No Real Debate Among Demopublicans: All Warmakers
U.S. Not Leaving Iraq Soon; Building $1.7 Billion Air Base, Embassy
From one into ten Building A Mass Party
Bloody Battle in Mexico: 70,000 Striking Teachers Whip Fascist Troops
Racist Minutemen Get Taste Of Workers Anger
PLers Offer Revolutionary Ideas in D.C. Transit Contract Fight
Europe-Wide Auto Solidarity Backs Portugals GM Workers
Communist Politics Are Answer to Unions War Plans
Imperialists Problem: How to Build a Big, Low-Wage, yet Motivated, Domestic Manufacturing Base
NEA Convention: Teachers, Students, Parents Must Unite Vs. Rulers Education For War
Reformers Pit Worlds Working-Class Children Against Each Other
We Dont Need Big Shots: WE Can Run the World!
Forum Hears New Orleans Plight; Raise Money to Aid Workers
ESLers Fight Govt Anti-Immigrant Racism
Rumsfeld and Vietnam Now Military Buddies
Narco Paramilitaries and Fascism Rampaging in Colombia
Internationalism and Anti-Racism Win Out
Halt Miners Murders Under Capitalism?
Protest Racist Killer KKKops Murder of Black Worker
Chicago Hospital Workers Fight Sellout Union, Gestapo Bosses
The Road to Guantanamo - U.S. Army Apes Nazi Death Camps
Fatal Errors in Soviet Unions Early Years
Dont think for a second that the Democrats "raging" Iraq debate offers a choice between war and peace. Both the Lieberman-Clinton "stay-the-course" camp and the Kerry-Murtha withdrawal time-liners back military force to preserve U.S. imperialisms chokehold on the Middle East and its oil. "Staying the course" means continuing the Bush gangs deadly quagmire, despite the shortage of troops and allies.
The Lieberman-Clinton-Bush goal is to establish permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq (see box, page 2) that can threaten Iran and Saudi Arabia. Kerry, however, proposes a tactical retreat from Iraq followed by a massive redeployment in the region of vastly expanded U.S. and allied forces. Both Democrat factions agree that the U.S. needs wartime mobilization, including some form of compulsory national service or the draft.
One exit strategist, Gary Hart, a top architect of U.S. rulers war and police-state agenda, calls for a U.S.-led international coalition of armies defending Mid-East oilfields from Chinese inroads. Hart sees making foreign bosses junior partners as the key to the plan. At a June 12 Democratic rally in Washington, Hart said, "We ought to declare the Persian Gulf a zone of international interest and take the lead in making it a commitment of the...international states that America will not be the sole guarantor of oil supplies in the world. We can organize...the consuming nations...that they have a job to protect those oil supplies."
Hart implies that if foreign rulers want access to Mid-East energy, they will have to send soldiers to fight under U.S. command. [The U.S. cut such a deal during the first Gulf War: France got minor Persian Gulf oil stakes in return for troops.] Likewise, liberal Kerry demands a tactical retreat from Iraq that will free U.S. forces to attack anywhere in the region. At the same D.C. rally, Kerry insisted on "the over-horizon capacity to deal with al Qaeda" and "the over-horizon capacity to be able to respond to Iran or other threats to our country."
Other signs point to broadening the oil war theatre beyond Iraq to Iran, the Indian sub-continent, and places farther east. The U.S. Navy has begun building the first of 55 planned "littoral combat ships" (LCS). Half the size of destroyers, but faster, these vessels can operate close to shore in water as shallow as ten feet. When the Navy says the LCSs will have minesweeping, anti-piracy and anti-submarine duties, it assures the rulers that they will fight to secure the worlds main oil shipping routes and chokepoints.
"Minesweeping" refers to Irans threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, which bottlenecks the bulk of Persian Gulf crude exports. The U.S. was caught short of minesweeping capability here in both the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and Gulf War I.
"Anti-piracy" means asserting control over the pirate-plagued Strait of Malacca and Horn of Africa, the main chokepoints for Persian Gulf oil bound for ports in the East (including China) and West (Europe and the Americas), respectively.
"Anti-submarine" targets the super-quiet Russian-built Chinese submarines menacing the U.S. carrier groups that patrol the supremely strategic Indian Ocean-South China Sea route. Pentagon procurement meshes with liberals calls for regrouping.
Arms programs provide rulers the material means for executing their strategy. [By the mid-1990s, our Party was able to say that a second Iraq invasion was indeed in the works, in part because we noted that the Navy was building a huge fleet of supply ships destined for the Persian Gulf.]
But the primary factor is politics. U.S. rulers appear capable, for now, of producing the hardware they require for war but they have not yet forged adequate political will either among workers or among their own capitalist class. Thats why the Democratic Leadership Council, headed by Lieberman and Hillary Clinton, just published a rally-round-the-flag, pro-war book called "With All Our Might." Showing that Lieberman-Clinton are really on the same page as Kerry & Co., chapter titles include "Create a Grand Strategy for the Middle East," "Shape the Global Battlefield," "Reconcile Democrats and the Military," and "Put the Economy on a Wartime Footing."
As Democrats and Republicans position themselves for the November and 2008 elections, we must recognize that there is no anti-war party here, nor even a Democratic anti-war faction. There is no lesser evil, only the greater danger that the Kerryites can win workers to an "Out-of-Iraq" program that masks a larger invasion. The alternative to the politicians war plans, both open and disguised, lies outside the electoral system in building a party that ultimately can put an end to imperialism through communist revolution.
PLP has always said "what you do counts." Every recruit, every group of workers and youth in every mass organization the Party influences to oppose the racist U.S. bosses, every new CHALLENGE network, all combine to bring that revolution that much closer.
(Next issue: the liberals ideological war efforts.)
While the Bush crowd keeps talking about "possibilities" of withdrawing from Iraq "at some point" in the future and the Democrats rant about sending more troops to be able to withdraw by the end of 2007, U.S. plans "on the ground" belie this. According to the French publication Le Canard Enchainé (5/24), "The construction of an immense U.S. embassy and a gigantic air base show indeed that the White House is looking far into the future. The new embassy has about 20 buildings, will be able to resist any attack, has an independent energy and water supply, and occupies an area equivalent to the Vatican. The cost is $592 million."
The air base, being built 42 miles from Baghdad to be close to the embassy and the U.S. general staff, is slated to "accommodate 27,500 landings and take-offs per month, a record .The estimated cost is $1.1 billion," twice the amount for U.S. air bases already set up in Kuwait, the Emirates and Qater."
If U.S. rulers are spending nearly $1.7 billion on this project, it doesnt appear theyre thinking of leaving Iraq any time soon. This follows U.S. policy in previous imperialist wars. For example, after bombing the former Yugoslavia, ostensibly to "stop ethnic cleansing," the U.S. then built one of the largest bases in Europe in Kosovo, containing 7,000 military personnel and all the "accessories" needed for them, including schools, stores, theatres, etc., plus the largest hospital on the continent, not to mention the military hardware. Wherever the U.S. military has entered a region, it has always built bases for long-range use, except in Vietnam where it was defeated. But even there, it may very well be pursuing the same policy, only through the back door (see letter, page 6).
It seemed to happen so fast when, in just a few weeks, 10 people around our club joined the Party. But, as usual, the truth lies deeper. These new members, almost all youth, joined because of painstaking base-building and sharp ideological struggle occurring over a years time. In particular, the work of one high school teacher demonstrates how our Party can recruit groups of people.
