Elections Will Not End Imperialist Butchery
PLP Youth Bring Communist Politics To Counter-Inauguration Protest
NYC and Newark: Demonstrate Against War, Back Defiant GIs
Remember the 1967 Vietnam Election?
No Such Thing As Humanitarian Imperialist War Machine
International Unity Needed to Fight Fords Wage-Cutting
Colombia Teachers Confront Fascist Uribe Govt, Harvard Union-Busters
Airline-Court-Banker Gang-up Squeezes Uniteds Workers
Garment Workers Gear Up for Stoppage to Defend Fired Militant
Hospital Workers Confront Bosses Over Low-Wage Hires
Bush & Co. Use Racism to Push Social Security Privatization
Liberal Politicians Are Also Warmakers
Harvard Presidents Sexist Theory
Nazi Death Camp Experiments Led to U. S. Space Program
From Ford to Jim Crow to Auschwitz
Opposing U.S. Death Squad Base
HiP HOP: Imperialist Weapon in Paraguay
Editorial Needs More Specific Facts
Challenge And PLP Need Your Support
RED EYE ON THE NEWS
The January 30th Iraq elections have been hailed as a "victory" for the U.S. war strategy. Were shown entire Iraqi families voting "to defy terrorism." Well, indeed, many Iraqis did vote mainly Shiites ordered by their religious leaders and Kurds wishing some kind of autonomy and control of Kirkuks oil fields on their territory (possibly provoking a Turkish incursion) . But the fact remains that capitalist elections are a farce in general. In Iraq, theyre even more of a farce, occurring amid an insurgency, occupation and daily U.S./UK air bombardments more devastating than those during Operation Shock and Awe.
U.S. bosses want these elections to justify their war and occupation of Iraq but, "Despite the exhilaration, the election may do little to win international support, assure a friendly government in Baghdad or prevent the spread of civil strife ." says the LA Times (1/31). "Even with international blessings, the balloting is unlikely to persuade balky European and Arab powers to do much more on the ground to support the U.S. effort, diplomats said . On the eve of the vote, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin reiterated Frances support for the removal of all foreign troops from Iraq, and two former British foreign ministers, Douglas Hurd and Robin Cook, urged withdrawals of U.S. and British forces. Last week, Sen. Edward Kennedy said U.S. troops should begin an immediate, phased withdrawal."
Many Shiites voted not only because of orders from Al-Sistani, their religious leader, but also for ending the occupation and the strife affecting their daily lives. The best interest of the Iraqi people is not what the U.S. bosses have in mind: " the U.S. project in Iraq has never been about democracy. Its been about getting control of Iraqs vast, virtually untouched oil reserves, and extending Washingtons military reach over the region. Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath; you cant ask for better than that, Wall Street oil analyst Fadel Gheit told" the Toronto Stars Linda McQuaig (1/30).
To control that oil, U.S. bosses are spilling tons of blood, including over 1,400 U.S. soldiers deaths, as well as thousands of Iraqis, many of them innocent civilians. Under pressure, BBCs Panorama program retracted a January 30th report that in the last six months more than 2,000 civilians were killed outright by the occupation forces and their Iraqi stooges, while the insurgents accounted for 1,200 deaths. The figures, collected from public hospitals, exclude deaths of insurgents.However, the real totals are far worse, as reported by the British medical societys magazine "Lancet"which estimated that since the beginning of the war civilian deaths could be as high as 100, 000, considering the complete breakdown of Iraqs medical system and resulting spread of disease.
In a January 30 speech, New Yorker writer Seymour Hersh reported that the U.S. is "systematically bombing [Iraq] .Theres no air defense. Its simply a turkey shoot . To carry out an election bombing is key . Iraq is being turned into a "Free-Fire Zone . Hit everything, kill everything. I have a friend in the Air Force, a Colonel, who had the awful task of being an urban bombing planner .
"I called him and he picked up the phone and he said, Welcome to Stalingrad."
The hype by U.S. rulers and the embedded U.S. media about the elections being a "turning point" recalls the same stuff when Saddams statue was toppled (staged by the Army Psy-Op branch); when Bush landed on the Lincoln aircraft carrier, proclaiming in a banner "Mission Accomplished"; and when Saddam was captured. The war will continue and may spread to Iran if the Iranian rulers use their influence over Iraqs Shiites to become the real winners of the January 30th farce.
Sixty years ago Iraqi workers and youth were united in the fight against the king and British imperialism. The old Communist Party was one of the largest political forces in the 40s and 50s,including Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Turkomans, Moslems, Christians and Jews. On May Day 1959, one million people marched under the red flags of the Iraqi CP. But the old communist movements error of uniting with "progressive bosses" (like the Baath Party) led to the defeat of the working class. Today, the ICP is part of the U.S.-led Provisional Government. Workers and their allies in Iraq need a new communist movement, to fight all the bosses, fundamentalist reactionaries and imperialism.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 20 Armed with revolutionary communist politics a group of young PLPers and friends, mostly in our early and mid-twenties, gathered with thousands of students and workers to protest the 2nd Bush inauguration. Our presence was important, given that many people we knew seem disorientated after the election, having put all their hopes into defeating Bush.
At the pre-march rally we sold several hundred CHALLENGES and our popular "Its-not-just-Bush-its-Capitalism" buttons. Our main banner, "We Need Communist Revolution, Not Liberal Politicians" and our poster containing the Bertolt Brecht poem telling the general, "man has one defect: he can think," attracted many people searching for a different analysis than the "anybody-but-Bush" line theyve been hearing. We noticed many people at the march wearing our buttons and responding positively to our chants denouncing imperialism, Democrats, Republicans and the whole capitalist system. Some of our friends who led militant chants were pleased at the positive reception from the marchers.
Approaching the White House with no one really chanting the march resembled some sort of parade. The anger present at the first inauguration march was missing. Our contingent took a break to discuss this mood and then re-joined the protesters at the White House rally. Barricades, armed guards and visible snipers, plus a booming announcer from a nearby loudspeaker recalled a Nazi armed camp. Getting a spot on the parade route required waiting in long lines and passing numerous security checks. Scuffles erupted between protestors and fur-clad Bush supporters as they passed by in their cowboy hats. Given this less-than-ideal atmosphere at the White House, and seeing the lack of "real people" there, we encouraged some people around us to rally in a working-class neighborhood. A group of teenagers left with us.
Though the neighborhood wasnt busy at that time, we did sell CHALLENGE and had meaningful conversations with workers. One friend contrasted the reception of the protestors during the march and that of these workers, remarking, "In the community people were even more receptive to our revolutionary communist ideas." We heard that a transit worker and regular CHALLENGE reader later told a comrade he was happy to see us in the neighborhood as he drove his bus on his route that afternoon.
Later we gathered at one comrades house for dinner and an evaluation of the days activities, provoking some important struggle and understanding, especially for the friends we had brought. Some were disappointed in the marchs size: "I thought there would be more people [protesting]. This is Washington, D.C., right?" Another friend complained that the rally lacked unity. We explained that we were offering workers and students a real political program to unite around. Ultimately he agreed. "There were a lot of leftists there, but they werent left enough to be right!....Its important to fight capitalism."
