Oil War Not In Workers Interest
Bosses Agenda: Imperialist Slaughter Abroad, Fascism at Home
Blowback: Afghan Holy Warriors Turn Against CIA Paymaster
Build Fight-Back Vs. Warmaking Strike Breakers
Homeland Security Provides None For Workers
No Partner With Boeing: Strike Against Mass Layoffs
No More Class Struggle On The Cheap
Dont Be Led Down A Primrose Path
"The Big Picture"
PLPers Lead Confrontation With Nazi Vermin
Boston Janitors Threaten Strike; Union Cozies with Mayor
NYPD Cops Do Real Racist Wilding
Protest Racist Boston Cops Murder of 2 Black Workers
Voting A Dead-End For LA Workers Battling Health Cuts
Black Workers Pay Higher Price for War Economy
Terrorism Wont Free Workers Of Capitalist Oppression
Why Communists Who Led Working Class in Middle East Failed
Who Sold Saddam Biowarfare Agents? The U.S. of Course
Cops Step Up Racist Terror in Minneapolis
Teachers Back PLer, Rip Red-baiter
Church Members Confront Politician on Iraq War
Steelworkers Attack Bush But Must Oppose Dems, Too
Dont Fight Exxons War Fight the Bosses
Nationalism is no way to fight oppression
Red Eye On The News
September 11, 2001:
In addition to those who died at the Twin Towers
On That Day and every day because of imperialism:
Childrens death toll from starvation worldwide: 35,615
Special TV programs on this holocaust: Zero
Messages of consolation from President and Pope: Zero
In the weeks following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush told the world, "Youre either with us, or against us." Its now becoming clear that much of the U.S. ruling class, and the world, are against him. Before they can launch a war on Baghdad, they will have to fight the war in Washington.
The open fight within the ruling class is over how to rule the world, control oil, make war and terrorize workers. Workers must never back one gang of bosses and their political stooges over another. There is no "lesser evil." Capitalism makes war and fascism inevitable. Only communist revolution through a mass PLP and workers power can break this vicious circle.
The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice camp believes that as the worlds only superpower, the U.S. can act unilaterally to establish its empire for the 21st century. Their rush to invade may have more to do with opening Iraq to smaller domestic U.S. oil companies who have their most influence in the Bush-Cheney camp than to "weapons of mass destruction." This "go-it-alone" arrogance has isolated U.S. imperialism from its "allies," and has provoked increased resistance and the rage of millions worldwide.
The upcoming German elections will be decided by which party can most distance itself from U.S. foreign policy. French president Jacques Chirac told the New York Times (9/9), "Its not Schroder and I on one side, and Bush and Blair on the other; its Bush and Blair on one side and all the others on the other side."
The Bush gang has come under tremendous pressure from the main wing of the ruling class, the "liberal" Rockefeller-led Eastern Establishment, especially Exxon Mobil. These "internationalists" believe the U.S. can rule the world while still maintaining alliances. Theyre willing to cut a deal with France, Russia and China to share the spoils in Iraq. They want a serious campaign to win popular support for war, nationally and internationally. Theyre dragging Bush, kicking and screaming, before the UN and the U.S. Congress. Theyre joined by a host of war criminals and generals, from Scowcroft to Shwarzkopf to Zinni. Theyre not so much concerned with Iraqi military might as with the willingness of workers and soldiers to back a long-term occupation of Iraq.
In past weeks, former President Jimmy Carter, Senate Majority leader and Democratic Presidential hopeful Tom Daschle, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) all publicly opposed any invasion of Iraq. Their view is that Saddam has been contained over the past decade, his army has been cut in half and poses no immediate threat, and removing him will cause more problems than its worth.
Workers, soldiers, students and youth should not be confused by this three-ring circus. The rulers are always on both sides of all questions. They want to lead the march to war while they stake out their position to lead any anti-war movement that arises. U.S. imperialism is extending its claws over a wide horizon. U.S. troops are now in the former Soviet Republics of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikstan. This is "part of a ring of new and expanded military bases established at 13 locations and in nine countries near Afghanistan since Sept. 11." (LA Times, 2/28). They are in the Philippines and "closely watching" Somalia, Yemen and Indonesia. All these locations reflect the presence of oil or a strategic location along the oil transport route.
U.S. bosses will do whatever it takes to control the worlds oil supply. The liberals will champion oil wars in Iraq and more police state terror at home. They will tell us the Big Lie that its all in "our" interest. A successful Communist revolution is the only strategy that can smash oil wars and fascist terror. The process will be long and hard, but eventually we will win. We must oppose all the bosses and build a mass, international PLP, our classs only hope for the future.
U.S. bosses have taken important steps to further their agenda for world domination and mass domestic terror In the year since 9/11. Imperialist oil wars abroad and a growing police state at home have set the policy for decades to come.
A record number of adults one in 32 are now either behind bars, on probation or parole. Nearly half of the two million adults in prison are black workers, who account for only about 10% of the total population. More than 600 immigrants have been jailed and subjected to secret hearings.
Many of the immigrants are Arab and have been deported, even though they have no connection to terrorism. Ultimately, the rulers will use the anti-Arab witch-hunt against anyone and everyone who disagrees with, or resists, the imperialists, especially revolutionary communists who fight to overthrow the system. We must prepare for this inevitability.
Last October 7, the Bush gang invaded Afghanistan, promising to make quick work of al Qaeda and the Taliban. Last weeks assassination attempt against U.S. puppet Afghan "President" Karzai proved the job is far from finished (see article below). According to British journalist Robert Fisk, "The Americans are being attacked almost every night." (The Independent, 8/14)
In the first three months of the Afghanistan invasion, U.S. forces murdered about 6,000 civilians, twice the number killed on 9/11. This doesnt include people killed when air strikes cut off access to food, electricity or medical care. Nor does it account for bomb victims who later died of their wounds.
Civilian slaughter is old hat for U.S. imperialism, which slaughtered over three million in the Vietnam War. Hundreds of thousands more were murdered in Desert Storm and in the 11 years since especially Iraqi children due to U.S.-imposed sactions. In the former Yugoslavia, a three-month Clinton-NATO reign of aerial terror poisoned the water supply of millions with bombs made of depleted uranium.
At home recent corporate "scandals" have given the rulers an excuse to discipline capitalists who put individual profit ahead of the overall worldwide imperialist agenda. In the process, a massive consolidation of capital is taking place in favor of the Eastern Establishment, led by Exxon Mobil and the House of Rockefeller.
