Distribution of a PLP leaflet and CHALLENGE to everyone on the picket line created a strong communist presence at the march. Even some of the union's more conservative Executive Board members appreciated our presence, which emphasizes the value of a unified working class.
A diverse group of Metro workers from virtually every department marched today -- young and old, black and white, bus drivers, mechanics, station attendants, and maintenance. Rail car maintenance and the Northern bus garage each brought 15-20 workers.
Although this was a relatively small action in a local of 9,000 members, for the last 25 years the union leadership has trained the membership to be passive, always backing away from sharp struggle, accepting contract arbitration and usually neglecting workers' needs. This business unionist approach has intensified racism in the ever-lengthening 2-tier wage progression (now at 7 years) as the workforce changed from mostly white to mostly black. For a generation Local 689 has lost the basic working-class concepts of class struggle, solidarity, militancy and unity. With the recent election of PLP'er Mike Golash as president, a communist with a well-developed strategy for reversing these losses, new possibilities have emerged. The subterranean fire of class hatred and militancy is beginning to surface, even as the bosses have begun to sharpen their knives as they look for cost savings by slashing workers.
The Washington Post has attacked Metro workers for earning "six-figure salaries," while the life-deadening 75-hour work-week of the handful of workers who made this amount is ignored. The workers answered these attacks at the rally, condemning management for its efforts to shift the blame for Metro inefficiencies onto the union. It will take more than just a few months to turn the union around, but the downward spiral has been slowed, hope is in the air, and workers are beginning to feel their long-lost power.
Dialectics teaches us that the quantitative changes of 30 years of consistent communist agitation and base-building lays the foundation for a qualitative advance. Materialist philosophy teaches us that Metro workers know they are oppressed by capitalism and are open to learning the scientific truth about how to defeat the bosses.
This demonstration can be the beginning of the qualitative transformation at Metro as workers regain their hope and optimism of defeating the bosses, and begin to join the PLP to make this a reality. The next big step is creating a substantial PLP club of Metro workers. This is crucial because no matter how militant the union becomes, the bosses will retain the upper hand since they control the whole system. The role of PLP'ers would be to show workers their local struggle must be linked to the struggle against the war in Iraq and the Homeland Security police state. The latter could be used to smash a Metro strike, claiming it's against the (bosses) "national interest" because it affects the capital of U.S. capitalism. Once workers understand this, we become a key force in fighting for a society based on our needs: workers' power.
The PLP summer project organized a couple of dozen activists to leaflet the entire city, politicizing and radicalizing workers. We've had long talks with many bus and train operators, station managers, mechanics and custodial workers. We've also seen, first-hand, the response of the bus riders; support was expressed everywhere we went.
The future is bright for working-class solidarity! But the hard work lies ahead.
The liberals' exit-strategy furor actually promotes the rulers' war aims. It helps divert sincere anti-war sentiment into futile e-mail-your-congressman politics. Rep. John Conyers, with the help of MoveOn.org, gathered 560,000 electronic signatures for a letter scolding Bush for the Iraq quagmire. Founded in 1999 by Larry Rockefeller, among others, MoveOn's original goal was to shift Washington's focus from the Clinton impeachment scandal to more pressing issues, like the war in Serbia. More importantly, the exit strategy flap revives the rulers' main criticism of the Bush gang: it failed to militarize the nation following Sept. 11. Consequently, Bush & Co. could muster less than half the troops needed to accomplish the rulers' goal of ousting Hussein and controlling Iraq's oilfields. Larry Diamond, a senior official in the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad, writes in his new book, "Squandered Victory," that deploying an adequate force "would have necessitated an immediate mobilization of the military reserves and National Guard."
Commenting on the British memos, Sen. Jay Rockefeller called for a more effective war machine: "the American people deserve answers. Only then can we provide a full and complete accounting of the mistakes leading up to the war in Iraq and what changes are necessary to fix them." (New York Times, 6/14/05) The liberal Times' Thomas Friedman thinks he has the solution: "before we give up on Iraq, why not actually try to do it right? Double the American boots on the ground." (6/15/05) But the rulers have a problem. Army and Marine recruitment is falling far short of its targets. So "anti-war" Conyers has joined Rep. Charles Rangel in proposing restoration of the draft.
Max Boot, senior fellow at the rulers' Council on Foreign Relations, openly pining for the armies of the Roman, British, and French empires, has another idea: "I would...offer citizenship to anyone, anywhere on the planet, willing to serve a set term in the U.S. military. We could model a Freedom Legion after the French Foreign Legion. Or we could allow foreigners to join regular units after a period of English-language instruction, if necessary" (Los Angeles Times, 6/16/05)
Rather than seeking an exit from war, U.S. rulers are constantly searching for the means of waging broader and deadlier conflicts. A study done by the Army War College weighed prospects for a World War II-scale military mobilization of the U.S. in the near future. Amid the rulers' planning for World War III, however, lie signs of promise for the working class.
Along with deteriorating infrastructure, a shortage of skilled workers in basic industry, and Bush's tax policies, the Army found "diminished civic militarism as an obstacle to such efforts." It noted "formidable political resistance among citizens to...serving in the military. The widespread support for military action following the 9/11 attacks did not translate into an equally widespread willingness among Americans to enlist." (Parameters, Autumn 2004) This lack of "civic militarism" is a legacy of the Vietnam era, when the anti-war movement, led in key sections by PLP, laid bare to millions the profit motive behind imperialist war.
Our Party, understanding that the profit system itself ceaselessly causes -- and needs -- this carnage, has an exit strategy. We're building for the only way out of the ever-worsening spiral of imperialist wars. That's a communist revolution that will someday eradicate the capitalist butchers. History has twice shown, in Russia and in China, that when the profiteers engage in global conflict, the working class, united by a communist party, can seize power.
The rise of nativist fascist groups like the MinuteMen Project works in the bosses' favor, impelling immigrant workers to find the fastest ways to become "legal" residents and citizens. The bosses are more than happy to help, making immigrant workers "prove" their patriotism by fighting and dying in U.S. imperialist wars. While liberals try to separate themselves from open racists like the MinuteMen, citizen and immigrant workers shouldn't be fooled into thinking these liberals have their interests in mind. Sure, immigrants are just fine -- for cannon fodder and to be super-exploited! This should make us even more committed to reaching out to young people with all of PLP's ideas. These youth can think and can help fight for the interests of the international working class.
Firstly, when capitalists have a dogfight, the working class doesn't have a dog in the fight. Our job remains the task of building our own forces, the most important of which is our revolutionary communist Party, the PLP. We have one goal: to overthrow the entire capitalist class and its murderous profit system and replace them with a workers' dictatorship and a decent society.
