Sept. 21, 2005

    Millions See Racist Killer Nature of Capitalism
  2. Victims of Katrina Treated Like Prisoners
  3. Black Cops and Officials Also Very Racist
  4. Bring Red Politics to Workers
    Strike Hits Warmaker Boeing
    1. It's Not Easy Selling Capitalism to Workers
  5. Boeing and NWA Strikes: Red Politics Needed In Class Struggle
  6. Boeing Strikers Discuss New Orleans
  7. National Service: Volunteer For War Or Police State
  8. Newark: Racism, Elitism Hurt Northwest Strikers
  9. SEIU Janitors Support NWA Strikers in Spite of Hacks
  10. Struggle for Communism Is Long and Hard But Needed
  11. Liberals, Gutter Fascists:
    Two Sides of the Same Coin
  12. Stern's Job: Use Unions to Win Immigrants and All Workers to Fight in Bosses' Wars
  13. `Hustle and Flow' Hails Misogynist Hip Hop Culture
  14. Harry Potter: Nothing Magic About Exploitation and Slavery
    1. How would disasters from hurricanes like Katrina be avoided?
  16. Israeli Rulers Help Protect U.S. Oil Empire
  17. Sexism Benefits Only The Capitalists
    1. Teachers Angry at Racist Neglect of Katrina Victims
    2. Hacks Help Brewery in Colombia Slash Jobs
    3. Our Vision of the Future
    4. TV's Law and Order Helps Build Fascism
    5. No Cops Under Communism
    6. Summer Project Helps Build Worker/Student Alliance
    1. Barbara says, Let them eat cake
    2. Profit system puts safety last
    3. Israel: 8,000 move, 400,000 will stay
    4. Workers' stress kills health, happiness
    5. Why other countries might want nukes
    6. Imperialist US will keep Air Force in Iraq
    7. G.I. Bill pushed black vets into bad jobs
    8. US nuked Japan to threaten USSR

Millions See Racist Killer Nature of Capitalism

Every so often a rare moment occurs that exposes the racist and brutal nature of the profit system. And in that moment, millions can see the nature of the beast and can be won to a more revolutionary communist outlook. This is such a moment. The rulers are losing a war in Iraq, about 20,000 industrial workers are on strike against Boeing and Northwest Airlines, and the ruling class has turned a hurricane into genocide of black and poor workers in New Orleans. Under different objective conditions, and with a mass PLP base among workers, soldiers and youth, such a moment could spark the armed struggle for the seizure of power.

Those objective conditions are not here yet, and we are a long way from having the mass base for PLP we require. Nevertheless, it is our job to seize this moment and advance the forces of revolution.

From Baghdad to New Orleans, capitalism stands exposed as a mass racist murderer for all to see. From Bush, to the head of FEMA, to the Governor of Louisiana, to the black Democratic Mayor of New Orleans, capitalism has failed. The number of dead -- mostly black workers, children and the elderly -- will dwarf the number of GI's killed in Iraq or civilians killed on 9/11.

The racist rulers, especially the liberals like the NY Times, are crying crocodile tears and will try to use this moment to fight for an even bigger army to wage more wars, so the National Guard can be used to protect the rulers' property and impose martial law at home, and for a larger, more efficient police-state Homeland Security Agency. They will use this disaster of their own making to try to put the White House back under the control of the biggest bosses and curb the neo-cons. We must expose their murderous deception and point out that the Democrats supported all the budget cuts and have said little to nothing in this crisis. 

The industrial strikes have a special significance,particularly Boeing. When we say that billions are going to the war in Iraq and Homeland Security, much of it goes to Boeing, a major racist war-maker and strike breaker. The war, the strikes and the mass murder are all intimately tied together. What's more, PLP has built a base among Boeing workers over decades, and we can advance the revolutionary movement and recruit to the PLP out of this strike.

And not just at Boeing, but everywhere we have a base, we must seize the moment. PLP in Texas is actively taking part in the resettlement of victims from New Orleans, struggling with victims and care-givers alike to build a mass PLP. Postal workers in Chicago are holding a fund raiser in their union hall, while struggling to bring more workers into the Party. This moment can be one of increased revolutionary opportunities, but they will not happen spontaneously, we must work hard and seize them.

Every Party member and club should be involved in some kind of relief effort for the victims of New Orleans, while mapping out a plan to more aggressively build the Party. We should be fighting in the unions, on campus and in the communities and barracks, to march on Washington against the war and racist mass murder at home on September 24 in Washington D.C, L.A. and the Bay Area in California, to organize relief efforts for the flood victims, to support the Boeing and Northwest strikers, to sharpen the class struggle where we are and to build a mass international PLP. This moment will not last, but if we seize it, we can be stronger than we were when it arrived.

PL Volunteers Help Victims of Katrina and Racist Negligence by Rulers
Report from Texas

PLP members and friends are working on storm relief in Texas cities. In a major city near Louisiana, PLP has met many people fleeing New Orleans who blame the rich and government officials on all levels for the disaster that has killed their relatives and forced them into refugee camps across Texas. Multi-racial groups and families are fleeing on foot, pulling shopping carts and hitchhiking to get out after all so-called relief efforts failed or never even got started. Even the medical personnel from Louisiana hospitals are now fleeing on foot. People managing to get out on organized bus caravans move from checkpoint to checkpoint at evacuation centers in Texas which are barely operational.

Tens of thousands of working people are volunteering to help the refugees, inundating organizations like Salvation Army and Red Cross, which are barely able to organize anything, yet are doing a hundred times more than the government agencies like FEMA and Homeland Security. Many of the volunteers met by PL members are veterans of the two Iraq wars, often injured and disabled themselves. Most everyone agrees that the oil war in Iraq has sucked up all the funds that should have paid for relief.

The volunteer efforts are a lesson in the possibilities for communist revolution by the working class. Friends of PLP have called across the state to organize help at Red Cross sites and consider whether or not to go to Louisiana. The thousands of people working in food warehouses and shelters are almost entirely self-organized. The working people show up to volunteer and organize themselves, often fighting off the bureaucrats who do nothing but go to press conferences to announce relief efforts which don't even exist. Many volunteers, including PLP members, have taken matters into their own hands, picking up refugees stranded by the freeways, searching for victims whose medications have run out and getting them hospital care, and much more.

PLP school teachers in Texas will have (or will propose to have) refugee children in their classes and are discussing how to work with fellow teachers and PTAs to meet these families and build an understanding of how racism, imperialist war and the capitalist system itself, caused this disaster.

The ongoing Katrina crisis is showing the working class what capitalist "democracy" is worth. People are relying on themselves and the goodness of their class brothers and sisters for anything that is positive. A terrible problem is that PLP is so small. It is difficult to reach thousands with our message that communist revolution is the only long-run solution. People fleeing Louisiana and Mississippi, and the volunteers helping them, all can see the problems. They also sense that the only real help is to organize from below, for working people to help working people. But only a rapidly growing PLP can show people that the way to prevent U.S. rulers from continuing their system and its attacks on working people is to get rid of the rich altogether. Only PLP can explain the need to destroy the capitalists who try to stay on top of their European and Asian competitors by endless wars, financed by racist attacks against poor people at home.

Victims of Katrina Treated Like Prisoners

Hundreds of cots not even inches from each other are the living arrangements for New Orleans evacuees in this large Texas city. Although hurricane victims are now getting shelter, food and health care from thousands of volunteers in a show of mass multi-racial and class solidarity, many explain that the events in New Orleans were caused by the government officials who quit offering public services of any kind long ago.  (PLP members doing volunteer work are carrying pencils and notebooks to exchange contact information with other volunteers and flood victims.  This often requires asking for relatives' phone numbers from flood victims who have no phone and no homes left in Louisiana and Mississippi.)

Many of the people that fled New Orleans have told PL volunteers helping at evacuation centers that they are being treated like prisoners, endlessly passed from one police checkpoint to another.  At a San Antonio relief center people had to get on and off buses several different times before reaching the main registration. In another city, lawyers reported that hundreds of police were awaiting the evacuees, planning to interrogate and search them in a facility without any outside observers.

It is starting to look like there will be up to 500,000 people sent to different closed military bases and other sites around the U.S. and will live in what will become refugee camps under martial law.

