February 4, 2004

Former Bushite Sharpens
Fight Between U.S. Rulers

Former Treasury-Secretary and Aluminum Co. of America (Alcoa) chief Paul O’Neill’s new book, “The Price of Loyalty,” lambasts his ex-boss George Bush for ignoring the wartime needs of the nation’s biggest capitalists. O’Neill complains that Bush’s tax cuts were irresponsible and that his pre-emptive invasion of Iraq was not fully justified. O’Neill’s two purposes are to steer the Republican Party back from the right-wing imperialist neocons towards its liberal imperialist wing and to further the lie that liberal politicians opposed the Iraq war.
Maintaining Exxon Mobil’s/JP Morgan’s/Alcoa’s worldwide dominance requires costly and ever-expanding military operations. The money must come from taxes. But Bush, seeking the support of other capitalists and investors, reduced their taxes and thereby weakened the war machine.
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman said O’Neill’s book, “portrays an administration in which political considerations — satisfying ‘the base’ — trump policy analysis on every issue” (1/13/04). The Times later (1/18/04) linked Bush’s cuts to homeland fascism and foreign wars and worried that the shortfall might harm both: “Shortly after the tax cuts, the government’s seemingly inexhaustible surpluses evaporated....Then came the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, followed by huge increases in spending on domestic security and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Projections by Congress and the Bush administration of surpluses of $5.6 trillion over 10 years, the outlook in 2001, have turned into estimated deficits of...possibly as much as $5 trillion.”
Military strategists are worried, too. The Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), which plans wartime mobilization, has focused on “Resourcing Grand Strategy” and “Resourcing Nation-Building” for 2004. “Resourcing” is Pentagon jargon for “paying for.” The ICAF makes clear that if Exxon Mobil is to pump Iraqi crude, the Feds will have to squeeze the taxpayer harder: “Grand strategy is really the idea of allocating resources to create in both the short and the long term various instruments of power, instruments with which the nation then provides for its defense and the furtherance of its aims in the world.” (ICAF course outline, 2004)
For over half a century, the Republican Party has been split over fiscal policy. The liberal wing, once personified by Nelson Rockefeller, urges large government payouts, both for the military and for social programs, to keep the working class under control. Conservative GOP’ers, smaller capitalists who form a significant bloc of Bush’s electoral machine, favor low taxes. Many are right-wing Christians. The day after O’Neill’s “60 Minutes” bash, Christie Whitman, a self-proclaimed Rockefeller Republican, chided Bush for trying “to appeal not to a majority of the electorate but only to the most motivated voters — those with the most zealous, ideological beliefs.”
Imperialist O’Neill’s “opposition” to the Iraq war — like the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls — is pure fiction. In 1995, while running Alcoa, O’Neill was a director of the Rand Corporation, a military think-tank. He oversaw its study of the precise troop deployments needed to invade and occupy Iraq. O’Neill’s real beef with Bush about Iraq is shared by liberal leaders of both parties — including Howard Dean: Bush failed to win UN support for the war, which would have spread the costs and propelled an attack with greater, more lethal force. O’Neill and the Democrats also upbraid Bush for launching the war with too few troops.
The liberal media display similar hypocrisy. Viacom owns both Simon & Schuster, O’Neill’s publisher, and CBS, whose “60 Minutes” broadcast the O’Neill interview. From publishing to broadcasting to movies, Viacom organizes public opinion to favor Washington’s military adventures. Viacom recently elected William S. Cohen, a liberal Republican, to its Board. As Clinton’s Defense Secretary, Cohen directed the 1999 terror bombing of Serbia(See page 8). Last February, he criticized “the administration’s failure, thus far, to convince the world community of the necessity to invade Iraq and use military force to disarm and change the regime.” (Wall Street Journal, 2/5/03)
O’Neill speaks for capitalists who, for profit, blithely kill thousands of working-class soldiers and civilians. The only sensible critique of Bush is one that exposes the essential deadliness of the profit system and demands the seizure of state power and government by the working class.


"'Like many other aspects of Iraq, those making policy believed what they wanted to believe about oil, without reference to the facts,' [according to oil analyst James Placke, who took part in a Council on Foreign Relations study about rebuilding the Iraqi oil industry]...An industry expert who briefed [Bush aide] Faith said big oil companies had delivered a clear message that the U.S. could not expect them to plow money into Iraq until the occupying forces had resolved the issues of sovereignty and ownership rights." (Financial Times, 1/16)

Imperialist Rivalry Reaches the Moon and Mars

In “The Empire Strikes Back,” (The of the Star Wars movies) Darth Vader ordered the destruction of an entire planet from a space ship the size of a small planet. Well, science fiction might become a reality if capitalism has its way.
Bush’s plans to return to the Moon is more than an election year stunt, just as there is more than collecting rocks from Mars in the recent landing of the Rover explorer. In February 2001, Geofffrey Briggs, director of NASA’s Ames Center for Mars Exploration, reported that “NASA has been working with Haliburton, Shell, Baker-Hughes and the Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify drilling technologies that might work on Mars.” (
NASA is not just a space agency; it’s part of the military-industrial war complex. The space shuttle program is controlled 90% by private military contractors, a process begun in 1996 under the Clinton administration when Boeing and Lockheed Martin received free reign to spend money without any oversight. They’ve been spending it on classified space warplanes like Aurora. The Bush gang sped up that process, appointing NASA directors from the military sector.
War Secy. Rumsfeld is planning for “Full Spectrum Dominance,” a scheme to guarantee U.S. supremacy in space. It includes the Aurora plane, capable of destroying any “enemy” satellite. It also plans to claim ownership of near-earth space, barring access to any other countries. Bush’s lunar base will be mainly a military one. This implies breaking the 1967 space treaty.
But other imperialists aren’t taking this sitting down. The Russians, despite all their problems, still have a very strong space program. The Russian Space Agency has just announced it’s ready to send a manned mission to Mars by 2014 (La Vanguardia, Barcelona, 1/15) The European Union is also accelerating its space program. It even landed The Beagle on Mars before NASA’s Rover, although the Beagle malfunctioned once it reached the surface. China just sent its first manned mission into space. It’s also planning a Moon landing for the near future.
So, if “peace on earth” is now just a hollow saying, don’t expect “peace in the universe.” Capitalism and war go hand in hand.

