The Workers' Advocate

WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! 25¢

Volume 13, Number 2

VOICE OF THE MARXIST-LENINIST PARTY OF THE USA

March 10, 1983

[Front page:

U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of El Salvador! Victory to the Salvadorian People!;

On the centenary of his death--Commemorate, the Life and Work of Karl Marx, the Founder of Communism;

What's wrong with 'Gandhi'-- A movie to undermine the struggle against oppression;

Workers and unemployed, unite against the capitalist offensive!--Reagan talks 'recovery' while millions look for work]

Keep up the struggle against Israeli zionism!

(See inside, pages 6-9)

* On the 'troop withdrawal' talks in Lebanon

* Israeli 'inquiry panel' exonerates Zionist murderers

* The path forward for the Palestinian movement -- part two

* PLO meeting in Algiers

* Fair-weather friends desert the Palestinian struggle

IN THIS ISSUE

Jobs bill: Insult to unemployed......................................... 2
N.Y. state: Democratic Reaganite Budget........................ 2
Concessions imposed on steel workers............................ 4
Champion workers fight concessions............................... 4
Strike news in brief........................................................... 4
Denver: Athalon workers struggle.................................... 4
Brooklyn College: Students fight cutbacks...................... 4



Boston: Oppose segregation of schools............................ 3
Harlem: Protest against racist murders............................. 3
Anti-Klan Protests............................................................ 3
Anti-Klan Song ............................................................... 3
Detroit: Protest against draft registration......................... 5
Boston: 2,000 denounce Reagan...................................... 5



Cuts in military budget are a fraud................................... 5



Movie YOL exposes fascist regime in Turkey.................. 9
France: Auto workers strike against Mitterrand............... 10
Dominican Republic: Telephone workers struggle.......... 10
Reaganism in Jamaica...................................................... 10
Brazilian communists denounce non-aligned movement. 10



On united front tactics -- Part 1: 'To the masses!' -- Call of the 3rd Congress of the Comintern................................................................... 12
V.I. Lenin on Marx and Engels......................................... 13




U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of El Salvador!

Victory to the Salvadorian People!

On the centenary of his death

Commemorate, the Life and Work of Karl Marx, the Founder of Communism

What's wrong with 'Gandhi'

A movie to undermine the struggle against oppression

Workers and unemployed, unite against the capitalist offensive!

Reagan talks 'recovery' while millions look for work

The Bipartisan 'Jobs Bill' Is an Insult to the Unemployed

The Democrats Give New York State a Reaganite Budget

Oppose the Government's Schemes to Completely Segregate the Boston Schools

'Anti-Klan Song'

Anti-Klan Protests

Harlem residents demonstrate against racist police murder

The monopolies and the USW hacks impose outrageous concessions on steel workers

Champion Spark Plug workers strike against concessions

Denver:

Keep fighting Athalon's attacks on the workers!

Strike News in Brief

At Brooklyn College:

Students protest cuts in education

2,000 Demonstrate Against Reagan in Boston

No to the persecution of draft resisters!

Reagan's military budget cuts are a fraud!

On the path forward for the Palestinian liberation movement -- Part 2

The Evolution of the PLO Leadership

The face of national-reformism at the PLO conference in Algiers

Israeli 'Inquiry Commission' Exonerates Zionist Murderers

On the "troop withdrawal" talks

Vultures over Lebanon

Kneeling before the ''historical reality" of Israel,

Fair-weather friends turn their backs on the Palestinian revolution

The movie 'Yol':

A bitter indictment of the fascist regime in Turkey

Against the subsidiary of the U.S. corporation GTE

Dominican telephone workers fight lockout

Brazilian communists denounce the non-aligned movement

A big blow to Mitterrand's wage controls

Auto workers' strike in France exposes the ugly face of social-democracy

Reaganism in Jamaica

United front tactics are an essential tool of the proletarian party -- Part 1

'To the Masses!'--The Call of the Third Congress of the CI

Lenin on Marx and Engels

V.I. Lenin on Karl Marx

Marx and Engels to A. Bebel, W. Liebknecht, W. Bracke and Others - 'Circular Letter' -




U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of El Salvador!

Victory to the Salvadorian People!

[Photo: The people's guerrillas organize a rally in Berlin.]

Workers and all progressive people! Be on your guard! Reagan is taking new steps to escalate the Pentagon's war in El Salvador. He is pushing through another $61 million for bullets and warplanes for the "death squad'' dictators. But that is not all. He is also dispatching more U.S. military "advisers" and expanding their role. These are not some "trainers," as Reagan pretends, but Green Beret combat troops who are directing this murderous war against the Salvadorian people.

We must not forget the lessons of the criminal U.S. war in Viet Nam. Reagan must not be allowed a free hand in this new criminal adventure in El Salvador.

Our demand is for U.S. imperialism to get out of El Salvador lock, stock and barrel. The peoples of Central America must decide their own fate.

Our solidarity is with the liberation struggle of the courageous working people of El Salvador.

The Liberation Struggle Is Marching Forward

Reagan is crying for more bullets and troops because his friends, the murderous Salvadorian generals, are taking a beating. The liberation struggle of the workers and peasants is marching forward on all fronts. The people's guerrillas are hitting the U.S.-backed puppet army from every side. Since the beginning of the year, the liberation forces have kept up a powerful offensive.

The generals and their U.S. "advisers" have now been forced to admit that large portions of Usulatan, Morazan and Chalatenango Provinces, from the East to the Northwest of the country, are firmly in the hands of the insurgents. In these liberated zones the revolution has brought land reform and the beginnings of education; the downtrodden are getting a taste of freedom from tyranny and darkness.

In defending their bases in Morazan the people's forces recently smashed up a drive of 6,000 troops hurled against them. Now the guerrillas are also striking hard at the "secure" points of the regime. They are showing their growing ability to surround and overwhelm big government garrisons. They temporarily liberated Berlin, the second largest city in Usulatan, and surrounded the strategic town of Suchitopo, 25 miles outside of San Salvador.

Even in San Salvador itself the guerrillas have struck military forts and other military targets. What's more, there are reports that, despite savage repression, workers' strikes are again building up in the capital city.

The "Death Squad" Regime Is Crumbling

Meanwhile the U.S. puppet army is growing more paralyzed and demoralized. Unable to mount a counteroffensive, it is resorting to what it does best: it is stepping up wholesale massacres against the civilian population. After it lost Berlin, from the safety of U.S. fighter bombers, the military took revenge by savagely bombing the townspeople.

The army is starting to crack at the base with soldiers deserting by the hundreds. And it is cracking at the top with the bitter infighting among the generals. The leaders of the U.S. puppet government are also at each others' throats. The President of the Assembly, the death squad commander Roberto D'Aubuisson, nicknamed "the blow torch," is at loggerheads with other leaders of his ultra-right-wing ruling coalition. Threats are in the air that these new rifts among the reactionaries will be settled by the usual death squad methods.

All signs indicate that the U.S.-backed Salvadorian regime is starting to crumble under the hammer blows of the people.

The Democrats' "Political Solution" to Pull the Regime from the Fire

Reagan and the Pentagon hope to rescue the Salvadorian dictatorship by simply pouring in more guns and "advisers." But in Congress there are voices of disagreement. Liberal Republican Senator Mark Hatfield, Democratic Representative Stephen Solarz and a number of other Democratic Party liberals are protesting that the military aid to the regime must be linked to a gesture from the Reagan administration towards a "political solution" to the war.

These gentlemen point out that a"political solution" is the only option left if U.S. imperialism is going to pull Salvadorian regime out of the fire. They concede the desperate situation the regime is in. They concede that this is not a war against alleged Soviet arms shipments, as the Reaganite liars want people to believe. And they concede that it is a war against local insurgents whose principal arms supplier is the Pentagon by way of captured weapons from the puppet army.

That is why Solarz complains that sending weapons to El Salvador "is like money going down a rat hole. There is no way the government there is in a position to defeat the guerrillas...militarily." (New York Times, February 28, 1983) In other words, guns alone can't do the job. What's needed is a one-two punch of guns for the regime plus cunning negotiations for a "political solution." Only this, the liberals argue, can defeat the guerrillas. This is advertized as a peaceful and humane solution. But what it means in reality is drawing the liberation forces into negotiations to rob them of the initiative, to disarm them and to set them up for a massacre by the regime, which, of course, will be armed to the teeth with the weapons which Hatfield and Solarz agree is essential for their plans for a "political solution."

The Triumph of the People's Revolution Is the Only Just Solution

The conflict in El Salvador is a war of the people against inhuman tyranny. The poverty-stricken workers are fighting against ruthless exploitation by the rich capitalists and the U.S. multinational corporations. The starving and land-poor peasants are fighting against a handful of wealthy landlords who own most of the land in the country. The people have risen up against the bloodstained regime, which for half a century has defended this intolerable status quo.

In this conflict the rich Salvadorian oligarchy has stopped at nothing to defend its wealth and privileges. Isolated and despised, it rules through the crudest terrorism against its own people. It rules by "death squad." It has tortured and murdered more than 35,000 men, women and children over the last two years alone and has driven 500,000 into exile. These inhuman butchers have lasted as long as they have only because the U.S. government props them up in every way and the Pentagon supplies their death squads with all the instruments of their trade.

Here there is no room for pipe dreams of a peaceful reconciliation of the warring sides. There are only two real possibilities: Either the people are crushed for the time being under the jackboot of the tyrants. Or the people triumph over their oppressors. Only the victory of the liberation forces and the overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictatorship of rich capitalists and landlords can bring a just solution to the conflict.

Down With U.S. Imperialism!

No less than the Salvadorian generals, Reagan, too, is stained with the blood of the martyred people of that country. And no less than for his Salvadorian friends, Reagan's fanatical drive to stamp out the liberation struggle there is dictated by the economic and political system which he stands for.

Reagan stands for the system of imperialism, or monopoly capitalism. This is a system which feeds off of the exploitation and ruin of the working people at home. It grows fat on poverty, unemployment, racism and police state measures against the people.

This system also feeds on the super-exploitation of the labor and resources of the oppressed peoples. Always striving for domination, it unleashed repeated armed adventures to put down peoples' liberation struggles. And to defend its far-flung spheres of super-profits imperialism builds up its arsenals, press gangs the youth and prepares for war.

At the same time, this knot of imperialist slavery creates the conditions for its own undoing. It brings the working masses to revolt and struggle, and it binds the workers and oppressed of the different countries into a common front of battle against the imperialist enemy.

Today, the American working people and the Salvadorian people stand on such a common front. It is our "own" U.S. imperialism which is rapidly escalating its criminal intervention against El Salvador. And the heroic people of that country are unfolding a powerful liberation movement, which is striking heavy blows at our "own" imperialist exploiters.

Now is the time to strengthen the common battle. Now is the time to build demonstrations and militant protests against Reagan's plans for stepped up intervention. This is not a struggle to whitewash U.S. aggression by putting another "human rights" coating on the generals in San Salvador or by throwing them the life line of a "political solution." No. The times cry out for building up the mass actions of the workers, youth and progressive people under the fighting banners: U.S. imperialism, get out of El Salvador! Victory to the heroic liberation struggle of the Salvadorian People!

[Photo.]

[Cartoon: No amount of U.S. imperialist aid can prevent the Salvadorian revolution from scorching the U.S.-backed fascist regime.]


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On the centenary of his death

Commemorate, the Life and Work of Karl Marx, the Founder of Communism

Karl Marx was the founder of scientific socialism, the first great teacher and leader of the international working class movement. One hundred years ago this month, on March 14, 1883, Marx died in London. But his teachings, the doctrine of Marxism, live on. As long as there are still workers languishing in the capitalist sweat shops, suffering unemployment, and starving in the soup lines, then the desire for Marxist socialism, for a society where there is no longer the exploitation of man by man, will find its way to the workers' hearts. As long as the masses must still take to the streets in struggle, fighting the miseries of the capitalist system, fighting against reaction, imperialist aggression and war, then the ideas of Marxism will flourish to give the masses revolutionary guidance. As long as workers still strive to stand for their own class interest, to organize in their own vanguard party, then they will take Marxism as their theoretical foundation and inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchwords of Marx: "the emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself " and "workers of all countries, unite!"

Why is it that Marxism has had such a profound effect on the world and has continued down to today as the ever fresh and sure guide for the cause of the working class. It is because Marx, and his close comrade-in-arms Frederick Engels, took the socialist dreams of the workers and for the first time put them on a strictly scientific footing. Marx's teachings arose as the direct continuation of the most advanced thinking that had been created by humanity in the nineteenth century in the shape of German philosophy (mainly dialectics), English political economy and French socialism together with French revolutionary doctrines in general. Marx went beyond these achievements, and with genius created a remarkably consistent and integral world view. The Marxist teachings, taken in their totality, constitute modern materialism and scientific socialism, the theory and program of the working class movement in all countries of the world.

Lenin, who developed Marxism further in the conditions of the rise of imperialism and who led the October socialist revolution in Russia, once stressed:

"The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is complete and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world conception which is irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction, or defense of bourgeois oppression." ("The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism,'' introduction, Collected Works of Lenin, Vol. 19, p. 23)

It can be put no more succinctly. Marx wrought a revolution in the whole conception of world history. Deepening and developing the materialist conception of nature, Marx completed it and extended it to the knowledge of human society, thus creating historical materialism. The chaos and arbitrariness that had previously reigned in the views of history and politics gave way to a strikingly clear scientific theory which shows how one system of social life is replaced by another, higher system. For example how capitalism overthrew feudalism, and how socialism overthrows capitalism. Based on this understanding of the economic base on which arises the social and political relations of society, Marx has provided the guiding thread which enables us to discover the laws governing the seeming chaos of events, namely, the theory of the class struggle.

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles," Marx and Engels stress in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. Further on, analyzing capitalist society, they emphasize, "Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms.

Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat." And they conclude:

"The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital: the condition for capital is wage-labor. Wage-labor rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the laborers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modem Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable." (emphasis added)

Marx's historical materialism, his uncovering of the secret of how the capitalists exploit the workers (i.e. the theory of surplus value), his analysis of the basis of capitalist economic crisis, his exposure of the reason behind the existence of a permanent army of unemployed, etc. were all earth shaking scientific discoveries. Right down to today they stand not only as a blistering condemnation of the capitalist exploiters, but also as evidence of the inevitability of the rise of socialism through the revolution of the working class.

But Marx's brilliance did not stop here. He criticized the old materialism for failing to grasp the significance of "revolutionary'' "practical-critical'' activity. "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it." ("Theses on Feuerbach,'' emphasis as in original) Thus Marx, along with his theoretical work, devoted the utmost attention throughout his life to the work of practically organizing the working class and solving the various tactical problems of organizing the class struggle. Through the democratic revolutions of 1848, to the creation of the International Working Men's Association, the first international organization of the workers, and the defense of the Paris Commune, Marx always worked untiringly to organize the workers, to guide their struggles, to analyze their greatest victories and elucidate the causes of their setbacks.

It is little wonder that the teachings of Marx remain today ever young and fresh, a treasure house of theoretical and practical guidance for every worker who has dreamed of the emancipation of the working class from the shackles of capitalist wage-slavery.

The Bourgeois Campaign Against Marxism

Since the days when Marx wrote his first socialist articles, the capitalist exploiters have been on a permanent campaign to heap abuse on his name and to bury his doctrine. But Marxism could not be murdered. Every new day and each new struggle has produced further evidence that shows the correctness and brilliance of this theory. And as the working class movement has grown stronger the influence of Marxism has spread ever wider.

The very popularity of Marxism has led to a situation where even capitalist professors and charlatans of every ilk began to drape themselves in the mantle of Marx in order to kill Marxism with kindness, so to speak, by converting his revolutionary teachings into liberalism. Lenin, in his famous work The State and Revolution, gave a striking description of this phenomenon:

"What is now happening to Marx 's theory has, in the course of history, happened repeatedly to the theories of revolutionary thinkers and leaders of oppressed classes fighting for emancipation. During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the 'consolation' of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its edge and vulgarizing it. Today, the bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the labor movement concur in this doctoring of Marxism. They omit, obscure or distort the revolutionary side of this theory, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgeoisie.'' (Chapter I)

Today in the working class movement in the U.S. there are those who profess to being Marxist-Leninists but who are turning their backs on the revolutionary principles of Marxism. Leninism. Revisionist groups of the pro-Soviet, Maoist and trotskyite varieties have come together in a common liquidationist crusade seeking to purge the workers' movement of its revolutionary traditions. They are renouncing the class struggle for the sake of unity with the sellout union bureaucrats. They are throwing mud at the Marxist-Leninist teachings on party building and the necessity for the class independence of the proletariat in order to merge with the "left''-wing liberals of the Democratic Party. Indeed, they are mocking at the very idea of standing on principle or basing the workers' party on revolutionary theory. The Marxist- Leninist Party condemns these traitors of the workers' cause and has this year issued the call to the class conscious workers everywhere to study the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, to defend them from the distortions of the liquidators, to go Back to the Classics of Marxism-Leninism!

Marx Demolishes the Liquidators of His Day

To assist the workers to carry out this call The Workers' Advocate is reprinting below the "Circular Letter,'' one of the most important writings of Marx and Engels in which they combat a trend of petty-bourgeois opportunism which could be called the liquidators of their day.

In this remarkable work, Marx and Engels show that they not only knew how to advance revolutionary tactics during times of insurrection, but that they also knew how to defend the revolutionary perspective during a period of political stagnation and dark reaction. In Germany the Bismark government set out to eliminate the "specter" of communism by crushing the organizations of the workers. In 1878 Bismark passed, with the vote of the majority of the German parliament, the anti-socialist law. It prohibited all organizations of the Marxist workers' party, the German Social Democratic Party, as well as all mass organizations of the workers and the working class press. During the years in which the law was operative about 350 Social Democratic organizations were broken up, some 900 Social Democrats were deported from Germany, about 1,500 were imprisoned and hundreds of newspapers, magazines and non-periodical publications were banned.

The Social Democratic Party did not immediately find the right path for overcoming this difficult situation. It vacillated toward both the anarchist phrasemongering of Johann Most and the right opportunism of Karl Hoch- berg who wanted to trim the Party's sails in the face of the reaction. It became clear that the Party could only regroup by combining legal and illegal work. It made plans to produce a paper, the Social Democrat, in Switzerland which would be smuggled into Germany, an illegal organ of the Party to agitate and organize among the workers. But the Party leadership in Liepzig essentially handed over control of the new paper to Hochberg, who was then in Zurich.

Marx and Engels vigorously combated this swing to opportunism. As early as 1877 Marx wrote letters to the Party leadership sharply criticizing Hochberg's opportunism. In the face of the anti-socialist law, Hochberg went further. He wanted the Party to renounce the class struggle and content itself with reforms to patch up the capitalist system. He wanted to liquidate the proletarian character of the Party, emphasizing that its main task should be to recruit bourgeois. He wanted to eliminate any revolutionary policy of the Party for the sake of appeasing reaction. In September, 1879, Marx and Engels sent their "Circular Letter" to all the main leaders of the Party. In it they leveled a blistering criticism at Hochberg's opportunist theories. They defended the class struggle and the revolutionary proletarian character of the Party. And they demanded that the Party leaders eliminate the opportunist influence or Marx and Engels would break with the Party.

As a result of their struggle the opportunists retreated. The paper was put under the control of relatively sound Marxist editors and served as a valuable took to reorganize the Party and to educate and mobilize the workers. The Party regrouped, building extensive underground organization led by an underground Central Committee in Germany. As well it made wide use of legal possibilities to strengthen its ties with the masses. Its influence grew steadily. Despite the anti-socialist law, the votes cast for Social Democratic candidates for election to the parliament was more than trebled between 1878 and 1890. Under the pressure of the mass working class movement the anti-socialist law was annulled in 1890.

The "Circular Letter" of Marx and Engels is as valuable today as it was when it was first circulated. Our modern Hochbergs, the revisionist liquidators, are also falling all over themselves in the quest for "respectability." Some Maoists like the now defunct Communist Party Marxist-Leninist, are denouncing outright the building of a vanguard party of the workers, while others like the Communist Workers Party, are writing books to declare their main "party building" task to be to recruit petty bourgeois and bourgeois. Not one of them can find their way to address the working masses. Rather they spend their time buttering up to the union bureaucrats, the social-democrats and Democratic Party politicians. And they would certainly not scare away these respectable gentlemen with talk of class struggle. No, the class struggle and the revolutionary perspective have been banished. Why even strikes against concessions have become dangerous "ultra-leftism." And in their place all one hears is the disgusting appeals to patch up the capitalist system.

These liquidators have dressed themselves up as Marxists. But Marx has shown us how to fight such scoundrels and to defend the cause of the workers' movement from their treachery. This year we should commemorate the immortal life and work of Karl Marx by following his example.

The teachings of Karl Marx are a powerful weapon for the revolutionary education and organization of the working class. In this year of Marx, let all class conscious workers make it their special task to study his writings and the other classic works of Marxism-Leninism; to apply these teachings to help solve the manifold problems of organizing the class struggle; and to spread the Marxist truth to the working masses to help prepare them for the coming class battles.

All glory to the immortal teachings of Karl Marx!

Back to the Classics of Marxism-Leninism!

[Photo: Karl Marx (1818-1883)]


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What's wrong with 'Gandhi'


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A movie to undermine the struggle against oppression

The film Gandhi was released this winter with great fanfare. Made at a cost of $22 million and in the style of a grand epic involving the proverbial "cast of thousands," the movie seeks to make a big impact on its audiences. It purports to bring to millions throughout the world the story of Mohandas K. Gandhi, and, through that, the story of the Indian people's struggle against British colonial rule.

But the movie aims to do more than that. It actively seeks to preach the Gandhian message. Both the film's makers and its boosters claim that it has an important lesson to teach, especially to those who want to fight against injustice and tyranny. It is particularly aimed at activists, such as in the anti-war and anti-racist movements.

The film's creator, Richard Attenborough, pointed out on television recently that he considers the movie to be of special value for the growing movement against war preparations in Europe, North America, etc. A number of people who claim to be progressive, but who are in fact professional misleaders of the workers' and popular movements, have endorsed such views. Coretta Scott King awarded Ben Kingsley, the actor who plays Gandhi in the movie, the Martin Luther King Award this year. And The Daily World, newspaper of the revisionist Communist Party of the USA, found merit in the idea that Gandhi "can teach someone how to organize a movement."

We cannot agree with such views. The truth is that Gandhi, the movie as well as the man and his message, does not help to advance the struggles of the oppressed and exploited masses. Rather, its message is aimed at undermining the people's struggles and rendering them harmless to the oppressors. In order to spread this message, the movie carries out monstrous distortions of history.

The Indian people's struggle for freedom from British colonialism was one of the major struggles of this century. It saw the masses in their millions across this vast subcontinent uniting across so many national and religious lines in a gigantic common struggle for liberation. It saw the masses utilizing many forms of struggle, including strikes, demonstrations, peasants' revolts, armed actions, and so forth. But one will not get any idea of the richness of this struggle of the ordinary masses from the movie Gandhi. You only get promotion of the national-reformist opposition of the Indian bourgeoisie and dark hints against the mass revolutionary struggle.

Thus, both for its message and the treatment of history it is based on, the movie Gandhi does a great disservice to the Indian people's struggle and serves only the oppressors. Let us proceed to compare a few key features of the film with what actually happened in India.

The Portrayal of British Colonialism in Gandhi

The movie tries to create the impression that it stands against oppression. Thus the movie depicts a number of features of the brutality of British colonial rule in India. It shows the savage massacre ordered by General Dyer of unarmed men, women and children in Amritsar, Punjab in 1919. It even hints at some of the economic foundations of British imperialist exploitation of India.

But such depictions are not used by the film to make a clear indictment of British colonialism. The film does not bring out the immense misery that British rule meant for the Indian people. But more significantly, the film tries to create the idea that the brutalities of colonial rule were an aberration from the general pattern. It subscribes to the well-known myth of British liberalism that while there may have been "excesses," we must not forget that British imperialism also involved "good" and "enlightened" Englishmen.

And indeed, we are treated to such enlightened personages throughout the movie. General Dyer is shown castigated by a high-level commission of the colonial government. What the movie leaves out, however, is that this murderer of hundreds got off virtually scot-free. His "punishment" was the removal of his command and the end of his employment in India! Now there's British justice for you!

The movie also treats us over and over again to the oh-so polite treatment handed out to Gandhi by various judges and high officials. No doubt, Gandhi, as a representative of the rich and privileged classes of India, may have received such treatment, but the workers and peasants, or revolutionaries and communists, never received any such magnanimity from the British. For them, it was batons and bullets, jails and gallows.

At the end of the movie, when Britain finally accedes to independence for India, we are led to believe that this happened as a result of the goodness of the hearts of the British rulers who were finally morally uplifted by Gandhi's non-violent crusade. As we shall soon see, this is an outrageous lie.

Gandhi and the Struggle Against Colonial Role

The movie not only tries to pretend to be against colonialism, but it also seeks to appeal to those who wish to take an active stand against tyranny. Thus it shows Gandhi not as a passive character but as an activist and organizer of mass struggle. At one point, it even quotes Gandhi disowning passive resistance. He remarks, "I have always believed in fighting. I have never believed in passive anything."

To say the least, this is amazing prettification. While it is true that Gandhi did on occasion organize mass protests, he also tried his utmost to restrict them within the confines of reformism and non-violence. Thus the masses were not supposed to fight back against the brutal attacks of the troops and police. We are treated by the movie to a graphic depiction of one such incident in 1930. But the movie presents this terrible tragedy as a great moral victory. Why? Because a New York Times reporter on the scene sends in a report in that vein to the newspapers back home. Oh, the power of the bourgeois press! But, we cannot help but ask, if this was such a victory, then why is it that the Round Table Conference in Britain about Indian self-government which is the outcome of this "victory" turns out to be a complete fraud? Why is it that the British rulers, whose hearts were supposed to change as a result of the suffering of the protestors, do not concede independence to India for another one-and-a-half decades?

Gandhi did not see the mass struggle as the way to overthrow British colonial rule. Gandhi only wanted to use the movement to allow the masses to blow off steam and to pressure the British government for accommodation with the Indian bourgeoisie. When the masses grew restive, Gandhi and the other leaders of the Congress Party would call for struggle. But this was only to use the movement as a means of putting pressure on the British to reach various compromises with the Congress. This is why Gandhi sought to impose the restrictions of non-violence on the movement. Whenever the movement went beyond the restrictions of the Congress leaders and threatened to become a serious challenge to the British colonialists, Gandhi and the Congress would call the movement off.

The movie in fact details one such treacherous episode of Gandhi's career. Compressing events that took place between 1919 and 1922, the film shows Gandhi calling for mass resistance. When the British respond with the brutality of Amritsar and the enraged masses start to fight back, burning down police stations and so forth, Gandhi calls the struggle off and goes on a hunger strike against the masses! The movie does not show it, but Gandhi repeated such performances in the 1930's and 40's. The counter-revolutionary nature of this activity is clear. Even Nehru, one of the Congress leaders, is shown by the movie begging the British to have gratitude because "the man just stopped a revolution." But such treachery is presented by the movie in positive colors.

Gandhi's treachery was the general policy of the leadership of the Indian National Congress. This was the party of the Indian national bourgeoisie. Its policy was not a revolutionary one, but a national-reformist policy. This party began by calling for improvements in the position of the Indian bourgeoisie within the British colonial apparatus. For a long time, the Congress violently opposed the demand for complete independence, preferring instead the much vaguer concept of "Swaraj" (self-government). Nehru was to write later in his Autobiography that "to most of our leaders Swaraj meant something much less than independence." When the Congress finally acceded to the demand for independence in 1929, it only did so because of the pressure of the masses. Even after this, for years the Congress basically pigeonholed this demand and was content to play the role of a "loyal opposition." And even when it finally came around to the goal of independence from Britain, the Congress saw this as an arrangement where direct colonial rule would be replaced with the rule of the Indian bourgeoisie and where imperialism would continue to maintain its privileges. As the film shows, the Congress chose to arrive at this goal not through revolutionary struggle but through deals and compromises. The Gandhian philosophy of non-violent struggle was one of the main weapons of the national-reformist policy of the Congress.

Did Gandhianism Win Freedom for India?

But the champions of Gandhi may chide us, so what if Gandhi's methods were reformist, didn't they get the British out of India? The movie indeed tries to give this impression. If one believes the movie, the British left India because of (a) the moral force of Gandhi's struggle, and (b) the new-found magnanimity of the British rulers after World War II.

What garbage! All the facts show otherwise. The British imperialists remained intransigent about not leaving India until the costs became too high and until they were sufficiently sure they could leave in such a way that would preserve imperialist interests intact in India.

