Workers and Youth Worldwide Raise Red Flag on May Day
Cops Shield 20 Nazis from Hundreds of Anti-Fascists
Holocaust Service ForgetsRed Army Role
Anti-Racist Unity Key to Fight Bosses Divide-and-Rule
PLPers Spread Red Ideas to Colombia May Day Marchers
Marchers Lined Up to Get PLP May Day Leaflets
Youth Leads PLP MAY DAY CELEBRATION
May Day in France
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EU Constitution: Europes Bosses Prepare for Imperialist War
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Red Army Defeated 90% of Nazi War Machine
Ten Racist Cops, 120 Shots, One Unarmed Black Man
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No Such Thing As IQ
RED EYE ON THE NEWS
BROOKLYN, NY, April 30 Amid a sea of red flags and communist banners, hundreds of militant May Day marchers led by youth black, Latin and white defied the rainy weather as they strode through the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights neighborhoods chanting, "The workers, united, will never be defeated" and "Fight for communism, power to the workers." We were welcomed by community residents as they stopped to look, joined in chants, honked their car horns and raised their fists in solidarity. Contingents from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Boston and Chicago joined marchers from NYC.
Having been denied a permit to march in the street or to have a sound truck, we stepped off on the sidewalk along Nostrand Avenue starting from Fulton Street, responding to constant police harassment with deafening chants and blowing whistles that rose in loudness and enthusiasm as we marched.
Many new marchers and passers-by were ecstatic to seize the opportunity to shout at the racist cops and the system they protect. Our leaflet explained to thousands of people why the cops were forcing us to march on the crowded sidewalks, trying to divide us from the customers of the small businesses along the route. It didnt work, and some 2,400 bought CHALLENGES during the day.
Then at Eastern Parkway, we decided to turn and march back to our starting point, against the flow of Nostrand Avenues one-way traffic. The police were befuddled, finally telling us, "Fine, youre on your own," as if we needed their "help." So we blocked our own traffic, increased our volume, and headed back to the dinner chanting victoriously.
Although Manhattan streets were closed for six basketball players and for other marches, both before and after PLPs May Day, we were forced to march on the sidewalk. This year was the first time we were denied a sound truck permit, among the many signs that police repression is intensifying.
Behind these police-state tactics lie two fundamental weaknesses. Firstly, during a period when the U.S. ruling class is having a hard time meeting its military recruiting goals for imperialist war, the last thing they wanted was a communist-led march in the heart of Brooklyn, especially led by youth, the very people the bosses want to use as cannon fodder in their wars. That problem wont be solved any time soon. Secondly our spirited march and dinner revealed an even bigger challenge to the bosses we wont be intimidated. Well continue to march and build solidarity with those we contacted on the march and our working-class brothers and sisters here and around the world.
Our dinner was a glimpse of the communist future were fighting for. The program was led by two dynamic high school comrades who kept the entire crowd involved and impressed as we moved from speeches to a skit, from a step show to a great open mic portion.
We took advantage of the fact that the week leading up to May Day was also the spring break in NYC high schools and colleges, providing time to organize daily events focused on preparing different aspects of this years march. When the day came, we were confident in our march and dinner plans. Our next meetings will focus on what it means to join PLP. Were fighting not only for recruitment but for recruitment with a higher level of commitment.
This years May Day celebrations fall on the 60th anniversary of the Soviet Red Armys defeat of the Nazis in World War II. Its been 30 years since PLPs May Day march in Boston signaling our victory in smashing the racist anti-busing campaign there, and since the routing of U.S. imperialism in Vietnam. May Day reminds us that fascism and war can only be crushed by a workers Red Army, and on May Day 2005 PLP added forces to our Red Army of the future.
LOS ANGELES, April 30 PLPs May Day events here inspired broad support from workers and youth who joined our chants, waved our red flags, raised their fists in solidarity, wore our red PL shirts, eagerly took 3,400 communist leaflets and bought 950 CHALLENGES.
Our May Day march began with a rally at which a young leader highlighted the revolutionary communist message we were bringing to the workers in downtown LA. Then, chanting "Asian, Latin, black, Arab, white, Workers of the World Unite!"; "Fight for Communism! Power to the Workers!"; "Las luchas obreras no tienen fronteras," ("The workers fight has no borders") our multi-racial, disciplined contingent marched into the May Day March sponsored by a liberal coalition for immigrants rights.
A PLP member spoke in Spanish about the importance of internationalism in the fight against racism and imperialism and their capitalist roots, calling on marchers to join the fight for communist revolution. Over the coalition leaders objections, he made his main points in English also.
Many in the march of 1,500 to 2,000 mainly workers and working-class students showed support for the vocal PLP multi-racial contingent which made a big splash in our red communist shirts, red flags and communist banners. Many workers, students and their supporters took up our chants, like "Este puno si se ve los obreros al poder"(Raise your fist power to the workers); "Capitalism means, fight back!; and "Que viva el comunismo!"
Some marchers in other contingents asked for red flags, waving them throughout the march. Several workers bought PLP shirts. Young marchers played an important role leading chants, selling CHALLENGE, distributing leaflets and securing the march. Several enthusiastically gave us their names. One worker said hes been looking for a party like this. At the end we sang the Internationale in English and Spanish.
Then we held a brief rally, explaining that those who call for reliance on Democratic politicians to pass laws for legalization have dangerous illusions that capitalism can serve workers interests. We called for building a massive alliance of workers, soldiers and students to build a world run by the working class.
Later, at the dinner, a speaker called on the marchers to choose "Plan C" the long road to communist revolution. Other speakers explained that rather than uniting with liberal or sellout leaders, were aiming to unite with angry workers and students who want to fight the attacks on our class.
Two high school students read Bertolt Brechts poem, "General, your tank is a powerful weapon," which emphasizes the revolutionary potential of the working class. A young PLP member explained the importance of CHALLENGE in helping people change their thinking and practice. She urged everyone to expand the circulation of the paper, the lifeblood of our party. Marchers signed up to sell papers to their friends. Speakers invited the youth to work among industrial workers and soldiers and to join the PLP Summer Project; many said theyll be there.
At another May Day activity, an inspiring slide show displayed May Day posters from many lands, highlighting advances of the communist movement over the last 100 years. Two industrial workers said that the growing attacks on workers here are caused by the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry, leading to more attacks and expanding war. Industrial workers are in the best position to experience and understand these developments. They said we must use this understanding to build a serious base of CHALLENGE readers who can turn the rulers attacks into the creation of a mass PLP in the factories and the military. By planting the revolutionary seeds of CHALLENGE among key sections of workers, soldiers and students we can build an unbeatable revolutionary movement.
Guests sang the Internationale in Chinese, Spanish, Farsi, English and French as well as "Bella Ciao." Several people joined the Party in the weeks leading up to the march, a young activist joined at the dinner and several others plan to join soon. The unity, spirit and communist politics of these May Day activities are the key ingredients in our fight to build PLP and spread CHALLENGE among the masses.
BOSTON, May 9 Sixty years ago the Red Army crushed the murderous Nazi fascists in ending World War II, a great victory for the working class. Then 30 years ago PLP marched on May Day, 2,500 strong, to beat back the anti-busing ROAR fascists.
