Workers March Worldwide
PLP Youth Lead on May Day
Iraq Withdrawal Sham: Liberals Push for More Troops
Hundreds Of Thousands Needed For Coming Wars
Obama Update: More Imperialist Than Ever
Defend New Orleans Project:
Colombia May Day Marchers Condemn Bush-Uribe Axis of Profit
Chicago May Day Led by Youth, Cheer Shipbuilder Striker
Red Flags Fly On May 1st
PLers Lead Disruption of CIA on Campus
NYC Transit Bosses, Bankers Profit Over Workers Dead Bodies
LA May Day Dinner Inspires Youth to Join PLP
May Day in Latin America
Red Flag vs. Bosses Flag
Anti-Racist Anger Trumps Fear
Communist Students in Capitalist Schools
Yeltsin Gave Away Workers Benefits to Profiteers
Airbus Strikers Reject Sellouts
Dock Strike on May Day in China
May Day in Europe
Students Lead Protests Against Fascist Surveillance Cameras
Class Struggle Only Answer to Sarkozy Racist Anti-Worker Plan
LOS ANGELES, CA May 1st In a sea of U.S. and Mexican bosses flags, the PLP rose up like a red flame among the tens of thousands of workers participating in the immigrants rights march in downtown. Over 100 participated with red flags and shirts that said, "Same enemy same fight, workers of the world unite! Fight for Communism."
Led by PLP youth, including some who just joined the Party, we marched and chanted for almost four hours. In all, we distributed 4,500 CHALLENGES and 7,500 leaflets that exposed the bosses plans to win immigrant workers and their children to loyally fight and labor for the U.S. It also explained the real history of May Day and the need for an international movement of the working class to fight for workers power.
At the end of the march, PLP youth gave speeches calling for unity between black, Latin, white, Arab and Asian workers to destroy racist capitalism with communist revolution. Many applauded and some raised their fists in support, as the marchers chanted, "Este puńo si se ve los obreros al poder,"(this fist that you can see, workers to power) and "Que viva, que viva, que viva el comunismo!"
May Day was also celebrated in shops and factories, where some workers gave speeches about the significance of May Day, inviting their co-workers to march with them, which some did. Others invited friends individually.
A smaller group later went to MacArthur Park, with leaflets and CHALLENGES, where several different marches had converged. In some contingents, chants were heard of "No workers blood for oil profits" and "The workers, united, will never be defeated."
In one march, a racist cop ran into the crowd with his motorcycle to push workers back onto the sidewalk. But the workers refused. Workers defied police harassment in several instances. When reinforcements arrived 600 cops began attacking the crowd. They shot rubber bullets, forcing the workers and youth into a park where the union and the Catholic Church led a rally and many people had come with babies in strollers. The cops shot 240 rounds of rubber bullets, forcing demonstrators out of the park and out of the area. They viciously beat demonstrators along with reporters and cameramen, exposing the true nature of capitalism. Even as they ran from the cops bullets, many stopped to take PLP leaflets.
Chief Bratton, Mayor Villaraigosa and the FBI are calling for "investigations" of the police and have demoted and transferred two police commanders and put 60 cops on administrative duty. Villaraigosa had just hastily returned from Mexico and El Salvador where he signed deals to have the brutal LAPD train those countrys cops.
Many in the ruling class are angry about the public mass racist police attack, which hurts their plans of selling the lie of the "American Dream" that the liberal imperialists need immigrants and all workers to buy into. The rally they attacked was led by the very forces the Church, unions, and immigrant rights leaders that the liberals are counting on to win masses of workers to support imperialism. Villaraigosa, loyal agent of capitalism and a liberal fascist, has called for renewal of Brattons contract. The "leaders" of Chirla and Miwon (immigrant advocacy groups) left during the attack without using their sound system to help lead the workers in an orderly retreat. Now a leader of Chirla said that Bratton has "made a good start" in disciplining the cops. The imperialists need these misleaders to try to get angry workers to buy into police "reform." But capitalism needs racist police terror to enforce racist super exploitation.
The racist cops harass black and Latino workers every day. No investigations run by liberals Villaraigosa and Bratton will change the racist nature of the police whose job is to terrorize workers to not fight back against a system hell- bent on super-exploitation, war and fascism. Bratton also promises a witch-hunt to search for "instigators." The instigators reside in the LAPD headquarters and all its police stations. The media will hype an investigation to try to show that the system will clean itself up as well as attack those who raised politics at the march challenging "For a Secure America, Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now" (one of the official signs). This reform "will mean more exploitation and use immigrant youth as cannon fodder.
We should have better prepared for the possibility of this attack which happened at the end of the second march. We can never underestimate the racist brutality of the LAPD!
Its up to communists to dig in to struggle over the long term in industry, the military and the schools to show workers that the way to end the racist terror inherent in capitalism is with communist revolution. Building the Party in key concentrations, in struggles small and large is the order of the day. Then, when the police attack a march and masses of workers are present led by Progressive Labor Party, well answer their attack with the might of the working class!J
NEW YORK CITY, April 28 Over 150 PLPers and friends, with soldiers, industrial workers and students in the ranks, rallied and marched through Brooklyn, kicking off the celebration of May Day 2007 and calling for an end to capitalism with communist revolution. We marched through the mainly black working-class neighborhood with our T-shirts and red flags and a multi-racial group chanting "Power to the Working Class, Kick the Bosses in the Ass," and "The only Solution is Communist Revolution."
Workers took over 2,000 CHALLENGE-DESAFIOS, honked their horns in support, joined us and enthusiastically cheered as we marched by. "NYPD, WE CHARGE YOU WITH GENOCIDE" was the chant workers militantly shouted as the police were doing their racist job of arresting young black workers. This kick-off to our May Day celebrations was only the start of a memorable day of working-class solidarity as we celebrated this international working-class holiday.
Three dinners throughout the city saw over 700 in attendance. Participants ranged from active-duty soldiers and veterans, industrial and transit workers, high school and college students and teachers, all joining together in working-class solidarity and showing their discontent with the capitalist system. Each dinner was planned collectively both politically and organizationally by the emerging younger working class leaders black, white, Latino and Asian along with veteran members.
We brought people to the dinners from several areas where weve been involved in class struggles, showing a modest improvement in our efforts in mass organizations. Slowly but surely were learning in practice how to turn these reform struggles into schools for communism, consolidating new leadership and winning even more to our communist politics and Party.
A speech was given at all dinners from soldiers involved in building the Party within the military on the importance of the worker-soldier-student alliance and the need for soldiers and youth to join the Party. An excerpt declared:
"As we celebrate May Day and the struggle of our class around the world to ultimately destroy the bosses class and run the world based on our interest, need and according to our abilities and skills, we send a solidarity statement.....
"The Appeal for Redress [an appeal by over 1,000 GIs to Congress to end the war] has its internal contradictions. First, its reliance on patriotism and liberalism, two ruling-class ideologies, gives soldiers the false impression that politicians within their own country can end the war. Only a mass movement of workers, students and soldiers can end the war. Only when this movement consolidates itself within the Progressive Labor Party, smashes the bosses and takes state power can we end Imperialist war."
The rest of the programs honored the history of May Day. One group did a re-enactment with crowd participation to the events that led to the establishment of May Day. Militant speeches that were forged through the fire of collective struggle analyzed the current world situation, fascism, imperialism and the need for communist revolution.
