Gore Wins Nobel War Prize
Mass Outrage vs. Noose Hanging, Racist Columbia U.
Crumbling of Bosses Empire, Infrastructure Spurs Increasing Fascism
Teachers Defy Edict Limiting Students Anti-Racist Activities
Wildcat Protests Dockers Death, Shuts Oaklands Port
Back Jena 6 in Union and in Boeing, Subcontractor Plants
Subcontractor Workers Link Jena 6 to Attacks on Immigrants
PLers Organize vs. Rulers Anti-Immigrant Raids
Mass Deportations Big problem for U.S. Bosses
Fight Racist Cutbacks Fire Sexist Food Service Boss!
French Fascists on Racist Rampage vs. Immigrants
New Auto Contracts: Great Leap Backwards
Attack on Blackwater Assassins Cover to Sneak in Draft?
Reforms Prepare Chinas Rulers for Showdown with U.S. Bosses
FMLN Betrayal Led Him to Fight for Communism
My Father Read DESAFIO, Now Im a PLer
Burma Junta Learned Brutality from British Imperialists
A Scab By Any Other Name .
Imperialist Holocaust: Kills 58 Million Kids Around the World Since 9/11
War On Terror: A Cover For A War On Workers
PLP History: Anti-Racists United Boston Masses vs. Fascist ROAR
REDEYE ON THE NEWS
Whiz-Bang Weaponry No Substitute for Political Commitment
Just two days before Al Gore won the Nobel "Peace" Prize, the NY Times ran a full-page "Draft Gore" ad urging him to run for president. The prize and the award both reflect an increasing need felt by U.S. rulers for a wartime leader who can militarize the nation.
Neither the prize nor the ad fell from the sky. The Norwegian government handpicks the Nobel committee. A key U.S. ally in the Cold War, NATO stalwart Norway houses several U.S. military bases and has sent troops to Afghanistan. Norway does not belong to the European Union. U.S. companies are the largest single destination for the Nobel foundations considerable investments. U.S. war criminals Henry Kissinger, who advised Nixon to bomb his way out of Vietnam, and Jimmy Carter, whos "Doctrine" about U.S. control of world oil led to the current Mid-East carnage, also received Nobels.
Draft Gore claims to be a grassroots operation. But it gained momentum after a May meeting of Gore "alumni" donors and aides at the Washington home of Peter Knight, a Gore fund-raiser who now toils for Shroders, an imperialist bank based in London.
A host of senior military officers, serving and retired, joined liberal pundits in lambasting Bush & Co.s failure to mobilize enough troops for Iraq and Afghanistan. With wider Mid-East and global wars looming, U.S. rulers are turning to Gore. They hope the massive pro-capitalist, pro-government movement he leads against global warming can provide recruits for the armed forces and popular support for foreign interventions.
U.S. generals and admirals have already linked climate change to global security and demonized China as the worst polluter. Thomas Friedman, one of the Times many cheerleaders for U.S. imperialism, gushed over Gores award but concluded, "We still need a vision, a strategy, an army and a commander in the White House who can inspire young and old not only to meet that challenge but to see in it the opportunity to make America a better, stronger and more productive nation." (NYT, 10/14)
Gore is now getting rich by partnering with a bunch of ex-Goldman Sachs execs in an investment firm. "Gore is a multimillionaire who has built a media and high-tech empire around himself and his environmental work .and is the chairman of a cable network with 38 million subscribers . He receives up to $175,000 per speaking appearance .Fast Company magazine has estimated his net worth at more than $100 million." (NYT, 10/13)
Gore may not want to forgo this cash for a White House bid. Whether he runs or not, however, the rulers war needs will persist and worsen. The Boston Globe (10/7/07) reports, "Defense Department statistics show the number of young black enlistees has fallen by more than 58 percent since fiscal year 2000." Poor black workers have long been a main source of the U.S. militarys cannon fodder. But the blatant racism of current U.S. wars hinders this economic draft.
The huge increase in blatant racist attacks domestically complicates the bosses need to enlist black youth. It is reflected in the arrests of the Jena Six (see CHALLENGE 10/17) and the racist "noose" culture which has spread from Louisiana to Columbia University to nearly a dozen other examples of this lynching symbol, one that divides the working class and threatens ALL workers.
Another racist factor limiting recruitment is that one of every three black males between ages 18 and 29 are either under arrest, incarcerated, or under the supervision of the criminal justice system. The proposed DREAM Act is targeting Latino youth for military service (see article, page 4). Gores mainly white, middle- and upper-class movement cannot solve this problem. U.S. rulers will have to restore the draft. The liberal Brookings Institute in its Opportunities 08 series, advising the next president, urges mandatory "public service with a military option."
Supporting Gore, or any of the declared candidates for that matter, would be a serious political mistake. They all serve capitalists. The only real alternative is to help build a revolutionary communist party with the goal of eliminating the profit system that destroys the environment, just as it causes oil wars. This is the outlook of the Progressive Labor Party.
|Like Father, Like Son:
Crooked Racist, Imperialist Money-Grubber
Gore, while appearing to help the masses, learned to serve the capitalists war aims (and make a buck) from his father. Al Gore, Sr. entered Congress from Tennessee in 1939 and immediately championed the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a vast federally-owned electric power company proposed by President Roosevelt to help industrialize the South. With Gore Sr.s help, the TVA became the prime power supplier to an Alcoa aluminum factory near Knoxville, the worlds largest, that churned out aircraft components in World War II.
Later on, the elder Gore served Occidental Petroleum magnate Armand Hammer, helping Hammers Island Creek mines become the TVAs top coal source. So Hammer made Dad Gore chairman of Island Creek at $500,000 a year, when he left the Senate.
Gore, Sr. blessed the U.S. genocide in Vietnam. He voted for the Tonkin Resolution, the lie advanced by President Johnson that U.S. ships had been attacked, which became the excuse for a massive U.S. invasion. Gore, Sr. voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, thus wanting to maintain segregation but eager to lead black workers down the dead-end road of electoral politics, especially if it meant votes for Democrats.
Global warming, caused by capitalists profit-driven dependence on coal and oil, is a genuine problem. But the campaign Gore heads is a liberal fascist movement that pushes patriotic service to the state. Militarists and financiers run the show.
The Alliance for Climate Protection, the umbrella group Gore formed last year, has as co-directors Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who advised Bush, Sr. in Iraq Gulf War I, and hereditary imperialist Theodore Roosevelt IV, a managing director at Lehman Brothers bankers. Teddy IV also chairs the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Its backers include such heavyweights in U.S. capitalisms (and its British junior partners) worldwide empire as Alcoa, BP, Citigroup, DuPont, GE, IBM, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Shell and United Technologies. The profits of all these phony "friends of the earth" many of whom have polluted it for over a century depend heavily on U.S. military action in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Gores warmaking supporters often hide their oily affiliations and use popular culture to lure sincere people into their camp. One member of Gores alliance is Control Room, which has produced and distributed more than 60 concerts with artists including Beyoncé, Madonna, Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, Keith Urban, James Blunt, Snoop Dogg and the Rolling Stones. Another is Participant Productions, a company focusing on "socially relevant, commercially viable feature films and documentaries." Participants titles include Al Gores Academy Award winner "An Inconvenient Truth," "Syriana," "Good Night and Good Luck," "North Country" and "Murderball." The group Campus Progress, which trains young liberal leaders, was started by the think-tank Center for American Progress and focuses on hoodwinking well-meaning students.