While the rulers' economic analysts focused first on the disruptions to the U.S. oil supply and its effect on U.S. competitiveness, these geniuses have now realized that the workers who ship, load and unload most of the U.S. agricultural crop that comes down the Mississippi to the Port of New Orleans, are gone. There are no houses, no transportation, no facilities at all left to support the workers that keep U.S. produce moving to make profits for giant corporate agriculture. The bosses are worried that this will cause a crisis as the harvest advances over the next several weeks.

Although this is not spontaneously producing conscious revolutionary communists, it is becoming easier to talk to people about the need for PL's politics and organization. The breakdown in federal and local government services, as money is siphoned off to imperialist war, shows that increasingly, only the police (who are deserting and committing suicide in New Orleans) and the military physically keep the bosses in power. If PLP can win workers to revolutionary ideology and commitment, the bosses' ideological hold on the workers will be in jeopardy. PLP-led volunteers can win our brother and sister storm victims to take matters into our own hands for the long run, while helping to provide immediate relief efforts. When workers see that the same enemy that invaded and occupies Iraqi has attacked the New Orleans black working class flood victims, great advances will become possible.

Black Cops and Officials Also Very Racist

One port/railroad worker, whose job ended when his tractor cab got stuck on a median he couldn't see in two feet of water, explained that the cops and jails in New Orleans are the most racist in the nation.  This black worker explained that the black officials and cops treat black working people as bad, or worse, than the racist bosses who run New Orleans.  To this worker, the rotten treatment of the working people in New Orleans, which led to their complete abandonment to the hurricane and flood, was completely based on the profit system and its need to suck profits from workers of all races.  He explained that if you were a black worker in New Orleans who sounded like you knew what was going on, you were surely going to jail whether you were accosted by a black or white cop. 

Several disabled vets from New Orleans explained to PLP that the government has "subcontracted" away government services for everything the past several years, that new pumps to drain the water had never been made operational, that the explanation on TV that water made the pumps quit was a lie, and that one levee might have been broken on purpose so that higher income neighborhoods would be spared.

The "subcontracting," which is a way government officials get out of their responsibilities, such as opening private jails, make the subcontractors rich.  Meanwhile the services supposedly to be provided are not really given.  This is happening in a big way today -- a city official in Texas announced that FEMA (part of Homeland Security) was "subcontracting" the management of the disaster relief effort for the entire city to private companies like Halliburton.  This means that in this city people who don't know anything about disaster management and who haven't even worked on it for the past week will now be in charge.

Texas Comrade

Bring Red Politics to Workers
Strike Hits Warmaker Boeing

September 2 -- The strike is on. About 18,300 workers struck Boeing, the war-making, strike-breaking aerospace giant today, about 16,000 here in the Seattle area. Marches of hundreds through the plants followed weeks of rolling thunder -- banging metal on metal, amplified by machinist-made whistles and bull horns that reached decibels forcing all but the most protected, to flee the factories. Boeing workers were left in no mood to accept a contract that split young from old, plant from plant, and worker from worker. Faced with this anger and a ruling class determined to reorganize aerospace into a vast network of low-cost industrial "sweatshops," the union mis-leadership had no choice but to recommend a strike or lose the workers completely. Eighty-seven percent voted to hit the bricks!

"Why can't we stage a slow-down, instead of striking?" asked one machine operator. "What do you think we've been doing for the last week?" responded another.

It's Not Easy Selling Capitalism to Workers

The union hacks have been in a bind throughout these negotiations. They would love to maintain "labor peace," but the bosses' need to grind down the industrial working class to pay for "stunningly expensive" oil wars makes this problematic.

As with the Northwest Airlines mechanics, the hacks have been forced to strike, even as they promote capitalism's dog-eat-dog ideology that undermines that fightback. "Don't let them split us apart," they warn. "...withholding our labor is the only way to stop this attack on American workers. " Well, that leaves out most of the working class and builds nationalism -- a key tool the ruling class uses to promote their imperialist wars. And as for all "American" workers, the IAM leadership literally turned their backs on NWA strikers the week before [See Box page 3].

Union leaflets fault Boeing for not "partnering" with the union, for cutting off groups of workers at former Boeing factories in Wichita, KA, Spokane, WA, and Arnprior, Canada. The IAM leadership made these very same workers vote and vote again until they finally accepted contracts that cut wages, benefits and jobs. Boeing wants to end retiree medical benefits for future hires, and the union vowed, "not to forget them. " Meanwhile, the International sabotaged a Lockheed strike over this very issue, while the local leadership tried to shut down a union meeting rather than pass a resolution in support of the Lockheed strikers. As Challenge reported, the workers passed it anyway.

Red Politics Is What Angry Workers Need

The union hacks can't be too happy that our Party has exposed them to thousands of Boeing workers. Nearly 2,500 workers bought Challenges during these negotiations, 1,200 during our July summer project alone. Over 4,000 communist flyers answered the capitalist ideology pushed by the hacks. Hundreds have acted, in one small way or another, under our leadership--from signing petitions and union resolutions, to circulating our literature, to voting for real class unity at union meetings over the objections of the leadership.

Despite their blatant hypocrisy, nobody should have any illusions that these pro-capitalist hacks can easily be removed from power. In fact, on one level this strike is about shoring up their shaky position. But they have to be careful. Sometimes, for the bosses and their labor lieutenants, it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.

During the summer project, our Party challenged Boeing workers to step up to bat -- to swing away and start a rally. "A rally that starts with rolling thunder and points to industry-wide demonstrations and strikes at a bare minimum. ...A rally that rejects the pro-capitalist ideology of the union mis-leadership and guides our fight with class-consciousness and anti-racist, internationalist solidarity. ...A rally that can teach us about the strength of the working class, so we can develop the wherewithal to end the bosses' profit-driven system." At least we're on base now.

Boeing and NWA Strikes: Red Politics Needed In Class Struggle

August 21 -- "If you can't give them bread, then give them circuses," would be a good description of this year's contract negotiations. The rallies, leaflets and even more information about the proposed contract early on--tactics that our Party and base have fought for, over 30 years--were all there. Unfortunately, none of this was aimed at building working-class solidarity and militancy.

The old social contract, where the bosses gave "the bread [crumbs]" as long as the union movement supported imperialism, has been thrown out the window. The union hacks are caught between Iraq and a hard place. They have to maintain our allegiance to be worth anything to the bosses, while US imperialism needs to attack us on all fronts to maintain its shaky empire. Revolutionary, working-class consciousness must replace trade union reformism or our class will be trapped as well.

The Truth Revealed

This became crystal clear during the August 21 "truth rally." Some 3,000 Boeing workers and their families rallied and marched outside the airport hotel where the negotiations took place. One block away, the main group of Northwest Airline strikers was picketing. One picketer visited our rally. Many in the crowd stopped to shake his hand and wish him well, but the leadership told him to "get lost." The hacks proceeded to march us away from the strikers, so we ended up literally turning our backs on the picketers. To add insult to injury, they sang "Solidarity Forever" at the final rally.

Furious workers circulated a resolution against crossing NWA picket lines. The IAM leadership directed members at Northwest to cross the mechanics picket lines and do some of their work. Dozens signed and a few went to visit the picket lines afterward. Since then, Teamsters, Teachers, Flight Attendants, Longshoreman, members of the IAM retirement club--defying their leadership--have all come to show support. At a BBQ hosted by a Boeing worker, strikers, their families and Boeing workers met to plan how to build solidarity.

"It's time to forget [union] politics and for workers to support each other," said one striker. To tell the truth, it's the capitalist politics of the union misleaders that gets in the way. PLP's revolutionary communist politics, which put the interests of the working class first and foremost, is the answer. The lengthy discussions on everything from the need for working-class consciousness, to fighting against racism and the Iraq oil war point to the desire workers, engaged in class struggle, have for political understanding. Nobody thought any of these topics were "outside" issues.

A Credibility Crisis

When we returned to the shop, we were flooded with one or two union leaflets a day. The most political was, "Divide and Conquer? You Might Be Next!" It referred to the company's attempt to pay the 800 Wichita military workers left under our corporate agreement lower wages than the rest of us. It blames the company for "cut[ting] out a group at every turn." It calls for unity.

"...And they wonder why people don't believe them anymore," commented an irate member. "The union leaders just cut out the NWA strikers themselves!" "That's why unions are losing," added another "In a time of crisis, you can't be neat and clean about everything. You just got to back workers."