Teacher Stands Up For Iraqi Workers

At the last NYC teachers union Delegate Assembly — at which 175 teachers bought CHALLENGE — the Veterans Committee made a motion to stand in a moment of silence in support of the U.S. dead in Iraq. It passed and the delegates stood. Right afterwards a comrade took the floor and changed the motion, asking the assembly to stand in support of the Iraqi dead.
Union president Weingarten called for a vote and her “count” declared the membership “against” standing for the Iraqi dead, although delegates at the back of the hall said that at least half of those voting favored the new motion. The comrade, still at the mike, announced that even if nobody else would stand for the Iraqi dead, he would, which he proceeded to do, silently, for about a minute. While he stood, the Assembly and the union president remained quiet.
Some delegates later said the show of hands looked pretty even and somebody should have asked for a count. Others told the comrade, “Some of us should have stood with you.”
Many of the 175 delegates who bought the Jan. 21st CHALLENGE when entering the hall for the meeting were interested in the page 3 article about the struggle against the chaos Mayor Bloomberg’s new racist “security” rules have-created in the schools.
During this period of growing fascism, it is essential to fight the fears that exist in all of us and stand up where we must, while we’re still able. At least two delegates, not part of our extended PL group of members and friends, thanked the comrade for standing.
Dare to stand, dare to struggle, dare to win.
A working teacher

Using Bosses’ Statistics To Teach Anti-Racism

In the last article (1/7/04) dealing with “Teaching Anti-Racism and Class Consciousness” we saw the power of a class analysis of “race.” But one lesson can’t attune students to this new way of looking at things. Understand it, maybe, but “feel it,” no. So the next class reviews example after example.
U.S. capitalism produces these “race exclusive” statistics as naturally as breathing. Everywhere charts or tables place blacks and Latinos decisively at the bottom for reading, high school graduation, employment, infant mortality, health issues, poverty, housing and so on.
Gradually, through examining these charts, confidence in a class analysis develops. The technique of isolating racism from the class society that produces it is exposed. Ironically, in discussing the rare occasion when the Government broke its own rules, our point is proven.
In 1986, Government data showed death rates from heart disease for black males was 1.2 times higher than for white males; for black females it was 1.5 times higher than for white females. But even further — factory operators (blue collar workers) had a death rate 2.3 times higher than corporate lawyers. The class gap was deadlier than the black-white gap.
The exception proves the rule. Soon more students begin to understand how a class analysis makes change both urgent and possible.
At this point we must guard against a new error. Excited by this different way of seeing things, some students want to throw away all race-based statistics and charts. To counter this, and make the final point, I hand out class-based charts we’ve developed (or should have developed) at the beginning of the lesson.
Students are asked some straightforward questions based on these charts. Who lives longer, a corporate lawyer or a factory operator? Who has health care? Who’s likely to be denied? Then I ask for comments on the society they see in these charts and the role racism plays. But racism plays no part whatsoever in these class based charts. Is that true? “Does racism play no part in our lives,” I ask? Of course, most students are well aware of racism in their daily lives.
This leads to my final point. Looking at class-based statistics in isolation can distort reality as surely as looking at exclusively race-based statistics. We can argue that, in the last 30 years, U.S. workers have been attacked harder than those in any other advanced industrial country. We work harder, longer, are denied health care more often, meet violent deaths or are jailed at a greater rate and are paid less than our counter-parts in Germany, Japan, Australia or Canada. The cutting edge of each and every one of these attacks has been racism.
There can be no improvement in the lives of the working class, let alone its liberation, unless we understand how “race” and class interact with each other. Nothing positive can happen without working-class unity. and there can be no unity without an active fight against racism. We need both sets of statistics to truly understand the mess we are in and how to map our way out.

‘Bracero’ Plan A Presciption for Exploitation, Fascism

President Bush’s immigration reform proposal is a step towards war and fascism undertaken by the U.S. ruling class. It will not help any undocumented worker.
The liberal criticism of the proposal in the bosses’ media says it’s Bush’s attempt to give the Republican Party a more “humanitarian” face and to court the Latino vote for the 2004 presidential elections. But this hides its real purpose.
The proposal clearly states that one of its four main principles is “to serve the economic interest of the nation.” The bosses’ national economic interest is to provide masses of workers willing to work long hours for low wages with hardly any benefits. Having entered a permanent state of war since 9/11, U.S. bosses need to greatly expand their war production, requiring many such workers — which they hope to get by legalizing the 8 to 12 million undocumented workers.
U.S. rulers need this state of permanent war to maintain their hold over the vast Mid-Eastern oil riches and their position as the world’s top imperialist. This requires military might. But, with their army bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and maintaining over 700 bases in more than 130 countries, their military is already stretched thin. With more and larger wars looming, where will the extra “boots on the ground” come from?
They’re offering $5,000 to $10,000 bonuses for soldiers to re-enlist for three years, with the catch that if you’re in a combat zone you can’t leave, even if you’re time is up. But half of the soldiers are not re-enlisting. Since the rulers aren’t yet inclined to reinstitute the draft, they see the large undocumented population and their millions of U.S.-born children as a crucial source of military recruitment.
Bush’s proposal and other legalization schemes from the bosses, their Republican-Democratic politicians and their sellout union leaders will attempt to lay the political basis to win immigrant and all workers to unconditionally support the bosses’ wars. However, to win them, the bosses are aware they’ll need a better proposal. An LA Times editorial criticized the proposal for not going far enough, but said “the important thing is that Bush has opened a door for the discussion of this policy.”
It’s a sinister fascist policy to inflict massive death and destruction. Their plans are long range, not conceived yesterday. The 1986 amnesty for undocumented workers aimed to socially assimilate millions of these workers and their children to serve the bosses’ needs.
Between 1986 and 1998, the U.S. Border Patrol climbed from 2,000 to 12,000 officers; its budget rose from $200 million to $1.3 billion. The stricter border control did not — and wasn’t intended to — stop the flow of undocumented workers into the country. During those years their numbers doubled, from 4 to 8 million.
The intended goal was to change the pre-1986 situation. Prior to that, 85% of Mexican undocumented workers who entered the U.S. traveled back and forth frequently, to the families left behind. Many eventually stayed home. After 1986, border-crossing difficulties increased, forcing undocumented workers to settle here and bring their families. They are being forced to assimilate in the hope that they will develop the patriotic fervor necessary to slave, fight and die for U.S. imperialism.
In the last decade this border policy has forced immigrant workers to use more dangerous crossing places, killing over 2.500. How many more will die? Capitalism is a racist, criminal system. It treats us as beasts of burden or cannon fodder for its wars. While our labor enables capitalism to function and our youth comprise the bosses’ imperialist armies, a united working class can turn their imperialist wars into a revolutionary uprising to destroy them and their murderous system. Together we have the collective knowledge to build and run a world based on workers’ needs, not money and profits, a communist world without borders, racism, sexism, fascism and imperialist wars.