NEW YORK CITY, October 10 Mimicking the racism in Jena, Louisiana, racists hung a noose symbolizing lynching on the door of a black faculty member, Madonna G. Constantine, at Columbia Universitys Teachers College. Today, a couple hundred students, faculty and members of the Harlem community demonstrated on the steps of Teachers College to protest this racist act. After several speeches, the demonstration turned into a march around the campus that culminated in a forum of about 600 inside the college. PLPers joined the march, sold CHALLENGES and distributed leaflets. Many of the marchers carried signs linking the racism of this incident to that of the attack on the Jena Six.
Although students and professors were outraged and surprised at this noose hanging, there should be no surprise. This incident followed anti-Arab graffiti found in Columbias SIPA building, stating that "AMERICA is for WHITE EUROPEANS!" That was swept under the rug. Since the noose hanging, anti-Semitic graffiti was found in a university bathroom. President Lee Bollingers e-mail about it said we should just ignore such racist terror. But the noose incident was too blatant to ignore.
Columbia has a long racist history. Its faculty included W. H. Sheldon, who "theorized" that "Negro intelligence . . . [comes to a] standstill at about the 10th year," and that "Mexican intelligence" stops at age 12. It also included Henry Garrett, who wrote pro-segregation literature for the White Citizens Councils in the South. During the Vietnam War, Columbias racist weapons research helped slaughter Indochinese peasants. It seized part of a park in a black working-class neighborhood to build a gym for Columbia students. Current Columbia child psychiatrist Gail Wasserman carried out a variety of racist "violence-in-the-genes" research on black and Latin youth to "predict anti-social behavior."
Today, Columbia pushes its racist eminent domain expansion into Harlem. It sponsors anti-Arab speakers, including David Horowitz, Sean Hannity, Phyllis Chesler, and Ibn Warraq as part of their so-called "Islamo-fascism Awareness Week." It used the invitation to Irans president to provoke blatant anti-Muslim racism. The latest string of hate crimes simply flows from this racist history.
Meanwhile, the university tries to diffuse anti-racist action. It hides other racist incidents, requires multicultural "sensitivity" training and pushes "dialogue" to bury united militant action.
"White skin privilege" is pushed on white students while black and Latino students are saturated with divisive identity politics. Racism is portrayed as simply an "aberration" that can be "undone" if people are just "educated" enough. Theres no mention of racism being a means to class exploitation. Racism is a major weapon against the whole working class.
Columbias divisive propaganda is reflected in one discussion of the noose hanging when an Arab student complained about a lack of concern regarding anti-Arab racism. A black student countered that "foreigners" just dont "get it" "we must address anti-black white racism first and deal with all the rest later." But this simply hands power to the same racists who hung the noose in Teachers College. The bosses love nothing more than working-class people fighting amongst themselves and focusing on their supposed "differences" instead of uniting to smash their common oppressor. Historically black workers and students have been in the forefront of fighting racism that has won victories for the entire working class.
Racism cant be ignored, reformed or discussed away. Columbia students need multi-racial unity and mass militant action to answer these racist scum, not more talking and internal division.
The capitalist system that creates a culture like the noose incidents is the same one dropping cluster bombs on Iraqi children and gunning down immigrants on the U.S.-Mexican border. Racism is the tool of a system that is an enemy to all workers, students, teachers and soldiers. Uniting to end this blood-drenched profit system and its imperialist wars through workers power communism will mean the bosses days are numbered.
Two years ago, after decades of warnings, the levees in New Orleans crumbled away in Hurricane Katrina as the U.S. rulers arrogant and racist disregard for workers safety left thousands to die. The decaying wound that is the U.S. infrastructure (bridges, roadways, transportation) was ripped open this past summer when a Minneapolis bridge collapsed, killing eight.
Facing extreme competition from their rivals such as China, Russia, and the European Union, the liberal bosses are calling for more money for repairs and maintenance not to save lives but to make sure workers and the smaller local bosses toe their line to save their declining empire. The New York Times got straight to the point in an editorial, "[i]n the event of a catastrophic failure, many lives can be lost. But even the slower deterioration undermines our quality of life and retards economic growth."(8/5/07)
These infrastructure failings expose the lesser, domestic bosses short-minded rule, squandering the money that they did have rather than repairing the infrastructure. Time Magazine as well as others complained about wasteful projects like the "Bridges to Nowhere" in Alaska, where the local bosses wanted to spend "$223 million crossing to the island of Gravina, population 50..." (08/06/07) Local and federal politicians allocated funding for repairs to bridges and highways but then pocketed the money for other "more glamorous" projects like building new bridges or new railway systems at the same time as 36 states had a bridge deficiency rate 20% or higher (reason.com). As N.Y. Senator Charles Schumer portrayed his fellow members of Congress, "its nice for somebody to cut a ribbon for a new structure." (reason.com, 8/8/07).
Warren Ruddman, co-author of a 2001 blueprint for war and fascism, suggested a National Infrastructure Bank to raise investment for repair to whip the local bosses into shape. This bank, along with increased taxes on the working class, would raise investments by ensuring that "users pay a greater portion of infrastructure costs." Smaller bosses, like trucking companies, may oppose these user fees that could come out of their own pockets, but the liberal ruling bosses will do whatever is necessary to make these junior partners pay their share and more.
The bosses need to build the roads that will transport their goods to market as well as their supplies for war. They will do it on the backs of workers as they have in New Orleans. There immigrant workers from Central America are being paid a small fraction of U.S. construction workers standard wage levels to rebuild the citys profit-making business district while black workers homes are left to rot.
Workers do not need to get trapped in the U.S. bosses squabble over who should pay to repair the infrastructure. These bosses didnt lose a night of sleep when eight died in Minneapolis, three died when Mianus Bridge in Connecticut collapsed in 1983, or 40 were killed when the Cypress Street Viaduct collapsed in Oakland in 1989. The rulers goal is to keep their goods, oil and profits flowing, even at the expense of workers lives. This will mean more bridges and roadways in disrepair as the U.S. spends billions for wars in Iraq and elsewhere in a life-and-death struggle against their imperialist rivals. Workers safety will only be protected when we make the decisions on how to use our own labor and resources (communism), after we have buried the capitalists profit-making system under the rubble of their collapsing infrastructure.
BROOKLYN, NY, October 16 Yesterday teachers at our high school won a small but significant victory, staging a "work-in" that defied an administrative edict which would limit our after-school (especially anti-racist) activities. One of the last remaining large schools with a fairly active union chapter, a student body that has often fought back and a group of teachers who work closely with Progressive Labor Party, we have faced continuous attacks in the past few years.
Last year we won many important anti-racist victories. Students and teachers organized a mass campaign against racism, including assemblies and forums. Volunteer trips to New Orleans supported workers there. A sharp struggle defended a teacher threatened by the administration for involvement in these trips. Eventually the administration was forced to back down, but not for long.
This year students and teachers returned to discover that the school would be closing early and activities would be limited. Even staff members who stayed late to work would be considered "trespassing." Many students are on late schedule, so according to this new policy theyd have less than an hour to participate in after-school activities. Interestingly, clubs that would be most limited by this rule are those which have been fighting racism and building student unity. Weve had several mass meetings and are planning a teach-in about the Jena 6. Over 40 students packed a classroom two weeks ago to hear college students report on their trip to Jena.