Recently, the much-vaunted "European Constitution" fell flat on its face when voters in France and then Holland rejected it by overwhelming majorities. In the wake of this vote, European rulers began battling among themselves over money. Under capitalism, it's always about money. British, Polish and Scandinavian bosses are lining up against their French, German and Italian counterparts over two tactical visions of European capitalism. The first group wants to push as quickly as possible for "free trade"; the second wants more governmental control over the economies. In some ways, the bickering reflects the current standoffs in the U.S. between the Liberal Eastern Establishment and "conservative" bosses.
Three contradictions lie at the heart of the matter. The first two concern the capitalism's dog-eat-dog, competitive nature, even among supposedly close pals. For example, the euro as common currency now forces Italian capitalists to compete "on the same playing field as Germany." But Germany makes high-tech industrial equipment and high-end automobiles. Italy's main export industries "are in sectors like shoes, textiles, and clothes that are particularly vulnerable to Chinese competition." (New York Times, 6/19) With the euro, trade issues are now handled at the European rather than the national level, and so Italian shoe magnates have little wiggle room. Yet their need for maximum profit remains. The creation of the euro hasn't solved this contradiction and dozens like it, any more than the creation of the United States of America eliminated competition among the rulers of different regions or states (i.e., Northern capitalists vs. Southern slaveholders).
The second contradiction pits European rulers against the U.S. This rivalry isn't new. In fact, it's as old as the existence of the U.S., which has already fought two wars on European soil. During the Cold War, U.S. imperialism used the threat of communism to keep the major European powers in line. For several decades, the aspect of unity overshadowed competition.
But competition is now dominant, and the Europeans face the dilemma of putting their differences aside for the sake of building a united front against the U.S. As events are proving, honor among thieves is difficult to establish.
But there's a third contradiction, and it reflects the 800-pound gorilla in the room: class struggle, the fight that pits workers against bosses. This was the real shadow hanging over the French and Dutch rejection of the European Constitution. (To be continued next issue.)
Over 20 youth from the PLP D.C. Summer Project joined local Maryland activists with the communist message that racist police brutality is inherent in capitalism because the bosses need racism to intimidate and divide workers so they can keep churning out profits. Linking racist killing by cops to the vicious worldwide exploitation of workers, these youth presented the alternative vision of a communist system based on meeting people's needs, not meeting capitalism's quarterly profits.
The Summer Project youth had earlier attended a forum on the historical fight against racism in the D.C. area. Now they brought their revolutionary energy to Prince George's County, whose cops killed more citizens with impunity than 50 of the country's largest police departments over an eleven-year period.
Today's rally was protesting the killing of unarmed Archie Elliott III by County cops twelve years ago while handcuffed in the front seat of a police cruiser. Dorothy Elliott, Archie's mother, requested the files pertaining to her son's death. The State's Attorney, "Mr. Liberal" Glenn Ivey who once worked for liberal Congressman John Conyers, claimed the files were lost! Dorothy filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to demand the files and asked the People's Coalition for Police Accountability to support her in this courthouse rally. The Coalition responded. The Summer Project distributed over 2,000 leaflets county-wide, at subways, malls and parking lots, informing residents about the case and rally.
The participants chanted, "The Cops, the Courts, the Klu Klux Klan, all a part of the bosses plan!" and heard militant speeches! An older friend of Dorothy's explained how Archie did nothing wrong that night. A comrade reported that many officers ("The Dirty Dozen") were still on the police force after committing atrocious brutal acts, some killing again and again, according to one of the victims -- Prince Carmen Jones -- who was a former student of his. A younger Latino comrade linked this fight to the international struggle against racism, connecting it to U.S.-trained torturers in Columbia, Paraguay and Bolivia, showing how the cops globally serve fascism and imperialism. A sister comrade, a Summer Project leader, exposed the gross injustice within the County and the need to fight back.
When the State's Attorney arrived to blow smoke, he said let's meet right now. As communists having no illusions about capitalist-serving liberals, we said, fine, we'll meet right here on the bullhorn, and then we put him on trial. We read the FOIA letter aloud, demanded he comply, and then shoved the mike in his face for his answer. This slick liberal suddenly became incoherent, mumbling he'd "try." When he said he'd comply, we knew he was lying since shortly afterwards, Dorothy received a letter from him dated the day before the rally stating the file no longer existed -- the County had destroyed it after the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Dorothy Elliott then fired up the crowd with her determination to continue the struggle until justice is done. She thanked the Summer Project from the bottom of her heart for spearheading the effort, and gave a "shout-out to the PLP." She focused squarely on the County Government and vowed that her son would have his day in court. She reminded everyone that it took over 50 years for Emmett Till's murder to get to court. Emmett, a 14-year-old African American male was brutally tortured and killed by Mississippi Klansmen for allegedly "whistling" at a white woman. An autopsy was performed, after the mother, the jury and all but one of the perpetrators were all dead. This is "justice" under capitalism, about as meaningful as 80% of the U.S. Senate "apologizing" for supporting lynching for 80 years. (And 20 even tried to prevent that token gesture.)
Under communism, we won't wait 50 years to administer justice against racism and all forms of oppression!
Despite the predicted dishonesty of the State's Attorney, we sharpened the struggle and demonstrated to the coalition members that the true role of government under capitalism is serving the bosses, not the workers. Strikingly, two veteran members of the People's Coalition for Police Accountability vowed to increase their efforts to educate and mobilize youth, and invited the Summer Project youth to help them do that.
Along with the Laborers' International Union of North America, these five unions are forming a coalition, allegedly to promote more aggressive union organizing among non-union workers, even talking about taking on Wal-Mart.
But when Teamster president James Hoffa is leading the reform movement, Alice has stepped through the looking glass. Last fall, the pro-Hoffa Teamster leadership of Local 743 joined University of Chicago bosses in firing a dissident worker after they stole a local election his slate had won. A few years ago, the Teamsters left the Supremo workers, all Latin immigrants, to twist in the wind after calling them out on strike to win a first contract. The company hired scabs and fired the most militant workers, while the Teamsters never mobilized even their own membership to shut the factory down. What's more, there are thousands of black and Latin Teamsters working in small factories around the city, making poverty wages.
While the Teamsters bring a reputation for being "tough," the real stars of this coalition are SEIU and UNITE-HERE. With over three million members combined, they've made the biggest inroads in "organizing" black, Latin, immigrant and women workers in the service industry. Campaigns like Justice for Janitors have attracted many college students and would-be organizers, giving these unions the aura of a social movement. But the reality is far different.
