Anti-Racists Confront Minutemen
France: Sit-Down Strikers Demand Rights for Undocumented Workers
Iraq Body Count Shows U.S. Imperialists Are Mass Murderers
Oaxaca Struggle Shows Workers Revolutionary Potential
Bosses Battle for Mexicos Oil
Liberals Attack Pervert Pol Foley to Advance War Agenda
Free Speech for Racist Minutemen Means Fascism for Working Class
Freedom for Nazis Led to Death for Millions
Anti-Racists Drown Out KKK At Harpers Ferry
Whether Dems or G.O.P., All Roads Lead to Racist Cutbacks, War
Florida Teachers Mass on Highways, Rallying for Pay Raises
Workers Nix Union Hacks War Contract, Strike Goodyear
Chavezs Anti-Bush Rhetoric Hides Nationalist Reformers Exploitation
Anti-War Teach-In Reveals U.S. Imperialist Atrocities
Plan to Fight Anti-Immigrant Attacks, Expose Liberal Reform Tool for War Recruiting
Lynne Stewart Sentence: Judges Compassion Masks Stepped-up Fascism
Students Rally vs. Military Recruiters at Career Fair
Learning Communism in the School of Life
Working on Many Fronts Post-May Day
Under Capitalism, Workers Cant Celebrate Independence
U.S. Killed Nearly 3 Million North Koreans
Students Occupy, Close College for the Deaf
FLASH! Cops Arrest 133 Students
The Great Anti-Fascist Battle In Londons East End, 1936
PLP History: Championing Internationlism
NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 7 Today the Minutemen rallied to spread their racist, anti-immigrant filth in front of the Mexican consulate in Manhattan. Earlier in the week they had also spoken at Columbia University in the face of student outrage (see article page 3). This latest organizing effort shows their seriousness in building their racist movement within the U.S. The fact that they were allowed to rally at a major, liberal Ivy League university and in the streets of Manhattan within a week shows the support these gutter racists are receiving from the ruling class in their continued effort to develop U.S. fascism.
A multiracial group of about fifty anti-racists, including a contingent of PLP teachers and students, chanted down the racist Minutemen at the Mexican consulate. With chants like "Power to the Workers, Death to the Fascists" and "The Workers, United, Will Never be Defeated," the anti-racists took leadership from PLP. The anti-Minuteman rally had both strengths and weaknesses. We distributed CHALLENGE to the protesters and to passers-by who stopped to show support.
Many high school and college youth took leadership in leading militant chants and speaking on the bullhorn. When the police told the anti-racists to shut off the bullhorn, while allowing the Minutemen to use theirs, the youth became even angrier and led the crowd in chanting even louder. Any illusions these students may have had about the cops role were fractured when they saw how the cops allowed the racists to speak while arresting one of the anti-racists just for standing too close to the barricade. Despite the cops attempts to discourage the anti-racists, we were still going strong when the Minutemen left, accompanied by the cops who protected them.
To the disbelief of many of the protesters, the Minutemen had a few black and Latino people in their rally. These individuals, having been won to support the ruling classs racism, are becoming traitors to the working class. They help spread the big lie that unemployment, low wages and cutbacks are caused by other workers and not by the bosses drive for maximum profits and their war budget. All workers must see that racism divides and weakens the entire working class. It produces super-profits for the bosses paying one group of workers less and lowering the wage level of all workers. Their racism is as venomous and dangerous as that of any neo-Nazi or KKKer. These traitors to their class are an invaluable help to the ruling class as it builds up fascist oppression of the workers.
Although the anti-racists nearly doubled the number of Minutemen, our forces were still too small. U.S. workers still have a long way to go in understanding the dangerous role that groups like the Minutemen play in galvanizing anti-immigrant attacks. This lack of class consciousness weakens workers ability to unite to smash these racist goons and their capitalist masters. The ruling class counts on this lack of class consciousness in hoping to win workers who hate the Minutemens racism into the liberal immigrant rights movement. This movement builds U.S. nationalism among the immigrant youth who the rulers need as cannon fodder in their endless imperialist wars.
Communists have always been in the forefront of the fight against all forms of racism. Today, we must redouble our efforts to win all workers to the only struggle that can end racism, from Baghdad to NYC, and build a society without borders based on the needs and desires of most of worlds workers: communism.
CHILLY-MAZARIN, FRANCE, Oct. 13 Immigrant and French-born industrial laundry workers made French labor history when they staged a one-week sit-down strike here, demanding papers for their undocumented fellow workers.
Management triggered the strike of 160 when it sent pink slips to some of the 22 undocumented workers at the Modeluxe laundry, whose customers are Paris hotels. On Friday, Sept. 29, all the undocumented workers struck in solidarity. The following Monday, all the workers most are immigrants from Mali and Senegal occupied the laundry in a solidarity strike.
Management at U.K.-owned Modeluxe first tried sweet-talking the workers. On Monday they said the government agreed to legalize four of the undocumented workers. The sit-down continued. On Wednesday they promised to win legalization for all the undocumented workers because the company needed the workers it had tried to fire! The sit-down continued.
On Thursday morning, the bosses talked tough, producing a government document saying no more workers would be legalized, and telling the workers they couldnt win and should return to work. But the workers held fast. That afternoon, the company had the cops violently break the picket line and brought in scabs. Despite cops and scabs inside the laundry, the sit-down continued.
On Friday morning, the bosses brought in rent-a-cops with dogs to intimidate the workers, and started loading laundry carts onto a semi-trailer truck brought over from the U.K. a clear threat to shut down the laundry altogether. Still, the workers continued their sit-down.
Finally, the company got a court order for the police to expel all "outsiders" from the laundry. At midnight the workers decided they couldnt protect their undocumented mates from arrest and deportation, and ended the strike. They won payment for three of the days of the sit-down.
The undocumented workers are continuing their struggle for legalization, protected from arrest by union activists. Unfortunately, theyre relying on union bureaucrats and fake leftist elected officials. This fight shows that the real power to win legalization lies in the workers ability to shut down production.
Anti-immigrant racism is growing, from Europe to the U.S. The only way to eliminate the bosses borders once and for all is to destroy capitalism and its racism by fighting for communism.
U.S. imperialism stands guilty of mass murder. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have just published a study "Mortality After the 2003 Invasion of Iraq" in the British medical journal Lancet. They found that the U.S.-led oil war killed more than 650,000 Iraqis between March 2003 and June 2006.
"Coalition" forces bullets and bombs directly caused one-third of these deaths. Sectarian warfare resulting from the botched occupation is responsible for the rest. The pace and scale of the carnage are staggering. Violent deaths have doubled every year since fighting began. The war has wiped out 2.5% of Iraqs population. By contrast, during World War II, Britain lost 0.94% of its population, France 1.35%, China 1.89% and the U.S. 0.32% (less than one-third of one percent). Iraqs 2.5% loss would translate into 7.5 million deaths in the U.S. today.