This teacher has opened her house to young people, conducting sprawling study groups of ten to fifteen students or more in her living room, gatherings that last hours on topics ranging from racist police terror to the need to abolish wages to influencing soldiers to the brutality of sexism and racism.
The floor is open to students comments and questions. Often one topic flows into another as students engage in hot debates. Everyone is required to express themselves. They read and report on articles from CHALLENGE, various PLP documents, articles from the bosses newspapers and watch and evaluate movies together. The teacher even covered an apartment wall with blackboard paint so students can write major themes right on that wall!
Its no small thing that these study groups always include a meal collectively prepared beforehand by virtually the entire group, during which all types of discussion occur about relationships, drugs and the need for a completely new society. Its this kind of personal, communist collectivity that has built a solid core of committed Party members.
In addition, this group of mostly young people has staged a series of open mics to display their creativity. They compose poems that reflect aspects of PLPs ideas and perform them in front of their peers. They read poetry written by famous poets like Langston Hughes who were deeply influenced by communism. These open mics are held in a Party members home or in a neighborhood community room. They help bond the group and also explore each members personal perspective on the Partys ideas. Its exciting to be in this club!
Finally, when asked to join the Party en masse, for most the decision was easy. Since then, theyve increasingly taken leadership, particularly around May Day, where they led chants on the immigrant marches, publicly sold CHALLENGE-DESAFIO, and acted as MCs at our May Day dinner.
Recently our club discussed the PLP document Road to Revolution IV. (Of course, there was food we had a cookout!) Several youth invited friends. It was striking to see these young people, all new Party members, embrace and express PLPs ideas so confidently. They reviewed the international scope of capitalist exploitation, the need for a violent revolution to establish a workers dictatorship, the need for a Red Army of working-class soldiers to defend the revolution, and the need to abolish the wage system as the workers state directly institutes communism.
These new leaders also urged the Party to further explore sexism, for example, and want the Party to focus more on explaining its practice so they can learn to better function as communists on a day-to-day basis. They also want to learn more about what the dictatorship of the proletariat means and how to overcome the strong pull of religion among workers.
The clubs next step is to have these new members struggle with their friends to win them to the Party. As these new members become convinced that communism is the only way to resolve the contradictions of capitalism, they will realize that their friends can also overcome their own contradictions and join. The future is bright.
OAXACA, MEXICO, June 17 The strike of 70,000 teachers in Oaxaca State, which began May 22, erupted into an all-out battle with the fascist police at 4:00 AM on June 14 when the states governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz ordered 1,500 Federal cops, waiting on the citys outskirts, to attack a massive encampment in the citys center. The workers fought back with stones, clubs and whatever they could lay their hands on in confronting the helmeted cops armed with clubs and using shields, aided by a helicopter spraying tear gas at the encamped strikers and their supporters. Despite all that force, the cops were defeated, sent running like whipped dogs.
However, this criminal government action killed two women teachers and two children. One pregnant teacher lost her baby, another teacher lost an eye, many were wounded and other arrested. Although the encampment was destroyed, many police were beaten and several taken hostage. Then the workers, armed with clubs and using school buses as battering rams against the cops, retook the plaza and reconstructed their encampment. Two days later a "mega-march" brought out 300,000 teachers and their supporters, demanding the Governors resignation.
The strikers have also blockaded the citys airport, destroyed political campaign posters, and delivered the "remains" of the citys new parking meters to the doorstep of the state capitol building.
Many workers, unions, mass organizations and students from four schools have united in solidarity with the striking teachers, expanding the fight into a virtual social movement. The murder of teachers and their children shows that capitalism, whether neo-liberal as the brutal Governor has been described or state capitalist is the mortal enemy of the working class. It cannot be reformed to meet workers class needs.
PLP members have been participating in the struggle and bringing in communist politics through CHALLENGE-DESAFIO and massive distributions of Party leaflets, openly calling for communism amid this mass and violent battle.
One leaflet brought PLPs "strong support and solidarity" with the strikers who "find themselves in the struggle for a decent life and better education" for their children, "marginalized by the capitalist class." It accused the Governor of "orchestrating a campaign of lies and disinformation," using "the bosses organizations [and] their servile agents in the press, radio and TV" to help break the strike."
The leaflets, distributed in the thousands, exposed the government as "the faithful defender of the bosses interests," not caring "at all about the welfare of the teachers or about the real education of the working class" but "only the profits they can make from the merciless and criminal exploitation" of the workers and youth.
It pointed out that the ruling class views "the schools as centers of production of future workers, of the cheap labor they need to increase their political and economic power" while stripping students of working-class consciousness and knowledge of wage slavery," meanwhile "preparing young workers to be soldiers who defend and die for the bosses riches."
It also took note of the fate of workers "fleeing from poverty and unemployment, choosing not to die of hunger, not caring about the bosses artificial borders," for which "they are called criminals and killed like animals" as "immigrants in the United States."
The leaflet closed by exposing the ruling class as "flaunting its power" with "electoral political parties, their laws, their prisons, the police and the army" and citing the working classs "historical necessity to build a new society a communist system where production will satisfy" workers needs, with "no exploitation, no oppression, no racism and no borders." It further added , "The Progressive Labor Party, a revolutionary, international and multiracial organization, faced with the failure of Socialism today fights directly for Communism in order to bury once and for all this unjust and murderous system, invites all conscious and determined workers and students to join our ranks."
The best victory for the working class from this struggle would be to win the strikers and their supporters to take the offensive, not to reform the schools but to build a mass PLP that will lead the fight for communist revolution. PLP urges workers and students worldwide to support the Oaxaca teachers struggle.
LOS ANGELES, June 17 Anti-racists set back the racist Minutemen and SOS ("Save Our State") when they staged a motorcycle and car caravan downtown today. They and their racist signs were protected by swarms of cops.
When some of the racists who decided to risk walking on the sidewalk began taking pictures of anti-racists, including PLPers, who were demonstrating against them, one racist must have tripped because his camera hit the ground. As he yelled for police to arrest demonstrators, bystanders shopping in the downtown area attacked him. He told cops to arrest a demonstrator on a bus but they found no such person.
In a separate incident, another racist tried to assault a PLer addressing the crowd in Spanish, exposing who these racists represented. The racist pushed her, yelling, "Speak English. This is America." A worker standing nearby stopped the racist cold, forcing him away. At the racists insistence, the police arrested this worker who was defending the speaker. People chanted "let him go" and "Minutemen y la policia, la misma porqueria!" ("Minutemen and cops same garbage").
A group of anti-racist youth demonstrating against the racists and the system that builds them were very inspired by these actions and by bystanders who demanded the release of the jailed worker and who distributed PLP leaflets to other workers. Many youth took leadership.
Some anti-racists, including PLPers, then went to a conference about immigration reform at the teachers union office. Some explained that cops had just arrested a worker for standing up to the racist Minutemen. A teacher a member of the coalition organizing the conference rose to back the call for bail money, saying that these fighters have been in the forefront of the struggle against racist attacks on all workers and must be supported. The conference participants contributed about $340 bail money on the spot for the jailed anti-racist worker.