June 15 marked the second anniversary of the UNITE-HERE "strike" at the Congress Hotel. Some of the workers have crossed the lines and returned to work while most of the original strikers were forced to look for other jobs. UNITE called a picket line to "celebrate" the two-year strike, which could only muster 500 people (last year's first anniversary had 1,000), and gave "bravery medals" to the 31 remaining strikers. The picket line was very lively and integrated, but politically rotten. The hotel has never been shut down, not even for a day. No attempt has been made to stop the scabs or occupy the hotel. Despite their "bravery medals," UNITE's cowardly leadership is afraid to wage class war and unleash the workers' fury. Instead they re-enforce the workers' fears, keeping them loud but passive.
Andrew Stern, president of the 1.8 million-member SEIU, is the former protégé of AFL-CIO boss John Sweeny, but they're no longer buddies. Under the guise of "not being taken for granted by the Democrats," Stern has donated thousands of dollars to the Republican Governor's Association, a notorious anti-union right-to-work group. (Indiana's Republican governor recently stripped all state workers of collective bargaining rights.) Stern supported Pataki for governor in NY, and was given the O.K. to sign up tens of thousands of home healthcare workers into the union. A similar scenario was played out in California. So while more than 100,000 home healthcare workers now have purple T-shirts and union cards, the vast majority of these black and Latin women workers have no contract, no health insurance and still make poverty wages. What's more, hundreds of Cook County health care workers are trying to decertify SEIU.
Because of the union honchos' pro-capitalist outlook -- constant concessions and give-backs to the bosses, refusal to fight mass layoffs and racist unemployment -- less and less workers are following them. This becomes a problem for the main section of the rulers since they need these labor misleaders to control the workers and prevent them from directly confronting the bosses over these attacks. But if, because of their class collaboration, the union hacks can't deliver enough workers, especially to the Democrats, they lose their usefulness to the ruling class.
The Stern-Sweeney battle is a dogfight among thieves over how to stay in business while serving a U.S. imperialism bent on war and a police state. Their patriotic, anti-communist, pro-capitalist outlook and practice has brought the labor movement to the brink of extinction.
PLP is organizing a Summer Project to build a revolutionary communist worker-student alliance, and a mass international PLP. We will show industrial, postal and health care workers that we have no dog in the fight at the AFL-CIO Convention.
Politicians talk about improving the quality of education, but then cut social services in order to pay for a permanent war budget. According to http://costofwar.com/, the War in Iraq will cost $207.5 billion by September 20, 2005. This doesn't reflect the ongoing cost of military bases worldwide, base pay for soldiers, the cost of the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan or the Homeland Security police state apparatus.
Teachers who are committed to high standards of excellence, and the belief that all students can learn, support the existence of highly qualified teachers and the expectation that students will be proficient in subject matter at graduation. We must fight to give students the tools to understand the world. But recent calls for doubling ground troops in Iraq and increasing Green Card soldiers (see editorial, front page) indicate more of our students will become soldiers. Many more will be in arms factories as industry is reorganized for expanding low-wage war production.
Capitalism, despite the "highly-qualified" and "no-child-left-behind" rhetoric, is really about attacking teachers and ESP's and forcing more students into low-paid factory jobs and the military. We must expect students to learn everything they can, because the youth in the military and in the factories will be the generation that can and will change the world. While the bosses need a few proficient young people, U.S. capitalism's intensified crisis mainly means war, attacks on workers' standard of living, increased racism and a police state.
As these attacks unfold, the response of the NEA and the entire AFL-CIO has been to blame Bush and the Republicans, who are currently leading the charge in an ongoing sharp attack on working class that began in the 1970's. Starting with the Carter administration, U.S. rulers' stated policy has been that maintaining control of Middle East oil is in the bosses' "national interest." Neither liberals nor conservatives call for dismantling U.S. military bases in over 60 countries.
The problem is capitalism and its sharpening crisis, not which political party is in office. From Carter to Reaganomics to Bush, Sr. to Clinton killing welfare with workfare, these anti-worker attacks have gone unchecked. It is the most dangerous illusion to think that electing a Democrat will end the war and funnel the money to schools, hospitals and pensions.
Teachers and other workers have enormous potential to fight the attacks on the working class, if we shift our efforts from backing bosses' politicians to uniting to use our power -- on a state and local level -- as organized workers in strikes against the cuts, the war in Iraq, racist cop terror and anti-immigrant vigilantes, as well as supporting students' interests
Workers are the key to capitalism -- economically, militarily and politically. Our future lies in building a revolutionary movement of all workers, students and soldiers, not in voting for "lesser evil" politicians. Together we'll forge the long-term commitment to fight for communism, utilizing to the fullest the creative power of the working class. That's PLP's goal; join us.
Northwest has lost about $3 billion since 2001 and wants to reduce labor costs by $1.1 billion annually by year's end. They want to lay off 2,000 mechanics, cut pay of those remaining by 25%, while outsourcing the work to low-wage non-union shops. They also ran to federal court after United Airlines was allowed to trash its four employee pension plans, to seek the same treatment. Northwest has slashed the AMFA workforce from 9,300 to 5,300 in five years.
Ironically, mechanics at United, Northwest and other airlines recently decertified their old union, the IAM, in favor of the "independent" AMFA, but switching pro-capitalist unions has failed to save pensions or stop layoffs and wage-cuts.
What's more, AMFA is trying to build public support for a possible strike based on union mechanics being U.S. citizens who "can pass FBI background checks." Their flier read, "In March 2005, the FBI arrested 27 illegal aliens working at TIMCO, one of the biggest outsourced shops. One had been working on planes there for 10 years, using false papers." This flagrant racism, implying that undocumented workers are a terrorist threat, totally plays into the bosses' hands. A racist strike against undocumented workers, instead of an anti-racist strike against capitalism that builds international solidarity, would surely be smashed by the same fascist Homeland Security police state AMFA leaders embrace.
Also today, the National Mediation Board rejected Northwest's request to declare an impasse in contract talks that began last October. Negotiations will resume on June 20, but the airline is recruiting scabs in case of a strike.
An impasse ruling would have left the union free to strike after a 30-day cooling-off period. We should reach out to Northwest workers wherever we can and offer a revolutionary alternative to the pro-capitalist union leaders.
This struggle united full- and part-time workers, black, Latin and Asian, men and women, immigrants and citizens from the US, Mexico, Central America, Africa and Asia.
This struggle had its weaknesses. More workers could have been involved, but enough had the political understanding that the bosses' racist attacks on any group of workers are an attack on all of us. The leadership came mainly from regular CHALLENGE readers and distributors.
But no sooner did we win one small battle, than the first-shift shop steward was fired for reasons still unclear. He had helped workers circulate a petition protesting the company policy forcing them to wear faulty "safety glasses" that actually blur their vision.
The bosses tried to keep the firing quiet, but word spread as workers distributed flyers in Spanish and English. One worker posted it on the time clock! Soon the bosses wanted a meeting with the second-shift shop steward to find out as much as they could about what the workers were up to. When the steward declined, the bosses sent their flunky supervisors to spy on the workers.
