other forces we might bring to bear on it) is the condition for change. The internal is always resolved violently. The external can be violent or non-violent but it has to strive to intensify the internal contradictions to speed up, or bring about, their violent resolution. The wrong concept of "non-antagonistic contradictions" arose from confusing the methods of intensification (the external forces), which can be violent or non-violent, with the internal process that always resolves itself violently. If the method of intensification that was used was violent, the contradiction was defined as antagonistic. If the method used was non-violent (criticism, self-criticism, etc.) the contradiction was defined (incorrectly) as "non-antagonistic."

A Reader