Yesterday militant PLP youth played an important role in carrying out this anti-racist heritage against a group of racists led by Billy Roper. The latter had come to Boston to "protest Jewish media lies" at a memorial service for the Holocaust. "Outside [Faneuil Hall] several hundred counter demonstrators waved red flags, and chanted, Hitler rose, Hitler fell, Nazi scum, go to hell, as about 20 followers of an Arkansas-based white supremacy group marched surrounded by scores of police officers mounted on foot, horseback, and motorcycle." (Boston Globe, 5/9)
As usual, the Boston PD gave the racists a warm welcome. PL responded by leading the crowd in the chant, "Black cop, white cop, all the same, protecting Nazis is the name of the game."
The cops gross racism disgusted many of our friends. The cops claimed to be protecting the Nazis from violence, guaranteeing their "free speech." So therefore, the cops attacked the anti-racists, leaving protestors bloodied and bruised. Eventually, the cops removed an arrested comrade from a police van in order to escort the Nazi vermin safely away. Said Roper, "Im very much a fan of the Boston Police Department after seeing the way they did things." (Boston Globe, 5/9).
The rulers like Bostons liberal bosses, the biggest fascists and warmakers would use such a "white power" movement in building a fascist army to attack the working class. Workers and students must fight back against this growing fascism.
Todays demonstrators responded warmly when PLPs contingent boldly joined the picket line, which was being led by fake leftists. Shouting "Death to the fascists, power to the workers!" our integrated group marched in and overwhelmed the pacifists slogans. PLP stood out as a multi-racial, militant contingent of young and old, men and women. A spit-covered Nazi received a double dose of integrated anti-racist anger after she assaulted two comrades.
Many demonstrators were ready to confront the racists, but PLPers were the only ones who advanced the sharpest, most developed anti-capitalist analysis about the protest.
After the somewhat chaotic event, PL'ers and friends met and encouraged everyone to share their views on the days activities. Gazing around the room of victorious communists and friends, one PLer injured by the cops emphasized the importance of building the Party. "We need to build an army to fight the cops and growing fascism," she said. "If youre not in PLP, you need to join. Its the only way our class can win."
History is on our side. As the gigantic achievements of the Red Army and PLPs fight-back today show, multi-racial, militant fighting unity is more powerful than any weapons of the trained fascists (KKKops or KKKlan), when it becomes a real force inspiring masses of people.
Both Bostons mayor and the governor of Massachusetts "condemned" the Nazis presence. However, their cops attacked the anti-racists, not the Nazis. They realize the real threat to their rule is a PLP-led force of workers, soldiers and students with the goal of destroying their profit system.
I attended the May 8 holocaust memorial service in Boston staged by the Jewish Community Relations Council, Mayor Menino and Gov. Romney. After singing the Star Spangled Banner and the Zionist anthem, Hatikvah, concentration camp survivors told heartrending stories for two hours, remembering their families murdered by the Nazis, and Rabbis talked about "never forgetting" and "never again." But, after all this, they "forgot" the main thing how the Soviet Union and communist-led Red Army smashed the Nazis!
Finally, I had to speak. Standing in the balcony, I interrupted the service, saying: "Yes, we must never forget. As part of my mothers family that the Nazis put to death near Kiev, I must speak. We must remember not only the victims, but also the liberators. And it was on May 8, sixty years ago today, when the Soviet Red Army entered Berlin and destroyed Hitlers rule."
After another Jewish traditional song, another friend called down from the balcony: "Brothers and sisters, as we grieve those we lost in the Warsaw Ghetto let us also grieve those we lost in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and in the massacre in Fallujah. We must also remember the deaths of the liberators, and we must remember to fight back. Fascism comes in many forms, and when we remember silently, we become facilitators." With this, the cops descended upon us, advertising their form of fascism.
As the police prevented us truth-tellers from leaving, a friend of mine from Russia protested, saying to the police, "But I know this man." Later, his wife told me, "You are absolutely right! I never knew my father; he died while in the Red Army fighting the Nazis [as did hundreds of thousands of Jews Ed.]. And they never said a word, not a word, about the Russian army."
LOS ANGELES, May 9 The multi-racial PLP May Day contingent was a stark contrast to what the rulers are pushing in high schools here. They fear the unity of black and Latino youth and workers, and since the 1992 rebellion have been desperate to pit us against each other. LAPD Chief Bratton has been greatly inflating the gang problem to justify a new tax to pay for more racist cops.
While anti-racist teachers fight to integrate and build multi-racial unity during Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo, the two latter activities actually were invented to promote a multi-cultural nationalist view emphasizing differences, not what we have in common. Last week, the bosses media took racism and nationalism to the extreme, promoting fear of "race war" between black and Latino students in schools here. Rumors that Mexican gang members would be targeting black youth on Cinco de Mayo, originating on the internet, were repeated on TV and radio, in the LA Times, and by principals of inner-city high schools over the PA systems. While no violence actually materialized, the fear generated by these announcements led to mass student absenteeism and has left a continuing fear factor in the schools.
Black and Latino youth in one school distributed leaflets calling for defense of each other and unity against the racist capitalist system that attacks us all, an important step against the bosses plans to divide and rule. Teachers have held discussions about the potential young people have when they unite to fight against rotten conditions in the schools, racist police terror and the war in Iraq.
As working-class youth deepen their understanding of the nature of capitalism and the communist solution, we can turn the bosses racism, lies and attacks into a united movement to get rid of them and their racist system.
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA Over two million participated in May Day marches across Colombia. More than 60,000 workers and students marched here. PLP had a strong contingent of workers, unemployed and youth, men and women. One group of militant PLP youth marched with our red flags and a banner inscribed "Read DESAFIO, the revolutionary communist newspaper," along with multi-colored placards containing our slogans, read by thousands, including:
"With or without re-election of President Uribe [Bushs most loyal ally in the region], capitalism only brings misery!"; "Smash capitalist terrorism, fight for communist revolution!"; "No more fake reformist left, organize for communist revolution!"; "Its not just ALCA [U.S.-controlled Free Trade Agreement] Rotten capitalism is the problem!"; "Youth oppressed by capitalism, organize and fight for communism!"; "One international class, one Party, One Communist Flag!"; "Smash imperialist war with communist revolution!"
A group of workers sold CHALLENGE-DESAFIO and distributed over 3,000 leaflets along the march while other youth put up our May Day stickers. Some members were in charge of our contingents security while others explained to spectators our politics on fascist terror, imperialist war and the misery caused by capitalism. Several people said they wanted to stay in touch with us.
Militant students and workers expressed their anger at the cutbacks in social services, ALCA, death squads and supported other workers and Indian peasants in struggle throughout the country.
PLs politics and the militancy of many workers and youth stood in sharp contrast to the electoral reformism of the so-called Democratic Pole of union hacks and capitalist opposition parties. Their main goal is to defeat Uribe and defend local capitalists, trying to erase the historic revolutionary meaning of this international Workers May Day. They want to "manage the capitalist crisis" and give this rotten system an impossible "humane character" without ending the bosses exploitation of workers.