Despite the national-reformism of the Congress, the forces building for national liberation through revolutionary means continued to grow. The struggles of earlier decades and the victory over fascism in WWII set the stage for a massive explosion at the end of the war. In 1945-47, powerful storms of mass struggle swept India, including a mutiny of the Indian ratings (seamen) of the Royal Indian Navy, communist-led peasant struggles, powerful strikes of the industrial workers, anti-colonial street demonstrations, etc.

In the face of such a situation, the British imperialists, now guided by a labor government, first remained intransigent. But the rapid advance of events soon led them to a different realization. Sir Stafford Cripps, a major spokesman of British imperialism, told the House of Commons on March 5,1947 that there were "fundamentally two alternatives" before the British. "First they Could endeavor to strengthen British control in India on the basis of a considerable reinforcement of British troops.... The second alternative was to accept the fact that the first alternative was not possible."

The first alternative was rejected because British imperialism was greatly weakened by the world war. A massive commitment of troops was too costly, both in economic terms and also too politically volatile for a war- weary population at home.

The second alternative was really to achieve a compromise with the Congress. And the Congress leaders once again showed their counter-revolutionary character. They refused to support the mass movement and started to take action against the left, especially the communists.

The response to the mutiny of the Indian seamen is a case in point. Patel, one of the most reactionary leaders of the Congress and one who the movie Gandhi promotes highly, declared: "...discipline in the army cannot be tampered with.... We will want Army even in free India." And Gandhi himself was just as hostile. He condemned the ratings for setting "a bad and unbecoming example for India." This was similar to his condemnation of the Gharwali soldiers who had refused to fire at a mass demonstration in Pehsawar in 1930.

By this time, the Congress Party had therefore given enough assurances that it could be trusted to preserve imperialist interests and block revolution in India. Indeed, having been in power in the Indian provinces in the late 30's, the Congress had shown itself to be capable strikebreakers and oppressors in their own right. In the post-war period, they opposed the mass movement and hit out at the left. The British imperialists finally felt comfortable in achieving a deal with the Congress leaders. This is the real story behind the transfer of power in 1947. But you will not get even a hint of this from Attenborough's movie. But then, what can one expect of a movie which is dedicated to Lord Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy in India, and to Jawaharlal Nehru, the pre-eminent Congress leader after Gandhi?

Present-Day India Is the Biggest Condemnation of Gandhi's Road

When all is said and done, it is the condition of present-day India which is the most powerful condemnation of Gandhi's program of action. The India of today is in fact the direct outcome of Gandhi's and the Congress Party's compromise with imperialism.

And what is India today? It is a land where political power is held by a cutthroat alliance of the big capitalists and landlords. It is a country where there exists merciless capitalist exploitation side by side with barbaric medieval survivals. It is a country still dependent on foreign imperialism. For the hundreds of millions of workers and peasants, it remains a veritable hell on earth.

Since political independence came on the reformist road, every rotten feature of the old India was preserved. Thus, while direct British administration came to an end, British economic investments remained intact. British influence in the military and government also remained at a high level. As well, since 1947, there has been a great expansion of U.S. imperialist interests in India, and since the 60's, the country has also become dependent on Soviet social-imperialism. The bureaucracy and repressive apparatus created by the British also remained intact, now a ruthless machine in the hands of the Indian bourgeois-landlord rulers. All the old medieval institutions, such as caste, bonded labor, and other feudal survivals, have been preserved by the coming to power of the Congress Party.

Gandhi is shown in the movie as a champion of the poor and downtrodden. But this image of Gandhi's was really another of his great disservices to the Indian people. It was Gandhi's image of populism and the demagogy of the social-democratic Congress leaders like Nehru which gave the bourgeois Indian Congress a social demagogy which was immensely useful in deceiving the toiling masses.

The lot of the downtrodden workers and peasants has not improved at all under the rule of the Congress. While Gandhi was critical of certain medieval institutions such as the caste system and untouchability, this was purely hypocritical. Neither he nor the Congress had any real social program to solve the basic problems of the poor. That would have required the smashing up of the entrenched power of the exploiters, especially the landlords in the countryside where the vast millions of the people live. But the Indian bourgeoisie preserved landlordism in India and established an alliance with the landlords with which to rule over the toiling masses. Thus, over three decades of Congress rule have only resulted in an India of continued exploitation and misery for the vast majority.

Some die-hard Gandhians suggest that Gandhi is not responsible for what has happened to India since the Congress did not live up to his economic program. The movie Gandhi promotes these ideas, such as the proposal for wide-scale establishment of small- scale spinning and weaving. But all that goes to show is that on certain questions Gandhi stood for even more backward ideas than the main bourgeois leaders of his party. If Gandhi's proposals had been followed, it would have only meant even more backwardness and poverty for the masses.

Gandhi and the Question of Sectarian Violence

One of the principal by-products of India receiving independence through the bourgeois-reformist road was the partition of the country into two states and the terrible Hindu-Muslim rioting that accompanied it. The film shows some aspects of this tragedy but once again distorts history to hide what really lay behind this problem.

To the extent that Gandhi tries to explain the issue of partition and the sectarian violence, it blames it all on the Muslims. It is the Muslims who are shown instigating the sectarian rioting. And it is Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, who is depicted from the early parts of the movie as the total antithesis of Gandhi, almost as the devil incarnate.

No doubt Jinnah and the Muslim League were reactionary to the core. But there was more to the partition of India than Jinnah. First, there was the deliberate "divide and rule" policy cultivated over centuries by the British colonialists. Moreover, the roots of the demand for a separate Muslim state lay in the class interests of Muslim businessmen and landlords who sought to carve out their own enclave to exploit, free from the competition of the dominant non-Muslim elements of the exploiters. Such a movement found a mass following among sections of the Muslim toilers because it manipulated class grievances and gave them a religious coloring. As well, there were real issues of religious discrimination organized by the chieftains of the Hindu aristocracy. But all these issues are ignored by the movie, which finds it convenient to make the Muslim masses out to be wild and violent fanatics. Of course, in recent years this has become a very popular propaganda theme of the Western imperialists.

If we are also to believe the movie, Gandhi and the Congress were paragons of secularism and religious tolerance. But this is a whitewash. While the Congress did stand for an official policy of secularism, many of its leaders remained champions of ultra-reactionary religious fanaticism. Congress leaders too had their share in the instigation of sectarian rioting. Gandhi himself was no unqualified champion of Hindu-Muslim unity. His appeal to the masses had the strong overtones of Hindu religion. It certainly was not a non-sectarian appeal to the masses on the basis of unity in common struggle. In fact, when the masses rose up, Hindu and Muslim alike, to fight militantly for freedom, Gandhi openly condemned such unity. He denounced the unity across religious lines forged in the naval mutiny in 1946 in these terms: "...a combination between Hindus and Muslims and others for the purpose of violent action is unholy...."

In sum, it was the exploiters, both Hindu and Muslim alike, who were responsible for instigating sectarian violence. Coming on the heels of the huge revolutionary upsurge at the end of World War II, this sectarian violence was aimed to quash the class-wide unity of the toiling masses. In fact, it was only where the toilers stood firm in their class unity that the sectarian violence was blocked. There are numerous heroic tales of the ordinary peasants and workers who combined together to thwart the attempts of the rich to instigate sectarian rioting. Again, you see none of this in the movie.

History has seen that bourgeois-landlord rule in India has maintained the weapon of sectarian violence in order to keep the masses down. The current events in Assam are a tragic example of this fact. Only the unity of the toilers, across national and religious lines, in struggle for a revolution against the exploiters can assure friendship and cooperation among the numerous nationalities and religions of India.

The Indian Masses Will Inevitably Bury the Myth of Gandhi

The movie Gandhi subscribes to the well-known bourgeois theory that great men make history. But the real heroes of the Indian people's struggle for freedom were not Gandhi and his fellow Congress leaders but the millions of toilers and the revolutionaries who fought in their forefront. It was the force of the anti-imperialist mass movement which got the colonialists to leave India. Unfortunately, the toiling masses were not strong enough to achieve this goal by revolutionary means. Among other things, the responsibility for that lies on the leadership of the Communist Party, which more and more veered away from the Marxist-Leninist road and gave up the hard-won independent class politics of the toilers in favor of trailing behind the national-reformists.

But even though political independence was achieved through reformist means, the removal of direct colonial rule did help to clear the way for the advance of the class struggle. Present-day India has been and continues to be the scene of powerful clashes between the toiling masses and the exploiters. The influences of different revisionist ideologies has damaged the cause of reestablishing the revolutionary vanguard party of the proletariat. But in time, the workers and peasants are bound to rebuild their independent class organizations and settle accounts with the Indian bourgeoisie. They will then also set accounts finally straight on the place of Gandhi in the Indian people's history.

The movie Gandhi and the promotion of his message by the bourgeoisie must not be allowed to obscure the truth about what he really stood for. Pacifism and reformism are a dead-end street for the mass movements. Revolutionary struggle of the masses is the path for liberation.

[Photo: Indian policeman shooting at demonstrators during the nationwide mass upsurge against the Congress Party government in the mid-1970's. The Indian bourgeoisie has lived up to Gandhi's promise to preserve the police apparatus created by the British colonialists and used them over and over again against the workers and peasants of India. The reality of life for the masses in India today is the biggest indictment of Gandhi's road.]

[Photo: A street meeting in colonial India organized under the banner of the Communist Party. It was the powerful storms of mass revolutionary struggle which forced the British colonialists to leave India. But the movie Gandhi does not show this; instead it gives the credit to Gandhi, who was in fact a saboteur of the people's struggle and a compromiser with the colonialists. The Communist Party was in the forefront of Indian revolutionaries who fought Gandhi's national-reformism but later it relinquished the fruits of this struggle by trailing the national-reformists. The history of the Indian struggle shows the importance of a stern struggle against national-reformism in the anti-imperialist liberation struggles.]


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Workers and unemployed, unite against the capitalist offensive!

Reagan talks 'recovery' while millions look for work

The economic depression is condemning the working people to ruin. With every passing month the multimillion strong army of the jobless, the homeless and the destitute is being swelled by hundreds of thousands of new victims of the capitalist economic crisis.

But in the face of this catastrophe the clown Ronald Reagan assures us that there is no cause to be overly concerned. Why, just last month Reagan and his White House team have officially proclaimed that "recovery is underway." As proof, a host of bought-and-paid-for "economic experts" are being marched before the TV cameras to certify the health of the economy and the end of the crisis.

This "recovery" propaganda is a cynical lie ten times over. It is a slap in the face to the tens of millions of unemployed and half-employed workers. It is a brutal insult to the growing millions forced to choose between heating their homes (or having any home at all) and feeding their families.

This is a "recovery" measured entirely by the well-being of Wall Street stock portfolios. It is not measured against the very real and growing suffering of the working population. Nor is it measured against last year's 8.2% plunge in industrial output, or the ongoing post-war record rates of bankruptcies, or nose dive in capital spending, or against all the other facts which confirm that the economy remains on the skids of a deep depression. The only "recovery" has been in the gross national output of capitalist lies and empty promises.

The Downward Spiral of the Monopoly Capitalist Economy and the Swelling Ranks of Unemployed

The Reaganite propaganda of "recovery" is shown up as especially absurd when looked at in light of the downward spiral of the monopoly capitalist economy over the last decade and more. Since the beginning of the 70's, and particularly since the industrial nose dive of 1974-75, the economy has been gripped by deep stagnation and wracked by back-to- back recessions. In between there have been temporary respites, what the bourgeois economists have described as "sluggish recoveries," each of which have been cut short by a renewed round of economic collapse. Now the crisis is deeper and the economic stagnation is more all-encompassing than at any time since the depression of the 30's.

The deepening crisis has brought with it a growing calamity for the I workers. Between 1972 and 1981 real wages have been cut by a whopping 17% ("Spendable average earnings of private non-agricultural workers," Bureau of Labor Statistics). Even more striking has been the geometric expansion of the army of unemployed. What stands out is that, even during the times of temporary respite, production picks up a bit but unemployment doesn't recede to its previous level and remains sky-high. For example, at the height of the so-called "recovery" of 1978-79 official joblessness remained at double the 3.5% level of a decade earlier, while today, when the crisis has renewed its downward plunge, official joblessness has grown to fully three times the 1969 level. This means that each phase of the deepening crisis is hurling a new layer on top of the industrial scrap heap of surplus workers.

It is a telling omen that even the Reagan prattlers of "recovery" are making dire predictions of high unemployment for years to come. Reagan speaks of the problem of finding jobs for 13 million "structurally" unemployed over the next five years. Meanwhile the director of his Office of Budget and Management, David Stockman, is talking about 6% unemployment as a "reasonable and realistic target" for Reagan's "recovery" package. (Washington Post, February 11,1983) No wonder that this same Office of Budget and Management is projecting that there will still be some nine million officially jobless by the end of Reagan's second term.

For sure these White House forecasts, like all their other claims, are a big whitewash. Nevertheless these confessions show that for the working masses there will be no recovery and, in particular, that there is no relief in sight from the growing catastrophe of unemployment. These confessions are a telling indictment of the monopoly capitalist system, a crisis-ridden system which more and more can not even provide the barest necessities of life for its wage slaves.

But Reagan doesn't let this muddy his fairy tale picture of capitalist "prosperity." Oh no, this is simply a long-term problem of "structural unemployment," Reagan explains, as if the word "structural" made the condemnation of a generation of tens of millions of workers to forced idleness and hunger into something quite normal within the otherwise "recovered" body of the capitalist economy. This is like a quack doctor claiming to have brought "recovery" to a man with terminal cancer by arguing that he is really as fit as a fiddle apart from the "structural" tumors that are ravaging his vital organs.

Unemployment Is a "Structural" Part of Capitalist Profit Making

Of course, from Reagan's standpoint, that is from the standpoint of the capitalists, double-digit unemployment is not only acceptable, it is downright profitable.

In his famous scientific work Capital Karl Marx showed in precise detail how the growth of the mass of unemployed, what he called the "industrial reserve army" is "a condition of existence of the capitalist mode of production," and how this ever-expanding industrial reserve army is the essential lever in the hands of capital for squeezing profits out of the workers, (see Vol. 1, Chapter XXV, Section 3 -- "Progressive Production of a Relative Surplus Population or Industrial Reserve Army") Marx laid bare these laws of capitalism over a century ago, and today the industrial reserve army has swelled to a monstrous size and is as much as ever a "structural" part of capitalist profit making.

During times of economic crisis such as these the employers cut back production and throw millions of workers into the streets in order to safeguard corporate profit margins. But this is only one part of a vicious cycle. The huge expansion in the mass of jobless becomes itself a source of profits and a source of increased exploitation of the workers, which in turn becomes a source of more layoffs and an ever-bigger industrial reserve army.

This is tabulated directly into the capitalist's money-making calculations. As layoffs grow the danger of loss of a livelihood presses harder on the workers still on the job, The capitalist puts this loaded weapon to the heads of the workers as he proceeds to squeeze every possible drop of profit out of them through wage cuts, speedup, and automation. This then paves the way for the capitalist to trim his work force even further and to rake in more profits at the expense of the growing millions of unemployed.

This is how Marx summed up this relationship between stepped up exploitation of the workers and the growth of unemployment:

"... The overwork of the employed part of the working-class swells the ranks of the reserve, while conversely the greater pressure that the latter by its competition exerts on the former, forces these to submit to over-work and to subjugation under the dictates of capital. The condemnation of one part of the working-class to enforced idleness by the over-work of the other part, and the converse, becomes a means of enriching the individual capitalists, and accelerates at the same time the production of the industrial reserve army...." (Ibid.)

15 Million Jobless -- The Pivot of the Employers' Concessions Drive

Today this vicious cycle is operating in full force. The capitalists are doing everything in their power to drive the workers harder and longer and at less pay. They want to perfect the most thorough and cruel exploitation of the reduced work forces still on the job. This is what the employers' concessions drive is all about.

From coast to coast and in every industry the capitalists are striving to saddle the workers with wage and benefit cuts and with work rule changes to enforce more overwork and speedup and less time off to recuperate. They are robbing the workers to finance automation and other measures to cut back work forces even further and to exploit the workers to the bone.

In typical Madison Avenue style the bourgeois apologists try to dress up this man-eating process with fancy and appealing names like "reindustrialization" or "revitalization." Call it what you like, but for the workers it only means overwork and misery. Moreover it means millions of new recruits for the ranks of the unemployed, for the ranks of the destitute jobless army upon which the interests of the capitalist class so heavily depend.

In their onslaught against the workers the modern capitalist slave drivers do not resort to the same whips and clubs used by the slave drivers of old.

They have no need to because the reserve army of labor provides an even more powerful and an even more effective weapon against the wage slaves. Every worker feels on his back that there are literally hundreds of jobless and desperate workers available to take his place, and he knows that resistance to the arrogant demands of the capitalists may be punished by the loss of work, which spells sure ruin. Hunger and despair translate into the whips and clubs in the hands of our modern day slave drivers. In a sense, the very fate of the concessions drive of the monopolies is hinged on the dead weight of 15 million jobless holding down the workers before the dictates of capital.

The Class Struggle Is the Workers' Only Weapon of Self-Defense

But that is only one side of the equation. On the other side, joblessness and exploitation calls forth the resistance of the working class.

The capitalists and the labor union bosses in their pay are lecturing the workers that they have no choice but to cave in before the demands of the employers. Now is no time for strikes and militant action, they tell the workers, unemployment is too high, you can't win, so you must make sacrifices. But all this propaganda flies in the face of the history of the working class struggle. As any worker who lived through the depression of the 30's knows full well: Hard times are fighting times.

The crisis has hit the workers a hard blow and has thrown up obstacles to the struggle. But the workers are being pushed to the wall. For ever growing numbers the line is being drawn: Either fight or be broken. The class struggle is the workers' only weapon of self-defense.

The capitalists' concessions drive has thrown down a big challenge to the working class. The bitter experience of the auto and other workers shows that giving way to concessions only whets the corporate appetite for more takeaways, for more overwork and for more layoffs and shutdowns. It also shows that the concessions steamroller of the employers in league with the AFL-CIO sellouts cannot be blocked without struggle. The only way to defeat the wage cuts, productivity drives and layoffs is through mass struggle, through the strikes, protests and other actions of the rank and file.

Fighting for the demands of the unemployed is also a challenge of gigantic significance for the working class struggle. For the capitalist the army of jobless is a source of profit and a lever for cutting wages. For the liberal-labor politician or trade union bureaucrat the jobless army is at most an object of some meager charity and hypocritical pity. But for the working class the revolt building up among the unemployed and downtrodden represents a powerful source of strength. The class interests of the workers is intimately bound up with their 15 million comrades who have been tossed into the street. The powerful arm of the working class must be extended to the struggle of the unemployed for jobs or a livelihood.

The capitalist offensive can be and must be met by the combined resistance of the employed and unemployed workers. In this battle the workers confront the effects of the crisis and not its cause. At the same time, in the heat of struggle the workers become schooled in the laws of class warfare. Invaluable lessons are gained about the nature of the enemy. Class consciousness and organization are strengthened. And the independent movement of the working class is built up into a powerful force.

Resistance to the capitalist offensive is absolutely essential to muster the working class army of the socialist revolution. Only such a revolution can push the crisis-ridden capitalist system into its grave and once and for all put the scourge of exploitation and unemployment six feet under.

[Photo: More than 200 steel workers picket the headquarters of U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh demanding jobs.]


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The Bipartisan 'Jobs Bill' Is an Insult to the Unemployed

The hungry army of 15 million jobless is a source of profits for the capitalist ruling class. At the same time for Ronald Reagan, Tip O'Neill and the other capitalist chieftains it is also a source of political embarrassment. It is exposing to the masses that their system of "freedom" only means "freedom" for the billionaires to mercilessly rob the working people, and "freedom" for the workers to starve. And it is threatening powerful outbursts of the workers against this robbery.

To provide a measure of relief for this political trauma the Republicans and Democrats in Washington have cooked up a bipartisan sop to show their "humanitarian concern" for the plight of the jobless. They even have the nerve to call this miserable farce a "jobs" bill.

But examination of this bill reveals not a trace of "humanity." On the contrary, it only reveals more evidence that both the Republicans and the Democrats alike are fully committed to the Reaganite offensive of unemployment and hunger against the working masses.

A Reaganite Farce of a "Jobs" Bill

On March 3, the Democrat-controlled House voted 324 to 95 for a "job and humanitarian relief" package to be added to the 1983 budget. This legislation has wide bipartisan support and it is essentially identical to the "jobs" bill proposed by Reagan last month. The main difference is that the House version has a few more dollars for health care, day care, and other "humanitarian aid." But in both versions their "humanitarian aid" portion amounts to only three to seven hundred million dollars, hardly enough to pay for the tail section of a ' single Trident submarine. In both versions most of the $4-5 billion goes to the "jobs" portion of the proposal. But the number of "jobs" involved is miniscule at best. These jobs will come from accelerating already scheduled spending for federal construction and repair projects and federal aid to the localities for similar programs. The bill has a number of notable features:

(1) It amounts to hardly a drop in the ocean of unemployed. Its sponsors say it will create between 300-600,000 jobs. But by the government's own figures that cuts unemployment by something less than one-quarter or one-half of a percentage point! Even this projection is a gross exaggeration. For example, many of these projects will be finished and the workers will be back on the street long before other projects even get off the drafting tables. And even then there will be far fewer jobs involved than advertised.

(2) This bill is a big boondoggle for the millionaires. It's a pork barrel supreme. Construction, engineering and equipment firms will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the construction projects. Two hundred million dollars is also allocated directly for Small Business Administration loans to firms for plants and machinery. Only an insignificant part will ever find its way into the hands of any jobless worker.

(3) A large part of this "humanitarian" package really belongs in a bill for relief for the Pentagon generals. Among other "defense" related projects, $243 million is being allocated for military housing. Moreover $545 million for water projects and flood prevention is going directly to the Pentagon's Army Corps of Engineers. Another big part will be spent on building up and repairing prisons, which, besides militarism, is the other major preoccupation of the capitalists.

In sum, this bill will provide at most a handful of construction workers with temporary employment. Meanwhile, the tens of millions of jobless and poverty-stricken are to be left to starve.

Mr. O'Neill, the Unemployed Cannot Eat "Symbols of Concern"

The Democratic Party chieftains, the self-styled champions of the poor and jobless, have given their full backing to this Reaganite "jobs" bill. As House Speaker Tip O'Neill puts it: "This is not the best bill we Democrats could write but it may be the best bill we can enact into law." (The New York Times, February 15,1983)

It should be noted, despite O'Neill's attempt of disclaimer, that this bill was first authored by the Democrats. It is modeled after the "jobs" bills which the Democrats wrote in December and which Reagan threatened to veto at the time. This is why a "very enthusiastic" House Majority Leader, Democrat James Wright, expressed being "agreeably surprised at the distance the Administration has come to embrace and accept the major components of our jobs initiative last December." (Washington Post, February 11, 1983) The truth is, in their essentials, there isn't a shred of difference between this miserable Reaganite sop and the much ballyhooed "jobs" initiatives of the Democratic Party chieftains.

The Democratic fakers try to cover themselves with the excuse that this is the best that can be expected in the present circumstances. After all, as Tip O'Neill explains, to make demands that are not acceptable to Reagan and co. would only be "an obstacle to the Democrats in the House working with Republicans in the White House and Senate in the best interests of the nation." (The New York Times, February 15, 1983) In other words, this swindle of a "jobs" bill is the best that can be expected out of the Democratic Party strategy of working with the Reaganites, of adopting and embracing Reaganomics as the bipartisan program of monopoly capital.

In arguing in support of this bill, Tip O'Neill let the cat out of the bag as to its real significance. The New York Times reports him explaining that "one of the best ways to boost confidence" in the economy "is to demonstrate, if only symbolically, Washington's concern for the unemployment problem." (February 22,1983)

What a self-confession! The capitalists want to "boost confidence" in their crisis-ridden system. So the Democratic and Republican bosses have gotten together to pull off a public relations stunt to demonstrate Washington's symbolic concern for the unemployed. Of course, to a capitalist statesman like Mr. O'Neill it matters little that the unemployed cannot eat or pay their bills with such "symbols."

A New Round of the Reaganite Offensive Against the Poor and Unemployed

This bipartisan "jobs" swindle is a step towards A new round of the Reaganite onslaught on the poor and jobless. Despite the enormous needs caused by the economic depression, Reagan, has already cut tens of billions of dollars in relief for the poor and unemployed. In January, Reagan proposed tens of billions of new cuts in food stamps, health care, welfare, etc.

The response of the Democratic Party leadership to Reagan's new round of cuts was unanimous: if Reagan refused to cooperate with them on their "jobs" bill, then the Democrat-controlled House would not cooperate so eagerly with him on the budget cuts, as it had for the two years previous.

So now when Reagan has come through on their "jobs" swindle, the Democrats have started wagging their tails like a dog with a bone. They are gushing with praise for the new "humanitarian" in the White House who "has come to embrace" the Democrat's own program.

In short, beware! This "jobs" bill is not only a symbolic fraud, it is also helping to pave the ground for another year of bipartisanship in the brutal Reaganite offensive of unemployment and hunger.

Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!

No matter how loud they may shout about "jobs," no matter how many "job initiatives" they may initiate, each and every one of the smooth- talking fakers of the Democratic and Republican Parties remains linked with a thousand ties to the big corporations, banks and other capitalists. That is why not one of these gentlemen has the slightest interest in taking measures against unemployment. To do so would mean cutting into capitalist profit, and every capitalist politician knows on which side his bread is buttered.

In the face of the Reaganite offensive the workers must take matters into their own hands. The working class must forge its own independent movement. This means, rather than beg for a few crumbs of "humanity" from the Reaganites, going all out to build up the strikes, demonstrations and all the militant actions of the masses against the Reaganite offensive. This means, rather than bend the knee before the profit demands of the corporations, raising in struggle the combined force of the employed and unemployed. Fight against the concessions drive. Fight for jobs or a livelihood for the unemployed. Rather than rely on the lying demagogues of the capitalist parties, organize the class struggle along the line of unbending hostility to the exploiters and their political front men.

Down with the Reaganite offensive!

Build the independent movement of the working class!


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The Democrats Give New York State a Reaganite Budget

(The following article is taken from a leaflet issued by the Buffalo Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, on February 14, 1983.)

On January 31, Governor Cuomo announced his state budget proposal. Stepping to the tune of Reaganite reaction, Cuomo has announced a program to make the working people of New York and especially the public sector workers pay for New York's fiscal crisis. Cuomo has proposed a budget that attempts to close the $1.8 billion budget deficit through layoffs of thousands of state workers and tax hikes on daily necessities that will hit hard at all the working people of New York. But the rich have been spared; for as Cuomo puts it, he wants his budget to "send the right signals to business."

In short, Cuomo is trying to balance the budget on the backs of the workers. His "solution" is pure and simple Reaganomics: cuts in social services, layoffs and higher taxes for the workers in order that the rich continue to live in the greatest ease of comfort. But it is precisely the rich -- the capitalists -- and their system which have caused the economic crisis which has in turn produced New York's $1.8 billion budget deficit. And it is the rich who should be made to pay in order to balance the budget. Tax the rich -- not the workers. That is the demand which the workers should fight for against Cuomo's Reaganomics.

Balancing the Budget on the Backs of the Workers

Cuomo's budget calls for the permanent layoff of 8,400 state workers and the elimination of an additional 5,700 positions through attrition and early retirement. The remaining public sector workers will be forced to shoulder increased workloads. As well, over $900 million will be robbed from the working people of New York through tax hikes on gasoline, telephone calls, motor vehicle fees, cigarettes, alcohol, entertainment and other items and services. For the masses who are already forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families, these tax hikes are another painful blow.

In addition to these attacks on the livelihood of the workers, the 1,897 proposed layoffs in the State University system will result in a curtailment of enrollments, and a proposed $250 tuition hike and increased dorm fees will be further steps toward making college education a privilege reserved for the rich.

While Cuomo proposes mercilessly throwing thousands of workers into the streets, working the remaining public employees to the bone, and increasing the workers' taxes and cutting services, he does not suggest skimping when it comes to allocating money for the expansion of the police force and prison system. Cuomo proposes throwing an additional $126 million into the $3 billion pot that is spent annually on beefing up the state's machine of police repression that is used to control the impoverished masses and suppress their resistance.

Cuomo's budget shows that this "pro-worker" Democrat has merely grabbed the baton from former Governor Carey. Carey is notorious for eliminating 32,000 state jobs, forcing pitifully low wages on the state workers, while turning over handouts in the form of tax breaks to the rich. The program of the Democratic administration has been and remains making the workers sacrifice to solve the state's financial crisis. The program of Democrats Carey and Cuomo in fact is part of the national offensive against the working masses led by the Reagan government to make the working people pay for the economic crisis.

