Save Darfur For Whom? For U.S. Rulers Oil Empire
Cindy Sheehan: Quitting Struggle Wont Stop War-Making Dems
U.S. Rulers Fund Both Parties
700,000 Strikers Hit South Africas New Economic Apartheid
Wanted For Murder: Racist NYPD KKKop
Liberals Use Peace Movement as Cover for Imperialist War
Vets Support Anti-War GI Against Marine Brass
Campus Political Struggle Backs Immigrant Workers, Fights Nationalist Attacks
Arab-Jewish Unity Answer to U.S.-Zionist Racism
Venezuela: Free Press Brawl Masks Bosses Dogfight Over Oil Profits
Rulers Use JFK Plot To Terrorize Workers
Communism: Only Liberation of Women and All Workers
Imperialist Square Off at G8 Meeting
GM-Russia Workers Fight Heat, Also Need Revolution
Portugal General Strike Hits Anti-Worker Reforms
U.S. Bosses Behind Colombias Death Squads
GIs Say Theyre Spilling Blood for Oil
PLP Foresaw Vietnams Capitalist Road
Communist Strategy for Workers in Europe
MTA-TWU Collusion Murders Transit Workers
Immigrant Students Reject Bosses Lies
Fewer Heroes, More Organizers
REDEYE on the News
PLP History: PL-led Action Linked Vietnam War to Strike-breaker GE
Chad: Another China-U.S. Bosses Oil Battleground
Capitalists Inborn Superiority One More Ruling-Class Myth
On campuses and in religious groups across the U.S., a movement is growing against horrendous atrocities inflicted on the people of Darfur. The Save Darfur Coalition unites a host of organizations opposing the Sudanese government and its henchmen, who have murdered, raped, starved and tortured hundreds of thousands and made millions homeless. Unfortunately, however, the earnest efforts of rank-and-file Darfur activists will ultimately be wasted.
The movement does not attack capitalisms ceaseless competition for profits, which underlies the Sudan slaughter, as it does the Iraq war. Additionally, the dominant leaders of Save Darfur represent the main imperialist wing of U.S. capitalists, who cynically seek to transform mass indignation over Darfur into popular support for the wider wars they require. The strife in Darfur results from the intensifying rivalry between the U.S. and China over Sudans oil, the Mid-East oil export routes Sudan commands and jockeying for geo-strategic and public-opinion advantage in the run-up to global conflict.
On one level, the U.S. is battling oil-thirsty China for Sudans reserves. U.S. giant Chevron first discovered relatively small oil deposits in Sudan in the 1970s but soon pulled out because an ongoing civil war there made the venture not worth the risk. Since then, oil companies from France, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and China have moved in, made far bigger finds, and conspired with Sudans emerging al-Bashir dictatorship to shut the U.S. out. China now takes the lions share, 60%, of Sudans 500,000 barrels-a-day of oil. The U.S. started a comeback in the early 80s by funding a rebellion against the Khartoum government. John Garang, a graduate of the U.S. Armys special forces school at Ft. Benning, Georgia, led the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Army and symbolized the pro-U.S. rebel movement until his death in 2005. In addition to funding Garangs brutal proxy militia, since 1996 the U.S. has sent $20 million of military equipment to neighboring Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda to put further pressure on the Sudanese government. But installing a pro-U.S. regime would merely turn the petroleum profit spigot westward and do nothing for Darfurs destitute working class. Exxon Mobils pipeline operations in nearby Chad, for example, have evicted thousands of farmers, stealing dirt from the dirt-poor.
Liberal, war-making imperialists are asserting ever tighter control over the Save Darfur Coalition. The NY Times (6/2/07) reported that a split pitting advocates of military action against relief workers resulted in the ouster of coalition director David Rubenstein, a spokesman for the latter. The Times made it clear that John Prendergast, another Save Darfur director and senior advisor to the International Crisis Group (ICG), had blessed the firing, "Prendergast...said the changes that the board decided to make were part of an effort to reorganize and re-energize the movement."
Cindy Sheehans decision to quit the anti-war movement has saddened many activists. Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, made a bold move when she started Camp Casey outside Bushs ranch almost three years ago. Sheehans principled stance galvanized many people into action at that time. However, Sheehans approach, though honest, did not address the root cause of imperialist war and was doomed to failure.
Sheehan believed that if enough people rose up against the Iraq war, the Democrats would get elected, and then be forced to act to end the war. She thought that various "anti-war" organizations led by the Democratic Party really could have the class interests of U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi people at heart. And she thought a hard-hitting campaign, combining massive civil disobedience, media publicity and disrupting "business as usual" could succeed.
The Democratic Party is not just "part of the problem." Their operatives and allies are the main agents of the class enemy within the ranks of honest anti-war forces. The Democratic Party has generated far more wars in U.S. history than the Republicans. They completely supported Gulf War I. Clinton and Secy. of State Albrights sanctions on food and medicine between the wars killed a half million Iraqi children (a "price worth paying" replied Albright to a reporters question). The Democrats voted overwhelmingly to support the resolution authorizing Bush to invade Iraq. Theyve voted to fund the war ever since, with no strings attached.
The Iraq war, like all other wars in the recent period, is a product of imperialism. Communists say that imperialism is a stage of capitalism where the whole world has already been divided up amongst the biggest powers. Under imperialism, bosses from one country try to control resources, markets and labor in order to dominate rival bosses from other countries.
In Iraq, that resource is oil. These fights between bosses begin in smaller countries, like Iraq and Lebanon. Usually, they result in the biggest thieves facing off against each other in major wars, which can kill tens or hundreds of millions of workers. So imperialist wars are inevitable under the capitalist system, and wont end until the working class and its allies wipe out that system.
Nothing less than a communist revolution, which changes production for profit, to production and distribution for need, will change the root cause of imperialism and its wars. Media campaigns are a vain attempt to enlist the services of organizations which support the capitalist system to fight that same system. The rulers can handle civil disobedience and even mass, militant protest. Only breaking the "rules of the game" and organizing to smash the profit system will threaten their class rule.
Sheehan is right that the U.S. is becoming (actually has become) a "fascist corporate wasteland." Shes right that the so-called "left" that supports the Democrats is no left at all. We admire her courage, and understand her exhaustion from all the attacks and betrayals shes experienced. But now is the time to deepen our ties within the anti-war movement, especially with those considering breaking the bounds capitalism has established. We need to show how the fight against imperialism and the fight against racism are inseparable.
Cynicism and passivity only serve the capitalists. We must prepare for a long and brutal fight to destroy the war-makers who use our and our childrens "blood and treasure" to achieve their greater profit goals.
While Republicans get a majority of corporate campaign contributions, the main capitalists insure Democrats get their share.
Corporation Percentage to Total Democrats Contributions
Goldman Sachs 61% $3,348,816
JPMorgan Chase 56% $2.009,121
Microsoft 56% $1,995,492
NewsCorp (Murdoch) 55% $ 943,682
NY Life Insurance 52% $1,102,025
Citigroup 51% $2,368,516
UBS AG 50% $1,909,551
JOHANNESBURG, JUNE 1 Thousands of public sector workers in South Africa marched as part of a strike by some 700,000 workers demanding a 12% pay hike, rejecting the governments 6% offer. Inflation alone is at 5.5% so the "raise" would have been ½%. A 40-year-old-teacher from Dr. B. W. Vilakazi High School in Soweto told the BBC, "As a teacher Im earning peanuts."