It will take a protracted fight to win our brother's job back. He's a good guy, but being somewhat isolated from the workers made him vulnerable to attack. Especially in this time of growing fascism, the fight for communist revolution means having a mass base of friends and political supporters.
These struggles occur in the context of much larger struggles in the airline industry. (See Northwest article above) Throughout the struggles here, CHALLENGE readership has increased, sparking much better discussions with the workers. Winning workers to draw revolutionary conclusions from their involvement in the class war, and winning them to PLP, is laying the basis for a mass communist movement in a critical U.S. industry with many international ties, that can ultimately ground capitalism forever.
GM is the largest private provider of health care benefits in the country. It will spend $5.6 billion this year, covering 1.1 million workers, their families, retirees and survivors. GM has more than 2_ retirees for every U.S. worker. This ratio will grow with the job cuts, as about 60% of GM's workers are eligible to retire in the next five years. The cuts will not increase market share, but they might increase profits.
Two days later, the United Auto Workers (UAW) gave its blessings at an emergency meeting of GM and Delphi local union officers. (Delphi, the largest auto parts supplier, was spun off by GM in 1999, but is part of the GM-UAW national agreement.) In Solidarity House "double-speak," the UAW said they "will not reopen the contract," but will participate in the job cuts and plant closings, and negotiate health-care cuts and other concessions within the context of the current agreement. The union only "objected" to the end-of-the-month deadline when it became public. (In another example of this "double-speak," UAW "job security" contracts have reduced union membership by more than two thirds at GM, Ford and Chrysler since the late 1970s.) Not "re-opening the contract" also avoids a risky ratification vote.
GM says it wants to close the gap between the 7% union workers pay for health care and the 27% paid by salaried workers. It also wants to impose monthly premiums on retirees. Recently, the union allowed Chrysler to impose deductibles ranging from $100 to $1,000 a year for 35,000 workers and retirees.
But the fact remains that all the money spent on health care, and the creation of health care itself, comes from the wealth produced by the labor of industrial workers. We produce everything and own nothing, and we are locked in a constant struggle with the bosses to get only a small part of what we produce. This basic contradiction will only be resolved when the working class, led by a mass international PLP, destroys the bosses with communist revolution.
Like pension money, health care is part of our wages, which we have more than earned, and even then had to fight for. The attacks at GM, coming on the heels of United Airlines, its government and courts ripping off the pensions of 135,000 workers and retirees, will ripple far beyond the auto industry. More than one million jobs are directly tied to GM. Every one of them will be affected and they will affect others.
In 1986, GM closed 11 plants with 29,000 workers. In 1992, it cut more than 70,000 jobs and closed 21 plants in the U.S. and Canada. Since 2000, it has cut 30,000 U.S. jobs. After the new round of cuts and closings, GM will be down to about 23 plants and 85,000 hourly workers. Oldsmobile is gone and Buick or Pontiac may follow.
In the 1950's, GM had 46% of the U.S. auto market, Ford and Chrysler 44%, and everyone else combined just 10%. Today, GM has 27%, Ford and DaimlerChrysler combined have 32%, and other automakers, 41%. The international competition is bigger than GM, and in a case of "be careful what you wish for," almost 50% of the "foreign" cars sold here are made here.
DaimlerChrysler is investing $40 billion in North America over the next five years, including a new assembly plant in Illinois and expanding factories in Ohio and Michigan. According to the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, in the last two years Toyota, Honda, BMW, Nissan and other global automakers have created 55,000 non-union factory jobs in Ohio, California, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama. About 800,000 cars and trucks will be built in Alabama this year. The flag-waving UAW leadership is so tied to the U.S. auto bosses that they have failed to organize one "transplant" assembly plant.
The bosses are ruthlessly driving down the wages and living standards of all workers as they fight their imperialist rivals for world supremacy. The oil war in Iraq and the Homeland Security police state are crucial to this struggle. The pro-capitalist union leaders are leading us to more wars and fascism. Seventy years of reform struggle are being stripped away as the rulers prepare for the next world war. We have no stake in backing any boss. Our allegiance is to the international working class and communist revolution. Autoworkers are in a better position than most to make this happen.
Once President Mesa was forced to resign by the mass rebellion demanding nationalization of the gas industry (the second largest in Latin America), the Catholic Church, the U.S. embassy, Petrobras, Enron, BP, Repsol, Total and politicians like social-democrat Evo Morales all put aside their differences to reach a compromise.
First, the U.S. ambassador's choice to replace Mesa with right-wing cattle rancher Vaca Diez (head of the Senate), failed. When Vaca Diez moved his Presidential swearing-in ceremony away from the masses occupying La Paz to the calmer city of Sucre, the masses followed. Army troops shot up a miners' contingent en route to Sucre, killing one, but this didn't intimidate them. They took over the Sucre airport and other key locations, and surrounded the site of Vaca Diez' swearing-in ceremony.
Then, all the anti-working class forces united and chose Supreme Court Judge Eduardo Rodriguez as the new President. Key to this was Evo Morales, the so-called "radical" friend of Chavez and Castro and leader of the "Movement Towards Socialism." Morales agreed to have Rodriguez as interim President for six months until new elections are held. Morales' party is now Bolivia's leading opposition force and he expects to become Bolivia's first Aymara ruler.
However, none of the protestors' demands were met. The gas industry is still controlled by the international energy companies; racism and super-exploitation of the mostly Aymara, Quechua and Guarani population is still rampant; and the same ruling class still rules.
Why? Because despite the militancy and anger of the masses, and their desire for a worker-peasant revolutionary government, this can't happen relying on Morales or the more "militant" union leaders, and their Trotskyite allies. They think a "dual power" situation was being created -- workers and peasants rule through People's Assemblies -- building the illusion that a real revolution can occur without a revolutionary communist leadership.
The present calm is temporary. The racist-fascist bourgeoisie in the Santa Cruz region is still planning a referendum to seize autonomy from the central government (most of the gas deposits are there, away from the Andean region mostly inhabited by indigenous people). The oil companies still control the gas industry. The united front among the various capitalist factions and Big Oil won't last long. (Brazil's Petrobras is now a big player in South America's energy industry, competing with U.S.-owned oil giants.) And the masses are still angry and want real changes.
Again, the struggle will continue and the key task remains, to turn these struggles into schools for communism, forging a real revolutionary leadership to fight for workers' power.
We read the new CHALLENGE column "...Under Communism," bringing to these youth the potential of an entirely new world outside of capitalism. The discussion moved in many different directions, posing how the school system would be different (delighting many of the students...and teachers); how we would decide the culture that would be accepted under communism; and how we would function without money or wages.
