August 20, 2003

  1. Cops Protect Racist System
    March Against Epidemic Of Jersey Police Terror
  2. Phony Liberia `Liberation' Aids Liberals' War Aims
    1. IT'S STILL OIL....
  3. Government Fake Figures Hide Millions of Unemployed
  4. Protestors Slam Racist Cop Murder
  5. Court Rulings Will Not End Racist Police Brutality
  6. Mexico: Tire Workers Refuse To Let Bosses,
    Union Hacks Roll Over Them
  7. Steel Bosses Consolidate; Union Leaders Collaborate;
    Workers' Fight Must Escalate
  8. PLP Summer Project Youth
    Unite With Exploited Workers
  9. Texas Students Expose Racist E.O. Wilson's
    Pro-Boss `Theories'
  10. California `Recall' Circus Is Diversion From Real Fight-Back
  11. Pentagon Hides 8,000-Plus GI Casualty Figures
  12. Gangs in El Salvador Mimic
    Big Criminal Bosses
  13. Haiti Proves U.S. Intervention Never `Liberated' Anybody
  14. Powell vs. Neo-Cons: Warlords' Dogfight
  15. U.S. Rulers' Wars for Oil: Next Stop, Tehran?
  16. Gimme a break
    1. State Capitalism,
      Privatization Both Dead End For Workers
    2. Once a Nazi,
      Always a Nazi
    3. Health Care A
      Shell Game
    4. VW: Communists Needed
    1. Rebellions brewing in US?
    2. US needed 9/11 for Iraq war
    3. US wars: black workers say no
    4. US abandons `living wage'
    5. Cultural revolution led him
    6. Bombs show early US war plan

Cops Protect Racist System
March Against Epidemic Of Jersey Police Terror

NEWARK, NJ, Aug. 2 -- Almost 100 people held a militant rally and march to Police Headquarters today protesting the murder of Michael Newkirk by Newark cops, and the epidemic of police terror sweeping New Jersey and working-class areas nationwide. The rally was called by the People's Organization for Progress (POP), an anti-police brutality group based here. PLP participated and our members distributed CHALLENGE at the rally and to spectators.

The police claim they got a call about a "quality-of-life" crime, a "disturbance in progress" at a neighborhood barbecue. Their "Neighborhood Enforcement Stabilization Task Force" and "Auto Theft Task Force" responded, and a few minutes later Michael was shot once in the head by killer cop Thomas Ruane. The cops claim Michael had a gun. Two eyewitnesses said Michael had a bottle in his hand and "tripped on a curb as he was following their orders to lie down." (Newark Star Ledger, 8/1). Now the cops are trying to justify the murder by labeling the barbecue as an out-of-control gang activity.

The police use of the terms "quality of life" and "neighborhood enforcement stabilization" is not accidental. Both concepts have been popularized among urban police departments by George Kelling, professor at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice in Newark. Kelling's book, "Fixing Broken Windows," is the main source for the spate of "community policing" programs being implemented nationally. Kelling sees young black and Latin males who hang out on the streets as "predators" and "barbarians" who threaten social order. Kelling also publicly defended New York cops who shot Amadou Diallo 41 times. This fascist ideology is used to control the working class and to cover up the true causes of crime and poverty, rooted in the capitalist system. If Kelling and his ruling class allies can win workers to community policing and to the idea that crime and poverty stem from individual choice, perpetrated by "barbarians" on urban street corners, our class will continue to be divided and our potential for revolution limited.

POP has a long history of protesting police murder and racist brutality. Many of its members are dedicated fighters. However, at police headquarters, POP's leadership demanded the establishment of a Civilian Complaint Review Board, and the keeping of municipal records of police brutality. POP also invited the mayors of Newark, Irvington, East Orange, and Orange to attend their next meeting and explain what they are doing to keep their cops under control.

Class rule by the capitalists means that ultimately they must hold power at the point of a gun to enforce wage slavery, private property and racist inequality. The cops' job is to serve this ruling-class agenda. Amid growing fascism and U.S. imperialist wars to control the world, the cops' terrorism becomes even more important to the rulers and is therefore more open. Police terror must be racist because black and Latin workers, those most open to breaking their chains through revolutionary means, must be controlled and terrorized.

Given this reality, all the review boards or black and Latin cops and politicians in the world cannot stop racist police terror. Only a communist revolution will work. The rulers who stand behind the ideas of Kelling and his cohorts will never go quietly. Those who know that the profit system cannot be reformed, and still advocate reforming the police as a "solution," are perpetuating the police terror they say they oppose. PLP calls on all workers and students to organize for communist revolution while we are fighting every single instance of police terror the rulers throw at us.

Phony Liberia `Liberation' Aids Liberals' War Aims

Secretary of State Colin Powell, the New York Times and other voices of the dominant, liberal wing of U.S. capital are urging a reluctant George Bush to land Marines in Liberia to help stop the civil war there. Powell & Co. are desperately seeking to regain some shred of the credibility for the U.S that it lost by invading Iraq under blatantly false pretenses. In Liberia, where Time magazine (7/28) reported "the rare sight of foreigners waving U.S. flags rather than burning them," the main U.S. rulers think they can appear as benevolent saviors. Joseph Siegle, of the Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations wrote (CFR website, 7/31), "A key theme of President Bush's recent trip to Africa was that there is a compassionate side to U.S. foreign policy. The failure of the United States to take decisive leadership in Liberia provokes cynicism of this claim." Powell insists, "The humanitarian situation is getting worse, and so we are anxious to move quickly" (Reuters, 7/30).

A New York Times editorial (8/2) laid out a desired scenario: "All the elements of a desperately needed American intervention in Liberia are moving into place....West African soldiers could take up positions in Liberia on Monday. The first two of three warships carrying 2,300 American troops arrive offshore this weekend. The only thing missing is an order from President Bush for those troops to go ashore and join the West Africans in trying to impose a cease-fire and stop the killing. While he hesitates, Liberians die." Bush balks because U.S. forces are stretched thin by the guerrilla war in Iraq and deployments in over 100 other countries.

Liberal U.S. rulers hope that images of poor, black Liberians welcoming their Marine liberators will beam across the world. But this isn't missionary work. Maintaining U.S. supremacy is the chief motive behind U.S. action in Liberia. By appearing as the good guys, for once, the main U.S. rulers think they can win allies for future imperialist wars against their many and far-flung enemies. The CFR's Siegle writes, "U.S. moral leadership is indispensable to combat a host of transnational threats for which we need the enthusiastic cooperation of many global partners."