Workers anger was stoked recently by an official bodys recommendation that President Thabo Mbeki receive a 57% salary increase. "They live in luxury, we still stay in poverty," hospital cleaner Flora Simakuhle said, referring to politicians. (South African Business Day newspaper, 6/1) "Fifty-seven percent for fat cats and 6% for poor hard workers. Shame on you," read one placard brandished by a picket at a Johannesburg hospital.
The strike closed schools, hospitals, public transport and other public services. The usually traffic-jammed streets here were almost empty.
Capitalist oppression and its racism can never be ended under any bosses government. The African National Congress (ANC) rulers have proven that. Many workers are seeing that the ANC serves capitalism, just as the old racist Apartheid regime did. The workers anger and pressure have forced the unions to organize the strike and mass protests, but the union leadership will jump at the first opportunity to sell out the militant workers.
Millions of South African workers and youth thought they were fighting for a revolutionary government when they fought the old Apartheid regime. Their heroic struggle against racism inspired workers and youth worldwide. But the ANC led by Nelson Mandela and its allies in the "Communist" Party of South Africa betrayed them. The task now is to build a revolutionary communist leadership and fight for the only true emancipation from racism and capitalism: communism, which will eliminate the profit system, the cause of racism and exploitation. We in PLP say that a revolutionary workers movement in South Africa, with its powerful working class, could lead the way to liberate workers and youth all across Africa from the living hell they suffer.
BRONX, NY, June 4 PLP members and friends have continued to denounce the fascist
NYPDs brutal terror inflicted here on Fermin Arzu (picture right), an unarmed
41-year-old immigrant worker from Honduras.
KKKop Raphael Lora shot him in cold blood, firing five shots into his car. Again it was shoot to kill as one bullet pierced Arzus heart and lung. As CHALLENGE reported (6/6), we quickly responded to this racist incident, visiting the family of brother Arzu, distributing CHALLENGES and leaflets and making several contacts.
We then found out about and went to a vigil the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. It began with mostly politicians and journalists, but slowly grew to a throng of approximately 150 angry demonstrators. CHALLENGES and leaflets were distributed to the entire crowd. The leaflet contained a picture of KKKop Lora with the slogan, "WANTED FOR MURDER!"
Workers in the neighborhood responded well to the leaflet and took extra copies to distribute to family, friends and co-workers. One worker couldnt agree more, as he pointed to the "WANTED" picture, declaring, "This is what Im talking about. People cant be afraid of these bastards! We need to take them head on!" He then took a bunch of leaflets and distributed them to eight of his friends at the vigil, while exchanging phone numbers with a comrade.
Arzus memorial service occurred the next day. PLP held a bullhorn rally and CHALLENGE sale two blocks from the funeral home. Even though the cops shut down our bullhorn, over 200 papers and 300 leaflets were distributed to workers and students in the neighborhood. Some thanked us for being there because the bosses news media had been scaling down coverage of this recent slaying. "Its good to see the truth for once!" commented one commuter as he read through CHALLENGE and a leaflet.
The brutality of this murderous attack recalls the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo, shot 41 times by cops while reaching for his wallet. Arzu was reaching for the glove compartment, likely to retrieve his license and auto registration. As with Diallo, the police are now searching for "evidence" to justify their murder.
Meanwhile, KKKop Lora boasted, "Im just doing my job." (NY Daily News, 5/20/07) This arrogance only fuels our class hatred toward the cops and the capitalist system they serve and protect.
Now that the family has returned from burying brother Arzu in Honduras, we will continue to rally and march with masses of workers in the streets. However, we must not allow liberal misleaders to diffuse our anger! Al Sharpton and other politicians will try to dazzle us with a call for "justice," "independent investigations" and "sensitivity training" for cops. But history has shown that essentially nothing will be done to punish this killer.
This fight will NOT be won in the capitalist courtrooms but only when all our forces are mobilized in the streets, on our jobs and within many mass organizations. With fists in the air, we will join with workers outraged over this brutal killing, and meanwhile note that none of this fascist terror will end until we organize a communist revolution to eliminate the profit system. J
NEW YORK CITY, May 7 While a modest step forward for our anti-war group, the rally today posed a big question to students, faculty and campus workers. Do we want peace or do we want communism? Behind the "peace movement" lurks an apology for capitalism. If we can "end the war" (whatever the current war is), all will be well; "well take back the country, America will be America again."
This deeply-held idea, often not conscious, is profoundly mistaken. It takes capitalism for granted as the unending framework within which we fight for reforms, instead of highlighting capitalism itself as what needs to be fought. Capitalism will survive military defeats like Vietnam, only to go on to future wars like Iraq. It will survive economic depression as it did the 1930s, only to proceed to the bigger economic crashes looming today. It will survive everything except communist revolution. And if the Partys ideas fail to drive the revolution forward, capitalism will survive even that, as in Russia and China.
The Partys role at the rally suggested a different idea: forget "peace," fight for communism. The lesson of the war is that we must build a movement to end capitalism itself, not just one of its endless wars.
We had mixed success in this role. Proletarian internationalism was front and center in a huge banner a student made linking the deaths of student-soldiers from our campus to the deaths of 111 students at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad and the 32 deaths at Virginia Tech. Poems read linked struggles from the Caribbean to Iraq to Palestine/Israel. We chanted, "Workers struggles have no borders!" "¡Las luchas obreras no tienen fronteras!"
One speech gave the Partys analysis of imperialism. While the word is more common now, the analysis is still fuzzy and people think its details are not that important "lets just end the war." But that will still leave imperialism in control, preparing for more wars.
This rally helped build the Party and moved a modest step towards fighting for communism because there was a struggle within the group to have a militant rally rather than another educational event; because study groups are forming where the Partys ideas can directly challenge the ideology of "peace movements." The battle of ideas proceeds.J
On June 4, the Marine Corps demonstrated its commitment to intimidating anti-war actions by active-duty GIs and veterans in recommending a general discharge instead of an honorable discharge for Adam Kokesh (pictured right). This means he may lose over $10,000 in educational benefits and suffer a stigma in the job market. Adam had already been honorably discharged from active service after spending two tours of duty in Iraq, and was part of the Individual Ready Reserve, a civilian status (no pay, no drills, no chain of command).
Adam has boldly denounced the Iraq War effort since his discharge, cursed the brass, and participated in a series of street theater actions organized by the Iraq Veterans Against the War. These actions, dubbed "Operation First Casualty" and described in CHALLENGE (April 11, 2007), were efforts to bring Baghdad to the streets of major U.S. cities by conducting patrols and interrogations similar to those conducted in Iraq.