One nationalist leader of the coalition grabbed the box of donations and gave it to the person raising the money, telling her collecting money was not allowed! This didnt stop many from continuing to give money, both during and after the conference. But it did help expose this "leader" who wants to build a "safe" immigrant rights movement that doesnt challenge racist capitalism.
At conference workshops, PLP members and friends raised many topics, including the need for multi-racial unity and to destroy imperialism with communist revolution. CHALLENGE and communist leaflets were distributed.
Many came to the conference seeking ways to fight racism and an alternative to the patriotism of the liberal imperialists. But some conference leaders want this group to be the loyal opposition inside this immigrant rights movement, opposing the open racists and demanding amnesty but not attacking the whole capitalist system.
We must be active in these movements, exposing the bosses promise of reforms being used to hook workers into loyally working and fighting for U.S. imperialism. Only working-class power can end the growing attacks from the open racists and liberal imperialists. More angry youth need to join PLP to help bring this fight to the streets, schools, factories and barracks.
Teachers Locals Support Oaxaca Strikers
NEW YORK CITY, June 19 In an important expression of international working-class solidarity, the faculty-staff union at the City University of New York, AFT Local 2334, joined CUNY students and others to picket Mexicos consulate here, supporting the 70,000 striking teachers in the Mexican state of Oaxaca (see front page) who fought 1,500 Federal Police and suffered four deaths. The locals Delegate Assembly unanimously passed a resolution condemning the brutal attack on their brothers and sisters in Oaxaca and fully supporting their demands.
On the same day, AFT Local 2121 at the City College of San Francisco also picketed the Mexican consulate in that city. (Full story next issue.)
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 17 The real story of the recent contract struggle between the 9,000-member Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 and the Metro transit system is not the reduction in racist pay differentials for new workers. It is not the 3% annual wage increase, the pay equity for station managers, the improved pensions or the increased health care costs. The real story is that PLP waged a struggle to build revolutionary communist consciousness among many transit workers.
Trying to fight the bosses attacks while concentrating on building the revolutionary movement, the contradiction between reform and revolution, is very complicated and difficult. Despite our weaknesses, in the course of this struggle some workers joined PLP, participated in May Day and more began distributing CHALLENGE.
PLP Metro workers, including the local president, told workers the honest truth that U.S. capitalism is facing stiffer challenges internationally, from Iraq to China, and will increase its attacks on workers. This drive to world war and fascism cannot be resolved by unions or at the bargaining table, but can only be answered by building a mass PLP for communist revolution. The workers appreciated this honesty, in contrast to the opportunism of our enemies in the union, who promise the workers everything and then cant deliver.
During the NYC transit strike, interest surged among Metro workers about the possibility of a strike here. This led to many meetings and countless discussions about how a strike led by PLP would be viewed as a political rebellion of thousands of black and white workers, and how the bosses would call us terrorists for shutting down the center of power of U.S. imperialism. We said such a strike would be met with severe repression, and that sharpening the struggle requires much more mass revolutionary consciousness.
When transit workers were attacked inside Iran and the AFL-CIO called a rally to use the incident to advance the bosses war plans, METRO workers went to the rally and pointed out that transit workers in Iran and NYC were facing similar attacks and chanted, "Same Enemy, Same Fight, Workers of the World, Unite!"
When two Metro workers, one black and one Asian, were killed by the bosses negligence within six months, we picketed Metro headquarters. Fighting racism, marching on May Day, the NYC transit strike, Iranian bus strikers, the Iraq war, health and safety, immigration and more all provided the backdrop for the political education of the workers during this contract struggle.
Now workers understand capitalism a little better and are more aware of the limits of unions and reform struggles. Many understand their crucial role in society and are thinking more critically abut the world. More workers have confidence in PLP, are studying our revolutionary outlook and more will join. This is the lasting victory that matters most.
While the UAW hacks were stepping up their sellout of GM workers and sucking up even more so to the big bosses future of endless imperialist wars, on June 16, 1,100 GM workers in Azambuja, Portugal, marched, chanting and carrying signs, 1.5 miles from city hall to the Opel GM-owned auto plant protesting a threatened December plant closing. VW workers at Autoeuropa, Portugals biggest auto producer showed solidarity with Opel workers.
In a signal example of international auto workers solidarity, workers at most of GMs European factories have agreed to support the Azambuja workers with work actions. GMs European workers fear that GM will move some of their own jobs to other plants in eastern Europe and Asia. This is the kind of unity workers at the Big Three plants in the U.S. need to organize over the heads of their sellout leadership in the UAW.
Since the Azambuja workers produce parts for other GM plants in Germany and Spain, their short walkouts have forced the company to use helicopters to transport emergency supplies to keep the other plants operating. One major obstacle facing autoworkers globally is their union leaders. IGMetall, Germanys biggest union, is in complete cahoots with Opel, VW and auto bosses there, just as the UAW is in the U.S.
As long as workers continue relying on these bosses agents, and dont break with all forms of capitalist reformism, well have our hands tied while the worlds auto bosses gear for an era of intensifying competition and endless wars. The fight must be one for a new red leadership of auto workers worldwide,
UPPER MARLBORO, MD., May 3 International Association of Machinists (IAM) president Tom Buffenbarger hosted a "surge roundtable" today, inviting executives from key war-machine producers to the IAM national headquarters. They and a gang of union vice-presidents were joined by representatives of ruling class think-tanks, like the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and regular contributors to Foreign Affairs, the public mouthpiece of the Council of Foreign Relations. Deputy "Defense" Secretary England opened the conference.
In 2004, the IAM Journal published an article entitled "North Americas Might," bemoaning attacks on industrial workers and the demise of manufacturing. The Journal mentioned a general strike, but concluded "such a massive work stoppage cannot and will not occur, at least not by the unilateral decision" of the IAM. This class collaborationist "surge roundtable" is the union misleaders answer to the prospect of class struggle.
The conference concluded that the U.S. doesnt have the industrial base needed for "surge production" to wage war against a serious imperialist competitor like China or some other combination of foes. They plan to continue hammering out a war industrial policy over the next 30 months, coinciding with the next U.S. presidential election. We will likely see 2008 presidential candidates campaigning for this program of imperialist bloodshed camouflaged under a slogan like "save American jobs." No matter whos elected, the roundtable plans to build political momentum around its imperialist agenda going into the next presidential term.
Meanwhile, every IAM local and district is publicizing this recipe for fascist collaboration in defense of the bosses empire.
Leaving no stone unturned in preparation for war, Buffenbarger endorsed the Senates latest immigration bill. Unlike the Houses more obviously racist proposal, the Senates version aims to assure low-wage labor for the arms plants and subcontractors with 11 years of virtual indentured servitude by holding out the hope for eventual citizenship, more than a decade from now. A few honest low-level local officials thought Buffenbargers position better than outright xenophobia.
Even so, they smelled a rat. "Like the brother said at our last meeting," one said publicly, echoing some who fought for our anti-racist May Day resolution (see CHALLENGE 5/10), "these immigrants are all workers and its our job to make sure no worker is exploited."
The top international and local union officials want to limit the debate to the two capitalist bills before the House and the Senate, which after all only represent tactical differences about how best to support U.S. imperialism.
What they cant stand is internationalist communist class-conscious politics embodied in CHALLENGE. In fact, a business agent tried to rip up the May Day issue, but workers stopped him. Immediately, more began to circulate the paper, expanding our network of readers and sellers.