The only way to prepare for this fight is to build PLP, the revolutionary communist organization of the worlds workers. That means developing close ties to workers and youth and reaching out to masses of workers both through agitation and participation in their mass organizations.
Marches like this one enabled our base to help deliver our message to the workers of Washington by leading chants, selling CHALLENGE and offering suggestions for our plan for the day. They moved closer to PLP as they realized they were helping build awareness of an alternative road for humanity besides capitalism communism!
We will develop closer ties with our new friends through a bi-weekly study group and more political struggle among the masses. Our first priority will be a trip to an armory to talk to soldiers about the pivotal role they can play in defeating U.S imperialism.
NEW YORK CITY, Jan. 20 A coalition of neighborhood and church groups, including teachers and students, held a spirited counter-inauguration demonstration today in Union Square. With signs and chants, we called for U.S. imperialism to get out of Iraq and for support of soldiers who refused the brasss orders in Iraq. Despite the bitter cold, many people joined our chants, engaged in conversations and gave their names for future events. Although participants felt the event was positive, in discussing it afterward we agreed that we should have struggled harder to get more people out.
NEWARK, NJ, Jan. 20 On this inauguration day, one local peace group and the Green Party announced that an anti-war motorcade would travel through towns in the Newark area, ending with a mass rally at the federal building here. Although the motorcade took place, the organizers didnt hold the rally.
Despite this, and the cold weather, about 20 strong-willed people carrying signs picketed for about an hour. Chants of "1-2-3-4, We wont fight your oil war; 5-6-7-8, We dont want your fascist state"; and, "Support soldiers who resist, U.S. out of Iraq" were picked up by the crowd. These and other militant chants competed with pacifist songs sung by a few of the marchers. A number of the young people who participated were very open to the politics behind our ideas.
In 1967, the White House and the media hailed the South Vietnam elections as a turning point in that war, just like they are doing in Iraq. The Vietnam War continued until 1975 when the U.S. was militarily defeated.
(From The New York Times, Sept. 4, 1967)
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote
"United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnams presidential election . According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong .
"A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnsons policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam.
"The purpose of the voting was to give legitimacy to the Saigon government, which has been founded only on coups and power plays ."
In December, the Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. imperialisms top think-tank, appointed Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro "to research the social and political attitudes of soldiers and officers in the U.S. Army." This move reflects the rulers ongoing effort to win military cadre to their liberal, imperialist ideology.
The ruling class has long worried that an increasingly conservative officer corps might someday not follow its masters. In 1992, Colin Powell, then the Establishments darling, awarded first prize in the National Defense Universitys strategic essay competition to Lt. Col. Charles Dunlap for his "Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." The rulers media renewed the warning following the growth of right-wing militias and the anti-government Oklahoma bombing by ex-GIs.
In 1997, Wall Street Journal reporter Thomas Ricks book, "Making the Corps," depicted the U.S. Marines "veering so far to the political Right and nursing such a deep contempt for American society that one military analyst concludes, The next real war we fight is likely to be on American soil." (Chicago Tribune, 12/14/97) Newsday columnist Robert Reno (11/23/97) added, "Its not just the Marines who reflect a far-right culture. If present trends in all the services continue, we will have an all-Republican officer corps by 2005."
The rulers have tried mightily to thwart these prophecies. Throughout the 90s, they replaced the heads of the main officer training academies with liberals, who hypocritically championed womens rights. In 1991, Gen. Howard Graves became superintendent at West Point. Graves had been Powells personal assistant and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Fresh from heading the Armys War College, where he instructed future invaders of Iraq in the arts of mass murder, Graves punished some West Point football players for harassing female cadets. Graves later headed Texas A&M, home to the nations biggest ROTC contingent. He steered its 3,000 cadets on an imperialist course, establishing a joint research program with the CIA.
In 1996, Gen. Josiah Bunting, oversaw the Supreme Court-mandated admission of women to the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), another major supplier of young officers. Bunting has an impeccable Establishment pedigree. (He once ran the posh Lawrenceville School near Princeton.) Bunting helped transform VMI into a private institution governed by a board of ruling-class trustees. It had long been part of the state university system, under the thumb of a provincial Virginia legislature. In his 1998 book, "An Education for Our Time," Bunting, calling for "enlightened warriors," urged that private, liberal colleges take over the bulk of officer training from the traditional military schools.
But memories of campus rebellions in the 60s and 70s, led largely by PLP, make universities balk at fully adopting the rulers militarist agenda. Liberal scribe E.J. Dionne, who writes for the Washington Post and is Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution (another Establishment policy foundry), recently blasted colleges demands for the right to bar the military. "The idea of keeping recruiters away from elite universities is a large mistake for the military, for our country and for liberalism itself. The growing separation between the military and many parts of our society, especially its most liberal and elite parts, is a huge problem. Closing that divide should be one of liberalisms highest priorities. It should be a high priority for the military, too." (WP, 12/4/04) Dionne stresses the need for liberal ideology in the officer class. "Liberals especially should be worried about the growing divide between the armed forces and many parts of our society. They should acknowledge that if liberals stay out of the military, their chances of influencing the military culture are reduced to close to zero."
The rulers need liberal officers who can convince troops that U.S. imperialism "betters humanity" as it kills for capitalists profits. PLP has always stood for GIs organizing for communism and rebelling against all the brass, whether theyre Klansmen or Ivy Leaguers.
MEXICO CITY, Jan. 28 Ford is planning to close its Wixom, Michigan, assembly plant, sacking hundreds of workers, while simultaneously opening a new line in its Hermosillo plant here. The latter will build Fords Fusion, competing with Toyotas Camry sedan, the best-selling car in the U.S. market. Hermosillos Ford workers make $4 an hour, which cant feed a family of four in this locale. Michigan Ford workers earn six times that.
Ford is trying to re-gain its No. 2 spot among the worlds automakers (taken over by Toyota). This plan includes lowering its labor cost. In its Cuautitlan plant near here, Ford replaced 3,000 workers earning $5 an hour with subcontracted workers earning $2 an hour. Bosses destroy the standard of living of workers from Michigan to Cuautitlan.
Ford claims that to compete with Toyota, its only alternative is to lower labor costs. All auto bosses are doing the same. This need to constantly slash workers wages is built into capitalism. It directly opposes the need of workers on both sides of the border to fight for a decent life.
Fords Board of Directors controls the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers in Mexico, Brazil, the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia, forcing workers in these plants to compete against each other for jobs. On January 2 in Dearborn, Michigan, UAW hacks led a "protest" against Ford moving more production to Mexico. These hacks are pushing workers to support nationalism and Fords plan for workers to fight other workers. This divides and weakens all Ford workers. Union misleaders have proven again to be the bosses best servants in getting workers to accept this onslaught.