A slide show illustrated the Partys on-going service to our class in New Orleans and exposed the true racist nature of capitalism and the testing ground for U.S. fascism while showing the power of workers joining together. Students spoke about a fight within their school where a racist principal is attacking the students and teachers for traveling to New Orleans to serve their class. (See page 3) Comrades in a transit union emphasized the importance of the industrial working class and the importance of youth joining the industrial sector as one of the keys to communist revolution. Many saw the results of decades of organizing in this union in the group of mainly black transit workers who attended.
Students from several high schools worked together during the weeks preceding May Day to write and act in a humorous and moving skit about the need for a militant revolutionary communist outlook within the national debate on immigration. The skit concluded with two young women singing a PLP classic, "March on May Day" with the call for audience members to join PLP and march with us on May 1. Music and poetry punctuated the events, with comrades performing revolutionary lyrics in many genres, from rap and reggaeton to the more traditional folk music. Many of the songs and dramatic performances sparked audience participation.
These dinners had special meaning to many. Several students who attended last years May Day became organizers this year, bringing family and friends with them. Young friends coming to their first Party activity came away with a sense of the PLP as a fighting organization with a revolutionary analysis of the world and plans for struggle. More experienced comrades with many May Days under their belts came away with a renewed dedication to a party whose growth was clearly evident in the new leadership involved in all the events. One young comrade summed up the experience: "This was awesome! Im definitely coming back again next year!"
As U.S. liberal rulers plan broader wars to defend their embattled empire, they talk out of both sides of their mouths. Striking an anti-war pose, they feed the public the lie that pressuring Congressional Democrats will stop the carnage in Iraq. To the lawmakers themselves, however, the rulers send a more forthright message: prepare for escalating military action. By demanding unenforceable "withdrawal timetables," ruling-class-led groups like MoveOn (founded with Larry Rockefellers help) are, in fact, winning mass support for Pentagon funding. As the NY Times reported (5/6/07), "Tom Matzzie, of MoveOn...emphasized that the next emergency spending bill must be one to end the war." But "The Case for Larger Ground Forces," a new report, produced by a group of ruling-class think-tanks and aimed at policy-makers, lacks even phony pacifism.
The report written jointly by Michael OHanlon, of the liberal Brookings Institution, and Frederick Kagan, of the supposedly conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), "Larger Ground Forces" foresees a potential vast expansion of U.S. warfare. The Stanley Foundation, a liberal, imperialist group, financed by a family-run engineering firm with operations in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, commissioned the study. It gets right to the point: "[O]ver the next few years and decades, the world is going to be a very unsettled and quite dangerous place, with Al Qaeda and its associated groups as a subset of a much larger set of worries. The only serious response to this international environment is to develop armed forces capable of protecting Americas vital interests...." OHanlon consequently calls for an additional 100,000 soldiers and marines.
Not to be outdone, Kagan (formerly of the neo-con Bush gang), demands 250,000 more foot soldiers and increasing military spending by $130 billion. (Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond muscled his way onto AEIs board shortly after 9/11 and is now vice-chairman.) After their dire preamble, the authors debunk the politicians myth of a U.S. pullout. "Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to require the continued deployment of well over a hundred thousand soldiers for several years to come."
Postponing a discussion of "great power conflict" with China or Russia down the road, OHanlon and Kagan treat scenarios for possible near-term U.S. invasions. First comes Pakistan, with a population six times that of Iraq. "Stabilizing a country of this size could easily require several times as many troops as the Iraq mission a figure of up to one million is easy to imagine. The United States share of this total would probably be over half."
Next is Saudi Arabia, the crown jewel of the U.S.s economic empire. "If a fundamentalist regime came to power and became interested in acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States might have to consider carrying out forcible regime change. If, by contrast, the regime was more intent on disrupting the oil economy, more limited measures (such as seizing the oil fields) might be adequate.... The resulting total force strength might be 100,000 to 150,000 personnel."
Right now U.S. rulers seem to be more worried about a Saudi takeover by an anti-royal Al Qaeda-type than about the royals deals with China or Russia. Current Saudi deals with these countries are either under the U.S.s thumb (like Exxon Mobils plan to refine Saudi crude in Chinas Fujian province), or relatively insignificant (like Russias new $200-million share of Saudi Arabias trillion-dollar gas project. And "Iran, a country of nearly 70 million people, could well demand an American commitment of hundreds of thousands of soldiers in worst-case scenarios of regime collapse or regime change."
The rulers scribes, while insisting they dont want to restore the draft, concede that a need for it may come quite soon. "The most likely cause would be an overuse of the all-volunteer force, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, that led to an exodus of volunteers and a general perception among would-be recruits that service had become far less appealing. Clearly, a sustained period of high casualties in Iraq or another place would exacerbate any such problem as well." In addition to conscription, the desperate rulers envision a U.S. version of the French Foreign Legion. "A serious idea worthy of consideration...is to promise American citizenship to worthy foreigners who first agree to serve in the US armed forces."
Supporting liberal politicians, like Barack Obama [see box] or Hillary Clinton, who promise peace but prepare for war, is a deadly political error. The only viable alternative lies well outside the voting system, in organizing a working-class party with the outlook of communist revolution.
Barack Obama, in synch with the think-tankers, has again professed his loyalty to the war-making imperialists, represented by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Before an April 23 assemblage of capitalists that included J.P. Morgan Chase and Boeing execs, Obama swore to "support the expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army and 27,000 Marines." Obama pledged to lead future oil wars, "No President should ever hesitate to use force unilaterally if necessary to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened."
Obama got the line from his newfound foreign policy adviser, war criminal, Anthony Lake. Lake helped pen the 1979 Carter Doctrine, promising that the U.S. would regard any challenge to its "vital interests," that is control of Mid-East crude, as an act of war. Lakes long and bloody past includes an early stint as aide to U.S. ambassador and arch-imperialist Henry Cabot Lodge in Saigon at the outset of the U.S. genocide in Vietnam. As Clintons national security advisor, Lake helped launch the U.S.s murderous "humanitarian" intervention into the former Yugoslavia. With Lake behind him, Obama could credibly promise his oil-thirsty, Mid-East-maddened masters "a 21st century military to stay on the offense, from Djibouti [in the strategic Horn of Africa] to Kandahar [in Afghanistan]."
BROOKLYN, NY, May 7 When the principal at our Brooklyn school launched a witch-hunt to punish a teacher and those students who had gone to New Orleans during the winter break to help the workers in that hurricane-ravaged city get back on their feet, hundreds of students and then some teachers answered back by wearing stickers saying, "I went to New Orleans." In some classes, everyone is wearing the sticker, whether they went or not, making it impossible for the principal to single out those who did go.
Teachers have been sending letters to the union demanding that the leadership come to the school and address the attack. As reported in CHALLENGE (4/11), the teacher who went to New Orleans, a PLP member, was called in and given a disciplinary letter for "an unauthorized trip." Students are circulating petitions declaring, "We are not the property of the Department of Education." (DOE) All this adds up to a strong show of solidarity for the anti-racist movement here.
There has been great support for the work in New Orleans, including teachers overcoming their fears to step forward. Some classes have invited the teacher who was attacked to speak. On the first day when students began wearing the stickers, teachers hesitated but by the end of that day all the members of the PLP teachers department were wearing them. Teachers wrote letters in a newsletter openly attacking the administration and signing their names. They have pressured the head of the union to agree to come to the school to defend the PLer. Many people have come up to the PLer, hugged her, while saying, "Im with you," and "Im on your side."