And, as in Iraq, the need to control the world's oil supplies is leading Washington to intervene in Liberia. Siegle tells part of the story. "We also have economic interests in this region. Nigeria supplies 7% of U.S. oil -- a level that is expected to double in the next 10 years. The longer this conflict embroils West Africa and diverts Nigerian troops and resources, the less Nigerians will be able to deal with their own many problems, not least of which is an increasingly militant Islamic population in the north."

This Exxon Mobil apologist fails to mention that the bulk of Persian Gulf oil shipped to Europe and North America and every drop of Nigerian and Angolan crude headed to those markets passes within shooting range of Liberia. It's no accident that the three nations with the largest global oil companies, the U.S., Britain and France, now have military forces respectively in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast, where tankers must skirt the western bulge of Africa. As far back as 1980, U.S. Navy strategists identified the region as an oil shipping "chokepoint" that had to be defended from U.S. rivals at all costs.


In addition, Liberia produces key raw materials. The recent bloodshed there has disrupted shipments from the vast Firestone rubber plantation, Africa's largest. Although now owned by the Japanese Bridgestone Company, most of its production goes to the U.S., including the military. The plantation is Bridgestone-Firestone's preferred source of rubber. The company has had to turn to supplies from other parts of the world to keep its plants running. Liberia also mines diamonds, gold, iron ore, nickel, manganese, palladium, platinum and uranium. These minerals are essential in the making of high-tech weapons.

Nobody should fall for the liberals' fake humanitarianism. Their goal in Liberia, and everywhere, is imperialist domination. The only intervention that can end this tyranny is communist revolution. That's the goal of our Party.

Government Fake Figures Hide Millions of Unemployed

The U.S. Labor Department's unemployment statistics are "as credible as the fortune you get in those Chinese cookies," says New York Post business writer John Crudele (7/29). Even before the government announced that joblessness had "fallen" from 6.4% in June to 6.2% in July, Crudele predicted that, "You can count on one thing: The data will be misleading." The reasons?

* "The government missed a whopping 440,000 jobs that were lost last year."

* Without its "adjustment" of the unemployment rate downward last January, the June 6.4% rate should have been 6.6%.

* While the Labor Dept. had reported a June loss of 30,000 jobs, it now revised it to 72,000. (New York Times, 8/2) Why then should we believe its currently-announced July figure of only 44,000?

* "Recently it [the Labor Dept.] lowered the number of people it canvassed in chronically underemployed inner cities," (NY Post, 7/29), which would skew the true jobless figures still further.

In an attempt to play with the numbers, "The government recently started seasonally adjusting its employment figures each and every month," says Crudele. "Washington may as well let the numbers be picked by a Lotto machine." As the Times reports (8/2), "The rate fell, to 6.2% [in July] from 6.4% in June, only because the number of people looking for jobs declined faster than the number of people holding them. People have been withdrawing from the labor market in greater numbers because of their poor prospects."

As Crudele reports, "The less widely watched...unemployment rate" that includes discouraged workers not counted as unemployed was 10.6% in June. Using that rate, the truer jobless figure would be 15.6 million. And that doesn't include the prison population of 2.1 million (highest ever) of which at least two-thirds are jailed for non-violent drug-possession "crimes" and shouldn't even be in prison. Nor does it include several million still on welfare who would be looking for jobs if they existed. So the real jobless figure probably exceeds 20 million.

Of these totals, the unemployment rate for black and Latino workers is twice that of white workers because of racism -- last hired, first fired. From this the bosses make at least a quarter of a trillion dollars in super-profits, the difference in family income of the two groups.

With manufacturing employment shrinking for the 39th consecutive month, the Employment Policy Institute called it "the greatest contraction in private sector employment since the Great Depression." Since the alleged "end" of the recession in 2001, "private sector employment has fallen 2.5 million."

And the figures get worse. In a report entitled, "The Disposable Worker; Living in a Job Loss Economy," the Rutgers University Center for Workforce Development says, "Nearly one-fifth of American workers were laid off from their jobs [at one time or another] over the last three years." That's nearly 30 million workers experiencing unemployment (and, again, does not include those in prison or on welfare). The report concludes that workers' "confidence in the American economy and political leadership is at its lowest level since the [Rutgers] `Work Trend' series began."

In fact, jobless figures would be still higher if it weren't for the tremendous increase in military spending, but that doesn't increase overall income for the working class. If anything, it simply increases the federal deficit which puts greater pressure on social services and leads to still more layoffs of government workers -- not to mention its use as a killer of innocent Iraqi and Afghani workers, and U.S. GI's.

So this is the "future" offered to workers by murderous U.S. rulers: a lifetime of job insecurity, mass racist unemployment, declining wages and imperialist wars -- enough reason to join with PLP to bury this hellish, exploitative system.

Protestors Slam Racist Cop Murder

JERSEY CITY, NJ, July 28 -- "It doesn't matter whether you're black, white or Latin, no one deserves police brutality." said Luisa Ives, surrounded by more than 200 protestors in front of the Hudson County courthouse. The group had marched the previous Friday, blocking a major ramp leading to the Lincoln Tunnel in Weehawken.

Luisa's son Jose Ives, Jr., a high school honor student, was brutally beaten and then died of injuries sustained from Weehawken cop Alejandro Jaramillo.

On July 16, Jose Ives' two brothers were approached by Jaramillo, who was off duty. The boys had accidentally set off a car alarm. They ran back to talk to their bother Jose who was in a Chinese restaurant. Jose walked his brothers home when they were once again approached by Jaramillo, this time wielding a broomstick. According to witnesses the cop punched Jose, jumped on top of him and pummeled his head into the ground several times. The cop then left the scene, leaving the 17-year-old on the ground, bleeding and unconscious.

Jose was taken to the hospital where he remained in a coma for eight days until he died on July 24.

The cop later lied, accusing Jose of attacking him and then tried pressing charges against him! The Hudson County coroner's autopsy proved otherwise. Jose had sustained multiple injuries to his head contradicting Jaramillo's story that he tried to defend himself and that Jose fell to the ground once. Since Jose's death, Jaramillo has been charged with murder and official misconduct.

Family, friends and fellow workers are outraged by this murder, which has led to three large marches and demonstrations. Frank, a family friend, said "the police are always attacking us because we are Latin. The first time I came here from the Dominican Republic, someone robbed me and I went to the police and the cops punched and attacked me!"