Over 200 anti-war protestors from Kansas City joined a busload of veterans and others who left Washington, D.C. to attend this hearing and testify on Adams behalf. Many on the veterans bus read CHALLENGE with interest during the two-day trip. Building the revolutionary movement advocated by CHALLENGE, not only against the Marine brass but against the entire system of imperialism, is the only way to get the results the working class needs in this period.
Two more Marines are facing disciplinary proceedings for the same reason, and so building a stronger GI movement with civilian solidarity is increasingly important as the imperialist war in Iraq continues to murder thousands of our brothers and sisters, Iraqi and U.S. alike.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA As we fought to organize about 200 immigrant workers responsible for all of the campus landscaping and food services, the school administration attempted to attack us by appealing to the cultural nationalism of our mass organization. The administrators argued that because these workers were predominantly Latino, this should only be "a Chicano issue."
The conflict with the organizations reformist leadership stemmed from our exposure of their and the organizations link to the school administrations exploitative and imperialist agenda. As the attacks intensified, we decided to sharpen all the contradictions that surfaced from our political activities.
The conservative leadership at first tried to attack the most vocal individuals those who called for an anti-imperialist and multi-racial struggle condemning their politics as "divisive" and "outside the scope of the groups objectives." But many students within the group had been won through struggle to aspects of communist politics and to support a revolutionary, anti-imperialist position. Building around these politics protected us from the leaderships fascist attacks.
We began our counterattack against both the administration and their crony student leadership many of whom received jobs at the school from their administrative masters in exchange for their political loyalty. We were accused of "infiltration" bringing in "foreign" ideas and excuses were made for abandoning the workers struggle on campus. We were viciously attacked as being too militant and therefore putting the administrations funding of the organization at risk. This occurred once we linked the racist administrators and the self-interested reformism of the cultural nationalist groups to their use of tuition hikes and outsourced super-exploited immigrant labor to maximize profits, and funding of the U.S. imperialist war machine.
This racist attack aimed to stop our multi-racial organizing by explicitly excluding Muslim, Asian and other students who were won to support the super-exploited immigrant workers. The plan backfired, exposing the inherent racism of cultural nationalism. The students we had won politically realized the importance of understanding racism and exploitation as a product of capitalism, bringing them closer to revolutionary politics.
After the leaderships several failed attempts to expel us from the organization, a majority including us decided to leave the group. Some argued that we should stay in order to further build the memberships revolutionary potential. But too many objected to continued involvement with a student organization that preaches progressive action but practices racism, sexism, self-promotion and support of capitalist exploitation and imperialism.
The step to leave was a response to the successful communist work within the organization and caused almost half the membership to realize that revolution, not nationalism and diversity, is the road to end imperialism, racism, and capitalist exploitation. We then formed a multi-racial group with a pro-worker and anti-imperialist outlook. Many are CHALLENGE readers and we are planning to invite these students to go a step further, to join PLP.
Communist politics can only be developed and evaluated through struggle and practice, real-life experiences, whether personal or by learning from others experiences. That practice provides the working class with communist politics. To build a communist revolution to end capitalism, practice is primary.
A mass protest was to take place in Washington, D.C. on June 10 against the 40-year Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Not only are the Palestinian masses reduced to living on 22% of their former land, but theyve been deprived of much of their water, farmland, employment and freedom of movement. Continuous warfare afflicts not only the region but fuels world conflict.
The thorny question facing the growing number of Jewish, Arab and other activists in this movement is what should we fight for? Is it enough to demand that the occupation end, the Israeli settlements be dismantled, or a "Palestinian state" be established? This issue requires considering the role of racism and nationalism in Israels history and the current struggle between Israel and Palestine, as well as the growing inter-imperialist rivalry as the main source of endless wars in the oil-rich Middle-East.
The original influx of European Jews into Palestine was a response to their racist persecution in Europe and the nationalism of the late 19th century. The massive increase in immigration after the Holocaust also largely reflected the refusal of Western nations to accept Jewish refugees. In addition, the U.S. and Britain were glad to have an enclave of people with "Western values" and ties in the Middle-East, which was rapidly gaining importance as the major source of the worlds oil.
Instead of going to "a land without people for a people without land," the Jews arrived in a densely populated area. In 1948, the UN gave 78% of the land to Israel, when Jews comprised only one-third of the population and owned only 6% of the land; 750, 000 Palestinians, half the population, were brutally expelled from their homes. In the 1967 war, the Israeli rulers seized the remaining 20% of Palestine and has occupied it ever since. Now the Israeli-built Wall isolating Palestinians, the checkpoints, the ban against Palestinians working in Israel and other indignities have reduced Palestinian workers and youth to a state of desperation.
All this would have been impossible without the Zionists racism. Instead of learning from centuries of anti-Semitism that racism breeds genocide and divides poor peoples against one another, the Zionists used the same ideology to suppress another people. Meanwhile now as throughout history the wealthy bosses and rulers use these ethnic divides for their own advantage. The U.S. rulers arm Israel to the teeth, not out of love for Judaism, but to maintain bully-power over the oil-rich nations and their potential allies in the area. So-called threats to Israel from Iraq and Iran are excuses for wars in the U.S. interest. Ordinary Israelis suffer the costs of occupation in lives lost, morality destroyed and social services cut to finance the military, all tolerated only because of anti-Arab racism.
Despite the fortitude displayed by Palestinian workers and youth in surviving the occupation, strife is now growing between the corrupt Fatah movement, and fundamentalist, nationalist Hamas, neither of which promises a just future for Palestinians, or lead an effective resistance. Palestine is also a class society, and needs a mass, revolutionary anti-racist communist-led movement of workers to create a society in their own interests.
Therefore, whose side are we on? Leftist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe says South Africa is the model. But, although Apartheid is gone, the condition of the majority poor black population is worse than before. The same corporations that supported Apartheid still control the economy (see page 3 on strikes in South Africa). Racism was born with capitalism and only its destruction can end racial and national oppression.
While we march against the evils of occupation, we should understand that only a world without bosses and their imperialist wars will end these evils of the profit system which pit workers against their class brothers and sisters and their interests. History provides many examples of struggles uniting Arabs, Jews and others in the region against their common exploiters.J
The bosses media, liberals and conservatives, from the NY Times, representing the main wing of the U.S. ruling class, to CNN, the Washington Post, Univision, Telemundo, Fox News, El País (Spain), and Televisa (México), have all cried crocodile tears over how the Chávez government has trampled "freedom of the press" in Venezuela by not renewing the broadcasting license of Radio Caracas TV (RCTV). Thousands of students and others, mobilized by the right-wing opposition to Chávez, have held many street protests denouncing this "attack" on the freedom of the press.
First of all, "freedom of the press" doesnt exist. Increasingly, a few monopolies control the mass media worldwide. The NY Times itself owns several newspapers (like the Boston Globe), TV channels and radio stations. Viacom owns CBS; GE owns NBC and Telemundo; Disney owns ABC; the Rupert Murdoch worldwide media empire owns Fox, and so on. In Mexico, Televisa (which owns part of the U.S. Univisión TV network) and TV Azteca have a monopoly on most TV stations there and are fighting any attempts to break it. Venevisión is owned by Venezuelan billionaire Gustavo Cisneros, who also supported the 2002 anti-Chavez coup but later made a deal with Chávez (mediated by Jimmy Carter) and didnt lose his license.