The horrors of imperialist war and exploitation can only be ended with communist revolution. The expansion of these CHALLENGE networks will put these communist politics into play. Workers have come from and will continue to emerge out of these networks to challenge the hacks, and their capitalist masters. These workers have more on their minds than a change in tactical leadership. Years of reading, selling and struggling over the communist politics of our paper will continue to prepare them to change the political landscape.
Help distribute CHALLENGE, the workers beacon. Not a minute to lose!
As we go to press, 9,000 teachers are headed to the annual Representative Assembly of the U.S. National Education Association (NEA), in Orlando, Florida. This assembly is important in U.S. bosses plans for preparing the schools response to the sharpening international capitalist crisis which will lead to widening wars and eventually world war. The rulers want teachers to carry out the "reforms" that will prepare students to be the future technicians, workers and patriotic soldiers for the wars to maintain U.S. domination.
But teachers teach future workers and soldiers, and have a huge impact on this future. They can unite with their colleagues, their students and their parents to fight these attacks and to help turn the bosses coming world war into a revolutionary war for workers power. Thats what the Progressive Labor Party fights for.
As other articles in this issue point out (see article right), school reform reflects the move towards widening war. Construction of new schools, turning older, larger ones into "small schools," and the barrage of standardized tests are mostly an attempt to increase the technical ability of working-class children.
The ideological function of the standardized curricula and tests includes (1) the meritocracy argument "this is a fair system; if you arent making it, its your own fault"; and (2) indoctrination teaching patriotism, especially to immigrant youth, to prepare them, all youth, and the whole society for war.
To enforce the rulers plans, theres been a series of initiatives, pre-dating Bushs "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) program. It began with NEA Pres. Bob Chases 1997 speech advocating a "new unionism" tied to school reform and calling for "teacher accountability," enforced by union-sanctioned peer review, verified by the tests and tied to explicit standards. They have transformed the previously anarchic "local school board" educational system into a tightly-controlled system, requiring student and teacher accountability to standardized tests in systems increasingly controlled by big city mayors.
"No Child Left Behind" and its sanctions are used as a stick to get teachers in line. Everything must be tied to the tests no more "frills" like art and elementary school science! Teachers who question authority are threatened. In middle-class schools, and surely in the elite academies, student achievement was already at or above the level of the tests. But in working-class schools, particularly with immigrant and black students because of generations of racist oppression and education the failure rate has been unacceptably high and the pressure is on.
However, school reforms are being instituted simultaneously with money being diverted from social services to war. The result: more students being denied high school diplomas because they cant pass the tests, rather than having smaller classes and more materials.
There should be no illusions about the bosses interests in our students; they see the working class as wage slaves and cannon fodder. In a racist society that leaves thousands to die in New Orleans while sending thousands to kill and die for oil profits in Iraq, the schools are organized to serve the profit system. Schools can only meet the needs of the working class in a society of share-and-share-alike communism. To end imperialist war, racist exploitation and racist education, societys goal must be human need, not profits, where communist relationships of cooperation and solidarity are primary. Then, schools will develop the skills all students require to collectively meet the needs of the working class.
So teachers have a crucial role to teach the history of the fight against racism and imperialism. The students most under attack by NCLB historically have struggled against racist mis-education, imperialist war, police terror and racist attacks on their community. Far from being passive victims, young people in these schools are the future of the working class, the workers and soldiers who will lead the fight for its emancipation from the racist system of wage slavery. No reform can solve the problems of racist education. Teachers uniting with students and their parents in the long-term fight for a communist system run by the working class can then provide education that serves the needs of the working class.
Like the invasion of Iraq, education reform is being driven by the needs of a sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry especially (but not limited to) an emerging imperialist China. The gauntlet is thrown down.
The capitalists are not playing. As Kevin Philips points out in his book American Theocracy, "...China is already responsible for the bulk of the rapidly growing U.S. deficit in what Washington calls ATP advanced technology products. Here we are talking about major categories such as biotechnology, weapons, opto-electronics and nuclear technology."
Teachers, parents and students are immediately challenged. Are we educating our youth to compete against Indian, Chinese and European youth for life-giving jobs? The Eli Broad Foundation, one of the major players in education reform, says, "We are convinced that as a country, we face a crisis of epic proportions, one that threatens our economy, our democracy and our very standard of living."
Do we really want an intellectual climate that raises a Broad-like slogan,
"(Sons and daughters of) Workers of the World, compete."? Or would we prefer, (Sons and daughters of) Workers of the world, unite."? It is in this sense, not the sense of barricades and a revolution tomorrow, that the call for "fight for communism" is urgent. We must fight tooth and nail to put a communist analysis and vision into the bosses movement for education reform.
The strains on U.S. imperialism can be seen in all its institutions. K-12 education, for example, finds itself over-run by this new situation. In the late 1970s the world began to adjust to what seemed like a growing and intractable crisis of overproduction. Trade wars were looming, most major markets were nearing saturation and the prospect of capital investing profitably in manufacturing looked dim. Consequently, capitalists increasingly turned to speculation in money and bond markets, junk bonds, hedge funds and all sorts of financial wizardry. The stock market went through the roof.
Whereas a few years ago the Economist magazine said the worlds auto industry had 60 plants too many, today it reports that the next ten years will see the need to complete 180 more plants to meet growing world demand, especially in China and India.
According to some analysts, the heart of capitalism the exploitation of an industrial working class is on the brink of the biggest expansion in its history. Whatever its exact dimensions, the U.S. finds itself in a comparatively weak position to benefit fully from this potential expansion. If real life plays out these predictions, U.S. imperialism will no longer be top dog in the world.
The Eli Broad Foundation whose Board of Trustees includes politicians like Henry Cisneros, union leaders like Andrew Stern and board members from AIG (insurance) and Northrop Grumman is interested in urgent education reform for three reasons. First, although the U.S. spends $455 billion a year on K-12 education, it fails to graduate 30% of its students. Secondly, U.S. 12th graders perform below the international average among 21 rival industrial capitalist countries. Thirdly, in 2004 Chinese universities graduated 600,000 engineers, India graduated more than 350,000, while the U.S. graduated only 70,000.
"With children in India and China," they continue, "hungry for the jobs that historically belonged to our children, we must improve our education system in this country to graduate students who are equipped to compete in the global workforce."
Its not an easy fight to combat the rulers goal to pit U.S. workers children against workers children among the rulers imperialist rivals. In the recent contract struggle in Oakland, Ca., there were many honest forces won to battling issues such as privatization, getting rid of a State-appointed Superintendent, Randy Ward, or relying on Mayoral elections. Too few voices pointed out that the real nature of capitalism whether Chinese or U.S. is to set one group of workers against the other, all for the profits of the bosses. (Next: Fascism, U.S. style and education reform.)
NEW ORLEANS, June 5 On the weekend of June 3 and 4, things happened here that might seem small and local, but a closer look reveals the seed of something huge.
Last August, when Katrina hit, the racist city fathers figured it would be a good idea to leave black people in New Orleans to die in the flood. These were the workers who kept the city and the tourist business in the money, but the businessmen decided they didnt want them any more. This story is about us deciding to take things into our own hands. And thats just what happened on that June 3-4 weekend.
On the 3rd, the New Orleans Survivors Council organized 60 people to open up and clean out the Florida Projects. The government had refused to do it they just want workers to stay away. But residents from Florida Projects asked the Council for help moving back in. The longer we stayed cleaning out apartments, the more residents asked us to clean out their place, too.
