CHALLENGE, April 28, 2004

Imperialist Oil War Massacres Thousands: Dems Push Bush For More Troops In Iraq

Uprisings Threaten Oil Barons’ Plans

PLP Says: Liberals — ‘Evil, Yes!; Lesser? No!’

Bushites Can’t Conquer Iraq ‘On The Cheap’

Liberal Rulers: Bush Failed to Use 9/11 to Build Pro-war Police State

Argentina: Subway Sit-down Strike Beats Bosses’ Attack

Racist Firings Stopped!

May Day Dinner Honors PLP’s Historic Anti-Nazi March

Workers Who Abuse Women Fall into Bosses’ Trap

Health Care: A Class Question

PLP Revolutionary May Day Answer to Liberals’ Motorcade Diversion

Revolution Is Only Solution to Workers in El Salvador

Workers Fight Anti-Immigrant Attacks on Day Laborers

‘Community Policing’— A Racist Killer in Liberal Clothing

Profiteers Riding High in ‘Jobless Recovery’

More Rulers’ Robbery — Tax-free Corporations

CIA Created Worldwide Terrorism

Expose Anti-Stalin Lies About Spanish Civil War


GI Says Buddies Are Not Gung-ho

The Alamo: A Pro-Slavery Film

I Feel Good!

Kerry’s No Peace-nik

Peruvian Women Prisoners Write

Oppose Fascists At St. Lawrence University


Imperialist Oil War Massacres Thousands:

Dems Push Bush For More Troops In Iraq

Hundreds if not thousands of Iraqis, many of them innocent civilians, along with many GIs, have died or been wounded in the latest round of fighting. The U.S. bosses have taken a page from the Nazis and Israel’s Sharon in imposing "collective punishment," using tanks, helicopters and planes to massacre the people of Fallujah, a city of 300,000.

Many are happy to see the Bush gang eat their arrogant declaration of "victory" proclaimed almost a year ago. But in reality the leadership of the Iraqi insurgency is no friend of workers. The nationalists, jihadists and Shiite clergy don’t fight for the liberation of the working class.

On May Day in 1959 over one million workers and others marched in Baghdad waving red flags. But instead of fighting for workers’ power, the old "Communist" Party supported the "progressive nationalist bourgeoisie." This eventually produced Saddam Hussein, killing thousands of reds along the way, with the help of a CIA hit list.

Today, the much weaker CP of Iraq is part of the U.S.-led Provisional Government. The only way out of this imperialist-capitalist hell for Iraqi workers, and all workers, is to rebuild a revolutionary communist movement. That’s the goal PLP fights for, so no worker is forced to choose sides in the current gang warfare for control of Iraqi oil.

The present anti-U.S. uprisings in Iraq seem to confirm that the Bush crowd grossly miscalculated the obstacles it would face in conquering that country and pacifying it for oil investment. Initially, Bush & Co. estimated that Sunni forces loyal to Saddam Hussein had been smashed after the U.S, military had contained their October-November 2003 Ramadan offensive. Sunni resistance against U.S. Marines around Fallujah proves this was wishful thinking.

But the Sunni nationalists represent the lesser Iraqi threat to U.S. oil supremacy. The bigger danger comes from the forces under Shiite leadership (the Shiite population is by far the majority in Iraq), and a classic double-cross the imperialists have tried and apparently failed to carry out has now increased this danger.(See below)

After invading Iraq and ousting Hussein in 2003, the Bushites bet that the U.S. military could occupy the country and U.S. companies could rebuild its oil industry with no help from other imperialists and little help from Iraqi collaborators. This was another blunder. CHALLENGE has written extensively about how Bush’s go-it-alone policy has sharpened inter-imperialist rivalry and delayed the oil bonanza that was one of the main reasons for the invasion in the first place.

But Bush & Co. figured they could also do without inside help from the Shia hierarchy, particularly a guarantee from Shia religious bosses that they wouldn’t threaten the U.S. conquest militarily.

The Sunni guerrilla offensive in the fall changed that wishful thinking. Seeing with hindsight that they were under-manned, the U.S. imperialists cobbled together a quick deal with Iraqi Shiite big shots and their Iran backers. Bush’s Iraq viceroy, Bremer, promised that the Shia could hold elections, which the Shia political machine assumed it would win. The elections would install a Shia government that would allow the U.S. military to stay indefinitely and protect U.S. oil interests, in return for a share of the loot. The Shia VIPs were to promise that they wouldn’t lead an uprising that could seriously compromise the U.S. occupation.

Once the Sunni insurgency seemed to die down, Bush-Bremer tried to back-stab their new Shia buddies by calling for an un-elected "coalition" government to take power on June 30. This would include Kurds as well as Shia and Sunnis. In other words, the double-cross would remove the Shia bosses from the position of local dominance they thought the U.S. had promised them.

CHALLENGE is forced to rely on the capitalist press for most of the information we try to analyze. From what we can tell, however, the current Shia uprising seems to reflect an attempt by the main Shia leader, holy roller al-Sistani, and his buddies in Iran, to prove that the U.S. can’t conquer Iraq and make it safe for the oil companies, (1) without cutting al-Sistani in on the deal; (2) without backing off the June 30 "coalition" pipe-dream double-cross; and (3) without making concessions to Iranian rulers.

The loose-cannon Shiite cleric al-Sadr, whose forces are doing most of the present anti-U.S. fighting, has far less power than his bigger internal rival, al-Sistani. At the moment, al-Sistani may well be playing a cat-and-mouse game with the U.S., using al-Sadr as a threat of more havoc to come if the U.S. doesn’t alter its plans for post-war Iraq in favor of al-Sistani and his pals in Teheran. Al-Sistani’s forces could probably overwhelm al-Sadr’s, but at the moment, al-Sistani is giving his junior partner/competitor a long leash.

We can’t predict the outcome of this diplomatic and political wrangling. However, certain realities are clear:

The U.S. occupation is facing a crossroads. Either the imperialists cut a deal with the al-Sistani Shiite power elite, or else the U.S. may face "losing the peace, and with it the war." (Anthony Cordesman, "The Implications for the Current fighting in Iraq," Center for Strategic and International Studies, 4/8)

But U.S. imperialism’s need to dominate the world via control of Persian Gulf oil is absolute. Presently, U.S. rulers have accomplished only part of their goal: their occupation has succeeded in denying Iraqi oil to their French, Russian and Chinese rivals. But until the military can ensure a calm investment climate, the U.S. majors, led by Exxon Mobil, can’t rebuild the Iraqi oil industry and make it serve U.S. imperialism’s grand designs. Therefore, "the strategic reality of U.S. forces in Iraq is permanent" (Stratfor, 4/8). Leaving Iraq is not an option.

Moreover, the U.S. doesn’t have enough current military force in Iraq to crush a wide Shiite insurgency and deal at the same time with the remnants of Sunni opposition. Even if the U.S. manages to concoct a deal with al-Sistani and the Iranians, it will be built on sand, like all pacts among forces whose main interest is maximum profit. Therefore, regardless of the immediate results produced by today’s fighting and haggling, more U.S. troops will eventually have to be sent into Iraq and throughout the Persian Gulf.

Wider war — much wider war — is inevitable. None of it can serve the international working class. The only war in our interest is a class war, the workers’ armed struggle that sets the conquest of state power for revolutionary communism as its goal.

We must never lose sight of this purpose. The difficulty of the present period and of the days that lie ahead must never alter our resolve to fight for our class’s deepest aspirations and for the only future that can eliminate the curse of imperialist war. On May Day 2004, we will reaffirm our commitment to communism and to our conviction that our class will ultimately win.