Although two young comrades led the discussion, the most important point of all was that most of the questions and answers came from the students themselves. At times they got so excited talking about communism that others could barely get a word in. One participant noted, "Many young comrades took leadership today in answering other youth's questions, especially a few young women. Today was a great example of what we want to build."
These discussions are important because workers and students need to know what kind of world PLP is fighting for, and that they must play an active role in the decision-making. On the bus ride home, one student said, "The discussion was mind blowing to me because I never looked at the world like that. Now that I know a bit more than before, I'm gonna try my best to learn and understand more about it." One student "demanded" weekly study groups instead of bi-weekly ones.
Besides discussing the type of world we want to create, we also try to practice it as communists, understanding that there are limitations. Students and teachers played soccer and basketball and went swimming and hiking together. We did everything as a collective, whether it was cleaning up or ensuring everybody had enough to eat. It's great to see our communist ideas actually put into practice.
After playing soccer, a student asked if there would still be sports under communism. He imagined a world without any sports, or any competition for that matter. A comrade replied, saying there could still be sports and friendly competition, but with no material benefits for the "winners." Just as we did today, we can still compete, as long as the goal is to improve at the sport and have fun with your friends, not to win a prize.
When leaving the park, we discussed summer plans. Many wanted more such social events, while still doing more agitational work and organizing in our areas. Although the bosses aren't yet worried about the working class taking state power, one day they will be. The youth are tired, angry and looking for change. As one student said, "I felt very happy hearing about communism because this is a very hateful world." He's not alone. When millions of students and workers worldwide learn about communism and the Progressive Labor Party, the bosses will really have something to worry about.
A dozen speakers condemned the war's lies, racism, torture, slaughter of civilians, theft from the social budget and plans for U.S. domination. The campus student paper said a PLP student's speech analyzing the reasons people were against the war as symptoms of capitalism, "stood out the most. . . For the students who wish to end injustice, his words were clear: have a working-class movement to end all these issues."
PLP thinks antiwar students and teachers must understand that the Iraq war and occupation are necessary for U.S. bosses to maintain their eroding position in the world as they combat their imperialist rivals. To stop such wars we must end imperialism itself. Otherwise we're doomed to build one antiwar movement after another.
The campus newspaper reporter's response showed people are open to such ideas, and will unite with us to stop this war, despite ingrained anti-communism. More people wanted to speak than we had time for. An Afghani student's poem described her family's suffering under U.S. occupation. It spoke to her mother in Afghanistan about "the torture of death [that] sets across your skies," but the title still proclaimed that "Some Lives Can't Take All of Life."
How many more victims of U.S. imperialism have migrated to our city to escape atrocities like the torture death of Dilawar, a poor Afghani taxi driver, at the hands of the U.S. military? ("The Bagram File," New York Times, 5/20) They're all potential recruits to destroy the system that has disrupted their lives but not their hopes.
Another student poem honored a friend who died in Iraq, in a "motor accident caused by bad weather," the military said. The poet, however, saw the war and his friend's death not as "bad weather" but as "a condition of our climate." To honor two other dead student soldiers, Nigerian immigrants, we read a militant Nigerian poem protesting Shell Oil and its fascist government enablers in the Niger Delta: "They may kill all/But the blood will speak/They may gain all/But the soil will RISE."
Our rally poetry indeed made the blood speak, like the exiled daughter imagining her Afghani mother watching it "rain in blood throughout your land." It's our job to make the soil imperialism has drenched in blood and oil rise like an earthquake, in Kabul, Baghdad, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and New York.
As the invaders moved deeper and deeper into the world's first working-class state, people here became edgier and edgier. The U.S. was not yet in the war and the Nazis had previously run roughshod through virtually all of Western and Eastern Europe. Whether you were pro-communist or anti-communist, most everyone worried about what it would mean for us here if Hitler captured the vast resources of the Soviet Union.
Woolworth's 5cents&10cents store (the 99cents stores of that era) was selling maps of various "theaters of war." I bought one of the Russian Front. It came with tiny flags on pins, some with swastikas and some with hammer and sickles. I would listen to the radio (no TV then), get the daily reports from the front, and then set up the flags facing each other along a 2,000-mile line from the Artic to the Caspian Sea. (2,000 miles! That's like from Maine to Florida!)
Soon the military "experts" were found to be not so "expert." The Red Army began pushing the Nazis back, and I moved my little flags accordingly.
Every day my parents would come home from work and look at my map, smiling when they saw the hammer and sickles pushing the swastikas westward. "You were right, Pop," I told my father.
After the U.S. entered the war in December 1941, the entire communist-led labor movement in New York began pushing for a "Second Front." Petitions were signed, rallies were held filling the old Madison Square Garden, all calling for the U.S. and Britain to invade Europe from the West, to relieve the burden on the Soviets in the East, who were carrying the war against Hitler all by themselves. We knew that the West didn't like the Socialist Soviet Union and would have loved to see it destroyed.
When I was 12, my mother took me to my first demonstration, 250,000 strong, filling Union Square in September 1942. I had never seen so many people in one place. They were all chanting, "Open Up the Second Front!" It was the same theme in the May Day marches during the war.
In July, my mother would take my sister and myself to a small town in the Catskills, Monticello, New York, where we worked all summer. My sister used to stand outside the movie theatre holding collection cans asking for donations for "Russian War Relief." They would be full in no time. The town sheriff would stand nearby, smiling. In different times, he probably would have arrested her -- "how dare you collect money for those damn communists!" But now the Soviet Union was the hope of the world. Even the sheriff had joined us!
As the world's workers watched breathlessly, the Red Army surrounded the Nazis at Stalingrad and smashed the cream of the German army. Even then people called it the turning point of the war. People here danced in the streets when they heard the news.
Now my flags on the map kept moving westward. The Red Army tanks were moving at a 40-mile-a-day clip, onward through the Ukraine and Western Russia, into Poland and towards Germany itself. Finally, the U.S. and Britain invaded western France in June 1944. By that time it looked like the Soviets might liberate all of Europe if there were no Second Front.
Then, on my 15th birthday, I went to my map and planted the hammer and sickle flag on Berlin! It was a far cry from the "experts" prediction four years ago, about "six weeks to Moscow."
When I got married ten years later, my wife told me how her Russian-born parents -- having migrated to the U.S. around 1908 -- used to come home from their garment and millinery shops during the war and immediately turn on the radio to get the "latest from the front." In those days, the Red Army was looked on as the saviors of the world. Stalin's picture was on the front of Life Magazine, hailed as "The Man of the Year." GI's slogging through Italy were told by their commanders, "Don't worry. Uncle Joe will save you!"
The bosses' media are trying to bury this history with all the lies about how the U.S. "won the war" and "saved France and Europe." They try to hide the fact that 80% of the Nazi army was battling -- and defeated by -- the Soviets in the East. But at least those of us who lived through that era know differently.
