The Workers' Advocate


Volume 13, Number 6


August 15, 1983

[Front page:

U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of Central America! Stand Up Against Reagan's Gunboat Diplomacy!;

Down with Reagan's plans to strangle public education!;

Solidarity with the striking telephone workers!;

Working class must greet "recovery" with struggle]


No to the 'merit pay' fraud............................................... 2
AFT boss licks Reagan's boots......................................... 2
No to anti-immigrant bill.................................................. 3

No to Reagan's extradition 'Reform'............................... 3
Nuclear freeze leaders exposed again............................... 3
Chicago: New mayor and unemployment........................ 9

Chrysler is out for more concessions................................ 4
Buffalo: Nurses' strike victorious..................................... 4
Strike at Russer Foods...................................................... 4
Lynn, Mass.: Oppose GE's absence review...................... 4
West coast: Shipyard workers strike................................. 5
Arizona: Copper workers battle scabs.............................. 5
NYC: 8th week of Con Ed strike...................................... 5
Cambridge, Mass: ECA Plant Closing............................. 9

Kissinger and Central America......................................... 6
Boland-Zablocki amendment........................................... 6
Protest U.S. War on Central America............................... 7

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists speak................................ 7 & 8
Chile: Pinochet tyranny shaken........................................ 14
Brazil: Workers fight austerity.......................................... 14
Strength of the working class........................................... 14

3rd Congress of CI and the reformists.............................. 10
CP of Canada (M-L) for 'rule of of law'.......................... 12

U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of Central America!

Stand Up Against Reagan's Gunboat Diplomacy!

Down with Reagan's plans to strangle public education!

Solidarity with the striking telephone workers!

Working class must greet "recovery" with struggle

A vicious scheme to squeeze the teachers

No to the "Merit Pay" Fraud!

AFT Boss Shanker Licks Reagan's Boots

No to the Simpson-Mazzoli bill:

Defend the undocumented immigrant workers!

Filling the dungeons of fascist Marcos and reactionary tyrants the world over

Down with Reagan's extradition "reform"

Hypocrisy of the 'nuclear freeze' leaders exposed again

Kennedy and friends lobby for nuclear-armed warships

While huge profits roll in

Chrysler is out for more concessions

Lynn, Mass.

Oppose GE's 'Absence Review Board' Scheme

At Russer Foods in Buffalo, New York

Meatpacking workers strike against wage cuts

Nurses at Buffalo General Hospital are victorious after 12-week strike

10,000 West Coast shipyard workers strike against concessions

A fierce struggle against concessions to Phelps-Dodge in Arizona

Militant Copper Workers Battle Scabs

New York City

Consolidated Edison workers' strike enters eighth week

War criminal Kissinger heads Reagan's bipartisan commission for Central America

The Boland-Zablocki amendment

The Democrats want to cover the tracks of the CIA invaders

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists Speak

Demonstrations protest U.S. aggression in Central America

At the Electronics Corporation of America, Cambridge, Mass:

It's time for ECA to stop playing games and start paying severance benefits

Lessons from the struggle against plant closings

What is Chicago's new mayor doing-

Fighting for jobs or 'creating a climate for business'?

United front tactics are an essential tool of the proletarian party

The Third Congress of the CI on the Reformist Parties as Diehard Defenders of Capitalism

Another result of the CP of Canada (M-L)'s liquidationist errors

A Right-Wing Campaign on Behalf of the "Rule of Law"

The ground shakes under the Pinochet tyranny in Chile

Brazilian workers fight capitalist austerity

The strength of the working class in Brazil

U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of Central America!

Stand Up Against Reagan's Gunboat Diplomacy!

Workers and all progressive people! In July, chief warmonger Reagan and the Pentagon generals took major decisions to escalate U.S. military intervention in Central America. Under the flimsy excuse of holding "routine exercises," a massive collection of American firepower is being assembled in the region as the next big step in a process leading to a full-scale Indochina-style war of aggression.

Washington's war moves are aimed at intimidating the working masses of Central America who are taking to the road of revolutionary struggle as the way out of the terrible poverty and repression they have long suffered. They are directed at reversing the revolution of the Nicaraguan people who freed themselves from the U.S. puppet Somoza's tyranny in 1979. They are aimed at crushing the Salvadoran workers and peasants who are fighting to overthrow the U.S.-backed "death squad" dictatorship of the rich oligarchy.

Reagan's war plans are absolutely hostile to the interests of the workers and youth of the U.S. The sons and daughters of the workers and poor of this country are being pushed to go kill and maim the poor of Central America in the service of profits and imperialist domination.

This is a war for tyranny! It is a war for exploitation! It is a war for the rich! We say no to such an imperialist war! The American workers and youth have not forgotten Viet Nam!

As the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran people continue to fight the U.S.-organized wars against them, we here in the U.S. must also step up our struggle against the mounting U.S. intervention. In condemning Reagan's war plans, we must remember that the aggression in Central America is not the mistaken policy of a single individual but the bipartisan policy of the capitalist parties, the common policy of the imperialist exploiters headed up by Reagan. And in our fight against Reagan's warmongering, we must give our full support to the revolutionary struggle of the people of Central America.

Washington in the Quagmire of Ever Deeper Intervention

In the last several years, U.S. imperialism, first under the Democrat Carter and now under the Republican Reagan, has poured over a billion dollars of weapons and other "aid" into Central America to crush the people's fight for freedom. It has at least 55 Green Berets already in El Salvador directing the war against the insurgents there. It has hundreds of Green Berets and CIA agents in Honduras helping to train and lead the Somocista contras against the Nicaraguan people. But all this money, men and war material have failed to turn the situation around for U.S. imperialism and its local flunkies. The popular struggle in El Salvador marches forward and the toilers of Nicaragua stand firm in defense of their hard-won gains and fight to continue their revolution.

Driven into a frenzy at the failure of U.S. policy, Reagan has just announced a series of new measures aimed at the Central American people. These involve a massive escalation of direct U.S. involvement in the war there.

* In mid-July Reagan ordered the launching of large-scale U.S. military "exercises," code-named Operation Big Pine II, in Honduras and on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts off Nicaragua.

A battle group of eight warships led by the aircraft carrier Ranger and carrying 70 fighter bombers arrived off the Pacific coast in late July, to be joined soon by the battleship New Jersey. A second battle group led by the carrier Coral Sea is expected to arrive off the Atlantic coast soon. Mock blockade operations are planned in the naval "exercises" and Reagan has openly threatened a "quarantine," which is nothing but a blockade, of ships arriving at Nicaraguan ports.

On August 6, land and air "exercises" began in Honduras involving U.S. and Honduran forces. They will involve 5,500 U.S. troops and 6,000 Honduran soldiers. It has already been declared that these "exercises" will last at least through next March.

Reagan began by declaring these "exercises" as just "routine." But other administration officials arrogantly boasted that their purpose was to intimidate Nicaragua. Indeed, these are no "routine exercises" at all. Being the largest and longest military maneuvers in the region, it is preposterous even to describe them, as "exercises." They are gunboat diplomacy and brinkmanship pure and simple.

Besides being aimed at increasing the military pressure on Nicaragua, they are preparations for an all-out war of aggression. Thus the Pentagon openly admits that it is seeking to establish an infrastructure in the region which will facilitate large-scale involvement of U.S. armed forces in the Central American war. Two new airstrips have been constructed in Honduras and preparations are underway for a $150 million air and naval base for the U.S. on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. And the Pentagon plans to continue a permanent naval presence off Nicaragua.

* Besides the plans for Big Pine II, the U.S. is also expanding other fronts of its criminal intervention. The Pentagon has proposed to increase the number of U.S. "advisors" in El Salvador to 125. Day by day the fiction of the U.S. "advisors" not being involved in combat operations grows thinner and thinner. Already there are many reports of their involvement in leading local operations of the Salvadoran army and the Reagan administration is expected to widen their official powers soon.

* The Reagan administration has also made plans to increase the strength of the Somocista contras to 15,000. In the meantime, the flow of guns, bullets and money into the hands of the Salvadoran army, the Nicaraguan contras and the Honduran army goes on uninterruptedly.

Everything adds up to deeper and deeper U.S. intervention in Central America. The other day Reagan blurted out what is on his mind. Questioned by a reporter as to whether he would rule out the use of U.S. combat troops in Central America, he replied that presidents should "never say never"; he added, "You know -- they blew up the Maine." This war a reference to the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898. This took place due to a mysterious explosion, but it served as the pretext for launching the Spanish-American imperialist war. With his remark about the Maine, Reagan is clearly looking for a pretext to cover his bloody intentions.

The reference to the Maine of course brings to mind something more recent -- the fabrication by then President Johnson of the Gulf of Tonkin incident off the coast of Vietnam in 1964. This gave Johnson the pretext to carry out "retaliatory" bombing of North Viet Nam and to arm himself with a near-unanimous Congressional resolution which amounted to a virtual declaration of war against North Viet Nam.

Washington's Fraud of Looking for a "Negotiated Peace"

While Reagan proceeds with a massive military buildup in Central America, one still finds him blabbering about seeking a "negotiated peace." What is one to make of this?

This attempt to show that Washington has peaceful intentions is a total fraud. The only peace the U.S. government is interested in is the "peace" of the graveyard and dungeons for the revolutionary people, the "peace" of being able to continue exploitation and tyranny without any resistance.