Contrary to these nationalist divisions, communists organize for the international unity of all workers, including a worldwide strike, to fight plant closings, mass layoffs and all bosses attacks. Amid another round of fascism and endless wars, capitalism worldwide wants workers to pay with our lives and jobs for their crisis. Workers must not see ourselves as Ford, GM or Toyota or as Mexican, U.S., Brazilian, Canadian, South African or British employees. We are one international working class fighting a common enemy. Only by following that idea can we defeat these attacks and move to eliminate all auto bosses in a fight for workers power for a society based on production for need, not for a few profiteers.
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA On Jan. 15-16, President Uribes right-wing government and his minister of Education Maria Velez held exams to hire new teachers. The teachers union (FECODE) organized protests in several cities opposing these exams because they aim to replace union teachers. Anti-riot cops brutally attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets, killing one and injuring many more; 130 were arrested.
Undercover cops took pictures for use against those arrested, and to threaten teachers daring to mount future protests. The cops even exploded pipe bombs and blamed the teachers.
In 2000, Alberto Alasina, linked to Harvard Univ., proposed an "education reform," basically to break FECODE. Teachers and public employees in Colombia are among the better paid in Latin America. The Harvard-linked report proposed eliminating national wage standards, having each city set them. The government is also demanding that teachers pay 100% towards their pensions, four times their current contribution.
The Uribe government wants to use this plan backed by the IMF and World Bank to lower wages, making workers pay for capitalisms crisis and for the war Colombias bosses are waging against the guerrilla movement here. While claiming these exams are to hire new teachers, Uribe has promised to cut 105,000 teaching jobs, claiming there are "too many teachers" (meaning unionized and better-paid). In fact, more teachers are needed; just look at the TV news showing how many parents and other non-teachers are volunteering in the countryside and poor neighborhoods to teach children to read and write.
FECODE is Colombias only remaining large union. From the 1960s to the 80s, it was very active and militant. Teachers were jailed and killed while fighting for and winning many reforms. Today, theyre fighting for their unions survival, facing the government and death squads. But FECODEs executive board has limited the struggle in Bogota to pacifist marches and rallies to hear anti-Uribe capitalist politicians. FECODE has become increasingly an electoral front for liberal and fake-leftist politicians (Duzan, Avellaneda, Robledo, Borja, Navarro). They offer no real answer to the attacks of a capitalist system immersed in wars and fascism.
PLP members are actively involved in these struggles, along with students in many neighborhood schools, and their parents. Weve participated in the FECODE marches, bringing our communist politics to workers and students.
Workers must learn from what happened to unions like Telecom, Bavaria Brewery, BCH and others whose leaders followed an electoral-legal-pacifist road: today they dont exist as unions. Electoral politics are the most dangerous because workers are squeezed into following the bosses game plan, a lose-lose proposition. PLP is fighting to become a real revolutionary alternative to this dead-end road, using CHALLENGE-DESAFIO as our political road map.
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 2 "A lot of people are saying enough is enough. Were ready to strike," declared Richard Turk of the mechanics/cleaners union Local 6 here, reacting to United Airlines latest effort seeking give-backs of $1.364 billion annually, or a total of nearly $7 billion over the next five years.
Understanding that their rejection of the companys proposals could lead to liquidation of the airline, Turk said, "We have been beat up for so long, people are just fed up."
As we go to press, the bankruptcy court judge has imposed a temporary 10% wage-cut on the mechanics and cleaners starting today and lasting until May 11, which will give $21 million back to the company. Meanwhile, he has approved wage- and benefit-cutting contracts involving the pilots (12%) and flight attendants (9.5%), all of which will save United $311 million a year, meaning 1½ billion dollars over the 5-year contract. He then used these give-back contracts to justify his order for temporary cuts of the mechanics/cleaners, saying they were necessary "because a period of turmoil for the airline required sacrifice from the workers" as well as "to maintain good relations with unions that had approved concessions." (NY Times, 2/1) Talk about divide and conquer!
This gang-up of United, the bankers and the courts would turn the so-called "American dream" into a nightmare for the airlines 120,000 active and retired workers. But this scenario is built into the way capitalism operates.
United says it needs to comply "with the terms of the loan keeping it aloft in bankruptcy court protection" and make it "more competitive in a brutal environment" marking todays airline industry rat race. (All quotes and information from Wall Street Journal, 1/31) So, to comply with the bankers terms, the judge could then void the union contract and allow United clear sailing in lowering wages and benefits, as well as terminating pensions for all working and retired employees, all to "stay afloat."
This dog-eat-dog nature of the capitalist system impels the bosses to toss workers lives to the four winds in their drive to extract maximum profits off workers backs or face corporate extinction. Amid todays war economy and U.S. imperialisms drive for world domination through control of oil profits and resources, those ruling-class needs work against investing in shaky situations like the one besetting the airline industry. The only "concession" offered to companies like United is transporting troops and equipment to Mid-East war zones, but that will probably be insufficient to save the company. Meanwhile, this dependence on war kills the children of airline workers and over 100,000 Iraqi workers and their families.
The 7,000 mechanics and cleaners, members of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), rejected concessions agreed to by their union leaders by a 57% margin and voted 85% in favor of striking if the judge voids their current contract. United is demanding nearly a half billion in give-backs from the AMFA alone over the next five years, via a 5% pay cut for mechanics and double that, 10%, for cleaners a racist demand of these many black and Latino workers plus increased outsourcing, and cuts in overtime, vacations and sick leave.
This would come on top of the $5 billion in concessions over the last two years a $4.50 hourly wage reduction and outsourcing of all heavy maintenance which slashed over 3,000 jobs. It was that 2002 sellout contract that caused the mechanics and cleaners to dump the Machinists union (IAM) in favor of the AMFA. But since unions operating under capitalism defend the system at all costs, now the AMFA leadership turns around and repeats the betrayals of the IAM in order to "save the company." United encouraged by the fascist Homeland Insecurity police state atmosphere says a strike would be illegal. It remains to be seen whether the workers are "fed up enough" to defy such an attack. Of course, if the labor movement as a whole was ready to back the United workers and shut down the entire airline industry a move they refused to do when Reagan fired 11,300 air controllers in 1981 it would give the workers a fighting chance.
But dont hold your breath. The way the AFL-CIO operates today, its becoming virtually irrelevant. Only communist leadership ready to defy the bosses laws and state power would launch such a general strike, which would raise the ante to a level that would expose the whole system. This could win workers to see that rejection of the profit system entirely via communist revolution not merely one sellout contract after another would end their nightmare and gain them a decent life.
(Previously see CHALLENGE, 2/5 four garment workers aired the shops grievances to the boss: about the new time clock system robbing workers of part of their lunch time; a demand to fire the Hitler-like forelady; and a demand for an end to the bosss scam enabling him to undercut the minimum wage. Strike possibilities were discussed amid an agreement that the boss face the entire shop on the results of the meeting.)