Another family friend told the Jersey Journal, "The murder charge doesn't appease anyone. The maximum he can get is 10 years in jail, and if he's good he'll get out in three years. But we won't get Jose back. We're angry and we want justice, and for me that would mean death by injection."

Several liberal misleaders are rallying the protestors to ensure the cop gets jail time. But we should be wary of these misleaders, like New York City liberal businessman, Fernando Mateo. "We are not against police officers, most of them do a good job," he said. "But we are against police officers who do wrong."(Jersey Journal, 07/26). New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy actually visited the family the same night as the demonstration, promising to get to the facts of this "tragedy." Many of these liberal leaders argue that more black and Latin cops are required to stop police brutality. But the fact that Jaramillo is a young Latin cop proves that it doesn't matter what color cop you are.

Cops protect and serve the rulers' interest and their private property. They continually harass and brutalize young black and Latin males in working-class neighborhoods. In this era of the "War on Terror," they need to terrorize the most exploited sections of the working class and pacify them to blunt their anger at the racist capitalist system. These same workers are among the soldiers taking bullets in Iraq and Afghanistan for U.S. profits and world domination.

Liberal misleaders should not divert us from the root cause of police brutality by telling us it's just a few "bad apples," or that justice can be found in the courtroom. Only by fighting for an end to this bloody imperialist system of capitalism can we end racist police terror.

Court Rulings Will Not End Racist Police Brutality

LOS ANGELES, AUG. 4 -- It's been over a year since Donovan Jackson was brutally beaten at an Inglewood gas station and a tape of the beating was shown on national television. The racist cops Morse and Darvish have never been punished. Darvish was acquitted of filing a false police report about the incident. Morse, who beat Jackson and who was charged with assault, drew a hung jury last week.

The trial was a travesty. The prosecution never called any witnesses who had actually seen the beating. They took no testimony from the man who shot the video or from the 20 witnesses observed in the video. The D.A. said he will petition for another trial for Morse on September 22. He also commended the community for keeping the peace!

The day of the verdict there was a rally at the Inglewood City Hall, the culmination of a year-long pacification campaign. The Increase the Peace Foundation has organized a coalition of businesses, community groups, churches and others to promote Inglewood businesses and "justice through the legal system," and calm Inglewood residents.

The rally had a huge police presence. One organizer said the cops were there because "you never know what `those people' will do." They blame the victims for getting angry while covering up the real cause of police brutality, the racist capitalist system. But many residents of Inglewood and Los Angeles are furious about the verdict. A PLP leaflet about the beating and trial was distributed, along with CHALLENGE, and received a very enthusiastic response throughout LA.

The increase in police terror is one of many signs of growing U.S. fascism. Chief Bratton is calling for more cops on the streets and for community policing, where community "leaders" help the police. This was very effective in New York, intensifying police brutality. Homeland Security is also promoting the militarization of the country with the PATRIOT Act and the TIPS program.

Police presence and violence are increasing also to contain opposition to rising unemployment, especially among young black and Latino workers. The rulers want to keep workers in line and prevent rebellions like the recent one in Benton Harbor, Michigan. They must try to win workers to "turn the other cheek" and accept police repression.

The racist cops are ruling-class tools. Under capitalism they're rarely punished; at most they're given a slap on the wrist for their brutality and terror because the rulers use them to enforce racist cutbacks, layoffs and the war economy.

To end racist police brutality we must eliminate the system that needs and breeds it -- and that means smashing capitalism with communist revolution. Justice will come through a system run by workers for our own benefit instead of for the profits of an elite few.

Mexico: Tire Workers Refuse To Let Bosses,
Union Hacks Roll Over Them

JALISCO, México, July 28 -- Workers at the Euskadi Tire factory, owned by the German-based Continental Tire Company, have been fighting a plant closing for 18 months. Their struggle offers important lessons to workers everywhere, particularly in auto and related industries.

Firstly, capitalism can never serve the needs of the international working class. Recent CHALLENGES has reported how auto and steel workers from eastern Germany to South Africa to Detroit/Indiana, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Mexico are losing their jobs and pensions due to capitalism's worldwide crisis. Such a system must be smashed, replaced by a communist society where production serves workers' needs, not the profits of a few bosses.

In 10 years under NAFTA, over 6,000 workers -- half the workforce -- in Mexico's tire industry have lost their jobs. Uniroyal and Goodyear Oxo closed their plants. Globalization has made imports from Asia cheaper for the local market since workers in China, Indonesia, etc., are paid even less than here. This has created a glut (overproduction) locally.

On December 15, 2001, Euskadi-Continental boss Paul Korder told union president Jesus Torres Nuño that the plant would be closed in two days! Euskadi was very productive: more than 1,000 workers built 11,000 tires daily. But since Continental took over in 1998 and spent millions in modernizing, the bosses have been trying to force the union to accept a "flexible" contract: breaking all work rules.

Continental's workers in Potosi are also fighting back. They dumped the pro-boss union leaders and struck on July 4. Tire bosses are demanding "flexible" work rules, a wage freeze, eliminating Sundays as a legal day off, slicing vacation pay in half and more. They claim they can "survive" only by cutting labor expenses that amount to 30% of a tire's costs. The unions say, "...the bosses are the ones promoting oversupply and the high cost of production." (La Jornada, 7/27)

Tire industry workers were relatively better paid than other industrial workers in Mexico, but the work is so dangerous that their "life expectancy is 48 years." (La Jornada)

Workers are increasingly recognizing that all the union federations here serve the bosses. The "independent" VW union basically agreed to the bosses' demands for wage and job cuts. But Euskadi workers have rejected the bosses' demands and the threats of the CTM (Labor Federation) "Tire Coalition," and the Goodyear Oxo union hack's call to sign a sellout deal. They overcame all kinds of legal delays and declared a strike on Jan. 22, 2002, even though the plant was already closed. The Labor Ministry accepted the strike, but called it "inappropriate." Euskadi workers have received much support from other unions here and in Germany. The company has tried and failed twice to break the strike by taking out machines and tires.

There are still 642 workers on strike. Many have been forced to leave Jalisco to find work because the bosses here refuse to hire anyone from Euskadi. Some have emigrated to the U.S.

Workers worldwide should support these militant and committed workers. We in PLP must redouble our efforts to win these workers to join our Party, to turn their inspiring struggle into a school for communism. We must build a mass international PLP and defeat capitalism with its endless wars and economic and political crises.