But the principal, along with the DOE and other administrators, are part of the fascist trend to silence opposition. NYC public schools have become more about security and following orders and less about any kind of real education. Both teachers and students face more rules, regulations and punishments than ever before. Racism has intensified as more of these overwhelmingly black and Latino schools resemble jails. The administration is trying to build a climate of fear where, complicit with the union, teachers will not speak up or "step out of line" for fear of reprisals, letters in their files, etc., all part of the growing fascism in the schools.
In discussions with teachers and students, we have stressed that its imperative to stand up to these attacks, to show some backbone. Weve tried to take the offensive as much as possible and worry less about repercussions, asking people to get involved on many levels and sometimes openly confront the administration.
Secondly, weve indicated that were living in a different period, that the DOE is trying to maintain a tighter grip on teachers than it did in the past, given the war in Iraq and the students who will serve as the source of the troops that the U.S. ruling class needs to fight their imperialist oil wars. Such a period has many dangers but also offers increasing opportunities to win workers and youth against these attacks.
The fact that both students and teachers have defended and shown great respect for a communist who is at the center of this struggle indicates that the administrations anti-communism has been unable to smash this anti-racist effort. And the fact that a dozen students and several teachers involved in this fight attended PLPs May Day event shows the potential to win masses of people to the communist PLP.
Finally, we should try to point out the futility of reforming capitalist education to serve students and teachers. Some of the staff involved in this struggle have been in the school system a long time and have fought hard in various reform campaigns. Twenty years ago, we fought for smaller classes, yet now many of us still have over-sized classes. From such struggles, we must learn that capitalism offers us only a series of attacks, that joining the communist PLP is the best step to fight for a society where education wont be based on racist prison-like conditions and will serve all workers and their children.
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA, May 1 Over 200,000 marched here on May Day, while similar mass marches occurred nation-wide. Workers, students, Indigenous people, housewives, unemployed, pensioners and many mass organizations protested the Free Trade Agreement President Uribe is signing with the U.S.; the narcopolitics of the government; and all the murderous policies of the capitalist rulers. In the last few days, mass graves have been found with hundreds of victims shot and dismembered of the pro-government paramilitary death squads. There was also mass repudiation of the U.S. war in Iraq. Groups poked fun at Bush and his buddy Uribe (who was visiting the White House that week). Students marched against the bosses plan to end public education with massive budget cuts helped by the rampant corruption of school administrators.
The PLP contingent of men and women workers and students was very well received. We carried a big banner reading, "DESAFIO, Revolutionary Communist Paper." Our marchers also held colorful red flags and 16 placards with slogans reflecting our communist politics: "Smash the bosses dictatorship with communist revolution"; "Paramilitary squads and racism sustain capitalism"; and "Capitalism is the problem, communism is the solution."
Many throughout the entire march took up our chants. DESAFIO-CHALLENGE was distributed and 3,000 leaflets were handed out stressing that communist politics must become primary in all struggles. "DESAFIO, what a good paper!" said a farmworker. "It tells the entire truth. Give me one."
Our anti-capitalist and pro-communist chants were heard loud and clear until the march ended at Bolívar Square. We then sang the Internationale, along with many other marchers with their fists raised high.
Our politics were the opposite of the "Alternative Democratic Pole," and opportunist left groups, which promote their electoral candidates, building illusions that this way the system can be reformed to help workers and youth.
The cops viciously attacked young demonstrators from an Anti-Imperialist Brigade with pepper spray, rubber bullets and water canyons, injuring many children and elderly workers. Workers and youth responded with rocks, sticks and even their fists. Ten cops were injured and 80 protestors were arrested. Several local businesses were also affected. The bosses and the media are blaming these youths for the attack, even offering rewards for the capture of the young rebels and their leaders. But the bosses and their mouthpieces dont understand that millions in Colombia hate imperialism and capitalism and have the potential of becoming revolutionary leaders. We in PLP will try our best to make this into a reality. J
CHICAGO, IL, May 5 "We might have got a penny a day for every day we were on strike. But it was all worth it because we were all together as one, black and white. We have a different outlook now."
Those were the words of a Northrop Grumman worker just hours before addressing almost 150 workers and youth at the PLP May Day dinner here tonight. The 18-year veteran shipbuilder and over 7,000 of her co-workers shut down the war-making, strike-breaking Navy contractor for 28 days in March, both showing and learning the potential power of industrial workers. After her talk we passed the hat, raising over $500 for the workers food bank, still needed by workers even though theyre now back to work.
Tonight featured our building a fighting party out of class struggle, and how a mass, revolutionary PLP can emerge from advancing communist ideas within the pro-capitalist reform movement. It was a night of anti-racist struggle and culture.
In addition to the striking shipbuilder, a Cook County hospital worker detailed the struggle against racist health care cuts and clinic closings. A Ford worker described his growing up as a teenager in Detroit, participating in the 1967 rebellion against racist police terror. This July marks the 40th anniversary of that heroic struggle.
A young Party leader noted the response of masses of workers and youth to our contingent in the May Day immigration march and how our dinner showed that from striking workers in Mississippi to the Cook County fight to the mass immigration march, workers and youth are open to revolutionary communism.
Young poets, black and white, a young woman performing modern dance, and a group of young workers and students doing a comedy skit all contributed to the building of an anti-racist, revolutionary culture.
Just a few days earlier, PLP participated in the May 1 immigration march. Our "Long Live Communism" banner, red T-shirts and red flags were a revolutionary beacon to the more than 150,000 workers and youth who participated. In just minutes, marchers snatched up the 200 Spanish and English picket signs that said, "Workers Struggles Have No Borders Progressive Labor Party." Next year we will make 1,000!
This directly opposed the thousands of American flags passed out by the union leaders, community organizers and Democratic Party hacks who led the march. This sellout crew has a tiger by the tail and seriously underestimated the mood of the masses. Just a week earlier, a coalition of Latino union leaders estimated that 5,000 to 10,000 marchers would be good! Then an outrageous immigration raid by hundreds of ICE (immigration cops) and FBI agents in full battle gear at a strip mall in the Little Village neighborhood was met by mass demonstrations and growing anger. While this certainly added to the march, it didnt make it grow from 10,000 to 150,000. Clearly many more workers and youth were ready to march against the growing anti-immigrant racism than the "leaders" anticipated.
Racist Mayor Daley was the main speaker on the stage. But in the street, the PLP contingent set a different tone. Our speeches and chants, picked up by thousands of marchers, helped us to distribute 3,000 DESAFIOS, 2,500 CHALLENGES, and thousands of PLP fliers. Still other comrades marched with their unions, churches and immigrant rights groups.
Both the May 1 march and the PLP May Day dinner were led by young comrades, black, Latin and white, women and men. A young leadership is emerging. This is a significant development for the future. But we have many obstacles to overcome and many weaknesses to correct while the bosses move to wider wars and more fascist terror. We have a long way to go, but this May Day week we took another step down the road to communist revolution.
NEW YORK CITY, May 1 Red flags with "Workers of the World, Unite!" printed in English, Spanish and French, flew out of PLers hands as thousands of workers marched past us in the liberal/politician-organized immigrants rights demonstration. Despite the many U.S. and other national flags, workers were hungry for our message of international working-class unity and were proud to wave the flag of workers power.