No different than the military actions, Reagan's call for a "negotiated peace" also shows the unbridled arrogance of U.S. imperialism. It means that the Central American people do not have the right to decide their own destinies. According to Reagan, the Salvadoran people don't have the right to overthrow the "death-squad" regime but must instead negotiate with the U.S. to dismantle the revolutionary forces they have built up through great sacrifice and effort. And the Nicaraguan people must negotiate with the U.S. to make concessions to the Somocista counter-revolution. Whether through direct military intervention or through its bloodstained puppets or through its maneuvers for "peaceful negotiations," U.S. imperialism has the same goals -- the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government and the return of the Somocistas, and the crushing of the Salvadoran liberation war.

In its maneuvers for "peaceful negotiations," Washington seeks to get the Nicaraguan government and the Salvadoran liberation forces to let down their guard. It would be a dangerous mistake to believe that the U.S. imperialists have peaceful intentions and are really interested in "human rights," "democracy," "freedom," etc. The nature of the beast, amply proven by history and current events, proves otherwise.

Thus, with respect to Nicaragua, for example, Reagan and his cronies have made it amply clear that the goal of the U.S. is nothing short of the overthrow of the Sandinista regime and the restoration of a pro-U.S. tyranny. Asked at his news conference on July 21 if Reagan thought there can be "regional stability" in Central America if the Sandinista regime survives in Nicaragua, he replied, "I think it'd be extremely difficult." Meanwhile, in a recent interview, Henry Kissinger, the head of Reagan's new bipartisan commission on Central America, declared that he saw no reason why the Nicaraguan government should not be changed by the U.S. Clearly, Washington is backing the contras and stepping up its all-round military involvement for nothing less than the victory of bloody reaction in Central America.

Of course the biggest champions of dressing up American intervention as "peaceful negotiations" are the Democratic Party liberals. They try to make it look like a policy which allegedly stands in opposition to Reaganite aggression. But this is simply to throw dust in the eyes of the workers and progressive people, to make us believe that we don't need to take to the streets in mass struggle against U.S. aggression but can instead leave it up to them.

The fact of the matter is that, while the Democrats may appear to criticize this or that detail of Reagan's policies, they are united with him on the bipartisan policy of U.S. imperialism. Actions speak louder than words. The Democratic controlled House has consistently approved of all the men, money and materials that Reagan has sent down to Central America. An<J it was none other than the Democrat Carter who launched the present escalation of intervention against the Central American revolution.

The Democrats and Republicans are partners in aggression. This is because they are both capitalist parties; they both uphold the interests of U.S. imperialism. Imperialism is the rule of monopoly capital, it is a system of exploitation at home and abroad. It means the domination of the huge multinational corporations, who plunder super-profits from the toilers of Asia, Africa and Latin America and exploit the working class here at home as well.

Workers and all progressive people! We cannot look to the imperialists to stop Reagan's aggression in Central America! We must answer Reagan and the Pentagon by building a powerful mass movement, as we did in the 1960's against the U.S. aggression in Viet Nam!

In this fight, we must target not just Reagan alone but the entire system of imperialism. We must brand the Democrats for what they are -- accomplices in Reagan's crimes. We must orient the mass movement to be independent of the capitalists and both their political parties.

Our strength lies not in the shadow-boxers in Congress but in the workers, unemployed, young people, women, and national minorities -- among all who are exploited and subjugated by the rich.

In this fight, we must stand up in solidarity with the courageous revolutionary people of Central America. Support the liberation fighters in El Salvador! Defend Nicaragua against U.S. imperialism! From the streets here at home to the fields, mountains and towns of El Salvador and Nicaragua -- ours is a common battle against U.S. imperialism.

Down with Reagan's gunboat diplomacy!

U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America!

[Photo: 9,000 marched in Washington, D.C. on July 2 to protest U.S. aggression in Central America.]


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Down with Reagan's plans to strangle public education!

The educational crisis is a problem of much concern among the working people. The plague of illiteracy and lack of education is spreading as cutbacks, low teacher pay and related factors have hit the educational system hard blows. This crisis has been an open sore for a long time; but only in recent months has it become a focus of political attention.

First came the dire warning of "a rising tide of mediocrity" issued by the President's National Commission on Excellence in Education. Then the National Task Force on Education and Economic Growth, made up of 41 governors, corporate chieftains and "other prominent figures" issued a similar report on poor education "threatening the military, economic, and social well-being of the country." And now new findings on the educational crisis and new proposals on how to solve it are being released by government and corporate officialdom right and left.

All of a sudden, after all the years of cutbacks and decline, it appears that the capitalist ruling class has decided to do something to improve education for the masses. But scratch the surface of the rhetoric, and weigh in their totality the various proposals being tendered, and it becomes clear that this is not what's on the capitalists' agenda at all. On the contrary, behind all their hoopla and fuss about "educational excellence" lurks the reactionary agenda of Reaganism. As we shall see, this is a program of cutbacks, ignorance, racial segregation, and of restricting education to the fortunate few.

The educational crisis is one more front of the capitalist assault on the vital interests of the working people. The Reagan administration stands in the vanguard of this attack. While some may quibble with this or that detail, the other big capitalist politicians, both Democrat and Republican, all agree on what's essential and are following in Reagan's wake.

The Decay of the Public Schools

The decay of the schools is tied to the economic decay that has been tightening its grip on the capitalist economy since the early 1970's. As one part of the capitalists' drive to saddle the working masses with the burden of the economic crisis, public education has shouldered big cutbacks. Tax relief for the rich and the corporations combined with high unemployment and poverty among the working people have caused a steady erosion of local and state tax revenues for education. Adding insult to injury, the Reagan administration and the Congress have cut back billions of dollars from federal subsidies for special education programs, school lunches, and so forth. The cutbacks have hit the poorer school districts the hardest. But last month even the relatively more prosperous San Jose school district had to declare itself insolvent, the first major school district to go bankrupt since the Depression of the 1930's.

The cutbacks have been a disaster. Teachers have been facing wholesale layoffs. In Boston, for example, teachers with ten years of seniority are out of a job. The rest of the teachers are grossly under-payed and overworked. They are being stretched to the limit with ever growing and ever more unmanageable class sizes, more class assignments and other duties. Lacking teachers and instructors, in many schools extracurricular activities, remedial study and special programs, and other essentials to education have been wiped out. Meanwhile the school facilities lapse into disrepair and classes go begging for essential supplies. Even the necessary textbooks are often times unavailable.

The schools are being stripped of funds for teachers, books and everything else that makes a school a school. More and more the schools are being reduced to little more than big holding cells, often complete with police in the corridors, to keep the kids off the streets.

Is it any wonder then that the president's NCEE "discovered" that educational levels are low? Or that the National Task Force on Education found that 40 to 50% of all urban students have "serious reading problems"? Or that others estimate that 20% of all high school graduates are "functionally illiterate" and that 30% more are only "marginally literate"? (New York Times, June 8, 1983) And it must be remembered that on top of that another 26% do not even make it through high school, by far the highest dropout rate of any industrialized country. (New York Times, May 5, 1983)

Reagan's Solution: More Cutbacks

Reagan's response to such findings has been all too predictable. First, blame the teachers and saddle them with pay-cutting and strikebreaking merit pay systems. And second, more cutbacks. This includes another one billion dollar cut in federal education funds in the '84 budget. As Reagan put it: "You can't solve the problem by throwing money at it."

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to know how teachers are to be paid and books purchased while his administration robs billions from educational funding, Reagan has an answer for this too:

"The government seemed to forget that education begins with the home where it's a parental right and responsibility," Reagan explains, "...the focus of our agenda is, as it must be, to restore parental choice and influence and to increase competition between schools." (New York Times, May 1, 1983)

In other words, public education for the masses be damned. Let the fortunate with the money and opportunity to do so make their "parental choice" of sending their children to private schools. After all, Reagan lectures, education isn't the government's business anyway but "the right and responsibility" of the parents.

If you take Reagan at his word, what he has in mind is to "restore" the system of the past centuries before compulsory education. He is harking back to the days when the offspring of the rich and select few were pampered by tutors or attended private or religious academies, and when the sons and daughters of most working people were condemned to the darkness of illiteracy and ignorance.

Handouts for the Private Schools

True to form, while slashing public education, Reagan has a touching concern for providing government subsidies for the private and religious schools. His tuition tax credit plan is just such a multi-billion dollar subsidy. This plan will refund to parents a portion of the money that they spend on tuition for private school in the form of credits on their federal income tax. The effect of such credits will be to funnel students and money into mainly three types of schools.

First, tuition tax credits will help the elite and expensive private schools to shore up their declining enrollments and further raise their tuition costs. In the eyes of the capitalist millionaires, bankrolling such schools for the privileged and wealthy is an important part of what "excellence" in education is all about.

Second, tax credits will direct money and students towards the Catholic parochial schools, which are by far the largest part of the nonpublic schools but whose enrollments are also shrinking. Helping to shore up the parochial schools means helping out the empire of the Catholic Church and giving it a hand in its mission of the religious indoctrination of the youth.

Finally, taking a place close to Reagan's heart, the third major beneficiaries of tuition tax credits will be the fundamentalist "Christian academies." Over the last two decades such schools have sprung up like mushrooms in the wake of the government-inspired downpour of racist hysteria against the desegregation of the schools. Between 1970 and 1980 the number of students in these "segregation academies" grew more than fourfold in the South and by 120% in the country as a whole, reaching a total enrollment of 1.4 million and growing. These schools are known for their lack of qualified teachers and essential facilities. But they are strong in the Moral Majority's "basics" of racism, religious ignorance, and star-spangled militarism. "Christian academies," which have relatively low tuitions and are driving hard to draw students from the public schools, stand the most to gain from Reagan's tuition tax credits.