The answer to this capitalist hell is to organize the working class based on the revolutionary communist ideas in CHALLENGE.
Despite being the worlds only superpower, every imperialist invasion U.S. rulers launch sets off new unforeseen consequences. They claimed to have finished off the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, but dont look now; its far from over there. In fact, the murderous bombings and killing of civilians in that country (see above) has become the basis there for a new "jihad to boot out foreign troops." (Asian Times, 9/6)
A movement to resist U.S. forces and its puppet Karzai government in all Pashtun provinces (the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan) has been formed "by local leaders who have little or nothing to do with the Taliban or Al Qaeda .Widespread hatred of U.S. forces has reportedly been exacerbated by indiscriminately belligerent behavior of U.S. troops," such as the July 1 bombing of the wedding party in Oruzgan. (Stratfor.com, 8/29)
The "widespread hatred of U.S. forces" includes a reaction to the mass murder by Northern Alliance troops of Taliban prisoners of war late last year at Mazar-E Sharif. Having been assured decent treatment before surrendering, hundreds of prisoners with the full knowledge of U.S. commanders were packed into air-tight containers and shipped to a prison 200 miles away. Most of them had suffocated to death before reaching the prison and then dumped into a mass grave around Mazar-e-Sharif a feat worthy of Hitlers Nazis. Investigators from the Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights found hundreds of skulls and bones. (As reported by CNN and Newsweek.)
Now a re-grouped Taliban and Al Qaeda apparently have launched a series of assaults on U.S. and puppet forces, including the near-miss assassination of Karzai and a bomb explosion in the center of Kabul. They are allied with the forces of warlord G. Hekmatyar.
Stratfor.com has reported that "U.S. forces are under constant attack, taking more casualties than are officially admitted." This includes an Aug. 4 ambush of U.S. troops in Paktia province and an Aug. 28 rocket attack on a U.S. air base at Jalalabad airport. "Sources in Russia and Indian intelligence separately estimate the U.S. military has suffered between 300 and 400 killed in Afghanistan, with an unknown number wounded .The next phase is a protracted war of attrition, with U.S. troops venturing from garrisons to face ambushes on the highways, in villages and in the mountains." (Stratfor.com, 8/29).
Now, with the U.S. planning wide use of its Special Forces in Iraq, it would have to withdraw some of them from Afghanistan just when the guerrilla movement there is heating up.
Former CIA Operatives Turned Against the U.S.
These reactionary anti-U.S. guerrillas were the same cut-throats (Osama bin Laden, Hekmatyar, et al) trained by the CIA to fight the Russian army in the 1980s. Hekmatyar received the biggest share of the billions handed out by the CIA and Saudi-Pakistani intelligence services to wage "holy war" against the Russians. When the pro-Russian nationalists were overthrown, Hekmatyar and other holy warriors took power and began fighting each other, bombing Kabul and killing tens of thousands in the process. Later, he joined the anti-Taliban-bin Laden U.S. crusade. Now he has turned against his former CIA allies.
Every action taken by the imperialists is backfiring. Thats the essence of a profit system which makes war inevitable.
The U.S. war juggernaut could have a big problem on its hands. In the wake of corporate scandals and increasing attacks on the workers, there is a growing restlessness and threat of strikes. The New York Times (9/8) editorialized, "The mood of sacrifice is fading, the window of opportunity for bottling the patriotism generated by Sept. 11 [is] slowly closing."
Over 10,500 West Coast dockworkers are working without a contract under Bushs threatened use of troops as strikebreakers. A walkout shutting 29 Coast ports could halt half of U.S. trade.
About 25,000 Boeing workers were about to reject the companys "final and best" offer when their ballots were sealed for 30 days and their union leaders ordered to federal mediation in Washington. With hundreds of unused aircraft parked in the desert, Boeing is prepared to sit out a short strike. A new vote is scheduled for Sept. 13.
The double whammy of recession and 9/11 unleashed a wave of mass layoffs. The airlines industry took advantage of the crisis to demand more give-backs. United Airlines is threatening bankruptcy unless its three unions grant major concessions. They claim this is necessary to qualify for a $1.8 billion federal bailout, available to airlines hurt by last Septembers attacks. So far, the pilots union has rejected acceptance of a 10% pay-cut; Machinists say the company already owes them $500 million in back pay; and the flight attendants union says cuts from its lower-paid workers cant possibly balance Uniteds books.
US Airways has filed for bankruptcy and American announced up to 7,000 layoffs. Delta, Continental, and Northwest have all announced cuts in their fall flights.
About 10,000 Boston janitors and 7,500 Chicago hotel workers also threatened strikes. The hotel workers were on their way to disrupting Labor Day tourism and a huge business convention, but were kept working until a settlement was reached a week after the old contract had expired.
Public sector and government workers face fierce budget cuts. State workers are being laid off in Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. In Illinois and Michigan, budget cuts will close several mental-health hospitals. Cook County workers in and around Chicago have held one-day strikes to fight county cuts. Part-time teachers at the City Colleges are threatening to strike.
If not for the pro-capitalist, pro-Democratic Party union leadership, over 35,000 longshoremen and aerospace workers could be striking simultaneously, many in the same cities.But, this is not the recipe for carrying out a new imperialist oil war. So the U.S. bosses call on their "labor lieutenants" who are loyal to the profit system. They wrap themselves and our struggles in the bosses flag. If strikes cant be avoided, they must be kept "within the law," and under pro-capitalist leadership.
Such sharpening contradictions are the inevitable result of inter-imperialist rivalry and the drive towards war. Strikes and other rebellions are the spontaneous result of the struggle between bosses and workers, but they do not spontaneously lead workers to draw revolutionary conclusions. A revolutionary communist party must bring communist politics into these struggles. The mood of the workers is changing. PLPs work is cut out for us.
The bill to create the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allows the President to strip all collective bargaining rights and Title 5 civil service protections from 170,000 workers. On January 7, a Presidential executive order scrapped collective bargaining "rights" of almost 1,000 Justice Department workers. A spokesman for the Heritage Foundation think-tank stated, "Asserting managerial rights over unions, ensuring no race or gender hiring targets are allowed and preventing attempts to apply prevailing wage laws will be a large part of the debate." (Houston Chronicle, 6/20)
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act prohibits non-citizens from holding airport-screening jobs. Almost 6,000 immigrants could be fired by November, most with permanent legal status and many years of experience.