Racist Immigration Scheme Reminds Farmworker of ‘Bad Old Days’

Bush’s “new immigration” program smells like the bracero program of past decades. Even though under Bush’s proposal they’re called “guest workers,” there’s no clear plan for working conditions, wages, hours, housing, or how much will be stolen as “savings.”
We’re being sold a pack of lies. The bosses always drive for greater exploitation through lower labor costs. These “guest workers” will fit that scheme perfectly.
In 1961-62, I worked among the braceros in the lettuce fields of Arizona and California, even though I had a “green card” (permanent resident immigrant). I felt the sadness of being an exploited worker “without God or country.”
In Glendale, Arizona, the growers played Mexican country music when the braceros were tired, to revive their spirits, but many fainted from exhaustion. They were driven away in a truck to some unknown place, deemed “unproductive.”
In Central California, the braceros lived in camps without services, washing themselves and their clothes in dirty streams. The food was garbage — just poorly cooked beans and bread, “served” from a metal drum. They were forced to eat standing up, rushing to return to work. This was the original “fast food.” Since I was a contract laborer, I was able to bring my own food, better than the garbage in the drums. I left that company after a fight with a foreman.
The growers kept a percentage of the braceros’ earnings, supposedly as “savings for the future.” But 40 years later not one has received a dime. How much will be stolen from the new “guest workers” as “savings”? Under capitalism, bosses always give workers the “choice” to “either work under my conditions or screw you.”
I’m not surprised that many will be taken in by Bush’s new bracero swindle, believing the bosses’ false promises. A contractor used to tell me, “People like to work even if they’re not paid since goats always try to go to the mountain.” All bosses want all workers to be like braceros. If we don’t do something about it, they’ll get away with it again. I urge braceros to join PLP as I did several decades ago when I realized why the bosses exploit us.
A veteran farmworker

Racist NYC Mayor Turning Schools into Police State

NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 20 — Mayor Bloomberg has brought his own “war on terror” into this city’s school system by declaring racist war on the students, as well as on teachers and parents. He told a recent press conference that his Project Impact will “have a cop for every student if need be.” His idea of “leave no child behind” appears to be “put every child behind bars if need be.”
One Brooklyn student said, “My mother is against this. She says it’s racist and more young kids will get locked up for nothing.” Many teachers, parents and students were outraged about this new plan that will put many more cops into 12 NYC schools as a “pilot program.” IMPACT targets both failing middle schools and high schools in black and Latin neighborhoods and appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Many schools are on waiting lists for this program as conditions continue to deteriorate.
The media has overplayed incidents of school violence (see page 5). Many schools have been extremely chaotic this semester. Last spring, five Brooklyn high schools were slated for closing, creating terrible overcrowding in many other schools. Students have been literally dumped into schools at the last minute. Teachers have been shuffled around from semester to semester in an indiscriminate manner.
One of the IMPACT schools, Columbus in the Bronx, was said to have 3,640 students when in fact has 4,400.
The media has ignored the overcrowding and lack of funding and resources and instead played up various violent incidents. A photo of a student being removed in handcuffs for arguing with security guards made the front page of last week’s New York Times. School Chancellor Klein’s IMPACT memo to the schools says teachers should “monitor the entrances and exits” — in essence, to function as cops.
This blatant move to turn schools into jails in black and Latin communities is racist and must be opposed by all students, parents and teachers. If this pilot program is not fought, schools will be turned into armed camps where students are viewed as — and treated like — criminals.
Bloomberg and Klein have blamed everyone, especially students and teachers, for the failure of the school system. They want us to believe that schools are the great equalizers and that our youth can make it if they try hard enough. Yet, clearly the schools are a tool for oppression and maintaining the racist inequities in this society. Scapegoating students will only make it worse.
Meanwhile, the union leadership, playing its flunky role, welcomed the cops into the schools. The union paper celebrated this program and commended Bloomberg for initiating it. The phony misleader Weingarten gladly posed for a photo as she went through a metal detector at a Bronx high school. But teachers at the union’s Delegate Assembly questioned why the union would support turning schools into jails.
Billionaire Bloomberg’s racist IMPACT fits right into a system based on profits for the bosses and poverty for the masses, that treats workers as commodities to be exploited to produce those profits. It therefore views working-class youth, especially black and Latin youth, as fair game for minimum-wage jobs, and then gives them the “choice” of unemployment or service as cannon fodder in the bosses’ imperialist wars for oil and world dominance.
Students, teachers and parents must understand that capitalism has no interest in truly educating our youth but must still fight hard for the resources. Only in a communist society, free of bosses and profits, where no one is viewed as a commodity, will everyone gain a real education to expand the horizons of our class.
PLP members and friends will advance resolutions against both the cops and the military in the schools and carry this anti-racist struggle into our communities and to the national union convention this summer.