At the afternoon break, the workers slowly left their machines. Waiting for them to gather, the boss spoke on the microphone near the time clock. Suddenly, about 20 shipping department workers marched in. Everyone thought theyd come to join the struggle but, as it turned out, they were organized by the area supervisor to support the boss.
Most of the 60 workers in that department hadnt received the leaflets or revolutionary literature because at that time production and shipping were located in separate buildings. The production workers had decided not to distribute a leaflet to the shipping department about the plan so as not to alert the boss. Thus, the shipping workers were not a party to the plans.
"We want to work," said one shipping worker. "We have no problem and support the boss."
"We have nothing against you," responded a tall worker amid a group of his co-workers. "Were all workers."
"We all work in the same factory," said another shipping worker, "and you didnt take us into account. Were isolated; we know nothing about this."
Contradictions sharpened and tempers flared amidst a verbal struggle between the two groups. Some workers calmed the situation and gradually everyone returned to their machines. A work stoppage hadnt materialized. Someone probably had alerted the boss and he prepared, while we hadnt organized the shipping workers.
Due to insufficient work, Tomas didnt return to the shop for several days. "Hi, how are you?" asked Ana. "How did things go on Monday? Its a shame that I couldnt come to work that day."
"Im writing the story of what happened," replied Tomas. "This is part of it. Read it and tell me what you think," he said as he handed it to her.
The paper ended up in the bosss hands. The worker said that someone in the shipping department saw it and told the boss, who came to her machine yelling and demanding to see it. Another worker asked Tomas, "What did you do for that woman that put you in such a bad light with the boss? She says you gave her a paper."
Nobody had to wait for the bosss answer. He went in a fury to Tomas and ordered him to come to the office. Tomas shot back, "Im not going anywhere. If you have something to say to me, say it here."
"Youre bad," said the boss. "Theres no more work for you. Just finish todays work."
Tomas asked for his check and a signed paper explaining why he was being fired. The boss refused and left in a rage.
Soon he returned and said angrily, "Just finish what youre doing and come to the office for your checks."
"Im not going, and youre not going to fire me so easily," Tomas responded loudly.
Tomas called over a quality inspector about a "problem" with the job and asked him to "tell the others that theyre firing me; they need to know whats happening."
Tomas slowed everything down for the remaining hour before lunch when he would be able to speak to the other workers. During that hour he explained to another worker who was active in the struggle that the boss had fired him. She told him firmly, "Dont leave and dont move from your machine."
By 12:30 pm, word had spread and the general proposal was: "Dont leave. Return to your machines." Without Tomas knowledge, a group of workers had a plan to halt production the moment the boss tried to force Tomas to leave. Surmising what the workers were up to, the boss decided to change tactics and terminate Tomas while avoiding the anger of the rest of the workers. (To be concluded next issue.)
BROOKLYN, NY, JAN. 21 On December 16, a group of health care workers representing both day and evening shifts went to a Brooklyn hospitals Human Resources department to demand that the nursing department abandon its plan to bring in agency workers at $7 an hour (with no benefits) instead of hiring more unionized nursing techs at $16 to $17 an hour.
The Local 1199 union delegates were given short notice about the plan. One worker wrote a petition which many signed, but the short notice limited the number of workers marching to the department office.
At the meeting, one worker reported that the union hall is filled with laid-off workers whom the hospital should hire for these positions. Nursing management stated that agency workers duties would be to sit at the patients bedsides and inform nurses about the patients needs.
Until recently, nursing techs performed this job. However, due to short staffing, nursing techs are spread thin and can no longer spend extended amounts of time at patients bedsides.
In winter more patients are being admitted to the hospital. Surely this plan is to increase hospital bosses profits. While management claims these workers will only sit at patients bedsides and inform nurses about their needs, not one health care worker present involved with direct patient care believed a word of that. Before long, these agency workers will most likely be doing other jobs in the hospital as well.
So far, after one month, the hospital bosses havent hired any agency workers, but they will go to any length to maximize their profits. From communists who participate in such actions, workers can learn that the fight is against capitalism, the real root of our problems.
The hospital bosses know that competition in the health care industry impels hospitals to minimize the number of workers they employ, while forcing small hospitals in poor neighborhoods to close. Thus, capitalist competition creates a huge pool of unemployed workers from which these lower-paid workers can be hired and increase hospital profits.
The 1199/SEIU leadership is collaborating with the hospital bosses and the politicians, allowing the hiring of hundreds of per diem and agency workers, skilled and unskilled. These workers receive no benefits, sick time or paid vacations and must pay for their own health insurance, saving more millions for the bosses.
While they squeeze workers here, especially reducing or eliminating their health care, the ruling class in its drive to control oil resources spends a billion dollars a week in Iraq, where health care is virtually non-existent.
Making the fight against capitalism is essential in developing a mass base for communist ideas. In a communist society, these ideas will determine that health care will exist not for profit but to improve the quality of life for all.
Racism knows no bounds for U.S. rulers. Its effects have now become the latest "reason" why the Bush administration is urging black workers to support his scheme to privatize Social Security. The New York Times (1/26) reported that, in a meeting with black "religious and community leaders," Bush encouraged them "to support personal investment accounts to Social Security, which White House officials say could benefit blacks because they have a shorter average life span than whites and end up putting more money into the retirement system than they take out."
Bushs press secretary, Scott McClellan, told reporters that black men "have had a shorter life span than other sectors of America," and therefore privatization "will enable them to build a nest egg to pass on to their survivors." (NYT)
This is the height of hypocrisy. First these rulers use racism in employment, wages, housing and health care to "shorten the life span" of black working people and now turn around to try to use that attack on their living standards to convince black workers that its a benefit and theyd be "better off" building up private accounts so, as racism continues, they can leave these "nest eggs" to their families!
Forget about the fact that, (1) because of lower wages (69% of white workers family incomes), double unemployment rates and greater numbers without health insurance, millions of black workers can hardly escape poverty, much less build up any "nest eggs"; (2) this alleged "advantage" a shorter life span is dependent on continuing these racist conditions; and (3) it exposes one more effect of racism: that for 70 years millions of black workers have been "putting more money into the retirement system than they have taken out."
The "logic" here is that if racism gets worse, and shortens their life spans even further, it will be a "boon" to building up even greater private accounts. Now theres a future to look forward to.
Of course, it somehow didnt occur to Bush nor, it seems, to these black "leaders" that without racism (an impossibility under capitalism which is dependent on it for super-profits) black workers and all workers would lead better lives.
The punch line here is that there was not one peep out of any of these black "leaders" about smashing racism, the cause of the shorter life span in the first place, nor did any of them challenge Bushs "logic." As CHALLENGE reported recently, nearly 900,000 black people died in the 1990s solely because of inferior health and health care, all because of the above racist conditions.
The answer: shorten capitalisms life span! The sooner we bury it, the sooner will all workers live longer and more productive, poverty-free lives.