Others in the so-called revolutionary left, while posing as more militant, only offer the same old politics that led to the defeat of the international communist movement: "national liberation" and "new democracy" as prior stages to socialism. "Bolivarian revolution" is represented by Venezuelas Chavez whos just a "populist capitalist." Despite all his rhetoric, he still keeps Exxon-Mobil & Co. exploiting workers
When the march reached Plaza Bolivar, boring speeches by reformists, politicians and hacks glorified "victories of the masses" in Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil (where one section of the ruling class replaced another), and called for workers and youth to vote against Uribe and for a "peoples candidate."
The fascist anti-riot cops viciously dispersed the marchers, beating a 15-year-old youth to death and injuring many others. Our response to this bloody repression is to build our Party even more and organize for more militant and bigger revolutionary May Days in the future.
EL SALVADOR, May 1 More than 40,000 workers and students commemorated May Day, the International Workers Day, here. University students left from the university while the community organizations stepped off from the monument to Savior of the World, all to merge later. For the first time the Internationale could be heard from car speakers.
PLP marched together with our class. As in past years, CHALLENGE-DESAFIO was received enthusiastically, with 300 sold. People lined up to get the 3,000 communist leaflets which, along with the paper, disappeared like hot bread into the hands of those who are hungry for the real communist alternative to this rotten capitalist system.
Before the march, the bosses tried to block the roads, delaying some buses for up to four hours. The chief of the National Civil Police said there would be no arrests before the march but there would be after it, in order to build a state of terror and fear. In the face of such threats, thousands of factory workers, farm workers and students marched with shirts, banners and flags adorned with the communist symbols of the hammer and sickle. Despite all the fascist propaganda, many workers are absorbing more communist ideas.
The general slogans were for jobs, better wages, against the Free Trade Agreement, against the war in Iraq and for education and health care. One teacher marched with more than 12 medical prescriptions hanging from his shirt, some dated from last December, none of them filled due to the lack of medicine.
The capitalist system cant be reformed. It must be destroyed. This march showed an increase in working-class militancy. We must guarantee that communist ideas and goals form the basis of the confrontation with the capitalist system.
Like every May Day, once again the masses have given us an enormous opportunity to continue organizing and relying on the ideas of PLP as the correct road in the struggle for communist revolution.
NEW YORK CITY, April 30 "This was the best May Day celebration in recent history," was the comment heard time and again from various friends and comrades tonight. Weve made some improvements in our New York May Days in recent years, but this year it all seemed to come together. Attendance improved, up to 300. The speeches were excellent. The entertainment was varied and of a high quality and the food was great.
The key to much of our progress has been the development of many young leaders. Theyre not only energetic, but are well-organized, disciplined and full of many good ideas. Our May Day Committee comprised mostly young comrades. They met early and often. Several previous May Days were reviewed and adjustments planned. Comrades assigned tasks were completed in a timely manner. Speeches were written well in advance so they could be critically reviewed by the Committee and then translated. Skits were rehearsed beforehand. The entire program was carefully planned and printed out for everyone to follow. Buttons and tee-shirts were designed and ready for the event.
An indoor march around the auditorium, led by young friends and comrades got the evening off to an enthusiastic start. One young MC presented an excellent history of May Day and explained how she had come to join the Party. She and her co-MC did a great job, running the entire program very smoothly. This was due to the collective effort of the May Day Committee, but our two MCs added lots of positive energy.
The lesson here is that the working class will come through. In this case, its our young comrades who are taking on increasing responsibilities. There were excellent reports from quite a few at this May Day. More and more will join the Party. Indeed, several youth clubs have grown in this May Day period. Theyll participate in struggles against racism, imperialist war, budget cutbacks, etc., and bring PLPs communist politics to them. All in all, this May Day points to a bright future for our Party and the working class. I dedicate myself to...
Going to my first May Day celebration I didnt quite know what to expect. Aside from the person driving me there, I had met only a handful of Party members. I was quite confident the atmosphere would be positive and welcoming.
Shortly after arriving, the hypnotic aroma of the food caused my empty stomach to do flips, so I left the banquet area to escape the smells. As I sat in the evenings entertainment area, I watched the slide show, composed of covers and articles from past CHALLENGES. It was inspiring to see PLPs history. This, along with the presentation of the Partys history during the program, would influence my choices later that evening.
As I talked with other PLP members, it was clear they stood for the same values I did. For months I had been researching Communism and Socialism, but was always discouraged when every promising revolution reverted back to capitalism. Having talked to other groups, I could see their plans too, were headed for failure. But in the ideas of PLP, I see different. I see better organization and determination, in not only ideas, but in the people as well.
This is why, when on May 1, 2005 at shortly after two in the morning, one of the leaders asked, "Is there anyone who will join the Party tonight?" I didnt hesitate. I raised my hand.
I now dedicate my physical strength, intellectual knowledge and revolutionary spirit to further the fight for true Communism, which the Progressive Labor Party stands for, and fights for.
A New Comrade
May Day in France surprised union leaders who traditionally organize the demonstrations here. While most union federations condemn the proposed European Constitution because of its anti-labor clauses, some right-wing federations back it. For "unitys" sake, the union leaders agreed to ignore the issue.
So the approved May Day demands emphasized bread-and-butter issues: higher wages, maintaining and creating steady full-time jobs and the 35-hour week, and restitution of the Pentecost Monday holiday. But everywhere in France, rank-and-filers made opposition to the constitution the main theme of marches and rallies.
As one Paris protester said, "By demonstrating on May Day, were voting with our feet against the constitution."
In Paris, constitution supporters admitted discomfort, surrounded by opponents of "untrammeled competition," official EU policy under the constitution. In Nantes in Western France and the nearby seaport of Saint Nazaire, union officials who defended the constitution were booed and drowned out.
May Day was much smaller than in recent years. About 100,000 marched and rallied across France, in 130 demonstrations. Last year 200,000 protested in 240 separate demonstrations; in 2003 hundreds of thousands participated.
The all-time May Day record was set in 2002 800,000 marched in Paris alone, protesting fascist leader Jean-Marie Le Pens good showing in a national election.
Some observers blamed the sunny weather, following weeks of rain, for the poor turnout. In Marseilles, where 2,000 demonstrated, half of last year, retired schoolteacher "Annie" sighed, "There are fewer demonstrators this year. Maybe theyre saving their energy for May 29," the date of the referendum on the European constitution.
Still there was plenty to protest. Real wages have stagnated for the past 20 years. The French standard of living fell in 2002 and 2003. Unemployment exceeds 10%; no drop is expected in the foreseeable future. The right-wing government is advocating "reforms" to gut the 35-hour week, while refusing to retract the abolition of the Pentecost Monday holiday. Since most French workers are paid a monthly salary, this means theyll work an extra day for the same pay increasing bosses profits.
In Paris 15,000 people demonstrated, down from 50,000 last year. High school students joined workers, protesting government plans to increase anti-working class discrimination in the national education system; 1,000 Togo immigrants blasted French imperialist support for the corrupt Eyadema regime.