Explodes Lies About School Violence

A N. Y. Times op-ed article (1/19) by John Beam, executive director of the National Center for Schools and Communities at Fordham University, explodes the myths and lies being spread by New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg and the bosses’ media about violence in the city’s schools. That Center undertook a study of New York’s 1,100 public schools last year and revealed that:
• The major crime rate in the schools last Fall were about the same as for the similar period the year before; “Back in December, when the uproar over school crime reached a climax...the origin of all the commotion was really a backlog in processing suspensions, not in any substantial increase in school crime.”
• “Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education are pursuing solutions that fail to address the real problems: long-established...policies that inadequately distribute resources to the schools.... By focusing on individual [crimes], officials are able to ignore deeper problems within the system.”
• “Schools with fully functioning libraries and modern computers average better attendance. Schools with higher percentages of inexperienced teachers...often tend to have more suspensions.”
• “Students, regardless of ‘race’ or income, tend to do better in schools with adequate resources [but]....schools with higher enrollments of black and Latino students and lower-income students tend to have fewer of those resources. The city’s policies for distributing essential educational tools have...a...negative impact on these children.”

Election Charade Means More Misery for Salvadoran Workers

San Salvador — “You don’t have to tell me about it. I live it every day...” an education worker told a co-worker. “OK, but let me give you some facts and numbers,” replied his friend. “A report from the PNUD [UN Project for Development], said El Salvador is in 104th place out of 174 countries in human development worldwide. It has the second highest level of poverty in Latin America, after Haiti.”
Another teacher commented, “In Arcatao [Chalatenango, in the north] there are children dying of hunger. The same is true in Tacuba [Ahuachapan, in the west]. Yet in Antiguo Cuzcatlan, site of the U.S. embassy where the richest families live, the level of development resembles European nations.” Capitalism kills without remorse in order to gain maximum profits.
In the 1980s, when the commanders of the FMLN (the former guerrilla group, now the second largest electoral party) agreed with the death-squad rulers (and their masters in the U.S. embassy) to end the civil war, they promised “peace and prosperity” to the masses. Today, there is no peace — the Maras (criminal gangs) roam freely and terrorize everyone — and no prosperity.
Fifteen years of deepening capitalist crisis under the fascist ARENA Party has only deepened the poverty of Salvadoran workers. In the rural areas, 84.9% of the workers live in total poverty, less than a dollar a day per family. Since 1994, 40,000 workers have been laid off. In the last Social Security workers strike, three workers died. One committed suicide because she couldn’t repay her bank debts. Meanwhile, the wealthiest groups, especially the banks, reaped more than $6.4 billion through privatizations and the corrupt lending system.
The current ARENA presidential candidate Tony Saca is a lackey for the local bosses and some U.S. imperialists. He served as president of the National Association of Private Businesses. This organization has systematically opposed even small social benefit concessions to workers and has championed privatization.
The fmln is the liberal loyal opposition to the ARENA party. They want to sweeten exploitation and poverty with words and “projects.” Shafick, the fmln’s presidential candidate, and the fmln itself, don’t represent the working class. They are nationalists who try to make deals with any imperialist and local boss who will give them a bigger piece of the pie. This election is a fight to decide which section of the ruling class will take control to benefit the section of local and/or imperialist rulers they’re tied to.
According to the bosses’ polls, “Only 2.4% of the people...believe that the results of the presidential elections will affect the economic situation.” So 97.6% don’t believe in the lies and the promises of the electoral parties.
But it’s not enough just to be cynical about elections. Capitalism will not die by itself. Workers must be won to the long-term fight to destroy it and build a new communist society. Without revolution, no matter which party wins the election, the capitalist crisis will continue and deepen. Attacks on workers will increase. We must join all kinds of mass organizations to bring them communist ideas about the real solution to this capitalist hell.
Both electoral parties fear the working class’s potential to end this criminal system of exploitation. Workers in El Salvador and worldwide must unite as one fist, with one flag and one party, the PLP.
Tired of ‘Liberty’ of Capitalism
A worker, a friend of PLP, asked, “Do you believe it’s possible that communism will be achieved one day here? I believe it would be a good system for us workers. I think all our needs would be met. We would work, but we wouldn’t have to suffer poverty.”
“Certainly I believe there will be communism,” I replied. “That’s what we’re fighting for every day.”
Another worker asked an fmln leader, “Why don’t we fight directly for communism?” “It’s not time yet,” she answered. “What are you waiting for?,” he asked. “For capitalism to kill more workers?”
The reality is that these capitalists-in-training will never organize a revolutionary struggle. They’ll climb on the capitalist train, using the sacrifice of thousands of fighters who gave their lives for the working class. For years the fake leftists tried to hide their agenda — maintaining the capitalist system. These leaders, parliamentary deputies, ARENA or fmln, are paid $4,500 a month, 31 times the workers’ minimum wage of $144 a month!
The ARENA and fmln actors in the current election, a farce put on exclusively by capitalism, are contributing to the maintainance of this rotten system which only offers the working class hunger and poverty. Workers are tired of living in the “liberty” of capitalism. In the name of “liberty,” the bosses have exploited, tortured and massacred the working class here and worldwide. That’s why we struggle to build a communist system where the working class enjoys all it produces.
PLP believes all workers are potential leaders of our class. We must rely on them, not on any fascist or liberal capitalist politicians. The strengths and also the reversals of the Russian and Chinese revolutions have taught us great lessons. Lack of confidence that workers can be won to communism leads to failure. The working class is the motor of the fight for, and maintenance of, communism. We’re conscious of our huge responsibility as a vanguard party of the working class. We call on workers to join CHALLENGE readers’ groups and to join PLP.
Salvador comrade

