The Workers' Advocate

WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! 25¢

Volume 13, Number 1

VOICE OF THE MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY OF THE USA

January 25, 1983

[Front page:

Tax the rich, not the workers! No to Cutbacks in Social Security!;

While the capitalists throw millions into the streets--Reagan Attacks the Unemployed;

Miami--Black people rise up against racist murder;

Down with the plans for a 'winnable' nuclear war!--Both sides in the MX debate in Congress stand for more nuclear missiles;

New Year's Editorial of The Workers' Advocate--The Fight Against Reaganism and the Revolutionary Perspective--See centerfold supplement]

IN THIS ISSUE

Correspondence................................................................ 2
Washington, D.Q.: Anti-Klan protest............................... 3



New concessions scheme in steel..................................... 4
No to shutdown of Lackawanna mill................................ 4
Wheeling-Pittsburgh: Bitter fruits of concessions............ 4
USW rule changes to impose concessions....................... 4
37,000 Caterpillar workers on strike................................ 5
How Chrysler contract was settled................................... 5
Detroit: 200 Chrysler workers wildcat............................. 5



U.S., hands off Nicaragua................................................. 2
Japanese workers fight austerity ...................................... 5
Japan: Struggle against war preparations......................... 6
On the road ahead for the Palestinian struggle................. 8
Portuguese Marxist-Leninists defend the Party................ 9
Venezuela: Bandera Roja Party condemns repression........................ 9
Argentina: Upsurge against the fascist junta.................... 10
On united front tactics...................................................... 7




Tax the rich, not the workers!

No to Cutbacks in Social Security!

While the capitalists throw millions into the streets

Reagan Attacks the Unemployed

Miami

Black people rise up against racist murder

Down with the plans for a 'winnable' nuclear war!

Congress tries to cover up Reagan's war against Nicaragua

U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Nicaragua!

CORRESPONDENCE

A Letter From a Honduran Friend

November 27, Washington, D.C.

A day of struggle against the Klan and its police protectors

Steel workers, be vigilant!

Down With McBride's New Concessions Scheme!

Fight the Shutdown of Bethlehem's Lackawanna Mill!

Another round of concessions at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel

The tragedy of trading concessions for job security

Rule Changes to Railroad Concessions

New Year's Editorial of The Workers' Advocate

The Fight Against Reaganism and the Revolutionary Perspective

United front tactics are on essential tool of the proletarian party

On the path forward for the Palestinian liberation movement

How the Chrysler contract was settled

Japanese workers fight capitalist austerity

200 Chrysler workers wildcat against harassment

Strike enters fourth month

37,000 Caterpillar workers fight against concessions

Japanese workers in action against imperialist war preparations

Portuguese Marxist-Leninists Fight in Defense of the Party

Venezuelan government massacres 23 revolutionaries

The Bandera Roja Party Is Resolved to Carry On the Revolution

Mass Upsurge in Argentina Rocks the Fascist Junta




Tax the rich, not the workers!

No to Cutbacks in Social Security!

The destructive wrath of the capitalist economic crisis.is shaking all the economic and financial structures. The Social Security system isnoexception with its funding running a $15 billion deficit in fiscal 1982.

There are two possible means to overcome these deficits. One means is to balance the system on the backs of the workers and the poor, by cutting benefits and by stepping up taxes on the working people. The other means is to replenish the system by taxing the rich, by imposing sufficient taxes on the capitalist millionaires to provide the needed revenues for the Social Security pensions of the retirees.

But for the capitalist politicians taxing the exploiters is completely out of the question. Such a thing would never cross the minds of these gentlemen who make squeezing the poor their stock in trade. Now, in the name of bailing out the system, the Republican and Democratic chieftains in Washington have hatched a big Reaganite conspiracy to hike Social Security taxes and to rob the pensions of the retired workers.

This plot is a big slap in the face of all the working people. For many of the 36 million recipients, benefits are already too meager to ward off hunger and cold. For those still of working age, many have seen their perspective company pensions cut by the capitalists' concessions drive; and many others have lost their perspective pensions altogether in the shuffle of unemployment, swelling the ranks of the millions who must count entirely on a Social Security check keeping them alive when they can no longer work.

Small wonder that Reagan's drive for wholesale cuts in Social Security benefits has provoked outrage among the working people. On his old lecture circuit Ronald Reagan used to preach that Social Security was a "communist conspiracy'' to introduce "creeping socialism'' and should be dismantled. Now, 20 years later, he is chomping at the bit to take the first steps on this road.

The liberal hacks of the Democratic Party have tried to cash in on the people's outrage at Reagan's designs on Social Security. Ever since Reagan came into office and before, the Democratic Party chieftains have been making a big stink about the Republicans' proposals to steal the retirees' benefits. Posing as the most heroicdefenders of the poor and the elderly, the Democratic politicians have been declaring that, while they have gone along with Reagan on everything else, cutting Social Security is just going too far. Thus the Democrats proclaimed that they were drawing the line on Reagan's plans to bail out Social Security at the expense of the recipients.

Bipartisan Robbery of the Workers and Retirees

To find a solution agreeable to both sides a bipartisan "National Commission on Social Security Reform'' was set up. After months of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes between Reagan and the Republican leaders and Tip O'Neill and the Democratic leaders, on January 15 a compromise agreement was reached with the backing of both camps.

This agreement has been trumpeted high and low, from the Oval Office to the halls of Congress, as a great victory for bipartisanship. Indeed, this agreement shows the utter ruthlessness of the Reaganite program of squeezing the workers and the poor. What's more, it again confirms that this is fully the bipartisan program of the capitalist ruling class, with Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Party demagogues showing themselves to be no less ruthless, in robbing the workers and retirees than Reagan himself.

The commission's proposal for a five-year bailout plan has two main elements. First, it calls for new and increased taxes including a plan to raise payroll taxes through stages from the present 6.7% to 7.51% by 1988. Over that period this will rob the workers' paychecks of some $20 billion. (See The New York Times, January 17, 1983)

Second, it calls for major cuts in benefits including a one-time six-month freeze on scheduled increases. This freeze alone will gouge $40 billion from old age pensioners' checks over the next five years. (Ibid.) The agreement includes other vicious proposals such as raising credits to entice workers to stay on the job past 65 as a step towards eventually raising the retirement age to 66 and beyond. (The majority of commission members have issued a statement recommending eventually raising the retirement age to 66.)

Democratic Party Scoundrels

 

This bipartisan proposal is a towering condemnation of the Democratic Party "opposition." These brave heroes of the poor and the elderly have not only failed to defend Social Security from Reagan's butcher knife; they have put it on the chopping block for him. Not only that, they have the gall to pat each other on the back for a job well done.

Rep. Claude Pepper, the Democrats' self-styled spokesman for the elderly and their number one crusader against cuts in Social Security, is tickled pink with this package of tax hikes and vicious benefit cuts. "It's something around which to rally," Mr. Pepper gushes, "All the people who campaigned against cutting benefits can consciously say that there has been no cutting." (New York Times, January 17, 1983) Sure, Mr. Democratic demagogue, benefits haven't been cut, they have only been frozen. But as every person who is forced to live on the pittance called Social Security and has to cope with skyrocketing heat, medical and other bills knows all too well, freezing and cutting means the same damn thing.

The leading Democratic Senator who sat on the commission, Daniel Moynihan, is also bubbling with happiness, declaring "I have the strongest feeling that we all have won." (Ibid.) Oh yes, what a victory for all you Reaganite bloodsuckers, Republican and Democrat alike!

To explain why a $40 billion freeze in benefits is really a victory for the impoverished retirees, the Democrats have come up with a wonderful answer. You see, this was only one part of a compromise package with Reagan. And what did they bargain for in return? The Democrats demanded big tax hikes including $20 billion in payroll taxes on the workers. These Democrats really drive a hard bargain! Undoubtedly this will make the cold and hungry victims of this benefit freeze feel much better knowing that their suffering is for such a good cause.

What a pack of scoundrels! The truth of the matter is that the Democratic Party hacks have been lying through their teeth from the get-go. All along the Democrats have had the same criminal designs on Social Security as Reagan. If there is any doubt on this score, it should be remembered that Carter's old commission on Social Security also submitted a proposal calling for slashing benefits, boosting taxes and jacking up the age of retirement. The Democrats' disagreement with Reagan has never been over aims, but over how to best hoodwink the people, and over which of these two groups of capitalist political hucksters should take how much of the blame.

The Democrats' bravest fighting words on Social Security were issued in the days before the midterm elections. But the very day after the elections, lest someone did not understand that these words were just so many campaign lies, the Democratic chieftains struck up the old tune of "honeymoon." Speaking of his party's attitude towards Reagan, Tip O'Neill announced that "We will extend to him the hand of cooperation in the best interests of America." He then went on to add, "We don't want anyone to eat crow, the country's in too tough shape for things of that nature."

In other words, the Democrats don't want Reagan to be embarrassed on any question. Moreover, they will "extend to him the hand of cooperation in the best interests" of the capitalist billionaires in their Reaganite onslaught against the working masses.

Now with the Social Security agreement we have seen the first fruit of this renewed bipartisan embrace -- a first-class Reaganite conspiracy to rob the workers and retirees.

Why the Crisis in Social Security?

 

To serve this conspiracy the government experts and the capitalist media have their stock lies to explain the crisis in Social Security. Inevitably they blame the masses: "the workers don't pay in enough," "pensions are too generous," "people are living too long and draining the system," and so forth and so on. Just as inevitably their sole solution to the crisis is to further squeeze the masses with taxes, pension cuts, and schemes to keep workers on the job until they fall over dead at their machines.

Social Security is a complex system of taxes, trust funds, and benefits. But why it is presently running multi-billion dollar deficits is hardly a mystery. The Social Security crisis has come about through the combined effects of the capitalist economic depression and the regressive nature of the Social Security tax.

Social Security is one of the most regressive of all taxes, falling heaviest on those who can least afford it. The system's payroll taxes are applied at a flat rate; both the worker and employer are presently taxed at 6.7% of a workers' wage. This means that a worker making minimum wage is taxed at the same rate as a technician making $32,400, some five times the minimum wage. What's more this $32,400 is the maximum level of taxable income, which means that this technician pays the same $2,170 maximum Social Security tax as a corporate executive earning millions! In other words, this taxing structure means that the poorer you are the harder you are hit by it. Twenty-five percent of all families pay more in Social Security tax than in federal income tax. But for the idle rich this tax is simply a token drop in the bucket.

Under conditions of economic depression this system spells bankruptcy for the Social Security funds. The back-to-back recessions over the last decade and the last two years of industrial collapse have taken a heavy toll on revenues. The size of the employed work force has been cut drastically with 15 million unemployed, and the real take-home wages of those with jobs have been cut equally drastically. Besides untold human misery this means a huge chunk of revenues are not being collected from either the workers or the employers. Meanwhile the depression only increases demands on the funds as the elderly and disabled loose their jobs, and their private pensions and other sources of income are cut back.

These are the main underlying forces behind the hemorrhaging deficits of the Social Security funds. There are other factors, too, such as the repeated raiding into the funds to bolster general federal revenues, and the inevitable graft and corruption of the administrators, all of which add up.

One might ask, if the Social Security trust funds have been used to assist general revenues in the past when the trust funds were running a surplus, why can't general revenues be used to bail out the trust funds now? The answer to this lies in Reaganomics. Every Republican and Democrat in Washington will tell you that this will only swell the federal deficit. That is to say, these Reaganite gentlemen do not want to spend one dime of the tax dollars, which are derived mainly from the workers in the first place, to provide for Social Security pensions or any other pressing need of the working people. At the same time they have created humongous deficits (now counted in the hundreds of billions) to pay out interest to the banks, to provide handouts to the corporations and to finance the $1.6 trillion military buildup.

Tax the Rich!

 

It must be kept in mind that both the Republican and Democratic Parties owe their souls to the millionaires and billionaires. Both hold the profits of the Wall Street speculators and the monopoly corporations as sacred. This is why they both hold that the Social Security system can only be bailed out by robbing the worker: by raising taxes to rob his paycheck, or by cutting benefits to rob his pension check, or by robbing him both ways as in their new bipartisan compromise. In short, both Republican and Democrat demand that the crisis be resolved within the framework of preserving every penny of capitalist profit at the expense of the masses.

But there is an alternate framework: making the capitalist millionaires, who have grown fat off the sweat and toil of the workers, pay for funding the Social Security pensions of the retired and disabled. This could be accomplished with a heavy tax on the rich, a tax heavy enough not just to bail out the system at its present level but to substantially raise it so that it covers all those in need and so that benefits will provide at least the necessities of life.

As long as the Social Security system is funded by the present regressive structure the system will sink deeper into crisis, and the workers and pensioners will be bled white by one round of tax hikes and benefit cuts after the next. Taxing the rich is the alternative.

Of course this would cut into capitalist profits. That is why the Ronald Reagans and Tip O'Neills would fight such a measure with all of their bipartisan might. The new compromise agreement on Social Security brings home the truth that nothing can be expected from the smooth-talking hucksters of the Democratic Party except for more bipartisan cooperation with the Reaganites in plundering the workers.

This is why a heavy tax on the rich to fund Social Security could only be brought about through the independent action of the workers. Not a single step can be taken against the Reaganite onslaught without the revolutionary struggle of the working and downtrodden masses. As the capitalist depression deepens and the workers are squeezed to the wall, the revolutionary mass struggle is becoming an ever more pressing necessity.


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While the capitalists throw millions into the streets

Reagan Attacks the Unemployed

Unemployment levels have reached a new record. Officially 10.8% of the work force, or 12 million workers, are pounding the pavement in search of a job. Another 1.8 million have given up looking. And another 6.5 million are only partially employed working shortened workweeks. These figures represent the highest level of unemployment since the end of the Great Depression 41 years ago. Like that Depression these figures represent ruin and hunger for tens of millions.

But as the tragedy of joblessness grows day by day, so grows the calloused cynicism of the millionaires to the plight of the workers. The rich moneybags consider the workers to be nothing more than so many living machines to slave for the profits of the capitalist owners and to be hurled into the street as so much human refuse in times of crisis. No one expresses this arrogant contempt for the working people better than that "great communicator'' of capitalist interests, Ronald Reagan.

A Bowl of Soup and a Prayer

Mr. Reagan doesn't like to talk about unemployment; he prefers to wave and smile and boast about how well the Wall Street speculators are doing on the stock exchange. Nevertheless, since taking office Reagan has spelled out a number of proposals for coping with the jobless problem.

Reagan's fundamental solution to this problem is simply to rob the jobless of any relief and to drive them into the ground. Over the last two years he has orchestrated the elimination of tens of billions of dollars in social programs. Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have faithfully "stayed the course,'' cutting to the bone unemployment insurance; welfare, food stamps, health care and other relief for the jobless and the poor. These cuts are only going to get deeper. The White House already has pending another $30 billion in cuts for the 1984 budget, and the Congressional leaders have already entered into negotiations to see how much of these will make it into law.

But what is supposed to replace these programs which were far too meager to begin with? How are the millions upon millions of hungry and poverty stricken supposed to eat? According to Reagan, "voluntarism'' will take up the slack; the churches and other charities will do the job. And lo and behold, Reagan has already succeeded in creating the longest soup lines seen since the last Depression. But this bowl of soup and a prayer a day, provided for a small fraction of those in need, shows only one thing: the capitalists' Reaganite offensive has already driven millions of workers into the condition of outright paupers staring starvation in the face.

Two Million Homeless "Voting With Their Feet"

Then there was Reagan's infamous proposal that the unemployed should simply "vote with their feet'' and go to Texas or California or the other states of golden opportunity. According to Reagan the jobless should just get off their duffs and head for where the jobs are for the taking. After all, didn't Reagan himself make good in Hollywood?

But this winter countless thousands are living in their cars and in camps stretching from Houston, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska hunting the jobs that aren't there. They are part of the estimated two million homeless, many of whom are drifting across the country searching high and low for work.

What this shows is that joblessness is not a regional problem or a temporary disparity between the "snowbelt'' and the' "sunbelt'.' as Reagan would have us believe. Unemployment is still highest in the older industrial states such as Michigan (17.6%) or Ohio (14.5%); but jobless levels in even the best of the so-called growth states are also now pushing double-digit figures. The crisis of monopoly capitalism has gripped all regions and all sectors of the economy, bringing ruin to tens of millions from coast to coast.

Hunger -- Reagan's Wonder Cure for the Jobless Worker

Reagan's sadistic lie that the jobless are just shiftless and don't want to work anyhow has been thoroughly condemned by the suffering of the masses. It has been condemned by the camps of homeless unemployed scattered across the country. It has been condemned by the 20,000 workers who began standing in the middle of the night in 15 degrees below zero weather for 150-200 factory jobs at a plant in Milwaukee. But Reagan hasn't given up. He still likes to hold up a copy of the want ads to say that there are plenty of jobs out there if only...(you happen to be a nuclear engineer with a minimum of 20 years' on-the-job experience!).

Two months back the White House came up with a new proposal to cure this rampant laziness which has overcome so many: taxing unemployment benefits. Reagan's deputy Edwin Meese explained that this was aimed at making unemployment "less attractive'' and therefore "a lot of people would get off unemployment and seek jobs.'' Oh yes, unemployment is such an "attractive'' way of life!

Nationally unemployment benefits average $115 a week, half the average wage of a factory worker, and less than half of what it costs to house and feed a family. But then who would want to work when they have the choice of half starving and half freezing instead?! Who would work when they have the choice of losing their homes, their health insurance and everything else?!

Of course, this is the choice open to only six million of the "lucky ones'' who still get unemployment benefits. Then there are the eight million others who get no benefits at all. This is the army of workers who have exhausted their benefits, who are somehow ineligible for them, or have given up looking for work. This is the army of the destitute whose ranks are growing rapidly as the depression drags on. Undoubtedly Reagan would like to propose a tax on their incomes too, if they only had an income to tax.

Clearly Reagan has confused the workers with the idle rich. For the capitalists and Wall Street coupon clippers the less productive work they perform the richer and more "attractive" life becomes. But for the workers, the wage slaves who live by selling their labor power to the capitalists for wages, forced idleness means they cannot eat and cannot live.

Sub-Minimum Wages and Other Charity for the Exploiters

In short, according to Reagan, unemployment is to be blamed on the unemployed. It is the good-for-nothing jobless who are enjoying all the "attractive" benefits of being out of work. But for the capitalists it's a whole different ball of wax. The rich are suffering under the terrible burden of making money off of the sweat and toil of others, a task that is so painful that Reagan wants to subsidize the capitalists in every way he can.

This is why he is once again stumping for a sub-minimum wage for teenagers. Proposals for a $1.95 or $2.50 wage, either for the May to September period or year around, are again floating from the White House. This Reagan advertizes as an important solution to the 24.5% youth unemployment. In fact, this is a solution for providing the fast food chains and other monopolists with cheap labor. The minimum wage has been frozen at $3.35 for over two years and it is already far below a living wage. A sub-minimum wage is not only cruel and unusual punishment for teenagers, it is also a device for firing older workers and replacing them with young people at two-thirds the wages, undercutting the wages of all the workers.

So far, such minimum wage schemes have failed to get off the ground. But Reagan has a number of similar charity programs for the exploiters up his sleeve. In particular he is still pushing his plans to subsidize employers who hire the so-called "hard core" unemployed. Far from "creating jobs," such subsidies are simply another means to cut labor costs and increase the capitalists' profit. Employers will pay only part of a worker's paycheck with the working people's tax money in the federal treasury paying the employer for the rest.

Unemployment and Capitalist Profit

Over the Christmas holiday Reagan came up with yet another solution to the jobless problem. Gripped with the holiday spirit, he proposed that the problem must be seen "from the standpoint there are more businesses in the U.S. than there are unemployed." Therefore, Reagan suggested, if each firm just hired one worker unemployment would be wiped out overnight. To make sure he didn't mean it as a joke the first time, with a straight face Reagan repeated this suggestion in mid-January. This proposal was created in the Reaganite dream land of "free enterprise," where "Joe friendly" businessman is the greatest benefactor of the worker. But in the light of the hard reality of the capitalist crisis in the U.S., this is one of the most cynical hoaxes of them all.

What Reagan failed to mention is that U.S. businesses are collapsing at a faster rate than at any time since 1932 during the worst days of the last Depression. It should be noted that this "great communicator" of lies has lied again, as the actual number of businesses is hardly one-third of the number of unemployed. According to the National Federation of Independent Business there are four million non-agricultural small businesses in the U.S., while the bigger enterprises number only in the thousands. Squeezed by the banks and big monopolies 24,000 businesses collapsed in 1982 alone. Even many of the big corporations are teetering on the verge of collapse in the face of the crisis.

Reagan also failed to mention that it is a handful of giant monopolies which dominate the economy and whose plant shutdowns and layoffs are swelling the ranks of the unemployed by the tens and hundreds of thousands. In fact a week hadn't gone by after Reagan made this "proposal" that Bethlehem Steel announced another 10,000 layoffs.

But the most important thing that Reagan failed to mention is why a capitalist, big or small, hires workers in the first place. The factory owner employs workers, not for charity, but to squeeze profits out of them. This is why he will also sack his workers at the drop of a hat when profit margins demand it. Today this is what Reagan's white-hatted businessmen are doing on an unprecedented scale.

The capitalist system has been hurled into a depression by a profound overproduction crisis. There is too much oil, steel, cars, food, etc. for the markets to bear. Glut is choking off the economic arteries. In this situation there are no profits to be made in expanding production and hiring workers. On the contrary, to safeguard their sacred profits the capitalists are destroying productive forces wholesale. Factories are operating at 67.3%, the lowest level on record. Such a key industry as steel is operating at a mere 37.8%. Plants and mills are being shut down and bulldozed left and right. Likewise, 12 million workers have been tossed into the street like so much industrial scrap. Such is the man-eating nature of the profit system. This is the truth which Reagan wants to hide with his fairytale about each capitalist hiring back one employee.

The Democratic Party Hypocrisy

Reagan's cynical contempt for the unemployed is only rivaled by the cynical hypocrisy of the liberal politicians of the Democratic Party. The liberal mask of "compassion and concern" is the other face of monopoly capital in its brutal offensive against the working masses. The Democrats posture as the great crusaders for the cause of the jobless and the poverty-stricken. They strike a pose of opposition to Reaganomics and "Jobs!" has become the first word in their vocabulary. But what have the Democrats done for the unemployed?

For the first two years of the Reagan regime, Tip O'Neill and company took a protracted "honeymoon" with the White House. Pleading that they didn't want to appear "obstructionist," among other things, the Democrats obediently rubber stamped the Reagan budgets and cuts in social programs. Now the crisis has grown deeper and with it the anger of the masses has also grown deeper. The Democrats feel compelled to step up their rhetoric against Reaganomics and to make a show of digging in their heels for a fight. But what kind of fight? Have they proposed restoring the unemployment benefits, food stamps, welfare and other programs that have been cut, let alone increasing them beyond

their previous levels because of the increased need? Have they proposed expanding unemployment benefits to the eight million jobless who get nothing? Have they proposed a single measure which would have a serious impact in providing relief for the hungry army of unemployed? Not on your life.

The Democrats have no proposals whatsoever other than to continue to trail along at the heels of the Reaganites. This was graphically confirmed during the lame duck session of Congress. The Democratic heroes in the House and Senate declared that they were putting their foot down and demanding a jobs bill. A jumble of bills were put forward, but what they all had in common was their token nature. An example was the housing construction proposal that was backed by the chieftains of the AFL-CIO. This bill would have been a four or five billion dollar boondoggle for the capitalist building contractors and, at best, would have meant two-hundred thousand jobs in the building trades.

But the Democrats had no serious intention of fighting even for such measly sops that they called jobs bills. As soon as Reagan expressed his disapproval, the Democratic warriors tore up their bills, folded their tents and went home.

Meanwhile, Tip O'Neill and Reagan combined efforts to push through a 5$ gasoline tax for highway construction and repair. Reagan was happy with this bill because he could boast to his right-wing friends that he had resisted any jobs bills to help the unemployed. O'Neill, on the other hand, hailed it as a victory for "jobs," because it provides work for a relative handful of construction workers. Such is the miserable "fight for jobs" of the Democrats -- a "fight" that won't even ruffle the feathers of the Reaganite right-wingers.

The Capitalists Are at a Loss Before the Deepening Depression

The truth is that both the Republican and Democratic politicians subscribe to Reaganomics and are in wholehearted agreement on the need to squeeze the working people to the wall. But beyond that the capitalist chieftains are at an impasse; not one of them has a clue as to how to cope with the deepening depression.

Reagan's stimulative policies of handouts for the millionaires and a $1.6 trillion military buildup have backfired in the capitalists' faces. Instead of pulling the economy out of the slump, they have only stimulated $200 billion deficits and the deepest and longest economic collapse in over four decades.

Now the bourgeoisie is at a loss. Unable to point to even a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, the government has taken to crudely falsifying the economic facts. This month, for example, the Labor Department will for the first time begin adding the 1.7 million soldiers in the armed forces to the figure of employed workers. With a stroke of a bureaucrat's pen 1.7 million workers will have gotten work.

But no amount of statistics juggling can cut through the gloom. Even the Reaganites have thrown overboard two years of steady lies about a "brisk recovery" around the corner. The White House is now forecasting unemployment to remain in double-digits until at least the fall of this year and not to drop below 8% for another five years! (New York Times, January 7, 1983)

What is certain at this point is that the crisis continues to spiral downward. It is also clear that the $200 billion deficits, the ballooning international debt crisis and other factors for an even greater collapse, continue to grow. Every indication points to deepening depression and with it the scourge of unemployment getting worse and even much worse.

The Struggle of the Unemployed

The crisis has hit the workers a hard blow. Slowly the shock of plant closings and millions being kicked into the street is being shaken off. The full gravity of the situation is being pressed on the workers, employed and unemployed, and they are gradually turning to struggle. Step by step a movement is building to defend the workers from the ravages of unemployment. Bitter struggles have been mounted against plant closings and more are in the works such as against the closing of Bethlehem's mill in Lackawanna, N.Y. In recent weeks in the Pittsburgh area the unemployed have held successful protest actions to block bank foreclosures on workers' homes. And across the country workers' demonstrations are growing to demand unemployment insurance and relief for the unemployed.

As the crisis deepens the protests of the workers are bound to build into a tidal wave of struggle. The capitalists see the handwriting on the wall and want to nip the struggle in the bud. With their brutal Reaganite arrogance the^ want to break the fighting will of the masses. At the same time, the AFL-CIO labor traitors, the social-democrats, the revisionists and other opportunists are working overtime to smother the anger of the masses under the honeyed phrases of the Democrats. They want to steer every protest down the dead end of a lobbying effort behind the shadowboxing of the Democratic politicians.