Finally, one woman criticized a comrade for not seizing the microphone and leading the rally back to the picket line. It's good to hear that our fellow workers have faith in our communist ideas, but seizing the microphone was tactically impossible. We need a bigger organization to make that happen. She and others like her on the shop floor and at the BBQ can form the nucleus to make that happen. Combined with mass sales of Challenge, these workers can lead our class to seize more than just a microphone. As one retired Boeing worker we've known for 30 years said, "Don't ever forget about the government!"

Boeing Strikers Discuss New Orleans

Two of us started this strike with breakfast at a local diner. Naturally, we discussed strike issues and plans to build other big breakfast and lunch meetings throughout the duration. Then the discussion turned to New Orleans.

"There's something that really bothers me about New Orleans," my friend started. I was worried because of the racist, anti-working class attack in the press about "looting and mayhem" among the black survivors.

"Here they have all these poor people literally fighting for their lives, and all they can talk about is the looting. Let them have the damn stuff. Most of it is probably not any good anymore, anyway. Just help them!" He surprised me.

We could see a Safeway Supermarket out the window. It reminded me of a story by a teamster milk driver I know. The Safeway management pours chlorine on perfectly good leftovers so that no homeless could eat what the bosses can't sell. By now my friend was really pissed. "They can pour billion into two wars and they can't help these people!"

It's clear the main thing these bosses want to protect is their profits and their system. The attacks on the black workers in New Orleans and the Boeing workers comes from the same source, billions for imperialist war being paid for by the working class. And many of those billions go to Boeing in Pentagon contracts. If the ruling class is willing to shoot a poor, black worker for stealing a loaf of bread, imagine their reaction if they think they could lose their war production to an angry, communist-led working class. My friend has the right idea. Racism is paving the way for attacks on us all. This system has to go!

National Service: Volunteer For War Or Police State

The U.S. military is facing troop shortages in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. While the brass currently measures the shortfall in the hundreds of thousands, U.S. rulers must prepare for an eventual clash with a rising rival superpower requiring millions of willing soldiers. Defeating a military alliance of China and Europe or Europe and Russia (the Pentagon is studying both scenarios) would necessitate a greater mobilization than during World War II. Then, the Soviet Union bore most of the allies' burden. This time, the bulk of the fighting would fall to the U.S.

But U.S. rulers have a serious problem. Memories of rebellions against their murderous Vietnam debacle make restoring the draft a last resort. So the rulers' liberal agents are casting about for a "national service" scheme to begin the massive task of filling the ranks. The liberals are trying to take advantage of the many good people offering help to the victims of Katrina. The New York Times Labor Day editorial (9/5) said: "It may be time to recycle the idea of Labor Day. Instead of a day off, perhaps it should become a day on, a day devoted, across the nation, to helping out -- a day, in fact, of national service...what was lost with the sacrifice we were never asked to make after 9/11 was a sense of collective effort, the awareness that this was something we were all in together."

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI)-- the Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC) think-tank -- just published "The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service." The DLC, led by Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton, marches in lockstep with the rulers' police state-and-war agenda. It embraced the Hart-Rudman reports and made regime change in Iraq a central plank of Gore's campaign in 2000.

After outlining proposals for promoting church and community-based service programs -- with a military option -- the PPI book concludes with the rulers' key debate: compulsory vs. volunteer service. William Galston, a domestic policy advisor in the Clinton White House, calls for "full-time 18-month service for all 18-year-olds," with a military/civilian choice. PPI head Will Marshall, noting that, "America may need to mobilize one day for full-scale war," proposes transforming Selective Service into a "recruiting device for voluntary national service, as well as a register of the nation's available manpower." Young men and women could choose the CIA-front Peace Corps, its domestic version AmeriCorps, or the military. Volunteers would then receive preference in college admission.

The volunteer service favored by the liberals cuts two ways. It reveals the weakness of U.S. rulers, afraid, in Marshall's words, to raise the "specter of conscription;" but it also has the dangerous potential to win large numbers of well-intentioned people to the rulers' imperialist agenda.

In a follow-up article in the DLC's "Blueprint" (7/23), Marshall invoked the supposed "selfless and patriotic ethos of the New Deal and the New Frontier, which linked our nation's security explicitly to economic and social reforms -- social insurance, civil rights, high-quality schools, help for the poor and vulnerable." He explicitly equates liberal calls to service with the rulers' genocidal wars: "Democrats...need to show the country a party unified behind a new patriotism -- a progressive patriotism determined to succeed in Iraq and win the war on terror, to close a yawning cultural gap between Democrats and the military, and to summon a new spirit of national service and shared sacrifice...."

Sacrifice is the liberals' latest watchword. They understand that material incentives alone cannot motivate the military or the masses. Marshall says, "Democrats sometimes make the mistake of believing they can spend their way back into the military's affections. So they call for big increases in veterans' benefits, health care, housing...What matters most are intangibles -- being recognized and honored for the sacrifices they make to preserve our way of life."

Marshall says working-class families should take star-spangled pride in sacrificing their tax dollars and their children. "Democrats ought to insist on a major expansion of the military, by as many as 100,000 troops...and insist on paying for a larger force by rolling back the administration's unconscionable wartime tax cuts. This would neatly frame the real choice facing patriotic Americans: a stronger military versus tax cuts for the privileged."

What the rulers lack, however, is an effective ideology. Winning millions of workers to act against their class interest is a tall order. The Nazis used anti-Semitism. U.S. rulers employ anti-Arab, anti-Islamic racism to motivate troops to kill in the field. But their dependence on Saudi, Kuwaiti and other regimes prevents them from making "Kill the Arabs" a big media message. The liberals complain that Bush squandered the patriotic opportunity furnished by 9/11. They may be awaiting more such attacks. Whatever happens, our job is to mobilize workers in their class interest to destroy the profit system that thrives on workers' blood.

Newark: Racism, Elitism Hurt Northwest Strikers

Newark, NJ Sept. 1-- For the past two weeks, PLP has joined the Northwest Airlines mechanics on the picket line at Newark Airport. This strike is as significant as the PATCO (Air Traffic Controllers) strike that was busted by the Reagan-Papa Bush govt. in 1981. The mechanics' union, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), was forced into the strike due to the airlines' demand to fire half the union mechanics, cleaners, and custodians and slash wages by 25%. NWA's "new business model" is a plan to outsource heavy maintenance and use thousands of scabs to do union work, and was hatched a year and a half ago. They have been aided by the 130,000 layoffs of airline workers since 9/11, leaving a big pool of skilled unemployed workers.

Meanwhile, the mechanics have made it easier for the bosses to break their strike. About seven years ago they broke off from the much larger International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and formed a chapter of the AMFA. The reason for this, according to the workers we spoke to, was that they are "skilled" workers, compared to the "unskilled" baggage handlers in the IAM. Since they felt that they had more responsibilities than other workers, they should be paid more and represented better. Their union leaders had convinced them that their strength is in skill, not numbers and solidarity.

While PLP organized students and other workers to support the strikers, we also struggled with the mechanics to see the error of believing that "skilled" workers are more important than "unskilled" workers. We discussed the importance of class-consciousness and how crucial it is for workers to see that their common interests lie with their class, whether they are baggage handlers, mechanics, or pilots. As with PATCO, which was the first blow of 25 years of union-busting, mass wage and job cuts, etc., the vicious attacks on our brothers and sisters at NWA will affect all of us.

We distributed PLP leaflets and Challenge to the strikers, which showed how British Airways workers wildcatted in sympathy with fired food service workers, using class solidarity to shut down London's Heathrow Airport. Many striking mechanics began criticizing the way their union leadership had sold them out in the past. Another worker spoke about his father and grandfather who had been in the Longshoremen's Union and the battles that those workers fought against the bosses. By the end of the conversation, some of the workers began to question the union bosses' idea of "skilled" and "unskilled" workers.

It is important to point out that workers' unity is necessary to fight the bosses, but we must also point out that trade unionism will not stop these attacks. Even if the IAM or AMFA leaders were more militant, they would still have their hands tied because of patriotism and reformism. Workers need a leadership that connects the attacks suffered by mechanics to the the oil wars in Iraq-Afghanistan, that fights racism be it against baggage handlers (many baggage handlers are blacks and immigrants) or against the victims of racist neglect after Katrina swallowed New Orleans. We need a leadership that fights for international unity with the workers in London's Heathrow. This is the politics of PLP, which is based on the belief that workers are one class worldwide against an international system of exploitation and that every battle in the class war that is raging must be turned into a school for a society where workers rule and without bosses: communism.