In Nantes 1,500 turned out, and 700 in Saint Nazaire, where ship-building unions are strong. The CGT union speaker there told the crowd that, "People must not be fooled by the hypocrisy of those who say everything will get better if we vote "yes" [for the European Constitution]. The threat looming over us is a Europe that will be even more at the mercy of big business."
After the speeches, the demonstrators marched through downtown Nantes on Sunday, when almost no one was outside. The union delegations were followed by the "far left parties." The prize for noise and good cheer easily went to an anarchist group which joined the march in mid-course.
The next labor struggle will be around Pentecost Monday, May 16. Some union federations have called for strikes that day. The FCPE (French Parent-Teacher Association) has asked parents to keep children home from school.
Many private-sector companies have backed down and will give workers the day off, even though its no longer an official holiday. Among those forced to give workers a holiday are: TF 1 (a TV network), Shell (oil), 9 Telecom (telecommunications), Lafarge (construction materials), Herta (agribusiness), Eurovia (building trades) and Jalla (textiles).
But Galeries Lafayette and Carrefour (big retailers), Michelin (tires), Oréal (luxury products), Bouygues (building trades), Danone (food processing), Peugeot (auto manufacturing), and Total (oil) have refused to honor this traditional holiday.
In the public sector, railroad workers have won the day off. Local left-leaning municipalities are giving their employees a holiday on May 16. The deputies of the National Assembly, who abolished the holiday for workers, are also taking the day off.
Comrade in France
NEW YORK CITY, May 6 Recently five friends Nakita, Omar, José, Michael and Lisa were walking from a train station here when they saw two cops pinning an older black man against a car. When they stopped to watch, the sergeant ordered them to keep moving, asking if they "had a problem." Omar said they just want to know whats happening in their community. "You wanna know?" yelled the sergeant, showing Omar a handful of crack and two knives.
When the five didnt move, the officer asked where Omar lived and threatened to let the man into his building. Omar asked where one of the cops lived. "Not around here," he said. The group exchanged words with the cops and walked to the corner. But Lisa, a lawyer and a legal observer at protests and rallies, stayed, wanting to ensure the cops didnt beat up the old man. Citizens supposedly have a "legal right" to observe.
Omar, seeing his girlfriend watching the arrest, returned to the spot. Two more cops arrived, a bald white man and a black Latina woman.
The sergeant told Omar to keep moving, saying he was "blocking pedestrian traffic." Omar said he had the legal right to observe. The officer took Omars ID and started issuing a summons.
The black Latina cop told Lisa she had no business there, and asked for her ID. Lisa, citing state law, said she didnt have to give her ID. José started taking down the sergeants badge number and precinct. "Now youre taking down my information!" the sergeant exclaimed to Nakita, José and Michael. "I want your IDs too."
Lisa, wanting to document the arrest her "legal right" began photographing the cops standing over the cuffed man lying on the ground. Immediately two officers lunged for her camera. Lisa and Omar held onto it. The Latina cop and the overweight bald cop threw Omar to the ground, cuffed him, shoved their knees and elbows into his body and slammed him to the ground again. The female cop grinned while she did this.
Angrily, with clenched fists, Michael strode towards the cops arresting Omar. José pulled him aside. whispering, "We dont have power right now."
The sergeant tried pulling the camera away. Nakita screamed, "Let go! Youre hurting me! Let go!" One cop aimed a canister of pepper spray at Nakitas face. "Officer!" José cried, "Shes not threatening you." He saw us watching and put the pepper spray away. The black and white cops pinned Omar against a car. "My leg!" he screamed. "Its a lie that Im resisting arrest." The fat white cop laughed, snapped Omars arm back and boasted, "Im a cop. I can do whatever I want."
The sergeant cuffed Lisa, still clutching her camera. The fat cop threw Omar into a police van, slamming his head into the roof. He also ripped Lisas umbrella from her wrist and tossed it in a garbage can. The sergeant returned Michaels, Josés and Nakitas IDs and asked José if he just got back from Iraq. He had. "Didnt they tell you about camera guns?" the cop asked. José said the guns there were big and out in the open. " I heard nothing about camera guns." The sergeant told them they brought this on themselves Lisa "interfered with their arrest" and Omar was "blocking pedestrian traffic."
After Lisas and Omars release, the five met at their house. Lisa said she believed in the law but that day, "I felt powerless and overwhelmed." Michael wanted to do something but didnt know what. The cops had clubs, pepper spray, guns, state power and nearly everyones IDs. They could have been charged with felonies, and faced years in jail, with four cops as witnesses. The cops might very well have beat up that old man if the five werent there.
According to "the law," the cops had no right to give Omar a summons or attack Lisa for taking pictures. But they did it and nothing will happen to them.
In 1991 in Los Angeles, police beat up Rodney King, a black man, on camera. The courts found the cops not guilty. The laws are made for and by the government and the bosses. So long as they have state power racist police brutality will continue. Ending it depends on crushing the rich, their state power, and on building a state run by and for working people.
How can workers confront cops successfully? José noticed a magazine picture of dozens of South Korean workers striking riot police with long wooden poles. He said, "This is how you fight police, with organization, numbers, weapons."
The war in Iraq is taking a physical and political toll on the U.S. military. For the third consecutive month the Army failed to meet its recruiting goal. Now the Marines have missed their goal for the last two months.
Just this week the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a report expressing concern that the military would have difficulty fighting "another war" because of the strain of Iraq and Afghanistan.
These wars have driven away many of the millions of potential recruits seeking jobs after high school. These working-class youth have been the backbone of the military since it became an all-volunteer force 30 years ago. For many the monthly check isnt worth the higher risk of getting wounded or killed.
The brutality of occupying Iraq is also eating away at the military. The anti-Arab/Muslim racism is becoming more pronounced and open. Degrading names for Arab and Muslim workers present since the oil crisis and overthrow of the Shah of Iran are now the norm as the military needs to de-humanize the victims of imperialism. Soldiers are being told to kill children if they "feel" threatened. The military is forming death squads to try to beat the resistance, creating an atmosphere where the most racist soldiers are encouraged to express and carry out their views. This is driving away black youth, the source of the greatest drop in recruitment.
Recruiters have always been loose with rules to meet their quotas, but they seem to be driven to new levels of desperation, with some being caught helping kids fake diplomas and drug tests, as well as enlisting soldiers straight out of mental institutions.
Play fast and loose with the rules
The N.Y. Times reported (5/3) recruiters "breaking or bending enlistment rules, hiding police records and medical histories .because there is no other way to meet recruitment quotas." One recruiter told the Times, "No one wants to join .We have to play fast and loose with the rules just to get by." Recruiters tactics "varied from threats and coercion to false promises that applicants would not be sent to Iraq." Another recruiter said one of every three of his enlistees had a problem that needed concealing. "The only people who want to join the Army now [are] .troubled with health, police or drug problems."
As the military becomes more fascist, the ruling class is trying to create a liberal political cover for their viciousness. Theyre hoping to recruit on Ivy League campuses a generation of officers who will preach "tolerance," and look the other way as the bodies are buried. New counter-resistance procedures call for civil engineers, translators and cultural affairs experts to go in after the massacres, though limits are taking a toll on even this charade, as the escalating cost of fighting has hurt the Armys ability to finance "rebuilding" projects in leveled cities like Falluja.