In August, the Washington State Labor Council Convention adopted a resolution calling for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, opposing FBI spying on political and union activists, INS harassment of Arab and other immigrants, and demanding the immediate release of the hundreds of immigrants still being detained. It urged other unions to oppose the governments "war on terrorism."
The National Association of Letter Carriers and the Utility Workers of America announced they would not cooperate with the Justice Departments Operation TIPS, a plan to force one million workers to "report suspicious activity." The California Federation of Labor compared the plan to Nazi Germany. The Justice Department backed off of using postal and utility workers in TIPS.
The week before the first strike vote (August 29) had a familiar ring to it. Rolling Thunder banging every hour, hammer on steel grew louder. Bosses scurried around trying to locate the homemade foghorns that mysteriously signaled the beginning of every hour. Only a fool would be caught without ear protection when "Big Ben" struck. "Strike! Strike! Strike!" reverberated from the rafters as workers marched from one building to the next. But the familiarity was superficial. It hid important differences from past contracts.
This became painfully clear when Machinists International President Buffenbarger sealed the strike vote, refusing to count it, to accommodate the federal mediator. Since the federal mediation yielded nothing as could be expected a new vote has been scheduled for September 13. "We used to be called the fighting machinists," said one member. "How did we turn into the call-the-federal-mediator,-I-want-to-work-without-a-contract machinists?"
No More Class Struggle On The Cheap
"No more class struggle on the cheap," was the way one machinist viewed it. "There wasnt the bravado of 95," concluded a shop steward, referring to that contract vote and strike. Rank and filers, with significant aid and leadership from the Party, started the pre-contract mobilizations that year, which soon became a tradition. Since then the union has organized these demonstrations, tightly controlling them to further its own goals.
But this year even the union had to admit that some marches would not have occurred were it not for the presence of the Party. We mobilized our political base to guarantee them in some areas. Although we marched through the factory with union sanction, we made it clear we were traveling a different road. This was marked by the absence of U.S. flags and the presence of CHALLENGE and 2,000 communist leaflets, which were distributed inside and outside the plants during the preceding weeks.
Only a network of CHALLENGE readers and sellers made this possible. It reflects a certain revolutionary political understanding that is needed to mount even the most modest class struggle. Rebuilding these networks, hurt by tens of thousands of layoffs, is one of our prime objectives.
We would abdicate our responsibility to the working class if we left the impression that there is any kind of alliance between the union leaders and us. The misleaders made that perfectly clear. At a rally outside negotiations, union officials picked our literature out from the many different leaflets being distributed. "You guys always flood our events with communist literature," complained the union goons. "We cant allow this to continue." But workers took leaflets from the surrounded young comrades and boldly distributed them right in front of the thugs.
"The government is preparing to invade Iraq," said a Vietnam vet, trying to make sense out of the confusion on the day the strike vote was nullified. "I dont know all the ins and outs, but I know they are not going to let us small people upset their plans."
Our union invited the Feds into the contract negotiations because it wasnt prepared to lead the kind of fight these times require. The politics of "partnership," nationalism and reliance on the government have left us unprepared for the escalating attacks since 9/11. The labor movement has been based on the fantasy that we can reach an accommodation with our "own" bosses. The demoralizing confusion of the past two weeks is the price we pay.
But this chaotic period has shown that out of confusion can come greater wisdom, that we can learn to reject those who would blunt our ability to fight for our class. We can learn that the federal government is never a neutral mediator of class struggle, but rather the servant of the biggest corporations. We can learn to recognize suicidal appeals for accommodation and compromise with the bosses, especially when they are wrapped in the flag. Slowly, but inevitably, our class will learn to reject the primrose path laid out by treacherous trade union misleaders. We can then start the journey down the more difficult but ultimately only realistic path for our class: the road to revolution.
"The Big Picture"
Last week, every manager from the lowly line supervisor to the divisional head was on the shop floor trying to head off a strike. Since they couldnt sell this take-away contract on its merits, they tried to instill fear and doubt. "Nows not the time to strike," they warned. "Think of the big picture."
So just what is the big picture? Since 9/11, the bosses have launched a full-scale offensive against the working class, with the federal government usually leading the charge! The federal mediators call for a 30-day "cooling-off period" on the day of our strike vote spread demoralization and confusion.
The airline industry is using bankruptcy courts and the Air Transportation Stabilization Board (created after 9/11) to renounce their collective bargaining agreements and demand billion$ in concessions. Theyre out to beat back wages and benefits, while gutting work-rules and laying off thousands. IAM members at United and US Airways face cuts of 20% or more.
The West Coast dockworkers contract expired in May. Negotiations have broken down. Bush, in consultation with the Homeland Security Department, has threatened to send federal troops to bust any possible longshore strike.
The bosses and their government are not limiting their attacks to U.S. workers. The government is using 9/11 to build for an invasion of Iraq. Their bombs and sanctions have already killed a million Iraqi workers. Millions more will be slaughtered so U.S. oil giants can maintain their stranglehold on the worlds oil supply. The bosses and their government have turned the "war on terrorism" into an international war for oil and a domestic war on workers jobs, wages and standard of living.
WASHINGTON, D.C., August 26 Snipers on the rooftops! Helicopters hovering overhead! Mounted police, K-9 units, riot police in Darth Vader uniforms 1,000 cops in all. Whats happening? A U.S. presidential visit to Latin America? No, just the U.S. ruling class, protecting hundreds of fascists in the bosses capital. Bushs war on terrorism doesnt apply to these racist terrorists.
But despite the Nazis-in-blue, PLP-led forces did deal some sharp blows to these scum. The crowd cheered when one man shouted, "Bush is nothing but a Nazi!"
The National Alliance and other fascist allies organized what was billed as the largest fascist rally here since World War II. And if you dont count the racists in the U.S. Congress, Judiciary, and Executive branches, they were right.
The National Alliance is no joke. This was their fifth march in this area, each one bigger than the last. With a $4 million budget, 21 full-time organizers and chapters throughout the U.S., they may succeed in building a serious fascist movement where David Duke, Tom Metzger, Frank Collins and a host of other Nazis and KKKers failed. They have big money behind them (about $2.5 million comes from "donors"), and are making some inroads among youth. They inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and two fascist Marines to gun down a black couple in Georgia a few years ago. Despite the positive anti-fascist opposition, the Nazis still made a clear statement of their growing strength.