Aristide: From Liberal ‘Savior’ to Fascist Dictator

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI, Jan. 20 — Thousands of anti-government protestors marching from the University of Haiti were attacked by the cops; many were injured. Since September, 47 people have died, mostly protesters, in clashes with the cops and paramilitary armed gangs. Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and one of the poorest in the world. Basic services and jobs are virtually non-existent.
In 1994, President Jean Bertrand Aristide, deposed a few years earlier by a military coup, was returned to power in a U.S. invasion ordered by his buddy President Clinton. Millions of Haitian workers and their allies believed Aristide was the new Toussaint L’Ouverture or Dessalines. (The former led the slave revolt 200 years ago against French colonialism; the latter defeated Napoleon’s army which tried to recapture France’s richest colony and restore slavery.) The exploited workers and their allies hoped Aristide would end the many years of oppression inflicted by the Duvalier regime and the TonTons Macoutes, as well as those who followed them into power after a mass rebellion in the 1980s forced Baby Doc Duvalier to flee.
Mass demonstrations of Haitian immigrants in New York City, Miami and Boston demanded that the Clinton government return Aristide to power. CHALLENGE and PLP warned it was a deadly error to trust Clinton and U.S. imperialism or Aristide to “save” the masses. That idea was not popular in those demonstrations.
The reality of capitalism proved this warning correct. Aristide is now considered even by some of his former supporters a dictator like Baby Doc. His main support comes from the cops and the “chamers” (the new TonTons Macoute goons). “Titid” (as the masses used to call Aristide) totally betrayed the masses. He didn’t fulfill any of the promises he and Clinton made.
The Lavalas (the militant mass movement which brought Aristide to power) soon split into different factions fighting for their piece of the pie. Now, some of them, along with a section of the businessmen here, are fighting to oust him. Again, following these “anti-Aristide” forces is a big mistake. The workers, peasants and students fighting for a better world are setting themselves up for another betrayal in supporting these bosses and opportunists.
To carry out the dreams of the slaves who defeated Napoleon’s colonial army and fought for real freedom, the wage slaves of today need to build a communist movement to organize a revolution that can smash all the chains that oppress them.

That’s Capitalism:
Execs Profit From Workers’ Health Cuts

“Damn, look at this,” said an electrician who had been on strike for his medical plan six weeks ago. “Where do they get the money to pay those people?” He was pointing to a local newspaper article reporting that the number of MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) executives making $100,000-plus a year had doubled over the last two years.
He was complaining because we all lost a month’s pay striking against the company’s attack on our medical plan. “They said over and over again they were broke. But they had the money to pay these leeches on the working class.”
I showed him the letter from last month’s CHALLENGE about the MUNI CEO who received a big pay raise after cutting the bus drivers and raising the transit fares in San Francisco.
“You’re right to be ticked off,” I said. “They did the same thing here — raised the bus fares on January 1 and cut our medical, how much we won’t know until the arbitration decision later this year.” While the U.S. government has “no money” for health care or education, they’re spending billions for the war in Iraq to control oil profits and supplies.
We pasted the CHALLENGE letter alongside the local news article about MTA and made copies to pass around the shop. Some went to other divisions.
These well-paid MTA bosses are the same ones who fought us during the strike. They bad-mouthed us to the press and on TV, increased scab bus service using other transit companies, and developed the plan to hire Prime Time vans as scabs, to carry bus passengers throughout the city. They made a deal with the Teamsters leadership to screw the First Transit workers, ending their two-week strike in order to increase bus service during the MTA strike.
The bosses will use everything at their disposal to whip us into line, including lying, manipulating workers against each other and using high priced anti-working class, pro-capitalist labor leeches.
Workers like us create all the wealth for the bosses. Potentially, we have the vast numbers and strength of the whole working class in our arsenal. Our Party has the responsibility to awaken and mobilize the working class to get rid of the leeches and run society for our class.
Red Transit worker

Talk About Robbing Workers:
Bosses Steal Women’s Paychecks

BROOKLYN, NY, Jan. 21 — Capitalists reap their profits from the labor of workers, paying them less than the value they produce. But some bosses go even further, stealing their workers’ wages outright. Some 40 workers, mostly immigrant Latin women, picketed the Crown Linen company at 43 Hall St. in the Bushwick area, trying to force the boss to give them the two weeks pay he owes them. These workers have been unemployed for two months without any compensation.
“We’ve been after Charlie Sevenfold [the boss] for two months to pay us what he owes us,” said one worker. (El Diario-La Prensa, 1/18) “He used to change our checks and charge us $3,” said another. “We did it because his checks always bounced. But this time he gave us the checks, knowing he had no funds in the bank. He then said he will pay us in cash but we haven’t seen him all this time.”
One woman with eight years at the shop said the boss was always moving work to other states, looking for cheaper labor. Most of these workers are single mothers making no more than $8 an hour. This isn’t enough to make ends meet in a costly city like New York. These women workers lived from check to check. Now they’ve joined the ranks of the unemployed in this “jobless recovery” economy.
The Democrats’ Iowa Caucus and Bush’s State of the Union speech occurred a few days after this demonstration. The Democrats and Bushites have nothing to offer these women, nor millions of other workers, except a future of endless wars, low-paying jobs (if any), a racist immigration “bracero” program to enslave immigrant workers even more, and a police state. This is the “democracy” the bosses offer us. On May Day, PLP will march in Brooklyn for the only real choice workers have: to fight for a society without bosses, communism.