Imperialism destroys the occupiers as well as the occupied. Already over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. In this war rank-and-file U.S. soldiers are being torn apart. They are young men and women whose lives are being destroyed physically and mentally. Many are trying to resist. Nearly 6,000 have deserted since the war began; others are trying to challenge their call-ups. And many others are trying to just avoid the worst of things on a day-to-day basis. Soldiers are not the ones responsible for this war; theyre not the enemy. We must support those who are trying to say "no" under difficult circumstances. While all soldiers bear some responsibility for their actions, those who resist U.S. rulers must be organized and encouraged to oppose the warmakers. They must follow the example of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors who refused to carry out the ruling classs imperialist war in Vietnam. (See article in this issue)
With a mistrial declared in the case of Pfc. Lynndie England, charged with mistreating prisoners at Iraqs Abu Ghraib prison, it appears increasingly that the Army is officially approving torture. England had pleaded guilty to various offenses, hoping to receive a shorter jail term, but her superior testified at her sentencing hearing that he had ordered her to commit various heinous crimes. She was the soldier who was photographed lying atop naked prisoners.
Aidan Delgado, a private in the Army Reserve trained as a mechanic and stationed at Abu Ghraib, told N.Y. Times columnist Bob Herbert (5/2) the violence at the prison was "sickening." He said "inmates were beaten nearly to death." When they began demonstrating over a variety of grievances, "the Army authorized lethal force. Four detainees were shot to death."
The violence has spread to attacks on innocent Iraqi children. Delgado said he saw an Army sergeant lash a group of kids with a steel Humvee antenna, and witnessed a Marine corporal plant a vicious kick in the chest of a 6-year-old. He reported that troops driving in Humvees would "shatter bottles over the heads of Iraqi civilians passing by. Theyd keep a bunch of empty Coke bottles to break over peoples heads." Delgado eventually told his commander that, "Im not going to fight [or] kill anyone." He was eventually discharged as a conscientious objector.
This kind of Nazi-style violence and torture is occurring throughout Army prisons, from Guantanamo where hundreds of prisoners have been held for years without charges or allowed to see anyone, while the government admits most of them are there "by mistake" to Iraq to Afghanistan and in secret CIA jails maintained in many countries. It results from orders from Rumsfeld and the White House since Bush declared the "war on terror" will not respect any Geneva Convention "rules." Anything goes. Its capitalism at its "finest."
Thirty years ago on April 30, 1975, the Vietnam War ended when the U.S.-backed government in the city then known as Saigon fell to a North Vietnamese army whose leadership, while calling itself communist, actually followed a nationalist line, one that has done so much damage to the international working class.
The fall of Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, capped the U.S. rulers worst military defeat ever. For more than a decade, Vietnamese farmers and workers, often fighting with little more than small arms and nourished by a daily ration of one bowl of rice, ground down the worlds mightiest war machine. U.S. rulers used every weapon of terror in their deadly arsenal, except nuclear bombs, to conquer Vietnam. They killed over three million Vietnamese. Ultimately, however, the U.S. military had to leave with its tail between its legs in 1974, with its stooges following a year later.
Ironically, U.S. rulers greatest setback was not a victory for the Vietnamese working class. It didnt liberate the Vietnamese people but rather led to its opposite, continuing oppression by the profit system. The new masters are Vietnamese rather than U.S., French, Japanese or Chinese. Capitalisms horrors remain. This experience offers costly but profound, vital lessons for workers and communists.
Capitalism prevailed in Vietnam because the Vietnamese communists who led the titanic struggle against U.S. imperialism fought and often died to build a state capitalist rather than a communist society. In doing so, they committed the same fatal error that destroyed the great achievements of socialism and restored the profit system in the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of China. The old communist movement died and capitalism returned to Vietnam with a vengeance because communists led workers to fight for the wrong goals.
So paradoxically, U.S. imperialisms terrible defeat was even more terrible for the international working class. In commemorating the fall of Saigon, the bosses press understands this point. A New York Times headline (5/1) chortles: "30 Years Later, Cake and Credit Cards in Saigon." The British weekly The Economist gloats: "America Lost, Capitalism Won," boasting that the U.S. is now the chief market for Vietnamese exports and that "the forward march of entrepreneurialism" is proving "infectious and irrepressible" in Vietnam.
Well, the rulers may gloat temporarily over their victory, and we mustnt underestimate the magnitude of our defeat. But theres still an 800-pound gorilla in the room, and it will eventually tear them to pieces. Its called "Vietnam Syndrome," and it haunts them to this day. "Vietnam Syndrome" refers to the political unreliability of the majority of soldiers and sailors in the U.S. military machine. During the Vietnam War, "fragging," the shooting of officers by enlisted men, was common. Numerous mutinies erupted on the battlefield and in the Navy. (See article, below). At home, millions protested the war, often militantly, but the real stone in the bosses shoe was the armys unwillingness to fight.
In the wake of Vietnam, the rulers had to end the draft. They feared rebellion too greatly to maintain a military of working-class conscripts, whose loyalty to imperialism was suspect. So they devised an "economic draft," dangling sign-up bonuses and paid college tuition to unemployed and under-employed youth. It served them reasonably well through the 1980s and 1990s as long as they didnt have to face a protracted ground war with large casualties.
This now confronts them in Iraq. Although GI rebelliousness hasnt yet nearly approached the ferocity it reached in Vietnam, the bosses admit their militarys morale in Iraq is low. The press is filled with stories about military recruiters inability to meet their monthly goals. To launch its next adventures, U.S. imperialism will soon require a greatly expanded war machine throughout the Persian Gulf and perhaps beyond, in North Korea or elsewhere. The current period reflects a long-term trend of sharpening competition between the U.S. and all of its major rivals. In the dog-eat-dog world of the profit system, competition always leads to war. U.S. bosses will eventually have to restore the military draft. They face a desperate gamble to somehow find a way to win workers to kill and die in droves to maintain U.S. imperialism as top dog.
Our Partys strategic task remains to ensure that the bosses lose this gamble. Workers and soldiers are, on the whole, reluctant to serve as murderers or cannon-fodder for this foul system. Our job in the months, years and decades ahead is to organize workers and soldiers to transform this reluctance into growing revolutionary consciousness. We must build upon the survival of the "Vietnam Syndrome" until it becomes a mass desire for communism a difficult but feasible task.
The lead op-ed piece in the Sunday N. Y. Times (5/1) entitled, "The War We Could Have Won," is an attempt to revive the idea that U.S. imperialism could have triumphed in Vietnam if only the Congress had not succumbed to the "anti-war" forces at home and had appropriated more arms and troops to the effort. The writer Stephen Morris, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says the U.S. and its South Vietnam puppets really had the anti-U.S. forces "on the run." Such lies are aimed at trying to reverse what really happened that the vaunted U.S. military got beaten. Its being trotted out now to try to convince people that the U.S. can "win" in Iraq and any other country the ruling class chooses to invade if only they get the "full backing" of the U.S. working class.