As we chanted, "Los obreros, unidos, jamás serán vencidos;" "The workers, united, will never be defeated!" marchers all around us joined in enthusiastically. More than 2,000 CHALLENGE/DESAFIOS circulated throughout the crowd.
Multi-racial PLP groups of students and teachers took turns leading chants and giving speeches on the bullhorn as we marched from Union Square to Federal Plaza. PLPs revolutionary communist message of anti-racist workers unity was the opposite of the one pushed by the various liberal reform groups that led the march. They have been squabbling over which new immigration bill to support, all of them enabling the bosses to increase exploitation of immigrant workers and send their youth into imperialist wars.
Morristown, NJ, May 1 PLP distributed over 50 CHALLENGES to local workers during a rally called by immigrants rights groups to oppose the Democratic Mayor, Donald Cresitellos plan to deputize 10 local police to become Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. This would allow police officers to take anyone in that they think is an "illegal immigrant." While the rallys speakers called for the workers to put their faith into religion and politicians, PLP discussed with many of the workers the nature of capitalism and the need for communist revolution.
In 2000 and 2001, neo-Nazi Richard Barrett picked Morristown to espouse his racist filth against immigrants. PLP was able to disrupt both of his speeches, eventually forcing him out of the town. At the same time the Party made a lot of good connections in the town. We hope that we can once again win many of the residents of Morristown to fight back against these racist attacks, and May 1 was a good starting point for that.
Washington, D.C. May 1 Twenty comrades and friends of PLP participated in the May 1 Immigrants Rights March here in Malcolm X Park. We offered an alternative to the liberal patriotic politics of the events with red flags flying from a table filled with PLP communist literature, May Day stickers, buttons, and T-shirts with the traditional communist slogan, "Workers of the World Unite, We Have Nothing to Lose but our Chains." Over 200 DESAFIOS, 100 CHALLENGES and 100 buttons and stickers were distributed to the 500 marchers, along with a PLP leaflet calling for revolution, not reform. Workers eagerly bought the 20 T-shirts we had we should have had more!
The Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association had endorsed the Immigrants Rights march due to our leadership and several of our friends from our HIV/AIDS project helped in all aspects of our communist work as well as providing free "condoms for the people." The day was a great follow-up to the Partys May Day march in New York the previous Saturday.
New York City, NY, April 19 Several PLP members and friends confronted a CIA recruiter with signs exposing the CIAs true racist, torture history. The CIA was here to try to recruit working-class youth and mis-inform them. "The CIA helped justify 600,000 Iraqi deaths" and "No Free Speech for Racists" read the signs held up by students. Protestors were confronted by the fascist NYPD and Campus Police. These students stood their ground and did not back down to threats made by the cops. After the presentation, protestors chanted slogans about the war and the fascist nature of the cops. The recruiter was quickly rushed out of a back door after the chants became louder and students were looking to rush past the police. There always seems to be a back door to sneak imperialists in and out of CCNY.
The CIA is targeting working-class Latino, Arab and black students. After students interrupted their session at Hunter College, the CIA tried to add legitimacy at CCNY by having the Career Center contact different student groups on campus. Presidents and officers of clubs who admitted there might be students in their clubs interested in joining the CIA instantly had their clubs names put on the events flier. This included the numerous engineering clubs as well as the Student Association for International Studies (SAIS).
A PLP member who is part of SAIS responded quickly to the e-mail announcement of the CIA event, with a call for the club to withdraw its sponsorship of the CIA coming to the college and instead called on the club to try to organize opposition to the session. Many in the club responded with the liberal idea that the recruiters had to be given the right to speak and that it was up to individuals to decide if they wanted a career in the CIA. This argument ignores the fact that the CIA historically helped to deny millions of workers the right to speak, organize, and live. In fact, a week earlier, the SAIS had a speaker from Indonesia who told the club of how the CIA helped to establish a government that murdered over a million communists. The hypocrisy was ripe in the air when most members of SAIS didnt attend the event, while a few attended to "hear him [the recruiter] out."
In the end, PLP members were able to organize several friends from our classes to attend the event to protest the CIA. Still, if not for the PLPs presence on campus the CIA would likely have had no disruption at all and the SAIS would not even have questioned the event.
Students are lied to all the time by military and government recruiters. It is the job of the PLP to expose the lies and also the history of the role of these government organizations. The CIA promises thousands of dollars in salary to protect U.S. imperialism worldwide, but we say no to imperialism, workers of the world unite, fight for communist revolution!
NEW YORK CITY, May 3 Two more city subway workers have been needlessly killed because of the refusal of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) bosses to make safety a high priority, symptomatic of capitalisms nature: profits first, workers lives last. The two track workers were killed in separate incidents, a week apart.
The first victim, Daniel Boggs, 42, was fatally struck by an oncoming train when tower personnel did not divert that train away from the track on which he was working. The second fatality involved Marvin Franklin, 55, who was hit while attempting to lift a dolly onto a platform. There was no signal protection to warn the motorman of his presence on the track.
Transit workers charged that the two deaths exposed the chronic lack of safety for those working on the tracks. Many have demanded the MTA give them radios to communicate with the tower and with moving trains. Such devices might have prevented these fatalities.
"This is basically all we have when we go out there a helmet, gloves and a vest," transit worker Robert Yates told the media. Workers have constantly complained about supervisors who push for more work with less manpower, pressuring workers to take shortcuts.
The main threat to safety is too many jobs to do with too few workers. The signal, lighting, structural track and station departments each get dozens of calls daily to correct some emergency from fires, smoke, flooding, ice and snow in the winter, debris on tracks, as well as animals and also homeless people, and breakdowns of track equipment and trains.
Maintenance crews of from five to ten workers in this hellhole are often divided into groups of one or two (when it takes at least three workers to do the job), proceeding from one emergency to the next and without flagmen to warn of approaching trains. Many are working alone on all these problems, all day long. Workers say its a miracle there arent more accidents.
Tower personnel are often lax in notifying road workers and train operators the required week in advance about changes in train schedules and routings. The MTA has hired private contractors to do some of this track work (at triple the pay of MTA employees) but they operate with flagmen as well as with the power turned off, whereas transit workers must perform their duties with the power on.
The racism of the MTA bosses plays a big role in the life-threatening working conditions suffered by the 6,000 track workers, most of them black and Latino.
The MTA bosses are constantly crying about "deficits" and use that as an excuse to stint on safety measures. But they never cry about feeding the big banks hundreds of millions of dollars annually in interest from the bonds that pay for subway debt. This interest is the profit reaped from the labor of the 32,000 transit workers, including the 27 killed at work since 1980. That money might be better spent to promote workers safety.
Meanwhile, the TWU Local 100 union leaders who sold out the militant anti-racist December 2005 strike that shut down NYC for several days just limit themselves to "working together" with the MTA. But the only thing the bosses will listen to is a strike against these murderers, something the workers and riders will never hear from the union leadership.
Some say about an hours spending on the war in Iraq could take care of all the safety expenses for NYC transit workers. But wars for profits are the bosses priority, not workers lives, be they in Baghdad or in NYC and Washington, D.C. (where several workers have being killed recently in similar conditions).
In a communist system, without profits to put ahead of safety, workers lives will be the top priority. Join and build PLP towards this goal.