Johns Hopkins and the Lancet are by no means trying to start an anti-war movement. Theyre both liberal, ruling-class institutions. Hopkins houses the School for Advanced International Studies, an important imperialist think-tank. The Lancet belongs to Anglo-Dutch publisher Reed-Elsevier, which shares top officers with Shell Oil. Their publication of the death toll at this time has two purposes. First, its one of many pre-election "October Surprises" designed to punish Republicans for bungling the invasion and help elect more effective war-making Democrats. Second, the report builds support for the U.S.s endless wars for profit by suggesting that they can somehow be sanitized. The researchers end by calling for "an independent international body to monitor compliance with the Geneva Conventions and other humanitarian standards" in order "to lessen the tragic human cost of future wars." They assume there will be "future wars."
While the rulers release the deadly numbers, as disturbing as they are, they keep a tight embargo on images and eyewitness accounts of the slaughter that might spark widespread anti-war outrage. The bosses learned a lesson from Vietnam. After losing that war, the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded that if they could do it over again they would change three things: use far more troops; officially declare war and thereby make anti-war activity treasonable; and shut down the media coverage that regularly broadcast graphic pictures of U.S. atrocities.
Despite the photo ban, however, and the embedding of reporters handpicked by the Pentagon, news of U.S.-inflicted horrors has leaked out. On November 16, 2004, Radio4Houston aired a program (available online) called "Fallujah: A Sea of Rubble and Death." Consisting of interviews with U.S. soldiers who had been there, it proves that, for the U.S. war machine, atrocities are standard tactics, not aberrations. (Like systematic prison torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and recent brass-sanctioned rape murders and mosque shoot-ups, the bosses try to portray their policy as the work of "bad apples.")
First, the soldiers said, the Air Force "softened up" this city of 300,000, considered an insurgent stronghold, with a month of indiscriminant bombing. One veteran spoke of seeing a fetus that a U.S. bomb had torn from its mothers womb. Next, the U.S. top brass ordered the city evacuated but then did a double cross. After a few, but not nearly all, women and young children got out, U.S. officers forced everybody back in, labeling males under fifteen years old "combatants." Then came the command to U.S. troops to eliminate the combatants. U.S. soldiers and Marines, the veterans said, went from house to house exterminating whomever they met. The head of Fallujahs hospital said U.S. Marines killed 600 Iraqis, "most of them women, children and the elderly," in the first week after entering the city. (AP, 11/4/04) U.S. military hospitals, under orders, refused to treat those whom the invaders merely maimed.
The rulers have taken extraordinary steps to discredit such exposÚs, however rare. Earlier this year, a young man calling himself "Jesse Macbeth" appeared in an alternative media video claiming to be an ex-Army Ranger who had killed over 200 non-combatants, including children, in Iraq. But "Macbeth" was a fake. He had never even been to Iraq. Pro-Bush media, led by Fox, jumped all over the hoax as "phony propaganda." It really doesnt matter whether "Macbeth" was a well-meaning but misguided war opponent or Bush & Co.s willing stooge. The media now treat all soldiers war crimes admissions with serious skepticism, even as the Lancet shows the "coalitions" killing rate rising continually.
The Lancet report tallies the body count, which will explode into the millions in the coming, global conflict, most likely with China, but fails to charge the guilty-as-sin U.S. ruling class with genocide. It also neglects the more than 2,700 slain working-class U.S. GIs and untold Afghan victims. Justice will come only when workers organized in a party such as ours indict, convict and punish the murderers in a communist revolution.
OAXACA, MEXICO, Oct. 17 "Whats needed is a voice for communist revolution. The electoral political parties only defend the bosses interests and legitimize the injustice and inequality of the capitalist system that kills miners, teachers and students," said a striking teacher during a meeting with workers, students and teachers.
The teachers four-month battle in Oaxaca shows the potential of workers organized in struggle. Masses of people in Oaxaca showed their solidarity by erecting barricades in all the streets to repel police attacks. Workers armed with poles, machetes, rocks and Molotov cocktails take turns during the nights guarding the barricades.
Teachers have seized some radio stations while other workers warn the teachers about the presence of cops and call on the community to build solidarity with this movement.
Teachers and workers nationwide and internationally have supported the struggle in Oaxaca. On Oct.16, dissident teachers from 31 states and Mexico City threatened to form a new national union leader to protest fascist national union leader Elba Esther Gordillos plan to scab on the Oaxaca teachers.
Although the militant workers, teachers and students have made great sacrifices in this struggle, it may not achieve its stated goal, the ousting of the governor. Capitalism, the basic cause of our problems, will be affected but not destroyed. A new governor, controlled by the same system, would be just as bad or even worse than Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
But this struggle shows that we workers are capable, committed organizers who can achieve real communist workers power when the masses are won to that goal. It can serve as a school for building communism, exposing the system, and understanding our enemy, the ruling class and its State (all politicians, judges, laws, etc.) and the rulers servants in the church and the media.
Recently, young students from Oaxaca went to a northern city where the militancy and solidarity of the University students greatly inspired them. Theyre asking that workers and students from across the country travel to Oaxaca to share experiences and ideas on class struggle and revolution.
That weekend in Oaxaca was a moving experience as young people openly asked to become active participants in the Party. International solidarity encouraged comrades from Oaxaca to expand their struggle to build a communist society. These movements are full of danger but also create great opportunities to bring our political ideas to the workers and build a mass PLP. Meeting new friends and bringing them these politics are the biggest victories communists and the working class can achieve in this struggle.
|On Oct. 9, when the march of over 5,000 teachers and their supporters from Oaxaca reached Mexico City, PLPers distributed 300 CHALLENGES spurring excellent political discussions as well as 2,000 communist leaflets calling on teachers, students and workers to join the fight for communist revolution in order to end poverty wages and all the attacks on our class. It declared that an attack on the Oaxacan teachers is an attack on all workers and called for building PLP to unite workers internationally.|
Billionaire Carlos Slim Latin America's richest boss (see CHALLENGE, 10/18) has a strategy to privatize Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex for himself and the Mexican capitalists in his group. His plan confronts two apparently contradictory tendencies among the nation's politicians and ruling class. One is a privatization scheme as envisioned by President-elect Felipe Calderon and his group, which would benefit mainly the U.S. and foreign investors. The other idea is the "no-privatization-at-all" slogan advocated by Lopez Obrador's populist movement and the capitalists supporting him.
During the July presidential election, the Mexican Employers' Association of which Slim and many in his group are members endorsed Felipe Calderon. Slim and his gang didn't oppose this endorsement. However, they refused to add to their Chapultepec Pact program, a provision demanded by Lopez Obrador stating that PEMEX and its oil reserves not be sold to national or international investors.
It seems the ideal situation for Slim & Co. would be to have Calderon's government seriously undertake the sale of PEMEX to U.S. and foreign investors and then have Lopez Obrador after making a deal as the nationalist/capitalist and big buddy of Slim mobilize the millions behind him to fight for the slogan, "If PEMEX must be sold, better to Mexicans than to foreigners!"
Lopez Obrador, who calls himself "the president of Mexico by the will of the majority," has staged numerous, enormous rallies protesting the results of the July election which was decided in favor of Felipe Calderon. Millions of poor workers and others strongly support Lopez Obrador, hoping that his "the-poor-people-first" program will solve their many problems. But he's nothing but a demagogue who supports capitalism. He wants to throw a few crumbs to the workers in order to guarantee the stability of Mexican capitalism and win the allegiance of the workers to one sector of the Mexican bourgeoisie fighting another over resources and the value produced by workers. Liberal nationalist politicians always end up allying with, and serving, the interest of one or another sector of the national bosses and one or another imperialist butcher. They are wolves in sheep's clothing, the worst enemies of the working class.