The times cry out for the workers to take matters into their own hands. Nothing can be won without struggle and sacrifice. There are only two possibilities. Either keep still and starve one by one -- or link arms and unfold a powerful class struggle against the capitalist bloodsuckers in defense of the workers' jobs and for work or livelihood for the unemployed.

[Photo: According to Reagan unemployment is not caused by the capitalist system but by workers not seeking employment. But this shameless lie is refuted every day by the scenes of workers lining up by the thousands for a handful of job openings. Photo shows some 15,000 people in Chicago applying for 3,800 temporary jobs which will only last for 10 weeks.]

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Miami

Black people rise up against racist murder

From December 28 through the 30th, black people from the Overtown section of Miami, Florida took to the streets in pitched battles with the local police forces. The anger of the black workers, the unemployed and the poor erupted against the racist police murder of a young black worker at an Overtown video game arcade. In the three days of fighting, two black people were murdered, twenty-five people were injured (including three policemen), forty-three people were arrested,seven police vehicles were destroyed and ten businesses were ransacked.

This latest outbreak comes only two and a half years after the black rebellions which shook Miami in May and July of 1980. It shows that, despite all of the talk of the capitalist politicians about rehabilitating Miami, about "justice'' and "human rights'' for the black people, nothing has changed. The police continue to terrorize and murder black people with impunity. Racial discrimination continues in force. And the impoverishment of the black masses grows. Miami has once again demonstrated to the whole world that the rule of the capitalist billionaires in the U.S. is a regime of barbaric exploitation, unbridled racism and growing fascism.

Today, the Reagan government is on a racist crusade: segregating the schools, terrorizing immigrants, suppressing the oppressed nationalities. But the events in Miami demonstrate that the workers and oppressed masses will not take the government's racist atrocities lying down. The black people of Miami have shown their great courage and fighting ability. Now they must display the same fighting determination to master the skill of organization. For only organization can convert the spontaneous indignation of the masses into a sustained and systematic revolutionary struggle against the monopoly capitalist dictators.

A Coldblooded Murder

The spark that ignited the rage of the black masses was the brutal murder of Nevell Johnson, a 20-year-old worker employed by the Metro-Dade County government. On the evening of December 28, two police thugs, Luis Alvarez and his partner, left their assigned patrol area to harass black workers at an Overtown video game arcade. After entering the arcade the police grabbed Nevell Johnson and shot him in cold blood. One eyewitness, 19-year-old Jeffrey Hoskins, described the murder: "[Alvarez] swung [Nevell Johnson] around and pulled out a gun and drew the gun to Nevell's head and [the officer] didn't say a word. He [Johnson] never had a chance to say a word" before he was shot in the head. "After shooting, the cop yelled 'Everyone get out, somebody's got a gun,' everyone ran out." ( Miami Herald, December 29,1982)

The government has made every attempt to cover up this brutal murder with a mountain of lies. But they have had to retreat from one lie after another until even their own account is quite revealing.

Initially, the police department reported that the two officers went to the arcade to investigate the report of a man with a gun. Soon this lie was dropped and replaced with the story, that the policemen were checking out a "known trouble spot." But the police later admitted that the video game room was too newly opened to even have a reputation, good or bad.

Eventually it was revealed that Alvarez was "training" his partner, a new recruit. Alvarez is quoted as telling his partner, "I want to show you how to do a proper poolroom check." (Miami Herald, December 31, 1982) In other words, Alvarez, who had just been transferred from a Cuban community for his racist treatment of people there, was showing his new partner the proper police method of harassing black workers. The Miami Chief of Police, Kenneth Harms, justified this activity saying, "up to the point where the discharge occurred, that could be considered an appropriate... training of the new recruit." (Ibid.)

Today the police department officially claims that the shooting was "an accident." But it is perfectly obvious that the harassment and murder of black workers is no accident. It is thesystematic policy of the police department.

An Explosion Against Racist Police Terror

On Tuesday night word of the vicious murder soon spread through the community and an angry crowd began to gather outside the arcade. A homicide squad, sent to the scene to "investigate," refused to allow Johnson's mother to see her son or to ride in the ambulance which took his body to the hospital. This further outraged the black masses. They began to denounce the police and throw stones and bottles at them. Many of the policemen fled the scene, but the crowd trapped two of the officers in the game room.

At this point, the police unleashed their fury against the black masses. A specially trained riot control battalion of police, formed following the 1980 rebellions, along with SWAT teams and other police forces, were rushed into the area. Using batons the size of baseball bats and tear gas, the police attacked the crowd, freeing the trapped detectives. But the masses fought back, stoning the policemen and turning over patrol cars. The crowd at the game room grew to some 600 people and the fighting spread widely through Overtown.

Around 10:00 p.m. a cop from a SWAT team murdered another black youth, Alonzo Singleton, firing eight bullets into his body. Hearing of this new atrocity, the masses became even more enraged. The fierce fighting eventually drove the police troops out of the area. About 350 of them cordoned off a 250-block area to try to contain the struggle.

On Wednesday the fighting resumed. Police were sent back into the area to try to crush the revolt. Caravans of police cars, at times including up to 15 vehicles in a row, raced through the streets firing guns and tear gas from their windows. Helicopters were also brought in, dropping tear gas to disperse the crowds of youth. The masses continued to fight valiantly. The largest crowd gathered at the arcade, and from there they launched forays against the police. Eventually the police were driven from the area again. One of the black fighters expressed the mood of the moment, "We're not leaving these streets tonight, we're prepared to die!" (Miami Herald, December 30, 1982)

The fighting also spread to other communities surrounding Overtown, including Liberty City, the center of the 1980 struggles. At 54th Street, youth taunted the police from behind barricades of garbage cans and debris. At 2nd Avenue another group of people confronted the police from a makeshift fort of dumpsters. At the James E. Scott housing project, the police approached with riot gear, but were forced to withdraw as the youth quickly formed a rock-throwing barrage, dispersed and then formed again to attack the police. The police in Liberty City sealed off an eight-block section, around 22nd Avenue, to contain a group of some 60 people who were roving through the area confronting the policemen with rocks, clubs and bottles. Eventually a 30-man riot-equipped patrol dispersed the crowd.

The capitalist press has attempted to portray the fighting, which continued into Thursday, as a simple race riot, a fight of blacks against whites. What a lie! They even conjured up ghastly stories of indiscriminate attacks on innocent white motorists who happened into the area. But these stories are quite overblown. In fact, there are many reports of black youth helping innocent white people to escape from the battle scenes. The fact is that the black masses primarily directed their anger at the target of the police forces. The mass struggle in Overtown was an explosion against the racist terror of the Miami police.

Riot-stoppers to the Rescue

Along with the violent repression against the black masses, the government tried to quell the fighting through the use of deception, through empty promises of "justice," through the use of "respectable" black leaders.

Heading up the "riot-stoppers" was Howard Gary. He is the black City Manager who was appointed by Democratic Party Mayor Maurice Ferre in the aftermath of the 1980 rebellions. He is the "black face in a high place" that is supposed to "prove" to the black workers that "the system works for them."

Gary worked to quiet the angry masses through promises that an "investigation" of the shooting of Nevell Johnson would bring "justice" to the black masses. But his, and other such investigations, have done no more to stop police terror than those carried out during the 1980 rebellions. In fact, Gary as much as admitted that his investigation was pure deception. "The process is as important as the outcome," Gary lectured. "We need to change the perception that we do not have an open process when it comes to the black community." (Miami Herald, January 6, 1983) In other words, the investigations are not aimed at punishing the racist police, rather they are to "change the perception," to hoodwink the black masses into thinking something is being done on their behalf.

Gary was joined in his collaboration with the police by a whole slew of other flunkeys of the Democratic Party. The NAACP, for example, repeatedly called on the black masses to "cease immediately the venting of anger in counterproductive violence." Jessie Jackson's PUSH also called on the masses to stay cool and suggested that perhaps they should get involved instead in an economic boycott of businesses like Burger King unless they reinvest in the black community. The SCLC too joined the chorus demanding that the masses quiet down in Overtown. Later, Ray Fauntroy, the local SCLC chief (and the brother of Walter Fauntroy, head of the Black Congressional Caucus who recently denounced the anti-Klan struggle in Washington, D.C.), called for a peaceful march at Nevell Johnson's funeral. But he quickly called off even this minimized action when City Manager Gary warned that it might "trigger violence."

Despite their best efforts, these black sellouts were unable to put a quick halt to the fighting in Overtown, and even later they could not stop more than 1,000 people from showing up to Nevell Johnson's funeral.

In the aftermath of the fighting, these misleaders of the black people are scratching their heads and wondering how in the future they can avert such "counterproductive violence." Their concerns are not over how to put an end to the racist repression and exploitation of the black masses, but how to find a better way to deceive the people and keep them in check. They are not leaders of the people's struggle, but consultants to the bourgeoisie.

Miami Mayor Ferre posed his view of the problem this way, "There is not one national black leader here. There is no Andy Young. That's a very important part of the problem." The notorious riot-stopper Jessie Jackson echoed Ferre's concern and stated it more clearly: "You have better leadership in Atlanta. In Andy Young people find hope when they don't find help."

This is the issue taken up by the black misleaders, how to give the people "hope" but "no help." The issue, they say, is to give a few more high-paying, cozy positions to the black bourgeoisie while doing nothing to stop the racist murders and terrible exploitation of the black masses. The real issue confronting the black workers is to build strong, durable organizations so as to replace these consultants of the police by revolutionary leaders of the masses.

Forward in Struggle Against Racial Discrimination and Violent Repression

The heroic struggle of the black masses in Miami shows the immense indignation that is building up among the black people all across the U.S. against racial discrimination and violent repression. The conditions that forced the working and impoverished people of Overtown to take to the streets are conditions that are festering in every major city. There are nightriders and police terror. There is rampant racial discrimination extending into every field. There is enormous unemployment and mass destitution. This is what capitalism has to offer the black working masses. And this is what is generating the irrepressible spirit of rebellion and revolt.

But for the struggle of the black people to advance it must be organized. Against the vast power of the capitalist rulers, the working people have only their determination and numbers. But once they are mustered and united by organization, the working masses become an unconquerable force. Only organization can convert the spontaneous revolts of the working masses, such as that in Miami, into a sustained and systematic revolutionary struggle. Only organization can provide the basis for the difficult, continuous struggle needed to improve the economic and social conditions of the black people. Only organization can provide the basis for the socialist revolution which will sweep away the capitalist system of exploitation and racist tyranny altogether.

All across the country, when black people are attacked by the racists, they fight back, whether it is against the cowardly Klansmen in robes or the strutting policemen in uniform. The struggle in Miami has once again demonstrated the pent-up force of the black people's struggle. The liberation struggle of the black people is a component part of the struggle of all working people against the man-eating capitalist system. The entire working class must support this struggle and raise the banner of the liberation of the black people. The entire working class must ensure that its class organizations embrace the black working masses and take up the struggle for the liberation of the black people.

[Photo: Police car burns In the streets of Miami during the recent rebellion. The Miami rebellion again showed the great force that is gathering among the black people to fight against the racist offensive of the capitalist exploiters.]


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Down with the plans for a 'winnable' nuclear war!

Both sides in the MX debate in Congress stand for more nuclear missiles

1982 was a year of rapidly developing ferment and mass struggle against nuclear weapons and war preparations. Reagan's talk of "winnable nuclear war," along with the imminent deployment of new nuclear-war-fighting weapons such as the hated MX, and the huge war budget, brought millions of people into the streets. For the June 12 demonstrations alone nearly one million marched in New York, San Francisco and several other cities to express their anger against nuclear weapons and war preparations. As well, every poll indicates that the overwhelming majority of the people in the U.S. are against nuclear weapons and militarism. Throughout the year actions have taken place in every corner of the country and activists all over are seriously addressing the question of how to step up the fight.

It is in these conditions, where widespread ferment and mass struggle threaten to hamper U.S. war preparations, that the U.S. imperialist ruling class launched the recent "big debate" in Congress around the MX missile, one of the newer and much despised nuclear-war-fighting weapons of U.S. imperialism. This debate was a deliberate step to retard the development of the massive popular opposition to war preparations.

As 1982 drew to a close, a loud clamor was created in Washington to give the impression that there is opposition to war preparations in the halls of Congress too, in particular from the Democratic Party. Since November, hardly a day has gone by without the capitalist news media featuring lead stories and articles depicting the "great debate'' in Congress: "Warning Shot Across Reagan's Bow" (Washington Post, December 10, 1982), "MX Foe Says Senate Can Block It Now" (San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 1982), "Future Dim for MX Missile Project" (New York Times, November 8,1982), "MX Loss: Sleepwalking Angers Reagan" (USA Today, December 8, 1982).

Is it possible that the Democratic, Party "opposition" is suddenly becoming genuinely oppositional and releasing Reagan from its loving honeymoon embrace? Does this debate mean the Democrats are going to oppose the war program of U.S. imperialism, albeit somewhat timidly?

No, the truth of the matter is entirely different. An examination of the "big debate" shows that there was no genuine opposition to war preparations in Congress. On the contrary, the debate was: 1) an attempt to divert attention from the massive war budget, and 2) an argument between warmongers over how best to arm U.S. imperialism to the teeth and line up the people behind the war preparations at the same time.

Overall the debate has been an attempt to quiet and disorganize the real opposition to war preparations, to retard the development of the anti-militarist movement's militancy and revolutionary character. Working hand in glove with the imperialists in this effort has been the unofficial "left wing" of the Democratic Party. This amalgam of social-democrats, revisionists, pacifists and church leaders has spared no effort to corral and limit the opposition to war preparations. With the advent of the "great debate" they moved quickly to scuttle mass actions planned against the MX, claiming amazingly enough that it was on the verge of being killed by Congress. But before dealing further with this treachery let's look in detail at what this "great debate" was all about.

The Congressional Debate Covered Up the Bipartisan Funding of Every Conceivable Weapon the Ailing U.S. imperialist Economy Could Possibly Sustain, Including the MX

The first thing to grasp is that, amidst the theatrics of the "great debate," Congress overwhelmingly approved the colossal 1983 war budget of $231 billion. This showed there was full bipartisan support for stepping up U.S. imperialism's aggressive abilities to the 2 ½-war fighting capacity envisaged by Weinberger. This prepares the U.S. to fight a major conventional war, commit localized intervention, and wage protracted nuclear war, all at the same time. For example, the budget provided funds for the M-l Abrams main battle tank, useful for major wars in Europe, and a whole host of maneuverable attack weapons such as the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the Harrier ''jump jet" and the F-18 fighters, for supporting interventionist ground troops in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In addition, Congress allocated funds for a massive program of strategic nuclear-war-fighting weapons, which will eventually deploy approximately 17,000 new nuclear warheads on missiles such as the MX, cruise, Pershing II, and Trident II.

And what of the Democratic Party ''opposition"? They not only voted for all of this, but went further, pushing through stepped-up aid to the Israeli zionist butchers (above and beyond what Reagan had allocated), and agreeing to increased money for conventional weapons to escalate the war in El Salvador. Thus, the bipartisan war budget itself gives the lie to any claim that a fight against Reagan is going on in Congress.

The second thing to realize about the debate is that it did not in the least affect the progress of the MX which will be deployed, just as originally planned by Carter, in 1986 through 1989. This is admitted even by the liberal ''opposition" itself. Referring to the original House vote to delete the production funds for the whole year, Les Aspin (D-Wis.) said: ''The MX is alive and well." ''Tuesday's vote," he added, "was 'symbolic,' in that it did not kill the program, nor even delay it, because the basing mode would not have been ready this year anyway." (San Francisco Chronicle, December 9, 1982) Nor will the MX, which is only in its research and development phase, be slowed down by the final Congressional decision to "fence in" MX funding, pending acceptance of a basing mode in March or April. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), an outspoken backer of the MX was confident of its progress: "According to Stevens, that 1986 date won't be changed...." He noted that "during research on the missile, 'substantial numbers' of MX weapons might be built and they can be deployed later " (Oakland Tribune,

December 20, 1982) The Democrats' last-ditch attempt to appear "oppositional" did not affect the MX either; Senator Gary Hart's (D-Colo.) resolution, to withhold testing money until after the basing decision in March, was hastily drafted after engine problems had already set back MX missile tests until then anyway.

Far from being an expression of Congressional opposition to the MX or to Reaganite war preparations, the debate was a smoke screen under which the mammoth bipartisan war budget was ushered in.

Congress Debated How Best to Arm U.S. Imperialism to the Teeth

The real substance of the debate in Congress was not whether to deploy the MX, but how best to arm U.S. imperialism to the teeth and sell the war preparations to the people at the same time. For instance, the arguments of both the Reaganites and the Democratic Party "opposition" were couched in terms of improving "national security" or "national defense." Reagan, on one "sid6" of the debate, insisted that the MX plan "is absolutely essential to a strong defense," i.e., 2 1/2-war fighting ability, (San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 1982) On the "other side," Joseph Addabbo (D-New York), a big star of the liberal "opposition," only disagreed with Reagan's plan on the basis that it did not build up U.S. "national security" enough. Thus he asserted that "...MX was neither essential to national security [for U.S. imperialism -- ed.] nor would the dense pack basing plan work, nor would it be cost effective." (San Francisco Chronicle, December 17, 1982) And just to make it clear that he was not "soft" on defending U.S. imperialism, Addabbo staunchly took the floor of the House to declare: "I support a strong national defense, like everyone else in this House...." (New York Times, December 8, 1982) Indeed he cast his vote in support of the $231 billion war budget. Both Democrats and Republicans are for stepping up U.S. war-fighting capacities in the name of "national security."

Just what is meant when the warmongering politicians speak of "national security" for the U.S. -- an imperialist world power which covers the globe with its military bases, fascist puppet regimes, troops and trails of blood? The war against the Vietnamese people was in the name of U.S. "national security," as is the war in El Salvador. "National security" for U.S. imperialism can mean only one thing: that is security for the gluttonous oil companies, banks and multinational corporations to suck the blood of the world's people while the forces of "national defense" launch blackmail, aggression and war, both to subdue the revolutionary struggles of the peoples and to maintain and expand the U.S. empire in the face of rivalry by other imperialist powers, such as the Soviet Union. Thus the debate in Congress dealt at length with how to put U.S. imperialism on the best war footing.

It was from this perspective that Congress discussed the question of the cost of war preparations. The Democratic Party politicians never tire of raising this issue. Why? Do they want to call on the people to fight against the criminal war preparations that are indeed bleeding the people white? Not on your life! They simply want to kill two birds with one stone. First, they want to offset the anger that is seething in the American people against the war budget: second, they want to upgrade U.S. military planning. The Democrats hope that, by making a big clamor about cost, they will create an anti-militarist aura around themselves and appear to be gallantly fighting the war buildup, when in fact they are supporting every weapon U.S. imperialism needs. At the same time they are pushing for "more bang for the buck" or cost effective military spending. The Democrats would like to achieve: more Salvadorian liberation fighters dead per dollar, more Israeli invasions per dollar, more aggressive abilities per dollar. For example, Addabbo prefers to fund the new Stealth bomber, rather than the old B-l, because the Stealth, since it is undetectable by radar, can inflict more damage before being shot down. And Ronald Dellums supports the Boeing 747 aircraft vs. the C-5A cargo plane for transporting U.S. weaponry because he thinks the Boeing price tag would be easier to "justify" to the American people. This type of touching "concern" about U.S. military spending "out of control" can obviously only help, not hurt, U.S. imperialism's military readiness.

Democrats and Republicans -- Trying to Line Up the People Behind Imperialist War Preparations

While both "sides" of the debate are busily stepping up "national security" by funding the MX and a host of other weapons of conventional and nuclear slaughter, each has its own approach to "justifying" or selling the war preparations to the people.

Reagan tries to promote the war program by covering over its aggressive nature with his "peace through strength" rhetoric; thus he renames the MX "the peacekeeper." The thread-worn "peace through strength" doctrine simply means that U.S. imperialism arms to such an enormous extent, and uses its weapons so brutally, that the world's people, as well as all imperialist rivals, are supposed to have no choice but to give in to its dictate.

For its part, the Democratic Party tries to distance itself from this warmongering doctrine in order to better be able to line up the people behind imperialist war preparations. One of the Democratic Party's principal means of doing this is to create confusion with their doctrine of "deterrence." The Democrats' platform is that they "oppose" first-strike nuclear weapons and only support "deterrent" ones because these supposedly "deter war" by discouraging potential attackers. The deception perpetrated here by the Democratic Party is twofold:

1. The Democratic Party is only pretending to oppose first-strike weapons. Sometimes the Democrats can be heard "scolding" Reagan that certain new nuclear weapons "go beyond deterrence" or are "unnecessary for adequate defense." The fact is that such weapons as the MX, Pershing II, Trident II, cruise and Minuteman III represent an escalation in U.S. nuclear war preparations. With their improved accuracy and warhead-carrying capacity these missiles are without a doubt aggressive war-fighting weapons. However, the Democratic Party's "scolding" about these weapons is mere posturing because the only thing the Democrats oppose about first- strike weapons is the name. That is why under Carter they vigorously backed the MX missile, calling it a "deterrent" weapon, and promise continued support today, provided it can be equipped with what they call a "believable" basing mode, i.e., a protected basing mode, which is supposed to make it into a "retaliatory weapon."...

Besides the MX the Democrats also fully support the Trident II and cruise missiles, which are widely acknowledged to be first-strike caliber weapons -- but are based invulnerably, under water and in the air. Thus, so long as they are appropriately disguised as retaliatory, the latest, most accurate nuclear-war-fighting weapons are included in the Democratic Party's platform of "deterrence." The Democrats are advocating the same weapons as Reagan, only with a different color of paint -- "deterrent" rather than "peace through strength."

2. The Democratic Party covers up the purpose of the U.S. nuclear and conventional weapons arsenals. Aside from the newest, accurate, multiple-warhead nuclear weapons, what is the role of the rest of the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the conventional arsenal, which the Democrats support without reservation as "deterrent" and "defensive"? The truth of the matter is that all weapons in the hands of imperialism, whether conventional or nuclear, whether accurate or inaccurate; able to carry many warheads or not; vulnerable or invulnerable; land, sea, or air-based; large or small; strategic or tactical, all are for the purpose of aggression. The nuclear weapons serve to back up U.S. imperialism's daily plundering activities around the world with a blackmail club, threatening nuclear devastation against any peoples that revolt against U.S. exploitation, or any imperialist rival which challenges U.S. dictate. Support for U.S. nuclear or conventional weapons, under the banner of "deterrence," "adequate defense," or any other banner, simply means support for imperialist aggression.

How the "Left Wing" of the Democratic Party Tries to Sabotage the Anti-Militarist Movement

As we have seen, the Congressional "opposition" is in fact just imperialist politicians who adopt an oppositional posture in order to carry out war preparations. Despite this inescapable fact, the unofficial "left wing" of the Democratic Party, an amalgam of social-democrats, pacifists, revisionists and church leaders, promotes in the movement that the Congressional "opposition" is indeed oppositional -- perhaps a bit timid, but the potential is there, they claim. Based on this lie they seek to have the activists work for, unite with, or otherwise support these imperialist politicians. In situations where these "left-wing" Democrats are afraid to openly advocate support for the Democratic Party, they demand that nothing be done which might offend this "potential ally" -- that means no militant marches, no slogans against imperialism, etc. "Think about how to influence the decision-makers in Washington" is the watchword they want the activists to live by. In this way they are working to tie the movement to the tail of the imperialist Democratic Party. Various sections of the "left wing" of the Democratic Party promote different schemes to do this.

One section promotes that the way to fight war preparations is to lobby Congress to get the freeze resolution implemented. This strikes a blow at the movement in two ways. For one thing, it promotes the idea that the Democratic Party politicians aren't really imperialist and so can be persuaded to oppose war preparations, that this "opposition" of the Democratic Party is genuine and should be united with and encouraged. However, the main thing about this scheme is that it carries on the work of the freeze campaign. The freeze campaign tells the people that the way toward peace is to pressure the leaders of the U.S. and Russia to sit together and negotiate a moratorium, on new nuclear weapons. That is, it tries to steer the anti-militarist movement onto the path of relying on "arms control" negotiations, and away from the path of fighting the imperialists who are behind the war preparations.

"Arms control" negotiations are simply another arena where the imperialists vie for an advantage over one another, while at the same time cooing like doves in order to deceive the people. Listen to how Paul Warnke, head of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under Carter, defends the SALT negotiations from speculation that they might have lessened U.S. military might. Interviewer's question: "But didn't the Soviets vastly increase their nuclear arsenal during the years of SALT negotiations?"

"Warnke: 'Well, yes, but what that assumes is that there is no momentum for the American nuclear arms buildup, and there is just the Soviets' [buildup]. I forgot what the exact figures are, but we've been adding something like three warheads a day to our strategic arsenal ever since SALT I. During that period of time, we've developed the cruise missile, we've developed the Trident missile, we're developing the Trident II missile, and we're going ahead with the MX. That covers your entire triad. We're modernizing the ICBM's, the SLBM's, and the strategic bomber force. It seems to me that is indication of sufficient ability to keep up the pace.' " (Los Angeles Times, September 29, 1981)

Thus history shows that the more the imperialist chieftains talk of "peace" and "disarmament," the more they are trying to hide the real situation of feverish preparations for mass slaughter. Obviously, the only thing "arms control" talks are designed to control is the people's opposition to militarism.

The freeze campaign lines people up behind "arms control" negotiations. That is why the likes of Senator Edward Kennedy so readily speak in favor of it. Recently Kennedy counseled the activists not to fight particular nuclear weapons, but rather to focus on the freeze campaign. And what were his reasons? Well, if you oppose U.S. nuclear weapons then you will lose support. (Oakland Tribune, December 17, 1982) The support he is talking about losing is that of imperialists like himself, who have outdone themselves in support for the freeze campaign. The Rockefeller family, for instance, contributed a large share of the freeze campaign funds. (Ibid.) Most of the rest of the financial support came from wealthy foundations which typically function as the financial middlemen between the ruling class and the schemes it wants to promote. (Ibid.) Indeed the freeze campaign is currently being guided by a group of 30 to 40 wealthy funders who meet regularly to map out its strategy. (Ibid.) It is clear that this social- democratic program of "implementing the freeze" is for the purpose of binding the activists hand and foot to the imperialists.