Iraq War Sharpens U.S.-Russian Rivalry Over Oil

The U.S. war in Iraq has sharpened inter-imperialist rivalry on several important fronts. Among them, and far from the least, is growing competition with Russia.
Five years ago, NATO chief Wesley Clark, now a Democratic contender for president, murdered thousands of Serbian working-class civilians, on orders from Bill Clinton. Pretending to defend ethnic Albanians against the tyrant Milosevic, the Clinton-Clark “humanitarian” war machine bombed homes, schools, hospitals, workplaces, refugee convoys, trains and busses. The liberals’ real goal was to stifle Russian bosses’ growing influence in the Balkans, especially their ability to export Caspian and Russian oil through Balkan pipelines to Western Europe.
Today, however, Clinton’s and Clark’s death campaign seems to have failed the U.S. oil majors that were supposed to profit from it. Exxon Mobil and its allies had long held Western Europe as a captive market. But on January 13, Russia’s Lukoil, closely tied to the rising anti-U.S. forces within the Putin regime, said it was buying Serbia’s Pancevo oil refinery, which Clark’s bombers had blasted no less than 10 times in the 1999 air war. These oil installations comprise a critical hub in a newly-planned pipeline system that will carry Kremlin-controlled oil from Russia and the Caspian region to the Mediterranean. The route will run from Constanta on Romania’s Black Sea coast through Pancevo to Trieste in Italy and will challenge two more southerly lines backed by U.S. and British oil firms.
Lukoil’s move further sharpens the strategic rivalry between the U.S. and a tightening Russia-Europe alliance. This explains Putin’s open-ended jailing of Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the deposed head of Yukos, Russia’s second-largest oil company. The pretext for Khodorkovsky’s arrest was tax evasion. The truth lies in Khodorkovsky’s plan to sell 40% of Yukos — a controlling share — to Exxon Mobil and thereby give Exxon Mobil a major foothold in the Russian oil industry.
The competition between Russian and U.S. imperialists includes oil but extends far beyond it. A Lukoil publication praising the trans-Serbian project proclaimed, “ will radically change the direction of Caspian oil supplies, with EU countries emerging as the main beneficiaries....Russian oil operations in the Balkan Peninsula help the strengthening of European integration.”

Feudalism or Capitalism?
Both Hara-Kiri For Workers

The latest Tom Cruise movie, “The Last Samurai,” is a flashy and exciting movie that romanticizes the war-like Samurai culture and history of Japan while providing some interesting historical context of that country’s class society.
The power struggle between the forces of feudal Japan and the new bourgeois merchants, who own the railroads and the capital, fuels this movie. One feudal lord has serfs and Samurai at his disposal. Despite being told that the U.S. general Custer was a genocidal egomaniac, he idolizes Custer as a great hero because he “fought to the last man.” This lord is reacting to the development of capitalism in Japan and to the death of the feudal order that has given him so much.
The new bourgeoisie convinces a derelict U.S. Army Captain, Nathan Algren (Cruise), to come to Japan and fight the feudal forces “opposing progress.” Algren has participated in the genocidal murdering of Native American tribes and is experienced in crushing “native insurrections.” In the beginning of the movie Algren is seen raging against the Winchester Companys’ use of him as a side show at a fair to sell guns. He recognizes that he committed atrocities, but excuses this by claiming he was “just following orders.” He’s plagued by nightmares and becomes an alcoholic to numb his mind.
Algren loses a battle with his force of poorly-armed and trained peasants fighting the elite warrior Samurai “Japos,” (his racist name for them). He understands it’s his job to crush uprisings. He says he would happily kill the “Japos” for the $500 a month offered him. When captured by the Samurai, he’s given a taste of the life afforded to the feudal nobility and Samurai, and grows to love it. The movie completely ignores the mistreatment and exploitation of the peasants. Algren respects, even worships the Samurai and their fanatical loyalty to their lord and to feudal ideology, relying on the traditional weaponry of that era.
Ultimately, the superior firepower of the new Japanese army and its U.S. officer “advisors” help annihilate the feudal Samurai, ushering in Japanese capitalism.
The final scene shows Algren accepting the Samurai ways and thus offering his life to the Emperor. Then the Emperor rejects U.S. trade in favor of Japanese nationalism. He seizes the capitalists’ wealth and resources and says he’ll “give them to the poor,” but we know the profit system better than that. Eventually, the Emperors representing the rising imperialist power of Japan, ally with Nazi Germany during World War 2. Millions of Chinese and other Asian workers and peasants were murdered by the fascist Japanese imperial army.
Japanese feudalism was a horrible class society. Like many feudal orders, the Samurai system was incredibly sexist; for example, the Samurai leader’s sister is ordered to take in Algren after he kills her husband! Algren sides with this dying society because he feels that spiritually he can atone for killing Native Americans in the service of U.S. capitalism.
“The Last Samurai,” “Cold Mountain” and “Master and Commander” not only represent Hollywood’s glorification of the endless wars U.S. imperialism is waging but also tells us that the current military superiority of U.S. imperialist enjoys over its rivals is unbeatable. If anyone wants to learn the truth about class struggles in the past, don’t expect it from Tom Cruise.


Ezploitation Can’t Be ‘Voted Out’

The bosses’ press and TV are flooded with articles and newscasts about the coming presidential election, the alleged height of democracy. The Sunday New York Times (1/18) devoted virtually its entire editorial section to how to make this charade even “better,” avoid a repeat of the 2000 election farce with “improved technology,” and expand voter participation beyond the 50% who don’t even go to the polls.
For the next ten months we’ll be submerged in TV commercials from a bunch of millionaire politicians, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, “explaining” how they’re the one who will “serve the people.” They will not mention that the people they serve are the billionaires who own, control and run capitalist society.
But a sentence buried in a long article in that Sunday’s Times Magazine section exposes this “democracy.” It describes the uphill battle of one of the tens of millions of workers who live in poverty. A single mother in her fifties, “Caroline Payne works hard. She went to college. She owned a home. So how come she’s making only a dollar more per hour than she did nearly 30 years ago?” — the “grand” sum of $10,000 a year.
The writer then, perhaps unwittingly, reveals the true nature of capitalist “democracy,” answering his question of why Caroline Payne has been exploited all her life in factories, convenience stores and Wal-Mart. Why she was forced to have all her teeth pulled so she could get Medicaid coverage for dentures (which never fit right), suffered long periods of unemployment, was forced to sell her home at a loss and was unable to get help for her handicapped teenage daughter. “Wages and hours are set by the marketplace, and you cannot expect magnanimity from the marketplace. It is the final arbiter from which there is no appeal.”
Yes, you can vote Democrat or Republican or Green, or not at all, but you cannot “appeal” exploitation and poverty out of existence. The profit drive is “the final arbiter.” Organizing for communist revolution is the only way to free the Caroline Paynes of this world from the poverty stalking them all their waking hours.
An old-time red