Uncovering a scandal on the eve of elections the "October Surprise" is a time-honored, tried-and-true tactic of the ruling class. The latest suspect, Mark Foley, a Republican representative from Florida, faces accusations of having sexual affairs with teen-age House pages. What the dominant, liberal wing of U.S. capitalists wants is not Foleys atonement for his sins but a House majority of Democrats who they hope will be better able to mobilize the millions of mostly working-class troops they require for their ever-intensifying military conflicts.
In Foleys follies, the liberals hope theyve found a means to strip the Republican Party of much of its conservative religious voting base. Amid the GOPs troubles, the liberal New York Times has been running a blockbuster series attacking religious groups abuse of their exemption from taxes and other regulations. Calls for Republican House speaker Dennis Hasterts resignation accompany "shocked" liberals prosecution of Foley. Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Neys recent guilty pleas to ostensibly unrelated bribery charges help round out the picture.
Foleys saga recalls the liberals recent revelation of rampant child molestation among Catholic priests. Like the page abuse, the rulers had known the dirty secret for ages. They blew the whistle at the start of the latest war in Iraq, when U.S. priests were preaching the Vaticans pro-European, anti-U.S. line. Chastened, these clergymen have since changed their tune. Bishops now hand out U.S. flags to potential military recruits at immigrant rallies.
We shouldnt be fooled. What shapes the liberals moral posturing over Foley is a need to employ massive armed force to combat rivals for control of the worlds sources of profit.
NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 11 One week ago, Columbia Universitys Young Republican club invited Jim Gilchrist, founder of the racist Minutemen (MM) to speak at this Ivy League center of ruling-class education. This is another big step in developing U.S. fascism, part of the rulers attempts to build mass support for their ideology.
Hundreds of workers and community residents picketed outside of this student-only event, chanting anti-Minuteman slogans, including, "Hitler Rose, Hitler Fell; Minutemen Go to Hell!" and "Las Luchas Obreras No Tienen Fronteras" "Workers Have No Borders"). Inside after a previous MM speaker, a black politician, had spoken for almost an hour Gilchrist was spewing his anti-immigrant garbage for a few minutes when students from the Columbia Chicano Caucus marched onto the stage and unfurled a banner reading, "No Human Being is Illegal." A scuffle erupted as the MM and their supporters grabbed and tore the banner while punching and kicking other anti-racist students who attempted to get on stage. Then 80% of those in the hall began chanting their support of the anti-racists action. This ended the program.
During the protest, PLers reached many with our ideas via chants, posters, buttons and the sale of CHALLENGE. We salute the courage of those who confronted the racists inside the hall. However, many students who were disgusted with the MM racism still support the notion of absolute free speech. One Chicano student leader defended her organizations actions saying, they have not "...interfered with anyones free speech. We simply expressed our right to freedom of speech."
But when the KKK came to NYC several years ago, PLers clobbered them BEFORE they could get started. Imagine if the racist MM had been physically attacked by the students and run out of the hall! That would have given the fascists pause before they continued to spew their filthy message.
Now "liberal" Mayor Bloomberg and the bosses mass media are attacking the anti-racists protest as an "outrage." Theyre the same ones who support imperialist wars worldwide and racist exploitation of workers everywhere. Columbia U. President Bollinger is threatening action against the student protesters.
Under capitalism there is no "free" speech, only speech with money and power behind it. The ruling class will use its might to promote its real agenda and attack those who oppose it. We should support the Columbia students against any charges against them and use this opportunity to raise with our friends and within our unions, campus clubs, churches and community organizations the need to unmask the MM and their fascist paymasters.
I met with a dozen progressive high school students to discuss immigration. These students are sympathetic to immigrants and repulsed by Pat Buchanan and his anti-immigrant rants.
One student mentioned the Columbia protest; many had read the NY Times article and, predictably, put forth the civil liberties position. Then I asked them to consider the following:
Hitler wrote that in the 1920s, when the Nazis were still relatively weak, their opponents could have crushed them in the streets. By the early 1930s they were too powerful and it was the Nazis who would crush their opponents.
So what if the anti-Nazis had physically attacked and crushed the fascists in the streets in the 1920s and thereby prevented their growth? Theres no question that would have violated the Nazis "free speech" and "right of assembly." But it might have saved the lives of millions who the Nazis later murdered.
In a situation with contending rights i.e., the "rights" of fascists to speech and assembly vs. the rights of Jews, leftists, gays, gypsies and others to live dont we have an obligation to choose one over the other?
HARPER'S FERRY, WV, Oct. 14 PLP mobilized half of 50 protestors, including students, workers and active-duty military personnel, in a militant, multi-racial demonstration against the World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. These fascists dared to defile the sacred anti-racist site where John Brown's multi-racial band of 21 carried out their bold raid against slavery in 1859 that effectively set the U.S. Civil War in motion.
Chanting, "Death to the Klan, Power to the Workers," the Party-led group confronted over 100 cops brought in from five jurisdictions to defend the fascists. The cops fronted a line of nose-to-tail police cars, which in turn was in front of an impassable railroad trestle, which in turn was in front of a temporary metal barrier surrounding the fascists. Obviously they were determined to protect the Klan scum from anti-racist justice.
Nevertheless, our chanting and militancy drowned out the fascist rally of four robed Klansmen flanked by 15 uniformed Nazis. Several local residents of this mountain community joined us, and many tourists were aghast to see the Klan in this National Park. Our spirited protest awakened the activism among some of our friends, and bodes well for the growth of PLP.
CHICAGO, Oct. 15 Cook County Health System workers are learning the hard way that the liberals are paving the road to fascism. On September 28, Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele (a black woman Democrat) called for 10% budget cuts ($100 million) from all department heads. This will mean layoffs, service cuts and clinic closings.
Just six days earlier, FBI agents raided the County's human resources bureau and four hospitals in a crackdown on corrupt political hiring. The racist rulers must squeeze out every dollar, including clamping down on their corrupt underlings, to maintain their empire and prepare for larger wars to come. Democrat and Republican roads all lead to racist cutbacks.
In July 2006, a Northwestern University report stated, "The Cook County health care system is facing an impending crisis," and warned of cuts in federal Medicaid money, the escalating costs in healthcare and the rise in uninsured and underinsured workers. The County "does not have a structure to navigate the emerging health care crisis," and a "Blue Ribbon Commission" is needed to oversee the County President.
One meeting was organized where professional health care workers were limited to discussing what they thought should be cut, like certain prescription drugs to patients. There was no mention of the $6 billion-a- month war in Iraq that is draining federal funding.
On the other hand, chief medical officers, doctors and nurses unanimously oppose the cuts, recognizing the devastating effects they will have on the mostly black, Latin and immigrant patient population. They felt that doctors and nurses should stand with other healthcare workers and the community/patient population. This could set the stage for a struggle against the cutbacks and an opportunity to strengthen the base for PLP.