Another section of the "left wing" of the Democratic Party promotes a scheme aimed at those activists who have begun to see through the freeze campaign. To them they are saying: "Yes, we should fight against actual weapons." But how is the fight to be carried out -- by lobbying Congress!! Indeed this section is so servile to the Democratic Party, that when the Senate postured against a tiny part of the war budget (temporarily holding up MX funding), they not only proclaimed this a big victory (parroting the capitalist news media), but also took direct steps to sabotage actions planned against the MX. Thus the fight against nuclear weapons they are talking about is a fight in name only, with the activists being lined up to find ways to appeal to Congress.

A third section seeks to maintain credibility by outwardly claiming to shun all reliance on the Democratic Party "opposition." They may even utter a curse against the Democrats for good measure. But do they expose the treacherous nature of the Democratic Party "opposition" amongst the masses and the activists? Just the opposite! Instead, they attack anyone exposing the Democratic Party, claiming that to do so splits the movement. Obviously, they hold that there is something genuine about the Democratic Party "opposition," which makes it part of the movement....

It can be seen that the "left wing" of the Democratic Party has many ways and means of trying to tie the mass movement to the coattails of the Democratic Party, but the essential ingredients are: first, covering up that the Democratic Party, from Dixiecrat to "left''-posturing liberals, is thoroughly in the service of U.S. imperialism; and secondly, claiming that the source of the massive nuclear buildup and other war preparations is anything but imperialism. The "left wing" of the Democratic Party works to impose these tenets on the movement in order to hinder the development of a powerful fight against war preparations. The simple fact is imperialism lies at the root of U.S. war preparations and aggression. U.S. imperialism will not stop preparing for war; it must be defeated. The only way to bring it to its knees is through the revolutionary struggle of the masses in their millions. It is amongst the working and progressive masses, who are oppressed by imperialism, that hatred for militarism runs widespread and deep. But this hatred must be galvanized and organized so as to weld the masses into a powerful fighting force. Only those stands and actions which serve to strengthen the fighting capacity and revolutionary character of the mass movement of the people can be called genuinely oppositional to war preparations. Promoting reliance on the imperialist politicians, or other kinds of pacifist illusions, saps the fighting strength of the masses. It paves the way for the imperialist march towards war by breaking down the only real roadblock, the revolutionary struggle of the masses. That is why the activities of the "left wing" of the Democratic Party amount to serious treachery and sabotage against the anti-militarist movement.

Step Up the Mass Struggle Against Militarism!

To step up the fight against the MX and all imperialist war preparations the fighting strength of the anti-militarist movement must be built up. That means develop its mass character, militancy and revolutionary political consciousness.

To develop the mass character of the movement, actions and agitational appeals should be geared towards the genuine oppositional forces -- the workers, youth, students and other democratic and progressive people, and not towards the imperialist politicians. Appeals addressing the hatred of the masses for nuclear weapons and militarism should be made to mobilize and organize them to join the growing mass struggle against imperialist war preparations. Join with the militants of the Marxist-Leninist Party in the wide- scale distribution of anti-imperialist and revolutionary literature in the factories, schools, and communities, wherever the masses can be found.

To develop the militancy of the movement it is particularly important at this time to raise clearly oppositional anti-militarist and anti-imperialist banners, pickets and slogans. Take up the slogans of the MLP.

To develop the revolutionary political consciousness of the movement, study and distribute revolutionary literature which tells the truth about the imperialist source of war; expose the role of the Democratic Party and its unofficial "left wing" who try to tie the movement to imperialism; and show the way forward for developing and organizing the anti-militarist movement to take its place as part of the overall revolutionary struggle in this country. Seriously read and discuss The Workers' Advocate and other revolutionary literature of the MLP. As well, in order to give the movement farsightedness and the power of orientation, the study of revolutionary theory is essential. Study and discuss the classics of Marxism-Leninism and the special theoretical issues of The Workers' Advocate.

Workers, youth, students: No to the MX! No to all imperialist war preparations! To fight nuclear weapons, fight imperialism! Mass struggle is the way to fight militarism!

(The above article was issued as a leaflet by the San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on January 15, 1983.)


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Congress tries to cover up Reagan's war against Nicaragua

U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Nicaragua!

The Reagan government is steadily escalating its war to strangle Nicaragua. Besides backing the forces of counter-revolution within Nicaragua itself, CIA-organized mercenaries have been stepping up their raids into Nicaragua from Honduras. The U.S. has also been beefing up the reactionary Honduran army which is ever more openly threatening war against Nicaragua.

The CIA's Murderous War Against the Nicaraguan People

In 1982, Reagan gave $19.5 million to the CIA for training paramilitary troops for raids against Nicaragua. Hundreds of these invaders have been training in camps in Florida and California. Last spring these mercenaries began their work of blowing up bridges, power lines and dams and attacking military patrols in northern Nicaragua. Since last summer these CIA bands have steadily expanded the scope and number of their raids, concentrating on civilian targets. Led by former officers of the dictator Somoza's despised National Guard, they apply the same brutal death squad methods as in the past.

The Somozist thugs broadcast lists of victims from their bases in Honduras, and carry out massacres of Nicaraguan villagers near the Honduran border. They specialize in kidnapping and assassinating peasant leaders, raping women and abducting children. Recently 60 children were kidnapped in one raid. They are also experts at torture and mutilation, and they are known to carve crosses on the chests of their victims. These are the common tactics of the CIA's men in their efforts to terrorize the Nicaraguan people, or, as Reagan so politely puts it, "harass" the Nicaraguan regime.

To back up the CIA mercenaries, U.S. imperialism is speedily beefing up the army and air force of its Honduran puppets. On the Nicaraguan border the Honduran military provides logistical support for the Somozists' raids and protects their bases. The Pentagon also channels uniforms, weapons and training for the Somozists through the Honduran military. Moreover, every effort is being made to bring the Honduran forces to exert pressure on Nicaragua and to provoke a military clash. To fuel the fires of provocation, at the end of January, 1,600 U.S. soldiers are scheduled to hold joint military maneuvers with their Honduran puppet troops along the Nicaraguan border.

Naked Aggression to Restore Nicaragua to U.S. Imperialist Slavery

The purpose of all this activity by U.S. imperialism is to bring the heroic people of Nicaragua to their knees. The U.S. imperialists have never been reconciled to the Nicaraguan revolution. Under the former despot Somoza the super-profits of the U.S. multinational corporations were assured. For 45 years the Somoza tyranny provided U.S. imperialism with an obedient guard dog of anti-communism and counter-revolution in Central America.

But in 1979 the peoples' armed uprising succeeded in smashing the Somoza dictatorship, striking U.S. imperialism a heavy blow. Since that time the CIA and Pentagon strategists have steadily escalated their drive to restore a paradise lost for Yankee imperialism.

This brutal aggression is a secret to no one; it is flagrant and open. The U.S. military and intelligence officers are bragging in the pages of Newsweek about their "covert" exploits in Central America. Nor are the objectives of these exploits a secret. They want to terrorize the Nicaraguan people; to disrupt the economy which is already hard pressed; to fan the flames of conflict between Nicaragua and its neighbors, especially Honduras; and in this way to exert pressure upon the Sandinista regime. The message is clear. Either the new government in Managua must submit to U.S. imperialism's terms of enslavement, or face being crushed in a CIA-organized bloodbath that will rig up a new puppet dictatorship.

A Congressional Fig Leaf

In this situation the U.S. Congress has come forward to provide a fig leaf for this aggression. Congress recently passed a resolution advertised as allegedly barring CIA "covert action" against Nicaragua. This resolution was proposed by Rep. Edward Boland, Democrat from Massachusetts, as an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill for 1983. It passed the House on December 8 and was later approved by the Senate. The wording of the resolution prohibits the use of funds "for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua or provoking a military exchange between Nicaragua and Honduras." Someone might think that the CIA war against Nicaragua had now been put to rest as being in violation of this Congressional law, if they didn't know better. But the authors of this bill did know better. In the House the resolution was approved unanimously, 411-0. It was also approved overwhelmingly by the Senate and it was eagerly signed by Reagan himself. Each and every one of these gentlemen, from the liberal doves to the Reaganite super-hawks, knew that he was approving a lie. Each and every one of these filthy hypocrites knew that he was approving a resolution which was nothing more than a worthless scrap of paper designed to hoodwink public opinion.

In fact this resolution has an escape clause in it big enough to march 50,000 mercenaries through. The Boland resolution allegedly bars funds "for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua." But it in no way prohibits, in fact it doesn't even mention, the use of funds to launch CIA mercenaries against Nicaragua for other declared purposes. Thus this resolution, while ostensibly opposing CIA action, in fact gives Reagan a blank check to escalate the war against Nicaragua at will, at least just so long as he pretends that this war is not for the purpose of overthrowing the government.

As expected the Reagan administration was quick to pledge adherence to the Boland resolution. In fact, all along Reagan has argued that he is only trying to "harass" and "punish" Nicaragua for allegedly "exporting revolution," and that the CIA actions are only aimed at "interdicting" alleged "supply routes" from Nicaragua through Honduras to rebels in El Salvador.

Of course the Nicaraguans have every right to assist their brothers in El Salvador who are fighting against a fascist dictatorship which exists only at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. weapons. But the fact that the Nicaraguan government has repeatedly declared that it is not supplying arms, and that the CIA has never produced any evidence to the contrary, doesn't bother Reagan in the least.

Nor is he bothered by the fact that to block supplies allegedly crossing western Honduras, raids are carried out a hundred miles away in eastern Nicaragua, where men, women and children are massacred, and barns and crops are burned. Reagan is not bothered by such trifles because for this mouthpiece of imperialism, no lie is too monstrous when it comes to justifying the crimes of the CIA and Pentagon fiends of intervention and war.

Thus, far from exposing Reagan's lies and the war against Nicaragua, the Boland resolution simply sanctifies these lies and justifies the CIA's operations to "punish" and "harass" Nicaragua. Of course, if it turns out that the Sandinista regime is broken by this CIA "punishment" and "harassment," the hands of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. president are clean. After all, each one of them has sworn on a stack of bibles that he has no intention of, god forbid, "overthrowing the Nicaraguan government."

The gentlemen in Congress must have gone home for the holidays with a feeling of pride. The Reaganite militarists can be proud that the course of ruthless intervention against Nicaragua has now been sanctified by Congress. The hand-wringing liberals can be proud too. Congress has done its duty by reining in Reagan and the CIA from the reckless course of overthrowing governments. Meanwhile the interventionists can get down to the real business at hand of strangling Nicaragua.

Democratic Party Liberals Want a Bigger Fig Leaf

As alternatives to the Boland resolution, a number of liberals in Congress preferred other resolutions with more pacifist rhetoric. Some pacifist demagogues from the Democratic Party came up with resolutions that would cut off funds to any "non-governmental forces" operating "in or against Nicaragua." Such resolutions were proposed by Rep. Tom Harkins of Iowa and Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

Just like the Boland resolution, these resolutions also had an enormous loophole for U.S. intervention. While calling for the cutoff of funds to "non-governmental forces," the Dodd/Harkins resolutions said nothing against arming to the teeth the governmental forces of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. This is a crucial omission because these U.S. puppet armies are the main channels of U.S. material and logistical support for the Somozist thugs and the principal vehicles of the U.S.-instigated provocations.

Moreover, the resolutions said nothing about the CIA working with the governmental forces of zionist Israel and fascist Argentina, both of which are neck deep in the U.S. imperialist plots to strangle Nicaragua. Israeli weapons and military advisors are pouring into Honduras on the heels of zionist Defense Minister Ariel Sharon's recent visit, while the fascist Argentine officers train their Honduran and Somozist counterparts in the CIA's state of the art methods of murder, torture and provocation.

In short, the Dodd/Harkins resolutions, if passed, wouldn't have blocked the U.S. intervention against Nicaragua in the slightest. They would have only demanded that it be done more under cover, more by proxy, through U.S. imperialism's puppets locally and its Israeli and Argentine henchmen.

For the Mass Struggle Against U.S. Intervention

These congressional resolutions on Nicaragua should be hung with the similar collection of congressional fig leaves which require Reagan's certification of the "human rights" records of the genocidal butchers in El Salvador and Guatemala. Every day the imperialists step up their intervention to drown the liberation struggles of the Central American peoples in rivers of blood. Meanwhile Congress cranks out worthless resolutions about respecting governments and "human rights" in order to throw sand in the eyes of public opinion.

This sheds light on the real working of the so-called "balance of power." On the one hand, the big monopolists and militarists hold all the reins of power in their hands and repeatedly launch interventions and wars against other peoples all over the globe. On the other hand, the Congress has all the power of a miserable talk shop. Under the signboard of congressional supervision and control it is the job of the smooth talking liars on Capitol Hill to put up a smokescreen for the militarists and bless the hideous crimes of the CIA and the Pentagon. Such a "division of labor" is essential for deceiving the people.

The working people of the U.S. want no part of this criminal intervention in Central America. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets demanding "U.S. get out of El Salvador!" and "Hands off Nicaragua!" In this situation the "left" wing of the Democratic Party, the social-democrats and other opportunists have gone into action to derail the anti-imperialist struggle.

They tell the people "Yes, what Reagan and the CIA are doing is a very bad thing. That's why we need Congress to control them." Therefore, they argue, the mass actions of the people should be channeled into lobbying efforts to make sure that the congressional regulatory laws such as the War Powers Act are strictly applied and that stronger resolutions are taken. But to teach trust in the Congress means to strengthen the militarists' deception of the people.

The anti-imperialist activists in the U.S. and the peoples of Central America must be firmly on guard against such deception. The fairy tales spun about Congress putting a stop to U.S. intervention are manufactured lies to disarm the people. For a serious fight against U.S. imperialist aggression we must build up the mass struggles of the workers, youth and progressive people in solidarity with the heroic resistance of the Nicaraguan and the other Central American peoples. It is not hypocritical congressional resolutions, but the revolutionary struggles of the working masses which can thwart the plans of the Reaganite interventionists.

[Photo: In 1979 the Nicaraguan revolution swept away the fascist, U.S.-backed Somoza regime. Today U.S. imperialism is actively organizing military operations against Nicaragua in order to restore U.S. imperialist slavery.]

[Map.]


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CORRESPONDENCE

January 3,1983

Dear Comrades,

A red salute to the MLP on the third anniversary of the founding of the Party of the American working class!

I am proud to be a sympathizer of the revolutionary MLP.

I write to you so you hopefully will effectively retaliate against this despicable campaign of slander being launched by the capitalist news shows on TV like "60 Minutes" and "20/20" against Marxian socialism.

We have to more effectively show that the military-bureaucratic despotism of state capitalist hack Jaruzelski in Poland has nothing to do with Marxism, Leninism, socialism or communism! The capitalist newsmen push this lie so workers won't give socialist ideas a hearing. Paid-off apologists and defenders of the wage slave system here in the USA, such as flimflam man [Harry Reasoner] of "60 Minutes" and Ted Koppel ["Nightline"] and Geraldo Rivera ["20/20"], have been pushing this big lie that the present-day Polish state is "socialist" and "Marxist." What a dirty lie! This system in Poland is based on commodity production, and wage labor is a commodity in Poland just as in the USA, the major difference being that most U.S. wage workers are exploited to the bone by privately owned capitalist industry while the Polish workers are paid their paltry wages by the state with some workers exploited by private entrepreneurs also! Poland is state-capitalism!

CBS and NBC and ABC TV are owned lock, stock and barrel by some of the same U.S. commercial banks and multinational companies that have investments in Eastern Europe. They only cry their crocodile tears because they are afraid the Jaruzelski junta in Poland will not pay off their loan interest and give them their "royalties" on their investments in Polish firms. If these hypocrites were really worried about vicious state terror visited on the working people then how come [Reasoner], Koppel and Rivera say nothing about martial law fascism in Turkey? Why are they silent about U.S.-financed capitalist terror in racist South Africa and Chile? The reason is the same reason they say the USA's 13,000,000 unemployed and nearly starving workers live a "happy life" in "democracy" and with "human rights." But what liars for the bosses they are! They should be exposed for their cover-ups and lies!

Fraternally,

---

Los Angeles


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A Letter From a Honduran Friend

November 25,1982

Dear Friends,

Through this letter I send you a cordial greeting and thank you for sending the workers' newspaper. Thanks. It pleases me to learn, through El Estandarte Obrero, that the American working people do not share the imperialist aggression in Central America. It is necessary to know the differences between the CIA, Pentagon and White House, and the aspirations of the American working masses, also exploited just like us by big capitalism.

Perhaps you have noticed that I have not answered the letters that you send me. But there is a reason. There is great danger here. Any person who is caught by surprise reading Marxist material or some Marxist book is accused of being a "communist," "subversive," or "terrorist." Death squads, secret graveyards, etc., exist here. They raid homes without warrants. The "security" forces kill anyone who is only accused of being subversive. This is the resplendent "democracy" that the cynic Reagan says exists in Honduras. What barbarians these Yankee imperialists are! Now they have set up civilian presidents to push aside their own military dictators. For example, this puppet president who is governing my homeland is nothing more than a vulgar buffoon. Please denounce to the world the flagrant abuses of human rights that are being committed in this "democratic" country, according to Mr. Reagan. What a low-life cynic!

Sincerely,

...

Honduras


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November 27, Washington, D.C.

A day of struggle against the Klan and its police protectors

On Saturday, November 27, over 6,000 people from Washington, D.C. and other cities smashed up an attempt by the hated racists of the Ku Klux Klan to march through the Capital. Although hundreds and hundreds of policemen were dispatched to protect the 30 Klansmen, they had to be whisked away to safety from the angry anti-Klan demonstrators.

The police viciously attacked the protestors. Charging on horseback and motorcycles, clubbing many, arresting 38 and firing tear gas all around, the police force attempted to disperse the angry crowds. But the masses of workers and young people fought back courageously. For some three hours battles raged over a several block area. A dozen policemen were injured, at least one patrol car was wrecked and many windows of government buildings and stores were smashed in the fighting.

The fighting in Washington comes on the heels of a similar anti-Klan demonstration in Boston on October 16. It shows that the working masses will never tolerate the racist criminals of the KKK and that the wrath of the masses is turning against the police forces of the capitalist government which foster and protect such racist gangs.

A Militant Struggle Against the Klan and Their Police Protectors

The city government gave the Klan permission to assemble at the Capitol Building on November 27 and to march to Lafayette Square Park.

By early that morning, thousands of anti-Klan demonstrators had already gathered at the Capitol Building. The largest part of these were from the Washington area, mainly black workers and youth. They were joined by hundreds of anti-racists from other cities.

The mood of the demonstrators was quite militant. Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party and of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group found an enthusiastic reception for their leaflets against the Klan and the racist offensive of the capitalists. Despite the threatening presence of hundreds of policemen, who attempted to keep the Klan's parade route clear, the demonstrators shouted militant slogans and made clear their determination to confront the KKK.

At the same time, hundreds of additional protestors gathered near the White House at Lafayette Park. These working and unemployed black people were eventually joined by about 500 activists who had come to Washington to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle on the same day.

At the Capitol Building, the police department soon realized that it would be unable to protect their white-robed buddies from the angry demonstrators. Still hoping to pull off a rally by the KKK, they drove the Klansmen to Lafayette Park and set up police lines to keep the protestors out of the park. Assistant D.C. police chief, Marty Tapscott, later admitted to this scheme, pointing out that "the possibility that the protestors would break through police lines and attack the Klan...was a major factor in a police decision to cancel the march and whisk 30-35 Klan members secretly by bus from the Capitol to Lafayette Square." (Washington Post, November 29, 1982)

But the demonstrators at the Capitol soon got wind of the police department's plot. They streamed toward Lafayette Square, many running the entire One and a half miles. As well, hundreds of Palestinians and other activists, who had left the liberal rally of the All Peoples Congress in disgust, converged on the park.

In a frenzy to protect the Klansmen, the police attacked the protestors with fusillades of tear gas, clubs and charges by mounted police. The masses fought back heroically, and the plot of the police department collapsed. The Klansmen were never even able to don their white sheets. After a five-minute chat with reporters, they were loaded on a bus and rushed to safety outside of the city.

Meanwhile the police continued their assaults on the demonstrators. After furious fighting, the police drove the demonstrators from Lafayette Square. But the masses regrouped in the blocks just north of the park and battles against the police continued.

Militants of the MLP and the CPSG stayed in the thick of the struggle. They widely distributed revolutionary literature to the combatants and, to help galvanize the firm stand of the fighting masses, raised slogans for mass struggle against the Klan and their police protectors.

In the course of the struggle the protestors shouted militant slogans like "The cops and Klan work hand in hand!" and "Reagan and the Klan work hand in hand!" Numerous police charges were repulsed by barrages of sticks, bottles and bricks pulled from the sidewalks. One police car was overturned by the masses and entire intersections were controlled for long periods of time by the demonstrators. Policemen who were on foot and some in cars were chased from the area. And on several occasions demonstrators forced the policemen to free a number of protestors they had arrested. It took the police department over three hours and a dozen injuries to finally disperse the angry crowds.

Liberal Democrats Come to the Aid of the Klan

On November 27, the masses scored a victory not only against the racist Klan but also against the liberal Democratic Party hacks who were working overtime to stave off any resistance to the racists. Especially active were the notorious misleaders of the black people Marion Barry, the Mayor of Washington, and Walter Fauntroy, D.C.'s Congressman and the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. These two worked night and day not only to ensure the Klan their "right" to rally, but also to sabotage any mass turnout against the Klan.

Four days prior to the Klan rally, these and other civic and church leaders called a news conference where Fauntroy announced the formation of a coalition which would "answer the Klan's discordant sounds of hate with a symphony of love." ( Washington Post, November 24, 1982) These traitors, who like to flaunt their past "radicalism" in the civil rights movement, urged the masses to stay away from the anti-Klan protests. And they tried to bribe the poor and starving masses to ensure this would happen.

The coalition announced that 30 churches would serve free meals to the hungry on the same day and at the same time of the scheduled Klan rally. As well, they promised to hand out 30,000 pounds of surplus butter (obviously provided by the federal government). And the Greater Washington Board of Trade offered job counseling for the unemployed. Through such giveaways, the liberal coalition hoped to keep the masses, especially the most oppressed sections of the working people, away from the anti-Klan protests.

But, as is known, their rotten scheme failed miserably. With 6,000 demonstrators confronting the Klan, Mayor Barry unleashed the police force to violently stamp out the protest, while Fauntroy viciously denounced the demonstrators. Fauntroy blamed the violence on "outside agitators" instead of the police. He actually went so far as to claim that the struggle which drove the Klan from Washington was in support of the Klan because "The overtly racist Klan got what it wanted -- widespread publicity across the country." (Washington Post, November 29, 1982) Such is the disgusting logic of the bought and paid for traitors to the anti-racist struggle.

Trotskyites Attempt to Bring the Masses Back to the Democratic Party Fold

Behind the Democratic Party liberals, a number of trotskyite organizations also worked to sabotage the anti- Klan struggle. Some of these actually called rallies for November 27. But they attempted to use these rallies to put up roadblocks to the mass struggle and to channel the angry protestors back into the fold of the Democratic Party.

Most notable, in this regards, was the activity of the Workers World Party (WWP). Under the name of their front group, the All Peoples Congress (APC), they called for a rally. But, in the hopes of heading off any confrontation with the hated racists, they organized it a block away from the Klan's rally site. When literally hundreds of people left their liberal rally to join the fighting in Lafayette Park, the APC leadership tried in vain to hold them back. As the fighting with the police spread around them, APC loud-speakers urged "Please stay in (McPherson Square) park." (Washington Post, November 28, 1982) They set up a line of security people to keep the fighting away from their rally and pleaded with the masses to "stay cool." But even this service to the police plots against the demonstrators did not protect the APC. The police revoked their rally permit and tear gassed the rally, and the APC leadership calmly closed up shop and went home.

The actions of the WWP at the demonstration were part of their efforts to make the protest acceptable to the liberal politicians of the Democratic Party. Prior to November 27 they bragged about the list of Democratic Party hacks who supported their action. They even swooned that "Fauntroy expressed his support for the APC demonstration" on the same day that this sellout announced his coalition of "love."

Afterwards, in a major article summing up the anti-Klan struggle, the head of the WWP, Sam Marcy, continued to speak warmly of the black Democratic Party officials. "Bitter hatred of the Klan is general in the Black community. This generally prevails in all layers of the Black officialdom as well." He complains only that "the officialdom was nowhere around on the day the Klan set foot in Washington" and mildly wails that "Without authoritative leaders from the Black community openly and clearly taking an affirmative position to stop the Klan from coming on the basis of both legal and political ground (which are superabundant) the Black community was virtually left leaderless at a moment of crisis." (Workers World, December 3, 1982) Marcy has already forgotten that Mayor Barry and other black officials played an all too active role in not only working to keep the masses from marching in the streets, but also in unleashing the police to viciously suppress them.

Besides the WWP, the trotskyite Spartacist League also did their best to quell the struggle of the masses. The SL drapes itself in all manner of "leftist" and "militant''-sounding rhetoric. But they tried every thing in their power to draw the masses away from the confrontation with the police and to cool out the situation. The SL set up their banners at the site of the planned parade route of the Klan. But after the very first skirmish between the masses and the police, SL organizer A1 Nelson used a bullhorn to announce "The rally is over, take down your banners before we get hurt." He admitted that the SL was not organizing the masses for struggle, whining that: "This wasn't planned. A few people were hurt before we were able to get control." (Washington Post, November 28) And demonstrating what SL means by control, the SL members regrouped and called on the masses to march away from the Klan rally and police lines for a so-called victory rally. Despite the SL's victory march away from struggle, the militant working masses stayed on, battling the police defenders of the Klan for several hours.

A Victory for the Working Masses

The November 27 struggle against the Klan and its police defenders was a victory for the working masses.

The Reagan government is today unleashing an offensive of segregationism and terror against the black people and other oppressed nationalities. The setting up of racist gangs like the KKK, and the fostering and protection of them by the police is a vital part of this program. But in Washington D.C. the working masses fought back. They sent the Klan running with their sheets in paper bags and their tails between their legs. And they courageously resisted the vicious repression by the police. This is a blow against the Reaganite offensive and an inspiration to the workers and oppressed people everywhere who are turning to struggle against the monopoly capitalist dictators.

[Photo: The police buddies of the Klan attacked the anti-racist demonstrators with ferocious brutality. Photo shows policemen beating a demonstrator after throwing him through a plate glass window.]

[Photo: Demonstrators rejoice at the overturning of an unmarked police station wagon in Washington, D.C. on November 27,1982.]


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Steel workers, be vigilant!

Down With McBride's New Concessions Scheme!