Uprisings Threaten Oil Barons’ Plans

The intensified fighting in Iraq has dealt a serious setback to the investment plans of U.S., British and other oil barons. The Iraqi oil ministry has had to postpone until October 2004 a "landmark" conference of international oil companies originally set for April 18-19 in Basra. Presumably this conference would have attempted to strike a deal that might have placated Russian, French and other imperialists the U.S. and British bosses have tried to ace out of Iraqi oil profits. Basra was picked because of its "relative calm" compared to the Baghdad region. But now even Basra has become insecure, proven by the recent kidnapping of foreign mercenaries there. Imperialist "peace" is truly an oily graveyard. (Energy Intelligence World Watch, 4/9)

PLP Says: Liberals — ‘Evil, Yes!; Lesser? No!’

Bush’s bloody stumbling in Iraq has reinvigorated U.S. liberal politicians and, most particularly, the presidential campaign of Democrat John Kerry. Even a number of liberal Republicans, formerly Bush loyalists, are getting into the act. Under no circumstances must we allow our justified class hatred of the Bush murderers to mislead us into backing these liberal politicians as "lesser-evil" solutions to imperialist war. Kerry agrees with Bush’s strategic goal of securing Iraqi oil for U.S. imperialism: "We cannot walk away…We should not abandon our mission." Kerry’s disagreement is purely tactical. He wants to reverse Bush’s tax cuts to raise more money for the military and a "homeland security" police state. He calls for some oil profit-sharing deals with other imperialists as a way to share the military burden. Most significantly, he complains that the U.S. "hasn’t stationed enough troops in [Iraq] to maintain order." (Speech at Brookings Institution, 9/30/03; Daily Times, 4/7/04). Once again, PLP says about the liberals: "Evil, Yes! Lesser? No!"

Bushites Can’t Conquer Iraq ‘On The Cheap’

Now important Republicans and the traditionally Republican military brass are beginning to distance themselves from the Bush-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz dream-land view of conquering Iraq on the cheap. Conservative Republican newspaper scribbler Robert Novak takes Rumsfeld to task for underestimating the number of troops needed to conquer and hold Iraq. He recalls last year’s warning by former Army Chief of Staff Shinseki that the real commitment would be "several hundred thousand" for Iraq alone. This doesn’t count those required to pacify Afghanistan and, now, to launch operations in Pakistan. Novak cites plans by the current U.S. command structure in Iraq to demand that Rumsfeld send more troops. But this will be more easily said than done. (Chicago Sun-Times, 4/8)

Novak’s views are echoed by Republican Senators Lugar and Hagel and by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Republican think-tank that helped bring the current Bush White House into power, as well as by the generals in Iraq. The N.Y. Daily News reports (4/12), "General John Abizaid’s decision to press for bulking up U.S. firepower [in Iraq] is a polite but unmistakable rebuff to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who for months has rejected sending more troops to Iraq in a campaign year.

"‘…Abizaid is really…confronting Rumsfeld,’ a senior Pentagon official [said]. ‘He’s not going to let the election calendar determine what he needs to do the job.’"

This infighting among big bosses must not delude us into choosing sides among them. They all back imperialism. They all want to conquer Iraqi oil. They all plan wider war, and they will all fight to the last drop of working-class blood in order to secure U.S. world domination. Our goal remains to smash every last one of them.

Liberal Rulers: Bush Failed to Use 9/11 to Build Pro-war Police State

The liberal politicians and media are raking Bush over the coals for failing to anticipate the 9/11 terror attacks. They are reviving the old Watergate refrain about "what did Bush know and when did he know it." This finger-pointing is a diversion; workers shouldn’t be taken in by it. As CHALLENGE showed more than a year before 9/11, the bipartisan Clinton-appointed Hart-Rudman commission warned about a "catastrophic" terror attack on U.S. soil. Hart-Rudman didn’t think it could be prevented. Most importantly, Hart-Rudman demanded that the attack provide an excuse to militarize the government, prepare the country for war and establish a police state.

The Clinton administration did very little about al Qaeda, despite warnings about an al-Qaeda attack planned inside the U.S. Bush continued the Clinton policy of relative inaction.

The liberals’ main complaint has less to do with a Bush policy that didn’t prevent 9/11 than with Bush’s squandering the opportunity to build a pro-war, pro-police state mentality among the population and, especially, to militarize the government: "The most serious charge that can be leveled against Bush is…that he did not drastically reshape his administration for war after Sept. 11." (Stratfor, 3/26)

Well before 9/11, Hart-Rudman talked about needing a "Pearl Harbor" mentality. After Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt cleaned house in his cabinet and prepared the conditions for direct U.S. entry into World War II. This is why the liberals have given Bush a failing grade for 9/11.

We should have no illusions on this score. The liberals don’t want to prevent terror. They want to turn the U.S. economy, government, military and society at large into a well-oiled terror machine to keep U.S. imperialism on top.

The only answer to the horrific future scenarios — if they are allowed to succeed — is the growth of our Party and of the international movement for communist revolution.

Subway Sit-down Strike Beats Bosses’ Attack

Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 10 — A sit-down strike by hundreds of subway workers, with the support of riders and mass organizations, shut down the lines here and forced the boss-union gang-up to restore the 6-hour day for ticket vendors and re-hire 100 fired workers. Some workers slept and ate at the workplace, refusing to leave. Pablo, a conductor on Line B, echoed the feelings of most workers, saying, "We were not afraid because we were united for the same goal and wouldn’t return until everyone was taken back."

This tremendous struggle occurred amid a "recovery" welcomed by the world’s capitalist investors and bankers. Twenty-seven months ago, the economy had collapsed. On Dec. 20-21, 2001, tens of thousands of workers, unemployed and youth surrounded the Presidential palace, forcing President de la Rúa to flee for his life in a helicopter. The "R" word was in the air — the rulers feared a workers’ revolution. But the key ingredient was missing: a revolutionary party to lead it.

The workers and their allies continued fighting but the ruling class recovered, helped by the union hacks. When Peronista Kichner became President, he crafted a "recovery" based on cutting workers’ wages and selling huge amounts of wheat, meat and other products to China. The "recovery" rests on weak foundations, and workers continue to fight.

The four-day subway strike in early April followed subway workers’ rejection of the sellout by the UTA union, which signed a deal with the Metrovías (subway) bosses forcing ticket vendors to work 7 hours a day. All subway workers had worked a 6-hour day for a long time, except during the military dictatorship of the mid ’70s and early ’80s and during the free-market crooked Menem presidency — a Clinton buddy — of the early ’90s. The union hacks and the bosses tried to divide workers by forcing just ticket vendors to work the extra hour. It would have been an opening wedge to attack all workers. But led by rank-and-file union delegates, they united and struck. When the bosses tried to ban the Delegate Group leading the strike, and fired 100 strikers, their re-hiring became another key demand.

Stop Scabs

Strikers slept on the subways and blocked the tunnels despite being threatened by the cops. When the bosses tried to use supervisors as scabs to run some subway lines, the strikers blocked them by sitting on the rails. The bosses cut off the water to the stations seized by strikers and tried to get riders to blame the workers. Despite the summer heat, the workers stuck it out, supported by the public.

"The workers’ feeling during the strike was tremendous," said Christian, a rank-and-file delegate. "Some were here on the subway for four days, sleeping and eating there, seeing their children….Some were here all the time, others rotated, but there was always a good amount of strikers….

"The UTA leadership signed for seven hours, behind our backs and despite our potential for struggle. The union also gave the bosses a blank check by agreeing to ticket-vending machines, which will lead to more lost jobs."

He added: "The UTA leadership came to Line B and tried to convince workers this was a good deal, but they refused to accept the union’s arguments."

After several days, the company gave up and accepted the rank-and-file’s demands. The Metrovías bosses, the ministry of Labor and the UTA were forced to accept the rank-and-file delegates as the real voice of the workers. The plan to break this group failed. The victory broke the national government’s "labor reform" plan, a scheme giving the bosses more power to do whatever they want.

Workers, when united, can win some struggles. But we live in an age of growing capitalist crisis and endless wars. The economy’s "recovery" won’t last too long. The bosses will attack again. The burning question facing workers worldwide is how to turn their struggles into schools for communism, building a red leadership and a Party capable of finally putting an end to this capitalist hell. That is what PLP is striving to build internationally. Join us!