SEIU Janitors Support NWA Strikers in Spite of Hacks

AIRPORT IN THE MIDWEST, August 20 -- Black, Latin, Asian, African and white airport janitors, citizens and immigrants, women and men, fought back against Northwest Airlines and their own union bosses with the onset of the NWA mechanics' strike. Northwest and its major subcontractors tried to force mostly immigrant workers to scab during the strike, cleaning NWA's major operations facilities and offices, replacing 800 janitors who are part of the striking AMFA mechanics' union. The racist union leadership has played into the bosses' hands by attacking immigrant workers in their strike literature rather than uniting with them.

At first the bosses concocted the racist lie that immigrant workers who have lived in the U.S. less than five years must work as scabs or jeopardize their immigration status. A small group of workers exposed this lie and struggled with their own sellout union leaders in SEIU. At a shop stewards' meeting the Saturday before the strike, the local SEIU leader and the head of the AMFA local made it clear they would not help.

On Monday, regular CHALLENGE readers who had formed a strike support committee distributed a PLP leaflet in Spanish and English throughout the airport. It was well received and caused a lot of intense political struggle over not scabbing and the need for international solidarity. The racist bosses tried to find out where this leadership was coming from, but failed.

That night the local president called an emergency meeting at the airport. He had no plan to stop the racist bosses from using us as scabs. One steward gave an anti-racist talk, supporting the striking mechanics and others were very vocal in supporting her. By Wednesday, a small but significant number of airport workers were refusing to scab for NWA. The bosses had not expected any resistance to their fascist plans and called an emergency meeting to try a new tactic. Exposed, they backed off trying to use low-seniority immigrant workers and switched, trying to use workers with high seniority as scabs. The bosses are having some success at this, but our struggle is continuing.

This struggle shows that even small resistance can disrupt the bosses' fascist plans, and the importance of the Party having an integrated and international base among the workers. We are learning how to organize under increasing surveillance and under the nose of the Department of Homeland Security. We are also learning the importance of building a mass base for PLP in the airline industry.

We cannot delay or hesitate in fighting fascism. If the strike support committee had delayed even one day, the small but significant number of airport workers would not have had the courage to defy our racist oppressors. We cannot delay in winning these workers to join, build and lead a mass revolutionary communist PLP.

Struggle for Communism Is Long and Hard But Needed

El Salvador,--"It's taken me a long time to realize that elections are good for nothing," said a former FMLN militant. "We've been telling you for years; PLP is not wrong in its analysis because it has an objective communist basis," answered a PLP comrade. "Since 1979, PLP predicted that the FMLN would never lead a revolution due to the bourgeois ideas on which it was founded. Now it has joined Christian-democratic groups and pseudo-revolutionaries who call themselves Trotskyist socialists."

Such discussions have been taking place in coffeehouses, universities, homes and workplaces here due to the FMLN's internal elections to choose candidates for deputy and mayoral elections all over the country. FMLN's Political Commission thinks that everything is under control. The uncertainty of their base does not reach the offices of the now corporate FMLN elite.

Throughout the internal elections, there have been rumors of fraud and coercion coming from the leadership. The goal of the misleaders is to run candidates who are loyal to capitalism. FMLN's leadership does not intend to shift its politics and ideology to the left. FMLN top hack Aquiles Montoya, declares, "FMLN's thesis rests on leading a bourgeois democratic `revolution' leading to socialism. Its position does not have any historical support and is very convenient for electoral political struggle. " The words of Shafick Handal, head of the FMLN, before the National Association of Private Enterprises stood out, "In reality our supposed socialism cannot be defined as being completely against capitalism. The program that we have developed does not, at its core, call for an immediate abolishment of capitalism in general or in the existence of capitalist relations of production, distribution, and exchange."

"Tit for tat" illustrates how factions of the Popular Liberation Forces (FPL), and the Salvadoran Communist Party (PCS) have hogged political offices. "Sectarianism no longer exists in the front. Now we are one. No one ever speaks about the FPL or PCS," declared an angry young member of the electoral front. He also admitted, "it's true, in some municipalities the ballot boxes were stuffed; where there were 800 members, there would appear 1,200 voters." Facts are stubborn things. The new and old FMLN militants are only perpetuating the capitalist system. They mimic the strategy of the bosses' parties, which deceived and slaughtered tens of thousands of workers in the '70s and the '80s. "I saw an FMLN mayor with boxes stuffed with ballots in his own home. Is this the kind of representatives that the FMLN is offering us?" asked a worker. "We are right where the bosses want us, and more than 100,000 people had to die for this!" said a furious PLP comrade.

These discussions reflect the sharpening contradictions between bourgeois democracy and the need for the working class to take control through communist revolution. Communism will tear down flags and borders that enslave the international working class.

PLP in El Salvador will never drop our red international communist flag. In every issue of CHALLENGE/DESAFIO we distribute, we spread working-class ideas. They send out positive messages about international communist struggles. They are proof that workers can grasp communism all over the world.

The most glorious moments of communism have been written in blood, sweat and tears, in trenches and in workplaces. At this moment, the PLP in El Salvador is struggling to understand that there is no easy way to fight for communism. The electoral system is only an illusion. Communist revolution depends on consistency and discipline. Every letter, every Challenge article, every friend that we win, every reader and member of a club strengthens our struggle for international communist revolution led by PLP.

Liberals, Gutter Fascists:
Two Sides of the Same Coin

LOS ANGELES, August 20 -- Today PLP exposed a black liberal "community leader's" support of racism. Several weeks ago, the liberal Earl Ofari Hutchinson invited Joe Turner, the racist leader of Save Our State (SOS), an affiliate of the anti-immigrant Minutemen, to speak at his L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable. When Hutchinson was deluged by emails and calls condemning this racist and showing that anti-immigrant racism is an attack meant to divide workers, he changed the topic of the Roundtable to talk about how to stop gang violence, and uninvited the racist. But that did not stop racist Turner from coming, or Hutchinson from defending him.

We made sure to be at the Roundtable to oppose SOS, racism and the system that spawns them. Racist Turner came in before the discussion began and told someone he was "proud to be a racist." Some of us exposed him and chased him out of the room yelling that racists had no place in L.A. or anywhere. The leaders of this action were told not to come back into the building while liberal Hutchinson provided a bodyguard for the racist. Almost everyone who came in got a copy of our leaflet blaming capitalism, not immigrants, for low wages and unemployment.

Some of us saw Turner outside and chased him and his bodyguard, who ran into the parking lot and called the cops, who temporarily detained us.

Some of our friends who stayed inside denounced anti-immigrant racism. One teacher, who had been praised by a former student earlier in the meeting, pointed out that racist Turner was trying to create racism and hatred between black and Latin youth and workers. The audience applauded, as they had earlier when he explained that capitalism is to blame for gangs and sending youth to Iraq to kill and die for US imperialism. Earl Ofari Hutchinson interrupted him, saying the meeting was not a barnyard. Then how come this racist pig was allowed in?

As people left the meeting, they wanted to know about Turner and SOS. Some agreed with our condemnation of anti-immigrant racism saying, "The last thing we need is a race war between blacks and Latinos." We discussed with many people how allowing SOS to enter the meeting was like allowing the KKK to come. The liberal Hutchinson tried to legitimize the racist, and a few days later he sponsored another Rroundtable discussion featuring Police Chief Bratton to talk about community policing!

Our job is to strengthen our revolutionary communist movement to fight all forms of racism--whether the gutter type coming from Turner or more dangerous sugar-coated of liberals like Hutchinson and Bratton. Then, as our movement grows we can give all these racists their just desserts.

Stern's Job: Use Unions to Win Immigrants and All Workers to Fight in Bosses' Wars

Last month six big unions broke away from the corrupt AFL-CIO. SEIU chief Andrew Stern led the break-up, promising to reinvigorate the labor movement by signing up millions of new members. Unions, vowed Stern, would again battle greedy corporations and no longer act as mere fund-raisers for Democratic politicians.

Despite the militant-sounding rhetoric, the split is a deadly development for the working class, marking a significant step in U.S. rulers' efforts to organize society for a period of ever-expanding wars. Like the Sweeney crew he wants to replace, Stern serves the dominant, imperialist wing of U.S. capitalism. Of course, Sweeney & Co. are fully committed to the same vile mission, but currently the bosses need something more than the labor peace Sweeneyites have provided. Merely preventing workers from launching strikes or other militant struggles, while still necessary, is no longer sufficient to meet the imperialists' needs. They now require a union leadership capable of mobilizing workers to march enthusiastically and in large numbers to carry out imperialism's bloody agenda.