LOS ANGELES April 28 Tonight hundreds attended PLPs annual May Day Dinners. The events helped us prepare to bring our communist politics to the immigration rights marches on May 1st. The highlight of the dinners was the response of many who participated. As a result, 9 youth joined PLP, committing to building the revolutionary communist movement. Others committed to receive CHALLENGE and distribute it to friends and co-workers. Youth also joined committees to guarantee the militancy, discipline and enthusiasm of our contingent in the immigration rights march.
Speeches were given about the history of May Day, explaining that the red flag represents the international unity of the working class in struggle against capitalist oppression, for a communist world. One speaker pointed out that in the face of the dangers workers face today of sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry, widening imperialist war, increasing racism and developing fascism, there are many opportunities to build a mass communist party by reaching out to angry youth, soldiers, immigrant and black workers.
Industrial workers pointed out the openness of workers to communist politics when workers work and struggle together as well as share food and ideas. Another speaker expressed the anger of soldiers in Iraq and the need to build the Party among them. Several youth shared stirring poems of anti-racist resistance and uniting the working class in struggle.
A comrade showed how the liberal imperialists are using the Gutierrez-Flake immigration bill to build their green card army to fool more people. By calling for undocumented youth to join the military or get a college degree (due to racism and poverty, they will be forced into the military), this bill is an attempt by the liberals to get national service (the draft) adopted and calls for a national ID card for all workers and an electronic work verification system both steps to escalate fascism in the U.S. against all workers.
"Many of our parents tell us son, daughter you have to do something with your life," said the final speaker. "Well, Im here to tell you that the best thing you can do with your life is to be a communist. A lifetime commitment of serving the working class is the best life you can have "
SAN SALVADOR, May 1 More than 100,000 workers marched through the main streets here to celebrate International Workers Day and protest against the capitalist system. Slogans that marchers read, painted and chanted during the 3˝-mile march included: "Long Live the International Working Class"; "Students, what is our duty? To Take Power!" One marcher shouted emotionally, "Wave the hammer and sickle! Communism is Invincible." A group of youth organized the distribution of 4,000 PLP leaflets and 400 CHALLENGES.
PLP succeeded in mobilizing over 100 members and readers from across the country. Farmworkers, students (high school and university), teachers, factory workers and doctors all made their presence felt at the march. Slogans like "Workers struggles have no borders" were heard in the march as well as on community radio. For the first time the Internationale was sung in several languages. Workers are now taking up red flags with the hammer and sickle. A few years ago PLP members were the only ones who raised the red flag of communism. This year thousands of workers followed the example, representing the fight for workers revolution, by raising and waving the red flag with pride.
A capitalist news reporter asked a police chief, "Why didnt you arrest any demonstrators for causing such disorder?" He replied, "They shield themselves. There are so many, and if we answer their provocations, theyll come at us. Theres too many of them. It would be chaos."
The police had 7,000 agents in the capital and hundreds more on the roads to "protect" the march. This time the cops didnt attack marchers, but we should have no illusions. Theyve attacked many past protests and cops did attack May 1 protests in L.A., Bogotá, Turkey and Iran, among others. Workers and students must always be prepared to answer police brutality since the main job of all cops is to protect the bosses and their system.
A new contingent of enthusiastic comrades was mobilized to march for the first time. A communist school was planned with them. Also, clubs of new comrades have been strengthening their communist ideas. This May Day they saw their work flourish. Returning to their workplaces, young students, teachers and workers made plans to continue their communist political work. Among these activities is a Bar-B-Que to celebrate our struggle to strengthen the Progressive Labor Party in this region of the world.
"Today, the PLP will not ask for your vote. The PLP will never ask for your vote or tell you who to vote for. We are a revolutionary party, not a party of politicians!"
These words resonated with the15 workers and students gathered for the first PLP May Day in Paraguay. The participants included a mechanic, a former union leader, and a doctor as well as high school and college students. They were greeted with a table full of the latest DESAFIO newspaper as well as PLP articles about Paraguay, the fake left of Evo Morales and Chavez, and Fidels phony communism. The afternoon started with a presentation on the history of May Day by a member of PMAS (Movement towards Socialism, a pro-Chavez movement) who is friendly to the PLP. Many of the participants at the lunch had no knowledge about the history of May Day or the lives sacrificed and blood shed in order to receive an 8-hour work day. A PLPer talked about What is Communism and What We Fight For. This speech included the need to destroy two pillars of capitalism racism against the indigenous community in Paraguay, and sexism that keeps women in chains.
Only four of the participants had previously heard of the PLP, so the fresh idea of a long revolutionary struggle for equality without relying on electoral politics was welcome news to everyone there. We called for building a mass PLP here in Paraguay, and showed that since 2004 PLP has been engaged with Paraguayan workers struggles. Attendees were also impressed with the fact that the PLP was an international party, operating in several countries in Latin America and elsewhere. In this period of sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry, it is even more important to build a worldwide communist movement under the banner of "the working class has no borders!"
Like Chávez and Evo Morales, Paraguay politician Fernando Lugo is flirting with other imperialists against U.S. imperialism. He recently met with representatives from the European Union searching for investments from this imperialist bloc.
This first PLP May Day in Paraguay was a modest step forward. We must continue to struggle with these workers and students, sharpen contradictions and to show through struggle, facts, figures and current events, that the communist vision of the PLP and not the state capitalism of Hugo Chavez is the real solution for workers.J
MEXICO CITY, MAY 1 This May Day was one of struggle against capitalism. In commemorating International Workers Day, many recalled the heroism of the martyrs of Chicago and of the Mexican copper miners killed at White River (Rio Blanco) in Cananea in 1906. Others demonstrated their anger at the pension reform law as well as completely rejecting the whole capitalist system as the cause of all the evils workers suffer unemployment, poverty, racism and exploitation. In all this, the bosses are served by their politicians and the sellout union leaders.
The PLP contingent showed the road to follow for the oppressed, participating with many members and friends who enthusiastically distributed more than 9,500 communist leaflets and chanted slogans like, "One Class, One Party, Workers of the World, Unite!"; "Long Live Communism! Death to Capitalism!"; and "The Working Class Has No Borders!" We advocated the communist alternative, giving a revolutionary feeling to the march, calling on the workers to join PLP.
Later we met in a park to socialize and then analyze our participation, concluding that our literature was well accepted by the workers at the march. This makes us more committed to continue organizing and writing to bring our politics to more workers and recruit them to PLP.
The road to revolution is long, and therefore we must redouble our efforts to deepen relations with the workers, our main task.
The current capitalist crisis of overproduction, unemployment, poverty and imperialist wars means that millions of workers will be searching for solutions to these problems. We will be there, from the factories to the classrooms, with our communist ideas and will bury the bosses, to build the system that we need so much, communism!
"Invite them all," a group of co-workers told me, referring to asking the whole shop to the May Day march, after I had explained the history of the international working-class struggle for the 8-hour day. For the last year Ive discussed exploitation, inter-imperialist rivalry and our communist ideas with this group. Together we planned to attend the march, not only to support immigrant rights but also to spread the real meaning of May Day.
In addressing the whole shop, I sought the groups participation, asking them to stand by me. One did, so I began, "Today is May Day, the international working-class holiday." All those present in the lunchroom (except two supervisors) seemed pleased and to agree with my talk. Even though its main thrust was the history of May Day, I also said that if we wanted changes we had to fight not only for immigrant rights but also for a different society, a society without exploitation.