We had launched a summer project against fascism to win other workers and students throughout the region to seriously resist the rise of this fascist movement. Before the event, a dozen young comrades from New York, Boston, New Jersey, and Chicago joined local PLPers in distributing over 10,000 flyers and holding rallies in working class Anacostia, University of the District of Columbia, and Howard University. Two local unions a government local and the Metro workers Local 689 endorsed the counter-demonstration. Amid struggles against police brutality, racial health disparities, the AIDS epidemic, imperialist war in Palestine, Afghanistan and soon in Iraq, we called on our brothers and sisters to crush these racist foot soldiers of capitalism.
In previous anti-Nazi activities, the symbolic protests of the liberals and revisionists held sway because of the low level of mass mobilization and our own internal weaknesses. But this time, our militant approach proved more in line with the needs and aspirations of millions more. The positive response from workers and youth to our week of intense political activity strengthened our confidence to play the leading role in the rally of over 400 counter-demonstrators.
Hundreds attempted to block the street where the Nazis were to march and pursued them to the Capitol, but were kept at a distance by a phalanx of cops. One Nazi staggered as a well-aimed rock opened his cheek. Three others were beaten to the ground by a group of anti-racist workers.
With the Capitol gleaming behind them, the fascists paraded behind a stone wall, two rows of temporary fences and several rows of riot-equipped cops. The crowd chanted, "Death, Death, Death to the Nazis, Power, Power, Power to the Workers," as well as, "Fascism Outside, Fascism Inside [the Capitol], Smash All Bosses!" A few protesters objected, calling for love for everyone. The angry response was, "To love the people, we must hate the Nazis! Death to the Nazis!"
The Nazis marched back to Union Station chased by hundreds of angry workers. Two more Nazis lost their police escort and their "invincibility" as workers clobbered them. A vanload of Nazis was surrounded and pummeled, but the police arrived to save them from more.
There were important improvements in the Partys work. We won more of our friends in the unions and other mass organizations to join the protest. Some helped build it and the preceding activities. Consequently, PLP emerged as a leading force at the event itself. The majority were young workers and students. We distributed 200 CHALLENGES, introducing many to PLPs overall ideas. This was a small but important advance in building a political base within the mass movement.
Between 20-30 militant youth with the anarchist group Anti-Racist Action were arrested when they successfully engaged a large group of Nazis in Baltimore, beating up several and preventing them from joining the D.C. march. We have a lot of political disagreements with anarchism, but we welcome the struggle with these young militants over our political strategy for communism.
It was the communist-led Soviet Red Army and partisan movement which basically defeated the Nazi 3rd Reich. Again today, a mass communist movement, based among workers, soldiers, and youth, with the highest levels of unity and discipline will defeat the fascists, their billionaire masters, the strike-breakers and warmakers.
BOSTON, MA., September 10 Ten thousand janitors in SEIU Local 615 are threatening to strike against big property owners for higher wages, full-time work and healthcare benefits. Seventy-five percent of the workers are Latino; most of the rest are black. They receive the most vicious racist treatment. Their struggle against poverty wages could inspire a mass struggle against racism. Thousands of workers ready to strike are a threat to the rulers need to keep workers in check through a fascist police state as they prepare to launch their wars for oil. The class struggle is beginning to sharpen.
These workers join 10,500 West Coast longshoremen, 25,000 Boeing workers, thousands of airline industry workers and others in a still small but growing wave of resistance. (See page 3.) The 4,200 Enron workers and 17,000 at WorldCom left high and dry have fueled their anger.
As usual, those at the head of the march are way behind the workers. The SEIU leaderships idea of a political strike is to wrap it in the bosses flag, build patriotism and deliver workers to the Democratic Party and continued wage slavery. The union leaders are stalling on calling a strike, relying on the mayor rather than on the united strength of the workers. This has demoralized some of the workers but others have exposed the union leadership and trying to counter it with rank-and-file militancy.
"Standing Up for the American Dream" is SEIUs battle cry. This builds the idea that janitors and bosses have common interests, and that these low-paid mainly immigrant workers have a place at the bosses table. This leads workers to support U.S. imperialism, especially the coming oil war in Iraq. This is particularly disgusting since immigrant workers have felt the brunt of the U.S. "War on Terror," and the fascist Homeland Defense. Hundreds are still behind bars, charged with nothing. Thousands have been deported.
Rather than stand with the racist warmakers and strike-breakers, we stand with the international working class. Yes, we demand a living wage. Yes, we demand health care for our families. But more than anything, we stand for a society where workers rule and produce for the needs of their class: communism. Joining and building a mass international PLP is the most important advance workers can gain from these struggles.
BROOKLYN, NY Once more the NYPD shows its true colors, as racist killer cops. In the space of one week, Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, they shot and killed four borough residents, at least three of them black: Marcellus Graham in Flatbush, Ernest Prather in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Paul Angel in Bensonhurst and Jamil Moore in Canarsie. Bushs "war on terror" is running rampant on the streets of Brooklyn. With all the bosses patriotic garbage "celebrating" 9/11 and "hero" cops, the Klan in blue continue their racist rampage to enforce the bosses terror against the working class. But there have been no mass demonstrations against these murders, neither by Democratic Party "militants" like Al Sharpton nor by any irate workers and youth. We cannot allow this slaughter to proceed as "business as usual." We must make our unions, churches, schools,etc. protest these racist terror acts.
On top of these murders, DNA evidence has proven that the five black and Latin youth convicted a decade ago for the so-called "wilding" rape and assault of the Central Park jogger were actually innocent. Another man, in prison for several rapes, has confessed. So all the media racist screaming about the "wilding youths" turns out to be more racist lies. For that, these youths spent seven years in prison for a crime they never committed. Truly this is a CRIMINAL justice system.
BOSTON, August 7 PLP members and friends demonstrated at the Cambridge Police Dept. today, protesting the July murders of two mentally ill workers by Boston area cops. Shooting to kill, especially minority workers, has become unwritten police policy.
Three cops entered the basement of a Mattapan home and found a woman with a knife who had recently been released from a mental hospital and had stopped taking her medication. She had just cut the throats of her two young children and injured herself. They murdered her in cold blood, pumping several bullets into her.
The children never should have been in her care. This horrible tragedy was a direct result of racist police action combined with social service cutbacks. Over 200 Boston social workers were laid off last April, doubling the caseloads of those still working.