Racist Jokes Used to Divide Us

The French government has banned the wearing of head scarves by Moslem women in French schools. This resembles a similar ban in Turkey and reminds me of a co-teacher who was criticized for making racist jokes about black students. He said he wasn’t prejudiced, but he was advancing the bosses’ ideology. They’re happy when we make jokes about other workers. They use issues like head scarves to divide us. They promote discussions about our alleged “differences” instead of our real similarities.
In discussing such issues with friends, we should point out their divisive nature in the working class. We should emphasize the need to destroy the capitalists who emphasize “differences” among workers while they promote unity with the bosses.
Red Teacher

When China Was Red Heroin Gangs Were Busted

According to “Warriors of Crime: The New Mafia” by Gerald Posner (1988; McGraw-Hill), the Triads are highly organized Chinese Secret Societies who dominate the multi-billion dollar world heroin trade. There are 300,000 members of Triads in Hong Kong alone.
Currently, no police or governments have stopped them. They’re bought off, and any cops who attempt to stand up to them have been threatened or killed.
Posner says the only time the Triads were defeated was when China was communist. Then the whole State and Army attacked them. Under capitalism, that will never happen. There are always bosses willing to launder drug money and invest it in other enterprises, or a CIA ready to make a deal. The only solution, again, is communist revolution.
Keep up the good work in CHALLENGE.
West Coast comrade

U.S. Bosses Split Over China

“Preparing for Constant War: ‘Corporate Governance’ = Disciplining the Ruling Class” (CHALLENGE, 1/7) was an important article for understanding past and upcoming events. China is another example of disagreements within the ruling class. Managers of major U.S. companies view China as a place to maximize their profits through trade and investment. This includes producing in China to use its cheap labor; investing in China’s production in order to get the Chinese to buy U.S. products and services; and purchasing low-cost Chinese goods. But those U.S. capitalists with a more strategic view worry about China growing into an economic and military superpower. They want decisions made with that concern in mind —for example, about transferring technology.
Last November, the Chinese government approved purchase of 30 Boeing 737s. Washington Governor Gary Locke helped make the deal, in which Boeing agreed to build the plane’s tail section in China. Boeing has a 30-year history of profiting from working with the Chinese aviation industry ( But ruling-class strategists are concerned that eventually China will use this technology to compete against U.S. capitalism economically and militarily. “China Takes Off” (Nov.-Dec. 2003 Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations) notes that even though Germany traded heavily with other European countries, it did not prevent it from going to war with those trading partners in World War I. The article says China, though often compared to pre-WWI Germany, won’t resemble that, but worries that it might.
Gephardt and other Democrats who push for “pro-labor” and “pro-environment” provisions in world trade agreements are trying to slow the growth of China and other emerging competitors to U.S. imperialism. Bush’s gang doesn’t want anything to interfere with the immediate profits of trade with China. And they especially don’t want China to reconsider its support of the U.S. dollar. The same Foreign Affairs article points out that, “In the last 18 months, China has purchased $100 billion of U.S. government securities....China is funding U.S. deficits for the first time.”
Recently, in response to pro-independence moves by Taiwan’s governing party, China made it clear it would take advantage of the U.S. military’s pre-occupation with Iraq to invade Taiwan, if necessary. The Bush Administration panicked and persuaded their buddies in Taiwan to turn the volume down, at least for now. But the incident revealed how quickly apparently “peaceful” economic relations can turn into war.
West Coast reader

Drug Barons Profit From Flu Epidemic

Dozens of children have died in the flu epidemic. The flu differs from a cold in that it includes fever, headache, general aches and pains, fatigue and exhaustion. A virus causes it; antibiotics don’t help much. Young children and elderly people are most vulnerable.
At the peak of the epidemic, the flu vaccine manufacturers reported being out of vaccine. From September to November, pharmacies — both chain and independent — and medical centers mounted vaccine campaigns, costing patients up to $25 dollars a shot. Only those who could afford it got it. Even those with public aid had to pay. Some Medicare patients were covered. Free vaccines were hard to obtain. One had to be on a waiting list of the few city-run clinics.
Vaccine manufacturers could rightly be accused of being greedy. We could demand more drastic laws, but the laws are drastic enough.
The capitalists control the government and enforce the laws to their benefit. It’s their system. More than 40 million people lack medical insurance. Capitalists want workers just healthy enough to maintain production and to fight their wars.
Even reformist countries made an attempt to provide medical care for all. The U.S. capitalists criticized the Chinese capitalists for the outbreak of SARS. Now a similar situation arose right here at home. Under capitalism the worker’s health is not a very high priority.
Red Pharmacist

Making Communists is Crucial

In the letter Challenging CHALLENGE (1/21), “casual reader” says correctly that our communist ideas would be much more effective if explored and analyzed on a personal, interview-style level with workers. I feel that articles containing long Marxist-Leninist quotes could be more instructive if these ideas were related to specific struggles in which our Party is engaged. For example, in the same issue the “Building the Party” article (page 5) was much more enlightening about what is and what could be done than is the “What Is To Be Done” article (page 8). Also, the former article dealt with spontaneity and trade unionism more concretely than either the latter article or the D.C. Metro article (page 3).
However, I disagree when “casual reader” says we should stop “the constant dispensing of the ills of capitalism in CD” and that we should “lighten up a bit” on the system’s failures. With all its ups and downs, CHALLENGE has been — in a capitalist/revisionist (phoney capitalist) world — a beacon of hope to the working class and myself over many years, It has shown the way to the eventual triumph of communist revolution. It’s true that “Facts alone will not inspire the working class to overthrow capitalism,” but facts combined with creative revolutionary communist practice and the Party’s leadership can and will.
Long-time reader