These budget cuts will worsen the health of an already ailing population burdened with poverty and illness. But it will be even more deadly if healthcare workers are won to fight under the leadership of the Democrats for a policed "health" system in line with a fascist war economy.
The goal of the Northwestern report and Democratic post-9/11 "yearnings" are to win workers and the community to fight for the bosses war budget health system, just as they have mobilized millions of immigrant workers and youth to march behind the Democrats war agenda. The ruling class wants more troops, a cheap labor war economy and a racist, patriotic population. Democrats only criticize Bush for failing to win the population to their fascist plans.
Only by persistently and patiently fighting for our revolutionary outlook in the mass movement and at work can we win workers to join PLP. Many of our co-workers see these racist cutbacks are directly related to the war in Iraq. But they dont see fighting for communism as the solution, yet. Our job is to build a base for communist revolution with our co-workers as we fight these racist budget cuts, expose the farce of the upcoming elections, and fight the fascist restructuring of the County health system.
MIAMI, Oct. 11 "More than praise, we need a raise," chanted thousands of schoolteachers across Dade County as they rallied along major highways and at district headquarters demanding raises on a par with neighboring counties. "Im a single mom," said Santa Melendez, "and I have to work a second job to help pay the bills. No matter how hard we work, its still not enough." Teachers said they cant afford to live in the county where they teach. Nearly 2,000 didnt go to school to attend the rallies.
DETROIT, MI., Oct. 5 Today more than 12,000 workers struck 16 Goodyear Tire & Rubber plants in the U.S. and Canada. Whether they know it or not, striking workers are taking a stand against a war economy that is forcing down wages and benefits to finance billions for war and fascist Homeland Security. The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) union authorized the strike after 40% of the workers rejected a tentative agreement between the union and the company. As in auto, steel, aerospace and other industries, workers have suffered decades of mass layoffs and concessions. And the patriotic union leaders boast of their being partners in this process.
Goodyear is continuing production at its non-union facilities and using management as scabs to try to keep the struck plants operating. The walkout could affect U.S. auto plants, which depend on just-in-time delivery and maintain a very low inventory of tires.
Workers are striking against Goodyears demands for wage cuts for new hires and against increased attacks on pensions, medical coverage and working conditions. Goodyear also wants to close two factories in Alabama and Texas, wiping out 2,000 jobs.
This summer, the USWA accepted concession contracts with the other big three tire companies. The union agreed to cut starting pay for new hires to $13/hour. But Goodyear demanded even more, including cutting wages for new hires to $10/hour. Meanwhile, Goodyear CEO Robert Keegan made over $7 million in 2005.
Like the auto and steel bosses, Goodyear wants to drastically reduce labor costs and the amount it pays out to tens of thousands of retired workers and their dependents.
The USWA absorbed the United Rubber Workers union in 1995 after the sellout of a ten-month strike of 2,300 Bridgestone-Firestone workers and the destruction of tens of thousands of union jobs in the tire industry.
Millions of workers are being forced to pay for the bosses plans for racist, endless imperialist wars and fascism. This is the immediate and long- range future capitalism has for the worlds workers. PLP offers a different future: fighting for a communist society without any bosses and their wars for profits.
One day after George Bush addressed the United Nations to defend the bloody policies of the U.S., Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez blasted the "imperialist policies" of the U.S. In a comically rich speech, he called Bush the devil, proclaiming that "he could still smell the sulfur" of the evil one. He later said, "Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world."
Republican and Democratic leaders (like New Yorks Charles Rangel) came to the defense of Bush because they considered it an insult to the whole country. Many on the "pseudo" left as well as workers around the world have praised Chavezs criticisms of U.S. imperialism, believing he gave a voice to the people.
But if Bush left the scent of the devil, Chavez left the scent of a rat. Chavezs "revolution" represents only the interests of local capitalists and imperialists who compete with the U.S. to control and exploit the workers of South America. Venezuela is a member of the Chinese- and European Union-supported MERCOSUR that is just the other imperialists alternative to the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade of Americas. Later in the speech he proposed giving more power to the Secretary General, repressing the veto and expanding UN membership. These proposals reform the United Nations (take power away from the larger capitalists like the U.S.), not destroy it as a defender of class oppression.
Chavez proclaimed, "Dawn is breaking out all over. You can see it in Africa and Europe and Latin America and Oceana. I want to emphasize that optimistic vision." This vision of reformed capitalism may work better for nationalist capitalists as well as imperialists friendly to them, but workers will only see a new dawns light if we reject Chavezs "reformed" capitalist siren call.
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 10 At a recent documentary screening on a campus here, students saw first-hand the brutality and murderous violence of U.S. imperialisms current profit war in Iraq. The film revealed the aftermath of the U.S.s April 2004 military offensive in Falluja. Viewing the graphic footage of civilian casualties and heartrending interviews, many of the 50 students attending turned their eyes away several times in disgust. Some couldnt believe that the atrocities depicted in the film including the killing of two young children by U.S. snipers were true.
A teacher said that when she was in college during the Vietnam War, she couldnt believe the stories of U.S. atrocities because "we were taught that Americans are the good guys and the enemy is always evil." But in reality, she said, imperialism breeds brutality, torture and misery for ALL workers. Nationalism only blinds us from the truth, lying that we have more in common with our oppressors at home than with our working-class sisters and brothers worldwide.
One student declared that the film exposed the anti-Arab racism used by the bosses to justify their Mid-East oil wars. It gave a human face to the 600,000 Iraqis who have died since the U.S. invaded Iraq. While the ruling class speaks of "fighting terror" and "spreading democracy," the film showed that the main victims of imperialisms genocidal violence are workers and students especially the most vulnerable, like children and the elderly.
Another student pointed out that just as its poor U.S. workers who are sent to fight and die for imperialisms profits, so its the workers, students and poor of Iraq and Afghanistan who also suffer, fight and die. Imperialism, regardless what flag it waves, is only interested in "spreading democracy" for multi-nationals like Exxon-Mobil and their rich capitalist shareholders. No bosses state has the interests of workers, soldiers and students in mind.
The teacher urged students to ask why these wars are being fought in the first place and who really benefits from them. Theres a connection between the killing in Iraq for the U.S. capitalist classs domination of energy resources and the recent attacks on U.S. workers, like cuts in pensions, benefits and wages, and the closing or outsourcing of factories, from Ford and GM to Boeing. We need a multi-racial, international movement to fight imperialisms root source, the racist profit system of capitalism. Communism, based on production to meet the needs of the international working class, is the answer to capitalist-caused slaughter.
The teach-in sparked great one-on-one discussions outside, and future plans for more campus teach-ins and actions. From these new contacts and discussions, we plan to extend our CHALLENGE networks and study groups, and win more students to PLPs revolutionary communist politics.
NEW YORK, Oct. 2 CHALLENGE always points out we are living in a period of expanding imperialist war and developing fascism as U.S. rulers aim to maintain their super-power status. To further this goal, they are using immigration reform to implement a police state to squeeze more profits from the working class and provide more cannon fodder for their imperialist wars.