Consequently, three of us went together to the march. Others went on their own with their families. For a while we all felt bad; we had expected more workers would have left work with us. However, I explained that initially most people dont usually participate in the revolutionary process, that movements are born small and must be built. Nevertheless, the march inspired my co-workers and, along with many marchers, they carried our red flag in one hand and the U.S. flag in the other (even though I had told them it represented the murderous U.S. bosses).
At the end, we enjoyed having participated. Then suddenly, without provocation, the cops attacked some youths who were in the middle of the blocked-off street. "I cant believe what Im seeing," said one of my co-workers with great surprise, "The police are beating people up! If I hadnt seen it, I would not believe it!" Dozens of riot cops began to arrive. We decided to leave. Later we saw on television the cops brutal racist attack.
The next day we shared our experience with co-workers who hadnt gone. Those who went had contradictory views of what occurred. "It was a good decision to leave, but maybe we should have stayed and fought," said one. "I asked myself," said another, "dont people have guns to respond to these attacks?"
I told them that street demonstrations were "schools" where workers learn to fight and understand the role of the cops in defending the bosses capitalist state. I described how in El Salvador the police began using tear gas and clubs and finally shot real bullets. But workers also developed their own methods and eventually picked up arms not only against the police but also against the U.S.-trained fascist army.
"This is just the beginning," I said. "The police here will eventually take off their masks and will attack all workers fighting to better their lot, not only immigrants. Will we be prepared to respond accordingly? Only if we join the only Party capable of leading the workers in these struggles and eventually to the seizure of power. Joining and building the PLP is our most urgent task!" I concluded.
Red Garment Worker
I asked a friend of mine if she was taking her kids to the Cinco de Mayo festival in Flushing Park, Queens, NY as she has done previously. She said she wasnt going because she feared an attack by the NYPD or the ICE (Immigration) cops similar to May 1 in L.A. (Shes from Puebla, where the battle against French Emperor Napoleon IIIs invading army gave birth to this holiday. Interestingly enough, this May 5, 1862 battle reduced French supplies to the pro-slavery Confederacy, helping the U.S. Union Army defeat the southern slave-holders.)
In many U.S. cities, these festivities have been cancelled because of such fears. Recently, an immigrant laborers job center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was burned down. Racist thugs subject these laborers to daily harassment nationwide.
But, most importantly, my friends fear was trumped by anti-racism. She said she now understands the anger of many black workers and youth towards the system, remarking that many Latino youth are already showing that anti-racist anger.
So the bosses, their politicians and their fascist goons (LAPD, Minutemen, etc.) gutter racism are radicalizing a whole new generation of youth, the same youth they need as a future cheap-labor workforce and as soldiers in their imperialist wars. This combination radicalized me and many other Latino youth as well as black and white youths in the 60s. A combination of gutter racism, the war in Vietnam, police terror and racist unemployment helped spark massive anti-racist rebellions from Harlem to Watts, from El Barrio (East Harlem, NY) to Detroit.
Its up to us to channel that anti-racist anger into an anti-capitalist revolutionary movement.
An older but not tired anti-racist
The PLP document "Road to Revolution 4.5" states: "Reform and Revolution are united because they are both part of the workers struggle against capitalism, but reforms are to improve capitalism; revolution to destroy it."
Last February in a reform struggle in the Intercultural University of the State of Mexico, students demanded the rehiring of a teacher in good standing in the pro-indigenous field. After two days of talks, the professor was rehired even though the administration said her dismissal was not unjust because it has the right not to hire teachers who dont meet university criteria.
The school bosses said they were not authoritarians while also saying students could not limit the administrations authority. It also said it respects freedom of speech but then set limits on what signs, banners or newspapers students can have which support social movements that discredit the University. The administration said the schools internal problems should not be exposed to the outside world, but should remain "inside the university family."
Meanwhile, poor conditions make education very difficult, including video cameras, threats against students and teachers, no real freedom of expression or thought, and so on.
Some students said they were neutral in this struggle because theyre waiting for crumbs from the administrators. Others even spied for the school, betraying their "friends." But many students did fight for the teachers job, and felt good about their victory. However, it was a reform victory which only improved a capitalist school, implying that one can win something under capitalism without fighting for real changes and without exposing the real racist, exploitative nature of the system.
Communist students live the contradiction of being dedicated to the destruction of capitalism while studying ideas that help keep the system afloat. Workers face this contradiction, producing surplus value for the bosses to be able to get a wage to survive. But even though we understand this contradiction, how do we solve it? We must build the Party in our schools and jobs to help destroy the capitalist ideas.
A good beginning is to recognize that theres a contradiction between reform and revolution. As red students, we must be involved in struggles in our schools, not to feed reformism among fellow students but to expose how reforms will never really end the exploitation of capitalism. Our goal is to unite students with workers to build the communist PLP and fight directly for communism.
Red Students, Mexico
An addition to the article on Yeltsins death (CHALLENGE, 5/9):
In the 1980s, the USSR was an authoritarian welfare capitalist state, with many guarantees for workers: jobs or unemployment insurance and retraining; free education, medical care, vacations; subsidies on housing, transportation, basic food commodities; free childcare and a nationwide system of youth facilities, camps, etc.
Gorbachev and Yeltsin:
GAVE AWAY the collectively-produced industrial and agricultural wealth of the USSR, created by generations of Soviet workers, so these economic institutions could no longer use their profits to fund the above benefits;
ABOLISHED these social welfare benefits, causing a huge drop in the standard of living, and life expectancy, of Soviet workers, massively increasing crime and prostitution and lowering the birth rate to a negative population growth;
Created a new class of wealthy and "middle-class" people who profit from this system and exploit the labor of the working class;
Promoted racism-nationalism to divide and conquer, hugely increasing racism everywhere and promoting Nazi-type fascists to head many of the former Soviet states.
Basically, the USSR was capitalist before this, and unstable. All these social welfare benefits cost huge sums. So it was in evolution. Something had to give, sometime given that it was capitalism. Gorbachev and Yeltsin were the ones who brought it to its logical conclusion: screw the workers. Their policies were far to the right of Ronald Reagans, or those of any U.S. president, even Bush.
They justify all this by DEMONIZING COMMUNISM. "It was all the communists fault." These guys, with the help of their propagandists, spread anti-communist lies fabrications, falsehoods, forged documents, etc. This is the Gorbachev-Yeltsin legacy!
A Soviet history buff
SAINT NAZAIRE, FRANCE, May 5 When the biggest unions at Airbus plants here and in Nantes told strikers to return to work, the rank and file voted to continue the walkout. The union hacks tried to trick the workers with a surprise end-the-strike vote. The Saint Nazaire hacks have punished the strikers by withdrawing official union support for the strike. The workers are demanding a bonus of 3,000-4,000 euros similar to 2006, an end to the Power 8 downsizing plan, no layoffs and permanent job contracts for temporary workers.
Solidarity Actions with Opel Strike
Meanwhile, on May 3 Opel-GM workers held solidarity actions and strikes in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, the UK, Hungary and Sweden in support of Opel strikers in Antwerp, Belgium. (GM Opel employs 60,000 workers throughout Europe).
Whereas some factories limited themselves to leafleting or to holding informational meetings, many factories stopped working for one to three hours. In Germany, the groups four factories mainly Opel stopped work for three hours and demonstrated.