Meanwhile, people from a trailer park in Baker were gutting out their first home back in New Orleans. The week before that they had met and decided that if they wanted to return home, theyd have to help each other fix up their places. They made a list of homes and volunteers to gut them. Then they collected their tools and fixed one house on Saturday and another one on Sunday.
Why is this such a big deal? Because previously weve depended on the government or some big shot. We were waiting for them to fix our homes, even though we knew they wouldnt do it. Until now, we didnt come together to take care of ourselves; we thought we were alone and helpless.
The racist system wants us to think were weak and stupid. Thats because the system is run by rich folks who live off sucking our blood working us for little or nothing and reaping the profits for themselves. That system is called capitalism. If they want to stay in power, they need to convince us were helpless. But were not were the ones who know how to do all the work, not them!
Once we see reality, we know we have the power to move ourselves back into New Orleans. We just have to organize ourselves! As a matter of fact, we have the power to run New Orleans and the country, and the world! Working people have the experience. When we get together and flex our own muscles, we can and will run everything. To put that idea into one word, its called communism.
And thats why what happened on that weekend was so earth-shaking.
To find out more about communism and workers power, read some of the
other articles in this paper and talk to the person you got it from. This paper can help us reach and organize ourselves in cities all throughout the country and the world.
BROOKLYN, NY, June 1 At a forum organized by a local church, a young woman from New Orleans speaking with deep emotion brought an audience of nearly 100 to its feet upon hearing her story of the citys destruction. Shes now in college in Washington, D.C. and the nightmare haunts her constantly. Her father is black and her mother is white, and somehow the politicians crass racism arranged for her parents to vote in separate electoral districts despite living in the same house! She, who "looks white," was sent to vote with her mother.
The events main purpose was to collect money to finance volunteers from the church and elsewhere to go to New Orleans to help rebuild the infrastructure as well as hope. This led to discussing the racist nature of the Katrina disaster.
Speakers from other churches and community organizations described the rebuilding problems while exposing the citys election as a farce. One 30-year New Orleans resident had seen a friend on TV a grandmother long involved in working-class struggles there begging for help with her grandchildren outside the Convention Center. She was shocked into action when she heard another person watching the telecast in referring to this community organizer make an obviously racist comment about "those people" always asking for help and "what can you expect from them?"
Two members of the Progressive Labor Party, a student and a teacher, described how teachers and students went to New Orleans not only to help the rebuilding of homes but to rebuild spirit as well. We also went to organize to change the system that allows such disasters to happen. The teacher said we must learn from the people of New Orleans how to organize and build the communitys infrastructure and camaraderie under such devastating conditions. The student indicted the basic racist nature of capitalism, calling on people to organize to end it.
The forums moderator said that although individuals can do a lot, only the government can function at a level that meets this crisis. The moderator urged a "hurricane of activity" to match the hurricanes (Katrina, Rita, and Wilma) that were allowed to destroy poor working-class, mostly black, neighborhoods while the government stood by and did not help.
Individual speakers detailed their own activities, from helping hurricane victims in New York City to get proper housing, to involvement in rebuilding in Mississippi to bringing food and other necessities to New Orleans. A positive but measured spirit of purpose permeated the entire evening, at which two collections helped defray costs of volunteers going to New Orleans. All agreed the multi-racial event was a huge success.
I work in a Family Literacy program, teaching English as a Second Language to young immigrant mothers, more than 60% undocumented. In April I attended a large immigrant rally with some of my students and their families. We made signs saying "Workers Struggles Have No Borders," later displaying them in our classroom with pictures of the protest.
The day after Bushs speech on suggestions for Congressional legislation, students came to class very angry. One after another spoke: "It has nothing to do with terrorists, but with terrorizing us." "The guest worker program is servitude." "No worker is going to turn himself in at the border." "Its not worth it to risk your life in Iraq to get U.S. citizenship!"
This led to a thorough discussion, in English, about why workers migrate, the proposed Congressional legislation and the purpose of borders. In the students words: "Workers are the same. We all need jobs to support our families." "We should never be divided."
We discussed a cartoon showing workers uniting to fight the boss. And finally, "Borders have to do with controlling and exploiting workers," said a Mexican immigrant woman. Everyone agreed. "Capitalism is a system that cant serve the working class," I added. 1 gave all students the pamphlet supporting anti-racists who fought the fascist Minutemen. Later I introduced CHALLENGE to five students and another teacher in our program.
The following week an immigration lawyer from a church group presented a workshop to the classes. Through all this activity were building relationships of support and trust that will serve us well as we face day-to-day racist incidents, more widespread attacks and the struggle to build multi-racial, internationalist unity of the working class.
Recently, four staff members and I from our program were summoned to a meeting with the assistant principal and the guidance counselor of the elementary school where we work. These administrators wanted information about a 3-year old son of West African immigrants in our program who had applied for Pre-K in the school. The assistant principal said the school can use its "discretion" to accept or not, or "exit" kids it doesnt want. "We dont want problem kids," he said. He and the guidance counselor then let loose a series of vile racist remarks: "Families of these children are being evicted [from their apartments] because the kids are in the hallways singing from the banisters." "In the African culture, they beat the kids and we have to call ACS [Administration for Childrens Service]." "Just how religious is this [Muslim] family?" "Does dad have more than one wife? Hes probably never home." They glowed when explaining how theyre becoming "behavioralists" at a special administrators workshop.
To protest their "behavior" at the meeting I took notes to document every racist remark. I answered questions with "yes" or "no," declining any evaluation of the mother. who is my ESL student. Later, when I asked my students what they thought about the schools "discretionary Pre K program," they said its "discrimination." "Right," I said. "Keep your eyes open and fight it if this happens to you or anyone you know." Then I learned that the administration accepted the boy to Pre-K because they feared being accused of discrimination on the basis of "race," nationality or religion.
During this period I attended a workshop by a literacy center. Officials from the citys Office of Immigrant Affairs and the head of the corporation overseeing public health clinics and hospitals attended. The purpose was to build collaboration between literacy and health providers, specifically to win literacy teachers to deliver and explain a letter to their classes from the hospital corporation saying immigrants shouldnt fear visiting city hospitals and clinics; their immigration information would be kept "private."
Sounds OK; no doubt many sincere healthcare workers dont want to give an immigrants status to Immigration Service. But beware. Teachers and healthcare workers cant rely on City officials. We must do much more to protect our students and patients. The government can order access to records at any moment and City officials may shrug, maybe even whine. We need to organize working-class unity, strength in numbers, rank-and-file leadership, and especially leadership of committed communists.
Funny how the worm turns. Nearly 40 years ago when PLP criticized the Vietnamese leadership for abandoning the fight for workers' power as a goal of their struggle against the U.S. imperialist invasion of that country, we were roundly criticized by many pseudo-leftists for "attacking" the heroic practitioners of Peoples War. We said fighting for something less than the dictatorship of the proletariat would end up with some form of capitalism and would be betraying Peoples War.
Actually, PLP organized the first anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in 1963 and was the first to put forward the slogan, "U.S. imperialism get out of Vietnam." Eventually millions adopted this slogan, rather than the liberal "Stop the bombing" one which let imperialism off the hook. Eventually the heroism of the Vietnamese workers and peasants - which PLP supported, inside and outside the military - drove out the U.S. invaders.