Steel Bosses Consolidate; Union Leaders Collaborate;
Workers' Fight Must Escalate

International Steel Group (ISG) is the corporation that swallowed up the LTV, ACME and Bethlehem steel companies. In December 2001, LTV shut its doors, throwing 9,000 workers on the street. More than 70,000 retirees were set to lose their pensions and health care. The union "went into action," mobilizing thousands of steelworkers to demand tariffs while the LTV bosses absconded with multi-million dollar bonuses.

Along came Wilbur Ross, a billionaire financier who specializes in buying up bankrupt companies. He bought LTV for pennies, for the cost of the slabs lying on the ground. Ross welcomed the union with open arms and is now a hero in the eyes of the Steelworkers International union leadership.

Less than 3,000 ISG workers are left from LTV. Now there are three workers on a furnace floor instead of six. Some workers work six 12-hour days. If a worker misses three days a year, including sickness, he's subject to discipline. Foremen are working in all areas, taking union jobs. If somebody calls in sick or goes on vacation, crews must work shorthanded.

On the other hand, wages have not been reduced and until recently, ISG has been paying out profit-sharing checks to workers. ISG workers have health insurance, a new, slightly improved pension plan and a false sense of relief that they are back to work. We are doing twice the work with one-third the people, dramatically reducing labor costs and getting a much smaller portion of the value we produce.

This is the consolidation of the U.S. steel industry and it has not helped workers' morale. Bethlehem, LTV, Acme, Republic and National Steel have all disappeared as the big banks and capitalists concentrate control over the industry. Where there were once seven major steel mills, now there are two or three. Thirty-six companies have gone bankrupt.

The tens of thousands of retirees whose pensions have been cut in half and who have no health insurance have been devastated. Many workers and retirees feel, "There's nothing we can do." Many workers just a few years from retirement are angry, but more hesitant about acting.

The obstacles are formidable, but there are opportunities to advance. ISG workers have participated in actions against the imperialist war in Iraq and demonstrations against the KKK. We are struggling to maintain and advance our modest base for CHALLENGE inside and outside the mills, in the midst of this massive industry upheaval.

One of the biggest obstacles is the union's desire to be a partner in this consolidation. They support steel tariffs and right-wing patriotic garbage like "Stand Up for Steel," to win workers to march behind the bosses' flag. This doesn't save jobs and sets the stage for trade wars and shooting wars. In the face of massive cuts in pensions and health care benefits, they tell workers to "Vote Democrat." While millions are destroyed, the union leaders are reduced to saving jobs for a few.

The world's steel bosses are in a life and death struggle over cheap labor, markets and resources. Asian and Latin American bosses already pay starvation wages, and the U.S. and European bosses are in a race to see who can cut labor costs the most. This is their short-term plan for profits, but also their strategic plan for building their imperialist war machines.

This plan includes workers following the union leaders, fighting for a few pennies, and entrusting our futures to the empty promises of the bosses. Our task is to build a mass movement against these attacks, to fight back on every front and win steelworkers to build a mass PLP that will break the cycle of unemployment, war and racism with communist revolution. This is a long-term struggle that must be waged every day.

PLP Summer Project Youth
Unite With Exploited Workers

BROOKLYN, NY, August 1 -- On a rainy July afternoon youth participating in the PLP Summer Project traveled to lower Manhattan to support a workers' demonstration at the Park Avenue Country Club Restaurant. These workers began a fight-back against the denial of overtime pay and back wages, as well as a fellow worker's firing.

Firmly believing in working-class unity, we introduced ourselves to these workers, but initially limited our communist politics to the distribution of CHALLENGE and initiating more internationalist chants. But on our second visit, we presented our revolutionary analysis, based on our study-groups about surplus value, unemployment and capitalist crises.

Two comrades spoke in English and Spanish about the importance of a worker-student alliance. They explained how under capitalism the value they produce will be stolen by the bosses and that only communism can satisfy workers' needs. The workers were open to our ideas, took CHALLENGE, joined our chants and cheered our speeches. They invited us back to the following day's picket line.

This experience showed that the struggles of the working class, not the bosses' educational system, are the best schools for communist youth. We'll be returning to the picket line to learn even more from and with our working-class brothers and sisters. The project is a great experience in seeing first-hand how workers DO fight back against capitalist exploitation.

Texas Students Expose Racist E.O. Wilson's
Pro-Boss `Theories'

LUBBOCK, TEXAS -- Hundreds of leaflets handed out by Students For Social Justice (SSJ) greeted racist scientist E. O. Wilson when he addressed the closing session of the American Society of Mammalogists' convention at Texas Tech University here. Wilson, the Harvard professor who claims that racism and religious hatred are universal traits of genetically-evolved human nature, was first discredited in the 1970s when his book, "Sociobiology," claimed that minorities were genetically inferior to whites. He and his pro-capitalist ideas were met by a mass movement, including PLP-led anti-racist students and intellectuals. On one campus, black students poured water on his head during a speech. Wilson retreated then, but in the last 20 years his theory, sociobiology, has become part of many fields, from sociology to political science to economics.

Before his arrival, anti-racist Texas Tech students quickly held a meeting to discuss his new book, "Consilience," and to prepare to "greet" him. We discussed his role as a spokesman for ruling-class honchos like Stephen Rockefeller and the CEO of American Express in trying to force sociobiology into college curriculums nationwide. This fascist ideology is designed to convince U.S. workers and students to support the U.S. rulers' wars for oil and continued world domination. It says that the cultures of people in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere are "naturally violent," but that more highly-evolved culture -- that of the U.S. capitalist class -- can "stabilize" these violent areas.

SSJ members who had organized demonstrations against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, wrote a leaflet pointing out that Wilson's pseudo-scientific arguments that tribal war and ethnic cleansing are expressions of "natural human religion and tribalism" justifies U.S. imperialist war efforts as "humanitarian" intervention.

Many students organized by SSJ walked into the pre-speech reception honoring Wilson and handed out hundreds of leaflets. During his actual speech, many more in the audience received the leaflets and passed them from person to person as the cops searched for the leafleters.

Wilson's speech said almost nothing. He showed slides describing the extinction of animal species and the rain forests, never mentioning that capitalist greed and the profit system causes these problems.

Wilson's public speeches may be tame right now, while he poses as an "environmentalist," but his ideas are building support for U.S. fascism. He should be chased off campuses everywhere.

California `Recall' Circus Is Diversion From Real Fight-Back

"Is California governable?" The British magazine, The Economist, asked that question recently. A financial crisis rolled into a budget crisis rolled into a political crisis has seen Wall Street drop the state's credit rating while some politicians have organized a section of voters to demand a recall of Governor Gray Davis.