Racial Segregation and a Moral Majority Curriculum for All the Schools

But the capitalist reactionaries aren't satisfied just with subsidizing the "Christian academies;" they are pressing for the same Moral Majority curriculum in the public schools too.

Under the banner of "putting God back in the classroom," the Reaganites want to introduce classroom prayer and religious indoctrination. They want to undermine scientific education with creationist pseudo-science and other religious dogmas.

They also want unlimited jingoist and militarist instruction -- to teach the young people to glory in the U.S. nuclear arsenals and to prepare them for their patriotic duty to kill and be killed in future wars for the profits of the U.S. corporations.

Racism and segregation stand at the top of this curriculum. The administration is locked in a crusade against school busing, bilingual programs and every other measure in the way of enforcing strict segregation and racist bigotry in the schools. When Reagan decries such measures for allegedly spoiling the "heritage" of the past, he does so because he longs for turning back the clock to the slave camp "heritage" of Jim Crow.

The Assault on Education Is the Bipartisan Program of the Capitalist Ruling Class

Barnstorming the country with his "agenda for education," Reagan is the standard-bearer of the assault against education for the masses. At the same time this assault is a fully bipartisan one and has been joined by all the capitalist chieftains.

Whether under the Democrat Carter or the Republicans Nixon, Ford and Reagan, we have witnessed the crisis in education go from bad to worse. The capitalist government has systematically pushed public education into decay, squeezed the teachers, and stepped up the racial segregation of the schools. And today all the big capitalist politicians, from Reagan to the self-styled "defender of education" and Democratic Party chieftain Walter Mondale, are in agreement on what's essential.

Yes, some quibble that this or that cut is too deep, and some lobby for funds for their pet educational projects. But even the loudest "critics" refuse to call even for a full restoration of Reagan's cuts, much less demand rehiring the laid off teachers or a general and significant improvement in funding the schools. It should also be noted that the NCEE report, while arriving at the conclusion that a lack of funding is at the root of the educational crisis, failed to even hint as to how funds for education might be increased.

On the tuition tax credit issue, a coalition from the Moral Majority to a section of liberal politicians and educators are backing up Reagan's plan. Such liberals argue that tax credits are needed to give the less fortunate a shot at a better school. In this way they are covering up the Reaganite essence of tax credits in subsidizing the elite schools, the Catholic church and the "segregation academies," while further draining the public schools for the vast majority. The way has now been paved for congressional action on Reagan's tax credits with the Supreme Court's June 29 decision upholding Minnesota's tuition tax deduction law.

On the front of racial segregation, you will not hear so much as a peep from the big capitalist politicians about waging a fight against the segregation of the schools. In the past it was the liberal judges and officials who introduced busing plans and other measures in the most distorted and mutilated fashion possible. The aim of these plans was clearly not to abolish segregation but to fan up the maximum opposition to desegregation measures. At that time the Democratic politicians in Congress refused to raise their voice against segregation and did what they could to bring grist to the mill of the racist anti-busing movement. And now the Democratic Party and liberal big shots are arguing that today desegregation efforts are doing more harm than good because they are allegedly diverting funds and effort from educational "excellence." In other words, these self-styled "friends of the blacks and minorities" have waded neck deep into Reagan's Jim Crow swamp.

Education in the Service of the Corporations and the Pentagon

Reagan's agenda of cutbacks, ignorance and racism is the leading edge of the bourgeoisie's bipartisan education program. Within this framework, however, the capitalists also have another objective; they are seeking a way to fill the new training requirements demanded by the corporations and the Pentagon.

Both the National Task Force and the NCEE pose the educational crisis as being, in the first place, a "military" threat and a problem of "national security" and "defense." The NCEE minces no words about the need to meet the demands of the growing technical sophistication of the Pentagon war machine. It calls for training students as makers and wielders of weapons, prepared for "the building, repair and maintenance of military equipment." (New York Times, April 27,1983)

All the recent reports focus on the need to tune education towards the new technical and other needs of capitalist industry. Cooperation be tween business and education is one of their main catchwords. The National Task Force recommends bringing representatives of private business into education policy making and directly into classroom instruction. Far from improving education, having officers from IBM or Dupont setting curriculum and teaching class would be another step back. It would be another step towards turning the schools into factories for churning out corporate slaves fully indoctrinated and prepared for a life of obedient service to their IBM or Dupont masters.

Education and Career Training for Some -- Rotten Schools for the Rest

The promise in all these proposals is that they will better prepare students for future jobs in a technologically changing economy. But for most this promise will prove to be a cynical hoax; jobs will be just as scarce and the schools will be more rotten than ever.

A fundamental flaw with all these proposals is that under the conditions of cutbacks, teacher layoffs and textbook shortages, only a section of students will gain from them. In fact these proposals can only fortify the already de facto tracking system which, in general, holds the children of the poor in the worst dungeons of schools, and which, in the main, places the best resources for education and career training at the disposal of the children of the better off sections. Take for example the Tennessee merit pay plan for a system of better qualified and better paid "master teachers." At the level of funding that is being proposed it is estimated that "master teachers" will make up only 15% of the state's total. The lion's share of these better paid teachers will go to the better funded schools and districts which will have the means to hire them.

It should also be noted that the NCEE and the other reports place special weight on the need for funds to tap the potential of the "gifted" and "talented." With the present tracking system that means funneling more resources into the best and richest classes and schools for grooming the elite and the professionals.

The capitalists' plan is to raise educational and training levels for some by taking it out of the hide of the schools for the rest. That means education for most of the children of the workers and the poor will be ravaged worse than ever by the Reaganite vultures.

The Crisis in Education and the Class Struggle

Against this capitalist onslaught the workers must take up their cudgels and fight for their own class interests on the front of education. This means fighting against the Reaganite cutbacks and for a real improvement in the funding of public education for the children of the workers and the poor. The struggle for education for the masses is not new to the revolutionary working class movement. In waging their class struggle against the bourgeoisie, the workers realize that ignorance, illiteracy and lack of needed skills for work and life is a heavy chain on their backs.

Fighting for the workers' interests means firm opposition to segregation and racism. Segregated education doesn't only result in inferior education for the black students. It also weakens the training in class solidarity which is essential for combatting the oppression of the black and other oppressed nationalities and for strengthening the class struggle of the workers of all nationalities.

The workers must also fight the jingoist and chauvinist propaganda and oppose turning the schools into recruiting grounds for the U.S. imperialist war machine. Instruction in creationist and other religious dogmas aimed at enslaving the youth with Moral Majority anti-science must also be kept out of the classrooms.

It is also in the workers' interests to support the teachers' struggles for better pay, for smaller class sizes and workloads, and against layoffs, firings and harassment. Merit pay and other strikebreaking measures being forced on the two and a half million teachers are attacks on all the working people.

Finally, the workers must struggle to make the rich exploiters and not the workers and poor pay for public education. Some 92% of the funding for public schools comes from state and local revenues collected through regressive income, property and sales taxes, which place the heaviest burden on those least able to afford it. The working people are being given the alternative: either more education cutbacks or be squeezed dry with yet another tax increase. But there is a third alternative. The burden of financing public education should be placed on the rich and the corporations by means of a heavy tax.

* * *

The educational crisis is showing the deep gulf between the interests of the rich and the poor, the capitalist and the worker. The government's own commissions are exposing as lies all of the capitalists' boasts of having provided quality public education. They are showing that education is step by step being turned into the private reserve of the wealthy elite, while for the majority to rise above "marginal literacy" and to get even a minimum of education will require a bitter struggle. Let us take up this struggle. Let us expose the Reaganite plans of the capitalist rulers and fight for a real improvement in the education of the working class youth.

But even then, as long as the capitalists hold the reigns of power, it must be kept in mind that any improvement will remain unstable and will face repeated assaults from the capitalist moneybags. Only the socialist revolution, by abolishing capitalist exploitation and placing power in the hands of the working class, can guarantee that the educational system truly serves the class interests, education and enlightenment of the working people.

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Solidarity with the striking telephone workers!

On August 6th, 675,000 telephone workers launched strike action against the giant AT&T monopoly. From coast to coast thousands upon thousands of picket lines are being manned by the militant phone workers, who are battling against the takeback demands of the AT&T billionaires and for job security.

Flush With Profits, AT&T Demands Takebacks

The AT&T monopoly reaps bigger profits than any other company on earth. Even during the last years of economic depression, its profits have continued to soar as it raked in a whopping $7 billion in 1982 alone. But these high profits haven't stopped AT&T from jumping aboard the concessions offensive against the working class. This is further proof of the fact that the capitalists' demands for concessions are not aimed at helping out struggling corporations to save jobs, or any such nonsense. No one can plead poverty for AT&T. But the sole purpose and meaning of takebacks is to make bigger profits for the capitalist moneybags by taking it out of the hides of the workers.

The AT&T management is confronting the workers with a laundry list of takebacks:

* It is threatening a wage freeze for all entry-level workers and for all those not yet at the top pay scale. For those at the top of the pay scale, and for only the first year of a three-year contract, the company is offering a measly 3.5% raise. It is also demanding a reduction in the cost-of-living adjustment formula which will leave the workers' real wages even further behind the cost of living.

* The company is demanding a number of cuts in benefits, including that the workers pay out of their own pocket for future increases in health insurance premiums.

* And last but not least, management is demanding a string of changes in job classifications and work rules. These takebacks touch on such vital issues as reducing pay scales, combining and eliminating jobs, undermining seniority and transfer rights, and imposing unbearable work schedules and overtime.