Stern hardly represents a "lesser" evil. His push to organize new union members aims at winning millions of workers, heavily black, Latin and immigrant, to patriotism and support for the rulers' military adventures.


Stern has sold himself completely to the imperialist camp. He sits as a trustee of the Aspen Institute think-tank, among planners and beneficiaries of every U.S. aggression during the past five decades. Aspen trustees include Henry Kissinger and Robert McNamara, who have the blood of 3 million Vietnamese workers and 58,000 GI's on their hands; Madeleine Albright, who advised Clinton to bomb Serbia back to the Stone Age in 1999; Warren Rudman, whose Hart-Rudman reports foresaw and welcomed the Sept. 11th attacks and provided a blueprint for transforming the U.S. into a militarized police state; and Saudi Prince Bandar, heir to the vast oil treasure that forms the economic cornerstone of the U.S. empire.

Stern doesn't just rub elbows with the warmakers; he helps shape and carry out their policies. Stern belongs to Aspen's Domestic Strategy Group (DSG), funded by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations, which focuses on winning workers to fight for U.S. world dominance in the 21st Century. The DSG's 2002 report stated that future competiveness requires a larger workforce. Because of the declining U.S. birth rate, however, "any growth will simply have to come from older workers and immigrants." Social Security cuts and disappearing pensions are already forcing many workers to toil well beyond their rightful retirement dates. But the DSG worries that an influx of "unassimilated" immigrants will make a large sector of the population politically uncontrollable and thereby undermine military recruitment. "We will end up with folks who aren't quite as connected to this society and don't have as much incentive to invest in a nation as earlier immigrants did," warned DSG director David Ellwood of Harvard's Kennedy School. The DSG urged "dramatic hasten assimilation."


Stern thinks his "Change to Win" breakaway coalition can assist the rulers here by boosting immigrant enrollment. Writing for another ruling-class think tank, the Brookings Institution, he noted, "Unions are often immigrants' entry point into civic life." Stern wants unions to become gateways to the barracks, as well. He proposed drafting undocumented workers, with unions functioning as draft boards. "Why not make a two-year commitment to national service one pathway to legalization? Union leaders and employers together could identify eligible current and future workers," said Stern in "United We Serve," a 2003 Brookings survey of ways to enlist the manpower the rulers will need in coming conflicts.

"United We Serve" is an important document. It provided much of the ideological basis for the national service plank in the Kerry campaign, which Stern eventually endorsed. Clinton and former Reagan defense secretary Weinberger contributed essays to "United We Serve." Throughout the book's various viewpoints runs a common theme: perverting people's desires to do good and belong to something larger than themselves. One contributor, Harvard professor Robert Putnam espoused the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing approach: "Wartime mobilization could also spark progress toward social justice and racial integration." Kerry lost, but the rulers' need for loyal soldiers and civilians has only intensified. The general in charge of Army recruitment just got the boot for his poor results.

Liberals like Stern wave the patriotic battle flag that others have dropped. In addition to offering unions as press gangs, Stern has jumped on board the rulers' domestic police-state agenda. One year after 9/11, Stern took part in yet another capitalist confab, the National Symposium on Competitiveness and Security, sponsored by Mellon Bank, Lockheed and the U.S. nuclear weapons labs, among others. Stern's panel concluded that workers "on the factory floor and in the office lobby" should serve as stool pigeons for the police and feds. In 2004, with Stern's blessing, a 60,000-member SEIU local in New York began a program in which the NYPD trains janitors and doormen to spot and report "suspicious activity."

(Next: How Stern would help the U.S. ruling class mobilize for world war)

`Hustle and Flow' Hails Misogynist Hip Hop Culture

An earnest speech where a pimp schools his "ho" on "the game" -- another capitalist way, comparing how men and dogs are different because men think about their futures whereas dogs, and implicitly women, don't -- opens this hateful neo-blaxploitation throwback. Hollywood is revamping this genre of celebrating the criminal life of "hustlers" (drug dealers and pimps) to manipulate mostly working-class youth into thinking "hustling" is the way to triumph within the capitalist system.

It's produced by John Singleton whose "Boys in the 'Hood" at least portrayed black working-class anger towards police and poverty, while pushing black nationalism and the black criminal. The film portrays Terrence Howard (DJay), as a pimp in the midst of a mid-life crisis, who rekindles his love of southern "Crunk" music and attempts to make it as a successful rapper. The movie is a sickening journey into sexism, racism and a glorification of the "hustler" lifestyle, the essence of modern hip-hop "culture." Howard was obviously picked for his resemblance to Ice-T, the real life "Hustler" who made his "dream" of a being a rapper come alive.

The vile songs, like "Whoop That Trick" and "It's Hard For A Pimp...," as well as their catchy hooks and bass beats, propel the message of "By any means necessary." Malcolm X's anti-passive statement is interpreted to mean that if you do whatever it takes to make money -- dealing drugs and abusing and exploiting women -- then you'll triumph over the odds, rise up and eventually "make it." What's not told is that under capitalism the odds are entirely against the working class as a whole. With this movie, the ruling class is trying to galvanize working-class youth into sexist and exploitative behavior by using the appearance of hip-hop culture and the rap game to glorify their selfish system.

Repeatedly the pimp's group of women try to rebel but he intimidates them into submitting to his control with threats of violence and abandonment from the house they live in. When one of them stands up for herself (a brash black "loudmouth" stripper), she's kicked out, along with her infant son, since she dared "disrespect her man." In these scenes, this repellant sexist is reinforcing his power and domination by putting his "bitches" in line.

This pimp doesn't care one bit about these women except for the money they give him. He's constantly pushing his individual needs above everyone else's, particularly in one degrading scene where the young girl has to fellate an old storeowner in order to acquire an expensive microphone. Outside he yells at her about how much he hates forcing her to do those things and he doesn't really want to live like this, but who is really being exploited? In several scenes she challenges the notion of selling herself and is reassured it's "all necessary" for them to get by. She's told she must trust her boss who knows what's best for her since "she doesn't have a plan." He at one point dubs her his primary investor, duping her into believing that he actual looks out for her.

The pimp is portrayed as a good man underneath, who had found his love of music in order to survive the streets of Memphis (coincidentally picked because it's the birthplace of Elvis and thus great music). The pimp, and hip-hop as a whole, is later musically validated by his white producer -- of whom he was initially suspicious due to his "race" -- who says that there's a tradition of rap coming from the South with blues music as the original "black music."

This movie is just a glamorization of a criminal who, through his individualistic, sexist, journey for fame, rises outside of the system to get his songs heard through his white prostitute after she's left "in charge" when a fellow southern rapper drops the pimp's demo in a urine-filled john. Meanwhile, in jail he meets two black cops who say they're also aspiring rappers, insinuating that we're all together as a people in the struggle to rise up and get heard.

The working class doesn't need to play into the bosses' hands through pimping, drug dealing and celebrating it through music, as this movie tries to demonstrate. Rather than accept this message of exploiting each other to get ahead "by any means necessary," we need to revolt against the capitalist system that uses these tools to advance the bosses' agenda. "Hustle and Flow" is not a revolutionary movie, regardless of how it's being lauded. The pimp may be using everyone around him to get money and riches, but really it's the ruling class who's using this movie and its contemptible theme to manipulate the working class. Our class needs to destroy the capitalist system and its ideals of fame and money, because in reality this was just a sick, hip-hop fairy tale.

Harry Potter: Nothing Magic About Exploitation and Slavery

Science fiction and fantasy writers nowadays don't use their imaginations very much. They use their talent inventing plots, gadgets and magic. But when it comes to imagining better human relationships, forget it. Most writers simply project capitalist social and class relationships into their imaginary worlds.

J.K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series is a good example. Every time the hero, Harry Potter, leaves home for boarding school, he enters a parallel, magical world. But the realm of magic is just a souped-up version of Tony Blair's Britain. This would be great if Rowling used her books to criticize capitalism. Instead she does the exact opposite.

Rowling's strength is her anti-racism. Harry Potter and his friends are continually confronting evil wizards who believe in nazi theories about "racial purity." These evil magicians despise Harry's "mud-blood" and half-giant friends.