We in PLP should spread the truth far and wide about how the world's first communist-led workers' state saved humanity from fascism.
An old-time red
This question seems silly to some. The bosses own the plant. Herein lies the secret of exploitation and the power of Capital. We produce eight hours of value every day. They return a small percentage of that back in the form of wages and benefits. A quick calculation, using the 2004 annual report, pegs this number at 24%. The bosses appropriate the rest, what Marx called "surplus value."
Some of this surplus value is profit and exorbitant executive "compensation." Some, a decreasing percentage, funds the bosses' government which enforces the rules that keep the capitalists in power and wages war to maintain their imperialist empire.
Boeing bosses "owned" the Wichita plant because they "bought" it with part of this surplus value. Every machine, every building, every production process was paid for with our labor, but under this system we don't own the fruits of our labor.
But we agreed to work for Boeing. What choice did we have? Throughout modern history, the bosses have legally stolen the majority of the value we've created, consolidating their hold on the means of production. Despite any harbored petty-bourgeois illusions, we either work for some boss or starve. Under capitalism, we've become commodities, bought with just enough to produce a new generation of wage slaves.
But what if we, the working class, took back the fruits of our labors? Under communism, the working class would collectively "own" the Wichita plant and all the industries built with our labor. We would run them in the interest of our class, not for the profits of the bosses.
A communist government would enforce rules outlawing the trampling of workers' livelihood for the profits of a few ruling class-exploiters. We could organize and re-organize industry for the benefit of our class.
"Selling" factories would become a historical artifact. We could organize production for need, not for sale and profit.
The profit system not only pits company against company, but worker against worker. Today, the bosses sell and spin off plants and offload work to take advantage of cheaper wages.
In a communist society, organized around production for need, we would welcome any helping hands. As we collectively advance, we could cut back on the hours of work. We could use the extra time to decide not only how to produce but what to produce. We could devote more time developing the political knowledge necessary to run society. We could work to eliminate the divide between mental and manual labor. Our experiences would help us think as a class, fighting the dog-eat-dog mentality of capitalism, defeating racism, sexism and nationalism along the way.
The U.S. bosses are reorganizing basic industry because they must find a way to pay for "stunningly expensive" high-tech wars to control Mid-East oil, the key to their empire. The lives and livelihoods of the industrial working class are being sacrificed on the altar of imperialism.
A communist revolution would take this industrial might out of the hands of the imperialists. We could use our production to defend the interests of the world's workers.
Whose plant is this anyway? No boss has the right to sell the fruits of our labors. Now, there's a system worth fighting for!
Although there are many interwoven story lines that converge at different points, the essence of "Crash" is the story of a cop so racist and vile that, when we first see him, we find him grinning tauntingly at a husband he's wrongly pulled over. The husband is forced to stand silent (or, it is implied, be beaten up and/or arrested) while the cop sticks his finger inside the husband's wife.
Even the cop's partner is horrified by this. (Later he applies for a transfer, but the author thinks it hilarious that this "good cop" must state openly that he farts in the car and thus wants to be alone. Yes, sort of funny, but what became of his indignation? It got lost in a poor "joke.")
The bad cop, extremely well played by Matt Dillon, is then shown being kind to his aging, ill father. This is the first sign that cops aren't as bad as they appear.
This movie seems to call everyone racist. The people under attack include blacks, Irish, Iranians, Asians, most whites, some cops, nasty hospital administrators and higher-ups among black and white police and politicians. What's missing in this indictment is the fact that it's the rich who promote and most profit from racism. That fact can't be found in almost any Hollywood movie ("Bulworth" is about the only fairly recent exception. It's also the only movie where the word "Socialism!" is yelled out with approval.)
There are contradictions, also, among poor black characters, but most of them are engaged in anti-social acts. So when we finally see the Matt Dillon cop perform a noble and heroic act, we understand he's a "complex character." His complexity makes him noble; the complexity of poor blacks and an Asian family ultimately show them to be pretty rotten people -- especially the Asian woman.
The "gassy" cop "unwittingly" commits a terrible act against a young black
man (afterwards conveniently hiding what he's done). An enraged Iranian goes after the one really admirable black man in the movie, and the scene ends with a miracle so ridiculous that it works better than a finger down the throat.
Two final related points: I think I have a pretty decent grasp of the propaganda value of movies, but when I read the CHALLENGE review of "Hotel Rwanda," I realized that PLP as a collective is much smarter than any one person -- because while I knew something in "Rwanda" bothered me, I couldn't put my finger on it. A collective discussion resulting in a review is better, generally, than that which any single person could write.
Secondly is what I suggested earlier: people should watch cop shows and movies (I feel "Crash" is just a cop show in drag) in order to discuss them with others, to analyze them and enable people to understand the dangers in the propaganda.
Not long ago, when I was putting down "Law and Order" as reactionary, someone commented that the show often spoke up in favor of the Bill of Rights. But throwing "complex, multi-sided issues" into a story is the best way for Hollywood and TV networks to con us into thinking they're on our side. They're not. They want us to think -- as they do with the "good Democrats" vs. the "bad Republicans" -- that they're offering us an "alternative."
However, our alternative is the creation of a working-class culture to counter the crap they constantly throw at us. Though they sugar-coat it, it's still bullshit.u
In a meeting one day, I got a big surprise. The woman who was helping me was sitting next to me and had a PLP May Day sticker on her purse. I had many fears, but then remembered a friend of my 12-year-old daughter had seen one of her teachers with an old May Day sticker. She asked her teacher how she'd gotten it and then offered her the latest sticker. The important lesson for me was to talk more openly with someone with similar beliefs, making it clearer on how to build the Party's work.
We've gone to the School District with more parents, taking our younger children, carrying signs and chanting slogans. Although fearful, I spoke at a School District meeting. I described the need for child care programs for low-income families, for education of our youth, and building a society that's conscious of the need to keep our children off the streets, out of gangs, a society without the social problems we confront today. We don't want our kids' childhoods spent in front of the television, or playing video games glorifying war. That's why we're demanding no to the school cuts, no to the war and no to racism.
Red Worker and mother
We picketed while waiting for the Metro Board of Directors to exit their "big shot" meeting, and they got quite a reception. As they got on their free bus, the young people rushed forward, booing and chanting at these big shots, plastering signs against the bus windows. We put the fear of workers' power into these bosses, whose smiles quickly disappeared. For many of us, this was the highlight of our trip. As one transit worker said later, he was re-energized for the long struggle for workers' power.
My main goal in attending this rally was to spread my knowledge of communism and support the working class. Workers are the cornerstone of society. This was a great day to be a communist! I witnessed hundreds of people, both young and old, supporting these transit workers. It felt great to know that we in PLP are creating an environment for people to stand up against capitalism. More rallies and demonstrations can help change many people's minds. In their day Rosa Parks and Malcolm X took extreme measures to prove a point. Now we need a revolution; we need to introduce more people to our organization. This may take many years, but this experience inspired me to fight back.