* These arrogant takeback demands have raised the workers' wrath. Their stand is clear-cut: they will not sacrifice hard-won gains for the profits of the AT&T billionaires. They are fighting these concessions and are making their own demands for improvements in their wages, pensions and other benefits, and for work rule improvements. And one of the foremost demands of the workers is for measures to protect their job security.

The Workers' Struggle for Job Security

The combined impact of the economic crisis, rapid automation, and feverish speedup and productivity drives have cracked any illusion that at AT&T the workers are assured job security. Over the last three years at Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of the system, 40,000 jobs have been lost, which is nearly a fourth of Western Electric's total work force. In phone service, too, layoffs are taking their toll. Recently in New York City 400 international operators' jobs were eliminated. What's more, with the divestiture coming up at the first of the year, AT&T and the local Bell operations are cooking up plans to eliminate large numbers of installers and other phone workers.

The workers are demanding real measures to safeguard their jobs. Resisting the takebacks that the company is seeking in work rule changes is an important part of this fight. The workers are also demanding other guarantees such as the retraining of current employees to fill jobs in new technology; prohibiting the subcontracting out of work; and extending and expanding supplemental income, health care and other benefits for the laid off.

More Takebacks In the Local Contracts

According to press reports, AT&T's national negotiators are stonewalling the workers' demands on work rules and job security with the device that these issues should be dealt with at the local level where contracts are also being negotiated. This way the company wants to break up the workers' resistance and wear down one section of workers after another. The management is certainly no more reasonable at the local level than the national. On the contrary, at the local level, too, management is unleashing a host of takebacks and other attacks on the workers.

At New York Telephone, for example, the company wants to introduce staggered tours (e.g., 8 to 5 on Monday, 9 to 6 on Tuesday, 7 to 4 on Wednesday, etc.) and to reintroduce split tours (e.g., work from 8 to 12 noon and then come back for 5 to 9). The company is also demanding a series of takebacks in transfer and seniority rights and in grievance procedures.

For the telephone workers such work rule changes and related issues, both local and national, are fighting issues. AT&T is run on what resembles military lines. The workers are regimented and pressed to a degree that would be unheard of in many other industries. The new computers and other technology being brought in, far from lightening work loads, are being used to monitor and keep a record of the workers' every move. Down to the second, computers set the high speed pace of the workers' labor.

In the face of monitoring, harassment and on-the-job pressure, the phone workers must wage a daily struggle just to breathe. And the buildup of this pressure has stiffened the workers' determination to fight and win this strike against the AT&T slave drivers.

The Splitting Up of AT&T and the Workers' Struggle

Looming in the background of the present strike is the approaching split up of AT&T at the end of this year. AT&T is trying to intimidate the workers with fairy tales about the "uncertainty" of the company's future. But there are a couple of things about this breakup which are just about as certain as the proverbial "death and taxes."

AT&T will remain one of the biggest and most profitable of all the capitalist monopolies. Just by keeping its highly lucrative long distance operations, let alone its other big and profitable operations, AT&T is assured of its place at the peak of the corporate heap. In fact, the terms of the divestiture provide that AT&T can keep raking in billions from long distance while being freed of the need to spend anything at all to maintain the local telephone networks.

The main expense of maintaining the local telephone networks will fall on 22 regional companies that will be set up. But don't cry too hard for them either. They will make out like bandits by raising the phone rates sky high. The Federal Communications Commission has already ruled in favor of an immediate extra $2 monthly fee on residential service when the split-up comes. And it is predicted that home phone rates could double or even triple in the coming year. The New York Times reports AT&T Chairman, Charles Brown, as saying "even if local rates doubled it would not be a disaster, since phone rates are so cheap anyway." (July 17, 1983) But if they are "so cheap," Mr. Fat Monopolist, why is it also projected that 10 to 15% of all users will no longer be able to afford their bill and will be forced to drop phone service?

In short, there is no "uncertainty" about the fact that AT&T and the phone companies will continue their operations; and they will continue to make big monopoly profits from the exploitation of their workers and from price gouging to rob the working people.

Meanwhile, the company is striving to use the breakup to undermine the workers' united resistance. The last system-wide strike against AT&T was the six-day walkout in 1971. Among the gains of this strike has been that subsequently all the AT&T telephone workers have been working under a single nationally negotiated contract. (In these negotiations they are represented by three unions: Communications Workers of America with 525,000 members; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with 100,000 members; and the Telecommunications International Union with 50,000 members.)

With the divestiture AT&T wants to split up this powerful front of the workers and force them to negotiate separate contracts with each of the 22 local companies. This divide and rule scheme will pose a serious challenge to the workers.

The Workers Have the Power to Defeat the Takebacks and Win Their Demands

If you listen to AT&T and the capitalist news media they will tell you that this is not like the strikes of old. Times have changed, they say, and today in high tech companies like AT&T, striking workers have little power when they face advanced technology. But this is only so much lying propaganda to frighten the weak-nerved.

As long as the workers' ranks are solid they have the power to beat back the concessions and win their demands. Time is on their side. True, the company may be able to keep basic service operating for the time being with their supervisors and computers. But let's just see how long AT&T can hold out before the supervisors start collapsing at their work stations from exhaustion and the whole system starts to fall apart for lack of attention and maintenance.

The workers are ready for a serious struggle. They are defending their picket lines against the strikebreaking attacks of the company and the capitalist police. Now the phone workers in New Jersey and elsewhere are confronted with the struggle against court injunctions that are being handed down against mass picketing. The key to victory is that the phone workers stick to their militant traditions of mass struggle and refuse to knuckle under before the pressure of AT&T and the capitalist government which always serves the strikebreaking of the capitalist moneybags.

The greatest threat to the phone workers' struggle comes from the Trojan Horses within their own ranks. The traitorous labor bureaucrats, with CWA President Glenn Watts at their head, must not be trusted for an instant. These labor fakers are going to do everything they can to take the steam out of the workers' struggle and to seek the blessed "labor management cooperation" that they are so fond of. The phone workers must be on their guard to turn down any attempts of the union chieftains to call off the struggle and reach a sellout compromise before the takebacks are defeated and the workers' demands are met.

The telephone workers have taken a bold step. Their battle against the monster AT&T monopoly is part of the working class struggle against the capitalists' takeback offensive. It deserves the firm support of the workers in all industries.

Solidarity with the striking telephone workers!

[Photo: Striking Bell Telephone workers picket in Manhattan.]

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Working class must greet "recovery" with struggle

As the economic depression has lasted on and on, the capitalist press and the Reagan administration have kept reassuring the workers that better times were yet to come. Keep faith in us, shouted these bloated moneybags. Stay the course. You may be out of work now, they said, but good times will come and trickle down to you.

Well, now the long-promised "good times" have allegedly come. The Reaganite clowns and their well-paid apologists are all cackling that the economy is allegedly on the rebound. Recovery is allegedly here. Why, the empty-headed faker Reagan himself announced at a luncheon a few days ago that there were only "pockets" of bad unemployment still left in America. (New York Times, August 6, 1983, p. 7)

Yet the government itself admits that over 10.6 million workers still walk the streets looking for work, and the real figure is closer to 15 million. Millions upon millions of workers waste days at a time waiting in long lines to receive miserable benefits -- if they are lucky enough to get any unemployment insurance or other funds to tide them over. Tens of millions of workers on the job watch their wages being slashed. Millions upon millions of workers and unemployed face the future and wonder: how shall we get through the next day?

In these conditions, the arrogant Reaganites are only condemning themselves and their beloved profit system out of their own mouths when they dance and prance about "recovery." For they have thus admitted that ten million unemployed (really 15 million) is "recovery." Ten million unemployed is not just a temporary "recession." It is not just a passing nightmare. It is the reality of modern American capitalism in the 1980's; it is the reality of "recovery." Ten million unemployed -- or, they say, maybe if the workers are real polite and starve patiently for another year or two, "only" eight or nine million unemployed -- that is the good cheer that the capitalist spokesmen offer the working people as "recovery."

Workers! Unemployed! Think over this bitter lesson that your enemies, the Reaganites, are themselves so eager to shout about. It shows that there is no use waiting for "recovery." "Recovery" is here -- and it resembles nothing so much as permanent depression.

Karl Marx has been proved right once again. Under capitalism, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The "recovery" brings a stream of golden profits to the millionaires, while poverty hits new highs. Only the mass resistance of the working class prevents it from being reduced to abject degradation.

The only way to survive is to wage mass struggle against the capitalist overlords. Fight for jobs or livelihood or the unemployed! Fight against wage cuts and concessions! Fight for public education and other essential social services! Let all working people close their ranks to present a solid front against the capitalist offensive!

But as long as capitalism exists, exploitation, misery and oppression will remain. The workers must use the struggle against the capitalist offensive to organize themselves and to learn who their friends are and their enemies are. All the capitalist parties, the Democrats as well as the Republicans, must be exposed as the hypocritical tools of Reaganite reaction, as the enemies of the working people, while we must unite with the working people of all lands as our allies and brothers in the struggle for a new life. The struggle against the capitalist offensive must be used as a means to prepare to eliminate the obsolete system of capitalist exploitation and oppression, the obsolete system of production for the private profit of a handful of fatcat exploiters, and replace it with the only system worthy of an enlightened and industrious working class, the only system able to overcome economic depression, incessant warmongering, and filthy racism, the only system worthy of dedicating one's life to -- socialism!

The capitalists have given the challenge: either fight or starve. The answer must be the class struggle leading to the socialist revolution.

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A vicious scheme to squeeze the teachers

No to the "Merit Pay" Fraud!