Unfortunately PLP's warnings proved all too true. Soon the nationalist/state capitalist Vietnamese leadership allowed BP Amoco, Ford, Nike and their ilk to build factories there to exploit Vietnamese workers on $2-a-day wages. Now it appears the situation has come full circle.
On June 5, U.S. war hawk and "Defense" Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with Vietnamese government officials and enthusiastically greeted the resurgence of capitalism there. The N.Y. Times reported (6/6) that, "The United States and Vietnam agreed to increase their military contacts and to broaden their defense cooperation." Rumsfeld declared "with evident satisfaction" that the two nations had decided to step up "exchanges at all levels of the military." While criticizing Iran, Russia and China, Rumsfeld "heaped praise on his [Vietnamese] hosts .laud[ing] Vietnam's economic development." They agreed on sending Vietnamese officers to a Pentagon military language school in San Antonio and expanded medical training for other officers.
The more disgusting side of this visit was the fact that, "The Vietnamese greeted their guest with a resplendent military honor guard, which played the Star Spangled Banner" - this for a butcher who negotiated military agreements with Saddam Hussein in 1984 and then launched the latest war in Iraq which has killed over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, murdering them in their homes. Greeting such a killer and "deepening military cooperation" (the Times headline) is not what Vietnamese workers died for.
Soon after Rumsfeld's visit, who shows up but arch reactionary and Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, in "trade talks" with "his Vietnamese counterpart [which] turned into a lovefest choreographed by the hosts to show their affection for America." (NY Times, 6/19)
All this reflects a battle between the U.S. and Chinese ruling classes "for the allegiance of Vietnam, a growing capitalist power," says the Times.
As PLP has always rightly maintained, nationalists are part of capitalism and will always betray the working class.
Old-time PLer who remembers
The rural and indigenous population of Colombia is under siege. Narco paramilitaries are seizing their land and raping women while the government either turns a blind eye or supports it. Over four million people in rural areas are now refugees in their own country, with no job prospects and many turning to begging and prostitution to survive. Workers in the cities also face mass unemployment while cops and military officers are in the pockets of the drug mafias. Meanwhile, fascist President Alvaro Uribe, Bushs favorite ally in the region, was re-elected with money and support from the drug cartels.
However, many are also fighting back. A recent protest blocked roads; police repression killed six and gravely wounded 30. The protestors defended themselves with sticks and rocks, injuring a dozen anti-riot cops.
Many had illusions that the mayors of Bogota and Cali leaders of the so-called Democratic Pole opposing Uribe, and led by union hacks and fake-leftist politicians would bring changes. But they, too, have ordered attacks on protesting workers and students. Again, workers and their allies are paying dearly for illusions about lesser-evil politicians.
The road to follow is hard for workers and sometimes seems impossible, but theres no other path but class struggle, as the history of the working class here and worldwide has demonstrated.
The political work of the PLP group here is slowly growing, Using DESAFIO, were showing workers and youth that the only road out of this capitalist hellhole is by fighting for a new world without bosses for communism.
A Worker in Colombia
Recently an internal medicine resident who is returning to South Korea was signing out when he stopped and looked at the photo of me and my family holding a poster: "From The Gulf of Mexico to the Persian Gulf: RACISM KILLS." Quite confused until he confirmed that this was indeed my family, he then said, "I never thought of you that way, I know you care about the poor patients we treat but I didnt realize that you were so political. I didnt think Americans thought like this."
I was encouraged and asked him if he was a U.S. government supporter since hes from South Korea. He replied, "Things have become much more liberal there. No one wants another war with the North too many people died last time. We are afraid the U.S. is moving its base to the south, away from Seoul and artillery fire from the North, so they will be able to attack North Korea more easily. I believe I understand why Iran and North Korea should not give up their nuclear weapons."
We talked more about internationalism and anti-racism and left each other rather amazed at how wrong our stereotypes were.
The U.S. imperialists have fewer and fewer friends. We must be confident in reaching out to immigrants from throughout the world.
The CHALLENGE article (6/7), "Profit System Murders Five More Miners," about the deaths in Harlan County, Kentucky, makes clear that in a communist society every conceivable thing would be done to ensure "the safety of those workers who descend into the bowels of the earth." It also said that the U.S. government of, by and for the bosses has allowed coal bosses to get away with murder. Indeed, miners cannot rely upon the capitalist state and its political parties to solve the problem of safety on the job, a life-and-death question for miners in the here and now.
Historically, miners have relied on their own power, fighting shooting wars against company gun thugs and capitalist state armies and cops trying to control working conditions. The state exists to defend the interests of a particular class, so the miners must wage their battles for rights and unionization independent of the state. And they will!
The CHALLENGE article also says, "The only way to prevent such murders is to destroy the system that perpetuates such atrocities." However, a communist revolution is not around the corner and miners are dying right now.
Ive lived most of my life in the coal fields of Western Pennsylvania and come from a family of miners. The miners fought courageously to build the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); I think there will be a renewed struggle for unionization. In fact, most of those interviewed stated that maintaining job safety lies in organizing a union.
Today, none of Harlan Countys mines are unionized, though miners there have a long history of struggle and will no doubt fight again to halt this murder. As the film "Harlan County, USA" documents, miners stood up to gun-toting company goons and scabs in fighting for a union. When miners rely on their own power, they can win. So I dont totally agree with the idea in CHALLENGE that only a communist revolution can halt the murder in the mines.
Certainly, as a communist, I will support miners struggles for a UMWA unionization campaign, which will happen and should have the support of all labor. Miners can and will fight to gain more control over job safety. With a union they can shut down unsafe mines. Essentially, mine safety should rest with those who mine the coal. So its still possible for miners among the most combative in the working class to do something now about safety, even if it means armed struggle.
At the same time, its necessary to win miners to communist ideas and the struggle for real workers power, only possible when the bosses and their state are smashed. So I give all-out support to miners struggling for a union, while battling to win them to PLPs revolutionary communist ideas.
Meanwhile, in "Red" China 57 trapped miners drowned in a flood in the northern Shanxi province. Nearly 6,000 miners died in Chinas coal mines last year, many of them privately-owned.
Thus the problem is really international U.S. and Chinese coal miners have a common enemy, a profit-hungry capitalist system. While U.S. miners wage their struggle, so will those in China. A revolutionary communist leadership is needed in both cases.
For those on the U.S. "left" who claim China is "a workers state," does Chinas government represent workers interests? With 6,000 miners dead, the answer is obvious.
The miners fight for unionization is not a liberal-reformist struggle; its one for basic survival, a struggle that can become a school for communism. I give my total support to the miners battle.
BRONX, NY, June 14 On April 27, officer Rob Morero handcuffed Jamale Roberts, beat him to death and then dragged his body under a fire escape. Jamales mother said that many neighbors in the Bronx project looked on in horror. Then Morero beat on doors threatening the same treatment to anyone who revealed what they had seen.
This rabid murderer has been terrorizing working people in the 48th precinct for years. He would attack gentle and vulnerable people just to set an example. In fact, he recently told Jamale, "Ill be BACK for you!"
This 23-year-old worker had been laid off from his construction job for some time, and was trying hard to turn his life around. Respectful and caring, he was greatly loved in the neighborhood, and was striving to be a responsible father to his three-year-old son.