So to answer the administrations new policy we organized a "work-in" and encouraged teachers to stay late to test the waters. Earlier we had been warned that wed be considered "trespassing" and "violating school policy" if we stayed late. However, not surprisingly, when groups of teachers did stay late in their respective offices, we were commended for working so hard and told that "special security" would be provided for us that day! The administration backed down pretty quickly.
We should be clear that these new rules are mainly an attack on students, as well as on the movement we seek to build. Hopefully, this small act of resistance is just the beginning of larger things to come. We must take on the administration at every juncture and point out that their interests are opposite from ours they keep the school open for various events when they see the need, but are ready to kick students and teachers to the curb on a daily basis. Unity of students, parents and teachers to fight these attacks is crucial. We plan to step up this struggle, increase our CHALLENGE sales and organize more actions and struggles this semester. J
Oakland, CA, Sept. 25 When over 1,500 longshoremen shut down the Port of Oakland, the stillness around the 4th largest port in the U.S. gave us a glimpse of the power of an active working class. These workers walked off the job to protest the death of one of their comrades, Reginald Ross, who was killed while unloading a freighter. Even though the walkout was unofficial, not one container was unloaded that day.
The shutdown exposed the bias of the capitalist media. Its a bias that continually downplays issues of life-and-death importance to working-class communities. Much of the media quoted the Ports spokesperson, Marilyn Sandifur: "In more than seven years, this is the first time I am aware of the fatal accident of a longshore worker." She must have confined her "awareness" to the Port of Oakland itself because Reginald Ross is the 6th longshoreman to be killed at West Coast docks so far this year. Not one major media outlet saw fit to uncover such a history.
Its no surprise. Capitalism in general treats working-class life cheaply. The Port of Oakland, for example, is located in West Oakland. As CHALLENGE has reported, the murder rate of young black men in West Oakland has reached the genocidal rate of 186 per 100,000. In fact, some weekends see more young black men killed in Oakland than U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad a sensational fact our sensationalist capitalist press ignores. Lacking a class-conscious revolutionary press with a mass circulation, the working class only understands and reacts to this assault in an isolated way. In the communities under siege in Oakland, there is an outpouring of grief, outrage, candle-lit prayers for peace. Yet neither there, nor in the Bay Area as a whole, is there the realization that the working class has power.
It is in this light that the strike of the longshoremen on Sept. 25 should be seen. Day in, day out, our class creates billions of dollars in value for the capitalist class. For the capitalist, money is everything. But for the working class, life is infinitely more valuable than money. On Sept. 25, the longshoremen showed us all what our value system means.
Karl Marx, the founder of the communist movement, once asked, "What distinguishes the humblest architect from the busiest (hive-building) bee?" And he answered that the architect first imagines his building before starting it. Imagine a world where an expanding revolutionary press re-ignites our active working class consciousness. Imagine a world where the next genocidal-fratricidal murder of a young black man is greeted by five minutes of silence followed by strikes and demonstrations on the docks, at BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and AC Transit, at EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District), at Chiron, at the hospitals, at UC Cal., Laney College, Merrit and Oakland High Schools! Imagine such actions later leading to other actions against the bosses and their goons.
And after that moment of imagination let us get to work. Let us talk to our co-workers and fellow students, bring up resolutions in union halls and churches and, above all, expand the reach of CHALLENGE, the paper that sparks the imagination. Spurred on by the example of our longshore brothers and sisters, let us expand and deepen our actions to build Progressive Labor Party and fight for a communist revolution.
SEATTLE, WA "It has to be brought to light," insisted a white Boeing machinist as more than a dozen union members black, Latin and white prepared an anti-racist resolution to support the Jena 6. "I was just talking with my son about the way high schools are organized. Racism is everywhere." The resolution now sits in the unions executive board, but the struggle continues on the shop floor.
Before we entered the meeting, we knew we were in for a fight. We were not disappointed!
One low-level official described how he would shake his head at the roadblocks the union mis-leaders put up anytime our left-led, rank-and-file group raised racism. (He actively supported anti-racists during the battle to get the union to participate in last years May Day March calling for international unity.) "How can you run an organization like that!" he bemoaned.
Even as the resolution was tabled until next months meeting, debates broke out throughout the hall and in the corridors outside. "I dont want to be a jerk, but what has this to do with the union?" asked one. We replied that anti-racism was crucial to answering the economic and political attacks on our members, like racist subcontracting. We pointed to the parts of the resolution calling for anti-racist, multi-racial solidarity in the upcoming contract struggle. The question of the class necessity of anti-racism was front and center at this overwhelmingly white union meeting.
We wanted to do more than engage in this useful debate. We planned beforehand to use this resolution to jump-start struggle on the shop floor. Jena 6 defense collections are now being taken in a number of buildings.
These "shop-floor" collections in alliance with the collections taken among non-union subcontractor workers can lead the way. There are many more black and Latin workers in the plants than at union meetings. Still more black and Latin workers suffer super-exploitation at the hand of vicious subcontractors.
CHALLENGE sales and mailings have increased modestly, spreading the revolutionary politics necessary to marshal this multi-racial force. Were mobilizing to raise this resolution at various other meetings and conferences during the next month. We can measure the lasting value of this battle through the expansion and consolidation of our CHALLENGE networks here and among the subcontractors. Stay tuned!
The following is a letter sent to the Jena 6 Defense Committee from a group of industrial workers along with some money they collected:
"We work in factories in California. We declare our support for the anti-racist Jena 6 and the workers striking against GM. The majority of us are immigrants and we also face racism and exploitation in our lives. As the racists attacked you, they also attack immigrants who are only looking for a better life for our families. As GM attacks the workers medical benefits and wages, we too face poverty wages and worsening benefits. All of this while our children die in racist wars for the bosses oil profits.
Since racism, exploitation and war affect us all, we send our support and this message of unity. Your struggle is our struggle, and that of workers everywhere. Were also sending some money in the hopes that it helps and that you keep fighting with the same courage youve shown us all."
Some industrial subcontractor workers
LOS ANGELES, CA. The Migra (Immigration Customs Enforcement ICE) and local police have been carrying out raids against immigrant workers and their families across the U.S. Under the pretext of "deporting criminals," these agents of terror break down doors of homes at 4:00 AM with guns drawn. They also search, arrest and deport workers at their jobs. In many U.S. counties, the open racists try to pass anti-immigrant laws to force immigrants to leave. This racist attack aims to divide and terrorize our class, laying the basis for sharper future attacks on citizens and immigrants.
Meanwhile, representatives of the racist liberal bosses are "defending" their wage-slaves. Recently a Federal Judge in San Francisco temporarily halted the sending of letters to bosses telling them to fire workers with non-matching social security numbers. New Yorks Governor is proposing drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. All bosses want to exploit and oppress all workers. The liberals want loyalty to U.S. rulers.
The top bosses need low-paid, patriotic workers in the U.S., especially for war production. They also need soldiers willing to kill and die in U.S. imperialist wars. The Pentagon is pushing the Dream Act. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) plans to introduce it as part of upcoming military appropriations bills. He said, "This [Hispanic immigrants] is a potentially very recruitable group .The Dream Act will help solve the recruitment crisis we face today." (Wall Street Journal, 9/21) Only one in 20 undocumented youth are able to attend college, so the Act is primarily a military recruitment bill with a "humanitarian" cover.
The latest raids run counter to the plans of the top imperialists to win the hearts and minds of immigrant youth and workers. While the raids could also push many youth to join the military to escape deportations, under these conditions immigrant youth would potentially be all the more open to rebelling against the racist warmakers.