Every fall, in school districts across the country, school teachers take to the streets in hard fought strikes. To their just demands for better pay and working conditions the government inevitably responds with court injunctions, jailings and mass firings. The public is told by the capitalist officials and media that the teachers must be put down with an iron fist because their allegedly "greedy" demands are bankrupting school districts and robbing tax money.

That's why it is more than a little ironic that the President's commission on education now reports that low teacher pay is a major factor in the decline of education; and that today the same government officials and the same media spokesmen, who are always so eager for crushing teachers' strikes, are bemoaning low morale, the record high turnover rate, and other problems associated with the plight of the teachers.

The lies about the "greedy" teachers are falling to pieces because, among other things, their situation has grown so severe. Their starting pay is a miserable $12,800 on a national average. Moreover, between 1971 and 1981 the average pay for all teachers in constant 1981 dollars declined by 14% or $2,500 per year. (Estimates by the National Center for Education Statistics, cited in U.S. News and World Report, March 14,1983)

Low pay, however, is only one part of the story. The teachers are being strapped with unbearable overwork, with bigger class sizes and more assignments and other duties. They also face stepped-up harassment and job insecurity with firings and mass layoffs.

Government budget cuts and strong-arm tactics have pushed the teachers against the wall. Only their spirited and militant struggles over the years for better pay and working conditions have prevented their situation from being far worse than it is.

But, despite their hypocritical words of pity for the teachers, the capitalist politicians and officials have no plans for a general pay increase for the teachers, or for hiring back the laid off, or for reducing class sizes, or for providing them with job security. On the contrary, under the signboard of improving teaching standards, they are cooking up a thousand and one new schemes to squeeze the teachers even harder. Merit pay is one such scheme that is being pushed to the fore by Reagan, the National Governors Association, and a battery of education officials.

The Tennessee "Master Teacher" Plan

The Reaganite merit pay ideal is total arbitrary power in the hands of the administrators over the teachers. Most important is the power to override any tenure rights and fire teachers at will, and to ''pay teachers what they're worth" without regard to seniority. However, the most heavily promoted merit pay system under consideration is the one being pushed by Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. The Tennessee plan is advertised as a relative model of moderation; it is something of a part-way measure on the road to a full-blown Reaganite merit pay system.

The Tennessee plan is based on a structure of four "career ladder" steps with different pay scales for each. In looking at this plan it should be kept in mind that the pay scales now being proposed are aimed at selling it as something beneficial for teachers. It can only be expected that after the proposal makes its way through legislation, cutbacks, etc., these pay scales will be even more miserable.

Under the proposal a new "apprentice teacher" will be paid the same as current starting pay, between $12,000 and $15,000 depending on the district. Creating this "apprentice" status will introduce a three-year trial period. "Apprentice teachers" who make it through such an outrageously long probation period will face a mandatory screening to determine their fate; either they will be allowed to go up the next step of the ladder or they will be dismissed.

The next level is a "professional teacher" who will earn an extra $1,000 a year. At this level teachers will have tenure rights, which in the public schools simply means that teachers can't be fired without showing special cause. It provides no security from layoffs. After at least three years a "professional teacher" will go through another screening to determine if he or she is allowed to pass up the ladder or will stay at the same level.

"Senior teachers" will work an extra one or two months a year and, depending on whether they have 10 or 11-month contracts, will earn $2,000 or $4,000 more.

After five years as a "senior teacher," that means a minimum of nine total years on the job, a teacher will become eligible to become a "master teacher." Only a select few will be allowed to pass to that level. "Master teachers" will work 10, 11 or 12 months a year and earn an extra $3,000, $5,000 or $7,000 respectively.

Of course, this "career ladder" goes down too. Periodic screening of all teachers will judge whether they go up, stay where they are, or get demoted to a lower level.

What will be the net effect of introducing such a system?

First of all, it will lock the great majority of teachers into the same low pay. While the "master teachers" and some of the "senior teachers" may earn a little more than under the present seniority-based pay scales, most of any increase will simply be compensation for adding two or three months to their work year.

The grand promise that such merit pay schemes will open up broad new vistas for the teachers -- attract new talent, stimulate the teachers to excel,, and so one and so forth -- is simply a hoax. Merit pay will dish out a little treat to a handful and the same gruel to everyone else. It is estimated that, at the level of budgeting that is being proposed for the Tennessee plan, a maximum of 15% of the state's total number of teachers will be "master teachers" at any one time. In other words, it will be determined beforehand that at a given time, no matter how talented or meritorious they might be, less than 15 teachers out of a hundred will be allowed through the gates of this merit pay heaven.

Furthermore, the Tennessee system will strengthen the arbitrary dictate of the administrators over the teachers. While "master teachers" will also be involved in the process of review over the other teachers, in reality it will be officials and administrators which will have the say on whether an apprentice is fired, or whether a teacher with many years of experience will be held at near starting pay or demoted.

The supposed idea of the merit system is that it will reward the best qualified and dedicated teachers and bring pressure on the rest to improve. But in reality it is a formula for rewarding cronyism and for cracking down on any teachers who rock the boat. Militant or progressive teachers who come into conflict with the administration over working conditions or reactionary educational policies will bear the brunt of the screening process to determine promotions, demotions and firings.

Such a system aims at busting up the solidarity of the teachers' ranks and undermining their resistance. When budget crunch time comes around, just imagine how many fewer teachers the school boards will allow up the "career ladder." In the meantime, by investing a few million now to bring up a relatively small number of "master teachers," the government hopes to gain a weapon to help break strikes and further cut the pay of most of the teachers down the road. (It has yet to be judged in the courts whether a "master teacher," given his responsibilities screening the other teachers, will be barred by law from participating in teachers' unions or from honoring teachers' picket lines.)

For a Real Improvement for the Teachers

Far from improving the lot of the teachers and thereby improving education, merit pay is just another Reaganite measure against the teachers and education. The vital interests of the teachers and of the children of the working people that they teach demands a real and general improvement in the pay and working conditions for all the teachers.

Whether an apprentice or a master in ability and training, no teacher can teach properly when forced to work nights at a second job just to make ends meet. No teacher can properly teach elementary school students to read when class sizes swell to 35 to 40 students and beyond. No teacher can teach properly when under the gun of job insecurity and harassment and with unlimited power over what takes place in the classroom in the hands of administrators and bureaucrats.

The teachers must close their ranks and resist merit pay or any similar schemes. They must step up their mass struggles against low pay, overwork, harassment, firings and layoffs, The working class should lend this struggle their arm of solidarity because the Reaganite onslaught against the teachers is part of the capitalist offensive against all the working people.

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AFT Boss Shanker Licks Reagan's Boots

The Reagan administration is heading up an all-sided assault on education. It is striving to saddle the teachers with strikebreaking merit pay systems and to saddle the schools with a reactionary agenda of cutbacks, ignorance and racism. Naturally the teachers themselves should form a bulwark of opposition to this Reaganite onslaught. But the top bureaucrats of the teachers unions are on their knees before Reagan. In particular, the 67th annual convention of the American Federation of teachers, held in Los Angeles during the first week of July, was one of the most shameless displays imaginable of belly-crawling before the Reaganite reactionaries.

AFT President Albert Shanker invited Reagan himself to address the convention. And Shanker made it clear that the AFT leadership will support Reagan's reactionary educational reforms. He praised Reagan's speech for doing "a good job of outlining the areas of agreement"; and later he warned that "Even with issues that we strongly disagree with, we have to ask ourselves what the consequences are of fighting against them." (From the convention's "Daily Summary of Proceedings")

Shanker Stomps for Saddling the Teachers With Merit Pay

The AFT chieftains represent the narrowest professional interests of a reactionary, bureaucratized crust. So it is not surprising that they stand with Reagan in blaming the rank-and-file teachers and the students for the crisis in education. From this reactionary standpoint, improving education doesn't mean resisting the onslaught of the capitalist government on the schools and teachers, but further clamping down on the teachers and students alike.

Shanker used the convention platform to stump for a series of new measures to squeeze the teachers. Most significantly, Shanker appealed for the teachers to give up their historic opposition to strikebreaking and pay-cutting merit pay schemes. Like Reagan, Shanker argues that merit pay and other steps to give administrators a free hand in setting pay levels, screening, testing, and firing teachers, is what's most essential to improving teaching quality. He is eager for such a crackdown on the teachers, but has no enthusiasm for real improvements in the schools. Fighting against low pay for all the teachers, or oversized classes, or the shortage of books, or teacher layoffs -- these are not the type of reforms on Shanker's agenda.

Shanker boasts that "the AFT is the one teachers union that is truly on the cutting edge of educational reform" -- that is, Reaganite and anti-teacher reforms such as merit pay. But it should be noted that the leaders of the other teachers union, the National Education Association, are not too far behind oh the merit pay issue. The NEA bureaucrats have begun to back down from their longstanding official opposition to such schemes. At their annual convention held last month in Philadelphia, the NEA leaders announced for the first time that "they will seriously review and consider plans" for merit pay. (New York Times, June 30,1983)

More Police Measures Against the Students

After Reagan's speech to the convention, Shanker told reporters that "the President's speech is unique in that it addressed issues such as student discipline and bilingual education." Indeed, along with Reagan, Shanker is crusading for a disciplinary crackdown on the students. "Removing disruptive students from the classroom," Shanker lectured at the convention, "is the single most important thing that can be done to maintain parental support of schools." Where Shanker wants these "disruptive students" to go (the street? prison?) is left unsaid.

And he also fails to mention that the cutbacks, the oversized classes, the overwork of teachers, the elimination of extracurricular activities and special programs and instruction, are all factors compounding problems of disruption among the students. But instead of addressing such underlying factors, reactionaries like Shanker want to come down on the students with police measures and expulsions. This is a formula for turning the schools into disciplinary camps for the regimentation of the youth, not for improving education.