At election time, the Civil Service Employees Association/AFSCME and other union bureaucrats promoted Cuomo as the workers' latest savior -- the liberal labor politician who would save the workers from Reaganomics. Today, barely three months later, in his first major action as Governor -- Cuomo has exposed himself and his big labor bureaucrat supporters. Cuomo's budget shows that the "pro-worker," "anti-Reagan" Democrats are only disguised Reaganites. The workers must draw the correct conclusion from this ugly self-exposure: split with the Democratic liberal-labor politicians and take up independent working class politics. That is the only way to fight Reaganism and defend the workers' class interests.


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Oppose the Government's Schemes to Completely Segregate the Boston Schools

[Boston Worker masthead.]

(The following article is based on a leaflet issued by the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, on January 18, 1983.)

Workers and youth beware! The capitalists are hatching up plots to completely resegregate the Boston schools. This is a racist attack against the black people and other oppressed nationalities and a dirty attempt to split up the working class. Every worker must stand against it.

A Racist Offensive in the Name of Ending "Forced Busing"

Over the last few months, the spokesmen of the capitalists, from Federal Judge Garrity to the racist gang- leader James Kelly, have been calling for the elimination of major portions of the Boston school busing plan. With this hullabaloo against "forced busing" they are working to get rid of even the small amount of school integration that has been achieved in Boston, to foster racist gangs and to unleash a new round of terror against the black people.

Busing is really not the issue. It is simply a means of transportation used by millions every day. What is at stake in Boston is the democratic right of black people to attend integrated schools and receive equal educational opportunities with whites. The attacks on busing aim at denying the black people their democratic rights.

Busing to integrate the schools was begun in Boston in 1974. But the capitalist government was never really interested in putting an end to school segregation. They organized busing in the most distorted way to create the maximum of disruption with the minimum of integration. Their chief aim was to provide a setting to unleash the racist anti-busing movement, a fascist mass movement to attack the black people and split the working class. Today, however, the anti-busing movement has been reduced to a few racist gangs, and a certain amount of integration has taken place. And so Judge Garrity, who presided over the busing plan, is now coming out against it and the government is trying to provoke a new wave of racist hysteria under the banner of opposition to busing.

The scheme to resegregate Boston schools is not an isolated, local event. The Reagan government is carrying out a racist offensive all across the country. The government has thrown Haitians into concentration camps and launched Gestapo-style raids against other immigrant workers, it has organized police and gang terror against the black community, and it is increasing segregation in the work places, communities and schools. All around the U.S., Reagan and the "Justice" Department are entering school desegregation cases to eliminate any integration which has taken place through busing programs. At the same time, they are pushing for federal tax subsidies to ultra-racist private segregated schools. This despicable racist drive has warmed the hearts of the government officials in Boston, and they are joining Reagan in his segregationist crusade.

Segregation Under the Hoax of "Freedom of Choice"

The main plan being floated to replace busing in Boston is deceptively called "freedom of choice." Reagan's "Justice" Department has stated its desire to enter the Boston case against busing and for "freedom of choice." Judge Garrity has called it a "bright" idea that could be the "skeleton" of the future system. The rich have even recruited a sellout black lawyer, Larry Johnson, to peddle this plan in Boston.

So what is this "freedom of choice" plan? Under this plan, students are supposed to be free to choose which school they want to go to. But many of Boston's neighborhoods are today violently segregated, such as South Boston and Charlestown. Government-organized and protected gangs have killed, beaten, stoned and burned out many black people in such neighborhoods over the last nine years. An example of this is the brutal murder of William Atkinson by the Savin Hill gang last March. To protect this gang for future activity, the government hasn't even set a trial date and is currently considering dismissing the charges against the racists altogether.

What the government hopes is that when school integration is made "voluntary," fewer blacks will attend schools in white neighborhoods and vice versa. At the same time, the racist officials hope that the racist gangs that they have been grooming for years will be able to terrorize those who do go to integrated schools into changing their minds and "freely" choosing to stay in their segregated "neighborhood" schools. Indeed, the fact that James Kelly, the organizer of the South Boston Marshals, has endorsed the "freedom of choice" plan shows that this is exactly what the government has in mind.

This chorus to end busing and set up "freedom of choice" segregation is not just talk. The government is making serious preparations for this move. On January 3, Federal Judge Garrity handed over the day-to-day supervision of school integration to school superintendent Spillane and the School Committee, that is, to the racist city officials. School Committee member McKeigue has already proposed to replace elementary school busing with "voluntary desegregation." She has also proposed to set up a small number of "dedicated" middle schools. In the 60's, the Boston city officials maintained segregation through just such a tracking system. Superintendent Spillane is now experimenting with what he calls "autonomous" schools, where each school is set up to compete for funding through student testing and teacher evaluation. This will make the rich schools richer and the poor schools poorer. By eliminating any standard education, the capitalists hope to set up a small number of privileged, all-white schools to train professionals, while the working class children, especially the black and other oppressed nationality children, will be herded through devastated, segregated schools, more and more resembling prisons.

Lies to Justify School Segregation

To justify his opposition to busing, Spillane says that busing has caused the deterioration of the schools. He says just get rid of busing and he'll be able to set up "quality education." What a fraud! Spillane is a hatchet man for the Reaganite cuts in education. He has laid off over one-fourth of the teachers, closed dozens of schools, reduced supplies, etc. Now to turn people's anger away from the rich, away from the government, and away from him, he is pointing at busing and integration. This sly racist is using the growing anger against cutbacks in public education to whip up racist anti-busing sentiments.

Spillane, Kelly and others are justifying their segregationist plans with the argument that busing has failed, that it has caused "white flight," and that Boston schools are more segregated than ever. This is a big lie. Boston schools are not more segregated than before busing. Nor has integration been the cause of a decline in the number of white students in the Boston schools. Any examination of the statistics will show that for over 20 years, with the exception of 1975, the annual decline in the number of white students has remained the same. It is due to other factors such as the falling birth rate and the general motion to the suburbs to find jobs or to get better housing and schools. (Blacks and other oppressed nationalities are hindered from moving to the suburbs due to job and housing discrimination.) Clearly integration has not provoked "white flight." Spillane, Kelly and others are whining over this issue not out of concern to prevent further segregation, but rather to find ways to speed up the process.

Denounce the Racist Schemes of the Capitalists

Workers and youth, we must be vigilant against the government schemes to resegregate the Boston schools. The rich are dead serious in their segregationist drive to attack the black people and split up the working class. All the spokesmen of the rich, from the liberal Garrity and the Democrats in City Hall, to the lynch mob leader Kelly and chief racist Reagan, are united in this racist crusade. It is up to the black people, the whole working class and the youth of all nationalities to smash up all the racist plans of the rich. We must organize a broad public denunciation of the schemes to further segregate the Boston schools. We must fight to break down all the segregationist barriers and unite the working masses in struggle against the capitalists and their government. The rich cannot be allowed to reorganize their anti-busing movement and their segregationist schemes in peace. Let us meet the entire racist offensive of the capitalists, whether it be the terrorism of the police and racist gangs or segregationist laws and rules, with mass actions, with militant demonstrations, with struggle.


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'Anti-Klan Song'

[Sheet music.]

The sixteenth day of October

In nineteen eighty-two,

The Ku Klux Klan at city hall

Was in a terrible stew.

For 'though police in riot gear

Tried to save the day

A sea of angry anti-fascists

Swept those scum away!

CHORUS:

They swept those scum away

Yes they swept those scum away.

A sea of angry anti-fascists

Swept those scum away!

Police can never find the Klan

When they shoot black people down,

But the people only took three minutes

To run them out of town.

Some opportunists blocked the way

Said, "Violence will not do!"

But the people knew the proper way

To greet that fascist crew!

CHORUS:

To greet that fascist crew.

Yes to greet that fascist crew.

The people knew the proper way

To greet that fascist crew!

The people shouted angrily

Against those racist scum,

They threw whatever they could find

To beat those fascists down!

The horse manure was lyin there

With our ammo' runnin down,

The thugs who marched up in white sheets

Soon ran off dressed in brown.

CHORUS:

They ran off dressed in brown.

Yes they ran off dressed in brown.

The thugs who marched up in white sheets

They ran off dressed in brown!

Well the capitalists throw us on the street

And cut our wages back

And they're preparin' aggressive wars

They know the people hate.

They strike out at black people

With their fascist KKK and

They plan to crush all workers just

To clear their bloody way.

CHORUS:

To clear their bloody way

Yes to clear their bloody way.

They plan to crush all workers just

To clear their bloody way.

The capitalist politicians,

They like to brag and strut,

On how they're fightin' racism

With their empty talk.

They say black and white can never

Get along you see,

But we got along to rout the Klan

And won a victory!

CHORUS:

And won a victory

Yes we won a victory.

We got along to rout the Klan

And won a victory!

The Democrats oppose this fight

They re for the capitalist class,

They say to rely on the fascist police

When the racist gangs attack

But we'11 rely upon mass struggle,

And organize it well.

We'11 fight the capitalists' attacks

And beat the Klan to hell!

CHORUS:

We'11 beat the Klan to hell!

Yes beat the Klan to hell!

We'11 fight the capitalists' attacks

And beat the Klan to hell!


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Anti-Klan Protests

[Photos: Above:

Anti-Klan demonstrator punishes klansman on March 5 outside the offices of WXYZ-TV in Southfield, Michigan, while policeman tries to protect the white- robed fascist. The TV station had planned to broadcast a "debate" featuring Klan leader Bill Wilkinson, but was forced to cancel the broadcast because of the outcry against it. When the Klan came to the TV station to Insist on getting a broadcast, they got a fitting punishment from anti-Klan protesters.

Below:

Two thousand people turned out in Austin, Texas on February 19 to confront a Klan march which was being held under heavy police protection. The police viciously attacked the protesters, but the Klan and their defenders still got a good drubbing. Here the masses punish a klansman.]


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Harlem residents demonstrate against racist police murder

[The West Indian Voice masthead.]

(The following article is reprinted from the March 1983 issue of The West Indian Voice, newspaper of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group.)

Since mid-January residents of the Martin Luther King (MLK) Housing Project, other Harlem residents and anti-racist activists have held a series of mass meetings, militant pickets and demonstrations to protest yet another racist police murder of a black youth, Henry Woodley. Vicious police murders and wanton, savage beatings of the youth by the NYPD have been taking place unabated throughout Harlem and the rest of New York City. The mass protests in Harlem are a welcome development in the face of this spree of racist police terror.

On the morning of January 9, Henry Woodley, a resident of the MLK Housing Project, was walking along 5th Avenue between 114th and 115th Streets with his sister and girlfriend when he was attacked and an attempt was made to rob him. His sister ran across the street to the housing police station located in the MLK Project to get help. However, in typical "crime- fighter" style, Sgt. Commer came and unhesitatingly shot Woodley himself three times, with one shot entering his heart, killing him on the spot. As other officers arrived on the scene they congratulated Sgt. Commer for a job well done and escorted him into the precinct.

Police Cover-Up and Coldblooded Arrogance

In a desperate effort to prevent the indignation of the masses from boiling over and to do public relations work for his department, Police Chief Hamilton Robinson was brought to address a big community meeting held to respond to this murder. Robinson appealed to people to be cool, insisting that while so far there was "no evidence of misconduct" on the part of the police, there was an "investigation" underway anyway upon which the masses should pin their hopes.

Despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary, Robinson still went on to whitewash this racist murder with the vicious lie that Henry Woodley was armed with a knife and engaged in either a mugging or a gang fight.

These lies about a mysterious "knife" that is yet to be found and about a "gang fight," are clearly intended to fool the naive into sympathizing with the "heavy-hearted police," who, already burdened with everybody's troubles, now have to live through the "mental trauma" of being forced to shoot a poor black youth three times in the chest, in yet another episode of their "gallant fight" against street crime. God alone knows what the police have to go through in life! So goes the song and dance of the arrogant heartless racist police murderers. This is how the racist execution of Henry Woodley is dismissed, all with the hope of throwing water on the fiery indignation of the masses.

It should never be forgotten that it is in the hands of the bosses of these arrogant police criminals that the "investigations" lie. It is no surprise that these "investigations" are rolled out of City Hall as one pre-packaged whitewash after the other because racist police terror and the carrying out of other atrocities against the black and other poor communities are part of the official policy of the capitalists and their government. And this is the reason behind the systematic occurrence of similar racist outrages from coast to coast, from city to city.

Either Rely on the Mass Struggle and Organization or on the "Benevolence" of the Courts of the Capitalist Oppressors

Despite the dangerous public relations work done on behalf of the police, the savage racist murder of Henry Woodley still triggered off the deep-seated anger of the masses for the racist police. Angry at the stone-cold arrogance of the police and their attempts to whitewash this racist execution, the residents of the MLK Project mustered their forces for a fight. Weekly mass meetings, pickets and demonstrations were organized. For instance, on January 22 a militant and spirited rally and demonstration was organized on the steps of the housing police station. Over 150 working people, unemployed and youth participated in denouncing the racist police murderers, blocking off traffic on the streets and marching through the neighborhood. Other smaller demonstrations have been held and plans laid to continue these protests.

But in the midst of these protests various elected Democratic Party politicians and other smooth-talking liberals have been trying to continue the work begun by the police chief. While hypocritically expressing "sympathy" for Henry Woodley they insist that the crucial thing is the "investigations" by the grand jury. In particular they are not at all happy at the sight of the masses organizing and taking to the streets in militant demonstrations. But in and of itself this investigation will never deliver on the demand of the masses for the trial and conviction of the police officer for the racist execution of Henry Woodley. In fact, the existence of the grand jury investigation is not even in response to the masses' demands but is a standard, purely formal procedure required under the existing law. Moreover, to pin everything on this pure formality despite its track record for whitewashing the racist murders, means to downplay and divert attention away from the significance of the actions of the masses themselves; to subject them to a long, dreary wait for the "benevolence" of the courts of the capitalist oppressors. It means to rob them of initiative.

Only the mass actions taken by the masses themselves can provide the basis and forcefulness for the demand for justice for Henry Woodley. The "benevolence" or "justice" of the courts is reserved for the rich and their lackeys alone. This is true even when, in the rare instances in history, the courts may order the punishment of its racist friends, in an attempt to avert a threatening storm of revolt. And only the mass struggle can provide the source for the establishment of anti-racist, revolutionary organization among the masses which can systematically respond to every attack and sustain the ongoing anti-racist struggle against the capitalist oppressors and their government.

[Photo: Mass picket against the murder of Henry Woodley in Harlem.]


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The monopolies and the USW hacks impose outrageous concessions on steel workers

[Photo: Demonstration against the closing of Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, New York. MLP banner calls on workers to "Wage mass struggle for jobs or livelihood!"]

On March 1, the notorious sellout leadership of the United Steelworkers Union (USW) voted to accept the latest proposal by the "Big Seven" steel monopolies for massive concessions. This 41-month contract cuts at least $2 billion from the workers' wages and benefits and opens the door to giving up several more billions from job combinations and other local concessions.

After signing the concessions agreement, USW officials arrogantly strutted around, bragging about their lowlife betrayal of the steel workers. Take for example Joseph Odorcich, USW VP and chief negotiator. On March 2, Odorcich boasted to the Wall Street Journal: "I'm more than satisfied that we came out as good as we did...just because we seem to be in bed together doesn't mean that the union will have both eyes closed." All in all, it looks like the USW leadership is making a serious challenge against the UAW (United Automobile Workers) leadership for the coveted title of "Bootlickers of the Year."

Massive Wage and Benefit Cuts

The concessions agreement slashes deeply into the steel workers' wages and benefits. The cuts include: an immediate pay cut of $1.25 per hour; elimination of all COLA payments for the next IV2 years; provisions for eliminating or limiting COLA in the second and third years of the contract; elimination of the 13 week extended vacation program; immediate cut of one week's vacation for all steel workers in 1983; elimination of "off-season" vacation bonuses; loss of one paid holiday; and the reduction of Sunday overtime pay from time and one-half to time and a quarter.

Additionally the steel monopolies have been given a free hand to split off any of their non-steel-making subsidiaries from this master steel agreement. This can only mean further and deeper wage and benefit cuts for the workers in the non-steel-making subsidiaries.

No Job Security

For the longest time, the sellout leaders of the USW have been making all sorts of statements, speeches and promises that the number one priority in their talks with the steel companies was to "bring the laid off steel workers back into the mills." But the newly signed 3V2-year concessions agreement clearly shows that these statements have been nothing but a bunch of damn lies. There is not one word about stopping plant closings or any guarantees for job security. And here again we have USW VP Odorcich admitting that all this talk about "jobs, jobs, and jobs" was nothing but a fraud. The day after the contract was signed, he shot off his mouth, "the contract itself, would do little to get the laid off workers back to work." (American Metal Marketing, March 2, 1983)

Of course the capitalists did concede to putting a token 50¢ per hour worked into the currently depleted supplemental unemployment benefit (SUB) fund. This means that a worker with at least two years seniority will be guaranteed to receive 30% of his SUB pay for three whole months. And the union hacks have the nerve to call this rotten deal "relief" for the unemployed.

More Job Elimination

Along with providing not a bit of job security for the steel workers the concessions contract goes a long way to guarantee that tens of thousands of steel workers will lose their jobs.

Under the contract section called "Labor cost savings to benefit USW plants" it's pointed out that the concessions dollars will be directly pumped into the steel capitalists' modernization program through the installation of high technology, job-eliminating equipment and machinery. This includes the introduction of electric furnaces, continuous casters and computerized warehouse facilities.

The elimination of the 12-week extended vacation program and the accelerated combination of the skilled trades maintenance departments will also throw tens of thousands of steel workers into the ranks of the unemployed.

Additional Concessions Planned

Furthermore, the contract calls for the steel barons and the USW hacks to negotiate local contracts that will bring about massive concessions on the local level. A steel industry analyst predicts that the steel monopolies could reap several billion dollars from local plant concessions based upon: ''lower employment costs stemming from eased plant rules, including job- duty combinations." (Wall Street Journal, March 1, 1983)

And to top this off the steel companies are already whining that the just signed concessions are not enough, that there is still a supposedly "enormous" wage gap with their foreign competitors, and that wages and benefits will have to be cut back even further in the future.

The steel capitalists are like vampires; they got a taste of blood and now they can't get enough.

The ink is hardly dry on the new wage cutting agreement, but already the hacks from the USW are rushing around to hand over concessions in the local contracts while they plot out their plans for even bigger national take-backs.

This situation is intolerable. The steel workers must blow up the love dance between the steel capitalists and USW hacks. They must take matters into their own hands, organize themselves independently from the hacks, and prepare for strikes and other mass actions against the rotten concessions deals.


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Champion Spark Plug workers strike against concessions

For over a month the workers at the Champion Spark Plug Company have been on strike against the rotten concessions demands of the capitalists. On February 1st, 2,300 workers at plants in Toledo; Cambridge, Ohio; Detroit; Burlington, Iowa; and Windsor in Canada walked off their jobs. Since then the workers have maintained picket lines blocking management personnel from entering the plants, and they have repeatedly voiced their determination to stay out until the Champion capitalists give up their outrageous "takeback" claims.

The Champion capitalists have been making money hand over fist at the expense of the workers. In the last period over 1,000 workers have been thrown off their jobs as part of the company's "cost-cutting program." As a result of this and other measures Champion raked in a $20 million profit for the first nine months of 1982, which compares with the $28 million profits for the same period in 1981.

Yet even these handsome profits are not enough for the greedy capitalists. Seeing other capitalists feasting off of all manner of takebacks snatched from the workers' pockets, Champion decided to get in on the concessions banquet. Thus Champion is demanding the elimination of the traditional "annual improvement factor" wage increases, the reduction of cost-of- living payments and overtime premiums, cuts in paid personal holidays and health care, restrictions on seniority rights and the elimination of dental, vision and hearing benefits for retired workers.

The workers have shown their determination to defeat these intolerable concessions demands. But the UAW leadership has not shown the same militant spirit. Instead of calling for a fight against concessions, the UAW bureaucrats merely complain that Champion's takebacks go too far. In a prepared statement the UAW officials whine that the "proposed sacrifices... go way beyond contract adjustment agreements at their competitors." (Windsor Star, February 3, 1983) What treachery! Instead of opposition to concessions the UAW hacks are promising to give Champion the same concessions deals they've given other auto parts capitalists. Champion workers, watch out! The UAW sellouts are preparing to stab you in the back just as they did to the workers at Chrysler, Ford, GM and other auto companies. To carry through this strike the workers must take matters into their own hands, organize independently and remain always vigilant against the sabotage activity of the capitalist-loving leadership of the UAW.


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Denver:

Keep fighting Athalon's attacks on the workers!

(The following leaflet was issued by the Denver Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on January 16, 1983.)

During the Christmas shutdown, the rich owners of Athalon, a small sweatshop that produces ski gear and other apparel, fired one of the workers. Obviously, at the same time that the company flunkies and owners were "cordially" celebrating with the workers at the company Christmas party, they were sneaking off to the back room, to plot against the workers' resistance movement.

This makes clear several things:

1) That the Athalon capitalists plan to continue and to step up their campaign of wage cutting and speed up against the Athalon workers. The capitalists will stop at nothing to try to protect their profits.

 

2) That the company's tactic of sowing confusion, threatening and harassing the workers in order to "keep things quiet" and to more easily carry out the rate cutting and speedup was no longer effective by itself. The resistance of the workers has been getting stronger and more organized, with some workers even winning improvements in their rates. The Athalon capitalists had to resort to the more drastic terroristic action of firing a worker who spoke out against the company abuses, to try and disorganize and silence the workers. The fact that they cowardly fired the worker during the Christmas leave when most workers were not at work, shows that they must greatly fear the workers' anger.

The various "reasons" the company gives for the firing are only cynical "legal" excuses to cover up the real reasons so they can try to prevent the worker from even collecting unemployment. The company has claimed that the worker refused to take home the Christmas ham so "benevolently" handed out by the capitalists. But could anyone possibly believe that capitalists who have cut the Athalon workers' wages by 50% are now "concerned about workers who could have used the extra ham left to spoil"?!

The company's plan is to step by step continue their wage cutting campaign to protect their own profits at the expense of the workers livelihood. The only path the workers can take to defend their jobs, wages and working conditions is to keep up their resistance and organize it better. They should denounce all the company's lies and protest vigorously this latest attack.

All across the country the capitalist class and all its loyal servants preach that economic crisis means that the workers must quietly enslave themselves and wait for the eternally promised economic recovery.

But under capitalism there is no "light at the end of the tunnel" for the working class. For years there have been back-to-back economic crises and after each so-called "recovery" the standard of living of the workers remains lower than before and the exploitation is worse. It is only the billionaire capitalists who may recover from their crises.

Times like now are times to fight! This was shown by the Canadian Chrysler workers who militantly stayed on strike in spite of the pressure and attacks from the capitalists and their lackeys.

It is only the united and organized fighting movement of the working class that can stand against the capitalists' program of starvation and misery and every worker has a part to play in this fight.

Protest the firing and Athalon's terror against the workers!

Organize and resist all the company s attacks!


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Strike News in Brief

On March 1, 780 trainmen went out on strike against New Jersey Transit rail lines. The workers voted 300-15 on February 25 to reject management's "final offer" which included a plan to cut their pay an average of $6000 a year. This was to be done by eliminating pay for non-rush time, that is, the workers would have to be on the job for 12 hours a day but only get paid eight hours. At press time this strike was still going on.

* * *

On Wednesday, February 23, more than 400 striking workers at the Magic Chef appliance plant in Cleveland, Tennessee were tear-gassed on their picket lines. The workers were trying to stop scabs from entering the plant. A number of windshields on cars belonging to scabs were smashed. Two workers were arrested by the police.

* * *

On February 23, maintenance workers of the Philadelphia schools voted to accept a new contract and end their strike which had begun on February 2. The workers' last contract had expired on September 1, 1982. Under that contract, the workers had been promised a 10% raise, but later the school board rescinded this, pleading poverty. In their strike, the workers were demanding action on their promised raise as well as fighting for a new contract. The board had tied them down in a legalistic morass, refusing to pay the 10% raise and at the same time refusing to grant any raises in the new contract until the issue of the old 10% raise was settled. As a result of their strike, the workers won a new contract in which they are granted a 5.75% pay increase. They did not win their old 10% pay increase, but since the new contract expires at the end of June this year, the issue is far from settled.

The strike involved 4,000 workers and kept over 40 schools closed down. The workers undertook a number of militant actions to back up their strike.


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At Brooklyn College:

Students protest cuts in education

(The following article is reprinted from the March 1983 issue of The West Indian Voice, newspaper of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group.)

On Monday, December 13, close to 100 students of Brooklyn College (BC) picketed and rallied in front of the offices of the president of the college. The students were protesting the savage budget cuts being implemented by the reactionary Hess administration. These new rounds of attacks include: a new policy requiring tuition payment from students before or by the time of registration or be kicked out of school; cutbacks in the Africana Studies Department and cuts in the teaching staff.

The students in the picket line militantly shouted slogans such as "No to the New Tuition Policy!"; "No to Racism at BC!"; "Death to Racism at BC!" and "They Say Cutback, We Say Fightback!" among others. The students also loudly expressed that all ordinary students should join the struggle; but when it was shouted by the leader of the picket, "Can Hess Join You?", the students resoundingly shouted ''No!" and "No Reactionary Forces!"

The students rightly demanded an end to the cutbacks, including a three- month extension of the payment deadline for spring registration; for no cuts in Africana Studies; the hiring of more teachers and an extension of day care for children of parents attending BC. The West Indian Voice was represented on the picket line, where over 50 copies of our newspaper were distributed and well received by the students. The spirited picket by the students at BC is part of fresh stirrings by students against the intense cutbacks in education by the Reagan government.

The reactionary BC administration is implementing Reagan's savage cutbacks with a vengeance. Its tuition policy is obviously intended to shorten the work of driving students from the working class and oppressed nationalities out of college. It is part of the campaign which the bourgeoisie is developing to put an end to "Open Admissions." In addition, the Hess administration has cut over 60 faculty members over the last three years and is threatening another 80 teachers to be laid off over the next two. Coupled with this Hess wants professors of other departments to teach Africana Studies as a step to gradually eliminate Africana Studies as a department.

And what are all these cuts for? The capitalists are ordering these and a range of other vicious cutbacks on the broad working masses so that they could continue to live like kings in face of the crisis of their system and build more bombs to launch wars of rivalry and aggression.

The students of Brooklyn College, like students throughout New York and across the country, are faced with a major struggle to carry forward their fight against the savage cuts in education by the capitalists and their government. And they should seize every opportunity to participate in the mass movements against the war preparations and other attacks of the rich. The protests by the BC students following the struggle of the students at Medgar Evers College in the spring and summer of 1982, is another welcome sign of fresh stirrings among the students to take on their shoulders this much needed fight.

[Photo: Brooklyn College students on the picket line protesting cutbacks.]


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2,000 Demonstrate Against Reagan in Boston

[Photos: Above: Over 2,000 people came into the streets to protest Reagan's visit to Boston on January 26. Below: Hundreds of people came out on a bitter cold Chicago evening on January 21 to denounce Ronald Reagan, chieftain of capitalist reaction.]

As Reagan enters his third year in office, he continues to be hounded by angry demonstrators wherever he goes. The last several weeks have seen a new round of protests against Reagan's program of hunger, racism and war. On January 21, when Reagan went to Chicago to speak at a $1000 a plate dinner for Illinois Senator Charles Percy, over 750 people came out in sub-freezing temperatures to denounce Reagan. Just a few days ago, when Reagan spoke in San Francisco on March 4, demonstrators denounced his aggressive policies in El Salvador.

One of the biggest recent anti- Reagan protests took place in Boston on January 26, when he came to town on a visit announced only a few days earlier. Reagan dropped in to feign "concern" for the unemployed. The main event of his visit was to tour the Digital Equipment Corporation plant in the Roxbury neighborhood in the heart of the city. Reagan's aim was to promote the pipe dream of high technology as the answer to unemployment, which had been one of the main themes of his State of the Union Message the week before.

Roxbury is a black neighborhood in Boston which has been wracked by unemployment. The working masses of Roxbury and other parts of Boston were in no mood to put up with Reagan's cynical maneuvers. Thus over 2,000 people turned out for demonstrations near the Digital plant. A large section of the protest was made up of black workers and youth from Roxbury. In fact, there had been widespread excitement in the community on hearing of the plans for a demonstration. Many black youth had promised to show up to "kick Reagan's ass."

