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
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
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
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
LIBERALS SAY BUSH'S IRAQ POLICY ENDANGERS BIG OIL
"'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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 —
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Tired of ‘Liberty’ of
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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, “...it 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
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.
“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
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
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.
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
(www.BoeingChina.com). 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Bay Area comrade
RED EYE ON THE NEWS
BELOW ARE EXCERPTS FROM MAINSTREAM NEWSPAPERS
THAT CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION:Abbreviations: NYT=New York Times,
GW=Guardian Weekly (UK)
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
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
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
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
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
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)