"Bring the troops home now!" Last summer, Democratic Party liberals rejected that slogan as "too radical" and advocated the line "Stop Bush." Now many of these same people are pushing this very same "radical slogan," calling the Iraq war a "tragic mistake" because part of the U.S. ruling class is seeking a deal with the European Union and other capitalist powers. Why? They realize the U.S. is losing the war.
The real tragedy would be for anti-war activists to follow the misleadership of liberal anti-communist gurus like Tom Hayden, George Lakoff and Naomi Klein, continuing to support the imperialist Democratic Party after the defeat of its pro-war candidate John Kerry. Leaders of major anti-war groups are supporting Haydens program to "end the war in Iraq." Hayden wants us to believe that "public opinion if strategically focused can end this war." He correctly states that U.S. plans for Iraq include "American military bases, a privatized market economy, ready access to oil, [and] a prime target for... proselytizing in the region" [winning recruits].
Hayden does not question the U.S. imperialist goal of "dominance," let alone its capitalist roots. Like Kerry, he questions the unilateralist policy of the Bush administration. He wants us to believe that the Democrats can be pressured into becoming an "anti-war party."
Investment opportunities in the "market economy" and "access to oil" in the Persian Gulf region are critical to the continued dominance of U.S. imperialism in the face of challenges from rival imperialists, and U.S. military bases are essential to this plan. In suggesting that "public opinion" can change this, Hayden obscures the fact that the only way to end wars for profit is with workers revolution to destroy capitalism and its imperialist wars.
Hayden promotes the lie that the U.S. is a "democracy" rather than a capitalist dictatorship. "When trapped between imperial elites and their own insistent constituents," he asserts, "members of Congress will tend to side with their voters." Dont hold your breath. He claims "that is how the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia were ended in 1975." But U.S. forces were driven out of Southeast Asia by "national liberation" armies that unlike most U.S. troops had a real commitment to their cause. Also, massive rebellions in the U.S. armed forces helped end the wars.
Hayden builds nationalism. "We" Americans, he says, must change "our priorities" and restore "our respect in the world." Hayden wants to "send the clearest possible message to mainstream public opinion" in order to build an alliance with the likes of Coble, Pat Buchanan and William F. Buckley, Jr. This racist populism is the opposite of the worker-student alliance we need to fight imperialism and racism.
Hayden urges solidarity with dissident veterans, soldiers, and their families, but his solution is to help those who refuse to serve to run away to Canada. This reflects the fact that many people want to reach out to the soldiers. He talks about supporting soldiers grievances (lack of armor, extended tours of duty) but never suggests trying to organize against imperialist war inside the military.
Finally, Haydens idea of international solidarity is to use Global Exchange to organize a "peace coalition" that will protest when U.S. officials speak in Europe and elsewhere. His program would use the energy of anti-war activists to promote an imperialist strategy where closer relations to European imperialists might place U.S. imperialists in a better position to confront the rising challenge of Asian imperialism. It will take a long-term fight to end the capitalist system and its inevitable bloody wars for profit.
Haydens SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) began in the 1950s as the youth wing of an anti-communist "social-democratic" movement tied to the United Auto Workers. Then in December 1964 still small, and with little influence it called for a spring protest against U.S. intervention in Vietnam. Members of the newly-formed Progressive Labor Party joined SDS as well as this mass protest. By the end of 1965, SDS had dropped its official anti-communism in response to a growing and increasingly radical youth movement inspired by worldwide anti-imperialist struggles. In 1969, the majority of the delegates to the SDS national convention voted to follow PLP leadership and build a worker-student alliance against the war, against racism and against the capitalist system behind them.
Apparently Hayden learned a lesson. Instead of calling for a new mass organization, he now tells activists to join and work within the Democratic Party itself. But while times are different, PLP is alive and well, fighting on the campuses and within the working class to lead actions against racism and imperialism and to show many students and workers the potential and need to fight to eliminate imperialist war with communist revolution.
Spawned by EugenicistsYou can bet something bad is brewing for workers when Harvards president makes outrageous comments suggesting that "innate sex differences" between men and women explain why so few women have become professors of mathematics or science.
This nonsense spewed out recently by Lawrence Summers has generated a firestorm of protest from liberals and feminists. Theyre right as far as they go to condemn Summers, but only a communist analysis can explain the full danger of his apparently off-hand remarks.
Summerss assertion is based on the genetic "theory" of intelligence, behavior and society, a lie thats been around for a long time. It started at the end of the 18th century, with the beginnings of industrial capitalism, when a British pseudo-scientist named Thomas Malthus explained that the best social policy toward improving conditions for the working class was to do nothing because workers were innately "inferior" and therefore could not gain anything from improvements in education, housing or sanitation. Malthus advised letting workers die of starvation or disease after they had outlived their ability to work and reproduce themselves.
Malthusianism was later renamed "Social Darwinism," a crude distortion of Charles Darwins theory about the evolution of species. Social Darwinism provided a crass, self-serving justification of the profit systems class structure and horrible inequalities. About 100 years ago, some U.S. "scientists," many from Harvard, founded the "Eugenics" movement, which refined and codified this nonsense. They claimed intelligence was in the genes, that rich people were "biologically programmed" to be smart and poor workers to be dumb, criminal or both.
Harvard eugenicists like Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard contributed to the racist deaths of millions of U.S. workers during the first half of the 20th century. Their "theory" that the dread disease pellagra afflicted only the "unfit," who supposedly got it by eating each others feces convinced enough Washington policymakers to prevent the government from seriously studying the diseases cause.
By 1915, a heroic doctor named Goldberger discovered that a vitamin deficiency caused pellagra. Well never know how many Southern agricultural workers black and white died of pellagra before Roosevelts New Dealers realized that these workers would be needed for the military in World War II and figured out that giving them vitamin supplements might be in the bosses interest.
The U.S. Eugenics movement served as the key inspiration for Hitler & Co. The Nazi eugenics courts, sterilization programs and, by extension, the pseudo-science that led to the gas chambers, all owe a huge debt to U.S. Eugenics, a debt the Nazis happily recognized.
In the modern period, Harvard scribblers have continued to spread these lies and resurrect them whenever needed:
In 1969, when the Nixon White House was looking to justify racist violence and economic attacks against black workers, Arthur Jensen, a professor of educational psychology at Stanford, published a rant in the Harvard Review of Education "explaining" that the government was wasting money on trying to improve education for black children because black people had fewer "intelligence genes" than white people. Within weeks, Jensens garbage was getting front-page play in major publications and hailed in Washington and academia as a "scientific breakthrough."
Edward Banfield, another Harvard "genius", wrote in "The Unheavenly City" that "lower class individuals," as he called black workers, actually liked slum conditions and didnt want to change them. No need for housing and education reform here.
In 1973, when Nixon was freezing wages, Richard Herrnstein, a Harvard Psychology Department professor, began publishing drivel about the direct link between genes and "socioeconomic status." For 20 years, Herrnstein published a mountain of vicious foolishness related to this racist crap (including "The Bell Curve"), some of it jointly with Charles Murray, another Harvard "expert". Herrnstein has since died, but Murrays still around. Last January 23, the New York Times, which has widely published these genetic determinist racists, printed a Murray column justifying Summerss BS about women in math and science.