In July and November 1982, the steel workers rejected the outrageous concessions demands of the steel monopolies. But now Lloyd McBride, the president of the United Steel Workers union (USW), is trying to cook up another concessions deal to be signed, sealed and delivered by March. On January 12, the USW Wage Policy Committee met to set "guidelines" for handing out billions of dollars to the capitalists. And the Basic Steel Industry Conference of the USW is scheduled to meet February 2 to detail precisely which concessions and how much of them to give the "big eight" steel monopolies. The concessions train is back roaring down the track.

These concessions talks do not affect the 285,000 workers in the "big eight" steel corporations alone. There are another 100,000 workers in the "me- too" plants which, although not in the "big eight," adhere to the "big eight" contract. As well, this contract is being considered a model for contracts to be negotiated for the aluminum workers in May and the copper workers in June. In short, concessions in steel are at the center of another round of the "takeback" offensive of the monopoly capitalists against all of the workers.

Steel workers, get organized to fight. You can defend your jobs and livelihood only through the most determined mass struggle. In this struggle you are not alone. Workers throughout the country are fed up with the capitalist "takebacks" and sympathize with your struggle. The fight in steel is a battle for the class interests of all the workers against the concessions siege of the capitalist class.

General Motors Backs the Steel Monopolies

The current steel contract does not expire until August 1. Nevertheless, a deadline for establishing a new contract has been set for March 1 by none other than Roger Smith, the chairman of General Motors. In mid-December McBride received a phone call from Smith threatening that if a contract is not settled by March 1, then GM will take its business to non-"big eight" companies in the U.S. and overseas. Smith has already extorted concessions from the GM workers with the aid of his loyal bootlick Doug Fraser, the head of the United Auto Workers. Now Smith wants to assist his class brothers of the steel monopolies to squeeze their workers. And whom does he call but McBride.

McBride was only too eager to help. He no sooner put down the phone, than he announced that he will "begin contract negotiations in early February and seek a settlement before the GM- imposed deadline." (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 20,1982)

Many workers were outraged at GM's threat. But McBride has begun claiming that it was no threat at all. Rather, he says, his good friend Roger Smith was only expressing a "concern" shared by many of the big corporations. But what does this mean? Obviously the monopoly capitalists, as a class, are "concerned" to impose concessions on the steel workers, and McBride is dancing to their sordid tune.

Steel Capitalists Demand $6 Billion From the Workers

The steel monopolies are still demanding the more than $6 billion in concessions that were rejected by the workers in November. And McBride has made it clear that he agrees with these demands.

In December, McBride expressed his bitter "disappointment" at having failed the steel monopolies in the November negotiations and he told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "They [the industry negotiators] came down a great deal, feeling that maybe they were making a bad judgement on the basis of my persuasion in view of the realities of the situation. But they came down to what they said was the very minimum of their needs. I am convinced that is the case." (December 20,1982, emphasis added)

So what is this "minimum" that the capitalists require? It includes, among other things:

* An immediate pay cut of $2.25 per hour.

* A one-year freeze on the cost-of- living allowance, and, after that, the workers would only receive some kind of "bonus" tied to the profits of the companies and which would not be rolled in to the base rate.

* A reduction in the Sunday premium pay.

* The elimination of the current 13- week extended vacation plan.

* Work rule changes, job combinations and other job-eliminating measures at the local mills.

* The removal of 50,000 workers in ore mining, fabricating and warehousing from the basic steel agreement, so that they can be soaked with even greater concessions.

In short, the "minimum" required by the steel monopolies is a giant step toward their declared aim of cutting the workers' pay in half.

Concessions Won't Save Jobs

Obviously, the rank-and-file workers cannot stomach these enormous cuts. And so, to sell the concessions to the workers, the USW bureaucrats are stepping up their lying promises to "trade" concessions for "job security measures."

Recently, in fact, a whole slew of USW officials who previously claimed to be against concessions have stated they will agree to trading concessions for jobs. Fifty local USW presidents from Districts 15 and 19 in Pennsylvania and more than 300 USW officials from the Chicago area, Michigan and Minnesota have signed petitions that protest against "one-sided" concessions, but agree to givebacks if "there is a willingness of steel to bring laid- off workers back to work and to stop plant closures." (Pittsburgh Press, January 6, 1983 and American Metal Marketing, January 12, 1983) David Sullivan, president of Local 6787 at the Burns Harbor, Indiana plant of Bethlehem Steel, and one of the spokesmen for this petition drive, "acknowledged that his local's position has been against any kind of concession in recent negotiations and he described the petition's request for job security in return for concessions as a change from that position." (Ibid.)

Of course the workers must fight to "bring laid-off workers back" and against "plant closures," but these objectives can never be won by giving concessions to the capitalists. A quick look at some of the "job protection" schemes cooked up at the January 12 Wage Policy Committee meeting of the USW shows that they are little more than cheap rhetoric and empty promises.

The January 12 meeting suggested that concessions be given if the steel companies "invest in existing facilities." But such "modernization" only means the continued wiping out of "excess capacity," reorganization of production on more efficient lines, and the introduction of new, more productive machinery. In short, modernization means greater job elimination and, for those who retain their jobs, it means increased job combinations, speedup and overwork. Trading concessions for "modernization guarantees" simply means that the workers will be paying for their own job elimination.

The USW Wage Policy Committee also discussed calling for a moratorium on plant closings similar to those negotiated in the auto industry. But such provisions, drawn up on the basis of helping the monopolies out of their economic slump, are worded so vaguely that they offer no job protection at all. After Chrysler promised not to close down five plants for a year, it simply operated most of them with skeleton crews and then shut them down later. The Ford and GM "moratorium" on plant closings allowed them to shut the plants that they had already slated for closing. And just this month GM announced that it will also close its Fisher Body plant in Flint, Michigan, eliminating 3,600 jobs, by merging it with their Buick assembly complex in Flint. Concessions to the auto giants have only led to greater and greater layoffs and plant closings.

Nothing better can be expected from the steel monopolies. For example, in early 1982 the USW hacks at the Bethlehem mill in Los Angeles agreed to give extensive concessions on the promise that the mill would be kept open. But on September 21, despite the concessions given up, Bethlehem Steel announced it was shutting down its entire West Coast operations, throwing 2,000 workers in Los Angeles and Seattle into the streets. Thus this USW, agreement against plant closings, like the UAW "moratoriums," wasn't worth a plug nickel.

The USW bureaucrats are also talking about putting some money, perhaps up to $100 million out of the billions of dollars in concessions to be stolen from the workers, into the exhausted supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) fund. But first of all, this money should be taken from the capitalists, not from the workers' wages. Moreover, since the SUB fund paid out around $200 million in 1981 through the first few months of 1982, this means that at best some workers will get some benefits for a few more months and then the fund will again collapse.

Giving concessions simply will not save jobs. If McBride and the other USW hacks were really concerned about job protection, then they would organize a serious fight against the steel monopolies. They would fight against the contracting out of work, the job combinations and automation. They would fight against cuts in paid time off and the shutting down of mills. They would demand jobs or a livelihood for those already laid off. But these sellout union bosses aren't really looking to protect the workers' jobs. Rather they are working night and day to protect the profits of the steel capitalists.

Get Organized for Mass Struggle

The "big eight" steel tycoons and Lloyd McBride are feverishly rushing to settle a new contract to pick the workers' pockets. They are now being joined in this venture by many local USW hacks who previously have claimed to be against concessions. Obviously the workers cannot rely on the USW bureaucracy to defend them. The rank-and-file steel workers must get organized on their own, independent of the union hacks, to fight against concessions.

The large number of layoffs and the fact that the rank-and-file workers do not even have the right to vote on the contract make this a difficult struggle. Nevertheless, the workers have already shown their determination to fight. Workers must continue to hold demonstrations to protest the arrogant concessions demands of the steel monopolies. Union meetings should be made into platforms to expose the lies of the sellout union bureaucrats. Anti-concessions leaflets and stickers should be distributed widely. And networks of militant workers should be built up to prepare for slowdowns, wildcats and an industry-wide strike. The jobs and pay of the workers can only be defended through the most determined and militant action of the workers themselves. Steel workers, get organized.

No concessions to the steel billionaires!


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Fight the Shutdown of Bethlehem's Lackawanna Mill!

[Buffalo Workers' Voice masthead.]

Bethlehem Steel has announced its plan to shut down steel making operations in Lackawanna by the end of 1983 and to eliminate the jobs of 7,300 steel workers. This announcement drives home with force the pressing need for the workers to fight, to organize mass struggle to force the capitalists to preserve the workers' jobs or provide them with a livelihood. Not only the workers of Lackawanna, not only the other steel workers in Buffalo, but all the workers -- employed and unemployed -- have a common cause in this struggle. The capitalist class and its government are devastating the working class. The workers as a class must unite to resist, must take up the weapon of class struggle to defend their jobs and livelihood from the capitalist onslaught.

Make the Capitalists Pay for the Crisis

The Bethlehem decision to close the Lackawanna mills is another manifestation of the depths of the capitalist economic crisis, a crisis of overproduction like that of the Great Depression of the 1930's. It also shows that the capitalists aim to make the workers pay for this crisis.

This fact is no secret to the workers. In Buffalo one out of every five workers has lost his job and has no hope of finding another. The unemployed are being completely ruined by the capitalists. Stripped of everything they have, they and their families are staring hunger squarely in the face. And every worker who is employed faces the greatest insecurity, decreasing wages, and anxiety over whether he shall still have his job tomorrow.

But while it is the workers who are being devastated, the politicians and trade union bureaucrats in their "great wisdom" claim that it is the capitalists who are the truly needy. This is the basic principle of Reaganomics. As soon as Bethlehem made its announcement, every politician of both the Republican and Democratic Parties within a 500 mile radius of Lackawanna jumped up to shout that something must be done to "help Bethlehem Steel." New York Governor Mario Cuomo generously offered to hand over the pension funds of the State employees to "help Bethlehem Steel." The County Executive and Congressional Representatives were eager to find ways to cut "Bethlehem's tax burden." These capitalist politicians were immediately joined by the USW labor bureaucrats who vowed that no concession from "their" workers was too great to "help Bethlehem Steel." In their great concern for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, it seems that these gentlemen "forgot" that it was 7,300 workers who had just received their pink slip!

Of course, the capitalists' lackeys in the government and at the head of the unions "justify" their efforts to help the steel capitalists with the big lie that only by solving the problems of the capitalists, only by making them healthier, happier and richer can the capitalists then do something to help the workers. But nothing could be further from the truth. In the first place, the steel capitalists are plenty rich already. In the past 10 years, the industrialists and financiers of the "big eight" steel corporations have raked in over $18 billion in profits sweated out of the hides of the steel workers whom they are now throwing into the streets. While in 1982 the steel corporations suffered major losses, the $18 billion profits from the previous 10 years is a mighty comfortable cushion to tide over these lords of steel.

Furthermore, the means used to solve the problems of the capitalists are ruining the workers. The monopolies are using the money wrung from the workers through concessions, tax write-offs, etc., to modernize and rationalize the steel industry. Closing down older mills as in Lackawanna and Johnstown, Pa., adding new job-eliminating machinery in the more profitable mills; laying off tens of thousands of workers while overworking those who are still employed -- these are the programs used to "save Bethlehem" and improve its "profit picture." The workers' jobs and livelihood cannot be saved by helping the capitalists, but only through struggle against them.

Yet, the labor bureaucrats have joined with the capitalist government to form a Task Force to help the Bethlehem Corporation, the steel capitalists! They are sitting at the doorstep of Bethlehem Chairman Trautlein just waiting for the chance to offer him bigger tax breaks, big government handouts, big worker concessions and other juicy tidbits. All of this is being done under the lying pretext that if so many hundreds of millions of dollars -- conveniently lifted out of the pockets of the workers through various means -- are put into his fat little hands, then, why then, maybe a 100 or more jobs can be saved!

This is the complete insanity of the capitalist system. 7,300 workers are thrown into the streets and every "official" worth a suit and tie -- including those official "leaders" of the workers' union! -- rushes to the door of the capitalist bloodsuckers who are responsible for this monstrous attack, all atwitter as to how they can assist the capitalists over their difficulties! As for the workers, well, if they are not content to sit and wait with their breath held while the Task Force and Bethlehem concoct some scheme which the workers are to pay for, then they can go to one of the new "unemployment counseling centers" and have their hands held by some government bureaucrat.

Take Independent Mass Action to Defend the Workers' Jobs

Workers: This simply cannot be tolerated! The workers cannot wait for "solutions" from the capitalists and their lackeys. These "solutions" they are cooking up will only make matters worse.

The workers must begin to act now, and act independently of the capitalists and their stooges. We must organize and fight. Bethlehem and the other capitalists have caused the crisis, they must be made to pay for it. Bethlehem and the other capitalists are literally rolling in money exploited from the workers over decades and decades -- they do not need assistance. Rather, they should be made to use some of this money to either keep the Lackawanna mill open or provide a livelihood for the workers they are throwing into the streets. The government does not need to hand over tax dollars to assist Bethlehem -- the government must be made to provide assistance to the unemployed.

None of these things which the workers need will come from schemes to "help Bethlehem Steel." None of these things will come from the Task Force or any other body of government officials, trade union bureaucrats and capitalists. What is needed is the workers' mass struggle against the capitalists and their government.

A serious crisis calls for serious thought and serious action. The old ways of life for millions and millions of people are literally being rooted up and destroyed by the capitalists and their crisis-ridden system. The old illusions and the old politics must be smashed up with them! The Democratic Party, liberal-labor politics and class collaborationist trade unionism will not get us out of this crisis -- it is precisely these politics which have brought the workers to the desperate situation they are in. To rely on these politics today can mean only one thing: to allow the Democratic Party hacks and trade union bureaucrats to deliver the workers like sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered at the altar of capitalism and Reaganomics.

New politics are required, revolutionary politics. The politics of class struggle against the capitalists and their government. The politics of independent mass action, independent of the Democrats and the trade union hacks.

Workers! Don't accept the dictates of the capitalists! Don't rely on the schemes of the politicians and bureaucrats! Take independent action to fight the closing of Bethlehem Steel! Join with the Marxist-Leninist Party to distribute literature, to denounce the Bethlehem capitalists and to arouse all the workers for struggle! Prepare to fight to make Bethlehem Steel keep the Lackawanna mill open or provide a livelihood for the laid-off workers!

(Adapted from a leaflet produced by the Buffalo Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on January 3, 1983)


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Another round of concessions at Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel

The tragedy of trading concessions for job security

Another concessions deal has been signed at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation. Effective January 1, 1983 the workers have been hit by wage and benefit cuts totaling $3.65 per hour. These newest concessions will mean more than $100 million in cuts over the life of the 43-month no-strike contract. They are the fourth round of concessions since February 1980 when workers at the Allenport, Pennsylvania rolling mill were blackmailed into accepting cuts in incentive pay by the threat of closing the plant. Just a few months back, in April, 1982, the Wheeling-Pittsburgh workers were forced to take a $1.60 per hour cut in wages and benefits. Altogether the four rounds of concessions total $5.25 per hour in cuts per worker!

This outrageous robbery has been perpetuated under the hoax of trading concessions for job security. But since the concessions began 8,200 workers have lost their jobs and there are now only 3,800 workers still employed at Wheeling-Pittsburgh's nine plants.

The bureaucrats of the United Steel Workers union (USW) have repeatedly assured the workers that concessions would go to modernize the mills and that this would save jobs. But while Wheeling-Pittsburgh does have one of the most aggressive modernization programs, their modernization has only meant ever-increasing layoffs for the workers. For example, the capitalists recently installed a $105 million automated rail mill which produces rail with only a fraction of the workers formerly required. Currently Wheeling-Pittsburgh is constructing two new continuous casters for over $260 million. This will enable the company to produce 70% of its steel by this more efficient means, as compared to the 27% average for the steel industry as a whole. But the installation of continuous casters gets rid of entire production processes, eliminating hundreds of workers and leaving only a few dozen to actually operate and maintain the machines.

The top USW bureaucrats are as cynical as can be in portraying such modernization as "saving jobs," while knowing full well that the opposite is the case. The legislative director of the USW, Jack Sheehan, recently blurted out the truth, "It's a given, if we modernize, there will be fewer jobs. If the [steel] industry modernizes and retrenches, there will be even fewer jobs." (Detroit Free Press, December 5, 1982) But then, do these soldout hacks call for a fight for job security? No! They say full speed ahead with concessions for modernization. Paul Rusen, the director of USW district 31 who negotiated the new contract, pointed out that $2.75 an hour of the current concessions will go to the banks to pay for the loans used to build the rail mill and the continuous casters.

The USW hacks also claim that this latest concessions deal will save jobs because it contains a moratorium on plant closures. But Rusen admitted that this provision only bars the "permanent" closing of the mills. Wheeling-Pittsburgh can idle the mills, laying off all of the workers, as long as they don't dispose of the assets or write off the facilities. Now there is real job protection!

The experience at Wheeling-Pittsburgh, as at so many other work places, shows that trading concessions for "job security" is nothing but a fraud. The steel workers must expose such lies and empty promises of McBride and the other USW bureaucrats. Only the most determined struggle against the capitalists can win any measure of job security.


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Rule Changes to Railroad Concessions

The chieftains of the United Steel Workers Union (USW) exercise a notorious bureaucratic regime over the rank-and-file membership. One of the most outrageous features of this regime is that the membership is not even allowed to vote on their own contracts. Thus, as Lloyd McBride prepares to sign away benefits and wages that it has taken the steel workers decades of struggle to achieve, he knows that he will not have to go through the difficult procedure of convincing workers to vote in favor of cutting their own throats.

The 386,000 steel workers in the "Big Eight" steel monopolies and the "me-too" plants (those who are not in the "Big Eight," but adhere to their contract) have no vote. Instead contracts are ratified by a 633-member body known as the Basic Steel Industry Conference. This Conference is composed of the 29-member USW executive board, the district directors and local presidents. In November, these union bureaucrats were under such intense pressure from the rank and file that even they rejected, by a 231 to 141 vote, the $6 billion concessions package worked out between McBride and the steel tycoons.

Now it appears that McBride considers even this ratification process far too democratic. In a maneuver to improve the chances for railroading through a concessions contract, the USW executive board decided in early January to exclude as many as 300 local presidents from the next contract vote.

This change was announced as a measure to remove "voting inequities." Of course if McBride was really interested in removing "inequities" he would allow the rank and file to vote. But instead, in the future even the presidents from USW locals such as those representing the 100,000 workers from the "me-too" plants will be eliminated from having a voice in their contract.

The money-grubbers from the steel monopolies danced for joy at this new procedure. "It's certainly a welcome change from our standpoint," said one steel management source. (Wall Street Journal, January 13,1983)

The rank-and-file steel workers cannot let themselves be bound by the sellout whims of the top bureaucrats of the USW. To protect themselves from the ravages of concessions, the workers must organize themselves independently and prepare for a serious struggle against the greedy capitalists of the steel monopolies.


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New Year's Editorial of The Workers' Advocate

The Fight Against Reaganism and the Revolutionary Perspective

1983 begins at a time when the capitalists are attacking the working people in every way. The profit- hungry capitalists want to cut the workers' wages in half. They want to remove funding from relief for the unemployed, from the public schools, from the pensions for the aged. They want to build more atomic bombs, more high technology weapons and more Rapid Deployment Forces to kill the workers of other countries and to prepare for a criminal nuclear showdown with the Russians. They want to incite white against black and to poison the people with religious fanaticism.

The Reagan government stands at the head of this evil offensive. All the capitalist politicians, Republican rightists or Democratic liberals, are rallying behind the Reagan program of squeezing the poor for the benefit of the rich. The Democrats reproach Reagan only for being too open-mouthed and direct in his advocacy of attacking the people.

The economic depression is bringing hunger to tens of millions of people, the rampaging militarists want to turn the youth into cannon fodder, and racism and reaction are spewing forth their poison everywhere. These conditions cry out for change. The working class has had enough. Everywhere the working people are bitter and angry over the crimes of the rich and are asking each other what is to be done.

In such a time, big class battles lie ahead between the workers and the exploiters. The depression is bringing not just hardships and agonies to the working class, but also enlightenment and knowledge about the evil nature of capitalism and the present government. The workers are coming to the conclusion that they must rise up as one man against the Reaganite program. And they are learning of the treachery of the Democratic Party fakers who are just as Reaganomic as Reagan himself. Before them lies the task of building the independent movement of the working class, independent of the capitalists and independent of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. 1983 will bring the workers a yet further intensification of the class struggle.

At such a time, it is more important than ever that the class conscious workers rally around their own political party. Three years ago, on January 1, 1980, the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA was founded. Since that time, it has courageously marched forward, strengthening its links with the masses in the struggle to defend the interests of the working class. Building the party is an important part of the tasks for the coming year.

The Economic Depression Is the Bankruptcy of Capitalism

Today the capitalists are on a crusade against the idea of revolution and class struggle. Reagan says that his biggest enemy is Marxism-Leninism. The capitalists point at the fiasco of the revisionist traitors to revolution in Russia and elsewhere and say: see, revolution gets you no place.

But what does the economic crisis show? It proves that it is not revolution, but capitalism that gets you no place, that leads you into a dead end. It shows that capitalism is bankrupt, whether it is Western-style capitalism in America or the revisionism of Khrushchov, Brezhnev and Andropov which restored the capitalist profit system in Russia.

Ever since the big crash of the 1930's, the American capitalists have claimed that it could never happen again. They said that, true, capitalism used to be harsh, inhuman and brutal, but today it is allegedly new and improved, with a "human face.'' Today, they said, there is no possibility for anyone to slip through the "safety net."

But what do we see? The "new, improved" capitalism is shattering into a thousand pieces just like the old capitalism. The new depression of the 1980's rivals the Great Depression of the 1930's. The "safety net" is a sick joke that exists only for the profits of the rich, while the working people can't afford to pay for food, housing, heating and medical care, and more and more can't find jobs at all. Meanwhile the productivity drive extends the "old," brutal sweatshop conditions into every mine, factory, workshop and office.

Ever since the U.S. army was defeated in Viet Nam, the capitalists have claimed that U.S. imperialism had changed, that it had become civilized, that it had turned pacifist and humanitarian. Never again, they said, would the U.S. napalm whole villages, invade other countries and operate murder squads abroad.

But what do we find? The U.S. troops were barely home from Viet Nam when, first under Carter and now under Reagan, the military budgets again began skyrocketing. Meanwhile U.S. "advisers" supervise the "destabilization" of Nicaragua and the murder of workers and peasants in Guatemala, El Salvador and elsewhere. It seems that the capitalists really do suffer a "Viet Nam syndrome" of sorts -- they are itching to re-fight the Viet Nam war in another country to try out their nuclear weapons in a new world war.

For decades there has been no lack of people who have advised the working class to give up strikes and class struggle and to instead concentrate on "pushing the Democratic Party to the left44 and even electing a liberal Republican or two as well.

And what do we find? After decades of being "moved to the left," the Democratic Party is no further left than Reagan and agrees with him on all the main issues -- on expanding the military, on eliminating school integration, on passing one new draconic law after another, on slashing social benefits, and so forth.

Clearly the present economic crisis is the crisis of capitalism, the crisis of the illusion that capitalism could heal itself. It shows that there is no path forward but to fight the capitalists, but to organize the working class independent of and against the capitalist exploiters.

The Crisis Shows That Great Class Battles Lie Ahead

But, the capitalists sneer, where are the mass demonstrations and strikes such as took place in the 1930's? It is all gone, they say. The workers are alleged to have no alternative but to beg for free cheese and to give concessions to the benevolent billionaires who deign to exploit them.

But this is just the shortsighted stupidities of the modern-day Marie Antoinettes. Two hundred years ago the notorious French queen Marie Antoinette, convinced that the feudal monarchy was eternal, complacently told the starving people that, if they were short of bread, "let them eat cake." A few years later the French people beheaded the king and the nobles and took matters into their own hands. Today the empty-headed Reaganites, convinced of the eternal justice of capitalist exploitation, tell the starving people to eat cheese and wait patiently for the profits to trickle down from the rich. But the mass struggle of the working people will soon smash the arrogance of the Reaganites. Only this time, not feudalism and the absolute monarchy, but capitalist exploitation and imperialist warmongering will face the wrath of the people.

1982, it is true, was a year when the mass struggle was, on the whole, inconsistent and sporadic. But this relative lull in activity is just a temporary, passing phenomena. The working class is interested not just in recording what happened in the past, but in foreseeing the future. To see what is likely to happen in the coming years, one must dig below the surface of events. And then we will see that in 1982 all the factors needed for big mass struggle were simmering just below the surface.

What are the factors that show that we are on the verge of a new period of class war?

Lenin repeatedly pointed to the factors necessary for the development of revolution. He put it this way: "Only when the lower classes do not want the old way, and when the classes' cannot carry on in the old way -- only then can the revolution triumph. This truth can be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nationwide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters)." ("Left-Wing" Communism, an Infantile Disorder, Ch. IX)

From Lenin's analysis it follows that we are still a distance from the revolution itself, for it cannot be said that "a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, politically active workers)...fully understand that revolution is necessary and...(are) ready to sacrifice their lives for it."(Ibid.) We are not there yet. But it can also be seen that all the conditions are ripening that will lead the working class onto the path of class struggle, that will bring millions upon millions of workers out of the ordinary routine and into militant political life.

First, there is the economic crisis. In 1982 the depression continued to deepen and to bring intolerable misery and suffering to a large section of the working people. Fifteen million are unemployed, two million are without homes, even the employed can hardly afford to heat their homes, and there is no letup in sight. Indeed the mass impoverishment has become so widespread that some do-gooders in West Germany got together in 1982 to gather food and clothing to send to the starving families in Detroit. For decades the politicians have sung the praises of the supposed greatness of American capitalism, and boasted that this was the "American century," yet today German mothers are lecturing their sons to eat the last bean from their plate because, after all, in America children are starving, and German capitalists are telling their workers to accept cutbacks and austerity budgets because, after all, things are worse in America.

The terrible poverty and hunger of the working masses breeds rebellion and struggle. As Lenin pointed out during the wave of revolutions that came in the wake of World War I: "In the West, tens of millions of people are suffering the torments of starvation. It is this that makes social revolution inevitable, for social revolution stems not from programs but from the fact that tens of millions of people say: 'Rather than live and starve, we prefer to die for the revolution.'" ("Fifth All-Russia Congress of Soviets," 1918, Collected Works, Vol. 27, p. 518) The same process is at work in America today. The working people have not yet arrived at revolutionary conclusions, but already there is a burning hatred for Reagan, skepticism towards the Democrats, and bitterness towards the union bureaucrats. The people are losing faith in the old capitalist lies, such as that "concessions will save jobs," and they are looking for the alternative.