This is similar in all capitalist countries. These media giants only broadcast the news that best serve the interests of their owners and the capitalist class they represent. They dont allow any real dissident views (pro-working class or revolutionary communist ideas).
RCTV which didnt lose its cable license called for and supported the April 2002 coup that overthrew Chávez for less than two days. In less than 48 hours, the putchist government began banning all opposition (media, political groups, etc.) RCTV tacitly supported this. Since then, RCTV has urged another coup against Chávez. After the failed 2002 coup it helped organize the right-wing strike that tried to sabotage the Venezuelan oil industry.
RCTV like El Mercurio newspaper and other media in Chile, aided by the CIA to overthrow the Allende government basically wants a Pinochet-style regime to replace Chavezs nationalist anti-U.S. government. The U.S. bosses problems in Iraq have made it easier for Chávez to ally himself with China, Russia, Iran and other U.S. imperialist rivals.
Millions of workers and youth support the Chávez government since they hate the old pro-U.S. bosses (most of the anti-Chávez protestors are middle class). They think Chávez really represents their desire for a society without the growing and racist inequality spread by the old bosses who stole the oil bonanza before Chávez took power.
Even though Chávez has given workers some crumbs, including medical care in poor neighborhoods courtesy of 20,000 doctors sent by Cuba, capitalism is still thriving in Venezuela, and Chávez has no intention of changing that. His idea of "Bolivarian 21st Century socialism" is basically capitalism with some reforms for workers but with plenty of imperialist investments (including Exxon, Gazprom, Chevron, Total, Chinas oil company, Petrobras), but with the PDVSA (Venezuelas state-owned oil company) controlling a majority share.
The workers and youths faith in Chávez is a dangerous illusion. It hampers not only the fight against fascist coup attempts by the old bourgeoisie (disarming workers politically into believing in some "good" bosses and military officers), but also fosters the belief that capitalism with some crumbs (á la Chavez) is the solution.
Again, the workers and youth must fight the old bosses and all imperialists and capitalists. Amid this struggle, they need to break with all illusions about Chávez and his populist nationalism, and fight to build a real revolutionary communist party, for a society where workers really rule.J
BROOKLYN, NY, June 5 From Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, from Iraq to Somalia, when U.S. rulers decide to apply the "terrorist" label to an individual or group its an indication that all bets are off; any and every form of violence and torture becomes legal, necessary and justifiable. Recent revelations about a "terror" plot to attack fuel lines leading to JFK airport in New York City mark what could become a new phase in the "War on Terror" as four men from Trinidad and Guyana have been accused. Guyana borders Venezuela and Trinidad is just offshore. U.S. imperialists would love a pretext to deploy military forces closer to their main supply of domestically consumed oil. (A refinery on Trinidad handles Venezuelan oil shipped to the U.S.)
Police agents monitor and entrap many individuals into violent plots. Even according to reports in the bosses media, if such a plot did occur, it appeared to have been directed every step of the way by an FBI informant. The FBI and foreign intelligence services closely monitored the individuals involved in the 9/11 attacks, but 9/11 happened anyway. The main goal of this police activity is not to guarantee the safety of workers who die in terror attacks but to sow fear and suspicion within the working class. They want to push even more anti-immigrant racism and also scare us into running to the capitalist state for protection. Fascism is built on fear.
Our PLP clubs response to the JFK plot centered around producing this article for CHALLENGE at our meeting and reviewing recent CHALLENGE distribution practices in order to struggle for greater circulation of this issue in our schools and among friends. Many members of our club and many of the teachers and students at the schools where we function come from the Caribbean. We must not be caught off-guard by stepped-up police harassment and terror in our neighborhoods.
We know that Democrats and Republicans united as one to launch and condone massive attacks against Arab workers after 9/11 and we are working to undermine any illusions among our close friends that the liberals will save us. CHALLENGE teaches us that Hillary Clinton and General Odom are planning even larger wars in the future.
The concept of "an attack on one is an attack on all" is a key element of class consciousness we aim to nurture in our schools as a response to this latest turn of events in our area. The bosses may be free to build a base for broadening the scope of their imperialist "war on terror" but they are powerless to prevent us from exposing their schemes to thousands and trying to organize against them.
(PLP members and friends distributed 3,000 of the following leaflet during a massive march held in Oaxaca, México, on International Womens Day see reports in June 6 CHALLENGE. Significantly they used this occasion to draw key lessons from the massive, militant struggle of brave teachers and other workers in Oaxaca.)
International Womans Day
To the militant people of Oaxaca and the working class of the world:
The celebration of "International Womans Day" had its origin in the need to free working-class women from the triple capitalist exploitation that they suffer worldwide [as workers, women and their skin color]. These struggles were led by communists in Germany, Russia and the U.S. and women in other countries, who suffered attacks, jail and murder.
Today we recall with revolutionary fervor another annual anniversary of these events, and the fact that the present situation demands that women and men, members of the same working class, walk together shoulder to shoulder in common struggle for the liberation of the working class from capitalist slavery, since theres no difference between the class interests of the sexes, and any divisions are only bourgeois liberal distortions and lies that do great harm to the unity of the working class.
The struggles constantly occurring under capitalism to improve the situation of the workers and their allies, independently of the reform results, teach us lessons of great courage, militancy, solidarity and unity in the battles against the government and the ruling class, our class enemies. They present examples of the tactics that gave us favorable and unfavorable results; they build anger against the bosses and often against the sellout leaders and opportunists; and, mainly, they clarify the real role that the state plays as the defender of the bosses interests and as their repressive arm against the working class, as happened in the recent struggle in Oaxaca.
We must learn from our successes and our mistakes. To involve ourselves exclusively in the struggle for immediate reforms and leave things there does not help the workers and students advance politically and ideologically. It limits us to the reform arena, helping the bosses system to function better. Thats why we must make it clear that:
1. The struggles or protests for reforms are imposed on us by a system that doesnt serve our interests.
2. We need to fight against the whole system that exploits and oppresses us;
3. We need to build the general staff of the working class, its revolutionary Communist Party, the PLP.
4. We need to fight directly for COMMUNISM, the society of equality, without wage slavery or borders; where all will work to satisfy the needs of the community, not for money. To each according to their commitment, from each according to need. DEATH to the BOSSES! The workers struggles have no borders! JOIN PLP.
HEILIGENDAMM, GERMANY, June 6 The G8 meeting of the worlds leading imperialist countries began today amid a growing dogfight among these bosses, while anti-globalization protestors were viciously attacked by the thousands of cops protecting the gathering.
A few days ago an angry Putin warned that Russia wont stand idly by while the U.S. sets up a new "defense" shield missile program in the Czech Republic and Poland. Putin sees this as a direct threat to Russias survival. Meanwhile, Russia tested two new intercontinental ballistic missiles which can penetrate this shield.
Another major contradiction arose over climate protection. Prior to the meeting, Bush rejected German ruler Merkels plan to slash emissions. Additional conflicts appeared over Iraq, China, Iran and Africa. Workers and youth should expect nothing from the imperialists, the cause of all the workers major problems, endless wars, economic attacks, racism and fascism.