Recently, the U.S. government signed a new treaty, NAFTA Plus, with Canada and Mexico, giving the U.S. bosses more control over commerce, energy and security. The reactivation of Plan Puebla Panama, along with the NAFTA Corridor, aims for U.S. control of resources, new hydroelectric plants and a huge super-highway from Canada to Mexico and Central America for transporting goods quickly.
This plan is meant to counter Venezuelas Chavez and help prepare for wider war. The new Plan Mexico will militarize that country, supposedly to "fight terrorism and narco-traffic," but mainly to repress any movement that risks the flow of Mexicos oil to the U.S. The U.S. will spend over $1 billion to launch the plan for planes, helicopters, and the transport and U.S. training of Mexican military personnel. Equipment and personnel would mainly protect oil pipelines, but would be ready to crush rebellions opposing U.S. bosses and their Mexican partners.
Massive deportations of Mexican workers would mean more instability in Mexico, endangering the government of U.S. "friend" Felipe Calderon, with possibly more Oaxaca-like uprisings. This would deprive U.S. imperialists of needed future soldiers and arms producers. Thats why the bosses rag, the NY Times, laments ICEs storm-trooper tactics and why the conservative Wall Street Journal printed a letter (10/13) attacking the "deportationists," which drew a careful distinction between "protecting the border" and mass deportations.
PLP is organizing to unite workers and students to oppose both the anti-immigrant raids and the liberal racists war plans. In recent meetings with comrades from Mexico, Central America and the U.S., we made plans to expose and fight the bosses growing fascism and imperialist war. We discussed building PLP in the class struggle, from farmworker organizations in El Salvador to teachers unions and schools in Mexico to factories in Los Angeles and New York. We will participate in marches, protests, strikes and meetings, focusing on increasing CHALLENGE networks and winning workers, students and soldiers to see clearly the capitalists game and the need for communist revolution to eliminate borders, imperialist war and exploitation.
Building PLP means exposing bosses agents like Mexicos Lopez Obrador and Venezuelas Hugo Chavez. These fake leftists only use the masses growing anger to try to take control of the oil profits, electricity, etc. and sell them to the highest bidder, whether it be the USA, China, India or the European Union. This creates serious problems in U.S. imperialisms backyard. Workers power will defeat all bosses from Calderon to Obrador to Bush and Clinton.
CHICAGO, IL October 15 Since the $105 million racist budget cuts took effect last January, nearly half the County clinics and 1,000 jobs have been eliminated (over 200 doctors, almost 300 nurses and 500 other workers). The patient population has dropped 17% and clinic visits are down 40%. Oak Forest Hospital, once intended for long-term care, is almost an abandoned building and the future of Provident Hospital is uncertain. Before the cuts, the County served over one million uninsured and indigent workers and their families, 82% of them black and Latin.
And that was before the stampede of workers taking the Alternative Retirement Cancellation Payment or early buy-out. The bosses anticipated 400 more workers leaving by the end of October. The number may be as high as 600. The rush to the exits, like the more than 100,000 GM, Ford, Chrysler and Delphi workers before them, is a vote of mass cynicism and no-confidence in the bosses and the union leaders who defend them.
The current budget is still $65 million in the hole, and next years budget promises even further cuts. We are gearing up for another round of cutbacks and fight-backs. With 1,000 workers gone and others cynical, it wont be easy.
One worker taking the early-out is food service worker Alice "Honey" Wilcher. In 26 years with the County she was never disciplined for anything. She showed up for work. She was a good friend and co-worker. Her mother has worked here for 30 years.
But Honey is escaping from her groping and sexually-molesting boss, Anthony Williams, and the SEIU leadership that didnt fight for her. She is leaving because the bosses were going to fire her for standing up to Williams, who has sexually harassed many women. One worker said, "Everybody knows how he is."
After Honey resisted one of Williams assaults and demanded he leave her alone, Williams was suspended for three days. For the same incident, Honey was charged with insubordination and the bosses recommended she be fired. Despite Honeys having a clean record for 26 years, and despite complaining to the union, the County and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), no one would even remove Williams, or Honey, from this abusive situation. The bosses kept them in the same department. After going out on a medical leave, the union repeatedly called her, harassing her to go back to work!
Food Service boss Anthony Williams is a racist and sexist dog who should be fired. He is a creation of the racist system that is shredding the meager health care available to more than a million mostly black and Latin workers while using workers tax money to finance the Iraq bloodbath; of the system that is about to slash hundreds of CTA transit workers, cut more than 80 bus routes, and raise the fare to $3.00; the same system that defends police torture and racist murder, and fills the prisons with black and Latin youth. All this in a city, county and state run from top to bottom by the Democrats! Only communist revolution will destroy this racist system of wage slavery.
PLP is planning a CHALLENGE dinner this month which County workers will attend. Recruiting them to the Party is an important answer to the attacks on these hospital workers.
PARIS, October 13 The French government is on a racist anti-immigrant rampage. Frances gendarmerie the national police force, organized along military lines is on a war footing to hunt down undocumented immigrants.
Immigrants have been so terrorized that theyre jumping from windows to escape the police. On September 21, Mrs. Chulan Zhang Liu became the fifth immigrant worker in two months to die after leaping from a window.
Ivan, a 12-year-old Russian boy, was seriously injured in late August when he fell from a window during a police round-up in Amiens.
This terrorism has steadily increased over the past five years. On January 11, then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy crowed that, "We deported 24,000 illegal aliens in 2006, which represents an increase of 140% compared to 2002." His target is deportation of 25,000 immigrant workers this year.
Anthropologist Emmanuel Terray compared the anti-immigrant round-ups to those of Jews in Nazi-occupied France. "Once theyve decided they want to stop and question people who havent committed any particular crime, except that of being here, or else that of being a Jew in 1942," said Terray, "they look for them where they are; they set traps for them. Youve got to know that, at the Belleville metro station, operations of this type take place practically every week. According to what the local people tell me, one week its the Chinese, another its the Arabs."
On the police union website, cops have admitted that "the only people who are stopped in these operations are those who are likely to be illegal aliens because of the color of their skin." (Le Monde, 9/25)
The French government estimates there are up to 400,000 undocumented immigrants in France. Most are workers, especially in construction and restaurants.
The rulers have become so barbaric that, for the first time in ten years, sick people are being deported to countries where they cannot get treatment. Last June, an immigrant worker suffering from hepatitis C was deported against a doctors orders.
The National Assembly and the Senate have just passed the Hortefeux law, imposing drastic conditions on family reunification. Under this law, anyone who wants to enter France under the family reunification procedure including spouses of French citizens must first pass a French language and "values" test. The legal resident or French citizen with whom theyre being re-united must have an annual income of at least $21,783.
The law also provides that family members from "countries where many documents are fakes" (code language for Africa) must submit to a DNA test to prove theyre related to the person here. People are mobilizing against this racist terror. Last year Marseilles primary-school teacher Florimond Guimard participated in an anti-deportation rally. He followed a police car hauling away a deportee. For that, he was charged with "group violence with an arm" (the "arm" being the car Guimard was driving). He risks three years in prison and a $64,000 fine.
The defense of Guimard has become the rallying cry of the anti-deportation movement. On October 20, there will be nation-wide anti-deportation rallies. But beyond fighting racist deportations, we must destroy the capitalist system that brands some workers as "undocumented immigrants." That can only be accomplished through communist revolution.