Second, there is the political crisis. The capitalist politicians are at a loss to deal with the collapse of the economy, with the financial crisis and mounting deficits in the local, state and federal governments, and with the, all-round breakdown of American capitalism. The Democrats and Republicans have but one answer: squeeze the poor, tax the workers, blame the people; coddle the rich, slash the taxes on the billionaires, protect their profits. The capitalist politicians are all agreed on starving the people, militarizing the economy, and fostering racist gangs. But within the confines of Reaganism, the capitalist politicians are squabbling with each other.

The capitalist policy vacillates from one side to the other. Even inside the Reagan administration there is no consensus on what to do other than to blame the working people for everything. This is why the capitalists put forward the smiling clown Reagan for president -- he is nothing but a bad Hollywood actor, a reader of cue cards, and therefore the perfect figurehead for a bourgeoisie that has nothing sensible to say and knows it.

Hence not only do the working people find it harder and harder to even survive in the old, capitalist way, which is condemning them to hunger and hardship, but the capitalist monopolists are finding it harder and harder to rule in the old way. A nationwide crisis is developing. And this crisis will inevitably bring all the class antagonisms to the forefront. True, in 1982 the capitalists still managed to hold the working people down with the threat of starvation, with the aid of labor bureaucrats who collaborated with the bosses, with the help of police terror against the minorities. But every now and then in 1982 the anger of the working people found an outlet in militant action. These actions were just the first cracks in the surface, but through these cracks one could see the deepening ferment that was doing its work silently down below, among the widest sections of the workers.

Thus, in 1982, although the strike movement declined to the lowest level since the early 1960's, nevertheless a shift in the mood of the workers against concessions took place and a number of militant strikes broke out. The struggle against imperialist war preparations, while sporadic and on a low level politically, embraced huge numbers of people, and on one day alone, June 12, nearly one million people demonstrated against nuclear weapons. As well, mass disgust with Israeli zionism developed during the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon. And the anti-racist struggle developed too. Thousands marched against the hated Klan, with street battles breaking out in Ann Arbor, Boston and Washington D.C. against the police who attacked the masses to protect the racist Klan from the wrath of the aroused people. And 1982 ended with the powerful outburst by the black people in Miami against a racist police murder.

Furthermore, 1982 saw the estrangement between the masses and the opportunist misleaders, the labor bureaucrats, and the capitalist politicians reach new highs. This can be seen in the anger of the workers against the treachery of the trade union hacks. It can be seen in the enthusiasm of the masses for the slogans put forward by our Party at the antiwar demonstrations despite the frenzied appeals of the opportunists to throw anti-imperialist banners and militant slogans out of the mass actions. It can be seen in the eager reception given by the working class to our Party's work in favor of Marxist- Leninist socialism in the face of the barrage of filth thrown by Reagan, by the TV and newspapers, and by the liberals and liquidators against the Marxist-Leninist science of revolution. In our work to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution of the Bolsheviks we found that workers who never before wanted to look at communist literature are now studying it.

The Struggle Is Just Beginning

But how will the class struggle develop? The capitalists, crossing their fingers behind their backs, repeat over and over that the reaction of the people today is not at all what it was in the 1930's. That is wrong. What is happening now is quite reminiscent of what happened in the Great Depression of the 1930's. Then too the first onslaught of the economic crisis stunned the working people, who took some time to recover and launch the big struggles that shook the capitalists to their core. If we examine the history of the Great Depression, we will get an idea both of the breadth of the class struggle that lies ahead and of the way that the working masses find their own path to mass struggle. Such a study gives confidence in the strength of the working class and also warns one not to mistake the first opening rounds of the struggle with the full storm to come.

The Great Depression of the 1930's (or, perhaps we should say, the First Great Depression so as to distinguish it from the Second Great Depression of today), fell like a thunderbolt on an unsuspecting bourgeoisie that was boasting that it had found the key to permanent prosperity. The great stock market crash took place on October 29, 1929, ending the biggest "boom year" of the 1920's. It inaugurated the first year of depression, 1930.

In that year, 1930, the strike movement hit its lowest point in years, just as it has done in the last few years. Let us refer to the official government strike statistics. While these statistics are distorted by the capitalists, nevertheless they can serve as a rough basis of comparison. These statistics show that in 1930 the number of strikes fell to only 637 involving only 183,000 workers. The working class movement was stunned by the onslaught of the capitalist offensive and the economic collapse.

But gradually, over a period of time, the workers' movement recovered and reached new heights. It took about three years for the strike movement to begin to take off, with 1,695 strikes involving 1,110,000 workers in 1933, more than triple the total for 1932. This strike wave under difficult conditions proved the heroism of the working class; it proved that right in the midst of mass unemployment and layoffs, right in the teeth of the arrogant demands of the exploiters to submit or starve, the workers had the strength to fight and defeat the capitalists in mass strikes and other struggles. But it was not until 1937, when there were 4,740 strikes involving 1,860,000 workers, that the strike movement numerically surpassed the upsurge of the early 1920's. The strike struggles of these years reached great intensity as seen in the mass production industries, in the San Francisco General Strike of 1936, and in the bitter clashes with the police and hired thugs of the capitalists. These struggles transformed the situation in industry after industry.

This does not mean that the first years of the Great Depression were free from mass struggle. Not at all. It was the path-breaking struggles in the early years that paved the way for the big extension of the struggle later on. In the forefront of the early struggles were the communists and the red trade unions -- militant unions which embraced far fewer workers than the official AFL unions but which were very active because they were; free from the sabotage of the labor bureaucrats. Just as 1982 was not a year of total passivity, but only of relative lull, so too for 1930.

In 1930, for example, the unemployed movement developed rapidly. But it must be borne in mind that' while 1930 was the first year of depression, it was not the first year of high unemployment. All through the so-called prosperity of the 20's, while the rich raked in their fabulous profits, there was mass misery for much of the working class, and whole branches of the economy stagnated. Unemployment was heavy for this entire period, declining to 10% only in the biggest boom year, 1929. Thus when unemployment zoomed in the depression, it took off from a level that was already sky-high. Thus, just as the big demonstrations against nuclear weapons of 1982 were the result of many struggles in the preceding years against the reintroduction of registration for the draft, against U.S. intervention in El Salvador, against the U.S. nuclear program, and so forth, so too the unemployed movement of 1930 owed much to developments in previous years.

The Mass Struggle Upsets the Old Political Realities

What did the mass struggles of the 1930's accomplish?

These struggles did not reach the level of a socialist revolution that overthrows capitalism. That is why we still have to fight the battle against capitalist depression all over again. Until capitalism is overthrown, one crisis after another will confront the working people.

But this does not mean that the struggles of the 1930's were worthless. On the contrary. They not only defended the working class against starvation, they not only destroyed the attempt to develop fascist movements among the people, they not only struck blows at the lynch rule against the blacks, but they did tremendous work in organizing the working class. The struggles of the 1930's smashed the pre-1930 political realities and gave' a tremendous impetus to the working class movement.

Take the trade union movement. In the 1920's the reactionary leaders of the American Federation of Labor had a stranglehold on this movement as a whole, except for the vigorous red trade unions and some other independent unions. Just like the AFL-CIO leaders today, the labor hacks of the AFL specialized in giving concessions to the capitalists and cutting wages. They especially fought against organizing the mass production industries and the industrial workers.

The movement of the 1930's shook the position of the AFL misleaders until the AFL itself split. This split created favorable conditions for the communist activists at the base to spearhead the formation of huge industrial unions in auto, steel, etc. It took the labor bureaucrats a number of years -- and the capitalist government had to step in to give them a hand through reactionary labor legislation -- to regain their former domination of the trade union movement.

The Great Depression saw major gains for the then-revolutionary Communist Party of the USA in other fields as well. The growth of influence of communism was the major achievement of the working class in gaining its political independence from capitalist bondage. Communism not only grew in the working class as a whole, but it also proved itself the only consistent champion of the rights of the black people and other oppressed nationalities.

Meanwhile the capitalist parties had to scurry to create new alignments in the 1930's. Scared by the political awakening of the working class, the American capitalists, who have always been cold-hearted brutes when it comes to worrying about the hardships of the masses, were forced to offer some social programs to the workers. The Democratic Party hurriedly took on a liberal-labor mask under Franklin Roosevelt in the hope of saving the image of capitalism among the workers.

Thus the 1930's transformed the political situation entirely. It did valuable work in breaking the workers free from the bondage of the labor bureaucrats and the capitalist parties. But it only went part way in this work. This is partly because the Communist Party fell prey, in the second half of the 1930's, to the disease of tailing behind the Rooseveltian coalition of the Democratic Party. This disease is called Browderite revisionism, because its most notorious advocate was Earl Browder, then General Secretary of the Communist Party and because it constitutes an abandonment (a "revision") of the basic ideas of Marxism-Leninism that call for the workers to organize independently of the capitalist exploiters. This error of the Communist Party would later lead it into the sorry mess it is today, when it is no longer a genuine communist party but simply another bourgeois liberal party. This is why today we must build another party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, to truly uphold communism and the interests of the working class. And already at the end of the 1930's the Browderite error resulted in giving up much of the fruits of the mass struggle of the workers and stopping them from going as far as they could toward an independent political stand.

Today the perspective for the mass struggle is roughly similar to that of the 1930's. We cannot and do not make any rash predictions of an early revolution. What is on the agenda is the blowing up of the old political realities. The stranglehold of the labor bureaucrats and the Democratic Party on the workers' movement is not an eternal curse, but something that can and will be thrown aside by the mass upsurge of the workers. A new revolutionary spirit will enter the movement. We are on the eve of major strides by the working class towards organizing itself as a militant class, independent of the capitalists and in struggle against them. This is the absolutely necessary preparatory work for the socialist revolution.

The Revolutionary Perspective for 1983

This perspective shows that the class conscious workers and activists must devote themselves to revolutionary work to prepare for the great class battles to come. We cannot simply sit back and wait for the situation to mature by itself. How soon the workers' movement will find the right path and which class will be able to make use of the big clashes ahead depends to a large extent on the work that is done right now. The successes of the second half of the 1930's were the result of the painstaking work of the communists and class conscious workers all through the 1920's and the early 1930's.

As Lenin teaches us, "The long period during which the proletarian forces were prepared, trained and organized preceded those actions of hundreds of thousands of workers which dealt a mortal blow to the old autocracy in Russia. The sustained and imperceptible work of guiding all the manifestations of the proletarian class struggle, the work of building a strong and seasoned party preceded the outbreak of the truly mass struggle and provided the conditions necessary for turning that outbreak into a revolution. And now the proletariat, as the people 's fighting vanguard, must strengthen its organization, scrape off all the green mold of intellectualist opportunism, and gather its forces for a similar sustained and stubborn effort.'' ("Revolution and Counter- Revolution," 1907, Collected Works, Vol. 13, pp. 119-20)

This means that the class conscious workers and activists must set out with renewed determination on the path of building up the independent movement of the working class. This requires that the proletariat throw itself into the mass struggle against Reagan- ism and reaction. It requires that the advanced elements dedicate themselves to the "sustained and imperceptible" work of building up the organization of the working class, work which is often invisible on the surface but which provides the solid foundation for any advance of the working masses. And it requires that revolutionary literature be circulated and the principles of Marxism-Leninism be studied.

Rally Around the Proletarian Party

This is precisely the work that the Marxist-Leninist Party has been doing. As Lenin stressed repeatedly, it is the revolutionary proletarian party that is the highest form of class organization of the workers. There can be no lasting victories in the workers' movement of each country unless these advances are linked up with the building and strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist proletarian party.

In 1982 the Marxist-Leninist Party set an example of how to carry out coordinated work on all the different fronts of the class struggle so as to utilize them to build the independent movement of the working class. It showed how revolutionary work could be done in the present difficult period of relative lull so as to prepare the working masses for the great clashes ahead.

Thus throughout 1982 the Marxist-Leninist Party fought vigorously against the brutal concessions drive of the capitalists. The most dramatic example of this was the Party's sustained work against the concessions being rammed down the auto workers' throats. But also in steel, in electrical, in factory after factory, the communist militants of the Party fought perseveringly to rally the workers to defend their class interests. The Marxist-Leninist Party fought not to win a place for itself in the labor bureaucracy, but to win the workers to stand up on their own and fight the alliance of the exploiters and the labor bosses.

This is precisely the work that must be continued into 1983. The struggle against the capitalist offensive at the work places is essential for raising the fighting spirit of the proletariat and rallying them as a class. It is part of the work of entrenching the proletarian party in the work places, right in the heart of the working masses.

The Marxist-Leninist Party also played a vigorous role in the anti-imperialist movement in 1982. The MLP took part in the mass actions and set forth the anti-imperialist perspective. The Party showed how to unite with the progressive sentiment of the broad masses of people coming forward to protest against imperialist war preparations, while simultaneously exposing the fraud of the "nuclear freeze" advocates who want to reconcile the masses to imperialism.

It is precisely this work that must be continued into 1983. The movement against imperialist war preparations will continue to be one of the main fronts of mass action. There will continue to be sharp clashes between the advocates of subordinating the movement to the Democratic Party and the liberal imperialists, and the supporters of anti-imperialist struggle. The outcome of these clashes will determine whether the movement against war preparations plays its role for arousing wide sections of the masses against U.S. imperialism or whether it is diverted into a dead end and frittered away.

The Marxist-Leninist Party worked hard in 1982 to imbue the working masses with the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism. The Party paid attention to ensuring that all its agitation had a militant and genuinely revolutionary character. As well, the Party waged special campaigns to popularize socialist revolution as the goal of the workers' movement. The celebrations for May Day were used to put forward the perspective of socialism in the struggle against Reaganism. And the campaign to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks spoke to the questions on the the minds of the masses on the way forward out of the capitalist hell.

It is precisely this work that must be continued into 1983. As we have shown, it was abandonment of the Marxist-Leninist principles that led to the loss of various of the fruits of the mass struggles of the 1930's. Browderite revisionism trampled on the Marxist-Leninist ideology and sought to tie the working class to the tail of the Roosevelt coalition of the Democratic Party. This shows that to ensure the political independence of the working class in the coming class battles, we must firmly uphold Marxism-Leninism and oppose today's Browderite revisionists, the liquidators. The liquidators, including the revisionists of various types and the trotskyites, are preaching that the workers must abandon (liquidate) their work to build an independent class movement and instead rely on the bourgeois liberals, the trade union hacks and this or that faction of the Democratic Party. This gives special importance to the slogan of "Back to the Classics of Marxism-Leninism" that the Party has issued for the coming year. This is part of the work Lenin talked about of "scraping off all the green mold of intellectualist opportunism'' from the workers' movement in order to gather together the proletariat into a powerful fighting force.

There were other important fronts of work of the Party in 1982 as well, fronts that must be carried forward into the new year. This includes the Party's work in the anti-racist movement. It includes the internal organizational work of the Party. It includes the Party's active role in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. And so forth. But this brief review suffices to indicate the vast panorama of the work of the Party in 1982. It shows that building the Party is a central task for carrying out the fight against Reaganite reaction.

Forward in the Class Struggle

It is in difficult times that the mettle of a class is proven. Today the working class faces severe hardships and sacrifices in its struggle against the savage capitalist offensive. But it is for just this reason that the proletariat will gird itself for battle and rise to new political life. It is for just this reason that big class conflicts lie ahead, in which the working class will rejuvenate itself and step forward as the leader of all the working people in the fight against capitalist slavery.

These times have also provided a real test for all those political groups and trends claiming to represent the interests of the working class. As Lenin pointed out, who is and who is not a revolutionary is demonstrated not only at the hour of insurrection, but even more so in those times when the truly mass, really revolutionary struggle has not yet broken out. He wrote that: "It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already broken out and is at its height, when everybody is joining the revolution just because they are carried away, because it is the fashion, and sometimes even out of careerist motives. After its victory, the proletariat has to make most strenuous efforts, to suffer the pains of martyrdom, one might say, to 'liberate' itself from such pseudo-revolutionaries. It is far more difficult -- and of far greater value -- to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist.... " ("Left-Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder, Ch. X) The true revolutionary utilizes these times to train and organize the proletarian forces and to inspire a revolutionary spirit.

Three years have elapsed since the Marxist-Leninist Party was founded on January 1, 1980. In those years, when every liquidationist group has set about lecturing the workers that conditions are too difficult to fight, when they are preaching to the workers to "wait and see," when they are abandoning the pretext of work among the proletariat in favor of seeking cozy positions in the labor bureaucracy and liberal circles, it is the MLP that has upheld the banner of struggle. It is the MLP that has stood by the workers' side through thick and thin in the fight against the Reaganite offensive. It is the MLP which has painstakingly worked to show the workers, through their own experience, the necessity of building their independent class movement, and the way to avoid the obstacles and roadblocks in the movement.

The MLP has thus passed the test of 1980-82 with honor and shown that it is worthy of the name of a Marxist-Leninist proletarian party. More trials and tribulations stand ahead for the working class and its Party in the future. And the great class battles that are approaching will determine the political situation for years to come. It is time for all class conscious workers and revolutionary activists to rally around the MLP so as to provide a powerful guiding center for the working class movement. It is time for all working people to throw themselves into the battle against the Reaganite capitalist offensive. Forward into the new year under the red banners of class struggle and revolutionary Marxism-Leninism!

[Photos: In the anti-Reagan movement; In battle against concessions, layoffs and overwork.

Left:

1. 12,000 workers rallied in Olympia, Washington on January 20, 1982 to denounce Reaganomics. The Seattle Branch of the MLP mobilized a contingent in this rally, carrying banners and shouting slogans calling for struggle against Reaganite reaction. The Party denounced the strikebreaking role of the AFL-CIO bureaucrats in the fight against Reaganism. At this rally the bureaucrats did not call for struggle but for "an effective partnership of labor, business and government."

2. Scene from May Day demonstration organized by the MLP in New York. The Party's campaign to celebrate International Workers' Day set forth the program of building the independent movement of the working class as the real opposition to the capitalist offensive headed by Reagan.

3. A banner used by the San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the Party in its work to denounce the capitalist elections circus. Throughout the year, the MLP exposed the continued honeymoon of the Democrats with Reagan and unmasked the attempts by the labor bureaucrats and social-democrats to push the lie that the Democratic Party is some kind of alternative to Reaganism.

Above:

1. 300 auto workers outside a UAW meeting at Detroit's Cobo Hall on February 20 demonstrate against a concessions contract worked out by Ford and the UAW hacks. In 1982, the auto monopolists of the Big 3 and the UAW bureaucrats worked hand in hand to ram concessions down the workers' throats. The sentiment to fight concessions was manifested in demonstrations at all three companies, rejections of the first contracts at GM and Chrysler, wildcats at Chrysler,and the warm receptiveness to the work of the MLP. The Party worked untiringly to organize the battles against concessions, spreading thousands of leaflets and stickers, organizing pickets, speaking at union meetings, and so forth.

2. The Big 8 steel monopolies and the USW bureaucrats began a campaign to impose concessions at steel. This provoked great outrage among the steel workers, and the MLP plunged into the thick of this struggle. As a result of the resistance of the workers, various attempts to impose concessions were defeated. The Party has continued to call for vigilance against further attempts on this front. Photo shows MLP supporters distributing leaflets against concessions at Inland Steel in East Chicago, Indiana on July 22.

3. Some examples of leaflets put out by the local branches of the MLP to organize the economic struggle of the workers. Beneath the Party's central organ, The Workers' Advocate, stands a wide network of agitation and propaganda extending deep among the working masses nationwide. Local leaflets are part of this network which is used to build the independent movement of the workers. The Party does not limit its work among the workers to just the economic struggle but agitates among the workers on ail political questions and organizes the workers to take their place at the center of all the mass movements.

Some of the articles published in The Workers' Advocate during 1982 on the economic struggle. The Party fights hard against the concessions drive and the entire "reindustrialization" offensive of the capitalists, encourages every struggle of the workers, exposes the treachery of the labor bureaucrats, and strives to organize the workers independent of the union hacks.]

[Photos: In struggle against the Reaganite racist offensive

In struggle against social-democracy and liquidationism.

1. 1982 saw the emergence of a mass movement in support of Haitian refugees whom the Reagan administration was detaining in concentration camps. This movement and the mass actions of the refugees in the camps forced the government to release many of them. Photo shows a demonstration of 400 in Boston in support of the Haitian refugees, February 20. The MLP banner on the right reads: "Down with racist persecution of the Haitian refugees!"

2. The government tried again last year to organize demonstrations of the racist Ku Klux Klan and the nazis, but these were smashed up repeatedly. On October 16, the masses in Boston, 2,500 strong, smashed the Klan's attempt to hold a rally. On November 27, thousands fought back against the police in Washington, D.C. who protected the Klan and attacked anti-Klan demonstrators. Militants of the MLP were in the thick of both these actions. Photo shows demonstrators in Washington, D.C. confronting the police.

3. Some examples of agitation put out by the MLP to organize the struggle against the racist and fascist offensive.]

[Photos: Some of the polemics published by the MLP in the ideological struggle against social-democracy and liquidationism. The social-democrats and the revisionist and trotskyite liquidators are saboteurs of the revolutionary movement and seek to tie the working masses to the coattails of the Democratic Party of monopoly capital. On a series of popular issues related to the working class movement, the anti-imperialist struggle, etc., the Party exposed the treachery of the opportunists. The MLP continued its unrelenting exposure and denunciation of Soviet and Chinese revisionism and fought against the reconciliationist waltz of various of the liquidators with Soviet revisionism. Through this literature, the MLP emphasized the importance of upholding the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism, the only compass of the revolutionary struggle.]

[Photos: A loyal contingent of the international Marxist-Leninist movement--The socialist revolution is the goal of the workers' struggle. The MLP is a steadfast contingent of the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement. There are many facets of the proletarian internationalist work of the Party in 1982. The MLP resolutely exposed the imperialism of "our own" U.S. bourgeoisie, worked to instill the international perspective in the working class, informed the workers of the heroic struggles of the workers and peasants of other countries, and strove to develop strong bonds of international solidarity and cooperation among the workers of the world. At the core of this internationalist work stood the Party's active work to strengthen the international Marxist- Leninist movement. Through the pages of The Workers' Advocate, the MLP popularized the accomplishments of the Marxist-Leninist parties of other countries. The MLP supported living socialism in Albania, the only socialist country in the world today. The MLP also spoke to the controversial issues in the international Marxist-Leninist movement and fought various deviations. The MLP popularized the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties against liquidationist and social-democratic currents in their countries. The MLP gave its assessment of the public polemic on work in the antiwar movement between two Marxist-Leninist parties in Western Europe. And the MLP exposed and condemned the international factionalist activities and the Maoist and nationalist deviations of the leaderships of the CP of Canada (M-L) and the RCP of Britain (ML).]

[Photos: A section of one of the Party's May Day demonstrations marching through a working class neighborhood in New York City. The Party organized a big campaign for May Day 1982 under the slogans: All Out Against Reagan!, Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class! The campaign held high the banners of revolutionary struggle, the international solidarity of the workers and the socialist revolution. A special issue of The Workers' Advocate was widely distributed in the factories, schools and communities, and in various demonstrations in the spring. Demonstrations were held in Chicago and New York, and meetings were organized in these cities as well as in Boston, Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Philadelphia.

In the fall, the MLP launched a major campaign to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the 38th anniversary of the liberation of socialist Albania. Through this campaign, the Party pointed out that it is the socialist revolution which is the way out of the capitalist hell. The workers and revolutionary activists were urged to follow the path of V.I. Lenin, the brilliant strategist of the October Socialist Revolution. During this campaign, 50,000 copies of a special issue of The Workers' Advocate were distributed and meetings were held in cities across the country. At these events, speakers pointed out the contemporary lessons of the October Revolution and the revolutionary film October was shown. The Party also carried out a study program of works by Lenin and Stalin on the October Revolution and the essentials of Leninism.]

[Photo: In the fight against imperialism and war preparations.

1. On June 12 nearly a million people poured into the streets in New York and other cities in the biggest protests ever held here against the U.S. nuclear weapons buildup. The MLP took an active part in these actions, distributing over 75,000 copies of a special bulletin of The Workers' Advocate. Photo shows a scene from the demonstration in New York in which 750,000 marched through Manhattan.

2. In 1982 the Reagan administration began to indict and convict young men who have refused to register for the draft. This marked another step towards the draft. The Party took part in actions organized against these outrages and sought to orient the anti-draft sentiment towards targeting militarism and imperialism. Photo shows Party comrades at an anti-draft rally outside the armed forces induction center in Detroit on July 27.

3. Some examples of the MLP's agitation against imperialism and war preparations.

4. In 1982 the crimes of the U.S.-backed Israeli aggressors and the fascist Phalange in Lebanon outraged the entire world. Here in the U.S. thousands repeatedly took to the streets to protest the war. The MLP took an active part in these actions and called for resolute struggle against U.S. imperialism and Zionism. Photo shows the MLP contingent in a demonstration of 700 in San Francisco, September 11.

5. 300 people marching in Dearborn, Michigan on May 15, Palestine Day. The MLP distributed a leaflet at this march condemning the Israeli Zionists' annexationist policies and hailing the upsurge of the Palestinian people that had broken out in the West Bank and Gaza last spring. Dearborn saw further actions against the Zionists during the war in Lebanon.

6. In March, the U.S. organized an elections farce in El Salvador to give a "democratic" paint job to the fascist military dictatorship. Coinciding with these elections, on March 27-78, a series of demonstrations were organized across the U.S. in which tens of thousands denounced U.S. intervention and condemned the elections fraud. The MLP put out a special issue of The Workers' Advocate for distribution at these actions and mobilized vigorous anti-imperialist contingents which helped to give the protests a militant character. Photo shows the contingent mobilized at the demonstration of 30,000 in Washington, D.C. by the MLP, the Caribbean Progressive Study Group (New York), the Union of Anti-Imperialist Students (Buffalo) and the New York group of the Communist Party of Labor of the Dominican Republic.]


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United front tactics are on essential tool of the proletarian party

-Introduction-

 

This year, 1983, the Marxist-Leninist Party is putting forward the slogan "BACK TO THE CLASSICS OF MARXISM-LENINISM!" This expresses the truth that the revolutionary struggle must be guided by an integral, consistent theory and that this theory is Marxism-Leninism.