Racist Firings Stopped!

Chicago, Il April 6 — "We Don’t Need Another Union…We Need A Revolution!" That’s how one 20-year Stroger Hospital veteran responded to those who want to replace SEIU Local 73-HC with another union. The road to revolution is long and hard. To travel it requires a lifetime commitment, a long process of ups and downs.

The planned racist firing of seven black Respiratory Therapists, scheduled for March 31, has been stopped, for now. We had hundreds of discussions, collected over 100 signatures on petitions, held a forum of over 50 students at Malcolm X College, marched on the bosses’ office and more. Amid all this, the STROGER CHALLENGE newsletter played an important role. The growing momentum moved the union to schedule meetings with the bosses and distribute stickers protesting the firings. On March 30, the bosses backed down.

Also that day, more than 70 workers from Stroger, Oak Forrest, Roseland, Michael Reese and Northwestern Hospitals attended a union meeting and gave the local leadership an earful. One worker interrupted a presentation about Kerry and the Democrats with the challenge: "How long are you going to talk about this politician junk? I need to get some things off my chest about the job." Another said, "You got a problem with [STROGER CHALLENGE]? I passed them out all over the place. You want one?" Workers from other hospitals told her, "We need this at our hospital, too."

The bosses are trying to terrorize us in preparation for our upcoming contract fight. At least momentarily, the tables have turned. When hundreds of STROGER CHALLENGE newsletters appeared throughout the hospital, it was the workers who were fighting mad while the bosses were gripped by the fear factor.

The therapists’ victory shows that fear and passivity can be defeated. New members, especially black women workers, gave leadership to the struggle. They stood up to anti-communist attacks and are emerging as leaders on the job and in the Party. The PLP club struggles over everything, from estimates of people to how to criticize the union leadership. Often there are sharp disagreements and heated discussions, but they’re conducted in a comradely way. Frequently someone says, "You know I love you, but…"

Everyone contributes to the STROGER CHALLENGE newsletter and is developing a regular CHALLENGE readership. The club is eager about building May Day. We’re getting stronger, but there’s still a very long way to go.

Although there’s no revolutionary communist center to stop the imperialist war in Iraq or the fascist Homeland Security police state, and the majority of the world’s workers live in poverty, workers can emerge from these "Dark Ages" by building the communist PLP. We won’t win every fight, but we grow stronger by fighting. Public hospitals like Stroger face racist cutbacks and widespread firings, suspensions and harassment. Every fight can make us stronger for the next big class struggle: our contract fight next fall.

To take on the bosses, cops, courts and the racist profit system they serve, we must learn and apply revolutionary theory in struggle, and lead the workers to reject the bosses’ many traps — racism, nationalism, fear, passivity, or relying on ruling-class politicians. We must have confidence in our co-workers, and the patience to win them to join and build PLP. A strike against racist attacks on workers and patients can build a strong PLP at Stroger and beyond. The stakes are high. There’s not a moment to lose.

May Day Dinner Honors PLP’s Historic Anti-Nazi March

CHICAGO, IL, April 3 — Some 150 workers, students and youth joined our May Day dinner, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the May Day march in Marquette Park. This historic event was the culmination of a militant fight against the racist Nazis who terrorized both the white community of Marquette Park and the surrounding black neighborhoods. While we remember the victories of the integrated group of men and women who fought the Nazis at their national convention in 1977, stormed their headquarters in 1978, and the 700 black, Latin, Asian and white communists and anti-racist fighters that swept them from the streets on May Day 1979, we continue to build the revolutionary communist PLP in a period of escalating imperialist war and racist/fascist oppression.

For some, the day began with a tour of the historic sites and battlegrounds that gave birth to May Day. Our red tour guides gave passionate accounts, narration and the last speeches of the Haymarket Martyrs who were sentenced to death. We stopped at Ashland and Blue Island, still an industrial area here, where the police attacked striking workers with clubs and bullets on May 3, 1886. We stood at the alley where the bomb was thrown near Haymarket Square the following day and touched the still-standing Zeph Hall, where Haymarket leaders Albert and Lucy Parsons went, after the cops began their attack. We ended at Waldheim Cemetery, where the Haymarket Martyrs are buried, to toast them, sing the Internationale, and leave PLP’s red flag raised high on their monument. On the tour and at the dinner, we wore red ribbons that read "Haymarket Square 1886, PLP May Day 2004."

This momentous workers’ struggle, including a general strike of 350,000 workers for the 8-hour day, shut down Chicago. This led the International Workers Association organized by Karl Marx to adopt a resolution, presented by the AFofL representative, to celebrate May Day on May 1st worldwide.

About 40 veterans of the 1979 march attended, some from out of town. Some, although no longer in the Party, proudly remember their militant participation. One white couple who lived in Marquette Park at the time is now friends with the Party and regular CHALLENGE readers. "I am a Quaker and a pacifist," said the wife, "and while I don’t agree with everything the Party says, I thank you for running the Nazis out of town."

There was a skit by older and younger Party members, re-enacting scenes from the 1979 march. Youth took the lead in providing revolutionary culture. Two high school students performed revolutionary poems and raps. Two Langston Hughes poems were performed; one by six students from Chicago Vocational H.S., the other by students and a professor from Chicago State University.

The main Party speaker, a student at Malcolm X College, described the growing instability facing U.S. imperialism in Iraq and worldwide, as well as the difficulties facing the working class in the current "Dark Ages" brought on by the defeat of the old communist movement. His mother, who was injured and arrested in the 1978 raid on Nazi headquarters, introduced him, symbolizing the passing of the torch to a new generation of revolutionary leaders in PLP.

In these difficult times the Party can grow, and ultimately we will win. For example, three black women Respiratory Therapists from Stroger Hospital attended the dinner, straight from a sharp anti-racist struggle that saved their jobs (see article on left). The dinner raised about $1,000 for this year’s May Day march, and, with some hard work in the time remaining, will translate into more May Day marchers and new recruits to PLP.

Workers Who Abuse Women Fall into Bosses’ Trap

Mexico — Capitalism has successfully contaminated the indigenous cultures with its male chauvinist ideology. This poison is permeating family life. Domestic work is undervalued by both men and women. It is left to the women in rural areas, where they lack facilities that exist in the cities. Just starting a fire to heat soup mean lots of time and work as does taking care of the chickens and growing vegetables.. Water must be taken from far-away wells. Washing is a huge chore as is taking care of numerous children, In addition, women’s lives are always subject to their husbands’ opinions, about how many children to have, etc. Wives must ask their husband’s permission to get medical care.

[Various quotations below are true stories based on conversations with indigenous women in Sierra Negra, Puebla.]

"I am really hurting but Serafín says I shouldn’t go to the doctor, that God is going to punish me because it is a sin and the Bible doesn’t say anything about women getting their breasts examined."

For peasant families just having daughters is a great calamity because of the belief that women are incapable of working the land — "they’re not strong, or will end up leaving with their boyfriends." It’s believed only men can work the land, should go to school, do whatever they want, be promiscuous, etc.

"The baby girl was born yesterday, and all Serafin said, ‘another girl? You shithead!"

The super-oppression of women isn’t exclusive to farmworkers. Some 500 women have been killed in Ciudad Juárez in the last few years, many of them working in the maquiladoras there. They’ve been killed because they’re women. Millions of women are victims of domestic violence throughout Mexico. Capitalist culture creates the kind of climate which makes the lives of women, and all workers, worth very little.

"When I went to get water from the well, I also washed my feet and face. Just when I bent to take water, I felt someone touch my behind. I cried and fought, but I couldn’t stop him from being on top of me, covering my mouth so not one would hear me. I tried to close my legs, but I had no more strength. His breath smelled of alcohol and his eyes were red, and ‘his thing was quite hard.’ He hurt me bad."

But that wasn’t all...