They have already militarized the U.S./Mexico border. Several towns have changed their ordnances to deny undocumented immigrants housing leases. Some Border State sheriffs have erected tent jails to detain immigrants awaiting deportation hearings. Young immigrants are told they can become citizens by joining the U.S. military. Racist militia groups like the Minutemen are welcomed to patrol the border and immigrant communities.
PLP will participate in a conference on "embracing the immigrant," inviting members of mass organizations we participate in, students and all our friends to this event.
The conference wants to put U.S. immigration issues into the framework of "human rights" and to explain how to "access legal, health, social and work services and rights." Although not a stated goal of the conference, it assumes acceptance of ruling class-sponsored "immigration reform" as the way to realize the "American Dream."
In PLP study groups with our friends and using CHALLENGE, were preparing to introduce proposals for fighting back and bringing aspects of our revolutionary communist ideas to conference participants. We know many people will be open to our ideas while others will try to stifle us. One key point well try to present clearly is our analysis of the historical period and why "immigration reform" is a tool in the liberal Democratic Partys war chest.
Our fight-back plan includes proposing that educators and social, health and legal providers plan non-compliance with laws mandating we reveal the identities of undocumented immigrants. Churches should become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants, following the lessons of those who resisted the Fugitive Slave Act prior to the Civil War. We must establish networks like the Underground Railroad to support undocumented immigrants and fight racist groups like the Minutemen and practices like raids and deportations. We also should organize a U.S.-Mexico cross-border demonstration to build international working-class solidarity and unity.
On a deeper level that exposes the nature of capitalism and imperialism we must question the reasons for borders, and warn workers of the danger of racist and nationalist divisions, while explaining the historical necessity for revolutionary change to address the root causes of poverty, repression and war. For example, the NAFTA "free trade" agreement has given the multi-national corporations a green light to cut jobs and lower wages across the border, widening the gap between the super-rich and the poor in both Mexico and the U.S.
Finally, the Partys goal is to raise communist consciousness, win many workers to the Party and expand the networks of CHALLENGE readers, as well as strengthen veteran communist leaders and develop new ones on the long road to communist revolution.
NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 16 Today sentences were handed down to radical lawyer Lynne Stewart (28 months) and her co-defendants, paralegal Ahmed Sattar (24 years) and translator Mohamed Youssary (20 months). We applaud the thousands of people who wrote letters backing Stewart and participated in rallies, and in support meetings in unions, community and religious organizations. But we should not have the illusion that these were the reasons for Stewarts and Youssarys relatively short jail sentences. While sectors of the government disagree on how to apply their fascist rules, they all agreed on a sentence that would represent their class interests.
For example, "a message of deterrence has already been sent loud and clear no further deterrence is needed," said one of Stewarts lawyers. She has already lost her right to earn a living as a lawyer, thus sending the chill of terror to any attorney who might defend an enemy of U.S. rulers. Now, through Judge Koeltls sentences, the same government that is implementing greater fascist measures can simultaneously appear "compassionate."
No terrorist act resulted from the actions of Stewart, Sattar and Youssary. However, terror in the form of imperialist war, attacks on immigrants, homelessness, etc. occurs every day under capitalist class rule.
We should hail and spread the fight of Oaxaca workers and Columbia University students who have fought back against capitalisms systemic terror. PLP pledges to build on the efforts to support Lynne Stewart by building a base of workers, students and soldiers committed to destroying the capitalist system.
NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 12 "Recruiters, you liars, we'll set your asses on fire" students shouted today as they rallied against military recruiters and the war in Iraq outside a City College of New York (CCNY) career fair; 300 leaflets with a reprint of a CHALLENGE article were given out and over 50 newspapers were distributed.
The CCNY police circled the protest, showing its force. Last year they had arrested and beat students at another career fair. CUNY students continue to oppose the war; several new students participated.
Perhaps the best feature was the collective decision-making, with students struggling over what tactics to use. PLP'ers advanced its outlook through chants and discussion.
Several years ago, I lived in the mountains where unemployed poverty-stricken farm workers live. With PLP's help, I moved to the big city seeking a job as well and to engage in political work in the maquilas (factories). It was a new world for me, full of obstacles.
Now I'm a young worker with a lot of anger against the capitalist system. During my participation as an active member of PLP, it's been difficult learning to bring communist ideas to others. I've been in the Party for five years, but because I didn't know how to write, I've been unable to improve my political work enough, nor could I find work in the biggest factories they require a high school diploma.
However, I'm resolving this. I work among a lot of young workers. Little by little I'm understanding more profoundly why we fight. This motivates me to keep recruiting more people to the Party. It led me to start school two years ago. I'm now in the third grade and learning to read and write, so I can read Party documents.
Sometimes it isn't just important to know how to read but also to get ideas from the other comrades because the Party is necessary for all the world's workers. That's why some of my fellow workers and friends read CHALLENGE. I invite them to mass activities where we participate as the Party.
Our meetings have helped me learn. They explain why we fight and why it's necessary for workers to awaken out of the darkness of capitalist ideas. I want more Party schools here to learn more communist ideas.
A young worker comrade
Since May Day, our PLP club has been involved in various struggles, but with the same focus of building for communism. We brought our base of friends to the defense of comrades who were on trial for supporting day laborers in Farmingville, Long Island. We struggled with those who attended the trial not to view the victorious verdict as a sign that "the system works" but to understand how, in any arena, communists fight the bosses with mass action and political struggle.
Were also raising two ideas in mass organizations to which we belong to further our solidarity with immigrants: (1) drafting a resolution that attacks all proposed legislation as further intensification of super-exploitation, and of expanding war; and (2) organizing an international cross-border solidarity rally in Laredo Texas.
One goal this fall is having a conference on "Racial Justice and Ecological Survival." The main theme will be indicting world capitalism as the cause of ecological disaster and imperialist wars. The recent discussions about the PLP document "Road to Revolution 4.5" is helping in organizing this event by making communist politics primary in the workshops.
Weve also met regularly with a coalition thats fighting to reopen our neighborhood health clinic. It has exposed the City as a racist murderer, using their own figures on deaths from asthma, cardiac-pulmonary disease, cancer and AIDS. In the past four months, weve lost three African-American activists to heart attacks: two in their sixties, one in her thirties! Were planning our own health fair on the steps of the clinic building and possibly to take it over.
Last April a cop murdered one of our friends son and were working in one mass organization to sharpen the courtroom struggle as well as to win the family to PLPs politics.
One of our members has lost her familys HRA housing subsidy and were trying to build support for her at the hearings and a possible fight with the landlord. We will pack the courtroom.
However, overall we must do better in following up our May Day participants, using CHALLENGE in ways that engage their particular concerns and to win them to distribute the paper and raise funds to support it.
PLP wrote and distributed a leaflet during the Sept. 15 Independence celebrations, exposing the hypocrisy of "Independence Day," and calling for a struggle for true revolutionary liberation under communism. Today the rulers force teachers and students into parades to celebrate this date which has no real significance for the working class since we continue as wage slaves, whether under European or U.S. empires.
Historically in Central America, like elsewhere worldwide, workers have been subjected to all kinds of racism and exploitation. After the imperialist invasion by the European kingdoms starting in 1492, a great repression and massacre of the indigenous peoples began when they resisted the plunder of their lands and excessive, brutal working conditions. The empires aimed to accumulate great wealth.