Marxism-Leninism teaches the working class to build its own political party, separate from and opposed to all capitalist parties. It is the first principle of Marxism-Leninism that class conscious workers and activists should dedicate themselves to building the proletarian party, to extending the party's links with the masses, and to making it into the guiding center for the whole revolutionary movement.

Marxism-Leninism teaches that this party must be built in the thick of the class struggle. It must win the trust and allegiance of the majority of the working class through leading the proletarians in struggle against the class enemy. United front tactics are an essential tool of the party in carrying out this task.

Some time ago our Party began a detailed study of the question of the united front. This study includes examining the basic principles of the united front as elaborated in the Marxist-Leninist classics and at the Congresses of the Third (Communist) International, looking at the experience of the working class movement in various countries, and so forth. This year The Workers' Advocatewill carry a series of articles on this important topic.

Against Liquidationist Distortions of the United Front

Why has our Party picked the present time to begin this series of articles?

First of all, the question of the united front is one of the key issues in the fight against liquidationism in the theoretical sphere. The various revisionist and trotskyite trends in the U.S. are all in positions of out-and-out liquidationism. They claim to be "Marxist-Leninists," but they are really just liberal-labor politicians. They fight to obliterate (liquidate) any independent class organization of the workers, and they are working as hard as they can to merge with social-democracy and the labor bureaucrats in the "left" wing of the Democratic Party of monopoly capital. The Maoists have for some time joined the pro-Soviet revisionists in their mad chase after the social-democrats. Renegacy is all the rage in the Maoist circles, which are busy renouncing their revolutionary-sounding vows of the past and mocking at party-building, the revolutionary perspective, and the authority of Leninism.

Of course, liquidationism did not emerge simply because someone made a theoretical error. It stems, instead, from the disgusting renegacy of those who are renouncing the revolution in favor of cozying up to the bourgeois liberals and the labor bureaucrats. Nevertheless, liquidationism brings forth a series of pseudo-theoretical arguments to justify its renegacy, its renunciation of the revolution and of party-building. Dancing and leaping about the "united front" and "united front tactics" occupies a central place in this yellow arsenal of the reformists and liquidators.

 

The Marxist-Leninists call for a united front of the working class against the class enemy. The liquidators, however, distort the very idea of the united front and turn it into its opposite, calling for unity with the bourgeoisie against the revolutionaries. In the U.S., this is the policy of Browderite revisionism, which calls for the workers' movement to be subordinated to the "left" wing of the Democratic Party, to what used to be called the "Rooseveltian coalition" of the Democratic Party. The liquidators justify this as "united front tactics," just as Browder did. However, as we shall see in this series of articles, this coalition with the bourgeoisie is the very antithesis of Marxism. Moreover, from the outset the elaborations of Marxist-Leninist united front tactics by the Communist International explicitly condemned this policy of coalition with the bourgeoisie and put forward the true united front as the tool whose very purpose was to break up the coalition with the bourgeoisie imposed on the working class by the reformists.

The liquidators of today have taken to mocking at the very idea of working wholeheartedly to build a revolutionary party, the Leninist party of the working class. Why spend time building a party of a "handful," they sneer, when there are millions and millions of workers. The liquidator doesn't say that he has sold out. Oh no. He just says that he has become "realistic." He now "realizes" that there is currently no basis for a revolutionary party, not in his estimation anyway. And luckily, just as he realized this, he discovered that there was more to Marxism-Leninism than this nasty, annoying work of building a party. Why, there is the "united front." With typical liquidator arithmetic, he judges that he becomes the leader of millions upon millions of people as soon as he denounces the party and manages to worm his way into the confidence of the labor bureaucrats or the bourgeois liberals.

He has not sold out to the labor bosses. Oh no! He has become the leader of the millions upon millions of workers in the AFL-CIO. Just add up their numbers! He has not sold out to the Democratic Party. Oh no! He has become the leader of those millions upon millions of workers who still have illusions in the capitalist parties. Just add up their numbers. It is just a minor detail, hardly worth mentioning, that he is only allowed to "lead" these millions and to hold his cozy positions so long as he reads the cue cards that the bourgeoisie holds up in front of him.

The true united front tactics have nothing to do with liquidator arithmetic. They are the tool of communist militants to extend the links of the party and to inspire the masses with the spirit of class struggle. He who has renounced the class struggle and the revolution can know nothing of the true meaning of the united front. All he can know is how to toady to the powers that be. He who has renounced the dedicated work to build up the party of the class conscious vanguard can know nothing of the true meaning of the united front. All he can know is how to flow with the stream of fashionable liberal hand-wringing.

The liquidator arithmetic is simply their screen to mask their renunciation of the revolution. Here is how Lenin, in the middle of the period of disorganization of the world working class movement caused by the treachery of the social-chauvinist leaders in supporting "their own" bourgeoisies in World War I, replied to those who wrung their hands and said, oh, the true internationalists and enemies of social-chauvinism are so small in number, how can they split with the social-chauvinists and still be effective? Here is how Lenin answered the question of who really represented the toiling masses.

Lenin pointed to the number of revolutionaries ten years before the French revolution of the end of the 18th century that smashed feudalism and to the situation in Russia a mere five years before the powerful revolutionary rising of 1905 that was a dress rehearsal for the overthrow of the tsar in the February Revolution of 1917 and for the epoch- making socialist revolution of October 1917. He wrote:

"The genuine revolutionary internationalists are numerically weak? Nonsense! Take France in 1780, or Russia in 1900. The politically-conscious and determined revolutionaries, who in France represented the bourgeoisie -- the revolutionary class of that era -- and in Russia today's revolutionary class -- the proletariat, were extremely weak numerically. They were only a few, comprising at the most only 1/10,000, or even 1/100,000 of their class. Several years later, however, these few, this allegedly negligible minority, led the masses, millions and tens of millions of people. Why? Because this minority really represented the interests of thesemasses, because it believed in the coming revolution, because it was prepared to serve it with supreme devotion.''("An Open Letter to Boris Souvarine," Collected Works, Vol. 23, pp. 199-200, emphasis added)

Is this how the liquidators have presented the question of numbers? Of course not. They whine about numbers because they have no faith in the proletariat or the revolution. Only those who really represent the interests of the masses, who believe in the revolutionary mission of the working class, and who are prepared to serve the proletarian revolution with supreme devotion, can understand the united front tactics and use them to inspire the proletariat with faith in its ability to fight the bourgeoisie and with the burning desire to unite as a revolutionary class.

We Must Deepen Our Mastery of the Marxist-Leninist Tactics

But there is yet another reason to study the theory of the united front, a reason that is, in the long run, even more important than simply refuting the absurdities of the liquidators. We must study the united front tactics in order to understand the basis for the tactics used today by our Party in strikes, in anti-war demonstrations, in building anti-imperialist organization, and in the mass movement generally.

Our Party has worked hard to develop its tactics. Just because these tactics are so well-adapted to the present situation and work so well, it is possible to simply think of them as "natural" and "obvious" and to lose sight of the difficulties that the Party went through in formulating them and still goes through in applying them. For example, the tactic of putting anti-imperialism in the forefront of the struggle against U.S. war preparations is so natural that it is easy to think: "Why strain to deduce this tactic from the application of general principles to the concrete situation? Why make an easy thing complex? This tactic is obvious."

But communist tactics, unlike reformist ones, require a high level of consciousness from every militant and supporter of the Party. The more one grasps the basis of the Party's tactics, the better one can implement them.

Moreover, as the mass movement develops, new situations will arise. It will be necessary to think through new problems and to find one's bearings in unfamiliar situations. A study of the principles of Marxist-Leninist tactics and of the experience of the working class movement of various countries helps give a broad perspective on the problems in the domestic movement, a sense of revolutionary sweep, and the ability to judge new questions more easily.

What to Expect From the Study of United Front Tactics

Thus it is easy to see the importance of the study of the question of the united front. But, the question arises, what can one expect as a result of this study?

Those who expect to find a magic key to unlock all doors will be disappointed. The principles behind the united front tactics cannot be reduced to a few cut-and-dried formulas that answer in themselves all the difficult tactical questions of the movement. The solution of these questions requires a careful and mature estimation of the concrete circumstances, and it requires the constant comparison of revolutionary theory with the results of revolutionary practice. But the study of the theory behind the united front can provide invaluable help in showing what the various possibilities are, what the historic pitfalls have been, and in indicating what are the correct questions to ask in studying the concrete situation.

As well, the phrase "the united front" cannot, by itself, transform the situation. Take, for example, the question of the pace of building mass organization and of the numerical growth of the various organized forces of the revolution. This depends on a number of factors such as the following: the degree of ferment among the toiling masses; the savage opposition by the bourgeoisie and its lackeys, the opportunists; the steady work of our Party; etc. During the last period of time, the heart of the work towards building broad mass organizations has been the protracted work of building various types of organized links with the masses, from party units to literature distribution networks and study groups and on to various mass organizations of modest size. It is impossible to shortcut the protracted and continuous organizational, political and ideological work that is necessary and to change the degree of ferment among the masses by simply declaring that one is using "united front tactics" or by declaring on paper that one has a "mass organization." On the contrary, the Marxist-Leninist theory of the united front tactics shows the necessity of the protracted and sustained work of the Party, and it helps inspire confidence in our Party's assessment of the role of the various factors that affect the winning over of the proletariat.

The phrase "the united front" may not have the magical powers sought by the demoralized liquidators, but the study of the united front provides the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary with a theoretical treasure chest. It provides one with the Marxist-Leninist summation of the experience of various periods of the world working class movement. It provides one with a framework to discuss the problems of tactics. It provides models of revolutionary tactics from the past. It provides one with the history of the shocking betrayals by the reformists. And these things are of great value. Sometimes it is possible to get bogged down by the immense load of work that falls on the shoulders of the Leninist revolutionary. The study of the Marxist-Leninist theory of the united front helps show one what place one's work has in the overall revolutionary scheme of things and thus is a valuable source of broad revolutionary sweep.

Our Party Has Made Use of United Front Tactics From Its Birth

Our Party has always made use of united front tactics, right from the birth of our first direct predecessor, the American Communist Workers Movement (M-L), in May 1969. We have consistently held that the Party is built in the flames of the class struggle and have sought to unite the working masses in the fight against the class enemy. Over the years our tactics have become more refined, but the basic spirit has been present from the start. Today, when we are carrying out a deep study of the theory behind and the history of the united front tactics, this is not to overthrow our tactics of the last few years, but to hold fast to them and continue to develop them creatively under the various changing conditions that arise.

Our use of united front tactics can be seen in the work of the Party on various fronts. Take, for example, the question of the economic struggle and of strikes. Our Party has avoided the sectarian stand of denouncing the strike movement because it is not pure but under the leadership of reactionary labor bureaucrats. Instead we have united with the rank-and-file workers, shared weal and woe with them, and sought to raise the fighting spirit and enthusiasm of the working class. We have carried out a forceful exposure of the labor bureaucrats on the basis of their sabotage of the ongoing struggle, on the basis of uniting with the militant actions of the working masses.

This use of united front tactics has been quite successful and won our Party the respect of militant workers.

Or again, our Party has made extensive use of united front tactics in anti-war demonstrations. While putting forward the whole truth to the masses about the need for socialist revolution to eliminate the war danger, we have at the same time carefully gauged the level of consciousness of the masses. Our Party's tactic of putting anti-imperialism in the forefront of the struggle against the U.S. war preparations has been well designed to unite with the masses coming up in struggle, to help them break the coalition with the bourgeoisie imposed on them by the reformists and instead form a militant front against the warmongers, and to encourage the building of anti-imperialist organization.

Here too we have met with success in our use of the united front tactics. Our skillful and principled use of slogans adapted to the present stage of the movement, and in particular adapted to moving the movement forward step by step, has met with the approval of the masses at demonstrations and elsewhere. We have united with the anti-militarist masses, taken full part in the militant actions and demonstrations, encouraged the enthusiasm of the masses, and done effective work in favor of the anti-imperialist stand. Thus, when the opportunist servants of the Democratic Party have striven desperately at the demonstrations to suppress anti-imperialist banners and militant slogans of our Party, they have been frustrated by the support of the masses for our Party's stand.

Generally speaking, when the comrades of our Party discuss our plans for these or other fronts of work, we don't talk about united front tactics. Instead we talk of the level of the class struggle, the level of the ferment among the masses, the maneuvers of the opportunists to stifle the mass struggle, and so forth. We discuss how to unite the masses to strike a blow at the class enemy. In short, we discuss the issues involved in united front tactics, without using the name "united front," just as a person who writes leaflets writes in prose without saying to himself: "I am going to write a leaflet in prose." Generally speaking, it would not add anything to the discussion of the work to pepper it liberally with phrases about the united front. Yet united front tactics come up pervasively throughout the entire work of our Party in the mass movement.

Uphold the Marxist-Leninist Teachings on United Front Tactics

The united front tactic was a component part of Marxism right from the start, although it wasn't called by that name. Marx not only developed the theory of scientific socialism, worked for the building of the proletarian party, and so forth, but he also gave a model of flexible and principled tactics, both with regard to uniting the working class and with regard to the relationship of the working class to the other forces in the revolution.

But the term "the united front" only came into general use following World War I. During World War I, the betrayal of the majority of the leaders of the Second International, who became social-chauvinists who supported "their own" bourgeoisie in the inter-imperialist slaughter, created a split in the world working class movement. On one side were the social-chauvinists and their centrist hangers-on, and on the other side were the revolutionary workers. The social-chauvinists formed a coalition with "their own" bourgeoisies against the proletarian masses.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks led the revolutionary internationalists of the world to separate from the opportunists and form new, revolutionary parties of the working class. He showed how the social-chauvinist betrayal was the result of the long corrosion of opportunism inside the old, Second International. At this time, the term "social-democrat" was left to the opportunists and reformists, while the revolutionary workers now called themselves communists.

But the new revolutionary parties faced the task of winning over the majority of the working class. In order to overcome the split in the working class caused by the social- democratic betrayal there had to be a careful elaboration and further refinement of united front tactics. As well, in the aftermath of the social-democratic betrayal, many confused ideas abounded in the world working class movement. Those who were disgusted by the social-chauvinism of the social-democrats often had still to sort through various questions. There was the need to root out thoroughly social-democratic traditions and inbred opportunist habits that were carried over from the old, social-democratic parties. This required a protracted and sustained effort aimed at Bolshevizing the new parties. As well, there was the need to rectify the various "leftist" deviations that often came from one-sided summations of where the error of the social-democrats lay.

This called for, among other things, reiterating the basic Marxist tactics and strategy and for popularizing the new, further development of Marxism, the theory and practice of Leninism, of Bolshevism. In the course of this work, the phrase "united front tactics" was brought into use and became a powerful tool.

In examining the tactic of the united front, we will make a special study of the theses and experience of the Communist International (Cl). The work of the Communist International is of lasting value and shows the practical application of Bolshevism. It is extremely valuable to study the work of the CI as a whole, as it develops over the years, in order to see how the CI applies the united front in a number of changing circumstances. This is because the united front tactic is not a stereotyped formula, but has to be creatively applied according to the concrete circumstances.

The various World Congresses of the CI provide rich material for the study of the united front.

The Second Congress of the CI, for example, in 1920, put forward important principles underlying what was later called the anti-imperialist united front. The united front is of importance not just with respect to uniting the working class, but it also is important with respect to the national liberation movement in the oppressed countries and with respect to the task of uniting the toilers around the proletariat in the capitalist countries. Lenin's famous theses on the national and colonial questions put forward at the Second Congress of the CI remain extremely timely today in evaluating the current world situation.

The Third Congress of the CI in 1921 put forward important theses on communist tactics in winning the majority of the working class.

The Fourth Congress of the CI in 1922 put forward the general call to apply "united front tactics," reaffirmed the theses on tactics from the Third Congress, and elaborated the general principles of the united front.

The Fifth Congress of the CI in 1924 also had an important discussion of united front tactics and dealt with the rectification of certain rightist deviations on this question that had been manifested since the Fourth Congress.

The Sixth Congress of the CI in 1928 is also important in the study of the united front. Among other things, it dealt with such important topics as the necessity to fight against the "left" social-democratic currents of that time, the nature of the partial demands that should be put forward, the question of the transitional program, and the role of the national-reformist currents in the national liberation movement.

The Seventh Congress of the CI in 1935, as is well known, discussed the changes in the united front policy that were needed for a vigorous fight against the fascist offensive and to deal with the new alignments inside the working class movement.

Besides the World Congresses of the CI, it is also valuable to study the experience of the communist parties in the various countries as they applied the united front tactics. This provides vivid concrete examples of the accomplishments and pitfalls in the application of these methods.

Furthermore, in subsequent articles we will also deal with the evolution of social-democracy over these years. We will see that the social-democratic leaders played a dirty role in helping the fascists to take power. This refutes the liquidator distortion of the united front tactics which holds that the reformists and social-democratic leaders aren't really that bad, that, down below, they are in favor of struggle for the basic interests of the working class. On the contrary, the struggle to win over the working people under the influence of social-democracy and reformism does not imply in the least any reconciliation with the opportunist servants of the bourgeoisie. This lesson of the struggle against social-democracy, or old-style revisionism, is applicable to our struggle today against the various currents of modern revisionism and Trotskyism.

This gives an idea of some of the topics that we will cover in the subsequent articles in this series.


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On the path forward for the Palestinian liberation movement

The war in Lebanon has created a new and difficult situation for the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people. The savage invasion of Lebanon by U.S.-backed Israeli zionism has inflicted a serious blow to the Palestinian movement and the toiling masses of Lebanon. With the help of the Israeli occupation and thousands of imperialist troops from the U.S., France and Italy, a fascist government of the Phalange is being consolidated today in Lebanon. Thousands of Palestinian fighters have been forced to withdraw and dispersed among various Arab countries. Thousands of others languish in the prison camps of the Israeli and Lebanese governments. The Palestinian refugee masses in Beirut and southern Lebanon have thus been left defenseless, disorganized and cut off from their active elements. Thus, in all the areas with the largest concentrations of Palestinians -- the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon -- the Palestinian national movement cannot operate openly among the masses.

The events of 1982 clearly signify that a major turning point has arrived for the Palestinian struggle. Of course, the Palestinians will rebound from this setback. Their history has repeatedly confirmed the resilience of this small but heroic people and their fighting spirit is still being shown every day with courageous acts of resistance on the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The question facing the Palestinian people is therefore not whether they will rebound. Rather, it is the question of what strategy and tactics must the movement adopt to organize the future onslaught of the struggle. The war in Lebanon has brought into question many issues of the strategy and tactics of the movement during its last phase. Today, wherever there are activists and sympathizers of the Palestinian liberation struggle, a discussion has already begun on the lessons of the past and the path forward. This article has been written as a contribution to this discussion.

Today imperialism recognizes that while the Palestinian movement has had a setback, it is not crushed. Therefore it seeks to prevent the Palestinians from taking up the tasks required for rebuilding their revolutionary struggle. On the one hand, it continues with its unabated support for the Israeli Zionists. On the other hand, it also sponsors so-called peace plans, with the help of the Arab governments, to entice the Palestinian movement towards capitulation. These days the biggest noise is being made about the Reagan "peace plan." This holds out an empty promise of "restoring Palestinian rights" through an accord between Israel and Arab reaction, especially the Jordanian monarchy.

The leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization is trying to cover over the difficult situation with official declarations of false optimism. Thus, they have even hailed the retreat from Beirut as a great victory for the movement. It is true that the Palestinians fought heroically in Beirut and southern Lebanon. Everyone knows this was a much more powerful resistance than that usually put up by the regular Arab armies during previous wars with Israel. But facts must be looked in the face, and it cannot be denied that the retreat from Beirut was a setback. Behind their false proclamations of victory the PLO leaders are showing their desire for a general accommodation with imperialism and zionist Israel.

This was exemplified in mid-October by Yasir Arafat's trip to Jordan. He met there with King Hussein, the notorious organizer of the Black September massacre of the Palestinians in 1970 and a key point-man for U.S. imperialism in the region. During this visit, Arafat agreed to the idea of a federation between a proposed Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

This is a serious step backwards. For years, the Palestinian movement maintained a fairly strong stand against the Jordanian regime and in fact directly rejected Hussein's earlier proposals for a "United Arab Kingdom." This stand was completely justified. The Jordanian regime is a militarist state which is a key outpost of U.S. imperialism. It is propped up by U.S. and Saudi aid. A Palestinian political entity associated with such a regime would be a heavy straitjacket on any attempts to develop the struggle against Israeli zionism and it would suppress any attempts by the toilers to fight for their class interests against the exploiters.

This capitulationist stand of the PLO leadership highlights the bankruptcy of national-reformism. But this stand has not emerged out of nowhere. Its roots lie in the historical development of this leadership, and particularly in the national-reformist policy it has increasingly followed for the last nine years.

The present leadership of the PLO is made up predominantly of the leaders of the armed resistance organizations that emerged in the 1960's, such as Fateh, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and its offshoots, etc. These groups were initiated by the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia. In the 1960's, they followed a policy which was marked generally by national-revolutionary features, albeit with weaknesses of various kinds.

The main features of this national-revolutionary policy included: recognition that the enemy of the Palestinian people was not just zionism but also its imperialist backers, especially U.S. imperialism; proclamation that the goal of the struggle was the overthrow of the racist and theocratic zionist state of Israel and its replacement by a democratic and secular Palestine; recognition that the struggle required revolutionary methods of fighting, including the armed struggle and the mobilization of the masses; recognition of the need to improve the social and economic position of the toilers; and, replacement of the narrow nationalist stand of the voices of Arab reaction with attempts to link up with the Jewish working masses in Israel.

As a result of these policies, the guerrilla organizations succeeded in emerging as a big threat to the imperialists and Zionists and won the wide backing of the vast majority of the Palestinian masses. They received the support of revolutionary and progressive people worldwide.

However, with the October 1973 war in the Middle East, there was a turn in the general policy of the leadership of the Palestinian movement. Various weaknesses towards national-reformism which had existed all along now came to the fore. A euphoric assessment of the political situation in the Middle East was made, and on the basis of that assessment the Palestinian movement was asked to adopt the path of "realism."

The "realism" advocated by the national-reformist policy centered around shunting aside the goal of the overthrow of the zionist state in favor of a "mini-state" on some part of the occupied territories. Liberation of a part of Palestine in the course of struggle would be one thing. But, despite the claims of the PLO leaders that a mini-state would be used as a springboard to carry on the revolutionary struggle, it in fact became the highest aim of their strategy. In addition, the national-reformist turn included toning down the opposition to imperialism in favor of preaching illusions that such a mini-state could be achieved peacefully, through the wheelings and dealings between the Arab regimes and the big powers, and subordination of mass mobilization and militant methods of struggle to the overall reformist strategy. Whatever heroic armed actions were organized were simply looked upon by the PLO leadership as methods to put pressure towards achieving a reformist compromise. In the absence of an overall revolutionary orientation, these became, in the main, isolated and diffuse acts. This, in effect, amounted to a policy of "national-reformism with guns."

But despite the national-reformist policy of the PLO leadership, their illusions about a "peaceful solution" remained just that, merely illusions. Imperialism, zionism and Arab reaction all showed that they sought to crush the Palestinian movement as they all feared its progressive character. And the Palestinian resistance was therefore forced to fight one battle after another to defend itself. In 1975 they were thrust into a civil war, along with their allies in the Lebanese left, against the fascist Phalange. When they were on the verge of victory, they were forced to confront the Syrian forces who invaded as a "peacekeeping" force backed by Arab reaction in support of the Phalange. And year in and year out, they were subject to incursions and attacks by Israeli troops and planes, including an invasion into Lebanon in 1978. 1982 brought the full weight of a large-scale Israeli invasion.

If the experience of the previous years wasn't enough, the 1982 war in Lebanon brought out in sharp relief the full depth of the bankruptcy of the national-reformist policy of the PLO leadership. It showed that the idea that the Palestinians can win their rights through the "goodwill" of imperialism is a fairy tale. Rather, the goal of crushing the Palestine liberation movement is one of the foremost aims of U.S. imperialism. Indeed, this is a key component of the offensive opened up in the region by imperialism to make up for its loss in the Iranian revolution.

The war also showed the utter futility of relying upon the reactionary Arab governments. Arab reaction, both in its traditional monarchist garb or in its "progressive" phrase-mongering cloak, worked to stab the Palestinians in the back. Today, Arab reaction is actively urging the Palestinians to make peace with Israel by reaching an accommodation through the diplomatic maneuvers with the imperialist powers.

Within the National Movement, the Toiling Masses Need Their Independent Organization

The present situation in the Palestinian movement strikingly confirms the assessment made over 60 years ago by the Second Congress of the Communist International that:

"There are to be found in the dependent countries two distinct movements which every day grow farther apart from each other. One is the bourgeois democratic national movement, with a program of political independence under the bourgeois order, and the other is the mass action of the poor and ignorant peasants and workers for their liberation from all sorts of exploitation. The former endeavor to control the latter, and often succeed to a certain extent, but the Communist International must struggle against such control and help to develop class consciousness in the working masses of the colonies." (Supplementary Theses on the National and Colonial Question adopted by the Second Congress of the Communist International, 1920)

Today, the dominant current within the Palestinian movement, the PLO leadership, has historically moved from a generally national-revolutionary position towards national-reformism. This is not an extraordinary phenomenon. In fact, in 1928, the Sixth Congress of the Communist International spoke to the question of petty-bourgeois parties in the colonial and dependent countries, pointing out, among other things:

"The development of these parties, as a general rule, follows a course from the national-revolutionary to the national-reformist position. Even such movements as Sun Yat-senism in China, Gandhiism in India, Sarekat Islam in Indonesia, were originally radical petty-bourgeois ideological movements which, however, as a result of their service to the big bourgeoisie, became converted into a bourgeois nationalist-reformist movement...the fact must not be lost sight of that these parties, essentially considered, are connected to the national bourgeoisie." (Thesis on "The Revolutionary Movement in the Colonies and Semi-Colonies" adopted by the Sixth Congress of the Communist International, 1928)

Today, in the wake of the setbacks in Lebanon, the national-reformist leadership of the PLO seeks to make a shameful compromise with imperialism and zionism in favor of a very restrictive Palestinian governmental entity, a compromise whose key features will be to guarantee the security of the zionist state and give more room to the Arab bourgeoisie to enrich itself off the Palestinian toilers. The political realities in the Middle East may not grant this, but no matter what the immediate outcome, it is clearer than ever that this current in the movement cannot provide the guidance to the Palestinian masses to win their struggle.