TOGLIATTI, RUSSIA, May 31 Today five workers at the GM-AvtoVAZ plant refused to work as temperatures in the paint shop climbed to nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees centigrade)! Despite the companys claim to have installed air conditioning in the paint shop, nothing was done to prepare for the hot summer.
Workers must work eight to ten hours in the shops steaming heat, not the most pleasant and healthy place to be, and its only May. Today workers patience reached its limit and they refused to return to work until something was done about the heat.
That caused a big stir among the plants management. Even though the bosses have not yet recognized the workers union, the stoppage prompted them to quickly negotiate with the striking crew. Fearing the job action might engulf the factory and spread further, they first tried to intimidate the workers but that failed. Finally after negotiating for two hours, management promised to launch the "mystery" air conditioning system as soon as possible and not discipline the workers who stopped the line.
The hot Russian summer is looming. It remains to be seen if management keeps its promise. If not, then next time it will involve many more than just five workers. Theyre starting to rise up.
Auto workers worldwide, especially GM workers, should support the struggle of the Russian GM workers. While GM eliminates over 40,000 U.S. jobs and contract talks approach this summer, U.S. GM workers should add to their list of demands that GM recognize the Russian union.
But more to the point, industrial workers have the ability, more than any other workers, to reach around the world and build international solidarity across all borders. We can build worker-to-worker unity based on PLPs revolutionary communist politics and make "Workers of the World, Unite," a reality.
Again the so-called "socialist" governments are as anti-working class as any other capitalist rulers. All governments under capitalism, no matter what they call themselves, must serve the bosses. This era of growing capitalist-imperialist crisis and rivalry means making workers pay for the bosses problems.
Delphi is an example of this. Its planning to cut 524 jobs, half the work-force, in its Guarda plant. Workers here average 550 Euros ($720) a month. GM, Delphis original owner, bought the plant in 1989 from Renault. The jobs to be cut will be those producing electric cable for the Twingo, a Renault model. Delphi also has another plant in Castelo Branco. Last December, GM itself shut down its Azambuja assembly plant, leaving 1,200 workers jobless. These kinds of mass job cuts, along with the government cutbacks, led angry workers to the May 30 general strike.
Meanwhile, Delphi continues with its international rampage against workers. In Mexico, the company is demanding wage cuts. In Cádiz, Spain, the workers struggle continues against Delphi moving its operations to Poland, where labor costs are lower. Women workers have organized regular marches to the plant in Puerto Real, Cádiz, protesting the loss of 4,000 jobs and denouncing the local government for doing nothing about the plant closing. In the Port of Santa María, also in Cádiz, workers at Nimalsa, which supplies Delphi, are protesting the firing of nine workers.
Autoworkers worldwide face a major offensive that requires a different kind of leadership than that given by union sellouts like those of the UAW, CAW (Canada) and IGMetall (Germany). For example, a Peugeot internal document published in "lHumanité" (5/29) foresees massive use of subcontracting to countries with the lowest labor costs. Auto parts manufactured by subcontractors represent 75% of the production cost of every Peugeot car. Its goal is to triple the subcontracting done in low-cost countries (which now provide only 10% of the subcontracting production).
Peugeot bosses have established a cost threshold: to get parts contracts for cars assembled at Sochaux, the "lucky countries" must have a per capita Gross Domestic Product of $14,000 dollars. Slovenia is out of luck; it has just exceeded that threshold. So Peugeot will move the contract to low-wage "paradises" in Asia and elsewhere. Thus, to stay in business, subcontractors in the Sochaux area must move to those other areas, cutting thousands of jobs in France.
GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, VW, and Honda are employing the same tactic. For workers, following the reformist and nationalist union sellouts who usually blame workers from other countries for the job cuts is suicidal. A new kind of international leadership must be forged based on the communist slogan of "Same enemy, same fight, workers of the world, unite!"
Its not an easy task, but it must be done. Since it is the profit system that creates these problems, the fight must not be limited to economic demands, but must be directed against all aspects of capitalism: racism, imperialist war, nationalism, sexism and so on. Based on this kind of leadership, workers will learn how to fight for their own liberation from the hell of capitalism, joining and building a mass revolutionary communist party to fight for a world without bosses; join the PLP to make that possible!J
For the poor workers and peasants of Colombias Choco region the African palm tree is a curse. Clodomiro, a 51-year-old resident of this area, tells how 10 years ago a death squad gang appeared at 10 AM and made everyone lie down, men on one side and women on the other. They shot up in the air for about an hour and cursed everyone. Then they raised the heads of some and cut them off with machetes. Some with their hands tied in the back were shot dead. They killed 12 people that day.
They left at 3 PM and said if anyone stayed in the village by 6 PM they will not be responsible for their lives. Everyone fled. Fifteen days later some returned and the death squad killed three more. They told an older man, Isaza Tuberquia, they wouldnt touch him, but they killed him also. They also threatened all the children. They even cut off the heads of dogs because the dogs were barking too much.
Clodomiro owned some land and some cows and grew bananas and yucca. He lost everything and was warned not to return. Along with 25 other families, he moved to another village. They live as refugees in total misery, like tens of thousands others across Colombia.
The village was a dead town, but was surrounded by many activities. A ferry was established. Bulldozers demolished the villagers homes. After a while the African Palm tree changed the landscape. Clodomiros land and those of other former village residents are now full of the African palm tree. When Clodomiros came to see his former home, the cops asked for ID, arrested him and accused him of being part of the guerrillas. Those who accompanied him, including a priest, did a lot of pleading with the cops to release him. This is the nature of capitalism here in Colombia.
Recently it was discovered that Chiquita Brands, Dole, Coca Cola and other multi-national corporations paid the death squads to protect their properties. High-ranking officials in the Uribe government (who recently visited his buddy Bush in the White House) have been forced to quit because of links to these paramilitary death squads. The government has legalized paramilitary and drug lords ownership of millions of acres stolen from people like those killed in El Choco. Production is now geared for export and biofuel instead of the needs of the workers and peasants here. The countrys poverty rate is 83%.
As long as capitalism exists we will have such mass murders (Clinton gave the first approval to Plan Colombia which supplied billions to Colombias army for waging war against these rural workers and peasants.) We need to build our Party here in Colombia even more, to transform these massacres by the racist-fascist local bosses and their goons, and the imperialists behind them, into a revolutionary war for workers power.
A Comrade in Colombia
Junior Cedeño, a 20-year-old GI from the Bronx, NY, was one of 127 U.S. soldiers killed in May (Associated Press), the third highest toll for any month since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. Alex Jiménez, another New York GI (from Corona, Queens) is still missing, being one of three GIs insurgents kidnapped in mid-May. Both are sons of Dominican immigrants.
Cedeños parents are angry about their sons murder. "We are crushed. This has destroyed my life," said Juniors father, Ramón Cedeño, adding: "The only goal of President Bush is oil in exchange for innocent lives." (El Nacional, Santo Domingo, 5/30). He shows an understanding of the real nature of this imperialist war, one shared by more and more GIs and their families.