On the day of the demonstration, there was a massive police presence to intimidate the masses. Reagan's party came in four Marine helicopters; he himself rode in an armor-plated car. There were hundreds of police in riot gear surrounding the demonstrators.

But despite this show of force, the over 2,000 people sternly denounced Reagan. The Marxist-Leninist Party worked hard to agitate among the masses before Reagan's visit and to lend a strong militant character to the action itself.

Despite the short notice about Reagan's visit, on the days preceding the demonstration, the MLP widely distributed a leaflet at factories and neighborhoods calling on the working people to "Denounce Reagan's visit to Boston!" At the demonstration itself, the Party organized a militant contingent. It saturated the demonstration with leaflets and other literature and held many discussions on how to fight Reaganism and the capitalist offensive. The cultural group of the Party sang anti-Reagan songs and shouted slogans, and a comrade gave a short speech. This work was well received by the masses. When Reagan reappeared after his tour of the plant, he was met with resounding slogans and shouts such as "Down with Reagan! Down with Reagan and the Rich!"

Thus Reagan's fake "sympathy" for the unemployed got him nowhere among the workers and oppressed masses of Boston. In contrast, the capitalist moneybags and racists in Boston gave him quite a different reception for they knew he was one of their own. Thus, while Reagan stayed away from the workers and unemployed, he hobnobbed with the capitalists and racists. In fact, the purpose of his visit to Digital had been to give the capitalists there an award for high-technology employment and training programs. The promotion of high technology as the solution to unemployment is so much nonsense. But Digital is in fact a good example of Reaganomics -- it was built with millions of dollars of government handouts and provides low wages for the workers. Reagan got so carried away in Boston during this visit that he even came out openly to give a call for the complete elimination of the corporate income tax!

Reagan also took time out on his visit to make a demonstrative visit to a local pub, which is actually a hangout of racist politicians. This was then depicted in the press as "getting in touch with the people." What an outrage!

Thus, Reagan's visit gave a striking example of Reaganomics. For the workers, it was fake sympathy and the reality of impoverishment and unemployment. As Roxbury got massive police intimidation, the local racist bigwigs got a visit from one of their own. And while the capitalist moneybags got patted on the back for squeezing the workers, they got promises of even more largesse from the government.

But the demonstration of the workers in Boston, as the ones in Chicago and San Francisco, shows that Reagan's fake acts of "concern" will not deceive the masses. Since the New Year, there has been massive propaganda by the rich and their flunkies, Republican and Democrat alike, that Reagan is now going to "let up" on his ruthless programs, that he is turning over a new leaf, becoming more compassionate, and so forth. But in fact the Reaganite offensive continues unabated, with the full support of both the capitalist parties. The only answer to this offensive lies in stepping up the mass struggle and using it to build the independent movement of the working class.


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No to the persecution of draft resisters!

[Photo: Spirited demonstration against the draft in Detroit on February 4.]

On February 4, Dan Rutt was arraigned in the U.S. District Court in Detroit. He is one of 14 young men from across the country who have been indicted by the Reagan administration for refusing to register for the draft, the first from the Detroit area. Rutt opposes draft registration on religious pacifist grounds. He faces, as do all the estimated 600,000 young men who have refused to register, a possible jail term of up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Outside the courthouse, over a hundred picketers, including supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party, held a spirited demonstration. As they marched with signs and banners, they shouted such slogans as No to the draft!, No draft, no war, U.S. out of El Salvador!, No to a war for the oil billionaires!, Down with Reagan, down with the draft!, etc. The picket lasted for an hour, after which many of the participants went inside the courtroom to watch the arraignment. Comrades of the MLP distributed at the courthouse and in the nearby downtown area over 1,000 pieces of revolutionary literature against the draft and U.S. imperialism's war buildup.

This indictment shows that Reagan is pushing ahead with the persecution of the draft resisters. Faced with the massive number of youth who have refused to sign up for the draft, the government chose the policy of selecting a small number of youth to prosecute and then to use these examples to try to intimidate the rest into compliance.

Of the 14 indictments, there have been six convictions so far, with one carrying a two-and-a-half year prison sentence. However two of the indictments were dismissed. For example, David Wayte's case in Los Angeles was dismissed when the Reagan administration could not disprove his charge that it was selectively prosecuting the draft resisters. This has thrown a wrench into the prosecutions process, while the government goes through various appeals procedures. However, as the Detroit example shows, they have not given up pursuing the indictments.

In the meantime, to bolster its fraudulent claim that it is not selectively prosecuting draft resisters, the Reagan administration has launched what it calls its "active compliance" campaign. Previously, under their "passive compliance" program, 500 names had been turned over for prosecution, made up of youth who had told the government of their refusal or those who were turned in by reactionaries. Under the new program, the Selective Service system has begun to hunt down all the names of all the draft resisters by cross-checking their registration lists against drivers license lists, Social Security records, and high school attendance. In mid-February, they turned over to the Justice Department their first list made through this process. It consisted of 5,154 names. They have announced that they will turn over more names each month.

As well, the Reagan administration is stepping up its measures to coerce the youth into registering. In mid-February, the Department of Education issued new regulations requiring financial aid departments at colleges across the country to verify student compliance with draft registration before processing their financial aid. Congress recently also deliberated on a proposal to prohibit young men who have not registered from taking part in federal job-training programs. Meanwhile, the Reagan administration and its supporters in Congress are figuring out further ways to coerce the youth into registering.

The Marxist-Leninist Party supports those who have refused to register for the draft and who are standing up to coercion and threats of imprisonment. We sternly condemn the Reagan administration's persecution of the youth. Our Party, however, does not give a general call to refuse registration or the draft. We support the just stand of the draft resisters, including religious pacifists like Dan Rutt, but we do not support the pacifist ideology. We believe that it hurts the struggle against militarism and war to create the impression that refusal to register, if only enough take part, can stop imperialist war. This creates the idea that the imperialist warmongers can be fought by each individual just taking a decision for himself or washing his own hands of the matter. But it has never happened that imperialist war has been stopped by enough people simply refusing to go into the army while the militarist rulers continue to hold power. To fight militarism and aggressive war, it is necessary to build the mass revolutionary struggle against imperialism.

The value of draft resistance is that it signifies a courageous protest against militarism and helps to draw sections of the people into more conscious and wider forms of struggle. Presently it aids in the development of the mass struggle against militarism and war just as it did in the days of U.S. aggression against Viet Nam. But draft resistance is only one part of a bigger picture. Besides the draft resisters, there are also those who register with the intention of fighting against militarism and war from within the armed forces. These activists fight against the draft registration system but, when going into the army will be compulsory, they will accept conscription in order to fight from the inside. This is a bold and daring stand, and it deserves the utmost support for the struggle within the armed forces is ultimately one of the decisive fronts of struggle. At present, this section of activists is quite small. But once inside the military these activists find their number multiplied manyfold as they link up with the other conscripted youth and with those who have gotten ensnared in the "volunteer" army. It must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority of youth will eventually register because they find no alternative, because the full force of the state bears down on them one by one and forces them to register. But this doesn't mean that they have avoided struggle, for they will find themselves in a difficult and dangerous struggle inside the military when they are conscripted. The impression must not be created that these youth are the enemy or the reason that imperialist wars are possible; instead, these youth too must be drawn into the anti-militarist demonstrations. Indeed, among the registration-aged youth in the mass movement, the majority will eventually be those who have been forced to register.

Thus those who have refused to register should not leave their struggle at simple refusal, but should go on to participate in the mass actions and the organized movement against imperialism. In this way, their courageous stand will do its part to build the mass anti-imperialist movement and to organize the progressive youth. And conversely it is the development of the anti-imperialist movement that provides the best support for the draft resisters. Today, the Reagan administration's continued efforts to persecute the draft resisters can only provide a further impulse to the mass struggle against militarism.


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Reagan's military budget cuts are a fraud!

[The Buffalo Anti-Imperialist Newsletter masthead.]

The Reagan administration is trying to appear as less than the diehard imperialist warmonger that it is by "cutting" the military budget. This budget "cut" is nothing but a fraud -- it amounts to only a 3-4% cut, still leaving [a huge increase over last year and] the largest military budget ever. And, in fact, the entire "cut" can be accounted for by lower inflation rates, the drop in fuel prices and cuts in wages for military personnel. No weapons systems will be touched. The "cut" represents no change in the war plans of U.S. imperialism, which needs to spend billions and billions of dollars to protect its "vital interests" against the rising opposition to its worldwide domination.

(Reprinted from The Buffalo Anti-Imperialist Newsletter, January 1983.)


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On the path forward for the Palestinian liberation movement -- Part 2

The Evolution of the PLO Leadership

In the last issue, we published an article entitled "On the path forward for the Palestinian liberation movement.'' This was written as a contribution to the reexamination of strategy and tactics that is currently going on in the ranks of the Palestinian liberation movement and its sympathizers in the aftermath of last year's war in Lebanon. This article noted that the PLO leadership is taking a dangerous capitulationist course of seeking an accommodation with imperialism and Israeli zionism. This fact has recently been confirmed by the meeting in Algiers of the PLO National Council. (See adjoining article)

In our last article we explained that behind this capitulationist course lies the fact that the PLO leadership had over the last nine years increasingly moved away from their earlier national-revolutionary policy towards a policy of national-reformism. Our article pointed out that a national-reformist leadership cannot provide guidance to the Palestinian masses to carry forward their liberation struggle. Instead, the toiling masses must forge their own independent organization within the national movement to overcome the sabotage of the national-reformists and lead the struggle towards victory. The article sketched out some of the key issues involved in forging such an independent movement of the toilers.

In the last article we briefly outlined the general evolution of the current leadership of the Palestinian movement. In the article below we wish to take a closer look at the history of this leadership.

What this survey of history shows is a complex process spanning three decades. It is significant to note that besides the evolution of the Palestinian leadership it also testifies to the great resilience of the Palestinian people. History has amply demonstrated their capacity to rebound from defeats. After the most savage attempts at suppression and many attempts to virtually exterminate them, they have shown their ability to regroup and mount their fight again and again. A number of critical junctures in history have seen the' Palestinians learn from their setbacks to draw more revolutionary conclusions than expressed in the earlier phases of their struggle.

With regards to the evolution of the Palestinian leadership, we will trace how it arose from a political current which emerged in the incredibly difficult situation created by the establishment of Israel to give renewed expression to the national aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom. By the mid-1960's this current had gained sufficient political experience to launch organizations that embraced a national-revolutionary position. With this they won the widest support of the Palestinian masses and the sympathy of all progressive people worldwide. It is precisely because of the energies unleashed by this movement that the Palestinian masses have written heroic chapters of valor and self-sacrifice in the long struggle against Israeli Zionism. It was this that lay behind the fierce resistance that the fighters put up in Lebanon last year against the Israeli aggressor army, the most powerful and well-armed army in the region.

The history will also show that at the time of the 1973 Middle East war the Palestinian leadership made a turn in their policy, away from a national- revolutionary position towards a more and more national-reformist stand. Throughout the last decade, despite the heroic battles put up by the Palestinian masses, this policy of the PLO leadership has been found severely wanting in the course of the many difficult trials forced upon the movement.

Such a turn in policy is quite characteristic for petty-bourgeois parties in the colonial and dependent countries. This was noted by the 6th Congress of the Communist International in 1928. The basis for this lies in the fact that even when they are in the best of positions such parties remain essentially connected with the national bourgeoisie, the class which provides the base for national-reformism. Therefore, the toiling masses must organize independently within the national movement, both to ensure the most decisive outcome of the national liberation struggle as well as to defend their class interests and create the most favorable situation for the class struggle leading to the socialist revolution to end all exploitation.

The trend which formed the current PLO leadership was made up originally of organizations led by the petty bourgeoisie. This trend did at first separate off from the old bourgeois trends and organize independently with a national-revolutionary position. But as they came into the leadership of the movement, and, in particular, with their entry into the leadership bodies of the PLO, their connections with the Palestinian and Arab bourgeoisie were strengthened. As well, the ideological influences of bourgeois-nationalist currents such as Nasserism and of revisionism played a major role in conciliation with the bourgeoisie and reformism. In the 1970's the national-reformism of the Palestinian leadership was strengthened as a result of a series of factors, including huge sums of money that came into their hands both as a result of bribery from the Arab exploiters as well as the PLO's control of many businesses, etc. In the final analysis, the PLO leadership became in fact the representative of the Palestinian bourgeoisie.

It should be noted that when we describe the historical evolution of the Palestinian leadership, we are speaking of all the factions within this leadership. The PLO leadership is dominated by the leaders of Yasir Arafat's Fateh but it also includes a so-called "Marxist'' wing made up of such groups as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. This wing, which is not Marxist but influenced by Soviet revisionism, has been especially notable for great discrepancies between their statements and their practice. Many militant declarations have been made by them, but in practice they have been afflicted by the same general problems as Fateh. Thus over the last nine years, the DFLP cloaked the PLO's policy in "Marxist" colors while the PFLP made an early show of "criticism" of this policy while trailing behind in practice. It may be noted that at the recent Algiers meeting, both these groups, while making loud speeches against the Reagan plan, went along with the PLO's final decisions and directly endorsed the proposals for association with the Jordanian hangmen regime.

The Roots of the Present Leadership

In 1948, when the state of Israel was set up, the Palestinian people were put in an incredibly difficult situation. The overwhelming majority were uprooted from their homeland and dispersed in refugee camps. The old political trends and leaders had utterly collapsed and became discredited among the masses. The official leaders of the Palestinians from the earlier decades had followed a shameful course of repeated compromises with the British imperialist occupiers. At the time of the establishment of Israel, they were unable to organize any sort of mass challenge to the establishment of the zionist state. This was testimony above all to the class basis of this leadership, which was in the main feudal and bourgeois.

The difficulty facing the Palestinians was further complicated by the fact that the advanced force which could have organized a truly revolutionary alternative fell into a position of compromise with zionist Israel. The Palestine Communist Party, which had for decades worked hard to organize both Jewish and Arab toilers into a force opposed to imperialism, zionism and reaction, adopted the position of support for the creation of Israel. This stand struck a hard blow at the prestige of Marxism among the Palestinian Arabs and isolated the party from them. This meant that, in the vacuum of leadership among the Palestinians, there was no Marxist nucleus in place to strive to organize the inevitable resistance of the people. (The CP degenerated into a reformist party and ardently embraced Khrushchovite revisionism. Although this party, now calling itself the CP of Israel, has grown in size somewhat, it remains loyal to the maintenance of the Israeli state.)

There was widespread discontent among the Palestinian masses and this grew as the years went by. This was connected to the general ferment that swept the Arab masses in opposition to the regimes of the Arab countries. This was a time of great anti-colonial and democratic motion throughout Asia and Africa. In the Arab countries of the Mideast, the defeat of the Arab governments in the 1948 war with Israel had served to intensify the hatred of the masses against the reactionary monarchies and other backward regimes which were all closely tied to Western imperialism. Thus, throughout the 1950's, nationalist currents, such as Nasserism, came up in one country after another to overthrow the old regimes. The young activists among the Palestinians gravitated towards these trends, took part in their struggles, and placed their trust in them. They hoped that the Arab countries under the new regimes would help liberate Palestine.

These nationalist currents did not represent the revolutionary aspirations of the workers and peasants. Their core generally came from middle- level officers in the Arab armies, and they reflected the interests of the national bourgeoisie. These currents overthrew the monarchies and took certain other measures against feudalism. They also took certain actions against imperialism, especially in the early days of their rule. However, although the overthrow of the old regimes unleashed mass mobilizations, these currents feared the struggle of the masses and sought to contain and restrict them. Once secure in their power, they turned against the toiling masses and resorted to brutal repression if the toilers dared to throw up resistance. The main aim of these regimes was to consolidate their own bourgeois rule. As for their attitude towards the question of Israel, they did indeed have serious contradictions with Israeli zionism. But they weren't willing to take on the sharp contradiction with imperialism or the revolutionary methods that would be required in order to mount a fight for the liberation of Palestine.

By the early 1960's, the proclamations of these regimes were already beginning to wear thin. The active Palestinian elements, who were mainly students and intellectuals, concluded that they could not rely on the Arab regimes to liberate Palestine but must take up the liberation struggle into their own hands. In this respect, the heroic struggle of the Algerian people for liberation from French imperialism played a powerful inspirational role. As the 1960's wore on, the Vietnamese people's national liberation struggle against U.S. imperialism also exercised a strong influence.

The Emergence of a National-Revolutionary Force

Thus the Palestinian activists began to launch their own organizations independent of the Arab governments. They put out publications, built up cells among Palestinians in different countries, and carried out a wide range of preparatory work towards launching an armed struggle against the Israeli regime.

Confronted by this restiveness of the activists and a general reawakening of the Palestinian national movement, the Arab governments set out to keep the movement under their control. They did not want to see the emergence of any independent revolutionary movement among the Palestinians. In 1964, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was thus set up by the Arab regimes at the initiative of Egypt's President Nasser. Although the character of the PLO was to change later, originally it was organized among the bourgeois and "respectable" elements within the Palestinian communities, and it did not do much other than talk and issue statements. Its first chairman was Ahmed Shukairy, a lawyer who had held various diplomatic posts in Arab governments. Shukairy was notorious for such declarations as those calling for driving the Jews into the sea. This of course only did damage to the Palestinian cause; it was especially useful in the hands of the Zionists to bolster zionism and slander the Palestinian struggle.

The emergent militant groups took part in the PLO's Founding Congress but refused to merge with it. They preserved their independent organizational identities. On January 1, 1965, the major one of these groups, Fateh (the Palestine National Liberation Movement) launched its first military action inside occupied Palestine. Subsequently other guerrilla actions were also carried out, both by Fateh and the predecessors of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). During this whole period, these groups worked in clandestinity and faced difficult conditions. They were subject to abuse and slanders and suffered a host of restrictions and general opposition from the Arab governments.

In June 1967, the Israeli Zionists launched a war of aggression against the neighboring Arab countries. In this war, the regular Arab armies suffered a bad defeat. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were gobbled up by the Israelis. The results of this war however provided a powerful boost for the revolutionary movement of the Palestinian people. It led to overwhelming support among the Palestinian masses for the line that the only way forward was armed struggle by an independently organized Palestinian movement, not the Arab regimes. The defeat of the,Arab armies also created a serious crisis for the Arab governments, especially in Jordan. There the Palestinian guerrillas were now able to build up strong bases among the Palestinian population. The guerrilla movement rapidly expanded and thousands poured into the resistance groups.

The Palestinian guerrilla organizations refused to abide by the cease-fire agreed upon by Israel and the Arab states. The armed struggle grew in force. On March 21, 1968, Palestinian commandos successfully held off a big attack by Israeli forces on a refugee camp at Karameh in Jordan. This had a strong impact on Palestinians everywhere and on the Arab masses generally. It won the resistance forces ever wider popular backing.

Indeed, the support for these organizations had grown so much that, by 1969, the old leadership of the PLO was removed and the PLO began to take on the character of a coalition of the entire national movement. Representatives of the guerrilla groups, especially of Fateh, came to dominate the new leadership of the PLO. Yasir Arafat, the leader of Fateh, was elected chairman.

But while a new leadership emerged in the Palestinian movement, the Arab governments did not give up their attempts to contain and hold back the movement. This was done with crafty methods at first. In this period when the guerrilla groups had won great popular support and the Arab regimes were discredited for their defeat in the war, the Arab leaders all showered the guerrilla movement with praise. As well, a number of governments, such as Syria and Iraq, set up guerrilla groups under their direct control. Others began to court the existing groups actively.

While the struggle surged forward, the plots against them by imperialism and Arab reaction intensified. In 1970, U.S. imperialist chieftain Nixon put forward a "peace plan" called the Rogers plan. This was similar to the current Reagan plan. It held out the promise of Israeli withdrawal from some of the occupied territories in return for Arab recognition of the Israeli state. Nasser accepted this plan and closed down the PLO's radio station in Cairo. Jordan's King Hussein also agreed to it. The various groups in the Palestinian movement, some openly and others tacitly, rejected the Rogers plan.

In the background, preparations were underway by U.S. imperialism, Israeli zionism and the Jordanian regime to mount a massive assault against the growing strength of the Palestinian movement in Jordan. Thus came about the massacre of Black September and the suppression of the Palestinian fighters in that country. However, the Palestinian resistance was able to continue to operate in Lebanon and Syria. It successfully moved its major base of operations to Lebanon. This was achieved not out of benevolence from the reactionary Lebanese government but through major confrontations with Lebanese reaction and with the active help of the Lebanese left.

Thus, by the latter part of the 1960's, the leadership of the Palestinian movement was characterized by a generally national-revolutionary policy. They stood for mobilization of the masses and the need for revolutionary methods of struggle. They built up organizations of fighters throughout the concentrations of Palestinian masses, both among the refugees as well as inside the boundaries of Israel. The backbone of this movement came from the toiling masses, and the Palestinian leadership recognized the need to improve the social and economic conditions of the poor and toiling people. In this regard, for example, the Palestinian resistance organized educational and medical facilities among the refugee masses.

Politically, the leadership recognized that the enemy was not the Israeli regime alone but also imperialism which stands behind it. On this basis, they opposed the plots of imperialism encouraging accommodation with zionism and upheld the stand of overthrowing Israeli zionism through an armed revolutionary struggle. One of the most significant achievements of the Palestinian resistance was its recognition that the goal of the fight for the overthrow of the racist state of Israel was a democratic and secular Palestine. This was a big blow to the anti-democratic theocratic concepts of the Zionists. It was also a big step away from the narrow nationalism of the traditional Palestinian leaders and the Arab governments. The Israeli Zionists were worried stiff about this idea as they realized that it would sooner or later help to exacerbate the class contradictions within Israeli society itself. And it did begin to attract progressive elements among the Jewish people, although in a limited manner, due to the rabidly racist character of Israeli society which requires much work to break through.

At the same time, the Palestinian leadership's policies were also marked by a series of weaknesses. These were seen in a number of ways. The main leaders, especially Fateh, argued for strengthening the role of the bourgeoisie in the movement while relegating the toilers to a position of trailing behind. This was done under the guise that since the Palestinian struggle was a national struggle, no class distinctions should be drawn. On the same grounds, they argued against spelling out any social content for the goal of the struggle.

Externally, their weaknesses showed up even more graphically. The opposition to imperialism was not completely consistent. Moreover, although in organizational terms they had separated off from the Arab regimes, they did not in fact sufficiently guard their independence and maintain vigilance against these regimes. Indeed, Fateh believed that simply by making a pledge of non-interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries, they could protect the movement from encroachments by Arab reaction. The 1970-71 events in Jordan proved how false this was. Although, after 1971, the leadership as a whole did take a stand against the Jordanian regime, this too was not entirely a resolute one. Furthermore, they were especially plagued by illusions in the so- called "progressive" regimes like Syria.

The Palestinian leadership was also prone to illusions about Soviet revisionism. This was true especially of the PFLP and its offshoots. Even while they disagreed with the Soviet maneuvers to impose a capitulationist solution on the Palestinian movement, they continued to harbor hopes in the allegedly "socialist" character of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile the Fateh leaders sought to wheel and deal with the Soviet Union too as they saw it to be a big influential power.

A Growing Turn Towards National-Reformism

In October 1973, the Arab regimes bordering Israel launched a war to restore their territories occupied by Israel. A number of reasons had prompted these regimes to launch this war at this time. Prominent among these reasons was the pressure of the Arab masses who were still restive from the defeat in the 1967 war. The PLO also participated in this war. However, the war was terminated very quickly, due to the machinations of the superpowers and because the Arab regimes had no intention of pursuing the war to any decisive conclusions. Despite this, the war objectively had a number of positive results. Above all, the bad beating suffered in the early days of the war by the Israeli army destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the Israeli armed forces.

However, in the aftermath of the war there was a stepped-up campaign for reformist ideas from the Arab regimes and elsewhere. The Arab governments set in motion the idea that the results of the war had created a favorable situation to achieve a "peaceful solution" to the Palestinian question. These pacifist preachings were pushed on the basis of entirely unwarranted euphoric assessments of the post-war situation. Among other things, the Arab oil boycott of 1973 was used to fuel such euphoria. It was thus claimed that the balance of power in the Middle East had now shifted in favor of the Arab countries and that the Western imperialists could now be pressured into forcing Israel to come to an accommodation with the Palestinian and Arab peoples. This sort of propaganda was supported by both the Soviet and Chinese revisionists. It may be recalled that it was in this period that the Chinese leadership outlined its pacifist and class collaborationist "three worlds" theory which negated the power of the revolutionary struggle and replaced it with the bargainings of the "third world" countries with the big powers.

The leadership of the Palestinian movement fell prey to these preachings. They urged the masses to adopt an attitude of "realism." This "realism" meant shelving the goal of the revolutionary overthrow of the zionist state in favor of the so-called transitional goal of a "mini-state" on some part of the occupied territories. It would be one thing to use any territory liberated in the course of revolutionary struggle as a base to carry the revolution forward, but this is not what the PLO leadership had in mind. Instead the mini-state actually became the basic goal of the PLO and was to be achieved through the diplomatic bargainings among the PLO and Arab governments and the imperialist powers. As a result of this orientation, the denunciation of imperialism was necessarily toned down.

The PLO soon found itself the recipient of wide-scale diplomatic support from different governments and organizations around the world, and this only further fueled their euphoria over the prospects of a "peaceful solution." Official recognition came from the Soviet revisionist bloc, the Organization of African Unity, the Islamic Summit, the UN General Assembly, and so on.

Thus, with this turn in strategy, the leadership of the PLO moved away from their earlier generally national- revolutionary position towards national-reformism. In this, they were encouraged by the Palestinian bourgeois elements as well as the Arab governments and the revisionist powers. To be more precise, the PLO leadership actually adopted a policy of "national-reformism with guns." This meant that while there was allegiance to the armed struggle in words and the PLO kept their guns, the main stress of the movement was now placed in the field of diplomatic maneuvering. The Palestinian fighters did continue to carry out various heroic actions, but any militant struggle was subordinated by the PLO leadership to the reformist policy. They were mainly seen by the leadership as actions to provide pressure towards achieving a diplomatic settlement. Thus, without a general revolutionary orientation, many of the fighting actions simply took on the character of diffuse and isolated acts.

While the PLO leadership embroiled the movement in its diplomatic maneuverings, it failed to address many of the serious questions of moving the actual struggle of the masses forward. Thus, while in the 70's the upsurge of the Palestinians on the West Bank grew, the PLO leaders failed to deal with the question of properly organizing this movement. While being successful in winning the support of the more respectable elements, such as mayors, the PLO did not take up the task of organizing the masses, especially the toilers. As well, they did not work out how to link up the actions organized from outside Israel's borders with the struggle inside. The PLO leadership also generally failed to deal with the question of how to break progressive elements among the Jews away from zionism and bring them into the Palestinian liberation struggle.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance was forced to defend itself from increased attacks by imperialism, Zionism and Arab reaction. In 1975, the PLO had to fight alongside the Lebanese left in the civil war against the fascists of the Phalange. When the left was heading towards victory, the war was brought to an unstable standoff by the intervention of the Syrian army on the side of the Phalange. The PLO fighters also had to defend themselves from increasing raids by the Israelis. In 1978 they fought against Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon. In all these battles, the fighters demonstrated great heroism and self-sacrifice, showing the great force that lies among the Palestinian masses in spite of all the reformist illusions created by the leaders.

Thus, while for nine years, the PLO leaders have been chasing a reformist accommodation, the actual events facing the Palestinian people have been repeatedly demonstrating the futility of their policy. Finally, it was the 1982 war in Lebanon which brought out in sharp relief that the national-reformist policy was built on nothing but an illusory house of cards.

The War in Lebanon Reveals the Bankruptcy of National-Reformism

The basic premise underlying the PLO's reformist strategy has been that there can be a just "peaceful solution" through the diplomatic efforts of the PLO and the Arab governments to pressure the U.S. government away from its unequivocal support for Israel. The war last year again shattered this illusion into a thousand pieces.

The war demonstrated that all the powers the PLO counts on to achieve its compromise with zionism -- the U.S. imperialists, the Arab regimes, the European imperialists, etc. -- supported the suppression of the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon. To expect liberation for the Palestinians to be handed down by such forces is like asking for a cure from the gods of plague.

First, let us take the question of the U.S. imperialists. Over a whole period of time, the PLO leadership has toned down its opposition to U.S. imperialism in favor of a view that the U.S. government supports Israel simply because it is pressured by Israel and its influential friends in the American ruling class. From this, the PLO leaders conclude that countervailing pressure from the Arab governments and the help of so-called "pro-Arab" elements in the U.S. ruling class will win justice for the Palestinians.