Several weeks later Cambridge cops burst into the basement of 59-year-old Daniel Furtado, who also had stopped taking his medication, and was wielding a childs hatchet. The cops were responding to a neighbors call that he had cut their cable TV wires. He had lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and was known to the police as a harmless man. The cops forbade the family to intervene and negotiate and after a three-hour standoff, they murdered Furtado in a fusillade of bullets.
Both these deaths were deemed "justifiable" by police department investigations. The cops only had to say they felt threatened by their victims.
At the rally our chants and leaflet struck a nerve with other workers. Hundreds took our flyers and CHALLENGES and several joined the picket line. We warned about the dangers of passivity and individualism within the working class and called on the many onlookers to join us in fighting back.
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 9 After the LA County Board of Supervisors voted to close 11 of the 18 neighborhood clinics here, there have been many meetings and rallies where angry workers protested the cuts and worse ones coming. At one recent mass meeting, a minister even blamed the government which spends billions to kill people abroad while killing people here with these cuts.
The bosses claim these cuts are necessary to cover a $668 million budget deficit, while enacting a $400 billion war budget to protect Exxon Mobils oil profits. But the union and community leaders organizing against the cuts are directing workers anger at voting certain Supervisors out of office. The County Board is sponsoring Proposition B, which would raise LA home-owners property taxes about $40 a year to pay for part of the healthcare deficit. This would force some workers to pay for the healthcare of poorer workers and the bosses laugh all the way to the bank.
If California were an independent country, its $1.2 trillion economy would be the ninth biggest in the world. This enormous wealth is produced by the labor of some 15 million workers. It could guarantee that no one in the state go hungry, homeless or lack proper healthcare. But reality paints a different picture.
In LA County, one of the richest in the state responsible for more than one third of the states economic output one million working Angelinos do not earn enough money for basic needs, much less to pay for health insurance. The reason? Bosses of big industries like garment employing over 100,000 workers and producing almost 10% of the countys wealth, do not guarantee the minimum wage, paid holidays or vacations, or any health coverage from the wealth they steal from workers labor.
No wonder 3,000,000 county residents have no healthcare and are forced to rely on the public health system for their health needs. For many this is a slaughter house. Now, with these huge cuts, an already dismal system will become genocidal. Why? Because under capitalism the bosses own the products and services produced by the working class and decide who gets how much based on profitability all at the expense of human need.
Union and community leaders claim initiatives like Proposition B can solve the health crisis and reform capitalism. But a system based on profits for the few cant be reformed to meet the needs of the many who produce these profits.
This is the main lesson workers must learn in this fight. The working class does not have to live under such a murderous system. We can fight for a communist revolution to smash the capitalists and their system. and build a society that will produce for workers need, not for bosses profit. Getting CHALLENGE into the hands of more county workers and those workers forced to depend on county hospitals is an important step forward in this current battle against these murderous healthcare cuts!
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA. "Who knew the stock market would be in the tank? And who knew wed be at war in Afghanistan?" Thats how the union president answered a San Luis Obispo Transit (SLO) bus driver who asked why we now have to pay $60 a month, after taxes, in pension contributions.
As the old contract expires, its more than just a rumor well take a hit with the new one. The companys medical contribution leaves us short by $170 per member per month. For 15 years its been low-paid black and Latino workers whose healthcare has been threatened by racist cutbacks. Now higher-paid workers health coverage is being hit, reflecting a sharpening of the bosses crisis. But theres more.
For years the union has blurred our vision with the dangerous illusion that the Democrats and a rising stock market would make our families secure. Our pension plans have us chained to the stock market as a two-year slide turns into a nosedive. The union president now admits that war figures into the equation.
During World War II, families willingly donated aluminum pots and pans to the war effort to defeat the Nazis. But the developing Mid-East wars could see us being forced to collect aluminum soda cans to cover lost wages and pension benefits. Oil giants like ExxonMobil expect the working class to sacrifice to finance the Persian Gulf oil war that is crucial to maintaining their world dominance. The Democrats and Republicans agree we should pay barrels of blood for barrels of oil!
Here at S.L.O. Transit, the $165 billion federal budget deficit means fewer tax dollars for transit workers wages, medical benefits and pensions. Meanwhile, the Pentagon gets nearly $400 billion but schools, public health and transit get next to nothing.
The cynical LA County health director, Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, said he intended "to balance a budget, not meet all the health needs that exist in LA County. Its not like were meeting those needs already."
The new transit boss substitutes "transit needs" for "health needs" when he said, "Were going to do more with less." He means transit workers and riders will be doing more and getting less!
The working class has made its greatest gains when we attack the capitalist system and fight for the needs of our entire class. At S.L.O. Transit there is talk of slowdowns at some operating divisions, but little news of our contract negotiations. On several sides of this city, we are patiently organizing the coming fight for our future, the fight for workers power.
As war and a fascist police state are the order of the day, racism and inequality are intensifying. Racist inequality is a principal foundation of the system, a part of its structure. In July, the National Urban League released its annual report, The State of Black America. It details some of the most racist aspects of the U.S. political and economic system.
The stock markets recent collapse is another example of capitalisms instability and its inability to provide the working class in general, and black and Latino workers in particular, stable jobs and a decent standard of living.
Workers are paying the billions of dollars needed to invade Iraq and losing billions more disappearing on the stock market gambling table and open thievery of U.S. corporations. Black workers have been hit the hardest. In June, the unemployment rate for whites was 5.2%, but was more than twice that for black workers, 10.7%. (As CHALLENGE has reported, these figure are about half the actual jobless totals.) In 1998, 26% of African-Americans were poor, compared with 8% of non-Hispanic whites. There has been no gain for black workers in home ownership since before the civil rights movement. In the workplace, blacks are twice as likely to hold lower-paying service jobs. The percentage of black men between 25 and 34 whose wages are below the poverty line jumped from about 20% in 1969 to over 50% in 1991.
If black workers were at the same level as whites, there would be three million more black homeowners, three million more blacks with high school diplomas and three million more with college degrees. The average black family would see a 56% jump in annual income.
Both political parties are responsible. Under Clinton the absolute incomes of the poorest blacks declined dramatically while one million more people, mainly young black men, were imprisoned. Clinton destroyed welfare and replaced it with $1.67/hour slave labor "Workfare" jobs. Since California passed Proposition 209 in 1995 banning the consideration of "race" in college admissions, government employment and contracting, black and Latino enrollment at University of California campuses has dropped by roughly 50%.