"When I got home without my sandals, with my blouse and skirt all torn off, I told my parents, crying my eyes out. They said I was a whore. Was that the reason they were sending me to High School? My mother was crying and accused me of provoking Meliton (the one who raped me). My father hit me so hard that my mother had to defend me but said: ‘Stop Serafin, you are going to go to jail because of this whore. Let’s hope Melitón wants her now."

Capitalism is indeed the highest form of oppression of women. And this doesn’t just happen in Mexico or Afghanistan; it’s true all over the capitalist world. But workers who fall for sexism or racism must understand they’re just helping the system keep all of us down. We need to unite and fight for a society where these abuses won’t be tolerated, and where the cause of workers’ alienation from each other is destroyed. Join the PLP and fight for a world without bosses — for communism.

Health Care: A Class Question

The working class clearly has no choice with either single-payer health care or Jointly Managed Trusts. In this period of escalating imperialist war and fascist repression, the "health" plans our union leaders are pushing are really death plans for the working class.

Recently, one of the state’s largest public employee unions held a forum on health care. A representative of one of California’s Jointly Managed Trusts (JMTs) said 49% of those responding to a state-wide poll said the current health system needs fundamental repairs; 31% felt the system must be rebuilt from the ground up. At this meeting 55% of the workers polled said the system needs fundamental repairs and 45% said it needs to be completely rebuilt.

Are Jointly Managed Trusts the answer?

After activists at this forum declared the U.S. health care system in critical condition, the union recommended JMTs. In such a trust, employers and unions jointly contract with insurers for health and drug plans. But these activists were warned, Trusts are joint ventures. If things go wrong, "you can’t point any fingers because the State union organization appoints half of the trustees." Placing health care into JMTs and removing employee benefits from the collective bargaining arena means the state union wouldn’t have to support workers’ struggles.

The misleaders say collective bargaining generally deals with only the contribution portions to be paid by employer and employee. Some locals have 100% employer-paid health care. But under JMTs the state organization is pushing for no strike clauses to further control local struggles. They would rather pour all our hard-earned money into kissing legislative ass. In some locals, the state organization gets 96% of monthly dues. Member-run locals must stretch the rest to counter aggressive employer attacks.

What About Universal Health?

Bills pushed by liberal California politicians and unions are currently being touted as progressive solutions to the health care crisis (see CHALLENGE, 3/31). But they provide empty promises. In "normal" times, capitalism is incapable of providing health care that workers need. Amid deepening war and fascism, the rulers are playing fast and loose with the truth about health care. The working class will get universal health care only by eliminating the profit system with communist revolution. Then society will be organized to meet the needs of the very workers who produce all value.

Senate Bill 2 would have employers pay 80% of health insurance premiums or pay a tax for the uninsured. SB 921 (Kuehl), The Healthcare for All Californians Act, is the latest attempt at instituting state-wide, single-payer health care. This bill would still require co-payments and deductibles, would limit eligibility, and would ration care. If this or a similar "universal" health care bill passes, health care will be assumed by a nearly bankrupt state government, which will further pare benefits in a budget crisis, and leave businesses off the hook. Again, low-wage workers and the unemployed would bear the brunt of the cutbacks. Racist inequality would deepen. In our union, some members are pushing hard for this bill, while the state union is encouraging local chapters to adopt JMTs.

The fight for the health of ALL workers depends on fighting racism. After all, the bosses and union hacks are now trying to reduce the health care all workers receive to the level of care black, Latino and immigrant workers have suffered all along. In the long run, the only way to create decent health care for all is to fight to eliminate the system which makes huge profits off racism and our misery.

PLP Revolutionary May Day Answer to Liberals’ Motorcade Diversion

LOS ANGELES — For several years, the liberal immigrants’ rights groups and union leaders have organized an annual march celebrating May Day. They call it "Immigrants’ Workers’ Day." When May 1 fell on a week-day, they marched in the evening downtown. Thousands of workers participated. The leadership called for drivers’ licenses and a "piece of the American dream" for immigrants. But this year, when May 1 falls on a Saturday, when thousands more could have participated, when there is growing anger about the war and the cut-backs, they cancelled the march. Instead they’re organizing a bus/car caravan to several "key points," like Schwartzenegger’s Santa Monica office. They want to make immigration an election issue, to oppose Bush’s plans and support the legalization plan of — and build support for — for the Democratic Party.

They claim they’re not marching on Broadway LA because most marchers would be immigrants, who don’t vote. They want to talk about voting and for liberal reform on the buses. They say they need "media coverage," that the bosses’ press won’t cover a march in downtown LA. They maintain these workers aren’t organized, that they only come out for the day. Many are garment, construction and other industrial workers.

These leaders fear workers could adopt ideas of class struggle and revolution. They want leaders who will direct workers toward the bosses’ media and flunkies. They’ve invited politicians to speak and listen to demands for drivers’ licenses and legalization. Many leading Democrats support this plan as a way to win immigrants’ loyalty to U.S. bosses, to work for low wages in key industries and support imperialist war. These mis-leaders pose as friends of the working class, but are building patriotism to help the bosses win immigrants to willingly send their children into the army. Hundreds of workers and students will participate in this caravan and its day-long activities. All those planning to ride the buses have to reserve a seat ahead of time.

PLP will march to celebrate May Day, international workers’ day, on Broadway, in the center of the garment district, welcoming garment and all workers and students to join. We’ll be where some of the lowest-paid workers work. The racism directed against garment workers affects all workers and students.

We’ll march in an area of capitalist exploitation where a movement can grow, which has the potential to lead to thousands in the fight against the bosses, their murderous imperialist wars, and their racism and exploitation that attack the world’s workers. We invite those who want to fight the bosses’ system to march with us. We’re building the long-term fight to end its evils with internationalism and communism — workers’ power.

Our future doesn’t depend on the liberals or the capitalist politicians, Democrats or Republicans. Our future depends on winning the workers to fight for our class interests. PLP’s ideas, will reach thousands of workers and students through leaflets, CHALLENGE, discussions at work and after work, rallies at school, in many conversations and in class struggle.

May Day helps us sharpen the struggle against racism and imperialism and their agents in the mass movement. May Day gives us the opportunity to strengthen our friendships with co-workers and students. Let the bosses and their henchmen try to keep immigrants and citizens, black, Latin, Asian, Arab and white, from uniting against murderous capitalism. No matter how long it takes, the international working class will make PLP’s ideas their own, defeat imperialism and build a communist world.

Revolution Is Only Solution to Workers in El Salvador

San Salvador, El Salvador — After the right wing ARENA party won the March 21 presidential election, the bosses’ press unfurled an orgy of anti-communism. But this doesn’t change the miserable situation of the working class here. Unemployment, poverty, lack of health care, education and other services continue running rampant like mosquitoes in garbage. The bosses are incapable of meeting workers’ needs because their system is based on profits that can only be reaped by increasingly impoverishing the "half dead and half living" Salvadoran workers (as described by the revolutionary poet Dalton).

Even with an intense campaign of falsely labeling the fmln "communist," over 800,000 voted for them, a 59% increase compared to the last election. Many workers voted this way as a form of "resistance" to the capitalist system and to the bosses who have exploited and massacred our class for years.

Others thought the FMLN had a weak campaign, and that maybe if they had been bolder, they would have won. But won what? To change the name of the party that rules the country? To try to put one corrupt group in prison? Change the currency from the dollar to the colon? Negotiate more with the European imperialists? None of this changes conditions for workers because the underlying problem and the laws of capitalist exploitation remain. The capitalist laws, courts, army, police, production for profit and private ownership of the factories and fields stay alive and well in the hands of the bosses.

Unfortunately, many oworkers see no other alternative to making their strength felt except through voting. The collapse of the old communist movement left many with the false hope that "maybe this time" bourgeois democracy will allow the workers to direct their own future. But there’s more chance of a turtle walking to the moon than there is of the bosses freely and peacefully allowing workers to run the capitalist system.