Rule of Law Ties Us to the System

The bosses push the importance of the "rule of law," mainly to honor and enforce business deals.
The capitalists' rule of law guarantees they will be free to make money by exploiting workers. A workers' government will not allow people to be exploited.
Another example: The San Francisco Chronicle (11/2/03) printed an article from the Washington Post reporting that the U.S. government accused three Islamic charities of "supporting terrorism" and legally froze their bank accounts. The law lets these charities use the frozen money to defend themselves against law suits. This drains the money from these accounts, discouraging donations to the charity.
After nearly two years of investigating, the government has yet to indict these groups. Meanwhile, the charities have wasted millions defending themselves.
Bay Area comrade



Cutting $ for kids’ health

While headlines continue to tell us how great the economy is doing....34 states have made potentially devastating cuts over the past two years in public health insurance programs, including Medicaid and the very successful children’s health insurance program known as CHIPS. More cuts are expected this year.
“Almost half of those losing health coverage (490,000 to 650,000 people) are children....”
Shoving low-income people, including children, off the health care rolls at a time when the economy is allegedly booming is a sure sign of some kind of sickness in the society. (NYT, 1/9)

‘Better under Communists’

[In Kirovsk, Russia] machinists...complained that their circumstances had diminished under capitalism.
“Life was better under Communism,” said Aleksandr, 49...The stores are full of things,” he recalled, “but they’re very expensive, and labor isn’t worth a thing.”
Victor, on the other hand, said the main problem was the long-gone stability of an earlier era of affordable health care, free higher education and housing, and the promise of a comfortable retirement — things now beyond his reach. (NYT, 1/11)

Cruel squeeze at Wal-Mart

An internal audit now under court seal warned top executives at Wal-Mart stores three years ago that employee records at 128 stores pointed to extensive violations of child labor laws and state regulations requiring time for breaks and meals....
Verette Richardson, a former Wal-Mart cashier in Kansas City, Mo., said it was sometimes so hard to get a break that some cashiers urinated on themselves. (NYT, 1/13)

US OK’s terror vs. rebels

When Acehnese villagers filed suit against ExxonMobil, accusing it of complicity in the Indonesian military’s atrocities in Aceh, [Washington] argued for dismissal of the suit on the ground that it might discourage Jakarta’s cooperation in combating terrorism. That sends an awful message: as long as the Indonesian government helps protect Americans from arbitrary violence, it is free to impose arbitrary violence on its own people. (NYT, letter, 1/9)

America accepts child poverty

The truth is that America tolerates, even accepts, persistent child poverty. Our education system reflects it, as so our tax policy, child care policy and child support policy.
We say we will leave no child behind, but in fact we continue to drag millions of children behind each year. And they may never catch up and become fully participating members of society....
Fully one-third of children of single mothers in the United States are not just poor but extremely poor. As the study data indicates, these mothers work....
Decades of economic growth haven’t lifted the worst-off Americans to a higher standard of living. Ten percent of America’s children are so impoverished that their normal health and growth are seriously at risk. (Washington Post, 12/23)

Imperialist war: old story

Current problems mirror some of those faced by the United States during its occupation of the Philippines and Cuba after the Spanish-American War of 1898....
“We went in the Philippines...and decided to stay, while surrounding that decision with a lot of the same kind of rhetoric that surrounded the Iraqi invasion,” said David Kennedy, a professor of history at Stanford. “We are going to lift them up and usher them into the family of nations. But as soon as we got there, it turned out the Filipinos had ideas of their own.”
Instead of lifting the Philippines up, the Americans found themselves having to suppress an insurrection, at a cost of more than 4,000 lives. Subsequently, the United States convinced itself that it had to remain in the Philippines to protect its strategic interests. (NYT, 1/18)

Filipino rebel army 10,000

The Communist rebellion in the Philippines began 35 years ago. It foundered but had regained strength and, according to military estimates, now counts 10,000 fighters in its armed wing, the New People’s Army....
In many remote parts of the country, the party functions as the government, providing services and a basic livelihood.
Hardly a week goes by without two or three gun battles....
Jim, a 27-year-old former seminarian who has been in the mountains since 1996, said, “The more I see the suffering of the people, the more I am convinced of the justness of this cause.”
Jim’s wife, his mother, his four siblings and an uncle are also guerrillas. They joined the movement after Jim’s father, a union activist, was abducted by the military. (NYT, 1/5)

Another war for Iraq oil?

Kurds wish to retain not only their own armed forces, the pesh merga, but also control over taxing power and oil revenues in Kirkuk and Khanakin, two oil-producing centers that the American occupation does not view as part of the traditional Kurdish region....
Bremer really lowered the boom on them,” an American official said.... “He told them they’re going to have to be flexible,...and to disband their militias.” (NYT, 1/8)

US grabbed half of Mexico

In the United States, almost no one remembers the war that Americans fought against Mexico more than 150 years ago. In Mexico, almost no one has forgotten....
It took less than two years, and ended with the gringos seizing half of Mexico, taking the land that became America’s Wild West: California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and beyond.
In Mexico, they call this “the Mutilation....”
President James K. Polk did confide to his diary that....”There will be added to the United States an immense empire, the value of which 20 years hence it would be difficult to calculate.” Nine days later, prospectors struck gold in California. (NYT, 1/9)

It helps to act like Reds!

Dr. Earls and his colleagues argue that the most important influence on a neighborhood's crime rate is neighbors' willingness to act, when needed, for one another's benefit, and particularly for the benefit of one another's children. And they present compelling evidence to back up their argument....
Such decisions, Dr. Earls has shown, exert a power over a neighborhood's crime rate strong enough to overcome the far better known influence of "race," income, family and individual temperament....
Born to working-class parents...Dr. Earls said, "We're saying that community is important....If genetics plays a role, it's got to be a minor role, because the community effects are very robust...."
Cooperative efforts in low-income neighborhoods...he said, may reap a harvest of not only kale and tomatoes, but safe neighborhoods and healthier children. (NYT, 1/6)