But this anti-racism has to be set against the social and class relationships that Rowling portrays. The latest volume, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, praises rags-to-riches entrepreneurship. The twin elder brothers of Harry Potter's best friend, Ron, go into business manufacturing and selling magical jokes and novelties.

Rowling describes in glowing terms the advantages of being a successful capitalist: power (they make their workers wear uniforms), respect (employees address them by their last name, whereas they call employees by their first names), and the ability to give their mother expensive Christmas gifts. Rowling even has a scene where the twins make Ron pay for things in their shop. Profits are thicker than blood -- and Rowling approves of this!

While praising capitalism, Rowling criticizes government bureaucracy from the right -- an echo of neo-con attacks on the laws that limit the exploitation of labor. In a word, Rowling loves Thatcherism, which Tony Blair and "New Labour" continue to apply in the U.K. today.

Rowling develops capitalist fantasies. She imagines house elves, a race of slave laborers whose only joy in life is working for their masters.

In the fourth book, Harry's friend Hermione set up a liberal do-good Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (S.P.E.W.) because "we are all colluding in the oppression of a hundred slaves!" Critics immediately praised Rowling for putting ideas of class struggle in a children's book, and wondered: "where will she go from here?" The answer is: nowhere.

She dropped S.P.E.W. like a hot potato. In the latest book, a teacher casually admits using a house elf to test his wine for poison. Harry's only reaction is to imagine "the expression on Hermione's face if she ever heard about this abuse of house elves, and [he] decided never to mention it to her."

Even worse, Harry himself is a slave- master, having inherited the house elf, Kreacher, from his godfather. Harry barks orders at his slave and makes him follow an evil student night and day for a week without sleeping. Admittedly, Kreacher is cast as an evil being, who colluded in the murder of his former master. Rowling contrasts him with Dobby, the good house elf that Harry liberated. Dobby scrupulously obeys all Harry's orders out of pure love. To understand the way J.K. Rowling has defined good and bad behavior, all you have to do is give Dobby and Kreacher appropriate new names: Uncle Tom and Nat Turner.

Rowling's latest book is rotten in its portrayal of class relationships. It is just as bad in its depiction of some social relationships. From the first book, Rowling has had a flippant attitude towards alcohol. In this book, the divination teacher becomes an alcoholic, but Rowling does not imagine any teacher or student trying to help her.

The Harry Potter books will continue to be wildly popular with young people because of Rowling's talent as a fantasy writer. We need to talk with them about the social and class relationships she portrays, and show how relationships will be transformed under a society without slavery or explotation: communism.


How would disasters from hurricanes like Katrina be avoided?

The short answer: Prevention. Under communism the working class would have the power to slow the global warming that causes more violent hurricanes. Global warming may be partly natural, but it is greatly worsened by industrial and transportation pollution that exists under capitalism, because corporate profits, rather than human needs, rule.

Second, since earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes happen, a working-class state could avoid building new cities in danger spots, and could relocate existing ones, like San Francisco and New Orleans. For example, during World War II the Soviet Union mobilized the working class to move entire cities and industrial plants east of the Ural Mountains, beyond the reach of the Nazi armies. And they succeeded, despite the devastating winters and numerous acts of sabotage by Nazi sympathizers.

New Orleans (NO) borders and lies below the level of Lake Pontchartrain. The PLP would mobilize and organize the NO working class to build a new city away from the danger spot and move the households. But before evacuating NO, the Party would have led the workers in shoring up levees, in case a hurricane struck during the building and relocation process.

Since hurricanes give several days' warning, if there was no time to shore up the levees the city would be evacuated immediately. In contrast to the rich black NO mayor's departure and call to evacuate -- meaningless for people without vehicles or money for food and lodging, particularly the poor black population -- the Party would provide adequate transportation to carry everyone out of the city safely and immediately. As during World War II, attempts at capitalist sabotage would be dealt with mercilessly.

The population outside NO would be called upon to take people into their homes on a short-term basis. Racism would be fought vigorously, not only to eliminate any hesitation in this effort but to unify the working class around this goal. Meanwhile longer-term housing would be constructed by as many workers as the job required, so that people could be housed during clean-up of the city, pending the much longer-term effort of permanent relocation.

Food, water, clothing, sanitary supplies and medicines would continually be imported in plentiful supply and distributed to the neediest first. Peoples' former occupations would necessarily be interrupted, but clean-up and relocation would require so much effort that no one would be idle.

No income would be lost, because there would be no income under communism. Guided by the communist principle -- from each according to commitment, to each according to need -- all necessities of life would be provided free, and money would be abolished. Unemployment would be history.

The Party and the workers would struggle with anyone refusing to participate, and the Party would guarantee prevention of interference, including possible imprisonment, and, in cases of deliberate sabotage, execution.

In these processes the Party would first mobilize workers by calling on them to participate and then would organize participants to carry out the necessary coordination of effort and division of labor. In contrast to the armed cops and Guardsmen currently in NO, whose first job is to protect the property of the rich, the Party and each of its hundreds of thousands of members would have a base among her/his fellow workers and neighbors and be known and trusted. If the Party had a large enough presence already in NO and the U.S., this kind of leadership could have organized rescue efforts from the flood and the gathering and distribution of food, water, diapers, medical care, as well as portable toilets and bathing facilities.

The key elements of communist leadership in times of disaster are mobilization, organization, coordination of the vast majority of workers and the disciplining of internal and external enemies of the working class. Over the long term, including the present, the key element of Party leadership has been and continues to be the struggle to arm the international working class with an understanding of communist theory and practice that will enable the workers to rule the world. The distribution of CHALLENGE plays a crucial role in that effort.

The task at hand for the working class of all nations is to organize, with Party leadership, its own hurricane to drown the capitalist ruling classes. Under the distant future of communism, with capitalists out of the picture, the working class will survive future hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes with minimal disruption in our lives.

In future issues we will discuss the way that workers in revolutionary China were mobilized by the Communist Party to eliminate public health scourges, like syphilis and parasitic infections.

Israeli Rulers Help Protect U.S. Oil Empire

Recently, much has been made of the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip. Gaza is a small area populated by 1.3 million Arabs and until their forced eviction, 9,000 racist Israeli settlers. The job of protecting them has become too costly, so U.S. and Israeli leaders agreed, as with Lebanon a few years ago, to a partial retreat. Israeli troops will continue to control Gaza's borders and the flow of people and goods into and out of the area. The Zionists will keep control of most of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as an ongoing base for the protection of U.S. oil interests in the Middle East.

Since the formation of Israel, U.S. imperialism has spent billions of dollars and enormous amounts of arms to establish Israel as their top cop in the Middle East. Israel's job is to use armed force and threaten the use of nuclear weapons to protect U.S. imperialism's oil interests. Mass opposition to the war in Iraq and other challenges to U.S. imperialism has made maintaining U.S. control of the Middle East more difficult militarily and politically.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, certain sections of the Jewish ruling class developed the ideology known as Zionism, -- a nationalist ideology as reactionary as the German, Italian, Japanese and other nationalist ideologies that destroyed 100 million workers during World War 2.

From 1900 to 1940 upper class Jewish Zionists tried to sell the lie that the "true" Jewish homeland was the areas described in the Old Testament as the "promised land," with little success. They used the racist slogan, "A land without people for a people without land," even though Arabs lived there for over 600 years. To the Zionists, Arabs weren't people. This "promised land," known as Palestine, was seized as a "protectorate" by Great Britain a result of World War I, in 1918.

Nazism was built around the racist hatred of Jews and extreme German nationalism. During World War 2, the Nazis killed over six million European Jews, and tens of millions of others. Many of the surviving Jews felt that they had no future in Europe. The racist rulers of the U.S., England and France, who either blocked entry or collaborated in the extermination of the Jews, adopted the Zionist plan of establishing a "Jewish state" in Palestine.

In 1947 the U.N voted to partition Palestine into Jewish and Arab areas. The Jewish area became Israel. In a series of wars from 1948 to 1982, Israel seized control of the Arab areas of Palestine (the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem), forced hundreds of thousands of Arabs into exile in neighboring Arab states, and replaced them with over 400,000 Jewish settlers. Over the years, Arabs fought back against the Israeli occupation and, in the process a Palestinian nationalist ideology developed.