Democratic Party leaders charge that right-wing Republicans are trying to usurp the popular vote and unseat the newly re-elected Governor. The Republicans claim they're exercising their rights, organizing an electoral movement to remove a do-nothing Governor who, given a $38-billion budget deficit, scores record lows in opinion polls.

So the Republicans are exercising "democracy" while the Democrats are defending it. What a farce! California has more people in prison than any other state (even Texas). In the 1980's, voters rejected a bond issue to build more jails. The Democrat and Republican politicians built more anyway. So much for democracy!

In 1977 the courts, responding to years of organizing by parents in low-income Baldwin Park and throughout the state, ordered an equitable funding for all school districts. They claimed to be ending a pattern in which Beverly Hills received $1,200 per student while nearby Baldwin Park got $600. State politicians reacted immediately with the well-funded, well-publicized tax "revolt" called Proposition 13. It passed in 1978 and decimated the public school system. California, which ranked 8th in per capita income, found itself ranking 46th (out of 50 states) in school spending. While Republicans launched Proposition 13, Democrats have never seriously tried to overturn it. This is the democracy of capitalism, democracy for the few and the rich.

The Democrats' description of Davis' election as a "popular" vote is far from reality. Only about 30% of the electorate actually voted. Davis got about 18% of the total eligible to vote -- hardly a popular mandate.

While no Governor has ever sunk so low so quickly in public opinion polls, the same poll awarded the gutter prize to the California Legislature as a whole, ranking it even lower than Davis. If "popularity" really were the determining factor, the whole Legislature would be recalled.

This is the most telling point. Today, the whole political machinery is more divorced from the masses than ever, both in a narrow formal sense of Democrats and Republicans, as well as the broader sense of unions and other groups. This crisis opens a window of opportunity for communist organizing. We must seize it by opposing the moves to drag workers into the dead end of the electoral arena.

Whether Davis is in or out, Delano's second State Prison will be opened while UC's new university at Merced will remain closed. The war in Iraq will continue, with more deaths for Exxon Mobil oil profits. This political machinery is defending and building fascism. The whole political crisis enables us to attack the idea that secretly dropping a private opinion about one or another capitalist candidate into a sealed box (voting capitalist style) means something.

Real political activity links the need for mass movements -- against murderous cuts in health care; or the fascist rates of incarceration; or the racist low-funding of public schools; or the murderous imperialist war for oil -- to winning people to see the need for communist revolution, to replace capitalists' power with workers' power. Ultimately, this is the alternative that will become the most popular with workers and youth!u

Pentagon Hides 8,000-Plus GI Casualty Figures

U.S. casualties in Iraq far exceed the number reported to the public here, with more than double the deaths and over 8,000 wounded, according to the British Guardian newspaper and National Public Radio.

U.S. combat deaths as of Aug. 5 were 166, 19 more than the first Gulf War. But the total death toll, including accidents and suicides, is 248. "Wounded soldiers continue to be flown back to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington at a relentless rate. The Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington was so overwhelmed by the influx that it had taken over beds normally reserved for cancer patients, a CBS report said." (Guardian, 8/5)

Although the Pentagon figure for wounded in action is 827, Lieutenant-Colonel Allen DeLane, in charge of the airlift of wounded into Andrews, told National Public Radio that, "Over 4,000 have stayed here... and that number doubles when you count the people that...we send to other places." He said 90% of the injuries were directly war-related.

While a Gallup poll reported 25% in the U.S. want the troops home now and another 33% want a withdrawal if the casualties mount (Guardian, 8/5), what would the reaction be of the 63% that Gallup reported as believing the war was worth it if they knew these true figures, largely unreported in the U.S. media?

Gangs in El Salvador Mimic
Big Criminal Bosses

EL SALVADOR, Aug. 4 -- Last July 23, the Salvadoran President, Francisco Flores, declared "war" on the gangs through a fascist plan called "strong hand." According to Flores, this will end the murders, drug-dealing and gang take-over of neighborhoods.

A propaganda-inspired deployment of hundreds from the National Civil Police and the army arrested more than 300 alleged gang members. Several days later, half were released for lack of evidence of any crime. Only 12 of the 300 are being formally charged with a crime. The "Strong Hand" plan pushes laws making gang membership a crime warranting imprisonment. And Flores is threatening to use the law of "exceptional state," which could suspend constitutional rights in strikes, protests or rebellions.

The Salvadoran ruling class faces two big problems. First, they're confronting a huge economic crisis caused by worldwide overproduction, especially of coffee, creating massive poverty and unemployment. The hospitals and health care services have been bankrupt for years, giving rise to many diseases, especially affecting children and the elderly. Pneumonia, generally curable with proper antibiotics (which are not available), has killed hundreds here this year. In this crisis, the system is kept afloat only by the $2 billion a year sent from Salvadoran immigrants in the U.S.

Secondly, the Presidential campaign started today. The election is slated for next March. Some bosses are worried that if the FMLN (the former guerrilla movement) wins the election, much of their profits could go to European banks, not those in the U.S. This reflects differences within the local ruling class and also among rival imperialists.

The bosses and their government are using the gang problem as a pretext to twist and divert workers' discontent with the profound crisis caused by capitalism. The workers shouldn't fall into the trap of blaming our problems on the gang-bangers. The latter just copy the big bosses who use them to rob and kill workers. Then when they're no longer needed, they're thrown on the garbage heap.

The real murderers, exploiters and source of starvation are the bosses and their system. Flores is a descendent of the ruling class, which during the decades of the 70's and 80's brutally murdered 150,000 workers. Handal, the FMLN candidate, will not end the capitalist crisis but will wind up like Lula in Brazil, administering it and giving a left cover to capitalist exploitation. Our goal must be to end this brutal capitalist system by building PLP and fighting for working class power through communism.

Haiti Proves U.S. Intervention Never `Liberated' Anybody

The myth that U.S. military intervention can free anyone from oppression and misery has been shattered many times. Iraq is only the latest example. Now the liberal wing of U.S. capitalism and its allies among so-called moderate Democrats and Republicans and the Black Congressional Caucus are misleading many honest people into believing that "humanitarian" intervention is needed in Liberia.

Yet when Clinton was President, the same group pushed the same line about "freeing" Haiti and "building democracy" there. Just as in Liberia, Haitians desperately wanted to eliminate the repressive Tonton Macoute regime. They wanted Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the former priest and friend of Clinton and Sen. Christopher Dodd, to "save them." When Aristide was overthrown by a coup, tens of thousands of Haitian workers in NYC, Miami, Boston and Washington, D.C. rallied to demand Aristide's return.