Meanwhile, black people win Oscars, break home-run records, lead in womens tennis and mens golf and dominate the music world. Racist Bush is quick to point to his National Security Advisor Condelezza Rice and Secy. of State Colin Powell as playing leading roles in his administration. The rulers are trying to convince tens of millions of the most oppressed and exploited to fight in their wars for Exxons oil profits.
Unfortunately, the Urban League, the other civil rights organizations and the unions are in the hands of the most dominant "liberal" wing of the ruling class, which is pushing the hardest for war and a fascist police state. The working class has no stake in supporting the rulers efforts to convince them they can "become anything they want to be" (even CEOs). This has never been true. We must smash racism in all its forms, unite the working class during class struggle, and build a mass PLP from inside the rulers own mass organizations.
Millions of people worldwide think terrorism is a legitimate way to fight imperialism, the biggest terrorists of modern times. It seems to be "the weapon of the weak," a means for the very oppressed to fight back. A single terrorist with a group, a bomb and willingness to die basically cannot be stopped. But individual terrorism is reactionary and anti-working class.
Many in the Middle East see terrorism as the main tactic of anti-imperialism. The reactionary ideology behind this is nationalism and religious fanaticism. While uniting with the masses in fighting U.S. and Israeli imperialism and fascist mass terror, we must also fight terrorism and its reactionary ideology which never has and never will lead the working class to power.
Terrorist politics reflects the anti-working class idea that millions of workers and their allies cant be organized for mass violence and revolutionary political action. This expresses contempt for the working class. Whats more, terrorism usually provokes even more violence and suffering at the hands of the imperialists, without preparing workers to defend themselves.
Palestinian terrorist groups, like Hamas and Al Aqsa (linked to Arafats PLO) want to replace Israeli bosses with Palestinian bosses in exploiting Palestinian workers. They plan and carry out attacks on civilians while opposing the organizing of workers across all borders along class lines. Their goal is a state run by a small elite of fascist Islamic fundamentalists or nationalist bosses.
Why should workers fight and die for another form of exploitation? We should never advocate any kind of capitalist solution. Nothing less than communist revolution will end exploitation of the working class, whether in Palestine or anywhere else.
Some bourgeois anti-imperialists advocate civil disobedience rather than terrorism, like Gandhis tactics in India during the 1920s, or the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. in the 60s. But the "politics" of civil disobedience also means relying on some group of exploiters. Sometimes it means banking on "world opinion," which means counting on divisions among the imperialists, either within the Israeli ruling class or between European, Israeli and U.S. rulers.
In short, "civil disobedience" means hoping one group of rulers will support you because they find it useful to do so in their own struggle against another group of rulers.
Terrorism and "civil disobedience" are two sides of the politics of "national liberation." Neither will train the working class to take revolutionary leadership. A Palestinian state run by Palestinian bosses and cops either secular like Arafats fascist Palestinian Authority, or religious, like the brutal fascist regime in Iran holds only continued super-exploitation for the working class.
In workers hands, communist politics can be a mighty material force. We must bring communist ideas to the workers in every struggle. Just a few decades ago, the fundamentalists were relatively weak in the region and were built by U.S., Saudi and other Arab bosses to counter the communists, who led the working class, particularly the key sector of oil workers. The Iraq Communist Party, one of the largest in the region, had a multi-ethnic leadership (Arab, Kurd and Jewish). It organized a massive violent general strike which led to the toppling of the pro-British monarchy in the late 1950s. But the CPs reformist and "lesser evil" politics (alliance with "progressive nationalist" bosses) helped prevent the working class from taking revolutionary power. The united front with "lesser evils" led to the nationalist Baath Party, which murdered tens of thousands of their former allies (communists and workers in general). Saddam Hussein was a product of the Baath Partys anti-communist politics. The CIA then helped finger most of the targeted communists. Such united fronts caused the slaughter of millions more communists and other workers in Indonesia, Iran and Egypt, among others.
Fighting the ideology of terrorism, "lesser evil" bosses and three-stage revolution national liberation, socialism (with many features of capitalism) and later communism are essential to building a new communist movement.
The U.S. ruling class, in its drive towards war to seize Iraqs oil fields, has painted Saddam Hussein as "worse than Hitler," especially for his attempt to develop so-called "weapons of mass destruction (WMD)." Of course, the U.S. is the worlds leading producer of WMD.
They charge Saddam with threatening to use chemical and biological weapons. And who supplied Iraq with the materials to create such a program? None other than the U.S.!
According to two reports (5/25/94 and 10/7/94) of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration, a veritable witches brew of biological materials were exported to Iraq by private U.S. suppliers. This was pursuant to application and licensing by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Among the dozens of biological agents shipped to Iraq during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war were anthrax, clostridium Botulinum (a source of botulinum toxin), Histoplasma Capsulatam (which causes a disease attacking the lungs, brain, spinal cord and heart) and brucella Melitensis (a bacteria that can damage major organs), among others.
The Senate Report said, "These biological materials were not weakened and were capable of reproduction.." Furthermore, "It was later learned that these microorganisms exported by the U.S. were identical to those United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraq biological warfare program."
Interestingly, a front-page article in the New York Times (8/19) that reported senior military officers revealing the Reagan administration had provided Iraq with critical battle planning assistance during decisive battles in the Iran-Iraq war, neglected to mention the U.S. supplying Iraq with these biowarfare agents. Presumably that was "news not fit to print."
So U.S. rulers use Husseins possession of such WMD which he may very well no longer have as the "reason" for their invasion of Iraq Yet it was these very same rulers who put them in Saddams hands. If this makes Hussein "worse than Hitler," what does that make his U.S. imperialist suppliers who now declare themselves on a path of unending war and expanding fascism?
MINNEAPOLIS, MN August 23 Bap-Bap-Bap-Bap! Shots from the guns of police Sgt. Bob Gretton and cop Steve Blackwell filled the air. When the shooting stopped, 11-year-old Julius Powell, had a gunshot wound the size of a quarter in his left arm and his uncles pit bull was dead. Angry residents in the Jordan neighborhood exploded. People started cursing and throwing bottles at the police and news crews as they arrived on the scene. Several cars and news vans were hit and one news van was torched.
It all began when several police cars and a special SWAT van came to the home of Julius grandmother, Shirley Powell, with a "high risk" narcotics search warrant. They leaped from their cars, guns drawn. Julius uncle, Tavares Powell, was holding a leashed pit bull. The police claim he let go of the leash and the dog ran towards them. Gretton and Blackwell both fired MP-5 submachine guns at the dog and say a ricocheting bullet hit Julius.