DETROIT, MI October 11 If the tens of thousands of black youth marching in Jena, La. on September 20 was a glimpse of revolutionary potential the future then the 2007 auto contracts are a grim reminder of the long, dark night in which the working class finds itself without revolutionary communist leadership.
On the same day the four-year UAW-GM contract was ratified, Chrysler and the UAW reached a new agreement. Fords next.
A two-day "strike" at GM and a 6-hour "strike" at Chrysler give new meaning to the term "staging a strike." These actions were called to rally the membership behind a transformation in auto that will be a Great Leap Backwards for generations of industrial workers. More than one-fourth of the workers never struck because their plants were already on temporary shut-down due to a huge backlog of unsold vehicles.
The media is focused almost exclusively on the transfer of health care from the auto bosses to a union-run trust fund. This lifts almost $100 billion in health care commitments from GM, Ford and Chrysler which they can now claim as profits. But the real news lies in the rollback of wages and benefits for workers about to be hired.
Starting wages at GM, Chrysler and soon Ford, will be slightly over $14-an-hour, the 1990 rate when a gallon of gas was 80 cents! For the moment, new hires at UAW factories in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio will earn less than non-union workers at Honda, Toyota and Daimler plants in Mississippi and Alabama! Healthcare, pensions, work rules and job security will further decay.
The London Financial Times reports (10/17) that while under the old contract a GM worker cost the company $78 an hour in wages and benefits, under the new contract, a new worker will cost $25.66 an hour. Three-fourths of the workers under the higher rates will retire in the next four years.
Creation of new multi-tiered, "non-core" workers will drop wages and benefits even further. At Chrysler, 11,000 of the 45,000 current jobs are "non-core." Wages will sink and many jobs will be farmed out. The UAW agreed to the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs and more than 40 plant closings at GM, Ford, Chrysler and Delphi a year before contract talks even started. These union leaders worked hand-in-glove with the bosses and never fought the racist layoffs which initially fell most heavily on black workers. This laid the basis to hit white workers as well. Racism hurts all workers.
All this results from the sharpening competition among the worlds auto billionaires, as well as the collapse of the old communist movement. In this period of heightened conflict and increased attacks, workers have no mass revolutionary center or leadership to guide them in the class struggle. This is the bosses greatest weapon in their ability to survive every threat, challenge and crisis.
Even against these odds, more than one-third of GMs workers rejected the contract. The union left Ford for last because they expect the most problems here, from both the company and the workers. Chrysler and Ford workers should reject these contracts and begin organizing joint strike actions and a mass march on Solidarity House. We should appeal to auto workers worldwide to support our struggle.
From Baghdad to Soweto, from Bogotá to Detroit, the bosses and their flag-waving union leaders are getting away with murder. They want us to believe the answer lies in one election after another. But the answer lies in the patient, steady building of a mass revolutionary communist movement.
We will turn the tables on the bosses when industrial workers make communist ideas mass ideas. By fighting the bosses and union leaders on this contract, increasing the readership of CHALLENGE and deepening our personal and political ties with our co-workers, we are paving the road to communist revolution.
The liberal bosses crocodile tears over the unprovoked murders of Iraqi civilians by Blackwater "guards" are just a smokescreen. From Abu Ghraib to Mosel to Falluja, the U.S. military brass has ordered U.S. troops to terrorize the Iraqi population. Blackwater USA, "the State Depts principal private security contractor in Iraq" (NY Times, 10/3), is part of the ongoing fight between the liberal bosses disciplining the rogue smaller bosses. "The fallout from Blackwaters heavy-handed tactics is a reminder of the folly of using a private force to perform military missions in a war zone. These jobs need to be brought back into government hands as soon as practicable," (NY Times, 10/3) This fight is setting the stage for the future of larger and more bloody wars where the U.S. rulers will need the draft.
Pairing a volunteer army with civilian contractors, and high-tech weaponry, have both been strategies to avoid the political problems of an army of draftees. High-tech weapons rather than more boots on the ground has proved a disaster in Iraq. Another stopgap measure is the DREAM Act, really the first step toward a draft, which is now referred to as "national service" in an attempt by the liberal imperialists to win popular support. According to Timothy K. Hsia, Army infantry captain, the U.S. army may now have more civilian contractors in Iraq than military personnel (LA Times, 9/21).
The reliance on contractors has created a new set of problems for the bosses. Contractors are outside the top imperialists military chain of command. They are unreliable. The top U.S. rulers need to exert strict discipline among the troops to fight current and future wars. The only alternative to private contractors would be a draft to recruit more army personnel.
The U.S. bosses have spent the last 35 years haunted by the "Vietnam Syndrome." In the early 1970s, large numbers of U.S. combat troops in Vietnam rebelled. The fraggings in Vietnam (soldiers used fragmentation grenades to kill some of the most vicious officers) 209 in 1970 alone is one example. U.S. soldiers became so unreliable that the brass took their weapons away. Military unrest was the main factor in ending the draft. Since the Vietnam War the U.S. bosses have tried to maintain their world domination without a draft, and the problems of rebellion and outright mutiny that helped doom U.S. imperialisms effort to rule Vietnam.
Challenged by local bosses and imperialist rivals China, Russia, and Europe, the U.S faces wider war, leading to World War III. They will eventually need to draft millions of young people. In whatever form, the draft will lead to growing anger.
We should have no illusions that an anti-draft, pacifist movement can stop imperialist war. As long as the imperialists have state power, they can and will force youth into the military. Pacifism, the belief in non-violence, is a diversion to sap energy and anger of militant anti-imperialist youth away from rebellion and revolution. The bosses will always use violent acts of war or police terror.
Our Party rejected the racist student deferrments during the Vietnam War. The only answer to expanding imperialist war must be to organize in the military, factories, schools, and anti-draft movements to rebel against the warmakers, to turn their imperialist bloodbath into revolutionary war for workers power, communism.
The liberal bosses condemnation of Blackwater is to win support for future wars where they will need the help of millions of working-class youth. In order to do this, the liberals want to appear like the "nice" bosses who oppose murderous hacks like Blackwater. They will try to use these trials and the 2008 elections to win workers and youth back into their fold.
The bosses cant rule the world without soldiers and workers. A draft of hundreds of thousands of working-class young people into their army can become an opportunity. To insure their own survival, the bosses send the most exploited and oppressed youth into the army and into war factories. The same working-class youth who face racism, poverty, and exploitation at home will again question why they should fight and die for the bosses profits. When soldiers with guns in their hands unite with workers and students to fight against this murderous system, they will have the potential to put an end to racist capitalism with communist revolution.
The "Communist" Party of Chinas (CCP) 17th Congress on October 15 was scheduled to discuss its program for the next generation of leaders as put forward by Hu Jintao, CCP General Secretary and the countrys President and commander-in-chief. The Congress is occurring during Chinas emergence as a more powerful imperialist country challenging the U.S., Japan and India. The Congress will concretize a "new stage" of Chinas reforms, which according to Hu Jintao will generate a new model of "harmonious" and "scientific" development.
Jintao, in control since the 2002 Congress, will remain in power for a second and final term. His second in command, Wen Jiabao, will also retain his post. But a shake-up looms in the Politburos Permanent Committee, with Jintao possibly reducing the top leadership group from nine to five. Even Jintao is trying to avoid a bitter power struggle with those in other top leadership factions. The NY Times (9/14) quotes China expert Bo Zhiyue of St. John Fisher College: "I think he knows that real power lies in his position .He also knows how to balance different groups." Jintao is bringing to the top leadership Li Keqiang, Party chief in the Northern province of Liaoning, who might succeed Jintao after 2012 when he steps down. (Secretary-Generals can only serve two terms.)