But this is a totally false view of the U.S.-Israeli alliance. It is like suggesting that the tail wags the dog. The fact of the matter is that U.S. imperialism supports Israel because both of these states have a common interest in defending imperialist and capitalist interests in the region. Indeed, Washington considers Israel to be its most stable and loyal ally in the region.

Besides, it should be noted that the Israeli offensive in 1982 was part of a general U.S.-led imperialist offensive in the region to bolster reaction and crush the revolutionary ferment among the toiling masses. Especially since the Iranian revolution overthrew the Shah's fascist regime, the American bourgeoisie has been worried stiff about the prospects of the stability of their "vital interests" in the region. Thus, the Pentagon has set up the Rapid Deployment Force (now a full- scale military company) and ringed the region with bases, troops and treaties with the local despotic regimes. The aim of isolating and crushing the Palestinian liberation struggle has occupied a major place in this general imperialist offensive. This could be witnessed, for example, by the Camp David process, which weaned Egypt away from any semblance of opposition to Israel and strengthened the reactionary government there as a bastion of U.S. imperialist interests.

As for the alleged "pro-Arab" tilt of some American ruling class elements, such as Secretary of State Schultz, this too is a mirage. These circles, while firm in their defense of Israel, only want to balance this by not forgetting to bolster the Arab allies of Washington, too, such as the Saudi rulers. Their so-called "pro-Arab" sentiment is only in favor of Arab reaction and does not extend to the Arab masses or the Palestinian people.

Some elements in the PLO have even gone so far as to suggest that Reagan is more pro-Arab and less pro- Israeli than the Democrats. On this basis they urge the Palestinian people to arrive at an accommodation with Washington while Reagan is in office. This flies in the face of all facts. The policy of the U.S. government in support of Israeli zionism is the common policy of both the Democrats and Republicans; it is the bipartisan policy of the capitalist class. But to concoct such maneuvers raises the question -- how low can you go? To bow to Reagan is to hurry to appeal to the rabid Republican hangman of U.S. imperialism for fear that he will be replaced by a rabid Democratic hangman.

Second, the Lebanese war also revealed what lies beneath the pro-Palestinian rhetoric of the Arab regimes. For years, many of these governments have spouted all sorts of militant words about using the "oil weapon" to prevent the U.S. from backing Israeli aggression. And the PLO leadership actually placed their belief in such proclamations. But these too turned out to be nothing but empty illusions.

It is well known that the reactionary Arab regimes stabbed the Palestinians in the back during the Lebanese war. The Syrian troops did not come to the aid of the PLO fighters. All the Arab regimes agreed that the fighters must be removed from Lebanon. And from one corner of the Arab-speaking world to the other, these regimes worked against any attempts by the Arab masses to mobilize support for the Palestinians.

The treacherous stand of the Arab regimes was common to both the openly reactionary ones, such as the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and to the regimes which promote themselves as "progressive." This too was of course not a new phenomenon, as witnessed only a few years ago by the Syrian troops coming into Lebanon to intervene in the civil war against the Palestinians and Lebanese left.

This stand of the Arab regimes proves that while many of these regimes have strong contradictions with the Israeli Zionists, this does not extend to real support for the Palestinian movement. In fact, they are all deeply afraid of the progressive force of the Palestinian movement. This is because these regimes are all representatives of the exploiters, the capitalists and landlords, and are linked with imperialism with countless ties.

Finally, certain major imperialist powers, who pretend to be sympathetic to the Palestinians to one degree or another, also showed their real colors during the Lebanese war. This was true both of the Russian social-imperialists, who claim to be one of the closest allies of the Palestinians, and the major European imperialists, such as Mitterrand's social-democratic government in France. While the wily European imperialists did not forget to shed a few hypocritical tears about the plight of the Palestinians, their real stand can be seen in the participation of French and Italian (and now British too) troops, alongside the U.S., in the "peacekeeping" mission to prop up a fascist Phalangist regime in Lebanon.

Thus, in the Lebanese war, all the influential powers which the PLO leadership has counted on to win Palestinian liberation came forth, either openly or covertly, to support the suppression of the fighters in Lebanon. The PLO leadership is unable to draw the proper conclusions from this fact, but it is no secret why this took place. All these forces have a common interest -- the preservation of imperialist-capitalist stability in the Middle East. All the guardians of the established order see the Palestinian movement as a big threat to this imperialist stability.

And from their standpoint, the standpoint of exploiters, this is quite true. There is more to the Palestinian movement than the national-reformist character of its present-day leadership. There is as well a movement of the masses for liberation. This movement is directed against Israeli zionism, one of the chief cornerstones of imperialist domination in the region. This movement retains the outlook of settling accounts with the Israeli Zionists in a revolutionary manner. It has a significant democratic and liberating character, which threatens not only the zionist and theocratic Israeli state but also deeply worries the reactionary Arab regimes. For all these reasons, the Palestinian movement has in fact repeatedly shown that it has a powerful progressive influence among the toilers throughout the Arab countries. It is these features of the Palestinian movement that lie at the root of the fear of the movement among all the imperialists and reactionaries.

However, the advance of the Palestinian liberation movement requires overcoming the negative influence of national-reformism. The PLO leadership has shown that it cannot provide guidance to carry the struggle forward. Instead, the forces which have provided the backbone of the movement all these years -- the workers, peasants and poor refugees -- must now take the center stage. For years the toilers have been kept subordinate to the PLO leadership. Now they must take up the task of building within the national movement their own independent organization which is capable of leading the liberation struggle to victory. Organizing independently may not necessarily mean leaving the PLO; but it does mean opposing the national-reformism of the current PLO leadership.

[Photo: Mass demonstration of Palestinians in Jerusalem in the spring of 1982. Through demonstrations, street battles and attacks on the Israeli forces, the Palestinian masses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza have shown their determination to carry forward their struggle against the Zionist occupiers.]

[Photo: Photo of armed Palestinian liberation fighters.]

[Photo: Arab reaction has repeatedly stabbed the Palestinian people's struggle in the back while posturing as its greatest champion. Photo shows the Palestinian militia in Amman, Jordan, in September 1970 when the Palestinian resistance heroically fought back against a brutal suppression campaign launched by the troops of reactionary King Hussein.]

[Photo: Palestinian liberation fighters and Lebanese leftists on top of a destroyed Syrian tank during the civil war in Lebanon in 1975. The intervention of Syria on the side of the Lebanese fascist Phalange was another example of Arab reaction opposing the Palestinian liberation movement.]


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The face of national-reformism at the PLO conference in Algiers

In mid-February the Palestine National Council, the highest policy-making body of the PLO, met in Algiers. This was the first meeting of the Council since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon last year. The proceedings of this meeting confirmed that the PLO leadership is pursuing a dangerous capitulationist course. It has verified even further the need for a thorough discussion of the strategy and tactics of the Palestinian liberation movement.

In the post-Lebanon situation, world imperialism and Arab reaction are trying their best to prevent the liberation movement from taking up the tasks required for rebuilding the revolutionary struggle. Imperialism realizes that while the Palestinians suffered a setback last year, they are far from crushed. The Palestinian struggle continues to worry the imperialists a great deal; they remain haunted by the fighting spirit shown by the Palestinian fighters last year as well as the mounting acts of resistance on the West Bank. Therefore, while the zionist offensive against the Palestinians goes ahead, a whole flurry of "peace plans" are being held up before the Palestinian movement to divert it away from struggle and towards pacifist illusions.

For their part, the Israeli Zionists have shown absolutely no desire to come to any agreement with the Palestinians. Instead they are pressing on with their annexationist and repressive policies on the West Bank, keeping up their occupation forces in Lebanon, and so forth. But despite all this, the imperialists and Arab reaction are urging the Palestinian movement to get down on their knees and agree to make peace with their oppressors.

All the "peace plans" propose capitulation; they only differ on how extreme the capitulation should be. All the plans -- from Reagan's much touted one to the Soviet or Arab League proposals -- agree that the security of the racist zionist state in Israel must be guaranteed. They vary in detail, such as whether the Palestinians are to be "promised" a formally independent state on the West Bank and Gaza or simply some limited autonomy under either Israeli or Jordanian supremacy. But all of them have in common the fact that whatever entity the Palestinians may have must serve as a straitjacket on the development of their struggle.

The leadership of the PLO has chosen the course of embroiling the movement in deliberations over the fine points of these fraudulent imperialist maneuvers instead of taking up the tasks essential to rebuild the revolutionary struggle. Thus, the recent meeting of the Palestine National Council mainly spent its time discussing the "peace plans." It does not appear to have discussed the questions of strategy and tactics about how to overcome the difficult situation created for the struggle by the defeat in Lebanon.

Instead, the meeting covered over the difficult situation with empty talk about how the withdrawal from Beirut was a great victory. And it is not known what, if any, plans were made about how to defend the Palestinian refugees who have been left defenseless in southern Lebanon. It is well known that the refugees are continuing to suffer brutal oppression from both the Israeli Zionists and the fascist Phalangists. Incredibly enough, the Council did not voice condemnation of the Phalangists, who are today being assisted by imperialism and zionism to consolidate a fascist regime in that country. As is well known, this regime is aimed against the Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese workers and peasants.

It also appears that the PLO Council failed to discuss the question of how to organize the mass struggle of the toilers and youth in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. This is incredible considering the fact that it is these territories which are today the main hotbeds of Palestinian resistance to zionist rule.

Instead of dealing with the problems of the actual struggle, the Palestine National Council debated the details of various "peace plans," especially the Reagan plan. Much has been made in the U.S. press about the faction fights between "moderates" and "radicals" at this meeting. But the fact of the matter is that while the most blatantly capitulationist stand of unequivocally endorsing the Reagan plan was rejected, still the final decisions agreed to by an overwhelming majority of the Council amount to a capitulationist policy.

Thus the Reagan plan was criticized by the PLO Council as "insufficient" but it was not rejected outright. PLO leaders went out of their way to stress this point. At the same time, while the Council refused to give the Jordanian regime a proxy to negotiate on its behalf, it nevertheless called for establishing a "special and distinctive" relationship with Jordan and approved the concept of a confederation between Jordan and an independent Palestinian state.

This amounts to a disagreement with the Reagan plan only on how bad a capitulationist accommodation the PLO leadership is willing to agree to, but it remains capitulation just the same. The key issue is placing the Palestinians under the tutelage of Jordanian reaction. Whether this is done on the basis of an autonomous Palestinian "entity" or a so-called "independent state" through a confederation does not make much difference.

The Jordanian regime is a regime of hangmen. It is the same regime which massacred the Palestinian fighters in 1970-71. It remains a brutal military outpost of U.S. imperialism. The U.S. gave an average of $120 million in military aid in the latter half of the 70's and doubled this rate for 1980 and '81. Another $100 million is given as "budgetary support," amounting to half the country's budget, thus covering operational military expenses as well. For all its reactionary services, the Jordanian regime is also propped up with Saudi petrodollars.

To agree to reconcile with such a regime and contemplate an association with it is treachery. Not only would it mean that the Palestinians on the West Bank would be replacing their Israeli occupiers with the Jordanian monarchy and military caste, but any such "state" could never hope to serve as a base to carry on the struggle for the total overthrow of Israeli zionism. Such a political entity would be directly under the control of the Arab bourgeoisie and the ultra-reactionary Jordanian military caste.

While a capitulationist course was agreed to at the PLO council, it was nevertheless arrived at as a compromise between different factions. These divisions continue to fester. However there are no factions in the PLO leadership which show any fundamental break with the PLO leadership's national-reformism.

Today, under the auspices of the Libyan and Syrian governments a "radical" grouping is being put together out of a number of PLO factions. This grouping has made certain militant-sounding statements, especially directed against the Reagan plan. But they have no alternative program to offer to overcome the influence of national-reformism in the Palestinian movement. Some of their statements hint at taking recourse to terroristic methods of struggle. Historically, while the Palestinian movement has involved armed methods of struggle which were closely linked to popular mobilization and directed against political, military and economic targets of Israeli zionism, the movement has also at times seen a tendency of terrorism, expressed in individual acts of random attacks on civilians, such as was seen in a number of hostage-taking and airplane hijacking incidents in the early 70's. Terrorism, then and now, reflects an attitude of despair in the face of defeats and difficulty. There is nothing being offered by this "radical" grouping which indicates any real break with the PLO leadership's national-reformism.

Overcoming the sabotage of national-reformism calls for building up the independent organization of the toilers. Only this can fight the influence of national-reformism among the masses and work out the tactics for guiding the mass revolutionary struggle for the overthrow of Israeli zionism and its replacement by a democratic and secular Palestine under a revolutionary-democratic government of the toilers.


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Israeli 'Inquiry Commission' Exonerates Zionist Murderers

This past September the Israeli government organized the Lebanese Phalangist militia to carry out the horrible massacre of over a thousand Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in west Beirut. This atrocity came on the heels of the savage Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which the zionist criminals murdered over 10,000 Palestinian and Lebanese people while bombarding Beirut and other cities into piles of rubble. The massacres were a stark exposure of zionism and have become a symbol of its barbaric, fascist nature.

In Israel too there was an uproar over the mass murders. In one demonstration against the Begin government about one-tenth of the entire population participated. Faced with this situation the Israeli ruling class has been trying to quiet the mass outrage and patch up the tattered image of Zionism. Prodded by the social-democratic Labor Party the government selected an "inquiry commission" of zionist dignitaries to whitewash the massacre as an unfortunate, isolated incident having nothing to do with true zionist policy. Meanwhile U.S. imperialism, which finances and arms Israel, gushed that the setting up of the commission proved how "democratic" Israel was.

Now the inquiry commission has completed its mission. On February 8 it released its findings and declared that the Israeli government was completely innocent of organizing the slaughter. Instead, a few of the zionist ministers and generals were merely found to be "indirectly responsible" because they were somewhat negligent in allegedly trying to protect the Palestinian masses. On the basis of this fantastic lie, the commission recommended that the officials receive either no punishment or, at the most, a light tap on the wrist. This kind treatment shown toward Begin, Sharon and the other mass murderers only confirms that the massacres were no "accident" but officially sanctioned policy. It shows that Israeli "democracy" is a complete fraud.

The Commission Resorts to Pure Double Talk to Whitewash the Government

The actual findings of the commission all prove that the Israeli officials organized the Beirut massacres. The findings themselves point out that they ordered in the Phalangist militia knowing full well that they would carry out a massacre of the refugees. And they also point out that once reports started coming in to the Israeli authorities about massacres, nothing was done by the zionist officials to put a stop to it.

But despite all this evidence, the commission denies that Israel has any "direct responsibility." They call "unfounded" the accusations that the Israeli officials should be regarded as "accomplices to the acts of slaughter."

How does the commission arrive at this astounding conclusion? Through pure double talk. First, it defines "direct responsibility" to mean not only having "prior knowledge that a massacre would be perpetrated there" but also "the intention that this should indeed take place." Then, even after acknowledging that "prior knowledge" existed, the commission discounts all that by falling back on the lie that the actions of the Israeli officials were unintentional! What amazing logic! Plainly the commission was going to use any cheap trick to find the Israeli government innocent.

The commission resorted to this absurd reasoning because the evidence proving the direct responsibility of Israel was so overwhelming. Let us proceed to examine some of this evidence released in the report of the commission. (All quotes taken, from the New York Times, Feb. 9, 1983, except as cited)

According to the commission report, the decision to send in the Phalangist militia was made by then defense minister Sharon and the Chief of Staff, General Eytan, on September 14, two days before the camps were entered. On September 15 Eytan "ordered the Phalangist commanders to effect a general mobilization" to invade the refugee camps. These actions of Sharon and Eytan were no sudden whim. According to Sharon's testimony they were based on the Cabinet's plans to integrate the Lebanese Forces [the Phalangist militia -- ed.] into the campaign in Lebanon" and specifically into "certain places in Beirut." (NYT, Oct, 26,1982)

On the denials of "prior knowledge" by Israeli officials, the commission's own analysis is that "We are not prepared to attach any importance to [the] statements" that "when the decision was taken to have the Phalangists enter the camps, it could not be foreseen that the Phalangists would perpetrate a massacre." It adds that the testimony of those officials who claimed they could not foresee "were influenced to a certain extent by the desire of each of them to justify his action or lack thereof." Here, in polite terms, the commission admits that those officials who said they couldn't foresee a massacre were lying to save their own skin. It chides these officials for not following the example of "other personnel, both from military intelligence, from IDF [Israeli Defense Forces -- ed.] branches and from outside the governmental framework, [who] warned -- as soon as they learned of the Phalangists' entry into the camps, and on earlier occasions when the Phalangists' role in the war was discussed -- that the danger of a massacre was great and that the Phalangists would take advantage of every opportunity to wreak vengeance on the Palestinians." Thus the commission confesses that every one of the Israeli officials had prior knowledge that if the Phalangists entered the camps there would be a massacre.

Of course, those who warned of the massacre did not oppose the massacre either. For example, General Eytan, who ordered the Phalangists in on Sept. 15, warned the Israeli Cabinet on Sept. 16 that the Phalangists would engage in "an eruption [of revenge -- ed.]..the likes of which has never been seen" and he added that "I can already see in their eyes what they are waiting for." (Time, Feb. 21, 1983) Yet the report states that Eytan did not oppose sending in the Phalangists anyway. As Sharon testified, the only reason that officials gave such warnings was that "we could be blamed afterward, and our contention would not hold up." (NYT, Oct. 26, 1982) In other words these officials were not worried about the refugees but only that Israel would be blamed for murdering them.

Even when the reports of the massacre reached the Israeli military and Cabinet, not only did they not stop the operation, but they expressed their support to the Phalangist commanders and actively assisted them. The camps were entered at 6:00 p.m. on September 16. According to information in the report, it was only an hour later that the first report of a massacre was received. Stationed in the Israeli command post in Beirut, Elias Hobeika, the commander of the Phalangist operation, issued a command to kill 50 women and children who had been rounded up in the camps. An Israeli officer overheard the command and told General Yaron, the Israeli divisional commander. Yaron then talked personally to Hobeika. At 8:00 p.m. Yaron received a report from the Phalange leader inside the Shatila camp that stated "To this time we have killed 300 civilians and terrorists." Yet it wasn't until 15 hours later that a brief halt of the massacre was allegedly called by Yaron and his superior General Drori. On the afternoon of September 17, Yaron, Drori and Eytan met with the Phalangist general staff. The report admits that all three Israeli generals were well informed about the massacres and that none of them even questioned the Phalangist general staff about the subject. Instead, the report states, Eytan made "positive" comments about the Phalangist operation in the camps and ordered that assistance be given to them. The Israeli military then allowed the Phalangists to bring in fresh troops and new ammunition. They were even supplied with bulldozers to cover up the dead bodies. The massacre went on through the morning of September 18.

The Commission Lies About the Israeli Government's Intentions

On what grounds then does the commission dare claim that Israel did not have direct responsibility for organizing the slaughter of refugees? It claims that "no intention existed on the part of anyone who acted on behalf of Israel to harm the non-combatant population."

The intentional nature of the massacre is obvious not only because, as the report confesses, the Phalangists were sent in with the knowledge they would create a bloodbath. The intentional nature of the Israeli actions is proven a thousand times over by the fact that the Israeli authorities did nothing even when they knew the massacre was underway. And it is proven a million times over by the entire history of zionist Israel, which can credit its origins to the terrorist massacres of civilians by Begin's Irgun, and which has "advanced" on to its recent bombing of civilians in Beirut.

The claim that there was no intention of organizing a massacre becomes even more absurd when you examine the case of ex-Defense Minister Sharon. In the report he is one of the most harshly criticized officials. But the commission refuses to consider even the possibility that he acted intentionally. The commission acknowledges that Sharon decided to send in the Phalangists with the thorough knowledge of their desire to massacre the Palestinians. Indeed in testimony Sharon had confessed that "Amin [the president of Lebanon -- ed,] himself, to the best of memory, at the funeral [of his brother, Bashir Gemayel, the Phalangist militia chieftain -- ed.] on Sept. 15, used the word revenge. The word revenge also appeared, I would say, in discussions that we had." (NYT, Oct. 26, 1982) The commission also finds that though Sharon knew what the Phalangists would do, he "disregard(ed) entirely the serious consideration...that the Phalangists were liable to commit atrocities" because "this did not concern him in the least." According to the commission then, Sharon is all but given a sworn affidavit by the Phalange that it will butcher the refugees and he sends them in anyway because atrocities against the Palestinians "did not concern him in the least."

Thus the commission's own findings disprove their claim that there was "no intention" of organizing a massacre. But the whitewash of Sharon goes much further. According to the imperialist magazine Time of February 21, 1983, a secret unpublished section of the commission report exists in which, "Sharon reportedly discussed with the Gemayals the need for the Phalangists to take revenge for the assassination of Bashir...." (p. 29, emphasis added) If, despite this sort of evidence, the commission can't find Sharon's actions intentional, then plainly it is because they are covering up for his crimes.

Racist Arguments to "Prove" Israel's Alleged Good Intentions

When the commission tries to explain the alleged good intentions of Israel they end up spewing the typical zionist doctrine of racial superiority. According to the commission report, the Israeli officials must assume "indirect responsibility" for the massacres because they have "obligations applying to every civilized nation and ethical rules accepted by civilized peoples." It adds that Israel was responsible for "public order" in Lebanon because "the combatants in Lebanon belittle the value of human life" which "differs from the norm in the IDF." According to the commission the murderous IDF is the very epitome of civilization, while the Arab "combatants" in Lebanon are all savages. But isn't it the "civilized" IDF which arms and trains the murderers of the Phalange? And Israel should talk of the "value of human life" after bombing and terrorizing tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese! What gall!

Thus the report contends that the true Israeli intentions were to bring "civilization" to the so-called Arab savages. This is nothing but the standard justification of all colonialists and fascist occupiers for suppressing the "inferior" races. Indeed the "civilized" Zionists have long justified their forcible expulsion of the native Palestinian people from their homeland on the false grounds that before the Zionists arrived, there was nothing but barren deserts devoid of civilization in Palestine. The commission has thus inadvertently proved that the "noble" motive behind the Israeli actions in Lebanon is racism.

Israeli "Democracy" Exonerates the Mass Murderers

After accomplishing its shameless whitewash, the commission also made recommendations to the government.

For most of the officials involved, including Begin, the commission recommended that no action be taken and that they continue to serve in their posts. The commission only moved against three people. It recommended that Defense Minister Sharon and the Director of Military Intelligence be removed from their posts. As well General Yaron was to be relieved as field commander for three years. Considering that Begin, Sharon and the rest organized the extermination of over a thousand Palestinians, these cynical recommendations are an outrage. They are tantamount to encouragement of future mass murders.

But the Israeli government is making a complete joke even out of these miniscule punishments. After some parliamentary haggling, Sharon was removed as defense minister but,, kept in the Cabinet as a minister without portfolio and Begin's right-hand man. He was then put on a ministerial defense panel and the steering committee for the current negotiations with the Lebanese government. Thus the final result of the grand "democratic" process in Israel has been the minor reshuffling of racist assassins.

The inquiry commission whitewash is also a sound exposure of the Labor Party in Israel. This party claims that it is the alternative to Begin. Yet the Labor Party has enthusiastically accepted the commission inquiry's whitewash of the Begin government. Their most "radical" objective to the Begin government is that it should simply remove Sharon from the Cabinet altogether. The Labor Party has taken this shameful stand because, while they want to embarrass Begin, they do not want to admit that Zionist Israel is being run by mass murderers. They want to hide the truth about zionism and merely want to use the inquiry to help their chances of replacing Begin's ruling Likud coalition as the ruling zionist party.

The blood of the massacre victims is also on the hands of U.S. imperialism. The report reveals that U.S. and Israeli officials were involved in discussions over whether the Lebanese government's army or the Phalangist militia should invade the camps. It is also well known that the leader of the Phalangist attack on the refugee camps, Hobeika, is also the liaison between the militia and the U.S. embassy in Beirut. Moreover it was the U.S. that paved the way for the slaughter by helping to force the PLO out of Beirut while making lying promises of guaranteeing the safety of the Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile the Reagan administration has taken the occasion of the inquiry to reiterate its firm support for the Israeli butchers. They have been praising the fraudulent inquiry to the skies. Secretary of State Shultz boasted that the inquiry was "another outstanding example of the way a democracy can conduct itself" and "a model of how democracy can work." The Israeli commission issues lies and their U.S. backers swear by it! It is business as usual for the men with blood on their hands. But the world's people will not allow the massacres at Sabra and Shatila to be swept under the rug so easily. Many people have had their eyes opened to the evil nature of zionism and imperialism by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its aftermath. The people's struggle will bring the Zionists and their U.S. imperialist backers to justice.


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On the "troop withdrawal" talks

Vultures over Lebanon

For over a month and a half the Israeli Zionists and the reactionary Lebanese government have been holding so-called "troop withdrawal" negotiations. These talks, which are being supervised by the U.S. imperialist envoy Habib, have been dealing with the situation in Lebanon in the wake of the Israeli invasion and continued occupation of the country. Under the innocent-sounding phrases of "troop withdrawal" and "normalization" these three cutthroats are working out the details on a number of measures aimed at continuing the onslaught against the Palestinian people and suppressing the Lebanese masses. In this context, however, a number of squabbles have broken out as each gang of criminals seeks to protect their various particular interests.

Israel's Arrogant Demands in Lebanon

Last year, when the Israelis invaded Lebanon, they claimed it was only going to be a "limited, surgical operation" to secure their northern borders. The "troop withdrawal" negotiations have revealed again that Israel's objectives go far beyond, to maintaining a permanent occupation in southern Lebanon, turning Lebanon itself into a mere client state of the Zionists, and crushing the Palestinian resistance.

The number one priority of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was the suppression of the Palestinian resistance movement. Thus one of the main issues at the talks has been the removal of the remaining PLO guerrillas from Lebanon. The elimination of the PLO forces has not only been aimed at eliminating the organized military resistance to Israeli aggression. It also has the purpose of leaving the half-million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon defenseless in the face of the genocidal massacres of the Zionists and Lebanese reaction. No one has forgotten that as soon as the Israeli army forced the removal of the armed resistance fighters from Beirut, they unleashed the Phalangist militia to carry out the hitlerite massacres at the Shatila and Sabra refugee camps. The expulsion of the remaining PLO fighters clears the path for more such slaughters.

The Israeli aggressors are not only interested in crushing the Palestinian resistance. They also want to consolidate their stranglehold over Lebanon. During the negotiations the Israeli representatives have proposed steps toward the eventual annexation of southern Lebanon. They want to create a so-called "security zone" stretching 28 miles into Lebanon from the Israeli border. According to the Israeli plans this zone would contain five military outposts manned by 750 Israeli soldiers. Israel's puppet army in Lebanon, the Christian fascist forces of Major Saad Haddad, would be given extensive powers in the zone. Meanwhile the proposals would ban the Lebanese government's army from entering the zone with heavy weapons. In this way Israel would secure effective military control of southern Lebanon.

The Israeli rulers are not waiting for the conclusion of negotiations to establish permanent military control in southern Lebanon. In the past few months they have been erecting housing for their troops and paving new roads into Lebanon. In early February, the Israeli henchman Haddad rolled into Sidon with 30 tanks and established new headquarters there. Haddad's 1,500-man army also established two other garrisons in southern Lebanon and announced control of the entire 28-mile zone. Israel has also been striving to enforce its authority in the villages of southern Lebanon through establishing local puppet militias.

Israel's plans for enslaving Lebanon also include strengthening their influence over the Lebanese government in Beirut. As a result of the Israeli invasion the present government was set up. Amin Gemayal, the Phalange leader, is currently the president. This government represents the interests of the most reactionary capitalists and landlords in Lebanon who are tied to imperialism. The creation of this government has benefited the Zionists, providing it, for example, with a ruthless ally against the Palestinian and Lebanese toilers. At this time Israel is seeking to strengthen its leverage on the government. Thus at the talks Israel proposed that its lackey Haddad be given a role in the Lebanese government's army and that Haddad's forces be integrated into it.

In the negotiations Israel has also been demanding formal agreements on opening up Lebanon to Israeli trade and tourism. The zionist bullies have threatened to keep their 30,000-man occupation force in Lebanon until these demands are met. These demands have been raised because the Israeli capitalist economy is racked with a severe economic crisis. Therefore Israel wants to utilize its occupation of Lebanon to forcibly carve out new markets for Israeli goods.

The details of Israel's trade proposal have not yet been released. But a good idea of the nature of their demands can be seen by the trade Israel has already initiated under its occupation. This one-way trade consists solely of Israeli goods exported to Lebanon. The Lebanese traders who transport the goods are given preferential rates at the Israeli port of Haifa and they are allowed to skip the usual custom fees in occupied southern Lebanon. Israeli manufactured and agricultural goods are flooding into Lebanon.