But neighbors and family members arent buying it. "The dog just stood there barking and the cops came up shooting," said Tony Powell. Julius parents said they thought the injury was caused by a direct gunshot from at least one of the cops. Inspector Tim Dolan said, " It was an accidental shooting, regardless if it was a ricochet or we hit directly."
An angry crowd grew to about 100 and the police cut their search short. They found six bags of marijuana and a handgun. Shirley Powell was arrested and charged with endangerment of a child. Yet that was never a consideration when the cops, weapons drawn, raided the house with ten children under age 14 in it.
The next day black nationalist businessman Mike Moss met with city leaders, praising them for how they handled the situation. His City Incorporated all-black security force will be used to patrol the neighborhood.
This was the third act of racist police terror this month. On August 1, 60-year-old Martha Donald, with a history of mental illness and substance abuse, was killed in a shoot-out with police in a bathroom of her housing project. Her niece called 911 because her aunt had been drinking and threatening to use her gun. One cop was also killed.
From that point on, many black workers feel that the police have reacted like, "You shot one of ours, now well shoot as many of yours as we can get away with." On August 13, 19-year-old Terrelle Oliver was shot at least three times by cops who said he threatened them as he fled!
This latest round of racist terror is just a taste of what the bosses have in store for us as they inch closer to war and build a fascist police state. We will increase our CHALLENGE readership here and discuss with our co-workers how best to respond.
Workers of the World, Write!
As the chairperson of our schools teachers union committee, I publish and distribute its newsletter to all staff members at school. The newsletter is three years old. It reports on city-wide union issues, organizes modest campaigns for improvements at our school and analyzes how major world developments significantly impact us.
I do this openly as a communist and proud member of PLP. Teachers have accepted and support this approach, electing and re-electing me as chairperson of the union committee. In fact, the majority of our teachers get CHALLENGE.
In February our local union president wrote me stating its "inappropriate" to "argue a private political cause" in the newsletter. The president was particularly critical of the newsletters comparison of George Bush and Osama bin Laden. The presidents anti-communist letter led to a good discussion in our elected union committee. They wrote a strong response signed by every member! The letter:
Indicated "surprise and upset" with the presidents request for our chapter chairperson to "desist from putting forward his political views" in the newsletter;
Cited our chapter chairperson being "elected twice by the staff with their full knowledge of his politics";
Recalled that two years ago discussions were held regarding the appropriateness of the chapter chairperson and others expressing their political views in the newsletter and "while there was not unanimous agreement, there was a clear mandate from the vast majority of staff members" that the newsletter was "in fact, an excellent forum to present views on issues that concern us all, teachers and students";
Approved the chapter chairpersons attempt "to initiate a dialogue about the war, partly to counter the very dangerous sentiment that youre either for us or against us which the current Washington administration is proposing and which perhaps you [the union president] seems too ready to accept";
Said the committee believes its wrong to criticize our chapter chairpersons efforts to encourage wide debate among union members about war because "as educators it is our duty to engage in inquiry and debate on this and other serious issues"; and,
Concluded that unions are political organizations and "it would be a very dangerous trend to attempt to limit the type of political views a member of the organization can hold and express within all union forums and publications." [It should be noted that PLP does not support unhindered free speech for racists or for others who organize in support of exploitation.]
Every faculty member received a copy of our letter as well as the presidents, and he backed off. In another letter, the president said our chapter chairperson is encouraged, along with "other politically committed members," to air their beliefs and "engage in debate." He said if I wished to create an "opinion section" for the newsletter, I was "free to do so."
This was an important victory. My co-workers deserve serious respect for taking a difficult but highly principled stand. The union committee accomplished something quite important. We won the right, at least for now, to have a revolutionary anti-capitalist point of view in our unions political debate.
Midwestern Striving to be a Fish in the Sea of the People
This summer our club based in a church soup kitchen has grown modestly through some political struggle and developing ties with friends, raising our commitment to the Party.
Representing the church, some of us walked through several miles of neighborhoods north of our parish, preparing for a meeting with our congresspersons aide. Workers eagerly took our bilingual flyers decrying the deaths of children in Baghdad, Bethlehem and our own city. We sang hymns and versions of "Bella Ciao" (an Italian anti-fascist song) and the Internationale with our priests hearty participation.
In meeting with the congressional aide, a multi-racial group raised the representatives silence on the coming Iraqi war, her support for Israeli imperialism and inaction on using federal homeless funds quickly and decently to house our sisters and brothers. The aide dutifully took notes and promised answers. We will intensify our pressure and confront him early this fall. By such actions many church members, who basically think our congressperson is pretty good, will learn much more about the role of liberal politicians.
We are also hosting a program about the racist murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis caused by U.S. and British sanctions and military attacks. From this meeting and a sermon I will give shortly we will struggle for an even larger group to meet with staff members of one or both of our senators. They are big supporters of Israeli fascism and racist "homeland security." After the senators are more exposed as racist imperialist operatives, we hope to join with student activists in our city to sharpen the anti-war, anti-fascist work in the metropolitan region.
Our best activity this summer was our "summer camp for activists and those who want to be more active." A group of us lived out a communist life-style for five days in a friends barn near the Canadian border. We brought many books and articles on racism and imperialist war from a church library. Each person chose a short selection to study and report on. Many had never done this before and did well in this context of warm, comradely leadership and support. We also fished, toured the lovely farm region and relaxed.
One terrifying experience brought home the reality of intensifying U.S. fascism. We entered Canada just to look around and stayed for less than an hour. When returning, we discovered the only friend who was not yet a citizen had forgotten her green card. We were detained for two hours. Fortunately her brother was able to locate her card in her apartment, and the number matched the computers data. Her name had been mis-recorded. Had her name been "Fatima" rather than Frances the INS might have jailed her for deportation. As she held her small son and sobbed, I knew something of what it must have been like for a U.S. slave to be on the block and fear being sold away from her family. Our friend and her husband have been giving much more leadership to our club, both before and after this experience. Just as in fascist Italy in the 1930s and 40s, the Party can grow in the jaws of fascism!
With confidence in the Working Class,
On September 5, about 300 steelworkers and others protested Bushs appearance at a Republican fund-raiser. The protest was used to support a liberal Democrat for Congress. It was a pretty tame gathering, the sole proposal being getting out the vote. We rallied in a small park across the river from where Bush was speaking.