Nationalism is the most dangerous ideological enemy of workers everywhere. It is the tool that all ruling classes use to set workers against each other and advance the bosses' interests. All nationalism is reactionary and against the interests of workers. The Zionists and Arab nationalists and Muslim clerics, backed by the U.S. ruling class and its imperialist rivals, are all oppressors of Palestinian and Jewish workers. The Israeli occupation has killed tens of thousands of unarmed civilians, destroyed tens of thousands of homes, and stolen most of the water in the occupied territories. A mass communist movement of Arab and Jewish workers must emerge to end the oppression, all nationalism, oil wars and exploitation through worldwide communist revolution.

Sexism Benefits Only The Capitalists

Last issue discussed the effect of inter-imperialist rivalry on the industrial working-class, and how China's bosses' super-exploitation of its workers sets the pace for other imperialists, like the U.S., to intensify its own exploitation and compete through war. Since capitalism promotes sexism to profit from, and divide, the working class, it's important to examine the exploitation of working-class women in industry.

From the textile mills of the 18th century to today's factories, capitalism burdens female workers by encouraging sexist attitudes of male supremacy. This helps the bosses justify viewing women as inferior to men, and as sex objects, restricting them to low-paying positions, and paying them less for their labor power -- thereby keeping wages lower for all workers. The result: higher profits for the bosses and further decline in the working class's quality of life. (See "The Fight for Communism Is the Fight Against Sexism," in The Communist Magazine, Summer, 2003)

In my factory, at least 50% of the workers are female but only 5-10% are employed above the entry level. Many have been in the same "unskilled," low-paying positions for 10-20 years. Yet a month after being hired, I (a male worker) was already training for a "better" position. While these women are often among the best at what they do, and know the work better then the bosses' lackeys who are there to "supervise" us, their ability is continually overlooked because of gender.

Sexism permeates the factory. Women are treated as second-class workers -- given the most repetitive, menial jobs -- and are treated as sex objects by their supervisors. Even the most rebellious feel helpless to stop this abuse. They say, "I've told him already to please not touch me, but he keeps on rubbing up against me as if I never said anything." "I know that if I let him, he'll let me get what I want, but I don't come here to be fondled. I come here to work."

This persistent abuse convinces many female workers they will never advance beyond their current positions. I asked one co-worker with ten years experience, why she didn't apply for a higher-paying job. She replied, "I'm beginning to get old anyway; at least at this position they know I do my job well and they sort of leave me alone." Later, I asked her if it wouldn't make things easier for her financially if she got a higher-paying position. "Of course," she said, "but I won't kiss their asses or flirt with them, and that makes it difficult."

Because capitalism pervades every aspect of life, this is only a part of these women's struggle against sexism. Many arrive at work already exhausted from hours of domestic labor (cooking, cleaning, child rearing, etc.), often with little or no help from their spouses. This unpaid work is simply seen as "part of a woman's responsibilities," another way capitalism profits from sexism. Capitalists must pay enough wages for the working class to subsist and reproduce; otherwise they'd soon have no workers. So without unpaid domestic labor forced onto women, the capitalist would be forced to provide higher wages to meet the needs of every male worker. In other words, in order to survive and return to work, every male worker would have to be able to pay someone to do the cooking, cleaning and child rearing. So, for the working class to continue to exist, the capitalist must be forced to pay higher wages, lowering his profits. Sexism allows the capitalists to reap more profits through the unpaid domestic labor of working-class wives, daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers.

Still further, this strategy divides men from women. The men run big expensive machines while women are relegated to secondary operations, encouraging a sense of superiority in men that keeps some of them from seeing women as political beings with equal abilities and the same stake in fighting and ultimately destroying capitalism. Men who embrace this false idea of someone "below" them in society prevents them from improving their objective situation. Men don't benefit from sexism. The special exploitation of women depresses the entire wage scale.

Ultimately, sexism keeps men and women from seeing the revolutionary potential of women workers, enabling the bosses to stop us from uniting in struggle against them.

Still, these boss-promoted divisions don't outweigh the common experience of exploitation, of "life" for workers under wage-slavery. This objective experience creates an army of women and men whose common interests are to destroy capitalism. Our goal must be to win them to fight for communism: a world free of sexism and capitalist exploitation.

(Next: temporary and immigrant factory workers.)


Teachers Angry at Racist Neglect of Katrina Victims

Last week as the horrors of capitalism in the aftermath of Katrina became more and more devastating, I took a PLP leaflet around to all the tables in the teachers' cafeteria at the school where I work. Everyone I talked to was as furious as I was that the working class people, mostly poor and black, had not been evacuated, that there was no help for the victims, that four days later there was still no food and water in the Superdome or at the Convention Center; and that resources needed to shore up the levy and the National Guardsmen needed to rescue the survivors had been directed to Iraq. I told everyone that this shows the nature of capitalism, and that this was why I am a communist. Everyone had their own comments about why they were as angry as I was, and were grateful for the leaflet. A new teacher took several leaflets to pass out to other teachers.

As the liberal media are now working overtime to channel the anger of the working class against the Republicans, it's more important than ever to point out that it's not just Bush, its capitalism! The mayor of New Orleans, who is furious with Bush, could have insisted that city buses be used to take the poor out of the city before Katrina hit, but did not.

Red Teacher

Hacks Help Brewery in Colombia Slash Jobs

Luis A Pedrazo, head of the union of Bavaria Brewery workers in Colombia said that the sale of Bavaria to the SAB-Miller corporation is worrisome because it threatens to lose more workers there because of the "lack of a strong union" to defend them.

But, as CHALLENGE has pointed out in the past, the union was busted by Bavaria because of the sellout policies of Pedrazá and other hacks. Bavaria got rid of 5,600 workers before it was sold to SAB-Miller, while the union was led by Pedrazá, who for several decades betrayed the interests of the workers he supposedly represented. It is obvious that Pedrazá and the rest of the hacks made a deal with Bavaria to get rid of most of the workers, to make it easier to sell.

Today, Pedrazá wants to do the same sellout by proposing to form a union representing the 1,600 workers still in Bavaria. Sixty percent of these workers have no job security and are hired with contracts of 3-6 months.

These hacks are as bad as the bosses, benefiting from the destruction of the livelihood of thousands of workers, destroying the lives of workers .

Workers in Bavaria don't need any more sellouts, they need a revolutionary communist leadership to fight the old and new Bavaria bosses and all the hacks.

A Red Worker

Our Vision of the Future

I agree with Old-Time Red's position that communist revolution historically comes in the midst of the devastation of world war and I think it is necessary to remind people of that fact. However the series "Life Under Communism" is about what we are fighting for in the future, how our system will affect workers' lives. Challenge is very good at the important task of criticizing capitalism and reporting on worker struggles, but we also need to try and lay out what we are fighting for. A vision of what we want to replace the misery of capitalism with, and confidence in the PLP to lead a revolution, is what inspires people to fight for communism.

Another old red

TV's Law and Order Helps Build Fascism

The mayor of San Francisco recently admired the cameras that Chicago is using to spy on the streets of the city. He wants to use them, amidst reports that street crime has dropped in the areas under surveillance. Cameras are everywhere now. They show us traffic jams around the city. They are in stores and banks. They didn't stop the transit bombings in London, but they may have made it possible to identify the bombers.

Increased surveillance of the working class is one of the signs of developing fascism. They don't have cameras in the executive offices of companies and governments who make decisions that ruin hundreds and thousands of people's lives (cuts in health care benefits and pensions, job cuts, and especially wars).

The bosses use several methods to win workers to accept and support this surveillance. One is to publicize the drop in crime in neighborhoods that are under surveillance. However, this may be suspect. When the police cleared SF's Golden Gate Park of homeless encampments, many people applauded. But then people living near the park complained about all the homeless people who were camping out in front of their homes. The city hadn't solved the homeless problem, they just moved it to another part of town. That may be the effect of all these cameras.

Another way to get us to sympathize with the police is through one of the most popular TV shows, Law and Order. The show portrays police detectives as nice people who are interested in justice, so we root for them to get the "bad" guys. The accused are always guilty (except when the plot twist puts someone else in the bad guy role). The show promotes the use of surveillance cameras for catching bad guys, lying to them and roughing them up once in awhile. It tells us that the forensics people are accurate and impartial. We are shown that every accused person has a good lawyer to defend them, but we get annoyed when these same lawyers use "technicalities" to obstruct justice. We get angry with the internal police investigators for going after the good cops that we root for.