After hundreds of years of Spanish oppression, a movement for liberation arose, which was used by phony leaders who represented a particular powerful economic sector. Their role was to pacify the angry masses.
In 1821 a false independence was established through commercial agreements in which Spains rulers gave power to these opportunist local leaders. Workers can achieve total liberation only through a communist system, building our Party and organizing the working class for the complete elimination of the capitalist system and its oppression and wars. Fight for one class, one flag and one Party, the PLP.
A Salvadoran Comrade
Theres nothing communist about North Korea. It explicitly abandoned Marxism-Leninism in its constitution of the early 90s. Its official ideology is "Juche," based on nationalist self-reliance. The capitalists call North Korea "communist" to paint all communists with the same brush.
Chinese and South Korean capitalists are investing in North Koreas "Free Economic Zones." Thats one of the reasons China even though it condemned the recent nuclear test is reluctant to endorse the U.S. and Japans full embargo.
The nuclear test is a direct reaction to the failed Bush administration policy of shunning negotiations and threatening North Korea with war and regime change. North Korea had abandoned its nuclear weapons program until the Bush administration started threatening it as being part of the "Axis of Evil," while invading another "Axis," Iraq. Theres no doubt: people in the U.S. and worldwide are far less safe than five years ago.
U.S. rulers, not North Korea, are primarily to blame for this situation. In 1994 North Korea signed an agreement with the U.S. to suspend its nuclear weapons program and allow international inspections and monitoring of its nuclear facilities. In return, the U.S. agreed to cease military threats against North Korea, to supply fuel oil to replace the lost nuclear power, and to help build two modern atomic power plants.
But beginning in 2002, the Bush administration slowly gutted the agreement. It branded North Korea as part of an "axis of evil," threatened war, ended the shipments of fuel oil and the construction of nuclear power plants, tightened a long-standing economic embargo, and obstinately refused direct bilateral talks. The White House even threatened the limited use of nuclear weapons in a regional conflict with North Korea.
The context of all this goes back more than 50 years. Republican and Democrat administrations have refused to sign a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War and still maintain 37,000 troops in South Korea. They are the aftermath of the U.S. killing machine that during the Korean War (1950-1953), according to U.S. Air Force General Curtis Le May (quoted on PBSs website), the U.S. "killed off 20% of the population .more than two million .civilians." The final total was actually nearly one-third of the nine million North Koreans. In all of World War II, the U.S. lost less than one-third of one percent of its population. Using bombs and napalm, Le May said the U.S. "eventually burned down every town in North Korea and some in South Korea too."
With such a history, from 50 years ago and currently, no wonder when the Bush administration geared up for war on Iraq, North Korean officials were worried about the U.S. attacking them. Predictably, the North Korean government responded by withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, expelled atomic energy agency inspectors, and began to develop nuclear weapons.
For eight years (1994-2002), direct negotiations with the North Korean government reduced the threat of nuclear proliferation and war on the Korean peninsula. So why do Bush administration officials say its "impossible" to negotiate with North Korea? They, and their neoconservative allies, are calling for sanctions, isolation, and even military threats to impose "regime behavior change." This is the same recipe that brought on the disastrous Iraq war, and will only deepen North Koreas resolve to develop nuclear weapons, potentially setting off a new nuclear arms race in the region.
Of course, the nuke non-proliferation treaty is a sham. In addition to the main imperialists, Israel, Pakistan and India are also nuclear powers. Even the Russians have halted destruction of their strategic nuclear weapons since the U.S. is about to achieve nuclear supremacy for the first time in 50 years, capable of destroying Russias and Chinas nukes with a first strike. So North Koreas minute nuclear arsenal is really no threat to the U.S.
With few exceptions, much of the mainstream bosses media is echoing the White House claims that "negotiations wont work," the same role they played in the run-up to the war in Iraq.
I recently visited the protest at Gallaudet University the nations only federally-funded university for deaf people where hundreds of students this week expanded their occupation of the main classroom building, now closing down the entire campus by blocking all entrances. The students are well-organized, with grills to cook food, tents at all entrances and substantial support from the faculty.
Students are condemning racism and discrimination in the selection of the new university president and are demanding that the president-elect, Jane Fernandez, step down before she even takes office! Many black students are involved in the protest and there is a lot of interaction between black and white students.
Several years ago, a similar campaign (called the Deaf President Now Movement) resulted in the appointment of Jordan King as president, who was very popular with the students. His provost has been appointed by the Board of Trustees to succeed him, with his support.
Students have now turned against him for what they view as a betrayal of the deaf communitys interests, throwing juice on him at an event held to honor him. Yesterday he turned the situation over to the cops and washed his hands of it all, proving that when push comes to shove, even the most progressive-seeming president will hide behind the rulers state power and the cops.
The students claim that the search committee did not consider a particular deaf African American candidate, and so was racist, and that the president-elect (who is also deaf) fails to fully appreciate "deaf culture." Some proponents of deaf culture claim that the deaf community, due to its particular social experience related to deafness, is more internally compassionate and caring than other communities.
The students want to maintain American Sign Language (ASL) as the primary visual and written communication mode. ASL is a different language with its own grammar rules. For example, ASL inverts the noun and verb in a sentence, such as "The store, I go." The new president, an English professor, wants students to write in Standard English instead of ASL. The students reject this view, and also object to the fact that she both signs and speaks.
The students have been attacked as "spoiled" and their faculty supporters have been called "manipulative." These are the standard baseless attacks made on those who seek to "fight the power." However, despite the students boldness, I fear their emphasis on deaf culture isolates them from the rest of the working class, and is another form of "identity politics" (such as feminism and nationalism) which divides the working class into separate groups aligned with their own rich, bourgeois members. Identity politics hinders working-class unity in the struggle against capitalism.
Such nationalistic responses develop because people face real discrimination and feel the need to fight back. Deaf people have often been stigmatized and considered mentally retarded. All workers need to fight the discrimination against any worker and help unite us all against capitalist oppression. We also condemn any police action, repression or punishment of these brave students, whom we want to win to a revolutionary communist outlook.
Oct. 16 As we go to press, President King Jordan of Gallaudet University called the cops to arrest 133 deaf students in order to re-open the campus. But demonstrators, including those released on bail, have maintained their militancy and determination. Four have begun a hunger strike, and over 70 "deaf tent cities" have been erected worldwide as deaf advocacy organizations are supporting the students while the Gallaudet administration and Board of Trustees become increasingly isolated. Stay tuned!
Afghans life worse since US came in
At best Afghans consider their government to be non-existent, at worst they see it as a corrupt, unscrupulous criminal organization. "Never in the history of Afghanistan has corruption been so bad, at every rung of the ladder, ."
.Half the population is suffering from malnutrition and just over a third of all children have been vaccinated. Every 30 minutes a woman dies from complications giving birth .
To judge by the account of villagers in the south, the Taliban are free to roam wherever they please. Yielding to Taliban propaganda, public opinion is increasingly in favor of the foreign forces departure .