In a June 25 speech at a Party Central School, Jintao outlined the second important aspect of the Congress. He stated that China is in a "new phase" of its reform process, having great strategic opportunities while confronting many internal and external challenges. Chinas "reforms" began with Zhu Enlai following defeat of the Cultural Revolution, helped by the Gang of Four, which later paid for its opportunism. Deng Xiaoping, considered a capitalist roader by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, accelerated the capitalist reforms in 1978 after Mao died and the Gang of Four was crushed.
U.S. imperialists were delighted with these "reforms," seeing China not only for its investment potential but also as a counterweight to the former Soviet Union. In a way, China was the great savior of world capitalism. However, Chinas new bosses would not be content to forever play second fiddle to U.S. or Japanese imperialists. China is now a more powerful imperialist country, with much money to invest in Asia, Africa, Latin America and even in the U.S. and European Union. Its also developing its own military power, including a "blue water" navy to challenge U.S. naval power in Asia and eventually beyond. Its also becoming a major player in space technology, just behind the U.S. and Russia.
Domestically, China is moving beyond being the "worlds workshop," whose industries are just mainly used for cheaply-produced consumer goods for the worlds major imperialist corporations. The Congress will discuss "scientific development" to turn Chinese industry into leaders in the hi-tech, heavy industry (auto, steel, etc.) and military fields.
The Congress will also try to deal more with localized corruption, which alienates many workers and peasants one of the main causes of protests and struggles by workers all over China. Already thousands of corrupt local leaders have been jailed. Of course, corruption and Chinas gross inequality wont be solved by capitalist reforms.
Finally, Chinas main challenges include Taiwan and the need for secure oil supplies, not controlled by Exxon-Mobil, BP, et al. This will intensify inter-imperialist rivalry and will eventually impel direct military confrontation with the U.S., Japan or India.
The "C"PC doesnt represent the class interests of Chinas workers and peasants, but rather of the capitalist class enemy. There are now thousands of those enemies, bosses who are members of the Party. Chinas workers need another revolution, not more reforms, but this time to eliminate all forms of capitalism.
Im proud to be an internationalist fighter for communism, as a member of PLP. My political life began in 1975 when I joined the revolutionary political struggle, working as a mass organizer until 1978. In 1979 I became part of the Military Committees of the ERP (Peoples Revolutionary Army) and participated in the armed struggle until 1991.
I want to stress that the ideology that convinced me was the need to fight for a change in the system workers class struggle for the seizure of power and for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Then I read Mao Zedongs Red Book. But as the struggle advanced and the international situation changed, with Perestroika in Russia, the initial goal of the struggle lost its revolutionary outlook.
On January 10, 1992, the FMLN guerrilla umbrella group and the murderous government of El Salvador signed a "Peace Accord." The FMLN then turned towards a reformist political struggle, becoming an electoral party.
I was angry and worried about that, and very saddened for the many comrades who died believing they were fighting to destroy capitalism. Then one day PLP members visited me. They talked about the international struggle of the working class for true communism. Unfortunately, they didnt return. At the end of 2006 I contacted my brother and he put me in touch with a PLP comrade. I began to participate in DESAFIO-CHALLENGE study groups. I have since begun distributing our communist newspaper among some old FMLN comrades and others. The class struggle process goes on. To honor my fallen comrades, Im going to fight to destroy capitalism.
I learned a lot in a recent Communist Political School. It helped me again find the correct road we should all follow to reach the goal of final victory communism!
A Comrade Veteran of the Civil War in El Salvador
Although my father would later help bring me closer to revolutionary politics, I come from a very traditional and conservative family of peasants in El Salvador. In 1972, I began to understand that capitalism could not meet the interests of the working class. In 1974 I got a copy of "La Vida de Miguel Marmol," written by revolutionary poet Roque Dalton, from a worker. The story is of a survivor of the 1932 massacre of workers and peasants who, led by communists, rose up against a brutal U.S.-supported military dictatorship.
Afterwards, I made contact with a revolutionary leader from the 1970s struggle against the military regimes and their electoral frauds. I began to see that when workers get organized, become class conscious and fight back, they can achieve a more just and humane society. All those types of resistance produced the armed popular struggle here. But after the civil war ended in 1992, things did not change for the better as expected. Many comrades were frustrated and angry.
A few years later, a PLP comrade through my 85-year-old father gave me a copy of DESAFIO-CHALLENGE. My dad was a DESAFIO reader and when he died his ideas were indeed communist.
I joined the PLP and a few weeks ago, after being in PLP for 11 years I participated in a communist cadre school. The school strengthened my resolve that only through communist ideas and the building of a classless worldwide society can end the evils created by capitalism. Workers of the World, Unite!
A Comrade, El Salvador
A Red Eye item (CHALLENGE, 10/17) shows clearly that the Chevron and Total oil companies, along with others from India and China, support the brutal military Junta ruling Myanmar-Burma. But imperialisms oppression of Burmas people is not new. The British colonial occupation of that country was at least as brutal as the current Junta, if not more so. In a 1938 general strike, British cops shot demonstrators led by Buddhist monks, murdering 17 people.
While the Juntas shut-down of the internet and independent news has been criticized, George Orwells first novel, "Burmese Days," was a scathing attack on the British colonial rule and consequently was barred from being printed in Britain. Potential publishers were warned of likely lawsuits. It was finally published in the U.S. but only after Orwell made some changes softening his denunciation of British colonialism.
Orwell wrote it based on his experiences as a cop in the British imperialist Civil Service in Burma. He saw the Empires dirty work up close.
The prison near Rangoon was the largest in the British Empire, and was used to incarcerate militant opponents of British colonialism, including members of the Communist Party of Burma.
A letter in CHALLENGE (10/17) from a "friend" of the Chicago Cygnus soap plant workers gave support to striking immigrant workers who face the worst of capitalisms racist conditions. Nationalism and racism were both attacked and workers unity and power were put front and center. This made it all the more surprising that those who crossed the picket lines were almost treated as allies of the strikers.
There are times (like the 1968 NYC teachers walkout that we characterized as a racist action against working-class parents rather than a strike against school bosses) when crossing that line might be the principled thing to do, but its hard to see why that would have been true here. The letter uses the term "replacement workers," a bosses term to make scabbing seem respectable. The unity of workers is never served by one group of workers undermining the struggle of other workers.
Explaining that "we didnt know about the strike and just wanted to feed our families" is only O.K. if, when you learn about the strike, you join the strikers and refuse to scab. Being a strike-breaker is joining hands with the bosses. Sugarcoating it with this reason and that excuse shouldnt be tolerated. We should struggle with workers who are tempted to become strike-breakers, but if they go over to the bosses side they must be treated (at least in the short run) as the enemy.
As a result of failing to unite in opposition to Reagans using scabs to break the air traffic controllers strike in 1981, the U.S. working class has been greatly weakened. Our job as communists is to emphasize that there are only two sides to the struggle between workers and capitalists, and anything that divides the working class racism, sexism, nationalism, scabbing, etc. is our bitter enemy.
The attack on 9/11/2001 in which 3,000 people died has been used by U.S. rulers to justify every war since then, killing of innocent civilians, racist assault on Middle Eastern and South Asian workers, and passage of the fascist Patriot Act and any other measure that the bosses feel necessary to preserve their profit system, especially control of the worlds oil supplies. Yet a "9/11" has been occurring every 3.5 hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the last six years, around the world, with absolutely no outcry from these capitalist mass murderers.