While U.S. rulers killed five million Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians (most of them civilians) as well 58,000 GIs,they still got their ass kicked in Southeast Asia. Mr. Morris article turns history upside down, conveniently omitting the rebellion occurring within the U.S. military in Vietnam. As CHALLENGE (5/11) reported, the fighting spirit of the Vietnamese workers and peasants had so overwhelmed the drafted U.S. Army that from July 1, 1966 to December 31, 1973, the U.S. War Department reported 503,926 "incidents of desertion." (NY Times, 8/20/74)
But it was more the GI rebellions than these desertions that helped defeat the U.S. imperialists. An article in the June 1971 "Armed Forces Journal" by Colonel Robert Heinl, author of the definitive history of the Marine Corps and himself a 27-year combat veteran, was entitled: "The Collapse of the Armed Forces." In that summer of 1971, Heinl wrote, in part:
"The morale, discipline and battle-worthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.
"By every conceivable indicator, our army that now remains in Vietnam is in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers and noncommissioned officers, drug-ridden and dispirited where not near-mutinous .
"Writes an American soldier quoted in the New York Times .Operations have become incredibly ragtag. Many guys dont even put on their uniforms any more. The American garrisons on the larger bases are virtually disarmed. The lifers have taken our weapons and put them under lock and key .
"Fraggings [GIs killing their officers] in 1970 (209) have more than doubled those of the previous year.
"Word of the deaths of officers will bring cheers at troop movies or in bivouacs of certain units.
"In one such division fraggings [are] running about one a week.
"Bounties, raised by common subscription from $50 to $1,000 have been put on the heads of leaders whom the privates want to rub out .
"Search and evade (meaning tactical avoidance of combat) is now virtually a principle of war, vividly expressed by the GI phrase CYA (cover your ass) and get home!
" .These widespread conditions among American forces in Vietnam have only been exceeded in this century by the French Armys Nivelle mutinies of 1917 and the collapse of the Tsarist armies in 1916 and 1917. [Which led to the 1917 Russian Revolution Ed.]
" .Sedition infests the Armed Services .There appear to be 144 underground newspapers published on or aimed at U.S. military bases in this country and overseas.
"At least 14 GI dissent organizations (including two made up exclusively of officers) now operate more or less openly .In 1970, the Army had 65,643 deserters, or roughly equivalent of four infantry divisions."
U.S. sailors were also in revolt. With the Army collapsing, U.S. commanders counted on massive air power to "bomb Vietnam back to the Stone Age," depending on a flotilla of aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin. But the final straw was the massive rebellion and sabotage by sailors aboard these ships.
By the end of 1971, sailors had organized the SOS movement Stop Our Ships/Support Our Sailors. In the fall, thousands on board the USS Constellation, Coral Sea and Kitty Hawk were publishing anti-war newspapers and supporting crew members refusing Vietnam duty. In March, sailors aboard the carrier USS Midway spilled 3,000 gallons of gasoline into San Francisco Bay. In June, the USS Ranger suffered 20 acts of sabotage, forcing a 4½-month delay in sailing. In September and October, the USS Coral Sea was forced to return to San Francisco by protesting sailors publishing their anti-war newspaper "We Are Everywhere" and signing petitions to "Stop Our Ship." In October, black sailors on the USS Kitty Hawk led a major rebellion, including hours of hand-to-hand battles with Marines sent to break up a ship-board meeting, and forced the ship to retire to San Diego. These sailors published an anti-war newspaper, "Kitty Litter."
By November 10, 1972, five giant carriers were tied up in San Diego, forced out of combat by sabotaging crews. In December, the repaired USS Ranger made it back to the Gulf of Tonkin, only to be disabled once again by a deliberately set fire.
And this is "The war the U.S. could have won"?
Unfortunately, the Vietnamese leaders were not fighting for a real communist goal and are returning to capitalism by allowing Ford, Nike, Nissan, SONY and their profit-making ilk to exploit Vietnams workers. But this defeat is temporary. Workers in Vietnam and worldwide will eventually crush all their exploiters and fight for a society of their own: communism.
(The previous issue discussed the role of the EU constitution in uniting Europes bosses against their U.S. imperialist rivals, using it to develop a Europe-wide military while attacking workers living standards, and concentrating power in the ruling circles.)
Europes individual countries arent waiting for ratification to boost their military capacity. The 2003-2008 French budget hikes military spending almost 5% exceeding all other sectors. In 2004, Italy ordered 200 cruise missiles, France 450, and the U.K. 900. None hide the fact that these cruise missiles can be equipped with "mini-nukes."
Its clear that Europes bosses are moving in exactly the same direction as their U.S. rivals. Theyre beefing up their military to prepare for a showdown. This is bad news for workers worldwide.
Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia have already ratified the constitution. In February 2005, only 42% of Spanish voters participated in a non-binding "consultative" vote 3 to 1 favored the constitution. A binding referendum will be held in France on May 29. If the French reject the constitution, EU bosses will be back to square one, because the constitution must be approved by all the member states to be adopted.
The issue has divided French politics. The far right, the fascist Front National led by Jean-Marie Le Pen (a torturer during the Algerian war) and the ultra-Catholic faction led by Viscount de Villiers, oppose the constitution, believing it abolishes too much national sovereignty and will lead to increased immigration from Muslim countries.
The "moderate right," led by French president Jacques Chirac, favors it. On April 14, Chirac spent two hours on television trying to persuade a selected audience of 83 young people, age 18 to 30, that the constitution is a good thing. He said it was the means for Europe to "assert itself as a power" against the U.S., China, and India, and to "assert its humanist values."
The issue has split the French "Socialist" Party down the middle. In a special "internal referendum" to decide the partys position, 80% of the partys 120,000 members participated, and 58% of those voting supported the constitution. Seeing so many members hostile to the constitution, various national leaders, such as Laurent Fabius, have opposed it, not out of concern for the working class but in order to jockey for position in Frances presidential elections. The French Green party is also divided. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who became a media star as a "radical leader" in the May 1968 general strike, was recently pelted with eggs when speaking in favor of the constitution.
The revisionist French "Communist" Party ("C"P) strongly opposes the constitution, but in a very tepid reformist way. They see a "no" vote as galvanizing workers to fight reformist trade union and electoral battles. The French "C"P is largely an electoral machine, but still has a base in the working class. With less than 5% of the vote in elections, only its working-class base gives it a role in French politics.
Current polls show 55% of French voters opposing the constitution. A "no" vote would set back the European bosses plans to centralize control of the economy, to deprive the working class of hard-won gains, to increase the repressive machinery of the state (Article III-276) and to prepare for a new world war.
But such an outcome would only be temporary. With or without a constitution, the contradictions of capitalism will force Europes bosses to confront U.S. bosses. Only a communist revolution can unifiy all the workers of Europe and the rest of the world to destroy capitalism and put a permanent end to imperialist wars.
The dominant, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalism is striving to align U.S. companies more closely with its agenda of war and fascism. Verizons recent takeover of MCI and the infighting at Morgan Stanley reflect a tightening of economic control by the capitalists who benefit the most from U.S. military adventures and the creation of a domestic police state. This faction includes JP Morgan Chase, Exxon Mobil and others that require foreign regime changes from time to time.