Lebanese Reaction Tries to Balance Between Both Zionists and Arab Reaction

The reactionary Gemayal government is trying to reach an accommodation with Israel. They wholeheartedly agree that the remaining PLO fighters must leave Lebanon and that the Palestinian and Lebanese toilers must be crushed. They are willing to grant some form of "security zone" and to come to a trade agreement. However Israel is not satisfied with this arrangement and is striving for an agreement that would turn the Lebanese government into a mere Israeli front. This has instigated a squabble at the talks between Israel and Lebanon.

While the Lebanese government wants to get along with Israel it also wants to be able to maintain its ties with the reactionary Arab states. The Lebanese bourgeoisie has historically grown rich through its financial and trade connections with the Arab bourgeoisie and it fears jeopardizing this situation. The medieval Saudi monarchy, for example, is refusing to give large-scale financial aid to the Lebanese government until all Israeli troops are withdrawn from Lebanon. The Saudi regime has also expressed its opposition to a trade agreement that would allow Israel unrestricted access to the Lebanese market. These are among the reasons why the Lebanese government has opposed establishing trade and diplomatic relations with Israel before Israeli troops pull out of Lebanon and why it is against Israeli troops in the "security zone."

U.S. Imperialism Is No "Peacemaker"

In the negotiations between Israel and Lebanon, U.S. imperialism is playing a despicable role. The Reagan administration is posing as an innocent peacemaker which merely wants "foreign troop withdrawal," "territorial integrity" for Lebanon, etc. This is a hypocritical lie from start to finish. It was U.S. imperialism which firmly supported the zionist blitzkrieg into Lebanon, from the beginning of the invasion to the refugee camp massacres. U.S. imperialism is perfectly willing to see Lebanon invaded by foreign troops if it suits U.S. interests. The U.S. government is simply using this rhetoric as a pretext for continuing its efforts to suppress the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples.

For this purpose the Reagan administration is anxious to bolster the strength of the reactionary Gemayal government. During the negotiations the U.S. proposed sending 5,000 more imperialist "peacekeeping" troops to Lebanon from the U.S. and other Western imperialist countries. Already there is a force of 4,700 such troops in Lebanon, including 1,200 U.S. Marines. These troops have the purpose of consolidating the fascist Gemayal regime.

The U.S. Marines are also actively training the Lebanese government's army so that it can efficiently suppress the masses. The bourgeois press is already admitting that the Marines will be in Lebanon for five years or more to accomplish this. Meanwhile the Reagan administration has been giving; massive military aid to the Lebanese regime and is calling for another $100 million in such aid for the remainder of this year alone. Besides the U.S. aid, the Gemayal government has been offered $85 million from the French government of Mitterrand. And the Japanese imperialists have also pledged $20 million to finance the multinational imperialist forces.

At the talks, Washington has proposed a three-phase "troop withdrawal" program. At the completion of the second phase, the PLO troops would be required to leave Lebanon while Israeli troops would fall back to the 28-mile "security zone." In the third phase U.S. troops are supposed to man military outposts in the security zone while Israel and Syria withdraw their troops from Lebanon.

This proposal obviously supports the efforts of the zionist butchers and Lebanese reaction to smash the Palestinian resistance and terrorize the Palestinian population. It also supports the idea of Israel getting a 28- mile security zone in Lebanon. Thus Reagan's talk of troop withdrawal really means flooding Lebanon with foreign imperialist troops and continued attacks on the Arab masses.

The U.S. imperialist plan is generally quite advantageous for Israel. Nevertheless disagreements have arisen between them at the talks. While Washington agrees on the security zone to be manned by non-Lebanese troops, it would prefer not to have Israeli troops stationed here. Instead, the U.S. has proposed that American troops patrol this zone. Later it suggested that a combined force of the Lebanese armed forces and Israel's puppet Haddad forces patrol it. The U.S. government also would prefer Israeli forces withdrawn before formal trade and diplomatic relations are established between Lebanon and Israel. On these grounds, Israel has so far rejected the U.S. proposals.

The Reagan administration's disagreements with Israel stem from the fact that while Washington remains a firm supporter of the Israeli fascists, it also wants to maneuver with its Arab reactionary allies. The U.S. imperialists have lucrative investments and military bases in some of the Arab states. And they also want to ensure that arch-reactionaries like King Hussein of Jordan participate in the treacherous Palestinian "autonomy" talks being organized by Reagan. Moreover the U.S. is afraid that the extreme nature of the Israeli policy will give rise to an early upsurge in the revolutionary movement in Lebanon.

Despite these contradictions the U.S. has made it clear that its support for Israel does not of course hinge on the outcome of these talks. On this issue Secretary of State Shultz recently stated: "I don't think that forcing people to do things that they believe is against their interest produces lasting solutions to problems." (New York Times, January 31, 1983)

In sum, nothing good can come out of the wheelings and dealings of these three sets of gangsters. The interests of the Palestinian and Lebanese masses can only be defended through struggle. Indeed, while the diplomats are haggling, the struggle of the masses continues. Even now, periodic attacks have been launched on the Israeli patrols in Beirut and other cities. From the last week of December through early February it is reported that two Israeli soldiers were killed and 30 wounded. Meanwhile the Palestinian masses in the West Bank have continued their battle against the Israeli occupiers. In early January, for example, the youth of Nablus came into the streets a hundred strong to pelt the Israeli authorities with rocks. The resistance movement is bound to grow in the future. For only through revolutionary struggle can the Palestinian and Lebanese people free themselves from Israeli fascism, Lebanese reaction, and U.S. imperialism.

[Photo: Protesters in Jerusalem denounce Israeli Defense Minister Sharon for his role in the Beirut massacres.]


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Kneeling before the ''historical reality" of Israel,

Fair-weather friends turn their backs on the Palestinian revolution

Today a marked spirit of abject renegacy has gripped the revisionist "left." The pro-Soviet and Maoist revisionists and the trotskyites have united around a common platform of liquidationism. They have renounced (liquidated) the independent class politics of the workers, the Leninist teachings on party-building, and the revolutionary struggle. Class collaboration and merger with social-democracy and other corrupt bourgeois forces have become the rage among the liquidators.

Abandoning the Fight for the Overthrow of Israeli Zionist Role

On one question after another, the liquidators are flaunting their renegacy. This is today seen with respect to the Palestinian struggle as well. The liquidators have abandoned support for the revolutionary overthrow of Israeli zionism. Instead, they are endorsing a collaborationist accommodation between the Palestinian movement and its enemies, zionism and imperialism.

This stand is of course nothing new for some of the liquidators. The grand-daddy of the liquidators, the pro-Soviet Communist Party of the USA, has never supported the overthrow of the zionist state. When they have acknowledged support for "Palestinian national rights," this has generally meant either calling for some reformist tinkering within the zionist state or, at the most, the goal of a Palestinian Bantustan that would exist in the shadow of zionist Israel. This policy is the common stand of the international trend of Soviet revisionism, from Andropov down to the pro-Moscow "communist" parties in different lands.

The Maoists and a number of trotskyite groups used to claim to support the overthrow of Israeli zionism and its replacement with a democratic and secular Palestine. In the last year, it has become apparent that these opportunists have abandoned their earlier positions and have also begun to support a "two state" solution. They have toned down the condemnation of zionism and imperialism and encourage conciliation instead. Indeed, some even went so far as to hail the entry of U.S. and European imperialist troops into Lebanon. They shamelessly backed up the imperialist lies about how these troops were going in to help safeguard the Palestinian refugees in Beirut.

CPC(M-L) and RCPB(ML) Turn Their Backs on the Palestinian Revolution

Our Party has pointed out that the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) have taken up pronounced liquidationist deviations. Both these Parties are now taking a rotten stand on the Palestinian struggle. The positions of these two Parties are closely linked together since the RCP of Britain (ML) is strongly influenced by CPC(M-L)'s liquidationist deviations and also takes part in factional conspiracies in the international movement at the behest of the leadership of CPC(M-L). (See the September 5, 1982 issue of The Workers' Advocate)

These Parties once used to support the idea of the overthrow of Israeli zionism. But now, under the banner of recognizing the "historical reality" of Israel and defending Israel from the "real threat" of zionism, CPC(M-L) and RCPB(ML) have endorsed the maintenance of the Israeli state. For the Palestinians they are in favor of a reformist accommodation represented by the "two state" solution. Of course, these Parties could zigzag again, since their positions are guided by pragmatic considerations. But it is notable that, at the height of the Lebanese crisis, this is what they chose to proclaim.

Quite characteristically, these Parties have not bothered to point out that they have thrown aside their earlier stand or to give the reasons behind their change. Instead, it is quietly slipped into their press. Indeed, at first sight, one may fail to notice the change since there are a lot of militant sounding condemnations of zionism and acknowledgements of such things as the national rights of the Palestinians, their right to a homeland, and so forth. But let us take a closer look at this agitation.

Right from the beginning of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon last year, the CPC(M-L) and RCPB(ML) slogans on the question were limited to simply two things: first, that Israel should "return to its lair," and second, that the Palestinian people's "national rights" must be upheld. For example, the June 26, 1982 issue of Workers' Weekly, the newspaper of the RCPB (ML) ran as its main headline: "Condemn the Hitlerite invasion of Lebanon by the Israeli Zionists! Israel must withdraw to its lair! The occupied territories of the Arab peoples must be returned! The Palestinian people must have their national rights!" This basic agitation continues through the present. For instance, the December 4, 1982 issue of Workers' Weekly concluded a major article with the statement that the aspirations of the Palestinian and Arab peoples "cannot be realized by anything short of the full restoration of the national rights of the Palestinian people and the complete withdrawal of the Israeli Zionists to their lair." CPC(M-L)'s newspaper, People s Canada Daily News, has also run its agitation along the same lines.

Nowhere in the agitation of these Parties can one any longer find support for the overthrow of Israeli zionism. Nowhere is there any mention of the slogan for a democratic and secular Palestine. It is true that there are remarks, as we see above, about upholding the "national rights" of the Palestinians, and even of the need to give the Palestinians "a homeland" or "an independent state." But without calling for the overthrow of zionist rule, such calls for "national right" and "a homeland" only amount to support for a "two state solution."

This is so especially when this call is linked so prominently with the slogan for Israel to "return to its lair." If these Parties clearly upheld the idea of the overthrow of zionist rule and used the slogan about Israel "returning to its lair" simply as an agitational, if loose and inaccurate, way of calling for an end to Israeli aggression against its neighbors, then there would not be much reason to object. But it is precisely because there is no support for the overthrow of Israeli zionism that the call for Israel to "return to its lair" becomes simply a backhanded way to call for the maintenance of a zionist state in Israel.

While generally the renegade stand on Israel is slipped in through such backhanded ways, at one point last year, however, People Canada Daily News directly let the cat out of the bag. In its July 28 issue, wrote: "The existence of Israel has become a historical reality...." (p. 1, col. 2)

What does it mean to say that Israel is a "historical reality"? So is apartheid racism in South Africa. As is imperialism. Apologists talk of "historical realities" in order to defend the status quo. Revolutionaries fight to overthrow such historical realities. But what is CPC(M-L)'s attitude towards the "historical reality" of Israel? The same article in PCDN made it quite clear. It wrote: "Those who sympathize with the plight of the Jewish people during and immediately after the end of the Second World War are recognizing that it is the Zionists and their genocidal campaign who are the greatest enemies of the Jewish people and whose actions pose the real threat to Israel." (p. 2, col. 3, emphasis added)

This is nothing but an appeal to the Jewish people on a petty-bourgeois nationalist basis. We have pointed out in the past that CPC(M-L)'s petty-bourgeois nationalism has led it to grave blunders, such as whitewashing Canadian imperialism and supporting the fascist Argentine generals in the reactionary war over the Falklands between two sets of robbers. Now we see how far this petty-bourgeois nationalism has gone -- to conciliating with zionism!

CPC(M-L) has revealed here that its opposition to zionism, no matter how strident it may be, is not from a revolutionary and democratic standpoint but from the standpoint that zionism represents the real threat to the national interests of Israel. In other words, CPC(M-L) stands for the maintenance of an Israeli state, albeit some sort of "de-zionised" one. But the fact of the matter is that any exclusive Jewish state is a form of zionism and it inevitably rests on the national oppression of the Palestinian people, who have either been turned out of their homes in large numbers or else kept as an oppressed nationality within Israel's borders. A consistently democratic solution in Palestine requires, at the least, a democratic and secular republic, where both Jews and Arabs live with equal rights. Such a republic can only be built through the overthrow of the Israeli state.

What Lies Behind the Renegacy on the Palestinian Struggle?

The renegade stand of the liquidators and those like CPC(M-L) and RCPB(ML) who are deviating in that direction reflects, above all, a demoralized view about the prospects of the revolutionary struggle. It has given up hope in the revolutionary energies of the Palestinian people and also does not believe that the Jewish toilers can be broken away from zionism and brought into the struggle for a democratic and secular Palestine.

Instead of reliance on the revolutionary potential of the toiling masses, those who are taking a renegade position are adapting themselves to what they consider are the "influential" and "realistic" forces, in particular, to the national-reformism among the Arab bourgeoisie and the Palestinian movement and to certain sectors of liberal reformist zionism.

The Arab bourgeoisie has never believed in the prospects of the revolutionary overthrow of Israeli zionism. That is why today they are in the forefront of urging the Palestinian movement to come to an accommodation with Israel. While the leadership of the PLO once stood on a national-revolutionary position and upheld a revolutionary perspective, for quite a few years now they have embraced a national-reformist policy. For all practical purposes, the PLO leadership has abandoned the goal of a democratic and secular Palestine in favor of some sort of truncated "mini-state" that would coexist with Israel. And as for the methods by which they seek to achieve their goal, the PLO leadership no longer believes in the organized struggle of the masses but in the wheelings and dealings with the Arab governments and the big imperialist powers.

Within the ranks of zionism and its supporters, particularly among certain sections of social-democracy, there is a certain current which is amenable to a "two state" solution. This is represented in Israel by elements within the "Peace Now" movement, and in the U.S. too it has its supporters, such as in organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America, the New Jewish Agenda, etc. This current does not represent a break with zionism; it is merely a liberal reformist wing of zionism. But it has influence and seeks to increase its hold over large numbers of people, especially Jewish people, who have become disgusted with the crimes of the Israeli government and are moving away from zionism. But instead of helping these people to break free of zionism and adopt a consistently democratic stand, the liquidators are helping the social-democrats bolster the influence of zionism among them by holding out the illusion of a "moral" and "pure" zionism.

Clearly, today the Palestinian revolution finds itself in a difficult situation. But that should not be cause for despair and turning away from the revolutionary perspective towards reformism and liberalism. The renegacy of erstwhile supporters of the Palestinian revolution only does more damage to the revolutionary cause, by helping bolster the negative trends which seek to hold back both the Palestinian movement and the Jewish people who have turned against the Israeli government.

In the face of such a situation, it is the duty of all revolutionaries, and, above all, the Marxist-Leninists, to remain steadfast in support of the revolutionary overthrow of Israeli zionism. This requires a firm stand against zionism, including its liberal-reformist champions. It also requires opposition to the national-reformists in the PLO. And as we have seen above, it requires fighting the liquidationist renegacy which turns its back on the Palestinian revolution.

[Photos: People's Canada Daily News, newspaper of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) of July 28, 1982 on the "historical reality" of Israel and the "real threat to Israel."]


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The movie 'Yol':

A bitter indictment of the fascist regime in Turkey

The Turkish movie YOL (The Way) was released at theaters across the country this winter, bringing to wide audiences a condemnation of the fascist regime in Turkey. The film and its director, Yilmaz Guney, have been the target of political persecution by the Turkish regime. Guney himself was a political prisoner in Turkey until recently when he escaped and left the country. He directed the film from jail, slipping notes out to assistants who shot the film on location in Turkey. The release of the film in Europe was seen by the Turkish generals as an attack on their ferocious rule, and they have stripped Guney of Turkish citizenship and tried to extradite him.

The film YOL has been widely acclaimed as a strong indictment of the Turkish fascist regime. When it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year, hundreds of Turkish workers and students converged on the city to organize a vigorous protest against the regime at home. The Reagan administration refused to allow Guney to come to the U.S. for the film's opening here. In fact, it is the Reagan administration which is the biggest defender of the Turkish fascists. Thus, the Reaganites have come forth to viciously denounce YOL and defend their murderous friends in Turkey. For example, Commentary magazine, a journal of Reaganite neo-conservatives and Zionists which is closely associated with right-wing social-democracy and boasts among its supporters such luminaries as Reagan's UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick, attacked the film for trying to assert that Turkey is a fascist regime. On the contrary, it made the outrageous claim that Turkey is a paragon of "democracy."

The movie YOL is a movie that creates strong impressions. It is not an explicitly political film, but a feature film with strong implications about the regime and social system in Turkey. Its most serious drawback is that it does not show the revolutionary struggle which is the way out of the Turkish people's oppression.

It tells the story of five prisoners who are given temporary leave from jail. It follows each of them home, as each encounters the harsh realities of Turkey today. Basically, the theme running throughout the film is that even outside the prison walls, you cannot escape the fact that the whole country is one huge prison. It is this message that has given rise to the ire of the generals and all their apologists and friends.

Turkey Is Indeed a Fascist Prison for the Masses

Indeed, Turkey under the rule of the generals is a big prison. The film YOL depicts the police and army checkpoints across the country, ID checks, and massive presence of the armed storm troopers everywhere.

It is quite fitting to make a movie about prisoners in Turkey, because that country must have one of the biggest prison populations in the world. The film is about ordinary prisoners, but the country is especially notorious for its large numbers of political prisoners. It is estimated that there are about 150,000 political prisoners there. The conditions facing these prisoners are extremely brutal. Torture is widely used. And since the current military regime took power in the fall of 1980, twenty-one political prisoners have been hanged and 125 others have "died in prison." Over a hundred others have been sentenced to die and are awaiting execution. Thousands of others are on trial for their lives. The repression of the regime is especially sharp against the revolutionaries and communists.

The Turkish regime does not tolerate any opposition. Large numbers of trade union organizers are in jail. Last fall, the junta arrested all of the main leaders of the DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions), the trade union center which is connected to the social-democratic Republican People's Party. The leader of the RPP,

Bulent Ecevit, even spent most of 1982 in jail for the "crime" of speaking to foreign journalists. Assuredly Ecevit is no revolutionary; he is in fact a former prime minister who helped to administer the reactionary state before the generals seized power in 1980 and spread the martial law already existing in 14 provinces to the whole country.

But the military rulers of Turkey today are intent on crushing any form of opposition. This is the great "democracy" which the U.S. imperialists are champions of!

In the film YOL, the fiercest oppression of the Turkish regime is seen falling on the backs of the Kurdish people. One of the prisoners in the film is Kurdish. He goes home to his village to find it under a vicious armed siege from the security forces. This is indeed the reality of life for the Kurds, who are mercilessly discriminated against and savagely repressed. In fact, the Turkish bourgeoisie and its regime do not even recognize the Kurds as a distinct nationality, not to speak of granting them equality and freedom.

The movie also focuses on the harsh social oppression faced by women in Turkey. This is a strong indictment of the social system that is defended by the Turkish generals. Indeed, if you open any bourgeois encyclopedia or book about 20th century Turkey, you will invariably read big claims about how the Kemalist revolution, which overthrew the sultanate and set up the Republic in 1923, supposedly accomplished the emancipation of women.

But the real social oppression of women in Turkey is but one example of the great limitations of the Kemalist revolution. No wonder the Turkish bourgeoisie and its regimes boast of being the greatest defenders of the traditions of Kemalism. In fact, one of the things which angered the generals against the social-democrat Ecevit last year was that he dared to accuse the junta of "deviating from the principles of Kemalism."

When Kemal Ataturk came to power he abolished the monarchy and fought against foreign imperialist domination. But in the social field this revolution did not go very far. Only certain features of medievalism were removed. To a certain extent the road was opened up for an expansion of capitalist development. The extremely limited character of this revolution was due to the fact that this was not a people's revolution, but a revolution of the top stratum, a revolution of the top merchant bourgeoisie, which subsequently went on to ruthlessly suppress the awakened Turkish workers, peasants and communists.

One of the inadequacies of the film YOL is that it does not help audiences unfamiliar with the social system in Turkey to understand what the oppression of women is based on. The harsh oppression of women there is a survival of feudalism which has been perpetuated by capitalist rule. The film also does not show that in Turkey there has long been a vigorous revolutionary movement involving both women and men, one of whose aims is to liberate the women. In the absence of such facts, one can get left with the impression that the masses are just naturally oppressive towards one another. This is especially unfortunate for audiences in this country, for example, who are constantly subjected to all manner of racist propaganda by the bourgeoisie about the peoples of other countries, especially the oppressed peoples.

Moreover, the greatest deficiency of this film is that while it creates very strong impressions of the rottenness of the Turkish social system and the fascist regime, it does not show much about the way out of this hell, other than by some rather inadequate metaphors. The fact of the matter is that political resistance to the Turkish exploiters and government has been a very large part of the lives of the toiling masses. Since the late 1960's, Turkey has been the scene of a very strong revolutionary movement; indeed, it is precisely because of this movement that the Turkish bourgeoisie clamped down with a fascist coup with the active support of U.S. imperialism.

The fascist regime has not succeeded in wiping out the fighting spirit of the Turkish revolutionaries. Throughout the last year, political prisoners continued to organize hunger strikes and demonstrations inside the jails, sometimes coordinated with actions by sympathizers outside.

As well, numerous actions against the fascist junta have been held in Europe, especially in West Germany. The largest such demonstration recently was held September 11 in Frankfurt under the slogan "Down with the fascist junta!" It drew 15,000 participants.

The resistance to fascism shows the unbending revolutionary spirit of the Turkish workers, peasants and youth. This spirit will give rise to a revolution which will smash the prison that is Turkey today. It will bring down the fascist generals, throw out the imperialists and win liberation from all forms of exploitation and oppression.

[Photo: When YOL was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1982, hundreds of Turkish workers and students used the occasion to demonstrate against the Turkish fascist regime.]

[Photo: A protest demonstration against the martial law regime in Turkey. Revolutionary struggle is the way out of the prison that is Turkey today.]


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Against the subsidiary of the U.S. corporation GTE

Dominican telephone workers fight lockout

[Photo: Striking telephone workers on the picket line.]

(The following article is reprinted from the March 1983 issue of The West Indian Voice, newspaper of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group.)

Telephone workers in the Dominican Republic are locked in an important struggle against outrageous attacks by the telephone capitalists. These workers are fighting against attempts by the telephone capitalists to rob them of their wages and to lock them out of their work places on top of that. The telephone capitalists are being backed by the guns of the police who are acting on the orders of the ruling social- democratic government there.

On Friday, January 14, a payday, the Dominican Telephone Company (Compania Dominicana de Telefonos -- CODETEL, a subsidiary of the U.S. imperialist General Telephone which has been operating in the Dominican Republic for 50 years) held back one week's salary from all of its workers. The company's pretext was that it was going to computerize the payroll system, and for this a week was needed to enter all the pertinent information into the computers. Then in turn, the company tried to justify this argument by claiming that it was just acting on a demand made by the workers' union (Sindicate Nacional de Trabajadores Telefonicos -- SNTT) two years earlier, for CODETEL to begin paying the workers biweekly. The union had made this demand in order to put a stop to the company's payroll practice whereby the company always robbed the workers of one day's wage each year.

But the telephone workers stood up to this surprise attack by the imperialist telephone monopoly. On January 17, workers from various departments in the company -- installation and repair, cables, warehouse, mechanics, etc., -- protested the withholding of their wages and confronted the CODETEL bosses to demand their wages. The U.S. imperialist CODETEL arrogantly refused the workers' demands and the workers in turn rightly refused to work until they were paid in full. CODETEL's unprecedented response was to fire some 600 of its approximately 1,800 workers, claiming that the workers had gone on an illegal strike. The workers were barred from their jobs.

As the news spread, this situation evoked a response of intense outrage among workers all over the country against the CODETEL imperialists. Therefore, when this case was brought by CODETEL before the Appellate Court (acting as a labor court), the court ruled that the workers had not in fact struck illegally, but the courts ruled on nothing else and did not order the workers reinstated. The imperialist CODETEL then declared that the court had no jurisdiction in the matter and that it was not even bound by the court ruling that the strike was legal, since a 1968 law gives employers the power to determine whether or not a strike existed and to fire workers in the event of an illegal strike, without having to appeal to any court.

Hundreds of workers have marched in Santiago protesting this atrocity, and demanding reinstatement. They have been joined in their demands by workers and unions representing a wide cross section of industries, and a mass solidarity picket was called on February 3 outside CODETEL's offices.

The punitive and outrageous actions of the telephone capitalists and the determined stand of the telephone workers are yet another expression of the volatile situation that has existed in the Dominican Republic for some time now. The telephone workers' struggle comes close on the heels of recent sharp struggles of other workers and students in which the fascist police forces have been ordered out by the ruling social-democratic regime there to crush the people's resistance, and have even fired into demonstrations. But despite the full use of reactionary labor laws, the suppression of political activity of the masses and the use of the armed forces against them by the social-democratic regime -- the Dominican people's revolutionary cause continues to advance.

Postscript:

On February 25, a settlement was reached between CODETEL and the striking telephone workers. Severe economic pressure forced the workers back to work. But the workers see this as only a temporary truce and have pledged to continue the struggle. According to this settlement, the workers received the week's pay they had demanded. Most of the strikers were hired back, except for 172 workers. Among these were many of the trade union leaders.

Despite this sharp blow, the company was not successful in their attempt to smash the union. The strike helped to mobilize different sectors of the working class into struggle. And by revealing the savagery of the imperialist corporation, it gave impulse to anti-imperialist sentiment among the masses in the Dominican Republic. The Communist Party of Labor of the Dominican Republic was active in the strike and enjoys influence among the telephone workers.


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Brazilian communists denounce the non-aligned movement

On March 7, the Movement of Non- Aligned Countries opens a Conference of its Heads of State in New. Delhi, India. In January, the Foreign Ministers of this movement held a meeting in order to examine the problems of Latin America and the Caribbean. On this occasion an article was recently published in the January 17-23 issue of the Brazilian newspaper Tribuna de Luta Operaria, which is a legal journal belonging to the same trend as the illegal Communist Party of Brazil, the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the Brazilian workers.

This article states; "In the last summit meeting, which took place in Cuba in October of 1979, the 'non-aligned movement' brought together 95 countries. The 'non-aligned movement' was created in 1955 and had its first official meeting in 1961 in Yugoslavia. It was sponsored by Joseph Tito, then the leader of the Yugoslav revisionist party. But neither Tito nor any other theorist of 'non-alignment' has ever even defined exactly what a 'non- aligned' country is.''

The article explains that this movement brings together "countries which go from Cuba (whose government is openly aligned with Soviet social-imperialism) to Peru (aligned with North American imperialism)." The paper points out that Fidel Castro, current president of the organization, let slip that the movement has no intention of struggling against imperialism. It quotes him saying:

"If it is desired to prevent confrontation and struggle, it is necessary that we all search for and find forms of collaboration to resolve the big problems that, although they affect our peoples, cannot be solved without affecting in some way the more developed countries."

Tribuna de Luta Operaria goes on to explain: "Whether from the political, ideological, economic, or military point of view, none of the countries involved in the 'non-aligned movement' are able to escape from the many-sided dependence in relation to North American imperialism or Soviet social-imperialism."

The article further points out that: "It is so much this way that the 'non-aligned movement' never frightened any of the imperialist powers. Carter, who was leading the United States at the time of the meeting of the 'movement' in Cuba, referred to it as 'a most important factor in the solution of the big problems of the world.'

"And Brezhnev, at the last congress of the revisionist party of the USSR, acclaimed the 'non-aligned' movement as an important factor of international relations.' Demagogically, this late revisionist leader said later on that the 'strength' of the 'non-aligned movement' is 'in the orientation against imperialism and colonialism, against war and aggression.'"

The article concludes by noting that the meeting of the "non-aligned" on Latin America and the Caribbean "will result in nothing except mere 'formal declarations against imperialism.'"

[Photo.]