But despite this mishmash of "democracy," "free elections," fascist repression, anti-communist lies and illusions of the phony left, many workers deepened their understanding of communist ideas. This was an opportunity to expose not only the fascist ARENA but the liberals of the fmln as well — their elections cannot break the chains of exploitation and poverty. To liberate ourselves from this capitalist hell, "one vote" will not do. We need a real communist revolution which ends the capitalist dictatorship and installs the dictatorship of the workers, with the means of production in the hands of the workers and we produce to meet our needs, not the bosses’ profits.

Our party and its communist ideas represent the interests of the international working class. We rely on the strength and understanding of the workers, not on negotiations or deals with bosses. The struggle between wage slavery and liberation is one to the death. The bosses understand this; the workers must understand it too. More than ever we need to win workers to read and distribute CHALLENGE, organize study-action groups, win our friends in mass organizations to the Party’s ideas and to generate a massive presence at the May Day March.

Workers Fight Anti-Immigrant Attacks on Day Laborers

Freehold, N.J. — U.S. bosses have always fanned the flames of anti-immigrant sentiments. They continue using 9/11 as a pretext to keep immigrants terrorized into accepting ever lower wages and lousier working conditions. This small, working-class town has become the latest in a series of cities nation-wide witnessing vicious attacks against Latino day laborers. Some attacks are orchestrated by racist groups — Sachem Quality of Life and PEOPLE — and have members with neo-nazi ties.

Freehold has a significant Latino population. In the past the town council had permitted the day laborers to gather each morning at a "muster zone" for potential employment by contractors. This zone is a narrow strip of muddy land near the railroad tracks. In December, the Mayor and the council closed it down, saying they would ticket any worker going there and the Immigration Service would be called in. A predominately African-American Baptist Church offered their building to the day laborers for several months. The workers, together with a group of local residents — the Monmouth County Residents for Immigrants’ Rights — organized meetings, meals and classes. They refused to allow the workers to be driven out of town,.

A lawyers’ group sued in federal court on the workers’ behalf. The town’s attorney told the judge the case had been settled, that the laborers could use the muster zone. Yet the very next day, the Mayor announced he had "discovered" that the land was really owned by New Jersey Transit and the laborers couldn’t use it. This astonished even the federal court judge. She ordered the zone to be made available. The workers have gathered there, but amid a heavy police presence, complete with video-cameras. The town is still attempting to find ways to "legally" exclude them.

It’s important for workers to stop nationalism from dividing immigrants from each other based on their country of origin. This is a key element of fighting fascism. It may appear that the ruling class is "favoring" non-Muslim immigrant workers (particularly Latinos), not forcing them to register at INS offices. Bush has "offered" Mexican workers his phony "guest worker" proposal. But meanwhile, the wages and working conditions of two million migrant farmworkers (most of them Mexican and other Latinos) are as bad as those of 50 years ago. Thousands of Mexicans have died crossing the Mexican-U.S. border as have other immigrants crossing the treacherous Mona Canal separating the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico. The bosses will use anti-Muslim and anti-Latino racism to help build their police state and to ensure a steady stream of workers terrorized into accepting low-paying, dead-end jobs with no benefits. Workers worldwide have the same class interests.

While this struggle has displayed working-class unity between immigrants and non-immigrants, yet essentially these workers are struggling for the right to be exploited. Victory for them now is just the ability to stand on a muddy piece of ground waiting for a contractor to hire them for a day’s poverty wages. Workers won’t truly have won until we have a system where labor is not a commodity — communism. As the struggle amongst immigrant day-laborers continues, PLP will be there to back them, raise our ideas and win workers to the need for revolution.

‘Community Policing’— A Racist Killer in Liberal Clothing

Newark, Nj — People’s Organization for Progress (POP), a community group here, sponsored a forum on "Community Policing." POP has long concerned itself with police brutality and usually responds to such incidents with protests and calls for reforming the police department or local government. Instead of advancing the liberal reform line, speakers sought a more radical response to police brutality and growing fascism.

Most of those on the panel tied the recent national increase in police murders and the building of fascist homeland security to "community policing," a relatively new ideology of "law enforcement." Cops are told to be highly aggressive and take the offensive against whomever they view as "criminals," overwhelmingly black and Latin youth. The latter are labeled "vultures" and "barbarians" in Rutgers Professor George Kelling’s book, "Fixing Broken Windows." When the racist killer cop Tom Ruane shot the defenseless Michael Newkirk in the head last year, Newark police admitted they were responding to a "quality-of-life" crime. This reveals that community policing is dangerous to the working class.

One speaker said the "broken windows" theory and the cops’ focus on stopping "quality-of-life" crimes stem from the same group of racist and fascist theorists that produced the vile book, "The Bell Curve." Kelling is this group’s main villain. While it’s important that workers support efforts to run them out of town, we must direct our anger against the capitalist system as a whole. The bosses have a material incentive to spread racist ideas — super-profits. The only way to destroy them is to destroy the bosses and their exploitative system.

Amid imperialist war, mass layoffs, and major cut-backs in social services, the ruling class must crack down more severely on workers’ dissent, using the fascist Homeland Security. Community policing is the local face of this nationwide attack. Kelling and his cronies want to link all levels of law enforcement more closely, from the FBI all the way down to the local precinct. They’re putting thousands of cops in the schools and have enlisted the support of local religious leaders in their effort to mislead the working class.

This community policing theory is basically a product of liberal politicians. Its main advocates are former liberal NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton, now LAPD chief, and Kelling. At the height of the protests against the police murder of Amadou Diallo, Kelling basically called the killing a casualty of the war on crime. We must wipe out the system that needs to criminalize and murder our youth, perpetuates racist ideologies and divides us against ourselves. Comrades in all areas must fight community policing and point to communist revolution as our response to it.

Profiteers Riding High in ‘Jobless Recovery’

U.S. corporate profits are at the highest percentage of income growth in history, while workers’ wages/benefits account for the lowest share of income growth ever, according to the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, (N.Y. Times, 4/5) The lengthy title of its report says it all: "The Unprecedented Rising Tide of Corporate Profits and the Simultaneously Ebbing of Labor Compensation — Gainers and Losers from the National Economic Recovery in 2002 and 2003." The profits stolen by the tiny group of bosses accounted for 41% of the growth in national income in those two years while the compensation of over 130 million workers amounted to only 38% of national income growth.

This increasing disparity between the bosses’ profits and workers’ wages is intensified by the war economy. The "Defense" Dept. budget is nearly half a trillion dollars annually, and this does not include the $150 billion allotted for the invasion/occupation of Iraq. This money is used to kill thousands of workers and their families in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. soldiers. Bombs, bullets and missiles are automatically destroyed in their "consumption." Military bases, aircraft carriers and the planes they launch cannot be used to feed and clothe workers. But their construction means billions in profits for the Boeings and Halliburtons that produce them, and for the oil companies who fuel them. These war profits are paid from workers’ taxes.

Much of this swollen corporate income is a result of the increased productivity, fewer workers producing more. The bosses invest more capital in machinery and technology to increase production with fewer workers, and lay off the rest. So less workers are producing more value for the bosses, increasing profits. There are "fewer payroll jobs now than there were when the recession ended in November 2001." (NYT, 4/5) Now the war production industries that normally pay higher wages are sub-contracting chunks of their production to low-wage companies, and to prison labor, both here and abroad.

‘Figures don’t lie but liars

can figure…’

Now along comes the latest government statistics that report 308,000 new jobs being created in March. It seems the government had removed 321,000 jobs from January’s count and added 153,000 to the March total! "Without this ‘birth adjustment,’ as the government calls it, the new jobs figure in March would have been a very ordinary 155,000." (N.Y. Post, 4/6) In fact, N.Y. Times "Economic View" columnist Louis Uchitelle writes (4/11), "Never mind that private employers added 277,000 jobs in March….It was somewhat of a mirage. Most of the…jobs were canceled out by a decline in total hours worked and total weekly pay."