When I attended the Metro rally in D. C. with students from my local high school, I was really impressed by the militancy of the drivers. We teachers could learn a big lesson from the Metro workers. Last month our union misleaders (UFT in NYC) organized what seemed to be a big bash at Madison Square Garden with music and politicians. It was a disgrace, given the horrendous conditions we and the students face and the fact that we haven't seen a contract in over two years!
I've been to a few rallies before, but this was the best by far. It showed that if people fight back against injustice, they'll get support. If more people support one another we can get a lot done. I'm really glad I participated and hope we can do more to support others who are being oppressed.
When Fernando Ferrer --a Democratic mayorality candidate -- came on, we booed so loud he decided not to speak and walked off the stage. He returned, but now walking hand-in-hand with Weingarten, who kissed him and handed him the mic, expecting a warm welcome. But teachers and paraprofessionals from my school started shouting, "Racist! Racist! What about Diallo?!" Our loud chanting drowned out his speech. Teachers from schools around us joined in. Ferrer gave us dirty looks.
Only one newspaper, the Spanish-language daily Hoy, reported that "Ferrer was prevented from speaking." They failed to mention why.
Ferrer, as a Latino, secured a majority of the black and Latino vote until publicly saying, "the police were justified in how they handled the Amadou Diallo situation."
Ferrer is just another example of why bosses come in all colors, as do workers. Just because Ferrer is Latino doesn't mean he'll be on the workers' side.
We in and around PLP can do more to sharpen the contradictions with the union leadership and politicians, who did not talk strike at the rally. Any small increase from a starting salary of $39,000/year can't compare to the $1 billion a week spent on the current imperialist adventure in Iraq.
I attended a great May Day with the Colombian comrades. Their courage and the strength of their mobilization were impressive, especially given the level of fascism there. At one gathering a 9-year-old girl read a Desafio article, and then the group discussed it. Very inspiring to say the least! This is how we need to raise our children if we want to truly smash capitalism. I was very moved by the fact that the comrades are able to struggle and do so much with so little.
Many comrades in the U.S. are not suffering economically as hard as workers in countries like Colombia, so we struggle because we can, whereas in Colombia, many of the comrades are unemployed and struggle because they have to. There's no other choice. From this we can learn commitment, resolve and courage in the face of a genocidal and oppressive capitalist system. I met one comrade who, when not having bus fare to make club meetings, walks hours to get there, with only Desafio in his hands.
In Colombia, I learned a great deal about struggle, revolution and the many faces of fascism, which isn't that different from the fascism in the U.S. Colombia is what the U.S. could be like in several years. Instead of DAS (intelligence agency in Colombia), the U.S. has the CIA and FBI; instead of paramilitaries the U.S. has patriot groups and militias. Instead of Uribe, there is Bush. We can learn about security, communist culture as well as how to struggle under a fascist police state.
I thank the comrades for their hospitality, trust, revolutionary love, courage, and inspiration, as well as taking the time to teach a comrade about struggle. It's important to see that our fight is international, that people all over the world believe in and are fighting for the same communist society that we are. This experience has only strengthened me and provided more reason to struggle. All Power to the Workers!
The jails have overflowed with their new "guests." Meanwhile, the level of crime makes the war of the 1980's looks like child's play. And the real criminals, the big bosses, have the run of the land.
"El Salvador is the land of opportunities," shouts Saca again, but for whom? For the Miami-organized mafia that launders millions of dollars or for the big supermarket owners who invent hurricanes to sow terror in the working class so they can sell their expired merchandise?
"We can no longer put up with this system," says a professional worker, "one that sells us illusions of "prosperity" and the opening of mega-plazas of up-scale stores where we can only look, and when we do, the security guards freak out, raising the alarm that we look `suspicious'."
The Salvadoran Association of Manufacturers wails that El Salvador can't keep declining economically at the current rate. The present government is ending its first year of suffocating the working class, and Saca comes out like an electric light, morning, noon and night, breaking ground for public works. He's on TV serving capitalism more than when he was a sports commentator. The capitalist system and its propaganda machine have turned a football announcer into the champion of lies and oppression of workers.
This past June 1, thousands of Salvadoran workers, doctors, farm workers and students marched through the country's main streets, denouncing the bosses' oppressive system. But the working class can't trust the siren song of the FMLN or other electoral parties. The fight to change the system doesn't interest those who sell the sweat, blood and tears of comrades fallen in combat against capitalism.
Bought with a fist-full of dollars, these politicians of the false left fight against our communist ideas. "Why do you go around passing that out?" an FMLN leader complained angrily to a youth on May Day. "Don't you see that you're attacking us?" These formerly poor sellouts now live like the petty-bourgeoisie serving the bosses. When they're no longer useful, they'll be bounced. Until then they'll appear at Saca's side, announcing hurricanes to win the sympathy of the ruling class.
PLP will always be on the side of the working class. CHALLENGE is our ideological arm; the working class must organize, and read and study it, understanding the vision that communism is the only system that meets workers' needs.
A comrade from El Salvador
In Pakistan, the working class faces layoffs, cutbacks, low wages, no medical care, no job security, no pension nor even insurance covering on-the-job injuries. Their so-called union leadership serves the bosses, collecting dues for their own enrichment. Recently the power loam workers in Faisalabad struck against low wages and for job security but will be unable to hold out since the union leaders won't support them. The bosses are privatizing many industries to strengthen their economic control.
[Editor's note: "Homeland Security" Pakistani-style -- As of June 18, over 1,000 telecommunications workers have been arrested for striking against government privatization of the state-owned phone company (PTCL). Bush's "anti-terrorist" buddy Musharraf's Interior Minister says strike leaders could be tried as "terrorists according to the law."]
Women in Pakistan suffer brutal capitalist oppression. Many die due to lack of medicines and maternity care, "honour" killings and commit suicide after being raped. Like Shazia of Faisalabad, Mukhtar Mai, Dr. Shazia Khalid, many more are gang-raped daily, with no protection from the capitalist authorities. Many of these women don't tell others because they fear being exposed as having been raped which could lead to being killed by so-called traditions like "karokari."
Religious parties ruling two provinces do nothing to protect women because they themselves - the "mullahs" or preachers - rape many girls and boys in their sacred "madrassahs." Even the minister for religious affairs and the daily papers report this but it continues because they're backed by the MMA party in Northwest Frontier Province. In the city of Haripure, authorities banned female phone operators for "immorality." Although this is a violation of articles 18 and 34 of the constitution, which states that "every citizen shall have the right to enter upon any lawful profession or occupation," these women are still deprived of their right to a job. The majority of Pakistan's population are women but the bosses use their puppets, the "mullahs" (religious leaders), to keep women illiterate and less able to challenge their exploiters.