The mid-1970s witnessed the crowning glory of Harvard genetic racism, when Harvard professor E.O. Wilson, trotted out "Sociobiology," a masterpiece of verbal diarrhea, which "explained" that all of society and all social behavior can trace their causes to genes. Somehow, Wilsons accomplishments as an ant expert qualified him to make this claim. He became a media darling, won a Pulitzer prize and now reigns as Harvards resident sage.
Lately, one Steven Pinker, also at Harvard, and whom Summers admires, has carried the ball and seems to have motivated Summerss statement about women.
Summers is no dummy. He served as Clintons Treasury-Secretary and helped implement Clintons notoriously racist forced-labor, union-busting scheme known as "Workfare." Its hard to believe that Summers tossed out his ridiculous comment about women in math and science with no forethought. Harvard is the rulers major university. Its a center and magnet for science, politics and ideology. Ideas coming from Harvard exert huge influence on educational, public, and foreign policy. In various forms, racist genetic determinism has stood at the center of the bosses pseudo-science since the dawn of the 20th century. A ruling class hell-bent on a fascist police state and widening wars needs this venom more than ever, just as the Nazis did.
That, in CHALLENGEs view, is the underlying reason behind Summerss comment about women. He was floating a straw in the wind. We can expect much more of this in the period ahead. Genetic determinism about women, workers, Arabs or anyone whom the bosses need to oppress, exploit, or conquer is here to stay.
Exposing and destroying this venom remain key tasks for PLP and the working class. Weve carried out many past struggles against it, but we cant stop now. Racist, sexist, anti-worker genetic determinism will live as long as the profit system rules. The struggle to smash it is inseparable from the struggle for revolution, communism and workers.
(Part II: how U.S. rulers hired hundreds of Nazis scientists and other war criminals to build the U.S. space program and launch the Cold War.)
January 27 marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Red Army. In mid-February of 1945, as the Red Army rolled the Nazi war machine back towards Berlin, SS Major Wernher von Braun and his team fled to southern Germany in a vain attempt to regroup their rocket and jet propulsion operations. But it was too late. By early May, the Red Flag flew over the Nazi Reichstag in Berlin. Von Braun and his gang moved to the Austrian border and surrendered to the U.S. Armys 44th Infantry Division.
This was the beginning of von Brauns love affair with U.S. imperialism. As reported last issue, the secret Army-OSS "Operation Paperclip" (the OSS later became the CIA), "cleansed" von Braun and hundreds of Nazi scientists of their war crimes and brought them to the U.S., circumventing a Roosevelt-Truman ban on hiring hardcore Nazis.
The Nazi scientists were moved to New Mexico, where hundreds of captured Nazi V2 rockets were tested. Then in 1950, von Brauns gang was transferred to the Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama to develop tactical ballistic missiles, from which the Saturn rocket was developed to compete with the Soviet Union in the space race.
Meanwhile, von Brauns image was cleaned up even more, becoming a feature in Disneys TV show, "The World of Tomorrow." In 1970 von Braun became NASAs associate administrator.
In 1984, a von Braun assistant, Arthur Rudolph, fled to West Germany, following investigation of his war record. During the war, he had been operations director of the Mittelwerk factory at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camps, used exclusively for the Nazi rocket progam in which 20,000 workers died from beatings, hangings and starvation. Despite his being an ardent Nazi since 1931, Operation Paperclip cleaned Rudolphs record and brought him to the U.S where he designed the Saturn 5 rocket used in the Apollo moon landings.
A third top Nazi to become a leading NASA boss was Kart Debus, a former member of the Brown Shirts (SA), and later of the elite killer force (the SS). He became the first director of the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Its not hard to imagine these Nazis saying, "Mein Führer, the moon landing is for you."
But before and during the war, the process had been reversed. The Nazis used the U.S. bosses to make their fascist system work. The Nazi Nuremberg laws and the Eugenics pseudo-science of "racial purity" were based on the Jim Crow super-racist discrimination laws in the U.S.
But the Nazis used the death camps for another purpose: as slave labor for their war machine, reaping huge profits for German and U.S.-owned companies. On April 30, 1942, Oswald Pohl, chief of the SS Economic and Administrative Office, reported to Reichsführer Himmler that priority was now being given to the economic use of the concentration camps, forcing inmates to work until they dropped dead. Krupp and Siemens took advantage of this slave labor, mainly at Auschwitz. IG Farben set up a synthetic rubber plant in Buna the third camp in the Auschwitz complex using 35,000 slave laborers, 25,000 of whom died. (Raul Hilberg, La destruction des Juifs dEurope, Fayard, 1988)
Volkswagen, DaimlerBenz and Opel (owned by GM) also used such slave labor to make super-profits while building vehicles for the Nazi war machine.
IBM profited handsomely from its keypunch tabulation system, used to identify and catalogue inmates at the death camps. ("IBM and the Holocaust"; Edwin Black, Laffont, Paris, Feb. 2001)
Ford plants in Germany produced trucks and engines for the Nazi war machine. Henry Ford and Hitler had a mutual admiration society. Fords photo hung in the Führers office. In 1938, Ford was given the Great Eagle Cross, a top Nazi honor. Ford and Hitler were notorious anti-Semites Ford distributed worldwide the Protocols of Zion, a forgery concocted by the Tsars secret police in the early 1900s. The Nazis copied Fords assembly line methods in their war plants, both inside and outside the slave-labor death camps. The Nazis treatment of death-camp inmates followed the cattle-handling method used by the huge Chicago meatpacking houses.
Today, the U.S. prison system employs these slave-labor methods to force many of its 2.1 million prisoners (most of any nation worldwide) to work inside at pennies per hour for companies like Microsoft, Dell, Boeing, IBM, AT&T Wireless, Nordstrom, Honeywell and Hewlett-Packard among many others. The fact that 70% of the prisoners are black and Latino exposes this racism as a continuation of slavery that allegedly ended with the Civil War.
(Next: how the CIA used Nazi war criminals to launch the Cold War; how the CIA developed LSD and PCP based on Nazi research and why these fascist atrocities are not just aberrations but part of a capitalism system immersed in endless wars.)
For three years a main project in my church-based work has been organizing to close the "School of the Americas [Assassins]" (SOA), the Ft. Benning Ga. facility that has produced thousands of fascist death-squad leaders for U.S.-backed Latin American dictatorships. After a years work at the regional level, our committee developed a small movement that drafted and passed a resolution against the SOA at the annual denominational convention. Through this we drew closer to a number of people some in the military who are open to expanding the church-wide discussion of U.S. imperialism. Following this victory, I flew to Georgia to participate in my third SOA-Watch action.
Driving into Columbus, Georgia, near Ft. Benning, I saw buses from everywhere Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, the northeast, California but also including Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana as well! High school and college teachers and students, parents and friends largely Catholic-organized, white and maybe 20% Latino.