"When the Americans arrived, the whole population supported them," recalls Noor Ali, a teacher in Kandahar. "But they lied to us and we are no longer interested in development and rehabilitation. We just want peace and security." (GW, 9/28)
Senior decides jail is better than $5/hr
A man who could not find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, handed the money to a guard and waited for the police .
"At my age, the jobs available to me are minimum-wage jobs," Mr. Bowers, who will turn 63 in a few weeks, told the judge .
Prosecutors had considered arguing against putting Mr. Bowers in prison at taxpayer expense, but they worried he would do something more reckless to be put behind bars.
"Its not the financial plan I would choose, but its a financial plan," the prosecutor, Dan Cable, said. (NYT, 10/13)
Stunned by detainee innocence, GI quits
In a court-martial here on Thursday, an Army judge sentenced Sergeant Clousing to 11 months in confinement for going AWOL .
Arriving in Iraq in November 2004, he said he was stunned at the number of Iraqis he was assigned to interrogate who were either innocent or disgruntled citizens resentful about the American occupation. He said he told his commander: "Your soldiers and the way theyre behaving are creating the insurgency youre trying to fight. Its a cycle. You dont see it, but Im talking to the people youre bringing to me ."
Sergeant Closuing took his misgivings to his superiors. They sent him to a chaplain, who showed him in the Bible where God sent his people to war .
Sergeant Clousing said he could not file for conscientious objector status because he could not honestly say he was opposed to all war. After several months of soul-searching, he went AWOL. (NYT, 10/13)
US big biz likes China workers as slaves
To the Editor:
Now our Chamber of Commerce and some major American Corporations are fighting against a new labor protection law in China ("China Drafts Law to Empower Unions and End Labor Abuse; Opposition Voiced by U.S. and Other Corporations," front page, Oct.13).
Makes you proud to be an American, no? (NYT, 10/15)
US teenagers not joining evangelicals
Evangelical Christian leaders are warning one another that their teenagers are abandoning the faith in droves .
"Im looking at the data," said Ron Luce, who founded Teen Mania, a 20-year-old youth ministry, "and weve become post-Christian America, like post-Christian Europe. Weve been working as hard as we know how to work but were losing." (NYT, 10/6)
$20 million victory party skipped
Tucked away in fine print in the military spending bill for this past year was a lump sum of $20 million to pay for a celebration in the nations capital "for commemoration of success" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, the money was not spent. (NYT, 10/4)
Free market brings misery to poorest
Globalization brings wealth and opportunity to many people around the world. But to poor slum dwellers in the failing state of Ivory Coast, it has brought horrible sickness and death after hazardous waste, shipped nearly halfway around the world, was stealthily dumped in backyards around Abidjan .
The waste could have been safely disposed of earlier in its journey. But Trafigura, the Swiss trading company that leased the tanker, balked at paying European prices. Instead, 85,000 people ended up seeking medical treatment, and at least eight have died .
Dangerous cargos will find the course of least resistance, least cost, and least regulation, scarring the lives of some of the worlds poorest, worst governed and most defenseless people. (NYT, 10/4)
Physical abuse often underlies sexism
Violence against women by their live-in spouses or partners is a widespread phenomenon, both in the developed and developing world, as well as in rural and urban areas, the most comprehensive and scientific international study on the topic has confirmed .in interviews with nearly 25,000 women at 15 sites in 10 countries .
Most partner abuse is hidden, and only a tiny fraction is reported to the authorities ..
In the United States about 25 percent of women said that they had been physically or sexually assaulted by a spouse, partner or date.
In the World Health Organization survey, one-fifth to two-thirds of women interviewed said that it was the first time they have ever spoken of the abuse to anyone . (NYT, 10/6)
Expert: FBI forced terror confession
The Hayats were United States citizens; Umer Hayat drove an ice cream truck in Lodi. His 19-year-old son, Hamid, was a sixth-grade dropout.
In 2003 the family traveled briefly to Pakistan for Hamids marriage .
In the summer of 2005, when Hamid returned to Lodi, the F.B.I was waiting for him. Interrogated along with his father for 15 hours in separate rooms without a lawyer, they were both later arrested. Hamid was charged with attending a jihadi training camp something both he and his father confessed to after the nonstop interrogation .
James Wedick, a recently retired and much decorated F.B.I. agent agreed to review the interrogation tapes . "I was shocked," he told Frontline Hamid changed his story only after the constant badgering .
"They more or less answered the way the bureau wanted them to answer," Mr. Wedick said. "All they wanted to do was go home .The trial judge barred Mr.Wedick from taking the stand .
The younger Mr.Hayat, convicted of material support of terrorism and lying to the F.B.I., faces a possible 39-year sentence and has filed an appeal .
In the end there was no terror cell .The Lodi case, a showcase trail in the Bush administrations war on domestic terrorism, was largely created out of whole cloth. The country was never in danger from the Hayats but may well be entering a dangerous period of unnecessary and abusive prosecutions (NYT, 10/10)
October 4 marked the 70th anniversary of a great battle against fascism the "Battle of Cable Street" in Londons East End. Stories of that day are still talked about amongst the British working class.
For 300 years the East End of London had been a passageway of poor working-class immigrants into Britain. In 1936 the areas population was largely Polish and Russian Jews, Irish Catholics and non-immigrant English working class. Most streets were a crooked tangle. Tiny houses were crammed together 18th century industrial housing with flush toilets out the back. Many people worked on the nearby docks and in small factories, garment sweatshops and open air markets.
At that time, Sir Oswald Moseleys Blackshirts the British Union of Fascists (BUF) was by far the largest fascist grouping of many that were growing in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. They had close ties to Hitler. Moseleys group sent committed fascists into the East End to beat up and terrorize Jews. They wanted to divide the Jews from all the other immigrant groups. They labeled Jews "tyrants of international banking." On the streets, fascists would scream "kill the kikes" and "get rid of the yids." Amid a severe depression, Moseleys movement was growing among the unemployed, white collar workers and small businessmen.
A lot of Britains upper and ruling class funded the BUF. Some of Britains big newspapers the Daily Mail, Evening News and Sunday Dispatch promoted it. Even the recently crowned King (Edward VIII) had wealthy fascist friends in Britain, France and Germany. The police often turned a blind eye to the fascists beatings of Jews. Communists and trade unionists many themselves Jews led the attack on the fascists in the streets.
Moseley decided to show his strength by marching 10,000 uniformed Blackshirts and thousands of supporters directly through the Jewish/Irish neighborhood. Police Commissioner Sir Philip Game ordered his cops to "support the march."
October 4th dawned bright and sunny. Ten thousand police were assigned to protect Mosleys fascists. The official Jewish leadership advised workers to stay indoors and not show aggressiveness to them. But up to 500,000 people from the East End and other parts of London came to stop the fascist march. Mass and individual acts of heroism flooded the streets of the East End. The names of Cable Street, Gardeners Corner and Aldgate joined the list of great working-class battles.
At Mile End (an East End street), a woman marched shouting, "They shall not pass!" and headed towards Aldgate. By the time she reached it thousands were following her. At Cable Street, jeering and singing crowds tried to breach the wall of cops to get at the fascists. The police attacked using nightsticks while mounted police charged the crowd. The horses stumbled from children hurling marbles under their hoofs and bursting bags of pepper under their noses. Women threw the contents of chamber pots from windows. The Nazis screamed, "The yids, the yids. We gotta get rid of the yids." But the people chanted, "They will not pass!"