We in the Progressive Labor Party here condemn this discrimination. Both men and women have equal rights to live in the society. Only communism can eliminate this discrimination. Everyone, whether female or male, will have a job and produce value for the society as a whole.
The "enlightened" and "moderate" rulers say they're against "fundamentalists" but it's very clear that the CIA, Saudi Arabia and the ISI (Pakistan's powerful military intelligence service) financed Osama bin Laden and the tens of thousands of "jihadists" (holy warriors from the Muslim world) and organized them to to fight the Soviet army and the pro-Moscow Afghan government in the 1980's. Today, they also use "mullahs" as rulers in two provinces to reap profits for themselves and continue exploitation of the working class.
We in PLP believe that without a revolutionary communist struggle we can't eliminate these evils which were planted by capitalism during the Cold War era, so we're trying to organize an internationalist communist party - PLP - in this region. (Next issue: Nationalism and The Role of PLP.)
Comrades in Pakistan
He charged French authorities with refusing to erect a museum on the subject, and referred to an article stating that "after all the French colonial era has been a positive experience." "Positive" means that their marvelous motorway or their giant companies would be smaller without that sucked blood.
At a Congress years ago, some African leaders demanded Britain and France repay money for the damage from slavery. Their answer? "Those things were done by others in the past." But these rulers still eat the fruits of it.
This mock attempt to cover their bloody hand doesn't deceive those who know well these bourgeois faces (similar worldwide). In fact, if we only "count the bodies" the way, for example, BBC's World Service does (Stalin called western radio invading Russia "a sky of lies"), we can charge French imperialists with some 200,000 civilian lives during the 19th century in Haiti. (Le Monde, 2/29 and 3/01/2004) Often the life expectancy for the new slaves was just five years after arrival. There were possibly two million deaths in the colonization of Algeria up to its 1960's war; the list goes on. In that war, after the French attempt to "win people's hearts and minds," torture of civilians to get information on rebels and terrorizing girls and children became the rule, as shown last November by TV France 3.
But in Haiti, Algeria, Vietnam, and last year's uprising in Ivory Coast, French imperialism met bitter, unexpected opposition.
The French government regenerates racism: I've seen the way police "handle" asylum-seekers in the port of Calais, beating them up. Also "positive" is the way army officers among their "cousins" in Belgium treat the black soldiers in Republic of Congo (still really colonized), exploiting the lack of a decent school system to humiliate them at every step, as shown in October on Belgian state TV, shamelessly of course.
The long wave of state racism is easy to see among mounting popular right-wing extremists in Europe: the infamous parties of the NPD in Germany, BNP in England, Vlaams Block in Belgium, Lega Nord (Northern League) in Italy (now ultra anti-Muslim/Chinese), all as bad as last year's deep anti-Arab feelings on the French isle of Corsica, not to mention the neo-Nazis gangs, who seem to be particularly fertile in Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic.
Racism is everywhere. It's one of the major challenges for communists.
Italian red trucker
The article's main point was that, "education under communism will not have to deal with a small class of rich and powerful racist exploiters using students as future sources of profits (which is also the basis for racism). Rather, the purpose will be to enrich the lives of each individual student so that they, in turn, can enrich the lives of everyone around them -- the entire working class."
In my mind, the purpose of education under capitalism is to create workers or managers who will enforce the rules of capitalism, be it at war, on the job, or in the neighborhood -- that is, to indoctrinate the population with a capitalist-oriented, pro-imperialist education.
The article mentions the important idea that communist-oriented education would rethink not just the size of schools and the relationship of teacher to student, but the entire relationship of school to society.
However, far too much emphasis was given to teacher rudeness, which is not universal, nor is it the core problem with capitalism's education system. We must address how specific disciplines -- science, art, physical education, mathematics, health, language, music, dance, etc. -- could be expanded in their focus and orientation under communism.
Aspects we should retain, however, include universal public education, publicly funded. Education should still be mandatory for children under 18 (unless it can be determined that 18 is too old or too young to require compulsion).
Communism should close and expropriate all private schools, religious and non-religious, along with the private university system.
Under communism, true equal access to education will exist for all, from kindergarten through college, and for free. This would be possible because the money currently financing the military, as well as the wealth stolen by the bosses, would be available to the masses through the communist revolution.
...From 1980 to 2002, the latest year of available data, the share of total income earned by the top 0.1 percent of earners more than doubled, while the ... share of the bottom 90 percent declined. (NYT, 6/7)
What started out as local struggle may now shift its focus to the American toy giant, Mattel, which licenses the Barbie label to the plant's owner....
The dispute has followed what has become almost a standard script in maquiladora labor conflicts over the past decade. Workers try to form their own union, only to find that they have been represented -- often without their knowledge -- by a union that is part of the Confederation of Mexican Workers, the old-line federation that was a pillar of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which, ruled Mexico for 71 years....
"It's clear that the old-line labor groupings have worked out a modus vivendi with the Fox government....You can count the number of independent unions in maquiladoras on one hand and still have fingers left over," (NYT, 6/12)
Since the federal pension rules permit all companies to do the same type of calculations United did....many companies had misrepresented the condition of their pension funds, and were contributing inadequate sums of money as a result. The 1,100 pensions in worst shape...were $353.7 billion short of what they need to meet their promises to workers. (NYT, 6/11)
This makes no sense to Ann Wright....
"It came from the minds of some of the senior interrogators who are very well-versed in Arab cultures," Wright told me...
...No young military reservist could possibly have concocted the strategy... (Newsday, 5/25)
But during the last half century -- when, for days or months or many years, U.S. troops and planes assaulted the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq again -- the rationales from the White House were always based on major falsehoods....
PBS -- the "Frontline" show, [was] airing a report about Iran's nuclear program. Every word of the May 24 broadcast may have been true -- yet, due to the show's omissions, the practical effect was to participate in laying media groundwork for a military attack on Iran. (Creator's Syndicate, 5/29)
On average, a woman is raped every two hours in Pakistan, and two women a day die in honor killings....
While Ms. Mukhtaran and Dr. Shazia have attracted international support, most victims in Pakistan are on their own. Earlier this year, for example, police reported that a village council had punished a man for having an affair by ordering his 2-year-old niece to be given in marriage to a 40-year-old man.
In another case this year, an 11-year-girl named Nazan was rescused from her husband's family, which beat her, broke her arm and strung her from the ceiling because she didn't work hard enough.
Then there are Pakistan's hudood laws, which have been used to imprison thousands of women who report rapes. If rape victims cannot provide four male witness to the crime, they risk being whipped for adultery, since they acknowledge illicit sex and cannot prove rape. (NYT, 6/21)