Mr. Cedeño said, "My son told me that in his military base soldiers were questioning the war among themselves, asking what were they fighting for. They were saying the war reflected the stupidity of President Bush, and that they were spilling blood for oil."
Cedeños parents are also angry because the two soldiers the Army sent to inform them of their sons death only spoke English. Juniors stepmother, Mary Caraballo, had to find a translator in the neighborhood, saying it was very insensitive to send people who couldnt speak Spanish.
The pain the families of all these GIs feel for their dead loved ones is multiplied many times over by the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed (1,951 Iraqis were killed in May, a 30% increase from April according to Reuters), all sacrificed on the altar of profits for Exxon, Halliburton, BP, Shell Oil, etc. Smash the imperialist war-makers!
Your recent articles on SDS and the book review on how GIs rebelled against the imperialists during the Vietnam War are very useful. They recall a history from which todays anti-war workers, students and soldiers must learn. Unfortunately, another aspect of this history is how millions of workers and peasants in Vietnam and Southeast Asia must now struggle against returning imperialist companies. Vietnam is now attracting foreign investments and winning commerce away from countries like China and India.
The May 29 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that when the British recruitment agency Harvey Nash PLC began scouting for an offshore hub for its new software-development business six years ago, Vietnam wasnt an obvious choice. While countries such as India, the Philippines and South Africa already were latching onto the outsourcing phenomenon, Vietnam still was in the business of trying to make shoes, bicycles and clothes cheaper than anybody else.
But when Nashs inspection team returned from Hanoi to assess its options, Vietnam had become the top contender. Now, when outsourcing wages and job-hopping are rising in India, Vietnam offers lower wages. Today, Nash employs 1,500 people across Vietnam through its own business and its partnership with FPT. Since opening up its economy in the late 1980s, Vietnams economy has expanded mostly through agricultural exports and low-wage manufacturing. During a visit to Hanoi last year, Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates said there was no reason Vietnam couldnt follow India into software development and other forms of outsourcing.
Last years decision by Intel Corp. to build a $1 billion semiconductor factory near Ho Chi Minh City was a turning point of sorts for such efforts. It was a sign that major high-tech companies were comfortable channeling large amounts of money into Vietnam.
Its industrial land is cheaper than Chinas. Wages are about one-third lower than in Chinas industrial coastal regions. Its population of almost 90 million, half under 30 years old, means Vietnams talent pool is deep and increasing.
The WSJ emphasizes that "the fact that Vietnam is controlled by the Communist Party isnt a concern for most investors. Adam Sitkoff, executive chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi, said Vietnams leaders have closely watched Chinas development and are following Beijings strategy of opening up the economy to investment while maintaining a tight hold on political power."
When PLP criticized the Vietnamese "communist" leadership while protesting the U.S. genocidal war against workers and peasants there (the Pentagon and local fascists murdered three million), many condemned us for "daring to criticize the leadership of a people fighting U.S. imperialism." However, these werent right-wing criticisms but rather based on a revolutionary communist understanding of what the Vietnamese leadership was doing with its nationalist and compromising politics. Reality has proven us correct. First came imperialist vultures like Nike, Ford, Toyota, etc. Now its the outsourcers looking for even cheaper labor. Thats why we say anything short of communism is no liberation for workers and their allies.
An Anti-war protestor, from Vietnam to Iraq
Concerning the article "VW Betrayal: The Other Shoe Drops" (2/20): Of course workers in Europe have the right to fight against exploitation and for improved working conditions. But I question their ways of doing so.
Volkswagen is experiencing its biggest restructuring since World War II. As always, the bosses say layoffs make the company more competitive. But as CHALLENGE points out, in reality VW just wants to steal bigger profits from our labor, and there are many places in and out of Europe where labor power is cheaper than in Germany, Belgium or Spain. But VW is not "betraying" workers; rather, this is the law of capitalist exploitation, always to pursue maximum profits. Capitalism doesnt know and cannot act in any other way!
How should VW workers fight this strategy? CHALLENGE is right again, that "workers must organize this solidarity themselves, not rely on union misleaders," because we all know that today in Europe unions have become instruments of capital, opposing a communist strategy for workers.
We must change the way workers in Europe think today about strategy. Exploitation remains, whether we work 40, 38 or 35 hours, whatever our wages. Why should I work more hours for more pay to increase my own exploitation and the bosss profits? Thats not communist strategy.
The unions strategy is to try to make workers think they should limit their fight to retaining the "benefits" European workers have enjoyed since the Cold War, the 35-hour week, health and unemployment benefits, etc., conditions which ruling-class strategy is bent on dismantling. But these have never existed for most workers around the world. Do we believe European salaries and benefits are paid because the bosses think we deserve it? No, the opulence of European society is based on centuries of exploitation over the rest of the world.
The European working class, misguided by the phony "left" leaders of the "communist" and socialist movements, has simply taken its part of the "pie" too. By looking only at Europe, unions cover this up.
Any class struggle in Europe should understand this global inequality among workers. The fight cannot only be for a better life and better working conditions in Europe, in one factory, in one place, in one land, forgetting what is happening to workers in other lands, forgetting workers international solidarity.
European unions idealize work under capitalist conditions as if improved working conditions were the ideal expression of a workers existence; they mystify the nature of work. Moreover, class struggle doesnt stop at the factory gates; it permeates all of society.
Do we think well produce the same VWs on the same assembly lines after the defeat of capitalism? That would repeat the same mistake the communist movement made in the past. Or will we create new forms of work without the wage system, without commodity production, without national borders and inequality, where new forms of workers solidarity on an international scale will be part of work itself?
Reject the way unions limit the struggle to "benefits" in Europe while workers starve in other lands; reject, destroy the capitalist system of production and its whole way of understanding work, life and value. Thats the goal of communist strategy.
A reader in Germany
CHALLENGE COMMENT: We didnt mean to imply in our headline to the article that the VW company was selling out, but rather that the union hacks sold out the workers. As the reader correctly says, workers in Europe (and worldwide) need a communist strategy of internationalism and anti-capitalism, something alien to most union hacks. Communist workers must make red politics primary in all struggles. They also need to fight racism. There are millions of immigrant workers and their children in Europe who suffer racist super-exploitation (one reason behind the November 2005 rebellion of black and Arab youth in France). Also, the gains made by most European workers were not given by the bosses; they were won by class struggle and the leading role played by communists. The bosses, fearing the popularity of the Soviet Union after World War II, also granted workers some crumbs. Unfortunately, the communists of Western Europe back then were influenced by reformism. Instead of fighting to destroy capitalism, they tried to reform it.
As CHALLENGE reported in its last two issues, most daily subway track work entails correcting numerous minor or major emergencies, and is performed with disregard for safety of maintenance personnel. They work alone or in groups of two or three without proper flagging. The latter requires the posting of sets of caution lights or flags 500 feet away from a flag person who is positioned 100 feet from, and in clear sight of, the work crew. The flag person is equipped with a red light and a portable train stopper which is attached to one of the rails on which the trains wheels run. The train stopper can engage the trains emergency air brakes and bring it to an abrupt stop. On express or curved tracks, even more sets of lights and additional flag persons are required to bring these 100-ton, enormously powerful and fast trains to a safe stop before running into a work crew.