It was a much smaller, and more passive version of the anti-globalization rally in Seattle several years ago union members, environmentalists and a few anarchists. In Seattle there was a lot of anger over sweatshops, prison labor and the terrible conditions workers face worldwide. Since 9/11, the bosses and their agents in the unions and mass organizations have turned this hatred of the system into a more typical trade union movement.
One speaker was cheered when he called for international solidarity. Workers are hungry to understand the world we are facing. Steelworkers are working without contracts, losing health care and pensions. As the bosses move to war to prop up their system of thievery, these attacks will intensify. The better we know the workers, and the better they know the Party, and the more battles we share, the greater our influence. Developing networks of CHALLENGE readers and distributors is especially important.
Sometimes its hard to gauge the quantitative and qualitative effect we have in the mass movement. Its equally hard to gauge the effect the mass movement has on us. We successfully mobilized our PLP club and some friends to attend this rally. Generally it was a good thing. We had a chance to interact with our co-workers and union members, and have more serious discussions with those who came with us. Its another small way I am getting more involved in my unions political action committee. We must be in the mass movement in order to build a mass base for PLP and the great prize we are fighting for a communist society run by and for the working class.
A couple of days ago I heard an early 1960s anti-war folksong that had a bitter line that went something like, "Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to flowers everyone." I started wondering where has all the money for public transit gone?
Im no singer, but with the idea of starting a little struggle on the shop floor, I posted a short summary of the 2003 US defense (war) budget. Within a couple of hours, a forklift operator came to me and asked, "Did you put up those papers about the defense budget?"
Since I knew him a little, I said, "Yeah Carl, I put them up." He hesitated for a moment and I wasnt sure where this was going. Then he said in a low voice, "You got any more copies?" I went straight to find a copy machine.
The next day someone had scrawled in big letters across the bottom "Bomb Iraq." At first I was going to write a sharp political comment underneath it. But I think I should get some feedback from Carl and a couple of others on what to do about it. Its a chance to show Carl CHALLENGE newspaper.
This incident shows two sides of the struggle going on among the working class. Many workers buy into the imperialist "Whack Iraq" program but a ton of workers already know that the bosses plans mean that more "death and taxes" are the only "sure" things for workers under capitalism. Now the struggle begins. Thats what were after, a chance to put our communist ideas against the bosses line of exploitation and war.
Red Transit Worker
Theres a large Palestinian "liberation" movement in the UK. The "Scottish Friends Of Palestine Campaign" had a march of 50,000 in London on April 13. We were invited but we declined. This is why.
They claim theyre for the defense of the Palestinians, but their speakers shout, "DIE ISRAEL DIE!" on the platform. The capitalist "left" calls for the victory of the Intifada because they feel that a victory for the Palestinian capitalist class would be beneficial to the Palestinian working class. This directly contradicts the theory of the class struggle, which states there cannot be unity between capitalist and worker, and that for workers, theres no "national interest."
As Lenin said, a defeat for one group of imperialists will not weaken capitalism. The fall of the British Empire has not weakened capitalism one iota. The nationalism of the oppressed is no better than the nationalism of the oppressor. Nationalism is anti-working class poison and plays no progressive role in society! Its an attempt to hide the class struggle, to unify social classes that have antagonistic interests.
Oswald Mosley (British Union Of Fascists) said everything must be subordinated to the "national interest"; strikes must be banned, and that if people want to end class struggle they should join the Fascists. Its interesting that the British Nazi Party also calls for the victory of Palestine. So now groups openly on the bosses side are allied to the capitalist "left" who claim to represent our class interests. Anything the Nazis support must be very suspect indeed.
Uniting with our exploiters is a dead-end for workers. The working class should wage a war against them and their "left wing" capitalist lackeys. Workers have no stake in shedding blood in the Middle East. Smash the social-fascist lackeys of the bosses! Abolish the wage system!
RED EYE reprints clippings from the New York Times, British Manchester Guardian Weekly, and many other well-known capitalist publications. From their own papers we collect material which communists find useful in exposing capitalist manuevers and weaknesses. Especially useful for students and others who want an "official source for important facts. Abbreviations: MG= Manchester Guardian; NYT= New York Times; MM=Multinational Monitor; LOW=Liberal Opinion Weekly; FT=Financial Times
Bush ready for big sacrifice?
When President Bush held his economic forum in Waco, Texas Jay Leno remarked that Mr. Bush would do whatever it took to keep the economy strong "even if he must stay on vacation for three months." (NYT, 8/22)
World is learning: votes no help
Mr. Haddadi, like many others cares most about the misery of cramped housing and a lack of water. Discontent is so high that nearly 70 percent of the voters in Algiers area did not cast ballots in the national elections on May 30. Asked if he voted, Mr. Haddadi shouted, "Never! It wont change anything." (NYT, 8/11)
School $: Guess who gets most
In most states, school districts with the neediest students receive far less state and local tax money than schools with the fewest poor children. (NYT, 8/9)
Productivity mystery solved
By cutting back the hours of workers without reducing the workload, employers pushed up the nations annual growth rate of productivity by 1.1 percent in the second quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday. (NYT, 8/10)
Capitalists are single-minded
The hierarchies of businesses continue to contain an above-average representation of hard-nosed, ambitious individuals who want to be number one. When Gianni Agnelli, patriarch of Fiats founding family, was asked what made a successful company, he said: "An odd number of directors in the boardroom." Before adding, "Three is too many." (FT, 8/9)
English-teacher shortage hits 5 million immigrant students
The number of students with limited English skills, most of them Hispanic, has doubled. to five million .If [they] were to be taught in classes of the average national size about 17 pupils per teacher up to 290,000 teachers would be needed. (NYT, 9/5)
US disrupts already-inadequate programs to aid worlds women
Brutality kills and maims girls and women across much of Africa and Asia .Last month Mr. Bush cut off all $34 million in funds for the United Nations Population Fund in all 142 countries in which it operates .
[The] program in Burundi has now been canceled along with midwife training in Algeria, a center to fight AIDS in Haiti and a maternal mortality reduction program in India .
The central issue is that 500,000 women die each year in pregnancy or childbirth; that 100 million women and girls worldwide are "missing" because they are denied adequate food or medical care, or because they are aborted or killed at birth because they are female; that 60 percent of the children kept out of elementary school are girls; that 130 million girls have undergone genital mutilation; that between one and two million girls and women are trafficked into prostitution annually .(NYT, 8/16)