No, the historic responsibility for carrying forward the Palestinian revolution rests squarely on the shoulders of the toiling masses. Besides the PLO leaders, the Palestinian movement has also seen another current, the action of the toilers for liberation. While this has been subordinated to and under the domination of the national-reformists, nevertheless it has been there. The movement has always shown that its backbone lies among the toilers -- the workers, peasants and poor refugees. It is the masses who have always stood for carrying the struggle out with revolutionary methods. As well, in a number of instances, the toilers have shown that they not only stood for carrying through the national liberation struggle but also sought to express their own class interests. While this was present to a certain extent in the fight in Jordan against the Hashemite regime, it was seen even stronger in the civil war in Lebanon which pitted the toiling masses, Palestinian and Lebanese, against the fascist representatives of the Lebanese capitalists and landlords.

Today, the advance of the movement calls for the independent organizations of the toiling masses. Those who have given the movement its historic strength must organize themselves as the revolutionary wing of the national movement capable of fighting the sabotage of the national- reformists. They must come out as the most determined, consistent and resolute fighters against zionism and for national liberation, while simultaneously organizing to defend their class interests within the general national movement. In this way, they will place themselves in a position to make the outcome of the national struggle one that is most beneficial for the toilers.

But it may be asked, within the movement aren't there organizations which already claim to be the representatives of the toilers? It is true that in the 1960's, besides Fateh, another trend appeared, one which claimed to be Marxist and the champion of the workers and peasants. This included the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. But there has been quite a discrepancy between the words and deeds of these groups. Many fine-sounding things have been written and said by these groups but in practice, these trends, while having their own distinct problems, have also been afflicted by the same general problems as Fateh and the others. In the last nine years, as the PLO leaders took up national-reformism, the DFLP cloaked this policy in "Marxist" colors, while the PFLP became verbal "critics" of some aspects of this policy while trailing behind it in practice.

The rotten influence of Soviet revisionism and Castroism have especially played a strong role in these groups. They have generally subordinated themselves to Soviet revisionism. Thus they have been afflicted by the Soviet revisionist advocacy of class conciliation. The Soviet revisionists, it should be remembered, have since the 1960's been heavily involved in maneuvers with the Arab reactionaries and Western imperialists to find a "peaceful solution" at the expense of the Palestinian liberation struggle. The influence of Soviet revisionism has not only meant subordination of these groups to the national-reformism of the PLO, but also dependence on the so-called "progressive" Arab regimes promoted and supported by Moscow.

Thus, over the last nine years, in practical terms, there has been little differentiation in general policy among the different groups within the PLO. Therefore, the question of the toilers organizing independent of national- reformism requires organizing separate from the revisionist wing of the PLO as well.

For a Revolutionary Liberation Struggle

Any perspective of rebuilding the revolutionary movement of the Palestinians must begin with faith in the capacity of the masses to rebound. It must recognize that the forces for carrying forward the revolution exist. They are to be found especially among the large concentrations of Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, in Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. Among these masses, the vast majority are workers, peasants, poor refugees, etc.; it is they who must form the center of gravity to rebuild the movement.

The number one task is to build the independent organization of the toilers capable of fighting the influence of the national-reformists. While various kinds of organizations of the working masses must be formed, foremost among them is the Marxist-Leninist party of the working class.

The Palestinian movement has suffered a great deal from the influence of innumerable bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideological trends. Different varieties of nationalism, such as Nasserism and Baathism, as well as Soviet revisionism and Castroism, etc., have all fallen on their faces on the Palestinian question. Many of these trends have cloaked themselves in "socialist" or "Marxist" colors of one sort or another, but in reality they have had nothing in common with Marxist socialism. Their fiasco has been the fiasco of national-reformism.

In contrast to all these trends stands the revolutionary ideology of the working class, Marxism-Leninism. Only a party based on this ideology, incorporating the experience of the international proletarian struggle, and forming the vanguard of the proletariat, can build up the independent movement of the toilers of Palestine. Only such a party can lead the national liberation revolution and carry forward the revolution to do away with all exploitation of man by man.

The independent movement of the toilers should work within the general national movement. The toilers will of course have to work out the methods to deal with other forces in the movement. The toilers' movement may very well find itself in coalition with the bourgeois liberation movement, especially when it takes on a national- revolutionary character, but whether or not they make such agreements, they must preserve their political and organizational independence. Organizing independently does not necessarily mean leaving the PLO. But it does mean opposing the national-reformism of the present PLO leadership.

The toilers should seek to stand at the forefront of the liberation struggle. They must come out as the most consistent and determined fighters on this question. They must seek to have this struggle carried out by revolutionary methods. They must fight for the revolutionary overthrow of the zionist state, keeping to the orientation that zionist Israel is a racist instrument of imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism. At the same time, they must fight against falling into reliance on any other imperialist powers, including Soviet social-imperialism.

The toilers must constantly expose the nature of the bourgeois and reactionary governments of the Arab countries. They must make sure never to rely upon these regimes for their liberation. At the same time, they should try to use contradictions between Arab governments and Israel to the benefit of the Palestinian struggle. Beyond this general orientation, the movement, in organizing in Jordan and Lebanon, will have to solve the problem of dealing with the repression by the regimes there against the Palestinian liberation movement. While defending themselves from the blows of reaction, the toilers must remember that the PLO leadership has historically vacillated in its attitude towards the attacks of Arab reaction, throwing away the fruits of the struggle of the rank-and-file fighters against Arab reaction. This is not surprising considering the ties of the PLO leaders with the bourgeoisie and Arab reaction. Indeed, only the class movement of the toilers can hope to properly take up this struggle.

The movement of the toilers should forge its ties with the working masses in the Arab countries and throughout the world. The other Arab toilers are a powerful ally of the Palestinian people, as the struggle against Israeli zionism forms a central part of the revolutionary struggles of many other Arab peoples. An independent movement of the toilers would serve also as a big impetus to the revolutionary movements of the toilers in the Arab countries and this will undoubtedly rebound to the benefit of the Palestinian revolution.

The movement will also have to work out its attitude to the Jewish working masses inside Israel. The recent war has seen big cracks in the edifice of Israeli society. A wider protest movement emerged against this war than ever before. This has had serious limitations in that it has remained by and large within the framework of zionist ideology. The national- reformists of the PLO have sought to influence these events by making overtures to zionist social-democratic elements who favor a two-state solution of one kind or another. In contrast to this, the toilers should seek to highlight the anti-democratic and exploitative character of Israeli society and help the ferment inside Israeli society to break with zionism and move towards the goal of the overthrow of the zionist regime. The basic ally of the Palestinian movement among the Jewish people is the anti-zionist revolutionary current which links up arm-in-arm with the Arab toilers of Palestine.

Finally, within the general national movement, the toilers must organize to defend their own class interests against capitalism and all the exploiters. Even when the revolution is in its national liberation stage, the independent movement of the toilers should carry out propaganda and education for the socialist revolution.

The toilers must seek to put their own stamp on the outcome of the national struggle. While the movement fights for a democratic and secular Palestine, the toilers cannot limit their perspective to achieving a liberal regime of the bourgeoisie. They must fight for the most decisive outcome of the anti-zionist national liberation stage of the revolution, which is not a liberal regime of the exploiters, but a revolutionary-democratic government of the toilers. But no matter what form the actual national liberation eventually takes, this is bound to open the way for the further development of the class struggle. The more the independent organization and mobilization of the toilers is achieved during the democratic stage of the revolution, the more favorable the conditions will be for the workers and peasants to carry forward the revolution to the socialist stage.

The Palestinian people have a difficult road ahead of them but they are already regrouping and preparing for the next onslaught against Israeli zionism and imperialism. This is seen in the battles that rage almost every day on the West Bank against the Israeli occupiers. Today the Palestinian people are searching out the road ahead for the next phase of their liberation struggle. The next upsurge is inevitable, and the coming forth of the toilers to the center stage will make the struggle more powerful than ever.

[Photo: Brave Palestinian youth hurling rocks at heavily armed Israeli troops on the West Bank in the spring of 1982. Pacification of the West Bank was one of the main aims of the brutal Invasion of Lebanon. But this has failed and the territory continues to be the scene of unrelenting struggle against the Israeli Zionists.]

[Photo: A mass demonstration In the spring of 1982 against Israeli occupation of the West Bank. A coffin Is being carried to symbolize the murder of Palestinians by the occupation authorities, a routine happening on the West Bank.]

[Photo: Youth defiantly wave the outlawed Palestinian flag in Galilee in the north of Israel. The fires of national liberation burn bright among the Palestinian masses, whether they live In refugee camps in Lebanon or Jordan, In the territories of the West Bank and Gaza occupied by Israel In 1967, or the original lands stolen from the Palestinians in 1948 such as Galilee.]


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How the Chrysler contract was settled

The months-long struggle of the Chrysler workers to stave off a concessions contract in 1982 has come to an end. The Chrysler capitalists and the heads of the United Auto Workers union agreed to a new contract that, while containing a slight wage increase, was filled to the brim with new and continued concessions. In mid-December the rank-and-file workers, under tremendous pressure from the capitalists and the union bureaucrats, accepted the new agreement.

The traitorous leaders of the UAW used every lie and deceitful trick to force the contract onto the workers. For example, they concealed a number of the most hated concessions from the workers. The contract summary "Newsgram" which was given to the workers omitted any mention of the notorious Absentee Control program, and UAW hacks even went on television to make lying claims that this provision had been abolished. Likewise, the vicious cuts in health and medical benefits were hidden from the workers. Even the traditional informational meetings were outlawed so the UAW chieftains could railroad through the contract without having to answer a single question from the workers.

Despite the treachery of the UA W bureaucrats, there was significant opposition to the contract. More than 20% of the workers voted against it. Leaflets by the MLP, which exposed the open and hidden concessions, were distributed widely in the plants. And most of the workers who voted in favor of the contract did so only reluctantly, with curses on their lips for the sellout leaders of the UAW.

This situation is a sure sign that, while the fight over this contract is finished, the struggle against concessions at Chrysler is far from over. In the next year, as the concessions in this contract are implemented in the plants, new struggles will emerge from the Chrysler workers.

Reprinted below are excerpts from a leaflet against the contract which was issued by the Detroit Branch of the MLP on December 14, 1982.

On December 9, the Chrysler capitalists and the top UAW hacks came up with a new concessions contract for the Chrysler workers. Unlike the concessions package that was rejected earlier, this proposed contract contains an economic settlement of about 74¢ in "up-front money." The Chrysler capitalists and the UAW chieftains were forced to come up with this money because of the mass opposition to concessions by the Chrysler workers in the U.S. and the militant strike by more than 10,000 Chrysler workers in Canada.

But Chrysler workers: BEWARE! The contract which Fraser (UAW president) and Stepp (head of UAW's Chrysler department) have negotiated is not all milk and honey as they'd like us to believe. The "big breakthrough on up-front money" is nowhere near the $2.70 needed to reach parity with the Ford and GM workers. Furthermore, the contract is packed tight with almost all of the hated concessions that Fraser tried to force through in the earlier defeated proposal. Overall this contract is a rotten concessions deal. It stinks like a dead fish. The Marxist-Leninist Party calls upon the Chrysler workers to study the provisions of this rotten deal, to vote it down and to get prepared for further struggle against the Chrysler billionaires!

Provisions of the Contract -- A Few Crumbs for the Workers, While the Bulk of the Concessions Are Continued

[The leaflet continued with a detailed exposure of the vicious concessions contained in the new contract. These included:

* A slight wage increase that leaves the Chrysler workers $2 an hour behind the Ford and GM workers, who themselves suffered wage and benefit concessions early in

* The terroristic Absentee Control program which intensifies disciplinary measures and firings for workers who miss work even for sickness;

* Further cuts in the health and medical benefits;

* No provisions against layoffs, plant closings, or to assist the unemployed;

* Stepped-up productivity measures to eliminate jobs;

* Pension benefits remain frozen, leaving Chrysler retirees $1,100 per year behind their counterparts from Ford and GM;

* Additional cuts in the benefits for workers newly hired.]

The Militant Opposition of the Chrysler Workers Has Thrown the Chrysler Billionaires and the UAW Hacks Into a Panic

At the beginning of the 1982 Chrysler contract talks last summer, Chrysler and the UAW leadership thought that they could have their way and force all the old concessions (no COLA, wage freeze, etc.) upon the Chrysler workers. But the militant opposition by the Chrysler workers in the U.S. and in Canada has been a roadblock against their plans.

For months, Fraser and Iaccoca went running around saying that there would be no wage increases for the Chrysler workers this year because it would "bankrupt Chrysler," because "there was not another penny in the Chrysler budget for the workers." Lying Fraser even shot off his mouth: "Believe me, the money is not there. I've seen the books!" But the mass struggle of the Chrysler workers smashed up these lies and blackmail. In the U.S. the workers staged wildcat strikes, they denounced the sellout leaders of the UAW up and down, and they rejected the concessions contract by a more than 70% vote. In Canada, when Chrysler tried to force the same garbage contract down the workers' throats, they responded by going out on strike for 37 days.

Now all of a sudden Iacocca and Fraser have somehow found additional money to finance the proposed wage increases. This proves that the money was there all the time. The question was who was going to get it: the fat cat Wall Street bankers and the Chrysler stockholders or the Chrysler workers? It is clear that only the militant mass struggle of the workers will safeguard their jobs and livelihoods.

Despite the slight wage increase, the latest contract offer is overflowing with outrageous concessions to Chrysler. It must be rejected and the struggle against concessions carried through to the end. Discussions exposing the provisions of the sellout must be organized on every line, in the locker rooms, in the break areas and in the workers' homes. Workers should pass around leaflets, like this one produced by the Marxist-Leninist Party, which expose the hated concessions. Vote No to the latest concessions deal! It's time to prepare for mass struggle against the slave-driving schemes of Fraser and Iacocca!


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Japanese workers fight capitalist austerity

A wave of struggle by the Japanese workers is unfolding against the offensive of Japanese monopoly capital. At the end of 1982, tens of thousands of Japanese workers took to the streets in strikes, demonstrations and rallies against the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government and its austerity policy known as the "administrative reform."

Down With the Administrative Reform!

For years the capitalists around the world have marveled at the "miracle" of the "high economic growth" of Japanese industry. But now that "miracle" is going up in smoke as Japan is caught in the grips of the worldwide capitalist economic crisis. Enormous government spending to expand the imperialist military forces, to strengthen the repressive forces of the state, and to assist the monopoly corporations, has now led to financial crisis. The major industries are stagnating and mass unemployment is starting to emerge.

In this situation the Japanese capitalists are working to shift the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the toiling masses through the policy of the "administrative reform." This is Japan's version of the Reaganite deceit of "small government." It is aimed at slashing the standard of living of the working masses, "reindustrializing" Japan and improving the " international competitive" position of Japanese monopoly capital.

The administrative reform was begun in 1981 and was greatly intensified in 1982 by the government of the LDP, then led by Suzuki. At the end of November, Yasurhiro Nakasone was elected president of the LDP, and became the head of the government, on a program of more capably and decisively carrying through the administrative reform.

Under this program the military government recently raised military spending by another six and one half percent. But the standard of living of the masses is being slashed. The administrative reform includes cuts in social welfare benefits such as social security, medicare and education. The public sector is being "rationalized" especially through the dismissal and laying off of transportation, postal, telecommunication and municipal workers. And in September, the Suzuki government initiated a wage freeze on the pay of the public employees.

The program also aims at "rationalizing" and "reindustrializing" the privately owned companies and at slashing the wages of the workers. On November 8, one government official, President Inayoma of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, stressed, "Now that the public employees' wages are frozen this year, there should be no wage hike for the private sectors next year to hold the scale even." (The People's Star, November 15,1982, international bulletin of the Communist Party of Japan (Left))

Against this capitalist onslaught the workers are rising in struggle.

Workers Turn to Mass Struggle

In September the struggle against the administrative reform went into high gear. The Communist Party of Japan (Left), the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the Japanese workers, has been right in the thick of this struggle. The October 15 issue of the CPJ(L)'s international bulletin, The People's Star, reports that, "On the early morning of September 21, the day after the government announced the wage freeze, the joint struggle council of public employees, composed of municipal workers, teachers and others, went on a strike for a few hours on a national level. On the same day in Yamaguchi prefecture, the member workers of the Prefectural and Municipal Workers' Union (17,000) waged a one-hour strike and organized a protest meeting. At the rally held in front of the government office of Yamaguchi city, it was stressed that the workers had to fight by strikes in opposition to the pay freeze and organize the political struggle sweeping the country....

"The workers of the Municipal Traffic Workers' Union staged a strike for two hours in seven big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, etc., also on September 21."

Through October and into November short strikes, mass demonstrations and rallies continued, involving tens of thousands of railway, telecommunication, municipal and other workers from the public sectors. As well, many workers from private industry began to join in the actions and to denounce the "rationalization" and the calls for pay cutting by Japan's major monopolies.

But the leading union bureaucrats and revisionist politicians of Japan have not shared the fighting spirit of the workers. Sohyo (the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan, the largest union federation) is led by a social-democratic outfit known as the Socialist Party of Japan._ The chief revisionist party, the Communist Party of Japan, is a reformist organization traditionally headed by a man named Miyamoto. The Sohyo bureaucrats and the Miyamoto revisionists have been actively sabotaging the workers' struggle.

While calling some minimal actions against the wage freeze, the union hacks and revisionists have tried to detach this struggle from the fight against the administrative reform. Indeed they have tried to cover up the class character of the administrative reform and divert the workers' energies into pious dreams of an "administrative reform in the interest of the people."

During the November elections for the president of the Liberal Democratic Party, the sellout union heads and the revisionists worked to channel the discontent of the workers away from the mass actions and into the arms of one of the factions of the LDP. Instead of upholding an independent class stand of the workers, these sellouts are trying to make the workers the tail of the monopoly capitalist LDP which initiated and is presiding over the administrative reform onslaught against the workers.

The CPJ(L) has been exposing this betrayal and working to organize the workers' struggle. "Our Party discloses this treacherous nature of the labor bureaucrats and calls on the working masses to build struggle committees and councils of workers' representatives on the basis of factories or enterprises, smashing the pressure of the labor bosses, and to rise up against imperialist politics." (The People s Star, December 1,1982)

Despite the sabotage of the union misleaders and the Miyamoto revisionists, the workers have continued to fight. The December 15 issue of The People's Star reports that, "After the formation of the administrative reform government headed by Nakasone, the struggle against the wage freeze and the administrative reform is rising again, deepening the contradiction between the rank-and-file workers and the labor bureaucrats.

"On November 26 in Toyama prefecture, 11,000 workers organized a meeting against the wage freeze and the administrative reform, while also in Shiga prefecture, a similar gathering was held with some 3,800 public and private sector workers taking part. On November 29 in Tokyo, 3,200 young railway workers from the whole country staged a protest sitdown in front of the head office of the Japan National Railways.

"Since the beginning of December in Tokyo, public employees and workers have been engaged in demonstrations around the Diet day after day. On December 7th, 5,300 workers and teachers massed in a protest rally in front of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs. As well, 30,000 public employees and workers marched on the Diet after a national rally held in front of the Hibiya Public Hall. Five thousand members of the Japan Teachers' Union called a rally, too.

"One thousand public and private sector workers held a local meeting on December 1 in Osaka city, Osaka prefecture. Two hundred young local municipality workers in the same city rallied December 3 to cement their determination to fight strike actions.

"On December 1 in Kyoto prefecture, 700 public and private enterprise workers staged a meeting in opposition to the administrative reform....

"On December 8 in Tochigi prefecture, a rally was held with the participation of some 3,000 workers. At the same time, 100 workers sat in for three hours at the prefectural government office.

"From December 6 to 8 in Yamaguchi prefecture, 1,600 municipality workers staged sitdowns in front of both the governor's office and the Yamaguchi city mayor's office.

"Four thousand young and women workers called a rally on December 8 in Fukuoka prefecture. The participants shouted the slogans 'No to war!,' 'Against the administrative reform!,' 'Fight against the freeze on public workers' pay!,' 'Down with the Nakasone government!,' and so on." The struggle of the Japanese workers is a welcome event. In the United States the capitalist monopolies are promoting Japan as the model for driving down the standard of living of the workers. Likewise, the American union chiefs are clamoring that the workers must join hands with and subordinate themselves to the "concessions" and "reindustrialization" drive of the U.S. monopolies to become more competitive against the Japanese. But the struggle of the Japanese workers shows that there is another course. The American workers too must rise up in struggle and unite with their class brothers in Japan in common battle against the mutual enemy, the class of capitalist parasites.


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200 Chrysler workers wildcat against harassment

On January 11 and 12, more than 200 Chrysler workers staged a wildcat strike shutting down the Outer Drive Manufacturing Center in Detroit for two days. The wildcat was sparked when the Chrysler auto billionaires handed out disciplinary suspensions to 11 workers for committing the "heinous crime" of having coffee and newspapers at their machines or work areas. On the picket lines, the striking workers pointed out that the auto workers in Detroit have always had coffee and newspapers at their work stations, but that Chrysler is cooking up new rules and regulations as part of their campaign of harassment and intimidation aimed at enforcing speedup and job combinations. The workers demanded that the suspensions be immediately dropped.

In the contract talks last year, Chrysler head Lee Iacocca and Doug Fraser, the president of the United Auto Workers, agreed to "making the plants more efficient" and "streamlining the production process to eliminate wasteful production practices." The situation at Outer Drive shows that what they had in mind was increased attacks on the workers to chain them to their machines and to work them like slaves.

On January 18, Chrysler retaliated against the strikers. Five were fired, 85 were suspended for five days and 134 were given disciplinary reports. But the workers have not given up their struggle. On January 20, the workers overwhelmingly voted to go on strike against the fascist labor discipline of the Chrysler auto capitalists.

On other fronts, the UAW and Chrysler are continuing to conspire against the auto workers. On January 11, Chrysler vice-president for manufacturing, Stephan Sharf, announced that secret talks over New Year's had resulted in a concessions agreement to "save" the Detroit Trim plant. What Sharf means by "saving" Detroit Trim is that he and the president of UAW Local 212, the arch-sellout Joe Zappa, had worked out a scheme for enormous job elimination and vicious speedup. Sharf glowingly described that the agreement will bring about "work rule changes that will generate a 22% increase in productivity...and eliminate a lot of featherbedding." (Detroit Free Press, January 17,1983)

At the same time, Sharf once again demonstrated that concessions will never save workers' jobs when he announced that the Windsor, Canada Spring Plant will be permanently closed in the near future. This is only the first of six plants that Chrysler plans to close in 1983. All in all, this means that 25 Chrysler plants will have been sold off or permanently shut down since the first concessions were snatched from the workers in 1979.

In the wake of the new concessions contract that was signed in December, Chrysler workers declared that they would continue to fight against the attacks of the auto billionaires every step of the way. Starting the new year with a wildcat at the Outer Drive plant indicates that this fight has begun. Certainly, the other attacks that Chrysler is launching against the workers will also fan the flames of resistance.


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Strike enters fourth month

37,000 Caterpillar workers fight against concessions

Since October 1st, 37,000 Caterpillar Tractor workers have been on strike. The workers are striking in order to resist the efforts of the rich Caterpillar capitalists to impose a vicious concessions contract on them. This strike is a fitting reply to the company's arrogant demands for huge wage cuts, backbreaking productivity measures, and further job elimination.

The three and a half month strike has shown the great determination of the workers to defeat the concessions drive. The workers went on strike knowing that the Caterpillar capitalists had built up their inventory so as to withstand a strike. It was clear that the strike would probably run into the dead of winter. Yet despite the difficult conditions, the workers dug in their heels for a fight. The Caterpillar workers have taken this stand because they refuse to be reduced to slaves who bow down before every profit-making whim of the capitalists.

The Caterpillar capitalists are demanding concessions because of their insatiable drive for profits. Caterpillar Tractor is the largest manufacturer of earth-moving equipment in the world. From 1933 through 1981 it never had an unprofitable year. In the six years up to 1981 these moneygrubbers made $3 billion in profits, $579 million in 1981 alone. These vast profits have come about from Caterpillar's ruthless exploitation of the workers. Suffice it to say that by the time the old contract was expiring, the company had laid off over 40% of its workforce in order to cut back on labor costs and maintain its profits. Thus the Caterpillar capitalists have grown rich while the workers have faced further impoverishment.

But the company is expecting losses in 1982, and these filthy rich exploiters have donned beggars' clothing over their fancy suits and demanded that the workers rescue them from their dire poverty! During the 1982 contract negotiations they presented the workers with dozens of outrageous concessions demands. They wanted a wage freeze for the life of the contract and large reductions in COLA payments. A separate, lower wage scale was demanded for new hires. Paid personal holidays and some vacation and holiday bonuses were to end, costing the workers at least 11 days of paid time off. As well the capitalists proposed savage, job-eliminating productivity measures. These included plans for increased job combination and for facilitating the firing of workers using the hoax of "excessive absenteeism." Plainly, the Caterpillar owners want to drive the workers to ruin.

Following the Model of Concessions in the Auto Industry

The concessions drive at Caterpillar is closely related to the concessions drive of the "Big 3" auto companies, GM, Ford and Chrysler. Over the last year each of the "Big 3" companies has succeeded in imposing concessions contracts quite similar to the one being pushed by Caterpillar. And like the "Big 3" workers, the Caterpillar workers are organized into the UAW. In the past few years, the UAW leaders have worked overtime to jam concessions down the workers' throats. They have harangued the workers with the lie that wage cuts, productivity drives and even plant closings(!) will win job security. They have been preaching that concessions are only a temporary inconvenience, and that after the concessions fatten the profits of the companies, the kindly employers will shower jobs and wage increases on the workers. In shorty they have echoed the notorious Reaganite "trickle down" theory that "What's good for GM is good for the workers."

But reality is quite a different thing. With the profits from concessions the capitalists are automating their plants and eliminating jobs. The productivity measures mean more job- cutting while those remaining are worked to an early grave. Concessions have been wonderful for the auto bosses and the Wall Street financiers. But for the workers they have meant growing unemployment and poverty.

The rotten nature of the concessions imposed in recent years by Fraser and the other UAW chieftains was inadvertently admitted by UAW hack Stephen P. Yokich. Yokich is the Director of the Agricultural Implement department and chief union negotiator in the recent Caterpillar contract talks. Commenting on the "Big 3"- type concessions requested by Caterpillar he said they "would set employees at Caterpillar back 30 years."