CHALLENGE said then it was a dangerous illusion to believe Aristide and a U.S. imperialist intervention would bring anything good to the Haitian masses. After all, the Duvalier regime and the fascist rulers that followed it had been installed in power by the U.S. Today, things have gone from bad to worse. Corruption is rampant, while Aristide and his former supporters are fighting over power.

Anne M. Bauer, of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) reports that four of the seven million people in Haiti face starvation; 23% of children under 5 suffer chronic malnutrition. Only 110,000 of the 4 million people who can work have some kind of job in the formal economy, 35,000 in the government.

On top of the rulers' corruption and political infighting paralyzing the economy, a four-year-long drought has depressed agriculture. And when it does rain, terrible floods result, particularly in the northeast. Water and sanitation systems are almost non-existent.

FAO is calling on other countries and relief organizations to help 600,000 Hatians prepare for the coming harvest season with financial aid for seeds and livestock. But that would be a mere drop in the bucket and it is doubtful that even that aid would ever get into the hands of the masses -- in Haiti, as in many other countries, those who manage the distribution of international aid usually put it all up for sale on the open market. In any event, the imperialist powers would prefer to use that money for warmaking.

The workers and peasants of Haiti need real regime change: from capitalism and imperialism to communism -- a society without Tontons Macoute, Aristides or any other imperialists and capitalists.

Powell vs. Neo-Cons: Warlords' Dogfight

George Bush's July 30 press conference showed exactly why there have been so few of them. Despite the generally tame questions by the White House press corps, Bush evaded most of them. Even the New York Times, whose criticisms of Bush tend to be mild, criticized his "vague and sometimes nearly incoherent answers...The president and his advisors...still believe that the constant repetition of several simplistic points will hypnotize the American people into forgetting the original question." (Editorial, 7/31).

The Bushites' many lies to justify seizing the Iraqi oil fields (world's second largest) are really nothing new. U.S. Presidents have long lied to justify war. In 1964, Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson fabricated a North Vietnam "attack" on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin as the pretext to escalate the war in Vietnam. So why are the liberal media making a big deal about the Weapons of Mass Destructions and other lies by the Bush gang?

It's basically a dogfight among warmakers and fascists. The liberal bosses are angry that the Neo-Cons behind Dubya are messing things up, from Iraq to Homeland Security to Liberia. Jim Lobe, writing in the Asian Times (, 8/4) puts it this way:

"From Qalqiya on the West Bank to Karbala in Iraq to North Korea, contending forces within both the administration of President George W Bush and his Republican Party are duking it out for control, and the White House seems more and more unable to impose discipline.

"While the neo-conservatives and right-wing hawks in the offices of Vice-President Dick Cheney and Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, who led the drive to war in Iraq, have been put on the defensive as the costs in blood and treasure of the post-war occupation mount, they have by no means retreated from the battle.

"And while Secretary of State Colin Powell has worked quietly to extend his power, particularly over the Israeli-Palestinian roadmap and dialogue with Pyongyang, right-wing elements in Congress appear determined to thwart him, even if the Pentagon's voice on the two issues has been somewhat diminished.

"To succeed, Powell needs a strong ally within the White House, and, as noted by the Financial Times last week, the newly perceived weakness of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her staff is making it very difficult for the secretary to gain traction there.

"Instead, Powell is relying increasingly on his friends in Congress, particularly Democrats and moderate Republicans -- such as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, and Senator Chuck Hagel -- to both press his positions and to keep the Pentagon on its heels, a task they performed admirably in a remarkably confrontational hearing on Iraq that featured a defensive, if defiant, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz."

Workers and youth must be clear: neither side in this dogfight is our ally. They both want war and fascism to maintain U.S. rulers as the world's dominant imperialists. Mass unemployment, poverty, racist/fascist terror and endless wars are the horrors all these bosses have in store for us. There's a better future but we must fight for it, a future where workers produce for their needs, not for the profits of a few warmakers. That's PLP's goal. Join us.

U.S. Rulers' Wars for Oil: Next Stop, Tehran?

All the same elements of the war in Iraq are in play for the Bushites' plan for Iran: threats from weapons of mass destruction, "liberating" people from dictatorial rule, and controlling vast oil reserves that otherwise might be grabbed by competing imperialists. The Bush team is preparing for war. One group wants to wait until after the November 2004 elections; the other wants to create a crisis soon to obscure the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, given the problems they're having in Iraq, and the fact that Iran is a tougher nut to crack, can U.S. imperialism handle both simultaneously?

The Bushites have had some success building support among other ruling classes. European rulers agree with the U.S. that no one except them should have nuclear weapons. That's why they all love the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which says that nuclear weapons are allowed only for the main imperialists (U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France).

The Iranian clerics have been both bolder and clumsier than Saddam. They loudly proclaim they're building long-range missiles and a nuclear power plant, plus all the components needed for a nuclear bomb. But they still claim they're not constructing a bomb, even after being caught lying to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about hiding bomb-related activities. For instance, they've admitted making uranium metal, which has no known use except for a bomb, and they're refusing to allow more inspections. The IAEA, a UN agency headed by the Egyptian Mohamed El-Baradei, was at odds with the U.S. over Iraq but is leading the charge on Iran. This gives the U.S. credibility. The Europeans hide their imperialist agenda behind "upholding international law" and the UN.

At the June IAEA meeting, there was a tough report about Iran's non-compliance with the NPT. At the September meeting, they'll probably issue an ultimatum to Iran, with questions that would require Iranian rulers to admit they've been lying. Convinced that the U.S. is determined to provoke a confrontation, Iranian rulers want to push ahead as fast as possible with their nuclear program. Within another two years, they can have a bomb and deter the U.S., although it might take them until 2010 to attach a bomb to their missiles. The ruling Iranian clerics see how Saddam, who had no bomb, was overthrown, while North Korean rulers, who do have one, are treated with kid gloves. The lesson: the best way to deter a U.S. invasion is with nukes.

As U.S. rulers slowly build to a confrontation with Iran, this time they may have the cloak of UN and international support. The Chinese are sitting on their hands, and even the Russians, who are building Iran's nuclear power plant, are refusing to ship the fuel for the plant until the conflict with the IAEA is resolved.