Racism and War

As noted above, Shanker was also particularly gleeful that Reagan spoke against bilingual education. In fact, not unlike Reagan, Shanker is a died-in-the-wool racist against the blacks, the Latinos and the other oppressed nationalities. Besides joining with the chief bigot Reagan on the question of bilingual education, Shanker also went out of his way at the convention to express his agreement with Reagan's racist stand on affirmative action quotas and to endorse Reagan's recent move to pack the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights with his loyal segregationists.

At the convention the AFT bureaucrats also expressed their support for Reagan's drive for "a strong national defense." And they did their best to whitewash this frenzied militarism with lying fairy tales about how the military buildup need not be carried out at the crushing expense of the working people. They also voiced their enthusiasm for U.S. intervention in Central America and for other high crimes of U.S. imperialism.

What's more, the AFT bosses want to stress the value of education to the war buildup. Their legislation committee recommended a resolution "to study linkage between American education needs, especially in the areas of science, math, languages, and technical skills, and our future defense capabilities and to propose special programs and incentives to encourage the development of these studies at the elementary, secondary and university levels."

This resolution provides a glimpse at what really preoccupies these AFT bureaucrats. They are so hot for war that they frankly call for improving education for the sake of the military buildup. For these hard-boiled reactionaries, the idea of education for the cultural enlightenment of the people is an outdated and sentimental prejudice. Rather education must be given a more purposeful, profitable and higher aim like better nuclear weapons and better soldiers for "future defense capabilities."

Flunkies of the Democratic Party Dancing to Reagan's Tune

At first glance it may seem contradictory. The AFT leadership is controlled by right-wing social-democrats who hold an important place in the Democratic Party. So why did they bring the hated Reagan to their convention over the protests of their members and lavish him with so much praise? In the present-day political climate, however, this is not so very contradictory. What the convention once again confirmed is that the Democratic Party and its allies are dancing to Reagan's tune.

The AFT leaders' adaptation to Reaganism was clearly spelled out in their strategy for electing a Democrat in '84. According to Shanker, all the actions of the teachers should be subordinated to the paramount task of a Democratic victory. But to do this Shanker warned that he had some "hard things to say." This, he explained, was that you cannot appeal to liberal issues if Reagan is to be beat. Rather you must appeal to those who voted for Reagan before by, among other things, supporting Reagan's racist stands in opposition to affirmative action, and cooperating with the Reaganite agenda for "a return to standards" in education.

Let us beat Reagan at his own game, these flunkeys of the Democratic Party reason, by placing ourselves at "the cutting edge" of the Reaganite attacks on the working people.

The rank-and-file teachers must take up the banner of struggle against the capitalist onslaught against the teachers and education. This struggle demands a radical rupture with the interests of the bureaucratic scum who link themselves to capitalist reaction (and want links to the Pentagon!) against the teachers and students. This struggle demands a radical break with the policy of loyalty to the monopoly capitalist political parties; their policy of allegiance to the Democrats has plunged the AFT chieftains deep into the Reaganite swamp.

For the teachers to wage an effective struggle they must link up with the progressive and revolutionary interests of the working and downtrodden masses. They must give their allegiance to building up the independent political movement of the working class.

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No to the Simpson-Mazzoli bill:

Defend the undocumented immigrant workers!

On May 18 the Senate overwhelmingly passed the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli bill by a vote of 76-18. A similar version of this bill in the House of Representatives is still pending. The Simpson-Mazzoli bill, officially known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1983, is being trumpeted as controlling the influx of immigrants into the U.S., but in a "humane" way which helps alleviate the wretched conditions of life of the undocumented immigrants. But an examination of this bill shows that far from being "humane," it is a plan for even more ruthless persecution and exploitation of the immigrants by the capitalist bloodsuckers.

This legislation is a major attack on immigrant workers and is part of the capitalist offensive against all the working masses. It is vital that the workers and progressive people expose and combat this bill and take up the weapon of mass struggle in defense of the immigrant workers.

The basic features of the present bill were contained in the Carter administration's immigration reform proposals of 1977. Reagan gave new momentum to pushing these same reforms with his immigration proposals of July, 1981. In the Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and Reaganites put their heads together to produce the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. Their first version of the bill got bogged down in congressional squabbling last year. And now they have floated the 1983 version of this bipartisan anti-immigrant bill with high hopes of passing both houses of Congress.

An "Amnesty" to Legalize Super-Exploitation

The capitalist politicians are peddling their bill as a kind-hearted gesture which grants "amnesty" to the so-called "illegal" workers and relieves them from the torturous life of illegality. Indeed the conditions of life for the undocumented workers are brutal. They live in constant fear that they will be swept up and deported by "La Migra," agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). With this fear hanging over their heads, the undocumented workers are forced to accept the most intolerable and degrading working conditions, sub-minimum wages, etc.

But the amnesty program will only make life worse for the immigrants.

First of all, there are a series of stringent conditions set for qualifying for amnesty. For one thing, the immigrant must be able to document that he or she has lived continuously in the U.S. since 1977 to get "permanent residency," or before 1980 to receive "temporary resident" status.

But even if eligible, for an immigrant who for years has been living an illegal existence, proving these continuous residency requirements will be a very difficult task. Even the government projects that only a small minority of the undocumented will be able to pass the stringent conditions to qualify for legal status. Most will just remain undocumented. Why apply for amnesty when you will probably be refused and will have in effect merely turned yourself in for deportation?

Meanwhile those who succeed in qualifying for legal status can expect only further hardships. "Temporary residents" will be excluded from any federal social programs, including food stamps, welfare and medical assistance. State and local governments would also be allowed to deny them unemployment insurance and other benefit programs. The same exclusions would apply for the first three years of "permanent resident" status under the amnesty program as well. At the same time both categories will have to pay all taxes.

What's more, the amnestied workers will be closely watched by "La Migra," and the threat of losing their legal status and deportation will still hang over their heads. To get involved in the struggle against the capitalist exploiters or the repressive government, or to in any other way "get out of line," could jeopardize their legal status.

Only after a long three years of such a life will "temporary residents" be able to apply for "permanent resident" status. But they can be turned down and then face deportation with no right of appeal. Those who achieve "permanent resident" status will then need five more years to be eligible to apply for citizenship.

In short, this amnesty system will legalize super-exploitation; it will create a caste of workers who will be stripped of all rights and forced into the worst poverty. But, of course, this "humane" treatment will only apply to those who can meet the requirements of the amnesty program.

More Deportations and "La Migra" Terror

Millions of others will remain undocumented and will face more severe persecution and exploitation then ever. The Simpson-Mazzoli bill allocates $35 million to beef up the border patrol police and other enforcement agencies. Over 100,000 immigrants were arrested in April 1983 alone. And now the racist authorities will have even more resources to hound, arrest and deport immigrants.

In addition the bill creates a streamlined deportation process for those requesting political asylum. This will make it easier for the government to hand over opponents of various U.S.- backed fascist regimes to hangmen rulers of those countries. The new law will hit the half a million Salvadoran refugees in the U.S. especially hard. Faced with the powerful revolutionary struggle in El Salvador, the U.S. government has deported thousands of these refugees to the tender mercies of the Salvadoran "death squad" regime.

Another reactionary measure of the Senate bill is the imposition of a strict yearly cap of 425,000 on legal immigration except for political refugees. The previous caps did not cover members of the immediate families. However, the new cap will and therefore will drastically cut legal immigration and will mean that many families will be permanently split up.

Fines for Hiring Immigrant Workers and a National ID System

A key feature of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill is the provisions for fining employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. The employers will be fined $1,000 per worker for the first violation, $2,000 per worker for the second, and further penalties for subsequent infractions.

For the undocumented, such fines will further push them into the very worst jobs, at the lowest pay and the most backbreaking and hazardous conditions. They will be another set of chains holding the undocumented in the nether world of sweatshops and farm labor camps where they are worked like slaves.

Undoubtedly some employers will stop hiring the undocumented, not wanting to risk fines. But many other profit-hungry capitalists, who grow fat by paying sub-minimum wages for the most grueling labor, will try to make up any loss from such fines by enforcing even more severe exploitation. It is reported that in the Los Angeles area there are employers who are already skimming money from undocumented workers' wages in anticipation of covering any fines that might come down if Simpson-Mazzoli becomes law.

In addition employer fines will intensify discrimination in employment against any Puerto Rican, Mexican or other national minority worker even if that worker is a U.S. citizen. The capitalists could simple excuse racist hiring practices by claiming that a worker was "foreign looking."

Under the pretense of avoiding this sort of discrimination against non-immigrant workers, the bill calls for the development of a national ID card. The Senate Judiciary Committee and other sponsors of the bill swear that the new law has no intention of creating a national ID card. But this is a blatant lie. In fact the bill specifically orders the President to implement within three years "a secure system to determine employment eligibility in the United States" such as a "document" which "must be in a form which is resistant to counterfeiting and tampering."

The purpose of such a national ID card would be to create a tracking system to persecute immigrants, militant workers, revolutionary activists, etc. While the ID system is being worked out, employers will be required to keep records on the citizenship status of workers, thus initiating the tracking process.

The authors of the bill deny that they are advocating a national ID card on the grounds that the ID would not have to be carried at all times but only presented to employers when applying for a job. How comforting! The ID "only" has to be presented by every worker to the capitalist employers as if they were not the very ones who discriminate against and blacklist foreign-born and militant workers. And once such an ID system is in place, there is nothing preventing it from becoming a weapon in the hands of the police and the FBI. This is a step on the road of setting up an internal passport system like the one which is used to clamp down on the non-white majority in South Africa; but in the U.S. case it would be applied against all the working and oppressed masses.