The worlds imperialist powers, led by the U.S., have exploited the resources of peoples in Africa, Asia and Latin America for centuries, keeping them in abject poverty, including deaths due to preventable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, "Childbirth complications, pneumonia and diarrhea age-old causes of death that can be prevented with cheap, proven methods" (NY Times, 10/11) kill 9.7 million children younger than 5 every year.
"Pneumonia [is] treatable with a 58-cent dose of antibiotic syrup . Diarrhea with 47 cents worth of oral rehydration salts" and birth complications with either "two 20-cent tetanus shots for the mother during pregnancy [or] a simple mask and plastic bag device that can cost as little as $10" to correct a failure to breathe at birth. (NYT, 10/11)
The lack of such simple remedies has killed 58 million children under 5 in the six years since 9/11. In other words, a "9/11" in these cases 3,000 children dying because of imperialist exploitation has occurred every 3˝ hours during those six years! And these deaths continue relentlessly, day after day, year after year.
Many honest people believe that these problems could be solved if trillions werent spent on wars. But ever since capitalism came into existence, war has been a constant. The bosses are mainly concerned with amassing maximum profits and oil, and are utterly unconcerned over the fate of these children whose deaths could be avoided with a few cents per child.
Such are the holocausts that imperialism creates.
The "war on terror" is mostly a scam for a war on the working class. A blatant example is how the increasing U.S. war on undocumented workers is justified by phony claims about terrorism.
After 9/11, the ruling class saw a great opportunity to grind down undocumented workers by combining the Border Patrol with the Customs Service (and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), making a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. CBP proclaims its mission is "securing Americas borders." It trumpets its "success stories from the frontline of protecting America" one terrorist arrested in 2005 and one alleged bomber turned away in 2003, compared to the more than six million undocumented workers seized since 9/11 which shows what a minor part of the CBPs activities is the "war on terror." The CBPs 2005-2010 "Strategic Plan" entitled "Protecting America" is full of the same nonsense with each goal called "preventing terrorism," when the actual activities described show that the CBPs real priorities are speeding imports into the USA at lower costs to the bosses and harassing undocumented workers.
The same nonsense is found in the "National Border Patrol Strategy," where the number one goal is "preventing terrorism" especially by apprehending those entering the U.S. "between the ports of entry" code for hunting undocumented workers, inside the USA and at the border between formal crossing points. The Border Patrols extensive propaganda on its website cannot point to one example of a terrorist it has stopped. In fact, the very few cases of terrorist detentions have been at the formal ports of entry like airports, none "between ports of entry."
With the "war-on-terror" excuse, the U.S. ruling class has poured money into the cops who harrass undocumented workers. The budget of the CBP has soared from $3.0 billion in 2001 to $7.8 billion this year. And $2.5 billion of that is spent on "border security between ports of entry," which is triple what was spent in 2000 and six times what was spent in 1997. And all of this for exactly zero terrorists caught!
And the Democrats in Congress are fighting with Bush because the liberals want to add $3 billion more to CBPs budget next year, almost all for enforcement between ports of entry. What a wonderful example of how liberals are more dangerous for workers than conservatives: the liberals are smarter because they smile while they stab workers in the back. The blatant racists send out the Minutemen; the liberals triple the size of the Border Patrol in a little more than a decade, with proposals for big new increases.
Meanwhile, the Homeland Security Departments Office of Immigration Statistics reports that 3.1 million "unauthorized residents entered the U.S. between 2000 and 2005. All the money spent on patrolling the border isnt really keeping out immigrants either, just as it isnt catching terrorists. The reason for this is that the ruling class needs immigrants to fill the lowest-wage jobs in the country. But they also want to make sure this labor force is afraid enough not to organize for better wages and conditions and isolated enough not to unite with other workers. Therefore, every chance we get, we need to organize anti-racist struggle on the job, in our schools and in our mass organizations. Only then will we have a shot at turning fear of our working-class brothers and sisters into hatred toward the bosses and its racist system.
(Next: the "Real I.D." Law)
North got big share of slavery $$
The opening of the African Burial Ground .graveyard, which may have originally contained between 10,000 and 20,000 bodies .shocked many New Yorkers who had grown up believing that slaverys horrors were confined to the American South and that theirs was a free state.
The truth is that Gotham [NY] was at the very center of the trade in human beings and featured more Africans in chains than just about any other American city .
And New Yorks slavery was just as brutal as the Southern variety . The adults in the sample [analyzed] had typically been worked to death. Many of the children had died of malnutrition, while others died at the hands of desperate mothers who ended their lives rather than watch them grow up in such a hell. (NYT, 10/10)
China, capitalist now, needs religion
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Chinese government is not antireligious . In order to curb the excess of social disintegration caused by the capitalist explosion, officials now celebrate religions that sustain social stability, from Buddhism to Confucianism the very ideologies that were the target of the [communists] Cultural Revolution. (NYT, 10/10)
U.S. denounces them but sells arms
The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006 .
The global arms market is highly competitive, with manufacturing nations seeking both to increase profits and to expand political influence through weapons sales to developing nations .
The study makes clear also that the United States has signed weapons-sales agreements with nations whose records on democracy and human rights are subject to official criticism. (NYT, 10/1
LA admits cop war on May demo
[Five months after a] pro-immigration rally here in May, the Los Angeles Police Department issued .reports by 246 people of injuries ranging from bruises to broken bones Officers fired rubber bullets and swung batons even as demonstrators were trying to disperse. Scenes of officers trampling journalists who were covering the rally, which had been called to urge Congress to grant legal status to illegal immigrants, were played repeatedly on local and national television .
Representatives of some of the people injured at the rally were not completely satisfied with the report .
"It does not go to the institutional cultural problems . Why does this happen over and over again?" (NYT, 10/10)
This war, by any name, smells
This surge is destined to wind down next year because of troop deployment concerns, meaning the president will need a new word to describe his way forward. Im thinking he should replace surge with "nudge," which will require fewer troops.
Nudge should serve until the president nears the end of his term, at which point he is going to have to find still another word to take over. Having carefully weighed all the possibilities, I think the logical successor to surge and nudge should be "goose ."
Senator: General, in your opinion, is "the goose" working?
General: The goose [has juice].
Well said. (LAT, 9/20)
Toxic waste areas hurt racisms victims
Lets be frank: The people most affected by environmental degradation arent white or well-off. Fifty-six percent of the 9.2 million people who live within 1.86 miles of the countrys most serious hazardous waste sites are people of color . Seven in 10 people living near clusters of toxic waste sites are minorities . Moreover, doctors believe that environmental factors may be partly to blame for the higher rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, birth defects and cancer found among people of color and low-income whites, according to several studies. (LAT, 9/30)
Iran blocks U.S. goals in Mideast
In reality the growing confrontation between Washington and Iran has less to do with nuclear weapons or Iraqi resistance and more with the fact that Iran has emerged as the main strategic beneficiary of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran and its allies now offer the only effective challenge to U.S. domination of the Middle East and its resources. (GW, 10/12)
Ignoring Congo rapes shows racism/sexism
To the Editor:
Re "Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War" (front page, Oct. 7): I know that something is wrong with the world when thousands of Congolese women are raped without causing an international outcry. How is it that we accept futility as the answer to a crisis of this magnitude?....