With all the weaknesses of liberalism, pacifism, philosophic idealism, still many, many mainstream workers and students from "the heartland" opposed one of the most obvious tips of the imperialist iceberg. The situation is similar to 66 -67 in its potential for PLP to struggle to bring our ideas to a one-sided, liberal-led movement, to sharpen the contradictions within it and to RECRUIT! No wonder the bosses media have made sure no one knows the annual SOA/WATCH action has grown from 16 to over 16,000 in less than a dozen years. Real potential for trouble for the ruling class!
I distributed 1,000 brochures describing the work of our justice and peace coalition. Young people were especially receptive to an "old-timer from the 60s." I made five contacts.
By participating in the struggle to close the School of the Assassins, Ive discussed imperialism and linked SOA to the U.S. oil war in Iraq and fascist torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons. Ive made new friends and encouraged the leadership of old friends, including church members and clergy. When they discover theyre not alone, these people can do the vital "low profile" work needed to resist and smash fascism, and be won closer to and into PLP in the process.
Theres much work to be done!
Coming to Paraguay, I expected to hear folkloric or polka music in the traditional Guarani language. To my surprise, I did hear that music, but most of it was drowned out by Eminem, Fat Joe and Snoop Dogg. At first, being away from the U.$., I welcomed hearing a tune in a familiar language that I understood. But then reality dawned on me. I began to experience first hand the danger of hip hop, a weapon of cultural imperialism.
Video clips on TV which show half-naked women and promote drugs and alcohol get heavy rotation. Several Paraguayan youth have spoken to me of a downloaded Nelly video clip from Black Exploitation Television in which credit cards are swiped using the rear ends of women in thongs. U.$. hip hop culture dominates Paraguay, second only to forms of Argentine and Brazilian music that are equally degenerate and degrading.
This culture implants materialistic, unrealistic desires and goals in Paraguayan youth. It reinforces U.$. imperialism amongst the youth (although Brazilian, Argentine, Korean, Japanese, German and Chinese imperialists also have their hands in the neo-colonial pot of gold known as Paraguay). By adopting the individualistic, anti-social culture of the oppressor, workers and youth weaken their ability to struggle collectively against class enemies, making them easy pickings for the rich.
The U.$. Empires use of cultural imperialism is just like its predecessors in Rome, Britain and China. In China, the Ch´ing Dynasty ingrained a sense of cultural superiority that was supported by Confucianism. British colonists encouraged their subjects to imitate them, thus reinforcing the Empire.
Imperialist and terrorist, Zbigniew Brezinski crows about the power of such cultural imperialism in The Grand Chessboard, writing that "despite some crassness, American culture enjoys an appeal that is unrivaled, especially among the worlds youth. Cultural domination has been an underappreciated facet of American global power. Americas mass culture exercises a magnetic appeal, especially on the worlds youth. Its attraction may be derived from the hedonistic quality of the lifestyle it projects, but its global appeal is undeniable."
Cultural imperialism is an important tool the U.$. ruling class needs and uses to enhance its agenda of increased profits from, and oppression of, the worlds workers. Although theres a lot of underground and progressive hip hop such as Talib Kweli, Dead Prez and the Roots, its just that "progressive." Someone once said that progress is just a less oppressive form of the current condition.
Its up to us in PLP to put out real revolutionary music as well as the spoken word, thats not degenerate and doesnt mislead the masses into aspirations for a world of diamonds, fast cars and fast women. Only PLP can develop the kind of creative music that can spread revolutionary ideas as well as a lifestyle worth dreaming and singing about an egalitarian communist society from each according to commitment to each according to need. This is just one more challenge that I know the Party is willing to accept with revolutionary fervor! Not a step back!
Comrade in South America
Our PLP club discussed the 2/2/05 editorial. It was well researched and made several important points about the Eastern Establishment connections of several Bush appointees. The dumping of Bernard Kerik as Homeland Security chief was clearly due to a lot more than just his "nanny" problems, sex life or Mafia ties. The overwhelming confirmation of Condi Rice by the Senate, including most Democrats, despite a few feeble protests, backs up these points. The recent resignation of Douglas Feith, head of the Pentagon special intelligence program, and neo-con hero, also supports these arguments.
However, the editorial does not present a convincing case to support its title that the new Bush Cabinet "Mirrors Big Bosses Drive for War." This is especially true for relatively new readers unfamiliar with the ruling-class forces fighting behind the scenes in these power struggles. Only weak connections were made between the bosses war plans and either Michael Chertoff or Robert Zoellick, the two cabinet picks discussed in the editorial.
This was a missed opportunity. Zoellick was Bushs foreign policy advisor in the 2000 campaign. He was clearly ahead of the curve when it came to the U.S. bosses drive to control Iraqi oil. In a May 2000 debate against Gores National Security Advisor held at the Washington Institute, Zoellick said the Iraqis were gaining ground. He noted Russian support for Iraq (they were then asking the U.N. to lift sanctions). He called for striking Saddam and "taking away pieces of his territory."
In addition, the editorial didnt mention the increased U.S. war moves against Iran over its supposed development of nuclear weapons. (Zoellick had railed against Iranian "weapons of mass destruction" in the 2000 debate). These plans have now been confirmed by the Seymour Hersh New Yorker article about covert intelligence operations in Iran, and the recent comments by Cheney, giving the Israelis the green light to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities.
Finally, although he is clearly not an Eastern Establishment candidate, it should have been noted that Alberto Gonzales, the Bush pick for the governments top "justice" official, openly advocates using torture. Sure, he was attacked in the Judiciary committee hearings and required to do a "mea culpa," but he was confirmed. That doesnt disallow the point that the ruling class is preparing for wider wars, and is willing to expand the limits of atrocities openly committed in the name of U.S. imperialism; rather, Gonzales confirmation supports it.
In conclusion, either the editorial wasnt titled correctly, or it should have backed up the main point with more specific evidence.
New Jersey Comrades
(of article on drug companies in CHALLENGE, 2/5)
Firstly, the rulers attack on drug company profits goes hand-in-glove with their political and economic assault on workers. Both reflect an overall disciplining of society as the rulers gradually but inevitably undertake a full-scale military mobilization. The loss of profit the Feds inflicted on Merck over the Vioxx medication simultaneously entails the far worse attack on workers layoffs, wage reduction and speed-up. The Vioxx flap stems directly from President Franklin Roosevelts establishment of state control by means of the clinical trial regime. Workfare, prison labor and the prison boom in general today take the place of the New Deals WPA, PWA and CCC.
Secondly, there are four big players in the health care fight: drug makers, insurers, industries like auto with huge health costs, and, most importantly, the ruling class as a whole. Unions and doctors, once important, now sit on the sidelines. The ruling classs interest lies in rationalizing this welter of interests, in subjugating the needs of individual firms to the wartime needs of the state that serves the main capitalists. In Clintons first term, he tried but failed to impose discipline on the health industry. Bush, revealing his true Establishment roots and his close ties to the biggest bosses, is starting to succeed. The rulers ultimate goal is to bring all industry, including health care, under their direct control as they organize society for intensifying imperialist wars.