The Liberal Democrats and the AFL-CIO Leaders Stump for Anti-Immigrant Measures

The passage of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill was warmly greeted by Reagan. But the Reaganites are not alone in their crusade against the immigrants. The Democrats, including their liberal "left wing," have also been in the forefront of attacking the immigrants. Many Democratic liberals voted for the bill. Meanwhile Kennedy and others, who voted against it and claim to oppose it, actually stand in favor of the bill's basic reactionary features and only quibble over secondary details.

The bill's sponsors even incorporated several Kennedy amendments into their code. For example, the bill now provides for streamlined deportation, but with a "judicial review" process as recommended by Kennedy. The bill calls on the president to develop a national ID system. But a Kennedy-backed amendment allows the system to be rejected by a vote of both houses of Congress unless that system is based on upgrading an already existing document such as the Social Security card. What a transparent fraud! Instead of opposing persecution of the immigrants, the Kennedyites merely wish to provide a deceptive sugarcoating of "reform" to prettify this persecution.

Not surprisingly, the AFL-CIO chieftains are also fervently in favor of persecuting the immigrants. These diehard racist labor bureaucrats are trying to whip up chauvinist hysteria against the immigrant workers, falsely blaming them for massive unemployment. The labor fakers have long complained that the Simpson-Mazzoli bill does "not go far enough" in attacking the immigrants. Blinded by bigotry, the AFL-CIO bosses won't be satisfied until every immigrant worker has been thrown out of their jobs and crushed under the police boot. This is why, among other things, they are demanding bigger employer penalties for hiring the undocumented. (See AFL-CIO News, May 21,1983, p. 3)

This stand of the AFL-CIO leaders is an utter disgrace. It is the capitalists who are throwing the workers into the streets by the millions. And it is none other than the AFL-CIO honchos who bow down to every job-eliminating demand of the capitalists. By blaming the immigrants for unemployment, the AFL-CIO leaders merely seek to divert the struggle against the true cause of unemployment, the money-grubbing capitalists.

The Simpson-Mazzoli bill is nothing but a brutal attack on immigrant workers and the entire working class. It is clear that the workers and all progressive people must fight this bill tooth and nail.

Whether undocumented or documented, whether born abroad or native-born, whether relative newcomers or descendents of those who came in the Mayflower or the holds of slave ships or the original native peoples, all workers in this country form part of a single working class. Our stand must be that all workers must enjoy full and equal rights. When the capitalists arbitrarily define one section of the workers as "illegal" or force them into a subcaste to be super-exploited and denied all rights, this is a challenge to all the workers. When one section of the working class is singled out for starvation wages, inhuman working conditions and government persecution, this means the rich are better able to drive all workers towards the same fate. It is vital to fight for the complete elimination of all special oppression and persecution of the immigrant workers.

In response to the divide-and-conquer plans of the Simpson-Mazzoli bill the immigrant and non-immigrant workers must unite as one and wage mass struggle against this fascist legislation. Already the working masses are showing they will not take these attacks lying down. On June 11, for example, a militant demonstration of some 3,000 in Los Angeles condemned the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. In this struggle the capitalist parties, Republicans and Democrats, must be exposed as parties of rabid racism and barbaric exploitation. The AFL-CIO labor traitors must be fought as well. In the face of this unholy alliance of capital, only a powerful mass struggle can beat back the attacks being launched against the immigrant workers.

[Photo: 3,000 people marched through downtown Los Angeles June 11 to denounce the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli bill.]

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Filling the dungeons of fascist Marcos and reactionary tyrants the world over

Down with Reagan's extradition "reform"

The Reagan administration is striving to establish new extradition procedures in order to further prop up the fascist Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. The new measures are aimed especially against the Filipino opponents of the Marcos dictatorship who are living in the U.S. Reagan wants to ship them to the Philippines to face the jails, torture chambers and firing squads of the Marcos regime.

To this end the U.S. and the Philippines signed an extradition treaty in 1981. But when this treaty was submitted for ratification in the Senate, it was held up because its provisions conflicted with existing extradition laws. In order to solve this dilemma the Extradition Reform Act of 1983 (Senate bill 220 and House bill 2643) was introduced before Congress early this year. This bill calls for changing current extradition laws so that they are in line with the U.S.-Philippines treaty.

However these extradition laws affect not just immigrants from the Philippines, but all immigrants from any land ruled by pro-U.S. imperialist tyranny. Today the U.S. government already deports as many Salvadoran refugees as it can back to face the wrath of the death squad regime, but these bills will extend the arm of the death squads even deeper into the U.S. It will facilitate returning anti-apartheid fighters to the dungeons and firing squads in racist South Africa. The Haitian tyranny is also likely to show interest in using these bills to oppress the Haitian refugees who have fled to the U.S.

In anticipation of the new law Marcos has already presented the Reagan administration with a list of political opponents he wants extradited.

Reagan Lends a Hand to the Marcos Dictatorship

With these measures U.S. imperialism is lending a helping hand to the regime of open terror in the Philippines. For nearly a decade the brutal repression of the Marcos regime was carried out under the notorious martial law. In January 1981 martial law was formally abolished, but in fact the same tyranny continued. Marcos issued secret decrees which have assured that absolute dictatorial powers remain in his hands. The decrees declared that writings or speeches which "tend to stir up the people against the lawful authorities" are punishable by death. The same penalty applies to organizers of public rallies against Marcos or of labor actions. Likewise publishers who allow their facilities to print materials criticizing Marcos can also be sentenced to die. The decrees also authorize trial in absentia for anti-Marcos forces living overseas and allow the Filipino authorities to confiscate their property in the Philippines.

The fascist decrees of Marcos are designed to help suppress the broad opposition to his rule. First and foremost, Marcos is trying to quell the large revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants. Presently, armed revolutionary forces are operating throughout the country. This revolutionary armed struggle is hitting the dictatorship with stronger and stronger blows and is the number one target of Marcos' repression. But even the bourgeois liberal opposition are often targets of the dictatorship. However the U.S. government may decide to shield those of Marcos' opponents who are most pro-U.S. imperialist and most opposed to revolutionary change in order to have them in reserve.

Reagan is backing the Marcos tyranny to the hilt as the guard dog of U.S. imperialist interests. The Philippines is an important neo-colonial outpost of U.S. imperialism. Major U.S. military bases ring the Philippines including the Subic Bay Naval Base, the largest U.S. naval installation outside of the U.S. U.S. multinational companies reap fat profits off the sweat of "cheap" Filipino labor. Marcos loyally protects these interests, and U.S. imperialism has always spared no expense in propping up his dictatorship with economic and military aid. And now Reagan and the Congress are pushing for new extradition procedures to help Marcos wipe out his opponents.

Dictatorial Bills That Abolish All Rights

The extradition reform bills before Congress are blatantly fascist laws. They do not even bother with the pretense of giving a "fair hearing" to extradition candidates. Presently the court system determines whether an extradition request by a foreign government is for the purpose of political persecution and hence should be denied. Now even a hearing before these biased capitalist courts will not be allowed. The decision will, according to the bills, be made by the Secretary of State.

This shows that the U.S. government intends to decide these cases directly on political grounds and as part of foreign policy. The Secretary of State will naturally have as his first priority to defend the reactionary regimes supported by U.S. foreign policy and to get rid of all "troublemakers" who oppose U.S. imperialism.

The bills themselves emphasize that political repression is their purpose by specifying that no hard evidence need be submitted by foreign governments to prove that the people they want extradited have even committed a crime. The "evidence" against a person can be purely hearsay. The only thing required by the new proposals is that the foreign government name the alleged "criminal" and state why he should be arrested. The arrests can then be executed by the U.S. authorities.

Even if the foreign government doesn't go through this formality, the U.S. authorities can round up and hold someone for 60 days. Thus a person could be extradited "on request" simply on the "good word" of any fascist hangman regime. Plainly the Reagan administration is willing to abandon all "democratic" trappings in order to help his lackey Marcos.

By arresting and extraditing Marcos' opposition living in the U.S., Reagan hopes to hamper the just struggle of the Filipino people. But these new proposals will also make it easier to persecute all foreign nationals in the U.S. who oppose any of the reactionary pro-U.S. imperialist regimes. The political refugees in the U.S. fleeing the reactionary regimes play an important role in aiding the struggles in their homelands against local reaction and U.S. imperialism. And this work in support of the struggle against U.S.-backed reactionary regimes contributes to the development of the revolutionary movement inside the U.S.

With the new extradition proposals the Reagan administration can thus step up its efforts to disrupt the struggle against U.S. imperialism around the world and at home. But the fascist plans of Reagan will never succeed in preventing the working masses in the U.S. and in the neo-colonies from breaking the enslaving chains of U.S. imperialism.


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Hypocrisy of the 'nuclear freeze' leaders exposed again

Kennedy and friends lobby for nuclear-armed warships

[Chicago Anti-Imperialist Newsletter masthead.]

(The following article is reprinted from the Chicago Anti-Imperialist Newsletter, July 9, 1983.)

The U.S. Navy is refitting an old battleship, the Iowa, for cruise missiles. A group of support ships will sail with it: together they will form what the Pentagon calls a "surface action group" which will carry nearly 100 cruise missiles.

Senator Edward Kennedy, Tip O'Neill and other leading advocates of a nuclear freeze from the Northeast have all been lobbying heavily since mid-June to have these ships based in a port in their area. According to these proponents of a nuclear freeze there is no contradiction between being for a freeze and wanting a nuclear missile-equipped ship based in a port in their area. And in fact there isn't!