The masses erected barricades (see photo top right). A truck was turned on its side to block the street; old mattresses, bricks and pushcarts were thrown on top. An Irish anti-fascist bus driver drove his double-decker bus across the road, forming a barricade between the police and the anti-fascists. It was later pushed on its side. Red flags hung from windows. The army of fascists demanded the police escort them through the masses of people.
At Cable Street the massive wall of people held their ground and only retreated to pick up bricks or bottles to throw at the cops and fascists. Soon wounded police, fascists and protesters were carried off. The anti-fascist forces were so aggressive that a myth grew declaring that the police had surrendered to the crowd. One recently married young electrician who was hit in the face with a nightstick would talk about it proudly 30 years later.
The fascists were under a constant hail of bricks, bottles and stones. As the crowd continued to fight, over 100 anti-fascist fighters were arrested, but still the police could not move the masses who held the cops within a vise grip. One demonstrator was moved to tears seeing bearded Jews and Irish dockworkers standing together to stop Moseley, saying "I shall never forget that as long as I live!"
At 4:15 the Police Commissioner canceled the BUFs right to march. But now the police had to save them from being killed by the crowd. They surrendered Cable Street and attempted to escape two blocks away to Gardeners Corner where they could leave the East End. The BUF hastily turned at Gardeners Corner, but the anti-fascists waiting for them shouted, "Get them!" and crashed through police lines. They then chased the fascists out of Londons East End.
Later that night an elderly woman asked a bandaged fighter if he had been at that days battle. Fearing her disapproval, he denied being there. To his surprise and joy she said, "A curse on you that you did not fight this day." To him it sounded like a Shakespearian quotation.
For days people celebrated throughout London. The fascists continued to try to organize, but now much of the ruling classes withdrew their open support (many began to view Hitler as a rival imperialist threat) and it was clear that workers wouldnt be easily won to fascism. In early December, Edward VIII abdicated, having been king for only 10 months. The official story stated he left "to be with the woman he loved," but among the working class it was common knowledge that he was forced out because of his open fascist ties.
From this battle we can see the working class should never give in to nationalist leaders. Both Jewish and Irish community and religious leaders tried to convince the masses not to fight the fascists, fearful of "causing more problems." But if the fascists had not been fought at Cable Street, they would have been a much stronger ally of Hitler inside Britain during World War II.
The constant communist-led anti-fascist organizing over many years led to the understanding and empowerment of the working class. Thats why today PLP leads the fight against the racist Minutemen and warns about the danger of the liberals road to fascism (see front page).
Dare to struggle dare to win!
Benewick, R.: "A Study of British Fascism, Political Violence and Public Order." The Penguin Press, London 1969.
Hutt, A.: "British Trade Unionism A Short History." International Publishers, New York 1953.
Ratner, R.: "The 50th Anniversay of the Battle of Cable Street." Spotlight Magazine, October 1986.
Rudkin, W.A.: "The Growth of Fascism in Great Britain." George Allen and Unwin, London, 1935.
Shermer, D.: "Blackshirts: Fascism in Britain." Ballantine Press, New York, 1971.
Thomson, D.: "England in the 20th Century." Penguin, Baltimore, 1965.
Walvin, J.: "Passage to Britain." Penguin, Harmonsworth, Middlesex, 1984.
Book Review: Against All Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps 1938-1945, by Hermann Langbein, Paragon House Publishers, New York, 1994 Part 1 of 2
After fighting fascism in Spain (1936-1939), the author was imprisoned at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz. He was a leader of the Auschwitz Combat Group resistance. His book dispels the lies that camp victims let themselves be passively slaughtered and showed that escape was not the main form of resistance.
The resistance mainly took the form of daily saving of lives, political study groups, sabotage and assassination of camp guards. Rather than individual heroism these were collective, painstaking efforts, led mainly by communists in highly secretive fashion and under the worst, murderous, dehumanizing conditions. They proved that even under the worst of conditions communists can still sustain their organization. Langbein says, "Communists...in contrast to men [sic] of liberal views...were used to absolute party discipline and were almost the only ones who were the enemys match as far as means and methods were concerned [p. 76]."
Initially criminal prisoners were responsible for enforcing discipline, keeping order and carrying out all commands. These so-called Greens (the color of their assigned badges) often received favors for killing and viciously whipping the "undesirable" political prisoners (so-called Reds) and Jews. As the Nazis invaded more countries and imprisoned more people, the SS (the Nazi organization that ran the camps) attempted to divide prisoners by nationality, but communists found many sympathizers and comrades from every country represented.
Slowly, Reds replaced Greens as senior block or barracks inmates by exposing their corruption, killing those who were demoted and seizing on the Nazis desperation to "manage" the hundreds of thousands of prisoners. Inmates kept roll call records, had responsibility for work assignments, and arranged hospital duty and transfers to other camps. (Incidentally, the Nazis used punch cards contributed by the U.S. company, IBM.)
Once positioned in a critical area, Red prisoners had some ability although at high risk to determine where people would go or who would appear or "disappear" from the rolls, often by assigning names of prisoners who had already died. Not all Reds or Jews were eager to engage in subterfuge or in deciding who might be saved at the expense of another. One Jewish woman, Vera Alexander, hesitated to become a block clerk, for then she would be subject to SS scrutiny. However, finally she did accept, and said, "Sometimes I was able to conceal in the block women who had been sentenced to death...At other times I was able to hide sick women so that they escaped the selection [for killing -- p. 49]."
From Ravensbrueck, a concentration camp mainly for women, three Jewish women were deported to Auschwitz for execution for their underground activities for the Communist Party. But the resistance organization in the womens section of Auschwitz successfully protected them [p. 84].
(Part two will discuss the efforts of the underground camp resistance to hinder the Nazi war effort, the resistances mistaken reliance on the Allies for their rescue and finally the post-war failure of the international communist movement to organize for the overthrow of capitalism.)
Thirty-six years ago, on Oct. 24-25, 1970, NYC witnessed an historic internationalist event not seen in recent memory: over 2,500 workers and students from fraternal communist parties from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. marched from Manhattans Lower East Side nearly four miles all the way to 53rd Street and Fifth Avenue, chanting, "Workers Power!" and "Fight for Socialism!" slogans not heard on the citys streets for 40 years. (This was prior to PLPs more advanced outlook adopted in 1982 of "Fight for Communism.") It was a forerunner of PLPs eventual international declaration of "One flag, one Party, one class."
The marchers surrounded the blocks containing the Canadian Consulate, protesting the Trudeau governments "War Measures" attack on Quebecs workers. Thousands of onlookers stopped to listen as the marchers sang the workers anthem, The Internationale. Many joined the march.
The participants came from many Canadian cities, and from Buffalo, Rochester, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New England and from all five boroughs of NYC and were addressed by representatives of PLP, the Socialist League of Puerto Rico the famous poet, Juan Antonio Corretjer and the Canadian Party of Labor.
The weekend was capped off with a dinner attended by 2,200. Many declared it one of the most inspiring events of their entire lives.