With unemployment at 50% for young black and Latino men in the Bronx, racist cops like Morero are on a loose leash to instill fear of fascist repression in workers and students who want to fight for jobs, education, health care and housing. But workers and students dont aim to take the likes of murderer Morero any more. Already there has been a militant march and demonstration at the precinct demanding an indictment and conviction. Politicians are already moving to betray the struggle; the districts city councilwoman was trying to be friendly with the demonstrators, but later was seen laughing with the cops. Sellout FBI informer Al Sharpton promised to come but didnt. Good! Workers dont need the bosses politicians.
What we do need is the mass militancy of working people. Jamales mother a nurses aide who usually has worked two jobs to support six children understands this need. Shes working with her pastor and a community coalition to organize another march on the precinct.
One of Jamales friends is in a Sunday School class taught by a PLP member and theyve begun to reach out to a network of congregations and to a Bronx PL teacher to mobilize students and parents as well. Numbers are vital to begin to put the fascist police and the politicians who control them on the defensive and to increasingly sharpen resistance to their racist terror.
Even more vital is the political perspective the Party brings to this struggle. The slogan "No Justice, No Peace" is, in fact, a reformist lie under capitalism. Seldom can "justice" be won from capitalist courts, even with the sharpest protracted struggles. And there will never be "peace" until long after communist revolution has not only swept away capitalism, but also defeated all capitalist ideology in the centuries-long process of building a world communist society. Recruiting new PL members will be the primary victory in the period ahead.
CHICAGO, IL June 17 "Whos gonna listen to you?" Thats what SEIU Local 20 Financial Secretary Greg Kelly told a Stroger Hospital ward clerk with more than 25 years on the job when she disagreed with him during contract negotiations. As this militant black woman told Kelly that she had deep ties to the workers and he was an arrogant, isolated racist and sexist, local President Byron Hobbs walked over and asked Kelly, "Do you need any help?" (The two of them together couldnt handle her.) Hobbs and Kelly think its easier to attack the workers than fight the bosses. Theyre about to learn a very profound lesson. Masses of SEIU health care workers will soon be asking them, "Whos gonna listen to you?"
For the past 17 months Hobbs & Co. have been begging for crumbs from County bosses while the latter have been attacking the workers and patients harder than ever. The union gave $800,000 to re-elect County boss John Stroger, trying to buy a new contract, only to have Stroger suffer a crippling stroke.
Meanwhile, workers are being fired, suspended and disciplined in unprecedented numbers with few if any arbitration hearings. After Stroger workers voted to strike, the union rather than preparing for one issued a flyer trying to scare workers about how they could be fired for striking!
They want to sell us a contract where increased health care costs will more than wipe out any small wage increase. They also want to increase union dues, as they just did at Northwestern Hospital.
Now the bosses are using mass racist Gestapo tactics to break us down. Recently groups of workers were fired in housekeeping and food service. Another woman was picking up her check while on vacation. Her 10-year-old son was waiting in the car. Stroger security dragged her off the elevator, through the main lobby and down to their office because they didnt like the way she showed her ID! She now faces being fired. The County CEOs use terror to keep control of the workers, sending the message, "This will happen to you if you dont stay in your place."
Greg Kelly is also the lead negotiator at Hektoen, where workers unanimously voted down the last agreement and staged a one-day strike which the leadership tried to sabotage. Hektoen bosses imposed the contract that had been defeated, costing each worker hundreds of dollars in increased healthcare costs. Its taken the union months to try to restart negotiations. At his first session, Kelly told the bargaining team that he and the union want to be partners with the bosses.
Workers wont follow a cowardly union leadership that insults their intelligence and works with the bosses. They will not follow "leadership" that wants to be partners with our racist oppressors and exploiters. Working conditions are stressing workers beyond all limits, making them sick, while the bosses refuse to allow us to use our own sick-time and medical leaves. They threaten workers who are out sick "if you dont return youll lose your job."
Shame on the weak leadership of Local 20! They should be tarred and feathered for continuing a slave mentality and keeping the shackles around our necks, making workers more cynical and demoralized instead of mobilized and organized. The answer is to build a mass PLP and prepare healthcare workers for mass struggle and communist revolution. This is the only way to open a dialogue among workers to determine our future, and to tear down the walls of wage slavery.
Mandela made secret deal with big biz
What about the "authorized version" of reality in South Africa since the end of apartheid? Pilger notes that while average household income has risen by 15%, average black household income has fallen by19%. "The unspoken deal" Pilger writes, "was that whites would retain economic control in exchange for black majority rule." Thus secret meetings were held in Britain before 1994 between the current president, Thabo Mbeki, members of the Afrikaner elite and companies with big commercial stakes in the country. Mandela told Pilger: "We do not want to challenge big business that can take fright and take away their money. privatization is the fundamental policy." (GW, 6/22)
Iraq poll: "Americans, go home!"
Brookings Institution Iraq Index cites a poll showing that 87 percent of Iraqis want a timeline for American withdrawal, and 47 percent approve of attacks on American troops. (NYT, 6/18)
Courts take another step toward fascism
A federal judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that the government has wide latitude under immigration law to detain noncitizens on the basis of religion, race or national origin, and to hold them indefinitely without explanation.
The ruling came in a class-action lawsuit by Muslim immigrants detained after 9/11 .
Lawyers in the suit, who vowed to appeal yesterdays decision, said parts of the ruling could potentially be used far more broadly, to detain any noncitizen in the United States for any reason.
"This decision is a green light to racial profiling and prolonged detention of noncitizens at the whim of the president." (NYT)
Demos bring working-class students out
The next morning [March 30] the school television channel showed a news clip of school walkouts in Los Angeles, Austin and Dallas. "The students went wild," says Sotelo, who is now under investigation for disrupting school activities for urging her students to leave school. "The administration quickly got on the intercom, instructing the teachers to turn off the television. But by then it was too late."
About 700 El Paso students walked out that day. In predominantly Hispanic schools throughout the country the story was the same. An estimated 70,000 walked out in San Diego county; in Los Angeles county 35,000 students left school over the course of the protests; in Dallas about 3,500 demonstrated .
The past few weeks have seen more than 600,000 schools students skip classes in Chile .
The people involved in the demonstrations today are in general younger, poorer and darker than those of 40 years ago. Young women are more likely to take a leadership role; their parents are more likely to support them. These are not middle-class students seeking an alliance with the workers; they are working-class students (GW, 6/22)
Union retreating; workers need revolution
Las Vegas, June 11 The president of the United Automobile Workers union told his members in a strikingly blunt report released Sunday that they cannot ride out the automobile industry crisis and should be prepared to make tradition-breaking decisions to help rescue the industry .
"Usually you rally them for the fight thats ahead; hes rallying them for the hard times that are ahead," said Gary N. Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University in Worchester, Mass. (NYT, 6/12)
Pope protects pervert
To the editor:
Pope lets priest off the hook would have been a more appropriate headline to your article Pope gets tough on sex abuse (May 26). Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, has been accused by nine men (who were novices at the time) of sexual molestation. But according to the Legionaries of Christ, Fr Maciel has declared his innocence and, "following the example of Jesus Christ, [has] decided not to defend himself in anyway."
To cap all this tragic nonsense, the Pope, after years of vacillation, has finally decided not to investigate those allegations of paedophilia any further. Rather, according to a Vatican statement, the Holy see has decided to "invite [Fr Maciel] to a reserved life of prayer and penance " Apparently he has accepted the invitation. Being sent out to grass is doubtless a better option than the chance of spending the rest of his life in the slammer.