Dear Friends and Comrades,
Everyday events point to a sharpening of contradictions besetting world capitalism.
The U.S. imperialist war in Iraq is worsening for U.S. rulers so now they threaten to dig themselves an even bigger hole by attacking Iran. The assault on the working class, here and abroad, is intensifying. The Bushites plan for privatizing Social Security, increasing tax cuts for the rich and slashing funds for social services even further in their attempts to handle the systems financial crises all means a still greater burden on the working class.
This is especially true for black and Latino workers who suffer the double oppression of racism in greater joblessness, worse health care and leaving a whole generation behind in capitalisms "schools."
But, as PLP and Challenge continues to point out, the liberals/Democrats have no answer for the working class. If anything, they are more dangerous. The lesser evil alternative reached new heights in the recent election in the "anybody-but-Bush" campaign, which in turn led to a greater post-election "depression" for millions of honest Kerry voters.
However, PLP members took the offensive against this "depression" by organizing even more so against the war, raising the issue of supporting rebellions among GIs, and linking the imperialist war to the cuts and layoffs and worsening health care at home. Therefore, Challenge and PLP-organized activity generally is needed more than ever.
But the ruling-class squeeze on the working class as a whole puts the squeeze on the ability to finance these activities as well. Costs for PLPs printing, insurance and international activities, among other expenses, have all risen. In addition, the costs for this years May Day celebrations about 12 weeks away are upon us.
Yet communists will never allow capitalisms financial pressures to force us to retreat. This has never happened in PLs 43-year history. If anything, the opportunities created by imperialisms sharpening contradictions should inspire us to advance. So were asking our friends and members to meet this challenge and contribute whatever possible for CHALLENGE and for PLP. We can turn a bad thing the rulers taxes into a good thing by donating government tax refunds. Raising money is a political question. How important is the existence of the Party and its ideas to the life of the working class?
Checks or money order can be made out to CHALLENGE PERIODICALS and sent to PLP, Box 808, GPO, Brooklyn, NY 11202, or cash can be given directly to PLP members and forwarded to area Party leaders.
This fund drive can demonstrate the fact that recent events inspire us to demonstrate how PLPs line, more than ever, is the answer to what many may view as insoluble and hopeless problems.
Fight for communism!
The International PLP
[Colin] Powell said of the tsunami, "The power of the wave to destroy bridges, to destroy factories, to destroy homes, to destroy crops, to destroy everything in its path is amazing." He said, "I have never seen anything like it in my experience."
Yes, he has. It was in Iraq. The tsunami was us .
In Iraq we kill off thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of innocent civilians Iraqi civilians are homeless. We call it liberation .
No flags have been flown at half-staff for Iraqi civilians. There have been no moments of silence in Congress. There have been no speeches by Bush mourning "the tens of thousands of children who are lost." (Boston Globe, 1/10)
Sean Huze enlisted in the Marine Corps right after the Sept. 11 attacks and was, in his own words, "red, white and blue in all the way" when he deployed to Iraq 16 months later .
Today, all that has changed. Haunted by the civilian causalities he witnessed, Corporal Huze has become one of a small but increasing number of Iraq veterans who have formed or joined groups to oppose war .
"Who I was before the war, who I was in Iraq and who I am now are three different men," Corporal Huze said. "I dont think I can ever have the blind trust in the government like I had before . (NYT, 1/23)
Soldiers on point do not debate exit strategies or disengagement ....They just want to get through the patrol their tour in Iraq, and then go home
"Its a funny thing: They dont want us here, and we dont want to be here," said First Sgt. Robert Wright . (NYT, 1/29)
"In Nuremberg, it was the generals being prosecuted. We were going after the order-givers. Here [at Abu Ghraib] the government is going after the order-takers." the trials judge "refused to allow witneses to discuss which officers were aware of events in cellblock One .
There have yet to be any criminal charges leveled against any of the prisons officers, let alone anyone higher up in the chain of command.
Nor are there likely to be any (NYT, 1/23)
No one has any reason to believe any longer that these incidents were restricted to one prison near Baghdad. They were everywhere: from Guantánamo Bay to Afghanistan, Baghdad, Basra, Ramadi and Tikrit and, for all we know, in any number of hidden jails affecting "ghost detainees" kept from the purview of the Red Cross .Many of the abuses seem specifically tailored to humiliate Arabs and Muslims, where horror at being exposed in public is a deep cultural artifact
The Schlesinger panel has officially conceded that Americans soldiers have tortured five inmates to death. Twenty-three other deaths that occurred during American custody had not been fully investigated by the time the panel issued its report (NYT, 1/23)
While Republicans listed changes in Social Security as their No.1 objective, Democrats made enlarging the armed forces and providing new military benefits as their top goal. (NYT, 1/25)
The American government worked closely with Nazi war criminals and collaborators, allowing many of them to live in the United States after World War II.
Historians who have studied the documents made public so far have said that at least five associates of the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, the architect of Hitlers campaign to exterminate Jews, had worked for the C.I.A .
The C.I.A. tried to recruit two dozen more war criminals or Nazi collaborators.
American officials have defended the recruiting of former Nazis as having been essential to gaining access to intelligence after World War II, particularly about the Soviet Union . (NYT, 1/30)
In Nagpur, India, a group of women took matters into their own hands not long ago. In a nation where the conviction rate for rape is only 4%, the women of Nagpur meted out their own justice. A repeat rapist, who appeared to be getting off one more time, was stabbed and stoned to death. Three others had their houses burned down by a mob of 50 women. In the former case, the police detained five women, but were forced to release them when more that 400 women blocked the courtroom demanding that they be set free. A number of other cases of personal justice have occurred in Nagpur.
Arvind Jain, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court pf India has advised young women not to hesitate to kill a man who tries to rape them, because the Indian law makes it easier to defend ones self of murder in self defense that to fight a rape case (Pythian Press, 1/10)
In the book [Crimes against Nature, Paul] Kennedy implies that we live in a fascist country and that the Bush White House has learned key lessons from the Nazis. "While communism is the control of business by government, fascism is the control of government by business," he writes. "My American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically though the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism. Sound familiar?" .
Visionary political leaders have warned the American public against the domination of government by corporate power. That warning is missing in the national debate right now. Because so much corporate money is going into politics, the Democratic Party itself has dropped the ball. They just quash discussion about the corrosive impact of excessive corporate power (Mokhiber & Weissman, 1/21)
Early last year [the network] Al Jazeera was kicked out of Iraq .American pressure on the station has drawn charges of hypocrisy, especially in light of President Bushs repeated calls for greater freedoms and democracy in the region.
"Its completely two-faced for the United States to try to muzzle the one network with the most credibility in the Middle East, even if it does sometimes say things that are wrong," said an Arab diplomat. (NYT, 1/30