A month ago, the U.S. successfully pressured Japanese oil companies to withhold a multi-billion-dollar investment to develop the Iranian Azadegan oil field -- one of the world's largest -- on the pretext that the nuclear dispute with the IAEA be resolved first.

What U.S. bosses want most from Iran is the opportunity to exploit its 90-billion-barrel oil reserves, 9% of the world total. The real U.S. complaint about Iran's hard-line mullahs is the latter's invitation in European, Japanese and Russian oil companies. U.S. rulers have forbidden U.S. firms from investing in, or trading with, Iran, to pressure the mullahs into allowing the U.S. to call the shots rather than having to compete with the French oil giant TotalFinaElf.

The main element holding back the Bushites is their fear that the U.S. working class is getting sick of war. Iran would make three in four years, after Afghanistan and Iraq. So currently the main thrust is covert operations to destroy the nuclear facilities and destabilize the mullahs' rule, not large-scale invasion.

The Bushites think they can get away with a war on Iran because Iranian workers hate the fascist mullahs who rule that country. The mullahs fear the workers will not defend their regime which is another reason they want a nuclear bomb. A recent Iranian government public opinion poll found 45% of the people wanted a change in the political system, even if it required a foreign invasion. Recently, the hardliners had to pull out all stops twice to break up demonstrations against their rule. On July 9, the anniversary of the 1999 nation-wide mass demonstrations against the mullahs, the latter shut the cell phone system, rounded up thousands of people as a preventive measure, and filled the streets with fascist thugs carrying chains to threaten demonstrators.

The Bush gang wants to cynically take advantage of Iranian workers' hatred for the mullahs, claiming they want to "liberate" them from fascist rule. In fact, the Bush agenda is to restore power to the old monarchy, using Los Angeles-based satellite TV stations to push Reza Pahlavi, the son of the old Shah. They want Iran to be ruled by a U.S.-sponsored fascist, rather than by the fascist mullahs.

Yes, Iran -- like the U.S. -- needs a regime change. Both countries are ruled by vicious dictatorships of the rich. Both need communist revolutions to bring workers to power.

Gimme a break

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Supermarket cashiers in Argentina are being forced to wear diapers to keep them from taking toilet breaks at work, a union says. (NY Daily News, 8/3)


State Capitalism,
Privatization Both Dead End For Workers

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe is a faithful lap dog of U.S. imperialism and a sworn enemy of the working class. He militarized the telecommunication company Telecom and then privatized it, leaving 13,000 workers jobless. He said privatization was necessary because the government couldn't afford it anymore. But the real culprit is the worldwide crisis of capitalism and the bosses' greed to seize this company.

He also "reformed" the ISS (Social Security system), again eliminating jobs under the guise of "improving services." But the government has wasted many millions of dollars at the ISS. Now private companies see big bucks in privatizing health care. Uribe also privatized the state-owned oil company Ecopetrol and overturned gains oil workers won through bloody struggles against both the company and the paramilitary death squads.

The private sector has also attacked workers with fascist ferocity. Companies owned by conglomerates like the Santodomingo Group, the Antioqueño Syndicate and the Ardilla Lulle group have attacked unions and hard-won gains.

Workers are angry and are fighting back, occupying work places, organizing strikes and marches. But these struggles are being sabotaged by the patriotic and nationalist politics of union leaders, who say workers must "defend their companies" against foreign bosses who want to privatize them.

We in PLP have participated in many of these protests and struggles to bring our politics to these workplaces. We distributed a leaflet entitled, "Workers Don't Need Privatization Nor State Capitalism, Workers Need Communism." It called on workers to fight against all forms of capitalism,saying there are no "lesser evil" bosses. We called for communism as the only solution to a society based on profits for a few and war, mass terror and unemployment for millions. The workers' only flag is red, the flag of PLP. Join us.

Red Worker

Once a Nazi,
Always a Nazi

CHALLENGE (7/23) reported on the struggles of DaimlerBenz and VW workers in Germany and Mexico. These two companies were key parts of Hitler's war machine and made billions from the use of slave labor during World War II. On July 17, a documentary was shown at the Madre de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo University) in Buenos Aires, Argentina that demonstrated, once a Nazi always a Nazi.

The film, made by Gaby Weber, a German journalist living in South America, is titled "There Are No Miracles." It exposes Mercedes Benz -- today merged with Chrysler as DaimlerChrysler -- as a partner-in-crime with the ruthless military dictatorship that ruled Argentina in the late 1970s. The Mercedes plant was a center of political struggle. Militant workers who opposed the union sellouts were accused of sabotage. The company and the union worked with the military death squads.

The film reports recent trial testimony of the plant managers and union leaders José Rodríguez and Ruben Lavallen, a known torturer, abductor of minors and head of Mercedes Benz security since 1978, exposing company complicity with the dictatorship.

The plant production manager testified that after the military coup, production dropped 30%. The judge asked if he thought the militant workers were involved in the sabotage. The boss said he could never prove it, but the workers could. He added that after 15 workers were kidnapped and murdered by military death squads, the problem disappeared. "The sabotage did not stop by miracle," he said. Over 30,000 workers and youth were killed in the 1970s during the "dirty war" carried out by the military rulers.
A Nazi is a Nazi forever.

A Reader

Health Care A
Shell Game

I'm a retired San Francisco bus driver (MUNI) and a regular reader of your pro-working class paper. The lack of health care insurance for workers and the big bosses' attempts to cut back what little we have is a very important issue, worthy of your members' active interest.

On July 14, about 20 people from several Bay Area reform groups, including Health Care for All, Neighbor to Neighbor, Gray Panthers and Senior Action Network, demonstrated at U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein's office, demanding an end to Medicare privatization, a real prescription benefit for seniors and the disabled, and a unified program of universal health care. Speeches emphasized how Congress's phony prescription benefit was really a cover to increase healthcare privatization and thereby reduce government healthcare spending for seniors and the disabled.

Participants and spectators got an amusing look at "democracy in action" when trying to deliver a letter demanding Feinstein filibuster pending prescription-privatization legislation. All Market Street entrances to the giant McKesson building were sealed. Security guards told us Feinstein's office had instructed them not to let in even a single person.

Although the Senator's office was a public place, they said it was inside private property, and therefore "inaccessible." What a metaphor for the whole political process, and privatization in particular! McKesson is one of the nation's biggest profiteers from prescription drugs sales.

Finally, Feinstein's office phoned Security and said three of us could meet with a staff member. Our message, besides opposition to Medicare restructuring, was that we would be back.