But to cut through all this mumbo-jumbo and get directly to the point, your subeditor could also have considered simply; Pope protects pervert. (GW, 6/15)
Modern capitalism has slave auctions
Women are being sold off in so-called slave auctions in the arrivals lounges of British airports, according to authorities desperate to crack down on the burgeoning trade in human trafficking. The Crown Prosecution Service says foreign women are being sold as sex workers as soon as they arrive (GW, 6/15)
Brazil landless march against government
Almost 500 landless protesters were being questioned in Brazils capital last week after a violent protest in the countrys parliament left at least 23 people injured and one man in intensive care. Organisers said the protest which lasted about two hours, was intended to draw attention to the lack of progress in their fight for land reform.
Television images showed confrontations between activists, with windows being smashed and an attempt to roll a car into the congress building. Police rounded up about 490 suspects organised by the MLST the Movement for Liberation of the Landless. (GW, 6/22
"They came in with guns and told us to get out," recalled Ignacio Pina, 81, a retired railroad worker in Bakersfield, California. "They didnt let us take anything," not even a trunk with birth certificates proving that he and his five siblings were born in the U.S. The family was jailed for 10 days before being deported to Mexico. This is not from todays racist anti-immigrant attacks, but from the 1930s anti-immigrant campaign known as "The Repatriation."
Possibly more than 400,000 Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans were either deported or coerced into leaving the U.S. through racist immigration raids and a campaign to deny them jobs. Many, mostly children, were U.S. citizens.
Anti-immigrant racism exists to justify the racist economic super-exploitation of immigrant labor, and to divide citizen and immigrant workers so they cannot unite to overthrow the bosses. Anti-immigrant racism and mass deportations have accompanied periods of economic crises. In the late 1870s, an economic slump led to a wave of anti-Chinese racism. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, there was the "Repatriation" against Mexican immigrants. The political crisis brought on by World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution led to the Palmer Raids of 1919 against European immigrants. The bosses saw them as "carriers" of the Russian revolution and engineered mass deportations and the infamous frame-up and execution of Sacco and Venzetti.
The same government and gutter racists who attack immigrants launch racist terror against black workers too, one reason why its important for all workers to fight racism.
Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, Josef Stalins revolutionary leadership waged a campaign against all forms of racism. The famous 1936 USSR Constitution (the "Stalin Constitution") made racism a political crime against the Soviet state and the working class. The Bolshevik leadership elevated the cultural, political, economic and material progress of Azerbaijanis, Georgians, Tartars, Uzebeks and other "minorities" who had been persecuted in Czarist Russia.
These ethnic groups became artists, scientists, skilled workers and political leaders. Dark-skinned workers became mayors of many Soviet cities when many black and Mexican workers were being attacked and lynched in the U.S.
In the 1920s and 1930s, U.S. imperialism was acquiring a strong hold on the Mexican economy. U.S. mine operators and other industrial bosses paid poverty wages in Mexico, forcing many workers to look for work in the U.S. Sound familiar? Once here they were further victimized. Many Mexican workers joined and followed the lead of the old Communist Party in the U.S., which is one reason the bosses turned on them so viciously in the 1930s.
Understanding what happened during the racist "Repatriation" is important because it is a part of our history that has been all but erased. The more we know about our history, the better we can fight our oppressors. Workers need to reclaim our history from the bosses and expose the racist murders, from killing union organizers to the Rosewood massacre of black workers in Florida. As we fight for a communist world, not only will we understand history to change the world, but we will to paraphrase Marx and Engels "finally see the real start of human history."
(The following review was sent us by a friend in France where this film has already opened.)
The Road to Guantanamo. Docudrama directed by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross.
This film is based on the Tipton Three, three Pakistani youths in the U.K. who return to the old country for a wedding. Then they go to Afghanistan for adventure and are captured by the Northern Alliance what Bush and Rumsfeld call the "tribals." And then theyre sent as "suspected Taliban fighters" to Guantanamo.
These are real people, with family and friends one is on parole and another works in a restaurant but they never come alive in this film. The directors only hint at this stuff, maybe because they think itll turn off the audience. So you get these sanitized heroes. The film-makers pull their punches. They dont trust the viewers enough to put the naked truth up on the screen?
However, this is the first time somebody has recreated exactly whats going down in Guantanamo. The government has been working overtime to sweep this dirt under the rug and this film pulls up a corner to show whats there. Any article youve read or picture youve seen on TV is nothing compared to the way this film sits you down in a cell at Camp X-Ray.
Theres a row of dirt-floored chicken wire cages and youre in one. You have one white plastic bucket with water and another one to defecate in; thats all the "furniture." Burning tropical sun all day and football stadium floodlights all night. Armed guards walking up and down shouting "dont talk!" and "dont move!" and "dont exercise!" Try disobeying a special helmeted white-uniformed squad of five soldiers enters your cell and beats the living daylights out of you.
Just when you think youll go crazy with boredom, they haul you off for interrogation. They have a million techniques and you never know what to expect. A smiling hypocrite trying to get on your good side? Or the guy who, with a flick of his eyelids, has the guards hit you upside the head every time you give a "wrong" answer?
And then theres the torture. They chain your wrists and ankles to an eye-bolt in the floor. You cant stand, sit, or lie down. Just squat hunkered down. You cant put your hands over your ears, understand? Then they turn on the music full volume ear-splitting heavy metal. The movie audience is squirming in their seats after 30 seconds. The prisoners are tortured like this for 4, 5, 6 hours at a stretch.
This is totally twisted inhuman stuff. Nazi stuff? Youre 100% right. The U.S. Army has been studying Nazi techniques. The prisoners are not allowed to look the guards in the eyes just like in the Nazi death camps or the segregated South in the 1950s.
Why is this happening? This film wont answer that question. Its strictly apolitical. A simple denunciation of the barbarism at Guantanamo. Nothing about the organized brutality of the U.S. ruling class, whether Bush & Co. or the liberal war hawks calling for more troops and more blood in Iraq.
This is an experiment. This is having the concentration camp machinery tuned up and ready to take off, to be used against anyone who opposes U.S. imperialism at home or abroad. (And has been used in U.S. prisons forever, especially in the Jim Crow South.)
The film never traces any of this to the system these modern-day Nazis represent capitalism on the loose in the 21st century.
See the film. Think about what we must do to fight fascism. For starters, joining PLP and building a movement to destroy this barbarous system.
(The following was mistakenly omitted from last issues "Forward to Communism" column on the Soviet Union, Part 3)
In the early 1920s, the Soviet Communist Party had made a major retreat, adopting a "New Economic Policy" that promoted private business.
Their main and fatal error lay in not believing that masses of workers and peasants could be motivated to work for political incentives rather than for narrow material ones like wages, and to meet the needs of the whole working class in building communism. If they had believed in the workers, they would have made the solution to the problems of production the property of the entire working class, based on the urgent need to build new relationships among workers in the process of production.
The point of communism is not that the government and Party should feed or produce goods for the workers, but rather that they should organize the entire working class to carry out these tasks. PLP would handle such problems, not by telling people to fend for themselves and build small businesses, but by launching a massive struggle/campaign to increase food production in as collective a manner as possible, guided by a political struggle over the importance of building communist relationships in the process of production.