As global economic rivalries turn increasingly into shooting wars, short-term profits and the very idea of a "free market" becomes secondary to larger concerns. Verizons offer of $8.5 billion for MCI won out over Qwests $9.8-billion bid because of the strategic importance of MCIs vast telecom network. In addition to its corporate business, MCI serves 75 government agencies, including the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. MCI set up cell phone systems in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti after U.S. invasions. Referring both to major corporations and the feds, the Economist (5/7/05) reported that "large customers said they preferred Verizon and might quit MCI, if it were owned by Qwest." Qwest is controlled by self-made billionaire Philip Anschutz. Verizons board of directors, however, includes Walter Shipley, ex-chairman of Chase and an Exxon Mobil director, and John Stafford, a director of JP Morgan Chase.
U.S. rulers are moving systematically to wrest control of invaluable infrastructure from upstarts like Anschutz. Verizon lawyers torpedoed Qwests chances for MCI by pressing the feds to temporarily classify Qwest as unfit to hold government contracts. MCI itself was once WorldCom, owned by a former gym teacher from Mississippi named Bernie Ebbers. In 2002, the government began prosecuting Ebbers & Co. for lying about earnings. Today a convicted Ebbers faces 85 years in jail. But, his real crime, in the rulers eyes, is failing to belong to their imperialist establishment.
The rulers are also reorienting Morgan Stanley, an old-line investment bank that had recently lost its imperialist way. Spun off from the JP Morgan bank in 1934, Morgan Stanley let Dean Witter, a Main Street brokerage specializing in small, individual accounts, buy into it in 1997. The Dean Witter forces, led by Philip Purcell, brought a retail focus to the firm and soon gained the upper hand. The directors Purcell chose represented, not finance capital, but firms such as Coca Cola, General Foods, Sears, McDonalds and Anheuser Busch. Purcell quickly ousted his co-chairman, imperialist John Mack. Among his many pursuits, Mack sits (along with David Rockefeller) on the board of the American University of Beirut, an important front for the CIAs Middle Eastern operations.
But now the empire has struck back. A group of former Morgan Stanley directors headed by S. Parker Gilbert, step-son of the firms founder and chairman of the Morgan Library, began publicly attacking Purcells leadership early this year. Big changes are taking place, while Purcell remains in office as a lame duck. Gilberts Old Guard forced the appointment of imperialist David Heleniak as Morgan Stanleys general counsel. Heleniak recently chaired a conference on "Competition in the Global Economy" for the Council on Foreign Relations, the rulers top foreign policy factory. The CFR had devised plans for a massive invasion and occupation of Iraq that Bush only partially carried out. And on April 29, Morgan Stanley announced that it was advising Kuwait on industrial cooperation with India. The goal is to fuel India with the U.S.-occupied emirates oil to help check Chinas ambitions. There is even talk that "JP Morgan would like to reunite the firm that banking laws tore apart in the 1930s." (Economist, 5/7)
The Verizon and Morgan Stanley stories give a lesson on ruling-class dictatorship and the nature of the state. The dominant capitalists coercive apparatus includes the government but extends far beyond it. Ruling class-controlled companies can themselves wield significant power. In the current period, U.S. rulers are employing every means they can to lay the groundwork for ever deadlier wars.
May 9 marks the 60th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi war machine the most powerful in world history 90% of which was beaten by the Soviet Red Army. The West seems to have "forgotten" this fact. Recently, right-winger John Bolton, Bushs nominee for U.S. ambassador to the UN, told "Publico," a Lisbon publication, it was U.S. troops who liberated Europe from the Nazis in World War II. This is the biggest of all the Big Lies. Not only does this ignore the key role played by the Red Army, but it even excludes the U.S.s closest ally, the British, whose contribution far surpassed the U.S. in combat, in years fought and in lives lost in battle and from Nazi bombing.
But Bolton is not alone in spreading this lie. Hollywood ("Saving Private Ryan," "Schindlers List," et al), world history courses in U.S. colleges and high schools, and mass culture in general repeat it in one form or another. But facts are stubborn things:
The Soviet Union lost 27 million lives fighting the Nazis. Up to 10 million Soviet citizens became slave laborers in Germany; 1.5 million died. Two-thirds of all Soviet soldiers and officers taken prisoner by the Nazis died in captivity.
The Big Lie tells us that D-Day was the turning point of the war. But by the time Churchill and Roosevelt finally opened a second front on June 6, 1944, invading Nazi-occupied Western Europe, the Nazis were on a retreat to Berlin. The actual turning point was the Battle of Stalingrad. It lasted from September 1942 to February 1943, when Gen. Von Paulus 1.5 million-strong VI German Army surrendered. The Nazis had lost 150,000 men.
When the German army tried to recapture the initiative at the Battle of Kursk in August 1943 which involved four million soldiers on both sides the Red Army again broke the back of the Nazi war machine. "After just five days the Germans had already lost two-thirds of their tanks. July 12 in the Prokhorovka region marked the largest tank battle in history. On this day Germany would lose 350 tanks and over 10,000 men. This would be the turning point in the battle as the Germans were once again forced back on the defensive.
"The importance of the Russian victory at Kursk reached further than just that particular battlefield . The Germans had pulled troops and supplies from the Mediterranean. This helped the cause of the Anglo-American (Britain and U.S.) troops .
"The victory at Kursk also meant more than a victory in one battle for Russia itself. Not only was the Army able to pull together to dominate the German attack but the Russian air force was able to take back control of the skies.
"Kursk is widely considered to be the coming of age of the Russian Red Army .employing a new concept of anti-tank warfare [By] the fifth day .(including the Russian offensive in pushing the Germans backward), the Germans lost 30 army divisions more than 500,000 men. Though Germany would mount some insignificant attempts at attacks, the Russian victory at Kursk marked the end of the German offensive " (http://history.colstate.edu/Pate/john/kursk.htm)
It wasnt the first time the Red Army saved the US-UK forces. In the Winter of 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, when a Nazi Panzer attack surrounded U.S. troops threatening their defeat in Western Europe, the Red Army offensive in Eastern Europe pushing towards Berlin took key resources and troops away from that battle.
(Future articles will analyze more WW II battles, including how the imperialists helped Hitler begin Operation Barbarrosa to invade the Soviet Union, and how the Red Army helped defeat the Japanese fascist army.)
COMPTON, CA, May 9 Ten racist LA county Sheriffs went ballistic, firing 120 rounds into a white SUV whose driver, Winston Hayes, was unarmed. Hayes was shot four times. In their frenzied cross fire, the cops shot into at least five homes and almost hit many residents on the narrow Compton street. "They didnt have any concern for anybodys life," said resident Trina Hays.
The Sheriffs claimed to be looking for a white SUV involved in a gang shooting, but Hayes had been driving his white Chevrolet Tahoe around the neighborhood for four hours playing music when the sheriffs tried to stop him. He led the sheriffs on a chase around the block several times at 35 mph. When the cops threw down a spike strip, Hayes pulled onto a lawn, stopped and ten cops began firing a hail of bullets that broke windows and sent residents running. One sheriff was shot in the crossfire. Residents say it was just luck that bullets didnt hit bystanders.