Furthermore, nearly all of that so-called increase in jobs in March results from one-time factors — 47,000 grocery workers in southern California whose strike ended and 71,000 construction workers who returned to work with the end of winter weather. These "increases" won’t be repeated. One semi-conductor manufacturing worker who lost his job five months ago told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), "[We’re] going backward in the American dream."

Still worse, "Many of [these new]…jobs have been low-paying," in industries whose rates are "$8.88 an hour on average. Manufacturing, where employment was unchanged in March after 43 straight months of decline, pays $16 an hour." (WSJ,4/5)

Racism also fuels the productivity-driven "recovery." Black and Latin workers who suffer double the unemployment rates of white workers, and whose family income is less than 70% of white workers, are hit even harder by this jobless, productivity-driven "recovery."

The pro-capitalist AFL-CIO union leaders are worse than useless. They collaborate in the war economy by supporting the increased productivity squeeze on the workers. Their private-industry membership has declined to 9%, the lowest in 70 years, while continuing to support "lesser-evil" Democrats. Instead of organizing massive fight-backs, they tell workers to vote for Kerry, another defender of capitalism, while the bosses give us imperialist wars, racism and mass unemployment.

The value from trillions in profits that workers produce for the tiny class of billionaires who strive for world domination could provide a decent life for the international working class and free us from capitalism’s killing machine. March on May Day to help build for a communist revolution that will put the working class in the saddle.

More Rulers’ Robbery — Tax-free Corporations

There’s no end to how the ruling class’s government enables the bosses to steal from the working class. Now we’re told that, "More than 60% of U.S. corporations didn’t pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000, years when the economy boomed and corporate profits soared." (Wall Street Journal, 4/7) The WSJ also reports that, by 2003, corporate tax receipts "had fallen to just 7.4% of overall federal receipts, the lowest rate since 1983 and the second lowest rate since 1934," in the depths of the Great Depression.

What makes up the difference to finance the government’s expenditures? Taxes paid by the working class, including the surplus paid by workers into the Social Security Fund which is used to pay for the skyrocketing war budget. All these loopholes and tax credits have transpired in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Bosses’ stealing from workers is a "bi-partisan" policy.

bin Laden’s Mentor:

CIA Created Worldwide Terrorism

Reporter: Would you apologize for the events leading up to 9/11?

Bush: The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden.

And who created Osama bin Laden?

CHALLENGE has cited U.S. rulers as the source of worldwide terrorism, beginning with the Carter administration’s $3 billion CIA mobilization of a jihad movement in 1979 to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. As we have reported, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda emerged from this imperialist Cold War adventure.

Now Mahmood Mamdani, a Ugandan-born political scientist and cultural anthropologist, confirms this in his new book, "Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror." He proves that the spread of terrorism has nothing to do with Islamic culture or the "clash of civilizations" but rather grew out of U.S. imperialism’s Cold War foreign policy.

Because of the collapse of the U.S. Army in Vietnam, and caught in the resulting wave of popular anti-war feeling, the ruling class shifted its strategy from direct military intervention against "communism" to support of low-level insurgency by private armed outfits and indirect backing of violent right-wing groups. The U.S., says Mamdani, decided "to harness, or even cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet." (N.Y. Times, 4/12)

"The real culprit of 9/11," he says (as the Times paraphrases), "is not Islam but rather non-state violence in general, during the final stages of the stand-off with the Soviet Union….Using third and fourth parties, the CIA supported terrorist and proto-terrorist movements in Indochina, Latin America, Africa and…Afghanistan."

Mamdani writes that, "The real damage the CIA did was [in]…the formation of private militias — capable of creating terror." And "The best-known CIA-trained terrorist, he notes dryly, is Osama bin Laden." (NYT)

In its pro-Apartheid policy of "constructive engagement" with South Africa, it helped sustain two proto-terrorist organizations" — in Angola and Mozambique — that were armed and trained by the South African Defense Force…. Drawing on the same strategy…the U.S. supported the Contras in Nicaragua and then created, on a grand scale, a pan-Islamic front to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan…. The Afghan jihad was created by the United States." (NYT)

The result, says Mamdani, was "the formation of an international cadre of uprooted individuals who broke ties with family and country of origin to join clandestine networks with a clearly defined enemy." Voila, September 11!

"The strategy of proxy warfare continued even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the U.S. looked…to sponsor low-intensity conflicts against militantly nationalist regimes." (NYT paraphrasing Mamdani)

Now events have come full circle in Iraq as the U.S. rulers resort once again to direct intervention. But now they must deal with both Al Qaeda attacks internationally as well as Islam insurgent counter-attacks inside oil-rich Iraq, a magnet for bin Laden forces as well.

The chickens have clearly come home to roost.

Expose Anti-Stalin Lies About Spanish Civil War

Many stories about purported "communist massacres" during the Spanish Civil War (SCW) have been circulating for years. Their constant repetition influences many people, but not one of them has been proven. (See CHALLENGE exposé of one flagrant example, "Anti-Communist ‘Research’ Uncovered," 4/2/03).

No one interested in the truth should accept anti-communist and anti-Soviet stories. PLP’s criticisms of our predecessors in the Communist International under Joseph Stalin’s leadership are based on what Communists actually DID, not on lies told about them. The following exposes another such lie, appearing on a mailing list devoted to this war.

In the film "Extranjeros De Si Mismos," Lance Rogers, British veteran of the International Brigades, says he saw André Marty, head of the Comintern’s international effort to defend the Spanish Republic against the Fascists, killing a group of young Spanish volunteers coming from the Brunete battlefield in July, 1937. "Their crime was to be shell-shocked and crying hysterically. Lance, said Marty, got his gun and shot them one by one in front of his horrified eyes." Rémy Skoutelsky, a French researcher, proved this was a lie. Marty had been in Moscow from May until December 1937.

But the same researcher referred vaguely to "the crimes of Stalinism in Spain." At this point another list-member replied as follows:

"I’d like to ask Prof. Skoutelsky: What were the ‘crimes of Stalinism’ in Spain?"

By the same token, "What were the ‘good deeds’ of ‘Stalinism’ in Spain?"

I’ve never seen a truthful account of any "crimes" by the communist movement in the Spanish Civil War. Until we see convincing evidence, the term "crimes of Stalinism in Spain" becomes nothing but scurrilous anti-communist propaganda.

As for the "good deeds" of "Stalinism" — meaning, the Communist movement — in Spain, they were many, weren’t they? There would have been NO international movement for the defense of the Spanish Republic, no International Brigades, Soviet advisors, and military materiel sold to the Republic, were it not for "Stalinism."

Therefore, we should be celebrating, rather than criticizing, "Stalinism" on this list.

Then there’s the use of the term "Stalinism" itself. This term is used by enemies of the Spanish Republic; by Fascists, overt and covert; by Cold-War defenders of imperialism — i.e., of imperialism’s mass murder and horrendous killing levels of exploitation; and, in general, by anti-communists. It’s a term implying ONLY "crimes," not "virtues."

The term "Stalinism" has no analytical value — none. It’s a term of abuse, masquerading as analysis.

Members of the Communist Parties associated with the Comintern did not normally refer to themselves as "Stalinists." It’s quite wrong, and out of place, to use that term any place where objectivity and truthfulness are valued.

A Comrade


GI Says Buddies Are Not Gung-ho

My friend returned from Iraq on a short family leave. Before he left for Iraq the first time, he wasn’t sure the real reason for the invasion was control of oil and oil profits. He thought Weapons of Mass Destruction might be found. "Now I know its about oil," he told me recently. All he saw on his convoy from Kuwait through Iraq were oil wells. "Everyone else knows it too," he said, adding, "everybody misses their families and doesn’t want to be there."

All his friends are trying to get home on leave. Technically everyone should have that opportunity, but it doesn’t work that way. When soldiers first arrive in Iraq, they’re put on a list. However, by the time their turn comes up, their deployment has often already ended.