No political leaders will offer these women asylum in their countries; no American presidential candidates will address this issue on the campaign trail; and people around the world will go about their lives ignorant of the pain and terror in Congo.
We continue to aid the exploitation of women through desensitivity. (NYT, 10/14)
(Part III described the first action-filled days of the anti-racist Summer Project organized in Boston by PLP and its friends in the International Committee Against Racism. It was marked by numerous failed attempts at intimidation by Bostons anti-busing fascists in ROAR, who were backed by liberal mayor Kevin White and his pals in the Kennedy political machine. These provocations only strengthened the anti-racists resolve.)
By late June, BOSTON 75 had established itself as the only public challenge to ROAR and had survived the racists bully tactics. Now Bostons workers, parents and students had to be approached with the message of anti-racist unity.
INCAR had drafted a petition demanding new schools, more teachers, expanded bilingual programs, improved facilities in the schools and the indictment of the most prominent racists, including Louise Day Hicks and the ROAR executive committee, for conspiracy to violate the civil rights of school children.
The petition campaign sought to prove that the vast majority of Bostons workers, students and professionals had anti-racist aspirations and didnt support ROARs Nazi outlook. The campaign got a shot in the arm when two black families moved into the nearly all-white Hyde Park district in late June. Each was savagely attacked by racist punks who specialized in assaulting young children. INCAR volunteers were instrumental in organizing defense committees in both cases, despite the usual harassment by Bostons cops. Despite threats from them and ROAR, an integrated group of 30 people met to discuss methods of countering racist violence.
The INCAR petition suddenly became a commonplace sight in dozens of greater Boston neighborhoods. Hundreds signed every day, again in defiance of coercion by ROAR and the police. Bostons masses were responding affirmatively to the anti-racist message.
Along with the petition drive, the Project organized the Roxbury "Freedom School." Its program included numerous activities that proved the feasibility of integrated anti-racist education. Classes included anti-racist and pro-communist political history, as well as art, math, English, and Spanish. The school formed a basketball team. Over 60 students enrolled in the first week. Their numbers would grow as the summer progressed. Parents participated in all phases of the schools activities.
Meanwhile, INCAR and PLP continued to combine this mass work with militant anti-racist action. The week of July 14, Mayor White announced his $30 million school budget cutback, which entailed laying off 1,200 teachers, aides, bus monitors and others.
Bostons union leaders and the rulers established loyal opposition in the NAACP and elsewhere uttered not a peep of protest against this racist attack. Only INCAR raised its voice. On July 17, the Summer Project called for a picket line outside Whites posh Beacon Hill home. At Whites personal behest, the cops barred it. About 100 anti-racists tried to march anyway. The very next day, 200 INCAR and PLP members held a sit-in inside Whites City Hall office, while another 70 picketed outside. White stayed conveniently away, but his aides and the rest of City Hall were in a panic.
BOSTON 75 was clearly becoming more than a pinprick in the rulers side. The anti-racists had resisted all attempts at coercion. The bosses own media could no longer ignore INCARs activities, even if the coverage was a tissue of lies. The movement had made an important, if temporary, inroad into the labor movement, receiving an endorsement from the American Federation of Government Employees. The AFGE leadership later withdrew this support for fear of identification with "radicals," but had already sent a copy of INCARs petition to all of its members in Massachusetts.
The City Hall sit-in was the last straw for White and his ROAR pals. To rid themselves of the anti-racist movement, they used the tactic of trapping the INCAR volunteers into combat with ROAR at unfavorable odds and then would have the cops arrest the anti-racists on trumped-up felony charges.
The occasion they chose was a July 23 unity meeting at a Hyde Park school. When 15 INCAR members and Hyde Park residents arrived at the school, they found the meeting room occupied by 50 ROAR thugs armed with bats and sticks. The fascists had locked the school doors. Suddenly the cops appeared and ordered the INCAR members to leave. The anti-racists returned to their headquarters, followed by the cops and some of their ROAR buddies. The cops arrested 17 people, all INCAR members, including a volunteer doing his laundry across the street. The arrested anti-racists were transported to the Hyde Park station house, where a lynch mob organized by ROAR and the cops chanted, "Give us the n------!"
However, the next day, INCAR and PLP members were back on the streets of Boston, picketing the West Roxbury courthouse while the 17 were being arraigned, canvassing and rallying in the streets and running the Freedom School. The racists were growing desperate. The anti-racists were conducting business as usual.
(Next: The Liberal-ROAR axis and the battles of Carson Beach.)
Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle
By Stephen Biddle
Princeton University Press, 2004
A fight rages within the U.S. military over what the Iraq fiasco means for future wars. Stephen Biddle, senior fellow in defense policy at the Council of Foreign Relations, stepped into this cauldron with the publication of "Military Power," a text meant to define U.S. military planning in the coming decades.
Biddle also advises General Petraeus and other top generals. He tested his theories using the Pentagons most advanced computer simulations. He is uniquely positioned to influence the upcoming debate.
Biddle focuses on large scale wars, although he argues for further inquires into guerilla-type conflicts. The surprising implication is that the U.S. may not win a direct confrontation with emerging imperialist powers.
WWI Ushers In New Age of Warfare
What Biddle calls "the modern system of force employment" was invented to deal with the "storm of steel" the machine gun brought to the World War I battlefield. By 1917, trench warfare between Germany and the allied powers stalemated. Neither side could advance across the no-mans-land between fortified positions. The answer was smaller, more flexible units that could more easily seek cover. The "modern system" was born.
The problem for generals was that when small units found safe hiding places away from their commanders, they didnt move! The tactics of small-unit deployment required politically motivated initiative.
Organization and motivation of troops becomes more important not less with advanced, more lethal weapons. Although technological and numerical superiority are important, Biddles simulations prove they are not decisive against armies that master "the modern system."
On the other hand, technological and numerical superiority are decisive against armies that havent. Iraqs quick defeat during Gulf War I is a prime example. Biddle warns these lopsided victories lead to dangerous arrogance if not correctly analyzed.
He updates his analysis with mathematical projections and tests his theory against extreme cases where modern tactics and organization overcame technological and numerical superiority. Not surprisingly, he omits a clear example the World War II battle for Stalingrad.
Stalingrad Shows Power of Communist Class Consciousness
The Nazi bombardment of Stalingrad left no roof intact and hardly any walls either. The red troops used this rubble for concealment during the 1942-43 siege.
Even anti-communist accounts admit "individuals and groups fought on without orders" after being cut off from central command. Unarmed comrades "seized weapons from the dead and fought on." "The Red Army paid great attention to . . . deception, camouflage and operational security" as reserves massed to encircle the surprised Nazis (Antony Beevor, Stalingrad). Mass heroism essential for the "modern system" to work crushed the German 6th Army along with the Nazi myth of invincibility, changing the course of the war.
More Than Ever, Politics Is Primary
Military strategists worry that the Iraq war has shaken the army rank and file. To Biddle, instilling a greater commitment to U.S. imperialism among the troops is crucial. His outlook dovetails the liberal politicians need for "a patriotic movement for peace."
Soldiers politics are also crucial for revolutionaries who have the interests of the working class at heart. There can be no talk of revolution without support from large numbers of troops. We should use every opportunity to win soldiers to rebel against imperialism and its racist and sexist underpinnings. Networks of CHALLENGE readers can help influence small-unit-level rebellions today that can lead to bigger rebellions later. Eventually, soldiers will help smash the bosses armed forces, contributing to an armed force for revolution.