This short-handed, unprotected emergency track work with flashlight flagging "protection" is a mockery of real safety, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authoritys (MTA) own rules and casualty figures, and eventually becomes a suicide job, resulting in the horror described in CHALLENGE (6/6) about the death of a transit worker. The MTA bosses racism towards the lives of the overwhelmingly black and Latino workforce and the Transit Workers Unions collusion with the MTA by not organizing workers to refuse to work without proper flagging is what is murdering these workers.
Retired Track Worker
"Im a citizen of the world," said an immigrant student in a discussion about immigration and the recent May Day events. The more than 30 students who participated were inspired and committed to learning more by reading and distributing CHALLENGE. The fight for communism requires a daily struggle and our day-in and day-out struggles ensure a bigger participation in the Partys activities. We have been distributing 100 papers each issue.
Before the May Day march the bosses press presented a series of different articles, some denouncing, others defending the need for immigration reform. We reproduced many of these articles and used them in our classes. From these articles we developed lessons involving discussions about the real reasons for the bosses immigration reforms. We evaluated and criticized these plans as attempts to guarantee immigrant military service and servitude in the war industries.
After the police attack in MacArthur Park, "The Sentinel" (having a primarily black readership) had two articles arguing that California represented the new Birmingham. Instead of water tanks and attack dogs the police used rubber bullets to disperse the protestors. One article implied that the ruling class was after the "hearts and minds" of immigrants, just like they wanted to win the support of black workers in the 1960s during the Cold War.
The ruling class needed the loyalty of black workers and so pushed and led the movement for civil rights. Similarly they need the loyalty of immigrant workers and are now letting the media talk about a "new civil rights movement."
Immigrant students are faced with two paths: being part of the capitalist system or trying to destroy it. Join other workers in organizing in the war industries and the army to build a mass movement that will ultimately take power and establish a communist society.
The exciting, international May Day reports give us optimism about the possibility of humanity embracing and fighting for Communism. But how will this historic change be realized? How do we go from workers grabbing leaflets and chants to the recruitment of millions into a revolutionary movement?
Distributing 9,500 communist leaflets in Mexico City is great news, but there must also have been a huge amount of planning, conversation, coffee and education leading up to that event. A detailed report on the long-range plan for recruitment of two or three of the leafleters would be even bigger news!
Instead of so much attention to what ruling-class forces are up to, we need to focus on documenting comrades specific work of base-building and communist education, so that we can learn effective practices from each other.
It is great to read that PLP organized well-received contingents in Mexico City, Paraguay and Colombia. But how? What did the day-to-day work look like? What kinds of plans have been made since?
Exactly how are we going to ultimately organize the communist mass movement that will help us make a revolution? We need to know what plans were made and what happened, in greater detail, so that we can review our own work and offer feedback.
How do we make sure that revolutionary politics compete with the distractions of capitalist culture in our workplace discussions in a cynical period? Rather than keeping the difficulties of base-building to ourselves, we could use them as a priceless opportunity to educate other workers about the process of change We must be able to explain how recruiting one or two new communist leaders over a prolonged period can be of historic importance to our class. Our articles need to begin with these issues. Our paper should emphasize recruitment and communism rather than oil politics in Iraq in or cuts in social services
Its not enough to expose capitalism in all its injustices and brutality. Its not enough just to arouse the working class. We need to figure out exactly what is needed to win.
Iraq war detested on black website
"This is not a black peoples war. This is not a poor peoples war. This is an oilmans war."
Gregory Black, a retired Navy diver who last year started the web site BlackMilitaryWorld.com, said that quote sums up what he too hears from African-American veterans of Iraq.
"African-Americans detest this war .Everybody kind of knows the truth behind this war . Its basically about oil, basically about money. Its an economic war." (NYT, 5/10)
Sarge says troops want out
"In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war," said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described "conservative Texas Republican" and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. "Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me." (NYT, 5/28)
Black America not fooled on Iraq
African-Americans by far lead the way in calling the war a mistake. According to Gallup, 85 percent of African Americans say it was a mistake, compared to 53 percent of white Americans .
"African-Americans are always more sensitive to anything that smacks of neocolonialism, which this war did smack of " (NYT, 5/10)
No profit, so emergency rooms shut
New Orleans may have it worst, but emergency rooms everywhere are drowning in patients. Mandated to care for the uninsured, they are increasingly unprofitable. So although the influx of patients has grown, 500 emergency rooms have closed in the last decade .Waiting rooms [are] filled more than six hours per day. (NYT, 5/26)
Oil-imperialism is bi-partisan
It is formal doctrine that the U.S. must be militarily dominant everywhere so as to fight "extremism."
It must also control areas of strategic significance, possessing energy resources. Whatever happens inside Iraq, to its government and society, American forces can be expected to fight to remain in the four huge strategic bases that have been constructed in that country .
The U.S. will also stay in the Middle East so long as its ally Israel maintains a policy of colonization of legally Palestinian territory .
This is bipartisan policy. You have only to listen to the debates of the declared Democratic candidates. Whatever happens in Iraq, the troops will not be going home. (William Ptaff, Tribune Media, 5/20)
Harvesters rob Mexicos poorest
Before planting and harvest time in the United States it has been common for local recruiters fan out across Mexicos parched countryside to sign up guest workers. The recruiters charge the Mexicans hundreds of dollars, sometimes more, for the job and the temporary visa that comes with it.
"That line of corruption touches both countries," said Baldemar Velásquez, the president of the union. "And the people at the bottom in Mexico end up paying the price." (NYT, 5/24)
Cuba health care deserves credit
"Sicko," the talk of the Cannes Film Festival last week, savages the American health care system and along the way extols Cubas system .
How could a poor developing country where annual health care spending averages just $230 a person compared with $6,096 in the United States come anywhere near matching the richest country in the world?....
Dr. Robert N. Butler, president of the International Longevity Center in New York and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author on aging, has traveled to Cuba .He said the Cuba system emphasizes early intervention. Clinic visits are free, and the focus is on preventing disease rather than treating it .
"I know Americans tend to be skeptical," he said, "but health and education are two achievements of the Cuban revolution they deserve some credit . (NYT, 5/27)
(Part VI described the factional fighting of the various right-wingers who split from SDS after the June 1969 Convention, including the "Weather Underground," and then PLPs leadership in SDS in building a "flesh and blood" campus worker-student alliance which became the basis for forging ties between industrial workers and the anti-war movement.)
By 1968, every faction within the U.S. ruling class knew they had to find a way to leave Vietnam. The student anti-war protests were troublesome, but the real problem was the refusal of working-class GIs and sailors to fight this bosses war. This took many forms: desertion, defection, anti-war organizing including publishing 144 underground papers inside the military and outright mutiny, for which a special term, "fragging" (enlisted men killing their own officers), was coined.