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A big blow to Mitterrand's wage controls

Auto workers' strike in France exposes the ugly face of social-democracy

The social-democratic Mitterrand government has been trying to impose a savage austerity program on the French workers. Almost two years ago, Mitterrand came to power, promising the workers that they could achieve wonders without the class struggle, without revolution, and without hurting the profits of the capitalists, by simply voting in "French socialism." Social-democrats around the world rejoiced in the Mitterrand government as the alternative to revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. The pro-Soviet "Communist" Party of France, which turned its back on Marxism- Leninism long ago, is also a fervent supporter of Mitterrand and has cabinet posts in the Mitterrand administration. Meanwhile the struggle of the French workers against the Mitterrand regime has begun. Today Mitterrand's fervent imperialism, enthusiastic support of the arms race, racist attacks on the immigrant workers, and Reaganite austerity program have shown the true face of "French socialism."

In January auto workers in France launched a series of militant strikes to fight for their demands. They want to increase the nuisance pay bonuses, improve the extremely harsh working conditions, and reform the job classifications. At Renault, the state-owned company which is France's largest auto maker, the workers' struggle forced a wage settlement which surpassed the wage control guidelines established by the "socialist" government of Francois Mitterrand.

The January strikes are only the most recent by the auto workers who mounted a series of walkouts in 1982. They are the most major work stoppages in the French auto industry since the big strikes of June 1936 and May 1968. They show that the workers are not meekly submitting to the austerity measures imposed by the Mitterrand government but are going into motion against them.

The Course of the Struggle

The current strikes began January 6 in the paint workshop at Renault's Flins plant in suburban Paris. Over 200 spray painters, lacquerers, sanders and workers from the body sealer section walked out demanding a 300F ($45) monthly increase in their bonus pay due to the noxious fumes. As well, they demanded improvements in the miserable working conditions and reforms in job classifications. Workers in the electroplating shop and the delivery center at Flins followed suit, also striking for higher bonuses.

Then on January 11, paint shop workers at Renault's Billancourt plant outside Paris walked out, demanding a 300F monthly bonus. As their strike was ending on January 20, workers from the electrical- harness wiring also struck for increased bonus pay and reformed job classifications. And on January 17, the R4 truck assembly line at Billancourt was paralyzed by a strike. From Renault the walkouts spread to Paris-region plants of other auto companies, including Chausson, Citroen, Talbot, and Unic-Fiat.

The strikes broke out while negotiations were under way at Renault between the government, management and the unions on the 1983 wage increase for all Renault workers. Under Mitterrand's austerity measures, wage increases are limited to 8%, and the cost of living allowance is abolished. Thus when the Flins paint shop workers walked out for higher pay, Renault called their demands "excessive and unrealistic," and declared that the company wished to hold strictly to its agreements with the government on limiting wage increases. But to show their good will regarding working conditions, Renault "generously" lengthened the workers' clean-up time by five minutes!

However, despite Renault's attempts to impose the austerity limits, the settlement reached on January 27 covering all Renault workers actually breaks the guidelines. It provides for an 8% increase spread out through 1983, a $17 monthly bonus for the lowest-paid workers, and a "safeguard" or "catch-up" clause in case consumer prices rise more than 8%. On January 28 the Flins paint shop workers won, in addition, monthly nuisance pay bonuses ranging from 70 to 155 francs ($10.50 to $23.25), based on the workers' exposure to fumes, and returned to work. Although the striking workers did not win their full demands on bonuses and working conditions, nevertheless their spirited struggle forced state-owned Renault to break Mitterrand's wage controls. This caused considerable embarrassment to the "socialist" government and inspired other sections of the working class.

Scratch a Social-Democrat and You Find a Racist

At the heart of this upsurge in auto are immigrant workers, particularly from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. At Flins, for example, 40% of the 17,700 workers are immigrants, while at Billancourt some 56% or 6,900 workers are primarily Algerian or Moroccan. These workers mainly toil as "ouvriers specialises" or "O.S.," that is, as unskilled laborers in the most miserable, backbreaking and lowest paid jobs on the assembly line. Besides the intolerable working conditions, the immigrant workers face discrimination, degradation and harassment as well as a hierarchical system that prevents them from moving into the better jobs.

Because of the central role of the immigrant workers in the strike, the Mitterrand government lashed out against them. Enraged by the losses caused to. the auto monopolists and to their plans to save the capitalist economy, social-democracy revealed its ugly racist face. Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy avowed that the "principal difficulties" were caused by immigrant workers "stirred up by religious and political groups who are basing themselves on criteria having little to do with French social realities." Interior Minister Gaston Deferre echoed him, blaming the strikes on Islamic "fundamentalists." And Mitterrand solemnly agreed that Mauroy had "expressed himself with knowledge of the facts"!

Social-Democratic and Revisionist Trade Unions Betray the Workers

Not only did the social-democrats in the government attack the workers' struggle, but the social-democrats and revisionists leading the trade unions showed their yellow colors of treachery and betrayal. The two largest trade union federations in France are the CGT (General Federation of Labor) led by the revisionist "Communist" Party, and the CFDT (French Democratic Labor Federation) led by the Socialist Party. Both organizations represent auto workers, with the CGT being predominant in certain plants while the CFDT prevails in others. When the January strikes erupted, what did these avowed "friends of the workers" do?

"First, still and always [the CGT and CFDT leaderships] were more preoccupied with their quarrels and competition than with a unified defense of the striking workers' interests against the management," pointed out La Forge, central organ of the Workers' Communist Party of France. (January 15-31, 1983) Indeed, the general secretary of CGT's Metallurgy Federation declared: "We refuse to wear hats that don't belong to us. We are not the principal trade union organization at Flins. Let those who have this responsibility assume it to the end." (Le Figaro, January 17, 1983, p. 10) The CGT top leaders boasted that where this revisionist-led union is strong, conflicts are solved more easily and in a more constructive manner, i.e., they're more adept at class collaboration and selling out the workers!

Both unions worked closely with management to prevent the strike from spreading to the whole of Renault. A strike of such proportions in a state-run company which is trying to impose government wage controls, and coming only a few weeks before the nationwide municipal elections of March 6 and 13, would have been a tremendous blow to the "socialist" government and their revisionist collaborators.

"French Socialism" Means Reaganite Austerity

The strikes of the auto workers are taking place against the backdrop of the austerity measures imposed by the social-democratic government. Promising more jobs and improved purchasing power for the workers, "socialist" Mitterrand came to power in May 1981 and executed the most minimal reforms -- a slight hike in the minimum wage, reduction in the work week by one hour, and the addition of a fifth week to the French workers' traditional four-week vacation. Then he turned whole hog to the typical bourgeois policy of making the workers pay for the capitalists' economic crisis by unleashing a severe austerity program. A wage freeze from June to October 1982 was followed by controls that limited pay increases to 10% for the rest of 1982 and 8% in 1983. While price guidelines were also established, the aim is to let prices rise more than wages. Finance Minister Jacques Delors openly stated, "We want to have wages rise more slowly than prices in order to curb consumer purchasing power and increase profitability." (Business Week, January 10, 1983, p. 67)

The social-democrats also smashed the cost-of-living allowance, won by French workers through hard and bitter struggle. Previously 30% of the workers in private industry and nearly all government workers (including those at nationalized industries) had their wages linked to a retail price index. Since October 31, 1982, wage agreements covering 85% of the 10 million workers in private industry have been implemented, and virtually none includes an escalator clause. Delors bragged: "We are the first major industrialized country to successfully fight indexation." (Ibid., p. 69)

The government has attacked the workers not only through wage cuts but also through cutting various social services programs. Among other things, unemployment benefits have been cut while an "unemployment tax" and increased contributions to Social Security have been imposed on the employed workers. Plans are underway to reduce health and old-age benefits promised by the previous government of the reactionary Gaullist politician, Valery Giscard d'Estaing. "We will hold spending down in 1983 by cutting many social programs," declared Budget Minister Lauent Fabius. "And in coming years we plan to cut government spending from 46% of gross domestic profit to 42% by further cutting spending on social programs and aid to municipalities." (Ibid., p. 67) According to a top French bank executive, the policies now in place are even "more austere" than under the avowed rightist Giscard government. Indeed, the assault on the French workers' standard of living by the "pro-worker" social-democrats has been so severe that 1982 marked the first time since World War II that the French workers suffered a drop in real earnings.

At the same time the Mitterrand "socialists" are pumping billions of dollars into the coffers of the French monopoly capitalists through "nationalizations," bailouts, write-offs and other means. For example, the government now controls 70% of advanced electronic capacity. Mitterrand has committed $20 billion in government and other funds (i.e., the masses' tax money) to building French electronics into a highly profitable industry. Other large capitalist enterprises that get into financial trouble, such as Peugot, are being promised huge handouts to salvage them. The social-democrats are also granting the capitalists 30- 40% first-year write-offs for investments in industry and construction, and they promise subsidies to lower interest costs on corporate borrowings. "We are undertaking the risks which would normally be taken by capitalist investors," said Jean-Pierre Chevenement, Research and Industry Minister. "The Socialist Party's aim is not to do the capitalists' work better, but to take over the capitalists' job when they don't do it." (Ibid., pp. 55, 43)

The harsh austerity measures leveled against the working masses of France, and the coddling of the bloodsucking exploiters, are a sharp exposure of what social-democracy in power is all about. It shows that the worker cannot improve his lot by relying on the social-democrats of Mitterrand or the revisionists of the pro-Soviet "Communist" Party of France. Instead, the workers must take their own independent class stand, throw themselves into the class struggle, and rally around and build up their own genuine Marxist-Leninist party, the Workers' Communist Party of France.

[Photo: Paint shop workers at Renault's plant in Flins outside Paris launched their strike January 6.]


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Reaganism in Jamaica

(The following is excerpted from an article printed in the March 1983 issue of The West Indian Voice, newspaper of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group.)

Seaga Is an Out-And-Out Reaganite

Prime Minister Edward Seaga of Jamaica is a close follower of Ronald Reagan. Reagan and the Rockefeller billionaires have said that they are out to make Jamaica a model U.S. imperialist neo-colony. For his part, Seaga, like a miniature Reagan, has unleashed the curse of Reaganomics on the backs of the Jamaican working people.

But the Jamaican people have now had two years of experience of Seaga's Reaganism. Seaga has added over $500 million to the already massive trade deficit left by the previous administration of the People's National Party (PNP). The bauxite and sugar industries remain in a dramatic slump. Seaga has handed millions to the Jamaican capitalists and the imperialist corporations. Moreover, the international bankers continue to make a mint off debt-servicing payments. Meanwhile, the scourge of unemployment, rising prices for necessities of life, etc., remain just as much the terrible curse they were under the PNP. In just two years it has already become more than evident that Reagan's model will fare no better than the "mixed economy" of the previous administration. The dreadful capitalist crisis continues and with greater ferocity. The working masses of Jamaica are being meted out a merciless punishment by Seaga.

The PNP Is Out to Sabotage the People's Struggle

The people are crying out for relief, and demanding a struggle. Even the fanatically anti-communist, pro-JLP [Seaga's Jamaican Labor Party -- WA] pollsters are admitting that Seaga is rapidly incurring the hatred of the working masses. They are saying that something must be done. The tension among the masses is sure to eventually result in a widespread and fiery fight against Seaga.

In such a situation it is significant to see what the bourgeois liberal PNP opposition is up to. A strong indication of this came from the 44th Annual Conference of the PNP, held last September. This conference showed that the PNP liberals are still "cooperating" with and catering for Seaga's offensive by working to keep a lid on the boiling outrage of the masses. It showed that in the face of Seaga's brutal offensive the PNP is absolutely impotent. And this conference showed the critical importance of the relentless exposure of the political deception of the working people by the PNP.

PNP's Conference to Secure the Bourgeoisie's Trust

PNP's 44th Annual Conference itself did not even bother to pretend to be about opposing Seaga's attacks on the toiling masses of Jamaica. What this conference concerned itself with was expressed by Mr. Manley [head of the PNP -- WA] at a public rally held at the closing of the conference, in this way "...We must be so precise, consistent and accurate in what we say and do that the businessman learns to trust us." It was in this context that the conference had adopted "Rebuilding the PNP" as its theme and as its program for the present period. In line with this, the conference had the following highlights.

The conference featured long closed sessions devoted to a "careful" investigation of the "suspicion" by the JLP and by U.S. imperialism "that there are communists in the PNP." The conference concluded that this was absolutely untrue; that in fact communists are banned from the PNP and that PNP members are prohibited from participating in any agitation that alleges to be communist. The conference attributed the PNP's failure to maintain the trust and confidence of the Jamaican capitalists to the association of the Worker's Party of Jamaica (WPJ -- the name of the revisionist group that operates as a "left" shadow of the PNP) with the PNP during the elections of 1980. The open anticommunist ravings of the PNP before, during and since its 44th conference is central to its efforts to remedy the "leftist image" which the PNP feels was wrongly attributed to it.

Thus, the PNP's 44th conference set, as its orientation for the future, an all-out fight to fully restore for itself the trust and allegiance of the Jamaican bourgeoisie. The conference regarded this as PNP's trump card in its efforts to replace the JLP in the next national elections. This does not mean that the bourgeois politicians of the PNP are giving up their bankrupt reformist ideas about "democratic socialism" and their "mixed economy." No. They hope to convince everyone that it was not their "mixed economy" etc., that has been proven to be bankrupt, and to thereby salvage their reputation.

The PNP Liberals Use Deception to Cover Their Tracks

In short, in the face of the reactionary offensive being conducted by Seaga against the working people of Jamaica, the PNP is moving further and more decidedly into the camp of reaction while retaining its policy of deceiving the masses. Hardly one single point of opposition to Seaga emerged from the conference. True, there were some ramblings after the conference about how they, the PNP, had been wrongly criticized by the JLP in the past since the JLP administration was doing just as bad today; and, since the JLP is again and again being forced to resort to "actions which are supportive of the policies of the past PNP administration which they bitterly criticized." (See Rising Sun, October 1982 -- Organ of the PNP) And there was also some "rough talk" by Manley at the public rally, for public consumption. But that was all talk and hot putrid air.

For instance, addressing the rally, Manley promised that he "would personally lead a confrontation with the government" if it did not "clarify" recent "legal interpretations" by the courts which "seemed to indicate" that employers could fire striking workers. Well, the fact is that Seaga has not only been dismissing striking workers but also ordering out the soldiers to occupy work places -- just like Manley did before him. But how much one could rely on this promise by Manley could also be understood by the fact that Manley was referring to "interpretations" by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal of the draconian, anti-strike Labor Relations and Industrial Disputes Act -- both of which were established by the previous PNP administration under his leadership. You see, being an off-duty ruling party of the big Jamaican capitalists otters the social-democratic politicians of the PNP certain comforts. You can really talk up a storm against the other capitalist party that is on duty, that is, until the capitalists put you to guard the status quo.

But the fact is, and this is even openly admitted in the bourgeois press, that far from being about "confronting" Seaga, the 44th Annual Conference of the PNP approved the continuation of the PNP policy of "nonconfrontation" and its "honeymoon" with the ruling JLP of Edward Seaga. Two years ago, when Seaga took office and presented his ultra-reactionary 1981-82 budget for "National Recovery" -- Manley publicly declared that "we [the PNP -- ed.] will cooperate much more than they [the JLP -- ed.] did when they were the opposition."

And for two years the social-democratic PNP has honored this promise. The recent conference shows that the PNP remains committed to cooperation with the Seaga government; to blocking any real mass opposition to Seaga from developing, or at least any opposition that might upset the "businessman's trust" in the PNP. In other words, the PNP will be "precise, consistent and accurate" in making every "opposition" to Seaga acceptable to the Jamaican businessmen.

The Need for the Class Independence of the Toilers -- A Bitter Lesson From the Jamaican Experience

This situation bears an extremely important lesson for all who truly adhere to the Jamaican people's revolutionary cause. All enemies of the Jamaican people agree (some openly, some cunningly) on at least one point. Either support the JLP or support the PNP. Either the "Laborites" or the "Socialists." They write off any idea of the working masses being organized independently of these two ruling parties of the Jamaican capitalists. They are violently opposed to the workers learning to judge matters based on advancing their own class interests, their demands and those of the other impoverished toilers against the class interests of the national bourgeoisie in Jamaica, a totally reactionary bourgeoisie, and its political parties -- the JLP and the PNP.

Bourgeois and opportunist politics in Jamaica have assigned to the workers the role of serving as the tail end of one or the other of the two main parties of the bourgeoisie. The Jamaican people have been slaughtered in their hundreds -- they have suffered enough -- to pay for this terrible curse imposed by opportunists of various shades.

Revolutionary workers and activists in Jamaica should take up the front lines in all the mass stirrings against Seaga, and build up a powerful movement. But, and this is crucial, this must be done in such a way as to isolate and continually expose the vacillation, collaboration and sabotage by the PNP. The idea that Jamaica begins and ends with the JLP and the PNP must be replaced with the idea that it is up to the workers and the poor themselves to shape Jamaica's future.

Fighting organizations must be established on this basis. The workers must be told that in order to accomplish such a role for themselves, the building of a true Marxist-Leninist party of the working class is of top priority -- a party which, among its other main characteristics, is an unflinching advocate of the idea that the working class should fight for the interests of no other class, other than its own and on behalf of all the toilers. Unlike the existing groups that call themselves "Marxist," only a party that really is true to Marxism-Leninism, loyal to the working class and the revolution, is the highest embodiment of such a characteristic.


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United front tactics are an essential tool of the proletarian party -- Part 1

'To the Masses!'--The Call of the Third Congress of the CI

In the last issue of The Workers' Advocate, we announced the beginning of a series of articles on united front tactics. We pointed out that this series of articles would deal with, among other things, the valuable experience of the Communist International. The Communist or Third International was formed to unite the workers of all countries for revolutionary action in the situation where the social-democratic Second International had gone over to the side of the world bourgeoisie and imperialism. It was the Comintern that, faced with the split in the working class movement caused by the treachery of the sold-out social-democratic parties, refined the general Marxist tactics on the united action of the working class and put the slogan of the united front into general use.

In particular, it was the Third Congress of the CI in 1921 that set forth the militant slogan of "Build up a united proletarian front" in "A Call to New Work and New Struggles, Addressed to the Proletariat of All Countries," July 17, 1921. In this article, we discuss the basic lessons on communist tactics set forth by the Third Congress. The Third Congress laid a strong foundation, and the later Congresses of the CI refined these basic theses further and took up the more detailed discussion of various aspects of united front policy.

Thus the Third Congress did not discuss the more detailed questions of the united front policy, but concentrated mainly on the basic Leninist theses concerning the relationship of the communist party to the masses. These ideas are especially summed up in its "Theses on Tactics" and the resolution on "The Organizational Construction of the Communist Parties and the Methods and Scope of Their Activity." The points of particular interest to us in this article may be grouped under five categories.

First of all, the watchword of the Third Congress was "To the masses!" The communist parties must not turn in on themselves and be content solely with work among the most advanced elements, but must link themselves with the masses. The communists must learn to gauge carefully the mood and political inclinations of the working masses and to lead them into revolutionary struggle. They must strive to win the support of the majority of the working class for communism, and the Third Congress stressed that the sympathy of the majority of the working people is needed for the victory of the proletarian revolution.

Second, the Third Congress insisted that the communist parties must be parties of action, parties that don't restrict themselves simply to preaching about the necessity of a future revolution, but which lead the masses in struggle. The parties must take up the struggle for the vital interests and immediate demands of the working class. The Third Congress stressed that communists must lead the masses into struggle on the various burning economic and political issues and unite these struggles into the raging flood of the socialist revolution; this is the heart of the famous question of partial demands and partial struggles dealt with at this Congress. The Congress also highlighted the relationship of this to the method of fighting the social-democratic and centrist parties; the communist parties must not restrict themselves to showing that the opportunist leaders are wrong in their general principles, but must utilize the concrete acts and treacheries of the opportunist parties and leaders to expose their alliance with the bourgeoisie in the eyes of the masses of workers.

Third, the Congress showed how, in the situation then prevailing in Western Europe and America and other places, where most of the active proletarians were organized into one or the other party or trade union, it was necessary to use united front tactics to win over the masses. The communist parties must work untiringly to win over the sections of the workers that are still under the influence of the reformist class traitors and lead them into the class war. The struggle for the united action of the proletariat in support of its immediate demands was endorsed as a practical and essential method for winning the masses to the side of the communist parties. The Third Congress also endorsed in particular the "Open Letter" of the United Communist Party of Germany to the reformist, centrist and semi-anarchist parties and trade unions as an example of application of these tactics.

Fourth, the Third Congress denounced the social-democratic Second International and the centrist Two and One-Half International as bulwarks of capitalism. The Congress sketched the history of the counter-revolutionary acts of these Internationals and showed how the opportunist leaders were staining their hands with the blood of the militant workers. The policy of the united proletarian front did not signify a reconciliation with reformism and centrism, but was put forward as the most effective way to win the masses away from the reformists and centrists.

And finally, the Third Congress spoke against various rightist interpretations of the united front tactics. The heart of the tactics advocated by the Third Congress was the burning conviction that it was only communism that provides the basis for reestablishing the unity of the proletariat. The Congress repudiated the idea that the united front meant persuading the diehard opportunist leaders to be revolutionaries. It also warned that there still existed reformist tendencies in various " parties in the CL And it continued the work of keeping the Cl free of centrist influence by expelling the Socialist Party of Italy for its failure to expel the reformist wing of the party.

At first sight, these basic issues may appear, especially to someone versed in the fashionable opportunist literature of our time, to be somewhat removed from the nitty gritty of united front tactics. The liquidators of today have created a mystique about the term "united front." The liquidators, so-called because they renounce and fight against (seek to liquidate) any independent class organization of the proletariat in favor of merging with the bourgeois liberals, the trade union hacks and the "left" fringe of the Democratic Party generally, naturally do their best to confuse what united front tactics are. They distort the idea of the proletarian united front in order to give a fancy cover to their class collaborationist schemes. They want to slur over the basic principles. Instead, to give legitimacy to their treachery, they rummage through the history of the working class movement and pull out this or that example of united action at random, independent of time or place or context. Out of this jumble, they hope to leave their followers with the simple impression: "if all this was acceptable in the past, then anything goes today." From their standpoint, the basic stands of the Third Congress have little relevance to the "real" work of united front building or, at most, can be acknowledged with a knowing smile all the better to pigeonhole them.

But in fact the lessons taught by the Third Congress are at the base of any correct application of united front tactics. If the communist activists do not have the burning conviction that it is communism that will unite the proletariat, then united front tactics degenerate into simple liquidation into whatever is currently fashionable. If the parties are not built as parties of action, and are not capable of championing the demands of the proletariat and denouncing the concrete treacheries of the reformists and centrists, then there is no way that these parties can utilize united front tactics. Even if some fancy deal or tactic is decided on, the parties will have no way to utilize these tactics in favor of the proletariat. On the other hand, once a communist party sets itself on the path of striving to lead the masses in revolutionary struggle, of striving to win over the masses temporarily under the influence of the bourgeois and reformist currents, of irreconcilably opposing the opportunists, and so forth, such a party is led step by step to the utilization of united front tactics and such a party can and will step by step develop powerful and creative tactics in tune with the concrete conditions of the struggle.

Thus study of the theses of the Third Congress help demystify the idea of the united front. The fundamental issues are brought to the fore. When these issues are grasped, it is then easier to keep one's bearing in the study of the application of the united front tactics to particular situations.

The Role of the Third Congress in the History of the CI

The basic lessons on communist tactics outlined by the Third Congress were already implicit in the whole work of the First and Second Congresses of the CI. The Third Congress itself pointed out:

"From the very first day of its establishment, the Communist International distinctly and clearly devoted itself to the purpose of participating in the struggle of the laboring masses, of conducting this struggle on a Communist basis, and of erecting, during the struggle, great, revolutionary communist mass parties. It did not aim to establish small Communist sects which would attempt to influence the masses solely by propaganda and agitation. In the very first year of its existence, the Communist International disavowed all sectarian tendencies....At its Second Congress, the Communist International publicly repudiated sectarian tendencies, by the resolutions it adopted on the questions of trade unionism and the utilization of parliamentarism." (from Point #3 of the Theses on Tactics)

In this regard, special mention should be made of Lenin's work for the Second Congress of the CI. His famous book "Left-Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder develops many of the fundamental ideas of communist tactics and contains in embryo many of the later theses on the united front. Our Party is studying this valuable work as part of our study of the question of united front tactics.

But different tasks came to the fore at the various congresses of the CI. The Third Congress took place at a time when the main task was to review the basic ideas of communist tactics, to expound them systematically, to further refine their application to the current situation, to sharpen the tactical abilities of the communist parties and to ensure that all the work of the parties was recast on the Leninist basis.

Lenin described the role of the first three congresses of the CI as follows:

"In my opinion, the tactical and organizational resolutions of the Third Congress of the Communist International mark a great step forward. Every effort must be exerted to really put both resolutions into effect. This is a difficult matter, but it can and should be done.

"First, the Communists had to proclaim their principles to the world. That was done at the First Congress. It was the first step.

"The second step was to give the Communist International organizational form and to draw up conditions for affiliation to it -- conditions making for real separation from the Centrists, from the direct and indirect agents of the bourgeoisie within the working-class movement. That was done at the Second Congress.

"At the Third Congress, it was necessary to start practical, constructive work, to determine concretely, taking account of the practical experience of the communist struggle already begun, exactly what the line of further activity should be in respect of tactics and of organization. We have taken this third step. We have an army of Communists all over the world. It is still poorly trained and poorly organized. It would be extremely harmful to forget this truth or be afraid of admitting it. Submitting ourselves to a most careful and rigorous test, and studying the experience of our own movement, we must train this army efficiently; we must organize it properly, and test it in all sorts of maneuvers, all sorts of battles, in attack and in retreat. We cannot win without this long and hard schooling." ("A Letter to the German Communists," Collected Works, Vol. 32, pp. 519-520, August 14, 1921)

This constructive work was hindered by various erroneous and semi-anarchist conceptions that had gained a certain currency. These conceptions were upheld by certain semi-anarchist elements that had allied to the CL But more importantly, such conceptions were also upheld by some of "the best and most loyal elements, without whom the formation of the Communist International would, perhaps, have been impossible." (Lenin, Ibid., p. 520) These comrades came to these wrong ideas through inexperience and through a one-sided summation of the struggle against social-democratic treachery.

For example, the social-democrats renounced the revolution under the cover of loud shouting about their alleged concern for the immediate conditions of the workers. The centrists shouted their loyalty to the revolution, but in practice told the workers to restrict themselves to fighting for partial demands along the same lines as the outright reformist parties did. Hence various communists drew the conclusion that partial demands and partial struggles were inherently tainted with social-democratic opportunism. They didn't understand how to utilize partial demands and partial struggles in a way that favors the revolution and cuts against the reformists and centrists.

Or again, the social-democratic parties cursed the very thought of the workers going on an offensive against the bourgeoisie. The centrist parties occasionally engaged in loud shouting, but when it came time to act always discovered that it was time to be on the defensive and that struggle was adventurous. Together the outright reformist and the centrist parties fought against the workers who dared to rise up in revolution. Hence various communists drew the conclusion that the working class must only engage in offensive struggles and that all defensive struggles were inherently tainted with opportunism. This was the "theory of the offensive." It held that if talk about defensive struggles wasn't outright reformism, it was certainly a sign of flabby centrism. These communists didn't understand the need for the communist parties to master all forms of struggle, both offensive struggles and defensive struggles, both advances and retreats, and to learn to find the proper moment to launch the revolutionary uprising.

The tasks of the Third Congress could not be accomplished without defending the tactical ideas of the Cl from these semi-anarchist misconceptions. Lenin called this one-sided summation of the errors of social-democracy "exaggeration of the struggle against centrism." After describing the constructive tasks of the Third Congress in the passage we quoted above, Lenin went on to explain:

"The 'crux' of the situation in the international communist movement in the summer of 1921 was that some of the best and most influential sections of the Communist International did not quite properly understand this task; they exaggerated the 'struggle against Centrism' ever so slightly, they wentever so slightly beyond the border line at which this struggle turns into a pastime and revolutionary Marxism begins to be compromised.

''That was the 'crux' of the Third Congress.

"The exaggeration was a slight one; but the danger arising out of it was enormous....

"Exaggeration, if not corrected, was sure to kill the Communist International.'' (Ibid., p. 520, emphasis as in the original)

In a sense, it could be said that various of the communists at the Third Congress at first failed to understand the change in the way the fight against reformism and centrism had to be conducted. Previously, all the attention had beep riveted on separating the communists from the centrists. The centrists had claimed to agree with the communist formulas about the revolution, while actually continuing in practice to implement all the practices of the outright reformists. Centrism posed the insidious danger of reducing the struggle against reformism to a meaningless change of signboards. Hence the foremost task was to set up truly communist parties independent of both the outright reformists and the centrists.