He returned home after not having been in Iraq too long. He said some U.S. soldiers were hit by mortars lobbed into their camp. He also described sitting around a lot, and just taking care of basic duties. I had a hard time understanding that until I read that a Senior Pentagon Advisor said (New Yorker (3/7/04), "We’re entering a period of transition in Iraq. We will not be conducting a lot of ops, and so you redirect and exploit somewhere else." According to that article, "somewhere else" is Afghanistan and Pakistan where the U.S. government is sending more Special Forces to try to capture Osama bin Laden before the coming election.

My friend says none of his friends are "gung ho." His fellow soldiers wanted to know why the U.S. press made such a big deal about Jessica Lynch and not about the soldiers who died trying to help her. I said I wasn’t sure but thought they wanted to use her as a symbol of a U.S. white woman victimized by "terrible Iraqis," saved by the U.S. army. Except she herself acknowledged she wasn’t a hero, that others were more heroic. She thanked not only her fellow soldiers but also Iraqi doctors and nurses who helped her. He thought this was right.

He and his friends are clearly more open to questioning the whole system. After all, it takes them away from their families and makes them targets so that Exxon Mobil can guarantee the highest oil profits and control of the market, no matter what the cost in the lives of the Iraqi and U.S. working class.

A reader

P.S. This conversation and letter preceded the current offensive. I’m sure my friend’s situation, like that of all workers and soldiers in the area, has become more critical as imperialism attacks them even harder.

The Alamo: A Pro-Slavery Film

Concerning racism, the cultural front is very important. The rulers use their control of the mass media, books, etc. to promote this weapon in their war to divide the working class. In 1993, Harvard professor Sam Huntington wrote "The Clash of Civilization," portraying the growing imperialist-capitalist struggle for the control of oil, particularly in the Middle East, as a "clash" between "anti-democratic" Islam and "civilized" Western imperialism. Now he’s written a new racist book, "The Hispanic Challenge to the USAr," attacking Latin American immigrants, particularly Mexicans. He says their growing number "threatens" the U.S., that they will eventually try to re-unite Texas and California with Mexico.

The latest weapon in this racist cultural attack is the movie "The Alamo." This is the third "Alamo" film. The last one appeared in 1960, a megaoproduction by John Wayne. Even D.W. Griffith, the director of the 1915 pro-KKK "Birth of a Nation," produced his own "Martyrs of the Alamo.". All these movies are based on a racist myth that turned the fort’s defenders into heroes and "good guys."

To Mexicans and blacks, the Alamo’s defenders were no heroes. They basically fought to make Texas a slave state. An article in by Don Santina, a film historian and author of the Academy of Motion Picture Archive’s monograph "The History of the Cisco Kid in Film," reveals the truth about the Alamo.

Jim Bowie was one of the more notorious defenders of the Alamo. Hollywood has always portrayed Bowie as an adventurer but he was actually a slave-trader. Alter the War of 1812, the Bowie brothers (Jim and Rezan) entered the slave-trading business with the pirate Jean Lafitte. They used their profits to buy a Louisiana sugar plantation, employing slaves. Ten years later, they sold the plantation along with its 82 slaves for $90,000 (a large sum then, and even now).

Jim took his share to Texas and joined white settlers led by Stephen Austin in a fraudulent scheme to acquire thousands of acres from the Mexican govt. When the Mexican and U.S. governments fought, Bowie sided with those wanting no deal with Mexico but rather a "Republic of Texas." This scheme basically brought slavery to Mexico in 1821. By 1825, slaves formed 25% of Austin’s colony. By 1836 there were 5,000 slaves.

The white settlers aimed to get rich in Texas using slave labor. But the Mexican government was planning to abolísh slavery. In March 1836, the slaveowners declared Texas "independent" and established their own Republic. This occurred while the Mexican Army was attacking the Alamo. The defenders of the Alamo fought and died on behalf of this slave Republic of Texas. That’s the part of the Alamo story Disney won’t tell us.

Rex Red

I Feel Good!

"I feel good" are the words of singer James Brown. Well, I wanted to sing them when I heard the news of the respiratory therapy workers at John Stroger Hospital. They won. The workers will not be fired because of the certification requirement. They won because PLP showed the way. The limits imposed by pro-boss unionism were broken. Multi-ethnic unity was advanced.

Why not celebrate this victory of the workers by making it the best PLP May Day ever!

Red Pharmacist

Kerry’s No Peace-nik

The "Anybody-But-Bush" lesser-evil ideas advanced by many anti-war activists are very misleading. Democrat Kerry is closely affiliated with the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a hawkish group placing "the bold exercise of American power" at the center of "a new Democratic strategy, grounded in the party’s tradition of muscular internationalism."

In his book "A Call to Service," Kerry says, "The time has come to revive a bold vision of progressive internationalism" that adopts "the toughest-minded strategy of international engagement and leadership forged by Wilson and Roosevelt…and championed by Truman and Kennedy in the Cold War." He sees military force as the solution to meeting the challenges to U.S. political and economic superiority by their imperialist rivals.

In a speech at UCLA, Kerry criticized Bush & Co. for being "armchair hawks." He said, "I don’t fault George Bush for doing too much in the war on terror...I believe he has done too little," (La Ganga, LA Times 2/28) and he called for another "40,000 active service troops" in Iraq. Compared to the death tolls racked up by Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, the 50,000 Iraqis, 10,000 Afghans and nearly 600 U.S. soldiers murdered in Bush’s imperialist adventures must seem negligible to Kerry.

He said, "Allies will give us more hands in the struggle, but no president would ever let them tie our hand or prevent us from doing what must be done...As president, I pledge to you, I’ll never wait for a green light from abroad, from any other institution, if our safety and security are legitimately at stake." (Blum, "Counterpunch," 3/2).

In October 2002, Kerry and his fellow "New Democrats" voted for Bush’s imperialist war in Iraq. But now Kerry claims Bush mis-led Congress and the public, even though before that vote former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter informed him of the absence of WMD’s and any immediate Iraqi threat to the U.S. Stephen Zunes reported, "members of Senator Kerry’s staff have acknowledged that the senator had access to a number of credible reports challenging the (Bush) Administration’s tall tales regarding the alleged Iraqi threat." (Common, 3/01/04).

Even so, two days before the vote Kerry’s speech to the Senate repeated many of Bush’s lies. He maintained Iraq was "attempting to develop nuclear weapons" and "unmanned aerial vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents." He even suggested "Iraq…is capable of quickly producing and weaponizing…anthrax for delivery on a range of vehicles such as bombs, missiles, aerial sprayers, and covert operatives which could bring them to the United States homeland." ("Counterpunch," 2/28/04)

Kerry lied to justify the war for the same reason as Bush: profits. Kerry and Bush have their tactical differences, but both serve the U.S. ruling class which is hell bent on war and fascism to control the world’s resources, especially oil, and its markets. (See CHALLENGE, 3/31 on Kerry’s ruling-class supporters.)

Kerry supported FTAA fast track negotiations, and backed Clinton’s racist and devastating Welfare "Reform" Act. Saying, "We can’t afford not to fund homeland security," Kerry has endorsed the fascist tactics of the Dept. of Homeland Security. He promises to "strengthen…intelligence and law enforcement…to provide…the best chance to target and capture terrorists before they act." (Blum) In addition, Kerry and Democrats like Harlem’s Charles Rangel are laying the political groundwork for a military draft. Like Welfare "Reform," U.S. rulers find the Democrats most suitable to implement a draft.

Instead of choosing between two racist, fascist warmakers, PLP presents workers and youth with the alternative of eliminating the capitalist profit system — thesource of the problem — with communist revolution. March on May Day on May 1.

A Comrade

Peruvian Women Prisoners Write

Greetings to Progressive Labor Party and through it to the workers in and close to you.