But U.S. rulers had two important political trumps. First, the North Vietnamese leadership had agreed to sit down at the bargaining table with Kissinger, Nixon, & Co. even though it was winning the war. So anti-imperialism and revolutionary struggle had been reduced to a bloody caricature: all the fighting and the heroism of Vietnamese workers were being cynically manipulated as negotiating ploys. Second, the betrayal of communism by North Vietnamese nationalists gave a shot in the arm to U.S. liberal imperialists and their allies within the pacifist movement.
This was the context for the November 15, 1969, anti-war mobilization in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, 147,000 General Electric workers had just gone on strike. GE was and remains one of the rulers largest military contractors. The PLP leadership saw the strike as an opportunity to take a principled class position in the face of liberal imperialist politicians pacifism and North Vietnamese leaders criminal opportunism. The idea was to encourage the anti-war demonstrators to rally at the Department of Labor on November 15, to back the GE strikers.
To do so legally meant getting approval from the D.C. cops. The latter said their approval depended on getting a green light from the Student Mobilization Committee, the main marchs official organizer. The Committee was a sordid alliance of the anti-war movements worst elements: the U.S. "Communist" Party, the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party, the liberal politicians and media stars (Jane Fonda, et al.) for whom the "C"P and the Trots fronted. PLP had frequently exposed the rotten politics of this "troika," and the troika had no intention of authorizing a pro-working class action with revolutionary implications.
So PLP and its allies decided to organize the Labor Department rally as an illegal breakaway. The anti-war demonstration was the largest in U.S. history, probably involving 500,000 participants. Under PLPs leadership, several hundred students and others circulated among the crowd to distribute leaflets and make bullhorn speeches calling for the Labor Department rally. The March leadership worked feverishly to prevent the rally, attempting to intimidate potential demonstrators with threats that the cops would attack it and otherwise baiting it.
But their tactics didnt work. By mid-afternoon, 7,000 people had massed before the Labor Department. The rally took place as planned. The chant: "Warmaker, Strikebreaker, Smash GE!" thundered throughout parts of downtown Washington. Speeches called for unity with GE strikers, the deepening of the Campus Worker-Student alliance and, most importantly, for continuing to build on-campus struggles against the war with this perspective.
As the PLP leadership was ending the rally, a tall, bearded man in the crowd, obviously a police provocateur, threw a rock through a window in the Labor Department building. Hundreds of heavily armed and armored D.C. cops swarmed out, trying to push the demonstrators away. Simultaneously, a stream of Yippies, druggies and anarchists came running down Constitution Avenue, giving the cops an excuse to tear-gas the entire downtown area.
But the pro-working class demonstrators didnt panic. Their politics gave them a sense of clarity and purpose, enabling them to make an orderly retreat, find their busses and return home to fight another day.
The March Committees political attack and the cops physical provocation had failed abysmally. PLP and its allies had managed to flout the U.S. ruling class, its liberal agents and its police by organizing a significant, illegal pro-working class action with minimal casualties. This spirit of defiance is more relevant than ever today, in the face of the rulers growing police state.
In 2006 China imported 6.5 million barrels of oil a day and its demand is increasing at an estimated 30% annually. At that rate China will surpass the U.S. in 4-5 years as the worlds biggest oil importer. Therefore, Africa is important to China and the central region between Sudan and Chad is crucial.
Currently China imports an estimated 30% of its crude oil from Africa and is using its $1.2 trillion reserves to buy Africas vast raw material wealth. It provides African governments multi-billion-dollar loans with no strings attached, and in some cases without interest or as simple grants, while building hospitals, schools and roads. China is the largest foreign investor in Sudan. It owns 50% of a refinery and has built a pipeline to Port Sudan where 8% of Chinas oil is shipped. It also just bought a 45% stake in a large off-shore Nigerian field, where previously only Anglo-American oil majors operated.
But U.S. and Chinese interests are also clashing in neighboring Chad. Chevron just built a $3.7 billion pipeline from Doba in central Chad, near Darfur, to Cameroons Atlantic coast for oil shipments to U.S. refineries. U.S. imperialists are scheming to control all of Central Africas oil, and together with its newly-built base in Sao Tome/Principe, 124 miles off the Gulf of Guinea, control the oil fields from Angola to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Nigeria. This is the same area where China is focusing its diplomatic and investment activities.
Crucial to the U.S. bosses plans is Chads president for life, Idriss Deby, a long-time U.S. lackey. Through him they armed and trained John Garangs Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (see Darfur article, page 2). But, like all capitalists, profits are the name of their game. Unhappy with their small share of the U.S.-controlled oil profits, in early 2006 Deby and the Chad parliament decided to seize more of the oil revenues. When the U.S had Paul Wolfowitz cut off World Bank loans to the country, Deby responded by creating Chads own oil company and threatened to expel Chevron for not paying taxes. He demanded a 60% share in Chevrons Chad pipeline.
They finally came to terms with Chevron but have decided to diversify their investors. China has now entered Chad with billions of dollars and has begun to import its oil. Chads oil minister claims that Chinese terms are "much more equal partnerships than we are used to having."
Thus, the U.S.-mounted genocide theme in Darfur, with backing from Hollywood big guns like George Clooney, is just their fig leaf to gain popular support for their real genocidal plans: control of African oil which is intensifying the potential for war with China.
An article in the August 2006 issue of "Scientific American" magazine shows again that everyone is capable of learning and developing skill in any field that they are motivated to try (with a modified approach perhaps needed for brain damaged individuals, or those with physical disabilities). "The Expert Mind" by Philip E. Ross cites studies showing that developing complex skills depends on hard work, study, and early self-perpetuating motivation, rather than on any innate differences between experts and amateurs.
A Hungarian educator, Laszlo Polgar, trained his three daughters in chess for as much as six hours a day from early childhood. His encouragement of extreme amounts of concentrated effort and work enabled his now adult daughters to achieve international master and grandmaster status. He also proved that boys/men have no monopoly on chess, and that girls/women who are trained early can achieve the highest levels. But mainly he confirmed that it was a matter of training rather than "innate skill," since there was nothing in their family history that would have led anyone to predict the development of chess "genius".
The findings apply also to musicians, sports figures, etc. Ross gives the examples of Mozart (the child prodigy composer of the 1800s) and Tiger Woods (the most successful golf professional) whose parents got them interested and involved at extremely early ages. Their early successes led to increased motivation and increased hard work that in turn led to further successes. The development of extreme skill is a friendly "vicious circle" that has no relation to inherited characteristics.
These findings bear on the failure of capitalist schools to train children in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Ross says that the important question is not "Why cant Johnny read?" but rather "Why should there be anything in the world he [or she] cant learn to do?"
The false claims that better chess genes produce better chess players (or better genes produce better anything) are criminal lies made to convince us we dont have the "inborn" potential to develop the skills necessary to seize power.
Capitalist rulers want us to believe that workers are inferior at birth and that capitalists rule due to their inborn superiority. Thus the capitalists can hide behind the modern equivalent of the "divine right of kings"the "birth" right of capitalists to rule and exploit the vast majority of us.
The international working class can and, under the leadership of PLP, eventually will develop the collective skill to checkmate these "kings" and in their place become the rulers of our world.