UAW Hacks Attempt to Sabotage Strike

Yokich himself is something of an expert on granting concessions. During the last contract at International Harvester, Yokich gave the company $200 million in concessions. And Yokich and his underlings are trying to sabotage the struggle of the Caterpillar workers as well. Under the pressure of strong anti-concessions sentiment, and still haunted by the memory of the 10-week wildcat strike waged against the last contract, the UAW called the strike. But since then the UAW negotiators have been periodically meeting with Caterpillar to work out a concessions contract. They are trying to saddle the workers with concessions before the strike exhausts the company's stockpiled equipment. Thus by December a UAW official was complaining "If we aren't making progress by then [Christmas -- ed.], people will get embittered and increase their resistance to any accommodation." (Business Week, December 13, 1982) Just how accommodating Yokich and co. can be was also indicated in the Business Week article. It states that the union heads are even willing to agree to a wage freeze for the life of the contract.

The sellout UAW bureaucrats have good reason to fret about workers who "increase their resistance" to concessions. For it is only through mass struggle that the workers can defend their jobs and livelihood. The Caterpillar workers are quite right to persist in their struggle. This stand may be hated by the UAW honchos, but it is welcomed by the entire working class which is striving to defeat the capitalist offensive.

[Photo: Striking Caterpillar Tractor workers picketing in Peoria, Illinois.]


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Japanese workers in action against imperialist war preparations

The mass movement against imperialist war preparations continues to build in Japan. The People's Star,the international bulletin of the Communist Party of Japan (Left), the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the Japanese workers, reports a number of mass actions by the workers which took place in November, 1982 against joint military maneuvers by the U.S. and Japanese imperialists.

On November 10, combat maneuvers by U.S. and Japanese ground forces began in the vicinity of Gotenba City, Shizuoka prefecture. The December 1, 1982 issue of The People's Star reports that "A nationwide protest rally took place on November 16 against the maneuvers," and that "Four thousand railway, postal and telecommunication workers, teachers and students gathered near the scene of the exercise to stage militant actions."

The December 15 issue of The People's Starreports that "On November 30, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Air Force held a joint military maneuver in Ishikawa prefecture. This was the first such drill at the SDF's Komatsu air base. A series of protest actions took place around the base."

"On November 28th, 400 young workers belonging to local unions in this prefecture waged a militant demonstration against the joint maneuvers. The following day, 800 workers organized a rally and demonstration against the flight of two U.S. F-15 fighters coming from the U.S. Kadena air base in Okinawa prefecture to join the exercise, and against the arrival of American C-130 sky trucks transporting staff and materials from the U.S. Yokota air base in Tokyo. On the day of the military exercise, 500 workers demonstrated around the Komatsu air base for over three hours. On the same day, another protest action was organized by 100 workers in front of a radar site of the Wajima camp base, which functions closely with the Komatsu air base." These actions are part of the mounting struggle of the Japanese workers and other progressive people against the rapacious war preparations of imperialism. The growing militarism of the Japanese imperialists is closely linked with the war drive of the U.S. imperialists. The demonstrations against the joint military exercises of the U.S. and Japanese imperialists bring out all the more clearly the common cause of the workers of the U.S. with their class brothers in Japan. The Workers' Advocatehails the fighting masses of Japan and calls on the workers in the U.S. to link arms with the Japanese workers and redouble their efforts to build the movement to put imperialism in its grave.


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Portuguese Marxist-Leninists Fight in Defense of the Party

On April 25, 1974, forty-eight years of fascist dictatorship in Portugal were overthrown. In 1975, during the revolutionary upheaval which followed the overthrow of the dictatorship, the Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries, the genuine communists who had rejected the reformist path of Cunhal's pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party, formed the Communist Party (Reconstructed). Today the CP(R) stands as the Marxist-Leninist vanguard party of the Portuguese working class.

Since August of 1982, the pages of Bandeira Vermelha, the central organ of the CP(R), have been covering the struggle of their Party against a rightist and liquidationist faction. This is a major struggle in the development of their Party. The Workers' Advocate expresses the solidarity of the American Marxist-Leninists for the comrades of the CP(R) who are defending the Party and the revolutionary cause of the Portuguese proletariat.

A Rightist Faction

BV (Bandeira Vermelha) has carried a stream of materials on the rightist splitters. The divergencies within the Party emerged after 1979 on a series of political, organizational and ideological questions. These divergencies crystallized and came to a head during the past summer, culminating in the rightist faction bolting from the Party in August. From the materials in the following outline can be made of the political and ideological nature of these anti-Party splitters.

In the political arena the divergencies centered on whether or not to uphold the Party policy and the political independence of the movement, or to tone down the line of the Party so as to pave the way to merging with the liberal and reformist forces. The rightists called for the latter in the name of "realistic solutions" to "bring the Party closer to the masses." Speaking of this "realism," BV points out that: "What is under debate is whether the Party has the perspective of trying to bring the masses to the politics of the Party, by using adequate methods and forms of struggle, or whether, to the contrary, the Party abdicates its politics in order to 'meet' the sentiment of the masses. Our 'saviors' clearly opt for the second perspective, and it is there that we find the basis for their 'realistic solutions.' " (BV, September 2,1982)

In practice this "realism" translates into a reformist approach to the struggle against the reactionary AD (Democratic Alliance) government.

How the AD Government Came to Power

The present AD government is the latest in a string of governments since the overthrow of fascism. In April, 1974 the Caetano dictatorship was toppled by the Armed Forces Movement led by leftist and anti-Caetano military officers. For a year and a half afterwards a tumultuous revolutionary situation unfolded with the workers and rural poor waging a powerful struggle to suppress the fascists, to end the colonial wars, to organize and improve the conditions of the workers, and for a sweeping agrarian reform. The regime was gripped by a profound crisis; one government of military officers replaced the next. By the fall of 1975, however, the exploiting classes succeeded in consolidating their power. The leftist elements were purged from the Armed Forces Movement and from the state apparatus. Under the reactionary government of Vice Admiral Azevedo, who formed a coalition cabinet of the SP (Socialist Party) social-democrats, the right-wing centrists, and the revisionist CP (Communist Party), the bourgeoisie intensified its offensive to wipe out the revolutionary gains of the masses.

In the presidential elections held in June of 1976, a liberal general named Antonio Ramalho Eanes was elected president. Mario Soares of the SP formed a minority government which later became a majority coalition with the right-wing centrists. This coalition broke down in July 1978 and was replaced by two succeeding technocratic, non-party governments appointed by Eanes. Then, in 1979 the SP joined with the CP and others to force the resignation of the second Eanes appointed cabinet. In the ensuing national assembly elections the right- wing coalition of the Democratic Alliance won a plurality. Thus, while Eanes still holds the title of President, the arch-reactionary AD holds the Prime Ministry and makes up the cabinet.

Today the social-democrats and the revisionists are campaigning against the reactionary AD government, but they are doing so along strictly reformist lines. Through the electoral process they want to become part of the liberal reformist "government to defend the constitution," behind the liberal president Eanes.

Opposition to the Political Independence of the Movement

In this situation the rightist liquidators from the CP(R) have taken a thoroughly compromised stand. They advocate support for the SP and the CP in the name of opposing the AD government and promise "critical support" for a government supported by the liberal Eanes if it were to succeed in the elections.

"Particularly at the present time," BV explains, "after the struggles waged, after two general strikes in which the positions of Eanes and of the revisionists were placed before concrete facts [See WA, May 24, 1982 for coverage of the general strikes and the strikebreaking role of the social-democrats and revisionists], after the collusion and connivance of the SP with the [reactionary] constitutional revision, to come to propose unity with those sectors in the struggle against the government or in the formation of joint lists for the elections is absurd or political shortsightedness. On the contrary, to raise the consciousness of the masses, to give them a correct revolutionary orientation of struggle, isn't what we need is to stress the political independence of the movement?...For every worker who has split with revisionism this is obvious, but for our 'saviors,' in their efforts to find a big wave of opposition, such facts are overlooked." (BV, September 2,1982)

Further on BV points out that "In the present circumstances the Party and the workers have no business giving support to a government coming out of elections, be it critical support or not....

"In the situation in which we are living, in which various types of government have already been experienced, be they reformists of a 'left majority' or pro-the-President [Eanes], this stand would be even more wrong, because once again it would foster illusions and hopes among the workers that 'this is going to be the time,' when we know from the beginning that it is necessary to break these illusions and to stress the independent character of the struggle.... " (Ibid.)

Renunciation of the Marxist-Leninist Concept of the Party

The rightist elements carried out wide-scale factionalist activities within the CP(R). BV points out that the Party faces a number of internal problems; but the splitters did not strive to solidify the Party organization through the principled work to overcome these problems. On the contrary, they seized upon difficulties to foster a factionalist and liquidationist spirit and to disintegrate the Party.

Connected to their factionalism, the liquidators reject the Marxist-Leninist concepts of the party as the militant vanguard of the proletariat with a single will and an iron and uniform discipline. Instead the rightists adopted the petty-bourgeois liberal concepts of organization common to the social-democratic and other opportunist parties.

BV reports that the rightists "cry against 'centralizing bureaucratism' because they renege on all the Marxist-Leninist principles on the construction of the party of the new type, which are a legacy from Lenin. What exists in the Communist Party is democratic centralism; that is, democracy cannot be seen outside the obligation of submission to a single center, of the minority to the majority, of the individual to the collective. And this is what the splitters renege on in favor of 'freedom of creativity,' and this is why, like any petty bourgeois, they regard discipline as a straitjacket." (BV, August 20,1982)

The rightists demanded total freedom of factions and tendencies within the Party and equality for each of the various groupings. This BV characterizes as "a demand for the dissolution of centralized organization, of a single and obligatory discipline for all militants, or organizational unity, replaced by the legalization of tendencies, of group discipline in opposition to Party unity." (Ibid.)

The Struggle Against the Rightist Splitters Is a Struggle to Defend the Revolutionary Path

BV draws out that the emergence of the rightist faction is connected to the bourgeois ideological pressure on the working class and its Marxist-Leninist communist party. It connects it to the particular conditions in Portugal where the revolutionary upsurge of the mid- 1970's has waned and a new upsurge has not yet arrived. "In Portugal," BV writes, "...the revolutionism of '74-'75 began to give way to the values of institutional democracy, the revolution turned into a 'mirage of a few,' the interests of the working class were subjugated to parliamentary democracy. This situation, together with the great weight of revisionism and reformism in the working class movement, causes some vacillating sectors of the petty bourgeoisie and even of the working class to lose the revolutionary perspective and to go over to viewing the struggle within the framework of parliamentary solutions and the 'lesser evil.' This situation acts strongly on our Party, and thus what was before revolutionary and willing to struggle is today a source of demobilization and furious attacks against the Party...." (BV, August 20, 1982)

BV places this situation in the context of the international ideological campaign of the bourgeoisie against the working class parties. "This campaign is reflected, naturally, in the ranks of the communist parties, where elements arise who, under the heavy ideological pressure and with the most varied excuses, either get demoralized and abandon the revolutionary struggle or turn into transmitters, within the Party, of that ideological pressure, seeking to divert the Party from its revolutionary path.... " (Ibid.)

The rightist splitters from the Portuguese party are in fact part of an international current, according to BV. They have links with Nelson Levy and the rightist splitters who left the Communist Party of Brazil. (For further discussion of Nelson Levy and the rightist splitters from the CP of Brazil see WA, July 20, 1982)

In summation, the struggle of the comrades of the CP(R) against the rightist splitters is an important battle to defend the Party and the independent revolutionary perspective of the Portuguese working class movement. Simultaneously it is part of the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist Communists worldwide against the bourgeois pressure and the rightist danger and to defend the revolutionary path.

[Photo: Mass protest on December 9 against the reactionary government of the Democratic Alliance in Lisbon, Portugal. In the movement against the AD government, the CP(R) works to develop the political independence of the toilers and upholds a revolutionary perspective for the struggle.]


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Venezuelan government massacres 23 revolutionaries

The Bandera Roja Party Is Resolved to Carry On the Revolution

Recently The Workers' Advocate received the October 1982 International Bulletin of the Bandera Roja Party (BRP) of Venezuela, the Marxist-Leninist party of the Venezuelan proletariat. This bulletin, excerpts from which we publish below, reports on the brutal assassination by the Venezuelan government of 23 revolutionaries, members of the Frente Americo Silva (FAS), the armed detachment of the BRP.

The Venezuelan bourgeoisie and its voices in the government and news media claim that the 23 fighters of the FAS were killed in an armed confrontation with the security forces. But the facts published by the BRP reveal that this was not the case at all. The victims were simply the target of a massacre. This is seen by the fact that the government followed a policy of sparing no wounded and taking no prisoners. Everyone was buried in a mass grave. And the entire peasant and native population of the area was indiscriminately bombed by warplanes.

This massacre is a part of the wide-scale repression which the Venezuelan government carries out against all the fighting masses and their revolutionary and popular organizations. In the October 5, 1982 issue of The Workers' Advocate, we reported on the arrests in April of Comrade Gabriel Puerta Aponte, General Secretary of the BRP, as well as of numerous leaders and militants of the Committee of Popular Struggle and other mass organizations.

The Workers' Advocate mourns the death of the fallen revolutionary fighters. We again declare our solidarity with the revolutionary movement of the Venezuelan people and the Marxist-Leninists of the Bandera Roja Party. Down with the fascist crimes of the Venezuelan government! Long live the Venezuelan people's revolutionary struggle!

The Facts

On October 4 at 5:50 a.m., a contingent of 1,200 operatives of the police and military bodies, composed of light infantry (a special anti-guerrilla group of the army); the special brigade of the political police (Disip); and an air squadron, formed of Broncos, Canberra bombers, and helicopter warplanes, attacked a guerrilla encampment of the Frente Americo Silva (FAS) located in the vicinity of Campo Mato near the town of Cantaura in Anzoategui State in the eastern part of the country.

The facts show that a massacre ensued. On one side the numerically superior enemy forces and, on the other side, evidence that the majority of the bodies of the fallen comrades were found almost totally destroyed and displayed fatal bullet wounds, allows us to infer that the wounded were shot to death. At the same time we dismissed that there had been a confrontation between the two sides, inasmuch as on the part of the enemy there was only one casualty.

Some comrades who succeeded in escaping the siege ambushed an army patrol while withdrawing and shot the lieutenant, allowing the soldiers to go free. This illustrates what our criteria are on war regarding the treatment we give the army soldiers whom we take prisoner.

Likewise we presume that peasants and native people died in the attack that was perpetrated, because of the indiscriminate way in which the area was bombarded, and because of the fact that it was 15 days after the events that the government allowed entry to the Commission of Interior Policy of the Congress and the communications agencies. Prior to that earthmovers were seen in the area. These facts have not been able to be corroborated; however, the population of Cantaura, the peasants and native people, is terrorized through threats, the constant incursions and the military siege that still continues in the region.

The day following the massacre, the bodies of our comrades were buried in a common grave with the clear purpose of hiding the evidence of some massacred bodies.

[The bulletin then describes that it was eight days after the massacre that progressive people succeeded in having the bodies exhumed and identified. Their reports described the condition of the bodies. Almost all the bodies were nude and various bodies displayed the impact of bullets suggesting point-blank shots to the head to finish off the wounded. -- ed.]

The Venezuelan People Repudiate the Massacre

The Venezuelan people have demonstrated their repudiation of such a horrendous crime, despite the bankrupt attempts of the government through the media to distort the facts and make the massacre appear to be the result of an armed confrontation. In fact, from press information, the inequality in the number of casualties between one side and the other and the state in which the bodies were left show that what took place was an attempt, according to the words used by Minister of Interior Relations Luciano Valero, "To exterminate the guerrilla band, because they do not take refuge in the pacification policy urged by the government of Luis Herrera Cam- pins."

The Cantaura massacre is going to turn into one of the most bloody war crimes known to the history of political struggles in our country. Diverse democratic and progressive sectors of the country have publicly protested against this deed. It can only be compared with the massacre of the people of Beirut by the zionist forces, or actions typical of fascist regimes and not of countries where it is proclaimed "A state of justice reigns," and all the international accords on actions of war are violated through the indiscriminate way of bombing in the area and the execution of the wounded.

It is thus that the National Committee to Repudiate the Cantaura Massacre was constituted in Caracas, and two activities were carried out. One was on October 9 in the Economics Auditorium of the Central University of Venezuela, where three of the fallen comrades were students. The other was on October 14 in the large lecture hall of the Central University of Venezuela, where 4,500 people attended. Also carried out was preparation of a day of forums that fundamentally deal with the violation of human rights, of the national Constitution, and democratic liberties.

Today More Than Ever We Reaffirm Our line of Revolutionary Violence

Our Party, conscious of the hard blow received, of the fact that among the fallen comrades were three members of the front's command and various officials who had years of experience in guerrilla struggle among them, affirms that our guerrilla front has not been annihilated. We reject the Venezuelan government's information which attempts to cow our forces. On the contrary, we confirm that the front continues maintaining a good number of fighters which allows it to give continuity to the development of its policy, and we are sure that the vacancies left by those fallen in Cantaura will be filled voluntarily.

We consider that this action by the government is part of the sharpening repression of the last years, which has been extended even to the simplest democratic demands of the people. It is an example of what the government is ready to do to fulfill its role as maintainer of the capitalist system and the bourgeois order which are weighing down the Venezuelan broad masses.

Democracy in Venezuela is now almost a myth, only exercised for the rich, inasmuch as the people must endure the high cost of living, the non-functioning of public services and assistance, lack of housing, denial of the right to strike, and repression with respect to organizing for the defence of their rights.

Today we can affirm that the crisis that Venezuelan society is undergoing on all fronts is going to sharpen, that public and democratic freedoms will continue to be taken away, but also that the people, the working class, will be understanding more all the time that there is only one alternative to get out of all the problems that afflict them: the revolution, the armed confrontation that will make possible the overthrow of the ruling classes and the seizure of power so as to build a society without exploited and exploiters.

The sacrifice of our comrades in Cantaura will not be in vain; as the revolutionary vanguard we are conscious of the cost that we must pay to achieve our ideals. We are sure that sooner, rather than later, the guns of these comrades will be raised in the hands of our people and their deaths will be turned into the hand that has to orient the well-aimed shot that has to finish off once and for all capitalist exploitation and oppression.

Their death will not be in vain; other hands will take up their guns!

Honor and glory to the comrades who fell in Cantaura!

Violence of the poor against the violence of the rich!

(Translation by The Workers' Advocate staff.)


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Mass Upsurge in Argentina Rocks the Fascist Junta

Over the last several months, the workers and oppressed masses of Argentina have stepped up their struggle against the military dictatorship. By December demonstrations and strikes were sweeping the country and growing in militancy. Some of the largest mass actions in the seven-year reign of the generals have broken out. This mass upsurge means that the brief respite gained by the reactionary war with the bloodthirsty British imperialist robbers over the Falklands has come to an end. The junta launched this desperate adventure in order to stop the growing mass actions at that time and stave off impending collapse. But the war has only intensified the severe crisis facing the junta and led to further struggle against it.

Once again the masses are clamoring for relief from the ruinous economic measures of the regime and for an end to the military junta's rule. The largest action occurred on December 6 as nine million workers (90% of the work force) participated in a 24-hour general strike which brought the whole country to a halt. The strike demands included a 28% wage increase for state employees, unemployment benefits, and a restoration of trade union rights. This nationwide strike is part of the workers' fight against the efforts to place the burden of the deep economic crisis on their back. In 1982 alone the real income of the workers fell 25%, while this year it is predicted that inflation may reach a staggering 200%. Unemployment is about 20%. The general strike was a rude jolt to the fascist dictators and they immediately drafted emergency salary measures in the hope of averting further struggle.

A week and a half after the general strike, over 100,000 people took to the streets in the largest anti-government demonstration in the history of the military junta. The demonstrators called for an end to the military dictatorship, raising the slogan "The military to the firing squads!" As well the masses demanded that the government account for the 30,000 "disappeared" who have been assassinated or held incommunicado for opposing the fascist regime. When the masses militantly rallied outside the presidential palace the police made their move to suppress the protest. They launched a savage attack, firing tear gas and rubber bullets into the rally. One worker was killed by the police thugs. A fierce battle ensued as the outraged demonstrators courageously fought the police, pelting them with rocks and paving stones. The determined stand of the masses greatly upset the Argentine rulers. As one of the reactionary bourgeois papers complained, "The country is sailing toward the perilous coasts of a civil war."

Besides the major battles already mentioned, numerous other actions have taken place in recent weeks. Among these are protests by some of the ordinary soldiers who have increasingly come into contradiction with their fascist officers since the Falklands war. On December 4, for example, 300 veterans denounced their ex-officers and the military regime at a ceremony in La Plata glorifying the Falklands disaster.

Moreover, in the months prior to the upsurge of December several major protests occurred. In mid-August the transport workers conducted a one-day national wildcat strike demanding wage increases, price freezes, and the abolition of anti-strike measures. And a protest of 30,000 occurred in early October over the issue of the "disappeared."

The Crisis Deepens for the Fascist Junta

As the present struggle against the regime indicates, the crisis which threatened to topple the regime before the Falklands war has become deeper than ever. In the wake of the reactionary war, the acute political crisis has further developed. The junta has been reshuffled in a vain attempt to pacify the masses. The totally discredited General Galtieri was removed from his posts of president of the government and head of the army. The retired General Bignone has assumed the presidency while the arch-fascist General Nicolaides was placed in charge of the army. Nicolaides is widely known for the big role he has played in helping the regime murder and imprison its opponents. Meanwhile, seeking to avoid blame for the disastrous situation in the country, the Air Force and

Navy participants in the junta announced they would no longer be responsible for anything the junta did outside of "national security" matters. Galtieri's hated economics minister was purged, but soon his replacement quit on the grounds that the junta was allegedly not bleeding the workers fast enough! As can be seen, not only has the reshuffling failed to quiet the masses, it has not even resolved the squabbles among the Argentine rulers.

The economic crisis has also grown worse since the war. The war itself directly contributed to this situation. In early March, when the economy was placed on a war footing, mobilization costs were running at about one million dollars a day. But this was nothing compared to the costs of the operation to seize the islands, the actual combat, and the substantial destruction of Argentine warships, jets, etc. The Falklands conflict resulted in war taxes on the masses and the fueling of already runaway inflation.

By channeling funds into the war effort, the Argentine fascists also intensified their already monumental financial crisis. Even before the war the financial crisis had reached the point where the government could no longer make good on the colossal debt payments that they owe to the U.S., British and other imperialist banks. With the cooperation of the Argentine bourgeoisie, the imperialist bankers have made Argentina one of the most indebted countries in the world. The debt presently stands at about $38 billion. The U.S. financial sharks, like Citibank and the First National Bank of Boston, are owed over $9 billion. Unable to meet the principal and interest payments due on these loans, Argentina was $1.7 billion in arrears by November.

In this situation, the Argentine rulers have crawled off hat in hand to seek further loans from the imperialist lords of finance. And the imperialists have come forward to bail out the crumbling dictatorship. U.S. imperialism has been quite active in the efforts to bail out the junta. The Federal Reserve Board has offered to finance a large part of an international loan to Argentina. Citibank has been negotiating a massive $2.6 billion in loans to Argentina from a consortium of international banks. These loans include $1.1 billion which is going solely towards paying off debt payments already missed. The International Monetary Fund has planned to give Argentina nearly $2 billion in credits to cover previous debts. British imperialism, which for many decades has supported Argentine reaction, has also agreed to refinance its bank loans that were falling due. Thus the Argentine fascists are paying off their present debt by going further into debt.

Of course to ensure that the imperialists make fat profits from their investment the regime has imposed one austerity measure after another to bleed the workers. For example, on orders from the IMF, the Argentine currency has been greatly devalued, leading to a fall in the workers' buying power.

The Treachery of the Bourgeois Opposition

The dictatorship has been locked in crisis and the struggle of the masses has been gaining momentum. In this situation the bourgeois opposition, which is in the main Peronist, has been playing a treacherous role. The December 16 demonstration was a clear example of their stand. This demonstration was called by " Multipartidaria," a coalition of the bourgeois opposition political parties who are the official leadership of some of the main anti-junta protests. At the December 16 demonstration the masses heroically fought the fascist junta's police, demonstrating their growing revolutionary mood. But after the demonstration the "Multipartidaria" leaders and the military dictatorship spoke with one voice, denouncing the militant mass action against the fascist authorities.

The bourgeois opposition took this stand because they are working to tone down the class struggle. They don't want the revolutionary overthrow of the junta but a compromise with the regime, so that the repressive apparatus remains intact for use against the workers. Thus they set elections held under the restrictive and repressive rules set by the military regime as the highest goal of the movement.

For some time the bourgeois opposition leaders have been meeting with the military junta to work out these election plans. Following their defeat in the Falklands, the junta knew that the mass struggle would soon be at a high tide. On June 30, the new president, Bignone, called a meeting with the reactionary opposition leaders to discuss the possibility of elections. The elections would allow the bourgeois parties to form a civilian government. And a civilian government would put the military in a less visible position. In this way Argentine reaction hoped to quiet the angry masses. Meanwhile the power of the military apparatus would remain intact.

Such treachery is nothing new for the Peronist-dominated bourgeois opposition. The Argentine bourgeoisie has long used the Peronists and their reactionary nationalist ideology to divert the class struggle. When the junta used the Falklands war to divert the popular struggle into a campaign of "national unity" behind the generals, the Peronists called off all demonstrations and lined up behind the war effort.

The utterly reactionary nature of the Peronist leaders is best seen by the actions of the last Peronist government in Argentina. The Peronists came to power in elections held under military rule in March 1973. The new Peronist regime issued "fine" speeches full of their phony "anti-imperialist" nationalist rhetoric. Meanwhile the Peronist rulers immediately began to suppress the working masses and the revolutionary movement. When Juan Peron became president in October 1973 he openly denounced the revolutionary movement, suppressed the left press, and unleashed the police and military to smash up organizations containing progressive and revolutionary forces.

After Juan Peron's death, his wife, Isabel, came to power. She declared a state of emergency and sent the military forces marauding throughout the country. When a large strike movement broke out against the Peronist economic policies, trade unions were raided and their leaders arrested. By 1975, Isabel Peron was meeting with the notorious Chilean fascist Pinochet to discuss how to put down the mass revolts.

In March 1976, the military decided it was time to step forward and finish the job started by the Peronists. They got rid of the Peronist government and established the military junta which, with various personnel changes, still rules today. This history also shows the disastrous consequences in store for the masses with the current elections scheme of the military and the Peronists.

The militant struggle of the Argentine working masses is a mighty force threatening the regime. The fight against the Peronist leaders is essential for its further development. The path ahead lies not with the collaborationist plots of the Peronist leaders but with intensifying the class struggle. It is this path that will lead to the smashing of the hated military dictatorship.


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