Industrial workers in Europe, as in North America, are losing their jobs as the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry forces bosses to move their plants to cheaper labor areas in Eastern Europe, China and India. These strikes and solidarity actions are good, but more than that is needed. These workers must forge a real international class-struggle leadership and turn their fight-backs into schools for communism. J
HONG KONG, May 1 May Day usually lacks any class content or militance in capitalist China, but hundreds of dockworkers changed that, striking for overtime pay at one of the worlds busiest ports. According to Wen Wei Po, a Hong Kong newspaper, over 400 crane operators and truck drivers at the Chiwan Container Terminal in the boomtown of Shenzhen in southern China stopped working at midnight May 1, delaying thousands of shipping containers.
The strikers staged a sit-in outside the container terminals headquarters on May 1. The cops were called but no there was no violence.
Hong Kong South China Morning Post quoted an unnamed worker who said they took industrial action on International Labor Day to express their anger. "Many of us have sacrificed our health and spare time to work for the company," he said. "We only have one or two days of rest each month. The company should treat us better."
Although these dockers wages are higher than most workers (averaging $519/month), this is nothing compared to the profits of the bosses of Chiwan Container Terminal, one of the worlds busiest.
The key task is to build a real revolutionary communist party with the leadership of the angry urban and rural workers, enduring hell because of the return of full-blown capitalism to China.
BERLIN, May 1 Thousands of May Day demonstrators using rocks, bottles, barricades, fires and Molotov cocktails violently disrupted neo-Nazi marches in several German cities today. The biggest protests were in Nuremberg, Bavaria, site of Adolf Hitlers mass rallies.
Every year since 1998, the fascist National-Democratic Party and other fascist groups have organized a national neo-Nazi march in Leipzig. But in 2006, 3,000 demonstrators broke up the neo-Nazi demonstration using rocks, bottles and their fists. As a result, this year the neo-Nazis organized several regional marches under the slogan, "Jobs for millions instead of profits for millionaires!" Hitler also began by claiming he was "pro-worker," and ended up slaughtering millions for German capitalism until his killing machine was smashed by the Soviet Red Army.
Today, even though neo-Nazis were able to march in six cities, in many others they were unsuccessful despite police protection. In Nuremberg, about 3,000 people at a "revolutionary May Day" demonstration showered rocks and bottles on a kick-off rally of 200 neo-Nazis. The fascists ran instead of marching to their closing rally, and then were evacuated under police protection.
Thousands of these anti-Nazi demonstrators then joined the 5,000-strong Nuremberg May Day rally called by the DGB trade union confederation. When Bavarian interior minister Günther Beckstein, a member of the right-wing Christian-Social Union party and infamous for his racist anti-immigrant policies, tried to address the crowd, the anti-Nazis pelted him with bottles.
In Dortmund in the industrial Ruhr region, 2,500 anti-fascists broke up a march by 600 neo-Nazis and chased small groups of Nazis through the streets. Cops trying to protect the neo-Nazis were met with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Barricades and fires were built in the streets and on commuter train tracks to prevent the neo-Nazis from entering the city center.
At a street corner In Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia in central Germany, about 1,000 youth halted a march by 1,300 neo-Nazis. About 2,500 people had lined the streets to form a "dishonor guard" and jeer at the neo-Nazis.
In Tübingen, a university town in southwest Germany, 800 demonstrators prevented the right-wing student organization "Burschenschaften" from holding their May songfest.
PARIS, May 1 Even though 200,000 marched throughout France on May Day (compared to 90,000 last year), it was mainly for "lesser-evil" politics. There were nearly 250 rallies and marches nation-wide the biggest ones in Paris (60,000) and Marseille (20,000) in which traditional demands for jobs, higher wages and better pensions alternated with "Anybody but Sarkozy!" Voting for the "Socialist" Party candidate S. Royal was the name of the game.
Years of reformist politics and business unionism have taken their toll. The union hacks wont fight the massive capitalist attacks on workers, against racism and imperialist preparations for endless wars. Only dedicated revolutionary work to strengthen class consciousness can rebuild the unity and combativeness the working class needs. This is a necessary step toward communist revolution, the only real solution to capitalisms ills, no matter which politician rules their state.
Democrats back imperialist war
The most likely next target for the Pentagon is Iran. So what do the leading Democrats have to say about that crucial matter?
"Their positions on Irans nuclear program, a subject that is almost certain to bedevil whoever becomes president in 2009 most strongly suggest that the foreign-policy difference between Democratic and Republican policy elites have been vastly overblown," David Reiff noted in the New York Times Magazine on March 25.
Sen. Clinton said "no option can be taken off the table."
Sen. Obama said that the Iranian government is "a threat to all of us" and "we should take no option, including military action, off the table."
Former Sen. Edwards said, "Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons. We need to keep all options on the table."
If words mean anything, in this case the candidates are conveying that theyd be willing to consider using nuclear weapons to strike Iranian targets. (Norman Solomon, Creators Syndicate, 4/4)
Using troops to grab Iraq oil
A bumper sticker about the Iraq War asks: "Whats our oil doing under their sand?" .
A cabal including the major oil corporations - has drafted a new oil law requiring Iraq to open up its fields to control by Western corporations .
The law would transform Iraqs huge oil reserve from a nationally owned resource to a privatization model, opening two-thirds of the known oil fields to foreign control .
This scheme is nothing but license for Big Oil to plunder a nation and its people. So much for Bush & Companys rhetoric about "bringing democracy to Iraq." Theyre using our troops to give away Iraqs oil . (Jim Hightower, Minutemanmedia.org., 4/5)
Going up, they desert black workers
A 14-year-old black girl from tiny Paris, Texas, was sent to a youth prison for up to seven years for shoving a hall monitor at her high school.
The same judge sentenced a 14-year-old white girl to probation for burning down her familys house .
Last Saturday (March 30), the black teen, Shaquanda Cotton, walked out of prison, released early. Why was this child allowed to sit in prison for almost a year before media-generated heat from outsiders led to her rescue?
The evidence suggest that Shaquanda was forgotten not only by the white establishment, but also by much of the black middle class and black political establishment that the civil rights revolution helped to create .Economic class has become even more pernicious, opening up a new gap between those who are moving up economically and those who are stuck on the bottom in black America. (Tribune media, 4/5)
Easier than Iraq, US to leave by 2017
American military officials say a principal element of any Western exit strategy from Afghanistan will be to create competent national security forces. Such forces are regarded as necessary to contain, and eventually defeat, the Taliban insurgency .
Officials say it will take at least a few years before most of the Afghan forces become more ready and reliable, and perhaps a decade before they are capable of independent operations. (NYT, 5/2)
Millions of cancers begin at work
At least 200,000 people die every year from cancers related to their workplace, according to the World Health Organisation in Geneva. It says that every 10th Lung cancer death is related to occupational hazards, and about 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos at work, leading to at least 90,000 deaths each year. (GW, 5/10)
The detailed mental health survey of troops in Iraq released by the Pentagon on Friday .suggested that extended tours and multiple deployments, among other policy decisions, could escalate anger and increase the likelihood that soldiers or marines lash out at civilians .
More that a third of troops endorsed torture in certain situations; and most would not turn in fellow service members for mistreating a civilian .