Because of the internal war in our country, we’ve become political war prisoners, accused of being affiliated with the PCP (the Communist Party of Peru). We’re fighting for a political solution to the problems caused by this war.

Because of the imperialist policies of neo-liberalism, the working class and the people of oppressed countries as well as that of the U.S. are being attacked severely. This makes it necessary to unite all of us to continue in the struggle to transform this system of exploitation and opression into one where justice and liberty reigns.

We reiterate our dedication to continue this struggle and our solidarity with all those on the same road.

We hope this to be the beginning of an exchange of opinions in the pursuit of our goals.

Warm Greetings,

Women Political and War Prisoners, Chorrillos, Lima, Peru, March 2004.

CHALLENGE Responds: Thanks for your letter. We certainly hope for the freedom of all workers and youth jailed for fighting against the capitalist system worldwide. We believe that capitalism — whether free market, state or whatever name it takes — will never bring freedom and justice to the workers of the world and its allies. In this period of endless imperialist wars, growing fascist repression and capitalist crisis, more than ever the only political solution to class warfare is for workers and their allies to destroy capitalism and fight for a society without any bosses: communism.

Oppose Fascists At St. Lawrence University

In the early hours of February 27, a student working late in the Sociology building at St. Lawrence University (SLU) here in Canton, NY noticed several flyers taped to Professor Bob Torres’ door. One was titled "Reverse-Racism Exists on this Campus." The other called for Dr. Torres to be sanctioned (fired).

They seemed to be prompted by Dr. Torres’ personal blog (on-line journal), which contained an entry titled "Fascist, Racist College Republicans." It was a response to the College Republican National Committee’s "My Party Too Minority Recruitment Manual," a racist tract that characterizes Latinos as "emotionally driven" and repeatedly refers to them as "these people."

In reality, the posters were prompted by Dr. Torres’ Race, Class, Gender course, his anti-racism both in and out of the classroom and because he’s Latino. One member and two former members of the SLU College Republicans posted them. They were slipped under the doors of all faculty and taped on the office door of his wife Jenna, who teaches Spanish, in an act of cowardly racist intimidation.

That same morning, anti-racist students responded with a leaflet denouncing this racist attack and calling for action against those responsible. On the back of the leaflet were excerpts from the racist "Minority Recruitment Manual." Students began organizing a "Rally Against Racism" to "Defend Bob and Jenna Torres," and distributed a new leaflet titled "Reverse-racism: The Racist Myth."

The administration, including the head of Multicultural Affairs and a new Associate Dean — who herself had been the victim of a racist attack when she was promoted to that position — began coddling the racists. Each time the College Republicans went running to these two administrators, leftist students, some of whom were entirely uninvolved, were harassed and intimidated. This was particularly true with two students who worked in the mailroom. The liberal College Democrats attacked the racist manual, but defended the Republicans.

More than 100 students attended the Student Center rally. A Sociology professor cited how far fascism has progressed in the U.S., declaring we must fight back now. "Don’t catch the last train out of Warsaw," he said. A student described the racist attacks on Bob and Jenna, attacked the SLU College Republicans for developing a political movement with its own paramilitary wing, and called for the expulsion of those who put up the racist posters. He said we must turn the tide against racism.

The College Republicans went national with the issue, resulting in a Wall Street Journal editorial by a prominent fascist at the National Review, portraying conservative students as "victims" of liberal faculty. The university president has reaffirmed Dr. Torres’ "right" to "freedom of academic speech," but is taking no action against those involved in the racist poster campaign. Returning from spring break, everything is quiet; the issue remains just beneath the surface. It will arise again soon. The battle lines are drawn. Some students have formed an informal group to fight back, and the battleground has expanded all the way to the College Republican-run student government. You can visit Dr. Torres’ blog at and post a statement of solidarity with Bob and Jenna.

A Student



Bush: Era of peace begins

Mr. Bush portrayed the economy as recovering….

"The march to war was a difficult period for our economy," he said. "We’re now marching to peace." (NYT)

Imperialism loves Kerry

Both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush started from a common point: The U.S. must not shrink from the challenge, wither in Iraq or elsewhere. Though he condemned what he described as a failed policy. Mr. Kerry declared that having gone to war, we have a responsibility to keep and a national interest to achieve….

Mr. Kerry…promised an expanded army, an expanded alliance in Iraq and a long list of benefits for soldiers….

[The] choice should be about how the U.S. can win the crucial battles now underway — not whether they should be fought. (Washington Post, in GW, 3/25)

The same old capitalism

When Lincoln Steffens traveled the country in the early 1900’s, most Americans blamed government corruption on immigrants and the poor. But after two years of putting big-city politics under a microscope, he disagreed.

"In all cities, the better classes — the business men — are the sources of corruption," Steffens wrote….

"The Shame of the Cities," one of the great works of American muckraking, turns 100 this spring, but it speaks uncannily to our times….

Wherever he traveled, Steffens found that businessmen of old American stock were deeply involved in the local corruption. (NYT, 4/5)

US could be forced out

Some officials, though, say they fear that time is running out. The real deadline, said one Pentagon planner, is not the June 30 date for passing sovereignty to a new government in Baghdad that has yet to be chosen, but "the point of vanishing consent from the Iraqi people."

Pentagon officials and military commanders acknowledge they do not have the trust and confidence of many ordinary Iraqis….

A senior official…said some members of the new Iraqi Army and police forces had as little as nine weeks of training but had been put in jobs that took years to learn….

Some officers are getting scared. Others are siding with anti-coalition forces, or have run and fled or just not shown up. (NYT, 4/12)

Bosses feel free to rob us

Drew Pooters said he was stunned by what he found his manager doing in the Toys "R" Us store in Albuquerque….altering workers’ time records, secretly deleting hours to cut their paychecks and fatten his store’s bottom line….

Mr. Pooters quit, landing a job in 2002 managing a Family Dollar store…. One day he said his district manager told him to use a trick to cut payroll: delete some employee hours electronically….

Experts on compensation say that the illegal doctoring of hourly employees’ time records is far more prevalent than most Americans believe….

Family Dollar…Pep Boys…Taco Bell…Wal-Mart…[and] Kinko’s…erased time….

Many of these employees are making $8 an hour. (NYT, 4/4)

US bosses bankroll Hitlers

Mohammed Suharto, Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Ses Seko ripped off up to $50 billion from the impoverished people of Indonesia, the Philippines and Zaire….protected by Western governments who turned a blind eye to their criminal activities in exchange for support during the cold war.

Mr. Suharto, regarded as a bulwark against communism in Asia, stole as much as $35 billion….

Mobutu cleverly used the threat of an invasion from the then Marxist government of Angola….

Western multinationals must take responsibility for allowing corruption to flourish….

Bribery of local officials by Western business is still widespread. (GW, 4/7)

$tadium yes, school$ no

[New York] city can’t afford to fund some of its most basic services.

For example, the bathrooms in many of the public schools are a scandal. Toilets are broken and filthy. Ceilings leak….

I guess it’s a matter of priorities. The mayor can’t find the money to pay the city’s…teachers what they deserve but he sure can come up with the cash for a stadium….

Unable to bear the thought of a billionaire with an unmet want, Mr. Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki were only too happy to figure out a way to make this stadium happen.

The city that can’t fix the bathrooms in its schools will put up $300 million for this foolhardy project and the state will put up $300 million more. And that’s only the beginning. (NYT, 3/29)

‘Progressive’ taxes ain’t

Conservatives often cite these statistics: the top 5% of taxpayers pay 57% of federal income taxes, the top 1% [pay] 36%, and the bottom 80% a trifling 17%.

But this argument ignores the payroll tax, which finances Social Security, as well as excise taxes on things like liquor or tobacco. These take their biggest bite, proportionally, from lower-income Americans. Income tax will account this year for 42% of federal revenue, the payroll tax 41%. If you count the payroll tax paid by employees (which economists generally agree comes out workers’ wages), four in five workers pay more in payroll taxes than income taxes. (NYT, 4/11)