These cops are the fascist gang-bangers that the bosses want us to rely on to stop gangs!
Several years ago I, among other people, suggested there be a regular CHALLENGE column explaining how various aspects of life would be different under communism. Unwilling or unable to write such a column and getting no response to the suggestion, I dropped it. But a remark by a worker in the CHALLENGE article (5/11) about the Baltimore May Day dinner renewed my interest.
In particular, this worker commented that she understood why we needed to eliminate capitalism but wasnt convinced communism was the answer. The point is, while PLP members may not separate these two ideas overthrowing capitalism and organizing communism its not obvious to many others that these two are one and the same in todays world.
So while CHALLENGE spends much space showing why we need to destroy capitalism, it spends far too little showing how communism will solve our problems.
Therefore, Im renewing my suggestion, with some modification. We could head the column something like "How will communism help me?" or "How would life be better under communism?" Each column could lead with a statement such as, "The word communism has the same root as community and communal, meaning cooperation and sharing. Rather than workers competing for jobs and other resources made scarce by the class that profits from scarcity, we could cooperate and produce all the things we need and only the things we need, until no worker anywhere went cold or hungry."
Then we could either assign people to write each column or, better yet, invite readers to submit their ideas, on such topics as: How will health care be better under communism? What would happen to a factory that was losing money under communism? How will child rearing be done under communism? How will transportation be organized under communism? How will cities and communities change under communism? How will criminal behavior be dealt with under communism? How will drug addiction or prostitution be handled under communism?
Theres an endless list of such topics. What do other readers think?
Articles from the capitalist press reprinted in CHALLENGES "Red Eye On the News" column, while revealing things about the bosses murderous theories and actions, sometimes include odd statements.
In the May 11 issue, an item from the International Herald Tribune ridiculed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its low mercury emissions standards. But in doing so, the Tribune said, "An estimated 300,000 to 600,000 children are born every year with lower IQs because of exposure to mercury."
It was quoting a National Institutes of Health-supported study saying something similar, but different: "[W]e found that between 316,588 and 637,233 children each year have cord blood mercury levels ... associated with loss of IQ." This means that blood samples taken from newborn babies umbilical cords had mercury levels indicating probable nerve damage. And that such damage could appear later in life if attempts are made to measure intelligence.
Certainly mercury and other metals are extremely toxic, especially to fetuses and babies. But capitalist theories of "IQ" (intelligence quotient) are racist nonsense, though in the U.S. and elsewhere theyre widely assumed to be "scientific" and "true." Notice how casually both the NIH researchers and the Tribune writer use "IQ" to mean intellect, cognitive ability, or mental skill, and how they assume that "it" can be tested for and assigned a number. The researchers even refer to "one-fifth of an IQ point" and "a 1.6 point drop in IQ"! As though such a slippery concept as intelligence can be given numbers at all, much less one as precise as one-fifth of a point.
Further, the idea that babies are born with "IQ" would be plain laughable if it werent so dangerous. With an IQ number, a child can be more easily steered onto a track by "race," class, or gender. Then steered out of school and into the bosses army. Like nearly everything else about capitalism, IQ has to be dumped.
For a detailed look at the origins and racist use of IQ theories, see Russell Jacoby and Naomi Glaubermans "The Bell Curve Debate," Times Books, 1995, and the PLP pamphlet, "Racism, Intelligence and the Working Class."
Public Health Red
Mr. Delgado said that when this unit was first assigned to Abu Ghraib, he believed . Well, theyre out to kill us. These are the ones killing our buddies.
But while at work in a headquarters office, he said, he learned that most of the detainees at Abu Ghraib had committed only very minor non-violent offenses, or no offenses at all. (Several investigations would subsequently reveal that vast numbers of completely innocent Iraqis were seized and detained by coalition forces.)
Several months ago Mr. Delgado gave a talk and presented a slide show at his school, New College of Florida in Sarasota. To his amazement, 400 people showed up. He has given a number of talks since then .
His goal, he said, is to convince his listeners that the abuse of innocent Iraqis by the American military is not limited to "a few bad apples," as the military would like the public to believe. "At what point," he asked, "does a series of isolated incidents become a pattern of intolerable behavior?" (NYT, 5/5)
Secret documents published last weekend show that, almost a year before the Iraq invasion, Mr. Blair was privately preparing to commit Britain to war and topple Saddam Hussein.
The documents show how Mr. Blair was told how Britain and the US could "create the conditions" for an invasion .
A second highly classified document .of a high-level meeting at Downing Street on July 23, 2002. said it seemed clear that President Bush had made up his mind on military action ."But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbors, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea, or Iran." (GW, 5/12)
Russia currently has about 160 deaths for every 100 births.
The more shocking reason Russias population is declining is that people are dying younger. Russians are now much less healthy than their grandparents were in 1960. In the past three decades, Russian mortality rates have risen by 40 percent. Russian life expectancies now approximate those in Bangladesh and are below Indias.
The health care system is in shambles . Theres an explosion of heart attacks and strokes .According to Russian statistics, a 20-year-old man in 2000 had only a 46 percent chance of reaching age 65. (NYT, 4/28)
Seven months before Sept. 11, 2001, the State Department issued a human rights report on Uzbekistan. It was a litany of horrors.
The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported .
Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation (NYT, 5/1)
As nostalgia for Stalin swells in Russia amid celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Soviet victory over the Nazis on May 9, [the city of] Oryol has rekindled its affection .
The town council has written to President Vladimir Putin demanding his support for having Stalins "honour" restored to the history books, his statues re-erected and his name once more given to streets and squares .Russia "should once again render honour to Stalin for his role in building socialism and saving human civilisation from the Nazi plague ."
In March a national poll showed that 53% of Russians thought that on balance Stalins rule was "positive".
The nostalgia has spread to a generation too young to have experienced his rule. (GW, 5/12)
Allan Tanquary and Jesus Hernandez, Army Special Forces marksmen had been stationed in Colombia as part of the American effort to fight drugs and Marxist rebels .
The two men, along with four Colombians, were arrested Tuesday in a luxury gated community in Melgar, where the police found 32,000 rounds of ammunition that they contend was bound for rightwing paramilitary groups.
The case has deeply embarrassed the United States, which on Thursday denied that the Bush Administration was secretly helping Colombias brutal paramilitary organization, the United Self-Defense Forces, in its fight against Marxist rebels. (NYT, 5/6)
Governors and state legislators have devised proposals for sweeping changes in Medicaid to curb its rapid growth and save billions of dollars .
Many of the proposals resemble ideas advanced by President Bush as part of his 2006 budget. In some cases, the governors embrace Mr. Bushs proposal but go further .
A member of the Maryland House said: "I am a Democrat, a liberal Democrat, but we cant sustain the current Medicaid program. Its fiscal madness. It doesnt guarantee good care and its a budget buster. We need to instill a greater sense of personal responsibility so people understand that this care is not free." (NYT, 5/9)