"You can endure a lot of physical and mental exhaustion as long as you feel yourre accomplishing something and that you have some control over your situation .If you dont feel you have any of that, you quickly get to a point where the only thing thats important is keeping yourself and your buddies alive. Nothing else much matters." (NYT, 5/6)
Focus on Virginia: racist, imperialist
To the editor:
The amount of shocked, over the-top press coverage given to the Virginia campus massacre in Australia and no doubt other predominantly white, rightwing, imperialist Christian nations will give comfort and reinforcement to those who still smugly believe that an American life, or a Jewish life, a British or Australian, is so much more valuable and important than that of someone of Middle Eastern or other origin.
It will give no such comfort to the vast majority of human beings (GW, 5/3)
NEW YORK, April 27 Students at a high school here have organized a militant anti-racist, anti-fascist campaign over the installation of surveillance cameras, challenging the racist administration to a standstill. Their activities included a petition campaign and a mass meeting; and when that was ignored, a sit-out, a walkout and the linking of the Holocaust and Nazism to the rulers intentions to spend $120 million of U.S. "Justice" Department grant money to place these cameras in every school in the city, surely a nationwide plan on the road to fascism. A group of these students recently attended and spoke at our May Day dinner.
Building class consciousness and unity among students, teachers, and parents spurred the February petition drive in which students and teachers gathered 500 signatures demanding a campus-wide meeting to discuss the cameras, which then led to the other above actions.
Simultaneously, two freshman classes studying the Holocaust connected the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany to present U.S. society. They devised a "yellow star" project students would distribute yellow Stars of David stickers with "No Cameras!" written in the middle to symbolize the administrations racist targeting of Latino and black youth. They also wrote statements explaining the history of the Star of David, expressing solidarity with Jewish workers and others who suffered under the Nazis, with titles like, "Dont Let History Repeat Itself," "WE MUST FIGHT!!!" and "Cameras: For Our Security or Theirs?"
The administration quickly labeled the students racist (!) for making connections with the Holocaust, pretending they couldnt see any. In a dramatic meeting with the principal, assistant principals and deans, students stood up for their principles in the face of lies and condemnation. Two weeks later, these same students organized a modified sticker campaign that electrified the building, distributing 750 stickers and 700 copies of varied statements reaffirming the connection between cameras and fascism.
In the meeting with the school bosses, one particularly vicious dean revealed how fascism works, berating students: "Dont you see? These people [the administration] are doing what they have to do because their jobs are at stake."
With student protests growing, the administration has engaged in lies and slander, attempting to discredit students and scare them and teachers alike into silence. A school newspapers racist article falsely linked student protests to "gang activity" and violence, claiming they were based on "rumors" and "misinformation," while hypocritically repeating the principals blatant lies.
This anti-camera campaign has exposed the depth of teachers fears. Many honest teachers opposed to the cameras declined to wear the stickers. Several were openly hostile to students, saying they need to learn how to demonstrate "the right way." These teachers need to take a stand, to see that the students struggle is their struggle and that their enemy is not just Republican or Democratic politicians or the Department of Education, but the capitalist system itself.
In the last parents association meeting, the principal pressured by student protests addressed parents, convincing many to support camera installation. But then a teacher spoke and parents minds changed. The teacher placed the cameras in the context of growing fascism: the explosion in the prison population, increased racist police terror, arrests of 6-year-old black children, the Minutemen and attacks on immigrants, the war economy in short, many more security forces, and much less security for workers. Parents were a sea of nodding heads. Later, parents approached the teacher with comments like, "You really convinced me" and "I agree with you."
Schools have always been factories for capitalist ideology, teaching workers and youth to fear communism while simultaneously spreading fear of challenging their supposed democracy. Amid growing fascism and war, the bosses need a more obedient population to support their attacks against their imperialist rivals.
As in Nazi Germany, anti-communism is the bosses secret weapon. The bosses want to convince teachers and students that the only acceptable protest is one that follows the rules of capitalism, the very system attacking them. PLPers must express pride and confidence in our communist heritage and expose the bankruptcy of reformism, which similar to Germany in the 1920s represents the bosses attempts to convince workers to support a fatally flawed system.
Most students here remain unafraid. Many have seen how "free speech" only serves the capitalists. The bosses have free speech because they have state power. These qualitative breakthroughs have laid the basis for an increased quantity of work: more student organizers, more students, teachers and parents reading CHALLENGE. We must now win some of these student leaders into PLP study groups on the road to the next qualitative breakthrough: students wearing the "red star" by joining PLP.
PARIS, May 6 Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President today. But the real news is that there was no significant difference in the programs of Sarkozy and "socialist" Ségolčne Royal. But millions believed that voting for her was a meaningful political act, which strengthened the chains binding them to the capitalist system.
Royal and centrist candidate François Bayrou (who was eliminated in the first round) hinted that Sarkozy will install a fascist regime. "Leftist" newspapers like "Charlie Hebdo" and "Le Canard enchaîné" said the same. The Green Party, the "Communist" Party, the two main Trotskyist parties, and the Hoxhaists all urged a vote for Royal in the second round "to avert the fascist danger."
And Lillian Thuram, a black player on the 1998 French World Cup champion team, correctly denounced Sarkozys racism: "He wants to create a ministry of immigration and national identity, and that is dangerous. When you begin to divide people, to see one group here, the Muslims, over here, the blacks elsewhere, you teach people to consider other people as different," he said. (El Mundo, Madrid, May 5)
Nevertheless, the transition from bourgeois democracy to fascism is not fundamentally a question of personalities. It concerns the needs of the capitalist class and Royal is every bit as willing a servant of that class as Sarkozy. The working class cannot avert fascism by voting for bourgeois democracy. Class struggle is the only way forward.
Now, despite French capitalists whining, France remains an attractive investment for capital. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2005 workers in France churned out the most gross domestic product per hour worked in any industrialized country. But the name of the game is not simply profits, but maximum profits, so French capitalists need to cut wages and squeeze more profit out of the working class. Sarkozy will do his utmost to help French bosses do just that.
On Aug. 31, 2006, Sarkozy promised the bosses association he would abolish the 35-hour work week ("Libération," 9/1/06). His program entitled, "Together, everything is possible," indicates the thin end of the wedge: public hospitals will be "liberated" from the 35-hour week. (Royal told "lExpress" (4/3/07) in an interview that she was willing to compromise on the 35-hour week.)
Sarkozy also plans to make overtime more profitable by eliminating employers taxes and social security contributions on overtime hours.
Sarkozys program also includes several ways to drive wages down: (1) A new "flexible" job contract, making it easier for bosses to lay off workers who squawk; (2) Lowering welfare benefits and forcing welfare recipients to do general interest work. Companies will "have to" cut wages to compete.
Royals program was not to be outdone. Her plans also included pushing unemployed people to take low-paying jobs by having the government bump up their wages with an "active solidarity income"; and State job training for the inevitable victims of increased flexibility. ("LExpansion," 4/27/07)
To help bosses impose lower wages and longer hours, Sarkozy will attack the right to strike. "If I am elected president, I will have a law passed," so that "after a one-week strike in the public services, at a private company or at a university, there will be an obligatory secret-ballot vote so that the dictatorship of violent minorities will no longer be able to impose its will on the majority who want to work." ("Nouvel Obs," 12/10/06)
Sarkozy will also impose a guaranteed minimum service in public services, which will gut the effectiveness of any strike. Historically, private sector workers in France have seen strikes by public workers who cannot be laid off as defending the interests of all workers.
The working class here faces a period of sharpening struggle. Reformist illusions including those peddled by the so-called extreme left are becoming an unaffordable luxury. Communists need to persuade the millions who voted that the only solution is revolution.