Now, however, attention had to focus on grounding the parties in the Leninist tactics and methods of organization. To lose sight of this meant to reduce the struggle against centrism to empty phrasemongering and to lead the new communist parties into disastrous dead ends. To recast the work of the parties on the Leninist basis meant to follow up the historic achievement of the establishment of independent communist parties with a real struggle to win the workers under the influence of the reformist and centrist parties over to communism.

Of course, in considering the tasks that came to the fore at the different congresses of the Cl, one must not lose sight of the continuity of the orientation given by the Cl.The success in setting up the communist parties in the various countries depended, right from the start, on how much of the Leninist methods they grasped. As we have seen, the Cl tried to help them with this right from the outset. And the struggle against centrist trends trying to hide themselves inside the parties or under the banner of the Cl continued at the Third Congress. Lenin's "Speech on the Italian Question" at the Third Congress is a model of the fight against centrism. As if he were addressing the liquidators of today, who try to plead the excuse of clever united front tactics for their flagrant opportunism, Lenin addressed the delegation of the centrist Socialist Party of Italy with the words:

"The mark of true communism is a break with opportunism. We shall be quite frank and open with those Communists who subscribe to this and, boldly, in the conviction that we are right, will tell them: 'Don't do anything stupid; be clever and skillful.' But we shall speak in this way only with Communists who have broken with the opportunists, something that cannot yet be said about you.

In the next article in this series we will proceed to discuss in more detail the lessons about communist tactics taught by the Third Congress that we have outlined above.

[Photo: Lenin at the Third Congress of the CI]


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Lenin on Marx and Engels

SPEECH AT THE UNVEILING OF A MEMORIAL TO MARX AND ENGELS

NOVEMBER 7, 1918

We are unveiling a memorial to the leaders of the world workers' revolution, Marx and Engels.

For ages and ages humanity has suffered and languished under the yoke of an insignificant handful of exploiters, who maltreated millions of toilers. But whereas the exploiters of an earlier period--the landlords-- robbed and oppressed the peasant serfs, who were disunited, scattered and ignorant, the exploiters of the new period, the capitalists, saw facing them among the downtrodden masses the vanguard of these masses, the urban, factory, industrial workers. They were united by the factory, they were enlightened by urban life, they were steeled by the common strike struggle and by revolutionary action.

It is the great and historic merit of Marx and Engels that they proved by scientific analysis the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism and its transition to communism, under which there will be no more exploitation of man by man.

It is the great and historic merit of Marx and Engels that they indicated to the proletarians of all countries their role, their task, their mission, namely, to be the first to rise in the revolutionary struggle against capital and to rally around themselves in this struggle all the toilers and exploited.

We are living in happy times, when this prophecy of the great Socialists is beginning to be realized. We see the dawn of the international socialist revolution of the proletariat breaking in a number of countries. The unspeakable horrors of the imperialist butchery of nations are everywhere evoking a heroic rise of the oppressed masses, and are lending them tenfold strength in the struggle for emancipation.

Let the memorials to Marx and Engels again and again remind the millions of workers and peasants that we are not alone in our struggle. Side by side with us the workers of more advanced countries are rising. Stem battles still await them and us. In common struggle the yoke of capital will be broken, and socialism will be finally won!

Photo: Lenin at the unveiling of a monument to Marx and Engels, Moscow, November 7,1918.]


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V.I. Lenin on Karl Marx

'Tactics of the Class Struggle of the Proletariat'

At each stage of development, at each moment, proletarian tactics must take account of this objectively inevitable dialectics of human history. It must, on the one hand, utilize periods of political stagnation or of sluggish, so-called "peaceful," development in order to raise the class consciousness, strength and fighting capacity of the advanced class. On the other hand, it must direct all this work towards the "final aim" of the movement of this class, creating in it the practical ability to perform great tasks in the great days in which "twenty years are concentrated." Two of Marx's arguments are of special importance in this connection: one, set forth in The Poverty of Philosophy, concerns proletarian economic struggle and economic organization; the other, in the Communist Manifesto, concerns the political tasks of the proletariat. The first argument runs as follows: "Large-scale industry concentrates in one place a crowd of people unknown to one another. Competition divides their interests. But the maintenance of wages, this common interest which they have against their boss, unites them in a common thought of resistance--combination.... Combinations, at first isolated, constitute themselves into groups... and in face of always united capital, the maintenance of the association becomes more necessary to them [i.e., the workers] than that of wages.... In this struggle--a veritable civil war--all the elements necessary for a coming battle unite and develop. Once it has reached this point, association takes on a political character." Here we have a programme and tactic for the economic struggle and the trade-union movement for several decades to come, for all the long period in which the proletariat will muster its forces for the "coming battle." This should be seen in conjunction with the numerous references by Marx and Engels to the British labour movement--how industrial "prosperity" leads to attempts "to buy the proletariat" ( Briefwechsel, Vol. I, p. 136), divert it from the struggle; how this prosperity generally "demoralizes the workers" (Vol. II, p. 218); how the British proletariat becomes "bourgeois"--"this most bourgeois of all nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat alongside the bourgeoisie" (Vol. II, p. 290); how its "revolutionary energy" oozes away (Vol. Ill, p. 124); how it will be necessary to wait a more or less long time before "the English workers will free themselves from their apparent bourgeois infection" (Vol. Ill, p. 127); how the British labour movement "lacks the mettle of the Chartists" (1866; Vol. Ill, p. 305); how the British workers' leaders are becoming a type midway between "a radical bourgeois and a worker" (in reference to Holyoak, Vol. IV, p. 209); how, owing to British monopoly, and as long as this monopoly lasts, "the British working man will not budge" (Vol. IV, p. 433). The tactics of the economic struggle, in connection with the general course (and outcome) of the labour movement, are here considered from a remarkably broad, comprehensive, dialectical, and genuinely revolutionary standpoint.

The Communist Manifesto set forth the fundamental Marxist principle on the tactics of the political struggle: "The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement." That was why in 1848 Marx supported the party of the "agrarian revolution" in Poland, "that party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846." In Germany in 1848 and 1849 Marx supported the extreme revolutionary democracy, and never retracted what he had then said about tactics. He regarded the German bourgeoisie as an element "inclined from the very outset to betray the people" (only alliance with the peasantry could have brought the bourgeoisie comprehensive fulfilment of its tasks) "and compromise with the crowned representatives of the old society." Here is Marx's summary of his analysis of the class position of the German bourgeoisie in the era of the bourgeois-democratic revolution--an analysis which, incidentally, is a sample of the materialism that sees society in movement, and, moreover, not only in retrograde movement:

"Without faith in itself, without faith in the people, grumbling at those above, trembling before those below... frightened by the world storm ... no energy in any respect, plagiarism in every respect... without initiative... an execrable old man, who saw himself doomed to guide and deflect the first youthful impulses of a robust people in his own senile interests...." (Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 1848; see Literarischer Nachlass, Vol. Ill, p. 212.) About twenty years later, in a letter to Engels (Briefwechsel, Vol. Ill, p. 224), Marx declared that the Revolution of 1848 failed because the bourgeoisie had preferred peace with slavery to the mere prospect of a fight for freedom. When the revolutionary era of 1848-49 ended, Marx opposed every attempt to play at revolution (his fight with Schapper and Willich) and insisted on ability to work in the new phase of seemingly "peaceful" preparation for new revolutions. How Marx conceived of this work is shown by his estimate of the situation in Germany in 1856, the blackest period of reaction: "The whole thing in Germany will depend on the possibility to back the proletarian revolution by some second edition of the Peasant War." (Briefwechsel, Vol. II, p. 108.) As long as the democratic (bourgeois) revolution in Germany was not completed, Marx concentrated the attention of the socialist proletariat on tactics of developing the democratic energy of the peasantry. He held that Lassalle's attitude was "objectively... a betrayal of the whole workers' movement to Prussia" (Vol. Ill, p. 210), incidentally because Lassalle connived at the actions of the Junkers and Prussian nationalists. "In a predominantly agricultural country," wrote Engels in 1865, exchanging ideas with Marx on the subject of an intended joint press statement, "... it is dastardly to make an exclusive attack on the bourgeoisie in the name of the industrial proletariat but never to devote a word to the patriarchal exploitation of the rural proletariat under the lash of the great feudal aristocracy." (Vol. Ill, p. 217.) From 1864 to 1870, the period in which the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Germany was being completed, with the exploiting classes of Prussia and Austria endeavouring to complete it from above, Marx not only condemned Lassalle, who was flirting with Bismarck, but also corrected Liebknecht, who had inclined towards "Austrophilism" and the defence of particularism. Marx demanded a revolutionary tactic equally ruthless against both Bismarck and the Austrophiles, a tactic that would not be adapted to the "victor," the Prussian Junker, but would immediately renew the revolutionary struggle against him also on the basis created by the Prussian military victories. (Briefwechsel, Vol. Ill, pp. 134, 136, 147, 179, 204, 210, 215, 418, 437, 440-41.) In the famous Address of the International of September 9, 1870, Marx warned the French proletariat against an untimely uprising; but when the uprising nevertheless took place (1871), Marx enthusiastically hailed the revolutionary initiative of the masses, who were "storming heaven" (letter to Kugelmann). The defeat of the revolutionary action in this situation, as in many others, was, from the standpoint of Marxist dialectical materialism, a lesser evil in the general course and outcome of the proletarian struggle than the abandonment of a position already occupied, than a surrender without battle. Such a surrender would have demoralized the proletariat and undermined its fighting capacity. Fully appreciating the use of legal means of struggle during periods when political stagnation prevails and bourgeois legality dominates, Marx, in 1877 and 1878, after the passage of the Anti-Socialist Law, sharply condemned Most's "revolutionary phrases"; but he no less, if not more sharply, attacked the opportunism that had temporarily gained sway in the official Social-Democratic Party, which did not at once display resoluteness, firmness, revolutionary spirit and a readiness to resort to an illegal struggle in answer to the Anti-Socialist Law. (Briefwechsel, Vol. IV, pp. 397, 404, 418, 422, 424; cf. also letters to Sorge.)

July-November 1914

(Excerpt from the final section of "Karl Marx, a Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism," by V.I. Lenin, 1914.)


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Marx and Engels to A. Bebel, W. Liebknecht, W. Bracke and Others - 'Circular Letter' -

(3) The Manifesto of the three Zurichers. 1.

In the meantime Hochberg's Yearbook has reached us, containing an article: "The Socialist Movement in Germany in Retrospect," which, as Hochberg himself tells me, has been written by these same three members of the Zurich Commission. Here we have their authentic criticism of the movement up till now and with it their authentic program for the line of the new organ, insofar as this depends on them.

Right at the beginning we read:

"The movement which Lassalle 2. regarded as an eminently political one, to which he summoned not only the workers but all honest democrats, at the head of which were to march the independent representatives of science and all who were imbued with a true love for humanity, was diminished under the presidency of Johann Baptist Schweitzer 3 into a one-sided struggle for the interests of the industrial workers."

I will not examine whether or how far this is historically accurate. The special reproach here brought against Schweitzer is that he diminished Lassalleanism, which is here taken as a bourgeois democratic-philanthropic movement, into a one-sided struggle for the interests of the industrial workers, by deepening its character as a class struggle of the industrial workers against the bourgeoisie. He is further reproached with his "rejection of bourgeois democracy." And what has bourgeois democracy to do with the Social-Democratic Party? If it consists of "honest men" it cannot wish for admittance, and if it does nevertheless wish to be admitted this can only be in order to start a row.

The Lassallean party "chose to conduct itself in the most one-sided way as a workers' party." The gentlemen who write that are themselves members of a Party which conducts itself in the most one-sided way as a workers' Party, they are at present invested with offices and dignities in this Party. Here there is an absolute incompatibility. If they mean what they write they must leave the Party, or at least resign their offices and dignities. If they do not do so, they are admitting that they are proposing to utilize their official position in order to combat the proletarian character of the Party. If therefore the Party leaves them their offices and dignities it will be betraying itself.

In the opinion of these gentlemen, then, the Social- Democratic Party should not be a one-sided workers' Party but an all-sided Party of "everyone imbued with a true love of humanity." It must prove this above all by laying aside its crude proletarian passions and placing itself under the guidance of educated, philanthropic bourgeois in order to "cultivate good taste" and "learn good form" (page 85). Then even the "disreputable behavior" of many leaders will give way to a thoroughly respectable "bourgeois behavior." (As if the externally disreputable behavior of those here referred to were not the least they can be reproached with!) Then, too, "numerous adherents from the circles of the educated and propertied classes will make their appearance. But these must first be won if the...agitation conducted is to attain tangible successes."

German Socialism has "attached too much importance to the winning of the masses and in so doing has neglected energetic (!) propaganda among the so-called upper strata of society." And then "the Party still lacks men fitted to represent it in the Reichstag." 4. It is, however, "desirable and necessary to entrust the mandate to men who have the time and opportunity to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with the relevant materials. The simple worker and small self-employed man...has the necessary leisure for this only in rare and exceptional cases." So elect bourgeois!

In short: the working class of itself is incapable of its own emancipation. For this purpose it must place itself under the leadership of "educated and propertied" bourgeois who alone possess the "time and opportunity" to acquaint themselves with what is good for the workers.

And secondly the bourgeoisie is on no account to be fought against but -- to be won over by energetic propaganda.

But if one wants to win over the upper strata of society, or only its well-disposed elements, one must not frighten them on any account. And here the three Zurichers think they have made a reassuring discovery:

"Precisely at the present time, under the pressure of the Socialist Law, 5. the Party is showing that it is not inclined to pursue the path of violent bloody revolution but is determined...to follow the path of legality, i.e., of reform." So if the 500,000 to 600,000 Social-Democratic voters -- between a tenth and an eighth of the whole electorate and distributed over the whole width of the land -- have the sense not to run their heads against a wall and to attempt a "bloody revolution" of one against ten, this proves that they also forbid themselves to take advantage at any future time of a tremendous external event, a sudden revolutionary upsurge arising from it, or even a victory of the people gained in a conflict resulting from it. If Berlin should ever again be so uneducated to have a March 18, 6. the Social Democrats, instead of taking part in the fight as "riff-raff with a mania for barricades" (page 88), must rather "follow the path of legality," act pacifically, clear away the barricades and if necessary march with the glorious army against the rough uneducated one-sided masses. Or if the gentlemen assert that this is not what they meant, what did they mean then?

But still better follows.

"The more quiet, objective and well-considered the Party is, therefore, in the way it comes out with criticism of existing conditions and proposals for changes in them, the less possible will a repetition become of the present successful strategy (when the Socialist Law was introduced) by which the conscious reaction has intimidated the bourgeoisie by fear of the Red bogey." (page 88)

In order to relieve the bourgeoisie of the last trace of anxiety it must be clearly and convincingly proved to them that the Red bogey is really only a bogey, and does not exist. But what is the secret of the Red bogey if it is not the bourgeoisie's dread of the inevitable life-and-death struggle between it and the proletariat? Dread of the inevitable decision of the modern class struggle? Do away with the class struggle and the bourgeoisie and "all independent people" will "not be afraid to go hand in hand with the proletariat." And the ones to be cheated will be precisely the proletariat.

Let the Party therefore prove by its humble and repentant attitude that it has once and for all laid aside the "improprieties and excesses" which provoked the Socialist Law. If it voluntarily promises that it only intends to act within the limits of the Socialist Law, Bismarck 7. and the bourgeoisie will surely have the kindness to repeal this then superfluous law!

"Let no one misunderstand us"; we do not want "to give up our Party and our program, but think that for years hence we shall have enough to do if we concentrate our whole strength and energy upon the attainment of certain immediate aims which must in any case be achieved before the realization of the more far-reaching ends can be thought of." Then the bourgeois, petty bourgeois and workers who are "at present frightened away...by the far-reaching demands will join us in masses."

The program is not to be given up but only postponed -- to an indefinite period. One accepts it, though not really for oneself and one's own lifetime but posthumously as an heirloom to be handed down to one's children and grandchildren. In the meantime one devotes one's "whole strength and energy" to all sorts of petty rubbish and the patching up of the capitalist order of society, in order at least to produce the appearance of something happening without at the same time scaring the bourgeoisie. There I must really praise the Communist, Miquel, 8. who proved his unshakable belief in the inevitable overthrow of capitalist society in the course of the next few hundred years by heartily carrying on swindles, contributing his honest best to the crash of 1873 and so really doing something to assist the collapse of the existing order.

Another offense against good form was also the "exaggerated attacks on the company promoters," who were after all "only children of their time"; "the abuse of Strousberg 9. and similar people...would therefore have been better omitted." Unfortunately everyone is only a "child of his time" and if this is a sufficient excuse nobody ought ever to be attacked any more, all controversy, all struggle on our part ceases; we quietly accept all the kicks our adversaries give us because we, who are so wise, know that these adversaries are "only children of their time" and cannot act otherwise. Instead of repaying their kicks with interest we ought rather to pity these unfortunates.

Then again the Party's support of the Commune 10. had the disadvantage, nevertheless, "that people who were otherwise well disposed to us were alienated and in general the hatred of the bourgeoisie against us was increased." And further, "the Party is not wholly without blame for the introduction of the October Law, for it had increased the hatred of the bourgeoisie in an unnecessary way."

There you have the program of the three censors of Zurich. In clarity it leaves nothing to be desired. Least of all to us, who are very familiar with the whole of this phraseology from the 1848 days. It is the representatives of the petty bourgeoisie who are here presenting themselves, full of anxiety that the proletariat, under the pressure of its revolutionary position, may "go too far." Instead of decided political opposition, general compromise; instead of the struggle against the government and the bourgeoisie, an attempt to win and to persuade; instead of defiant resistance to ill-treatment from above, a humble submission and a confession that the punishment was deserved. Historically necessary conflicts are all reinterpreted as misunderstandings, and all discussion ends with the assurance that after all we are all agreed on the main point. The people who came out as bourgeois democrats in 1848 could just as well call themselves social-democrats now. To them the democratic republic was unattainable remote, and to these people the overthrow of the capitalist system is equally so, and therefore has absolutely no significance for practical present-day politics; one can mediate, compromise and philanthropize to one's heart's content. It is just the same with the class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie. It is recognized on paper because its existence can no longer be denied, but in practice it is hushed up, diluted, attenuated.

The Social-Democratic Party is not to be a workers' party, is not to burden itself with the hatred of the bourgeoisie or of anyone else; should above all conduct energetic propaganda among the bourgeoisie; instead of laying stress on far-reaching aims which frighten the bourgeoisie and are not, after all, attainable in our generation, it should rather devote its whole strength and energy to those small petty-bourgeois patching-up reforms which by providing the old order of society with new props may perhaps transform the ultimate catastrophe into a gradual, piecemeal and, so far as is possible, peaceful process of dissolution. These are the same people who under the pretense of indefatigable activity not only do nothing themselves but also try to prevent anything happening at all except chatter; the same people whose fear of every form of action in 1848 and 1849 obstructed the movement at every step and finally brought about its downfall; the same people who see a reaction and are then quite astonished to find themselves at last in a blind alley where neither resistance nor flight is possible; the same people who want to confine history within their narrow petty-bourgeois horizon and over whose heads history invariably proceeds to the order of the day.

As to their socialist content this has been adequately criticized already in the [Communist] Manifesto, chapter X, "German or True Socialism.'' When the class struggle is pushed on one side as a disagreeable "crude" phenomenon, nothing remains as a basis for socialism but "true love of humanity" and empty phraseology about "justice."

It is an inevitable phenomenon, rooted in the course of development, that people from what have hitherto been the ruling classes should also join the militant proletariat and contribute cultural elements to it. We clearly stated this in the [Communist] Manifesto. But here there are two points to be noted:

First, in order to be of use to the proletarian movement these people must also bring real cultural elements to it. But with the great majority of the German bourgeois converts that is not the case. Neither the Zukunft [Future] nor the Neue Gesellschaft [New Society] have contributed anything which could advance the movement one step further. Here there is an absolute lack of real cultural material, whether concrete or theoretical. In its place we get attempts to bring superficially adopted socialist ideas into harmony with the most varied theoretical standpoints which these gentlemen have brought with them from the university or elsewhere, and of which, owing to the process of decomposition in which the remnants of German philosophy are at present involved, each is more confused than the last. Instead of thoroughly studying the new science themselves to begin with, each of them preferred to trim it to fit the point of view he had already, made a private science of his own without more ado and at once came forward with the claim that he was ready to teach it. Hence there are about as many points of view among these gentry as there are heads; instead of producing clarity in a single case they have only produced desperate confusion -- fortunately almost exclusively among themselves. Cultural elements whose first principle is to teach what they have not learned can be very well dispensed with by the Party.

Secondly. If people of this kind from other classes join the proletarian movement, the first condition is that they should not bring any remnants of bourgeois, petty-bourgeois, etc., prejudices with them but should whole-heartedly adopt the proletarian point of view. But these gentlemen, as has been proved, are stuffed and crammed with bourgeois and petty-bourgeois ideas. In such a petty-bourgeois country as Germany these ideas certainly have their own justification. But only outside the Social-Democratic workers' Party. If these gentlemen form themselves into a Social-Democratic Petty-Bourgeois Party they have a perfect right to do so; one could then negotiate with them, form a bloc according to circumstances, etc. But in a workers' party they are an adulterating element. If reasons exist for tolerating them there for the moment, it is also a duty only to tolerate them, to allow them no influence in the Party leadership and to remain aware that a break with them is only a matter of time. The time, moreover, seems to have come. How the Party can tolerate the authors of this article in its midst any longer is to us incomprehensible. But if the leadership of the Party should fall more or less into the hands of such people then the Party will simply be castrated and proletarian energy will be at an end.

As for ourselves, in view of our whole past there is only one path open to us. For almost forty years we have stressed the class struggle as the immediate driving force of history, and in particular the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as the great lever of the modern social revolution; it is therefore impossible for us to cooperate with people who wish to expunge this class struggle from the movement. When the International11. was formed we expressly formulated the battle-cry: the emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself. We cannot therefore cooperate with people who say that the workers are too uneducated to emancipate themselves and must first be freed from above by philanthropic bourgeois and petty bourgeois. If the new Party organ adopts a line corresponding to the views of these gentlemen, and is bourgeois and not proletarian, then nothing remains for us, much though we should regret it, but publicly to declare our opposition to it and to dissolve the solidarity with which we have hitherto represented the German Party abroad. But it is to be hoped that things will not come to that.

(The above extract is reprinted from K. Marx and F. Engels, Correspondence 1848-1895, Edition authorized by the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, Moscow, 1935, Letter no. 170. Footnotes below are by The Workers' Advocate.)

FOOTNOTES FOR CIRCULAR LETTER

1. The three Zurichers.

This refers to Karl Hochberg, Eduard Bernstein and Karl August Schramm who formed the Zurich Commission of the German Social Democratic Party and represented the right opportunist wing of the Party.

Hochberg (1853-85) was the son of a wealthy merchant, a social-reformist who joined the German Party in 1876. He founded and financed a number of reformist newspapers and journals including the Yearbook for Social Science and Social Politics. At least from 1877 Marx sharply criticized the opportunist preachings of Hochberg in letters to German Party members. After the Circular Letter, Hochberg was removed from the editorial committee of the new Party organ, The Social Democrat.

Bernstein (1847-1932) was a German bank clerk. He joined the German Social Democratic Party at the beginning of the 1870's. He was strongly under Duhring's influence from 1874-78. In 1878 he was Hochberg's private secretary. After the Circular Letter he came with Bebel to London to negotiate with Marx and Engels and from then onwards corresponded with Engels. At the end of 1880 he was made editor of The Social Democrat and remained in that position until it ceased publication after the repeal of the Anti-Socialist Law in 1890. Under the influence and guidance of Engels he took up the stand of Marxism for a time and was able to give the paper a revolutionary proletarian character. In 1888, after his expulsion from Switzerland, he transferred himself to London. With Kautsky he assisted Engels in putting together Marx's manuscripts. At the beginning of the 1890's, influenced by English trade unionism and also by bourgeois economic literature, he began to deviate to reformism again. After Engels' death he came out with open criticism of the foundations of Marxism in his Prerequisites of Socialism, 1898, which became the gospel of German and international revisionism. In 1901, in order to strengthen the right opportunist wing of the German Party, the imperial government allowed Bernstein to return to Germany. He was elected to the Reichstag and took over the direction of the revisionist periodical Socialist Monthly. During the imperialist World War I he was a social-pacifist. The influence of his theories, officially rejected by the Party decisions of 1899 (Hanover) and 1903 (Dresden), constantly increased among the Party and trade union bureaucracy and after the imperialist war became the official creed of German social-democracy.

Schramm was a German economist and insurance inspector. He joined the German Social Democratic Party beginning in the 1870's. From 1884-86 he came out with a criticism of Marxism in which he represented Marx as a degenerate follower of Rodbertus and Lassalle. Later he withdrew from the communist movement.

2. Lassalle.

Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) was a German petty bourgeois journalist and lawyer. In 1848-49 he participated in the democratic movement in the Rhineland. In the early 1860's he joined the working class movement and was one of the founders of the General Association of German Workers (1863). His contribution to the working class movement was to help bring the workers into political action. However, Lassalle was a "realpoliticer." He believed in the possibility of a peaceful transformation of capitalism into socialism by means of workers' cooperative societies supported by the Prussian reactionary government. He corresponded with Bismarck and supported Bismarck's unification of Germany "from above" by counter-revolutionary means under the hegemony of the Prussian dynasty. He laid the beginnings of the opportunist trend in the German workers' movement. Marx and Engels trenchantly fought the preachings of Lassalle. After Lassalle's death the General Association merged with the German social-democrats at the Gotha Congress of 1875 to form a United Socialist Workers Party, later called the German Social Democratic Party.

In their famous work, "Critique of the Gotha Program," Marx and Engels subjected the Gotha program to withering criticism and criticized the leaders of German social-democracy for making concessions to Lassalleanism instead of pursuing the unification of the German socialists in a proper fashion.

3. Schweitzer.

Johann Baptist Schweitzer (1833-75) was one of the Lassallean leaders in Germany. He was the editor of The Social Democrat from 1864-67 and president of the General Association of German Workers from 1867-71. He gave support to Bismarck's policy of unification of Germany "from above" under Prussian hegemony., Schweitzer prevented the German workers' affiliation to the First International and fought against the Social Democratic Party. He was expelled from the Association in 1872 after his connections with the Prussian authorities were exposed.

4. Reichstag. The German parliament.

5. The Socialist Law.

The Exceptional Law against the socialists was enacted by the Bismarck government with the support of the majority of the Reichstag on October 21, 1878, with the object of combatting the socialist and working class movement. It banned all organizations of the Social Democratic Party, mass workers' organizations and the workers' press. On the basis of this law socialist literature was confiscated and social-democrats were persecuted. Due to pressure exerted by the workers' mass movement the law was repealed on October 1,1890.

6. March 18.

This refers to the revolutionary fighting on the barricades in Berlin on March 18, 1848, which marked the beginning of the 1848-49 revolution in Germany.

7. Bismarck.

Otto Bismarck (1815-1898) was a prince, statesman and diplomat of Prussia and Germany, a representative of the Prussian Junkerdom (landlords). He was Prime Minister of Prussia from 1862-71 and Chancellor of the German Empire from 1871-90. He unified Germany by counter-revolutionary means. He was a sworn enemy of the working class movement who introduced the Anti- Socialist Law in 1878.

8. Miquel.

Johannes Miquel (1828-1901) was a German politician and financier. He was a "realpoliticer" who joined the Communist League in the 1840's only to become a National-Liberal after the 1850's. He became a leader of the right wing of the National- Liberal Party after 1867, a member of the Lower Chamber of Prussia and a deputy to the Reichstag. In the 1890's he became the Prussian Minister of Finance.

9. Strousberg.

Bethel-Henri Strousberg (1823-88) was a big German railway entrepreneur who was especially active during the years of the great company swindles (1871-73). He went bankrupt in 1873.

10. Commune.

The Paris Commune was the first occasion in history when the proletariat seized power and established the proletarian dictatorship. It lasted from March 18 to May 28, 1871. Of this Marx wrote: "Working men's Paris, with its Commune, will be for ever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class. Its exterminators history has already nailed to that eternal pillory from which all the prayers of their priests will not avail to redeem them. '' (Address to the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on The Civil War in France, May 30, 1871)

11. International.

The International Working Men's Association, known as the. First International, was formed by Marx in London in the autumn of 1864. Headed by Marx and Engels, it guided the economic and political struggles of the workers of different countries, fought vigorously against Proudhonism, Bakuninism, trade unionism, Lassalleanism and other anti-Marxist trends, and strengthened the international solidarity of the workers. After its Hague Congress of 1872, the First International practically ceased to exist and in 1876 proclaimed itself dissolved.


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