Readers should follow this issue and join the fight for health care for all. We workers created this system's wealth. At least we should get free national health insurance. The bosses deliberately confuse this issue, using the old liberal-conservative shell game, with the liberals saying "this is the best deal we can get," but "we're `forced' to give in to conservative views." We would appreciate your detailed analysis of this issue.

Incidentally, back in the 1970s Feinstein clawed her way to the top of the local political garbage heap by sponsoring a ballot proposition taking away bus drivers' medical benefits. Her husband, stock wheeler-dealer Richard Blum, is cashing in on Iraqi misery along with Bechtel Corp.

A Loyal Reader

VW: Communists Needed

Hardly had the VW workers in eastern Germany returned to work with nothing but promises (CHALLENGE, 7/23), then VW workers in Mexico were hit with mass layoffs. Within several weeks of those layoffs, VW announced 4,000 more -- 16% of its labor force -- in its two Brazil plants. Meanwhile, VW announced plans to build two new plants in China. Upon completion, VW will build more cars in China than in Germany!

With plants in Africa, South America, North America, Asia and Europe, VW bosses control the jobs of tens of thousands of Asian, black, Latin and white auto workers.

It's a fact that under capitalism workers will always compete against each other for jobs. It's also a fact that the harder we compete, the weaker our class becomes.

It's only when the fight for jobs is led by the fight for communism can workers unite. As jobs become scarcer and the crisis deepens, as the possibility of winning concessions becomes more limited, the fight for jobs will intensify, and the temptation to give in to regional or national demands will grow. Our job -- raising class consciousness, unity and workers' power -- will be more difficult but more urgent. Class struggle can help recruit to PLP. Otherwise cynicism and nationalism will spread from the lack of immediate or lasting gains. The fight for communism and workers' internationalism is here and now. Revolution is a long-term struggle, but the need for communist organizers is immediate.

A Red Worker



Rebellions brewing in US?

Across the nation, state and local leaders have been forced to slash more than $100 billion in spending, laying off thousands of employees, cutting off health insurance for roughly one million people and lowering America's standard of living....

People across America will pay the price for Washington's indifference in lower-quality schools, fewer chances to go to college...and diminished medical care....

I came to measure the impact of the fiscal crisis in this little farm town of Yamhill, Oregon....

"This woman was saying to me, People should be on the streets with pitchforks, saying: `Revolt! Revolt!'" said Ms. Stern, the county commissioner. "There's a groundswell starting. I can feel this energy coming." (NYT, 7/19)

US needed 9/11 for Iraq war

Members of the joint panel said the committee's findings showed that the hijackings might have been thwarted....

The intelligence community repeatedly warned that Al Qaeda had both the capability and the intention to threaten the lives of thousands of Americans and that it wanted to strike within the United States....Policy-makers from the Clinton and Bush administrations have testified that the intelligence community warned them of the danger Al Qaeda posed and the urgency of the threat....

One newly-disclosed intelligence document from December 1998...said: Plans to hijack U.S. aircraft proceeding well. Two individuals had successfully evaded checkpoints in dry run at NY airports....

In April 2001, the community obtained information from a source with terrorist connections who speculated that bin Laden was interested in commercial pilots as potential terrorists. The source warned that the United States should not focus only on embassy bombings, that the terrorists sought "spectacular and traumatic" attacks and that the first World Trade Center bombing would be the type of attack that would be appealing....

Literally before the dust had settled, Bush administration officials began using 9/11 to justify an attack on Iraq. (NYT, 7/25)

US wars: black workers say no

African-Americans have historically been skeptical of military intervention by their country in the affairs of others....Asked whether the United States should try to change a dictatorship to democracy or stay out....82 percent of African-American respondents wanted America to mind its own business, as opposed to 58 percent of all others....

The Iraq war proved especially divisive...with 72 percent of whites saying Washington was right to attack Iraq, compared with 41 percent of blacks, according to a June poll....African-Americans were similarly skeptical during the first Persian Gulf War and the battle for Kosovo....

Even when it comes to Liberia there is disagreement....

Suspicion about the intentions of the American government is another motivator. For some African-Americans, distrust of the Pentagon is palpable. Blacks, they say, end up fighting other men's wars. "We have a long history of serving as cannon fodder for interests that are not our own," said Mark Fancher, chairman of international affairs at the National Conference of Black Lawyers.

Mr. Fancher invoked the Buffalo soldiers, black troops sent to fight Indians and Mexicans in the conquest of the West, and African-Americans lost in Vietnam, a "liberation struggle" he said falsely billed as a fight against Communism.

On Liberia, Mr. Fancher said, his group is unyielding. "There is no situation where it would be appropriate to send in troops," he said. "It is exclusively an African problem."

The perception that American concern toward Africa is based on its natural resources or geopolitical jockeying is widespread." (NYT, 8/3)

US abandons `living wage'

At least one-third of our economy's full-time[rs] -- nearly 50 million workers -- do not earn a living wage! (Liberal Opinion Week, 7/28)

Cultural revolution led him

Sheng's.... "Song and Dance of Tears" was the hit of the past season at the New York Philharmonic....

His arrival in New York in 1982, aged 26, may have signified a turning point in his life, but it had nothing like the impact of the cultural revolution.... "Mao invented the concept of `re-education' by peasants. Everyone was forced into the fields, unless you had a talent in the performing arts...."

Sheng auditioned for a provincial folk ensemble from the Tibetan border and was accepted. "If not for the cultural revolution, I wouldn't be a musician today. Looking back, I benefited greatly. First, I started to be interested in folk music. It's very rich and mostly unwritten. Also, I developed the habit of teaching myself....

[In] 2000, Sheng returned to China to tape the dying embers of the folk tradition he had embraced in those outlying provinces as a teenager -- a tradition he says is fast disappearing. (Financial Times, 7/20)

Bombs show early US war plan

American air war commanders carried out a comprehensive plan to disrupt Iraq's military command and control system before the Iraq war....

The strikes, which were conducted from mid-2002 into the first few months of 2003, were justified publicly at the time as a reaction to Iraqi violations of a no-flight zone that the United States and Britain established in southern Iraq. But Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the chief allied war commander, said the attacks also laid the foundations for the military campaigns against the Baghdad government....

606 bombs had been dropped on 391 carefully selected targets under the plan, General Moseley said....

Air war commanders were required to obtain the approval of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld if any planned air strike was thought likely to result in deaths of more than 30 civilians. More than 50 such strikes were proposed, and all of them were approved. (NYT, 7/20)