The reality is that the police target minorities and the poor, cover up their own illegal activities, frame innocent people, violate people's rights, push drugs, plant evidence and beat people up and kill them. Even if they don't do those activities, they protect those that do by not reporting them to their superiors. The real role of the police is to protect the capitalists' property and their right to exploit workers and to attack workers who fight back against cutbacks, racism, and unemployment. Just look at how the New Orleans cops were unleashed against the victims of Katrina. Notice that the bosses can call the cops on you for passing out a leaflet on the job (It happened to me!), but just try calling the cops on them.

West Coast Comrade

No Cops Under Communism

On the July 15-16 weekend, 22 comrades from the NY-NJ area held a cadre school on fascism. After spending the first night collectively setting up camp, we met in workshops the next day.

The first one discussed the nature of fascism and its current prevalence worldwide. In the second workshop, "How to Fight Fascism," the youth shared their experiences with fascism in their schools and the methods for fighting it. An open mic concluded that day, with comrades reciting poems, songs and monologues.

Inclement weather cut the weekend short, but still much was accomplished. The youth developed a greater understanding of fascism, and learned a lot from older comrades about their struggles with fascism in school. I was inspired by the more experienced comrades' recounting of their own encounters with Nazis. I realized the importance of militant struggle. Fascism means we've got to fight back!

red youth

Summer Project Helps Build Worker/Student Alliance

The PLP Summer Project in Washington, D.C. in early June provided valuable insights on how to conduct a successful worker/student alliance (WSA), insights that have contributed to our work in the faculty/staff union of a major public university. Comrades and friends from across the U.S. participated, intending to strengthen the Party's work in the D.C. Metro transit union, where a long-time comrade was elected president. These workers, a majority of whom are black, are in a fierce contract struggle against racist wage differentials and benefit cuts. We wanted to help draw Metro workers closer to PLP, develop leadership among new comrades, and win some comrades to join Metro for the long-term.

Many participants were recently-recruited high school and college students. Given that students and workers historically have had common interests in fighting capitalism, we emphasized the need for a WSA. These wonderful communist students leafleted and sold CHALLENGES to bus drivers and passengers, helping them to organize a contract rally. They stressed that this was one struggle in a broader war between bosses and workers, one in which racism is often used to divide and super-exploit workers. They linked the fascist attack on workers to the bosses' drive for imperialist wars. They injected disciplined militancy into the contract rally. And, through their words and deeds, they demonstrated the power of a WSA.

During the two-week Project, students, public university faculty and D.C. Metro comrades discussed plans for broadening the WSA, including having a contingent of D.C. Metro workers, students and university faculty and staff at the September 24 D.C. anti-war rally. They also proposed an anti-imperialist forum, jointly sponsored by academic and industrial unions, partly modeled after a recent political education forum organized by the Metro union.

These experiences and ideas contributed to our organizing at our university. There the link between students and workers is obvious: our working conditions are their learning conditions. However, this doesn't guarantee students will support struggling faculty and staff; indeed, administrators often claim that union gains will be paid for by increased student tuition. Many faculty and staff are fearful of any action that might "harm" the students. Therefore, active student support for faculty-staff demands has a tremendous effect on the willingness of passive union members to fight. In strikes, organized students can expand the efforts of union members - both side-by-side, or by protesting on campus if strikers must stay outside.

Such a united student/union effort presents a terrific opportunity to struggle politically with students and union members, helping to forge a strong WSA through which both groups can win significant short-term reforms and wage more unified long-term political fights. By participating in such a WSA, students won to the Party who then become workers will participate in other struggles - like D.C. Metro - and build PLP there. Thus, the WSA turns both student work and union work into a school for communism.

Northeast Comrade


Barbara says, Let them eat cake

...Barbara Bush yesterday walked past rows of poor and ailing refugees at the Houston Astrodome, then said, "So many of the people here you know were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.

"What I'm hearing is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," gushed the white-haired mother of President Bush.

"Almost everyone I've talked to says, `We're going to move to Houston!'

The former First Lady's comments were part of a broadcast on National Public Radio.

Later, on CNN `Larry King Live,' Barbara Bush appeared upbeat about the stricken evacuees' prospects while sitting alongside her hubby, former President George H.W. Bush.

It's been only a week since Katrina cut a deadly swath through the South, she said, "And look what's happened; Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated and are in comfortable shelters." (NY Daily News, 9/6)

Profit system puts safety last

Crash investigators will study the diary of the co-pilot, Pambos Charalambous, who secretly chronicled his concerns about technical problems with the doomed Helios Airways Boeing 737, which plunged into a mountain last month, killing all 121 people on board.

His son Yiannis, a trainee pilot, had said before the flight that the discovery of the diary...contained enough revelations to close Helios down . "...he logged every one of that plane's and [the] airline's problems," he said... "He once told me that if any of it ever got out the company would close...Initial findings have revealed that the airliner cabin failed to pressurize on take-off, which probably rendered virtually everyone on board unconscious. (GW, 9/8)

Israel: 8,000 move, 400,000 will stay

Even before Ariel Sharon finished [forcing] 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and a small part of the West Bank last week, the debate in Israel had turned to what happens next.

"Sharon will do nothing....Anyone who thinks that it is Gaza first is mistaken. It is Gaza only...

...Disengagement is a cover for Mr. Sharon to entrench more than 400,000 Jewish settlers living in the rest of the occupied territories while unilaterally imposing the borders of a rump Palestinian homeland. (GW, 9/8)

Workers' stress kills health, happiness

Richard Wilkinson is professor for social epidemiology, an expert in public health...surveying great sweeps of health statistics through sociological eyes. He has assembled a mountain of irrefutable evidence from all over the world showing the damage done by extreme inequality. However rich a country is, it will still be more dysfunctional, violent, sick and sad if the gap between social classes grows too wide. Poorer countries with fairer wealth distribution are healthier and happier than richer, more unequal nations.

...The people of Harlem live shorter lives than the people of Bangladesh. When you take out the violence and drugs, two-thirds of the reason is heart disease. Is that bad diet? No, says Wilkinson, it is mainly stress, the stress of living at the bottom...

Low status and lack of control over one's life is a destroyer of human health and happiness. (GW, 8/25)

Why other countries might want nukes

In May 1963, President John F. Kennedy and his aides discussed the feasibility of using nuclear weapons in the event China attacked India for a second time, according to newly declassified audio recordings that were released Thursday by the John F. Kennedy President Library and Museum in Boston.

Analysts pointed out that the so-called nuclear option, even if it was considered in the spring of 1963, would have been dismissed the following year, when China first tested its own nuclear weapon. (NYT, 8/26)

Imperialist US will keep Air Force in Iraq

Gen. John P. Jumper, who is to step down this week as the Air Force chief of staff, predicted that American fighter and reconnaissance aircraft would continue flying missions over Iraq for a long time.

"We will continue with a rotational presence of some type in that area more or less indefinitely," he said. "We have interests in that part of the world... (NYT, 8/30)

G.I. Bill pushed black vets into bad jobs

Katznelson reserves his hardest criticism for the unfair application of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, known as the G.I. Bill....

...Thousands of black veterans in the South -- and the North as well were denied housing and business loans, as well as admission to whites-only colleges and universities. They were also excluded from job training programs for careers in promising new fields like radio and electrical work, commercial photography and mechanics. Instead, most African-Americans were channeled toward traditional, low-paying "black jobs" and small black colleges, which were pitifully underfinanced... (NYT, 8/28)

US nuked Japan to threaten USSR

They incinerated Japanese cities in 1945 because they could and they wanted to, not because they had to.

...Did the Americans simultaneously believe the Japanese were a nation of fanatics who would fight to the last man, woman and child rather than surrender, and would suddenly see reason if two medium-sized cities were wiped off the map?

Of course not. What happened was that the Americans wanted a chance to test their new weapons on live targets, not merely to shock and awe the already defeated Japanese into unconditional surrender, but to show the Soviets who was in charge. (GW, 8/25)

Modern day fascists

"I can't help but recall the words of my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, Dr James Luther Adams, who told us that when we were his age, and he was then close to eighty, we would all be fighting `Christian' fascists"

Harken to Dr. Adams' warning: "Fascists would not return wearing swastikas and brown shirts...but would cloak themselves in the language of the Bible; they would come carrying crosses and chanting the Pledge of Allegiance." (PYTHIAN Press)