The freeze proposal merely consists of the polite suggestion that a message be sent to Reagan and Andropov asking these good men to start negotiations for a freeze on the further production of nuclear weapons.

The activity of these leading Congressional freeze advocates reveals a basic truth about such a freeze. It will be a mere scrap of paper! The freeze will consist of peace talks for show while the arsenals keep on being expanded.

However, a top aide of one Massachusetts congressman engaged in lobbying for the port admitted: "Frankly, we don't like to advertise what we are doing, because we don't want to upset the nuclear freeze people [meaning the masses indignant over the issue of the nuclear arms race -- ed.]." ("Nuclear Fleet Thaws Nuclear Freeze Leaders," Chicago Tribune, June 16,1983)

This is a revealing admission. They don't want it exposed that their so- called "anti-nuclear" stance is a fake.

The nuke freeze leaders are perpetuating a criminal hoax upon the people. They try to give the impression that the nuke freeze proposals and endless SALT-type talks such as those recently resumed in Geneva are somehow opposed to U.S. imperialism's war preparations. In the pages of The Workers' Advocate, the Chicago Anti-Imperialist Newsletter and other publications giving vigorous opposition to the imperialist warmongers this fraud has been exposed at every turn. Now with their own rotten shenanigans these Democratic Party nuke freeze kingpin liars are exposed again as nothing but imperialist hypocrites.

[Photo: A section off the march of 3,000 people who demonstrated on June 20 against the Livermore nuclear weapons labs in the San Francisco Bay Area. A blockade of the labs also took place. Over a thousand activists were arrested and kept imprisoned for days by the police and courts.]

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While huge profits roll in

Chrysler is out for more concessions

On July 27 bargaining for an early contract broke down between the UAW bureaucrats and the Chrysler moneybags. Immediately the UAW hacks began posturing with militant-sounding rhetoric charging that Chrysler did not want the workers "to share in Chrysler's success." Lee Iaccoca, Chrysler's chairman, also soon began his own song and dance complaining that Chrysler had been wronged and that he too wants the workers to get their "fair share" in Chrysler's prosperity. He declared to the Detroit News (July 29, 1983) that his offer of $1.41 an hour over two years "wasn't a penny-ante offer. It was big money." Such touching generosity to workers who have given up billions of dollars in concessions has not been seen since Marie Antoinette offered the French peasants cake.

This charade continues to date with Iaccoca and UAW president Bieber trying to outdo each other as the biggest champion of the workers. But behind all the posturing, the charges and countercharges, behind the hypocritical "concern" for fairness, it has become clear that both the Chrysler billionaires and the UAW bureaucrats are in fact proposing that the workers suffer another round of bloodsucking concessions sugarcoated by a piddling wage increase.

This is outrageous. No matter whether the concessions are proposed by Iaccoca or Bieber they can't be tolerated. The workers must have full parity with the Ford and GM workers now. It is time to put an end to all the rotten concessions.

The Greed of the Chrysler Capitalists Knows No Limits

Concessions have been a gold mine for Chrysler and its Wall Street backers.

Second quarter profits for this year have hit an all-time high of $310 million. The preferred stockholders of Chrysler will soon be paid $100 million in back dividends. Forty-nine top Chrysler executives are being rewarded with $61 million in stock options -- with Iaccoca himself getting up to $18 million!

The big banks have already raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in interest. And Chrysler is paying back the banks $1.5 billion in government guaranteed loans seven years early. The federal government is extracting its share with the upcoming sale of $14.4 million warrants for Chrysler stock.

On top of all this Chrysler has also been able to come up with $192 million to purchase the VW assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan and another $140 million to automate the plant to run with the smallest possible crew, thereby allowing them to eliminate more workers' jobs at older, "obsolete" plants.

The Chrysler executives, the stockholders, the financial parasites are all getting rich off the concessions picked from the workers' pockets. And now every capitalist journalist and big-mouthed economist is coming out of the woodwork to sing praises to Iaccoca and the Chrysler "miracle." They are portraying Chrysler as the model of how a "trimmed down" and "reindustrialized" corporation is the hope of the future.

The Chrysler "Miracle" Means Hell for the Workers

But what has the Chrysler "miracle" meant for the workers? Concessions have brought them nothing but disaster and ruin.

In the first place the workers have been forced to give up billions of dollars in wages and benefits over the last four years. Even now the wages of Chrysler workers are at least $2.41 an hour behind the pay of the GM and Ford workers, who themselves suffer from concessions.

As well, concessions have been used for enormous job elimination. In July 1979, before the first round of concessions, Chrysler employed 124,000 people. Today fewer than 70,000 have jobs. Those tens of thousands laid off have long ago exhausted even the help of supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) and unemployment insurance. Many have lost everything and now depend on soup kitchens and cheese lines to keep their families alive.

Furthermore, those still working face brutal overwork and forced overtime. The situation at Detroit's Jefferson Assembly Plant is typical: the lines have been sped up to as many as 74 cars an hour, jobs are being combined left and right, the workers face constant petty write-ups and other harassment, and they are forced to work nine hours, six days a week.

It is scandalous that while tens of thousands are laid off, the employed workers on the line are regularly forced to work anywhere from 54 to 60- hour weeks and others, like repairmen and stockmen, are pressed into 72- hour weeks.

Chrysler's enormous wealth is based on job elimination and the overwork and impoverishment of the workers. This situation cannot be tolerated any longer. It is time to mount a serious fight to put an end to the hated concessions to the auto monopolists.

Chrysler Demands That the Workers Trade Additional Concessions for a Crumb

But the Chrysler billionaires are still not satisfied. They want even more concessions. In the latest contract talks Chrysler's offer of a meager wage increase, which would still leave the workers way behind their counterparts at Ford and GM, was conditional on the workers going along with even deeper concessions on other fronts.

Iaccoca offered a total of $1.41 an hour pay increase by the end of a contract that would run to September, 1985. This would leave the Chrysler workers $1.00 an hour behind what the GM and Ford workers make right now. And the gap would widen as the GM and Ford workers received already scheduled COLA increases in the next 12 months and after the workers push through a rise in their base pay rate when their current concessions contract expires September 1984. Iaccoca's plan is simply to make the lower pay at Chrysler a permanent institution.

But what is more, Iaccoca demands that, for this miserly pay increase, the workers extend the other major concessions already in the present contract and take even deeper cuts in their COLA payment and in their health and medical benefits.

Since 1979 each worker has already given up at least $17,000 in concessions. But for $1.41 an hour Iaccoca expects everyone to forget about the old concessions and accept new ones besides!

UAW Hacks Demand Continued Concessions From the Workers Under a Fraudulent Call for Wage Parity

Iaccoca's offer was an outrage to the workers. And the top dogs of the UAW, sensing the fighting mood among the workers, broke off talks and struck a pose as the most militant warriors against concessions and the champions of parity.

Now this is the same UAW bureaucracy that for the last four years has saddled the workers with every new concession deal that Chrysler has asked for. So it should come as no great surprise that behind all of the sound and fury, their actual position at the bargaining table differed little from Iaccoca and that, in fact, they are working to impose further concessions on the workers.

According to the July 28 issue of the Detroit News, after Iaccoca made his proposal to the UAW contract bargainers, the UAW hacks:

* Agreed to extend all of the major concessions in the present contract for another two years, except for pay and pensions.

* Agreed to Iaccoca's proposal of a $1.41 wage increase by September, 1985.

* And disagreed with Chrysler only in that they wanted the restoration of 59 cents in COLA payments and opposed such deep cuts in health benefits and the COLA system.

Of course extending concessions is a far cry from putting an end to concessions. And a $2 increase in pay by 1985 does not come close to parity with GM and Ford. But then what can you expect from the lying union bureaucrats.

The UAW hacks are trying to raise double talk to a high art. Following the breakdown of talks Bieber and the director of UAW's Chrysler department, Marc Stepp, sent a letter to the rank and file which claims that the hacks demand "parity," but then redefines the word to mean a permanent wage gap.

The letter states, "our goal was a substantial immediate pay and pension increase, followed by achieving current parity with Ford and GM workers during the term of a new contract." (emphasis added) And they have made it clear that this means the Chrysler workers can forget about any COLA and base rate increases that the Ford and GM workers achieve in the next period. The UAW hacks will ask only that the Chrysler workers make at the end of the next contract what the Ford and GM workers make currently in mid-1983.

This is a mockery of the whole idea of fighting for parity. By this backward logic Bieber and Stepp could declare the goal of "parity" to be "parity" with Ford and GM workers' pay in 1975 or 1965 or any other arbitrary date.

The workers will not accept this sleight of hand. It is a cheap trick to create a permanent wage gap between the Chrysler workers and the workers at GM and Ford. The demand of the rank and file is for full parity. And they want it now, not in Bieber's never-never land.

Prepare for Battle Against the New Concessions Scheme

The latest scheme to extend and deepen concessions has collapsed. But all the old concessions are still in place and the workers' anger grows with each passing day. Iaccoca and the UAW bureaucrats are scared to death of the rank and file rising in struggle. The specter of last year's mass actions, the wildcats in the U.S. and the 39-day strike in Canada, still haunts them. To stave off the struggle of the rank and file, to save the whole concessions loaf, they will consent to offer the workers a crumb.

If the mere thought of the workers rising in struggle can scare Chrysler into coughing up a small raise, than a real struggle by the Chrysler workers can sweep away concessions entirely.

From the very beginning of the anti-concessions fight the MLP,USA has stood by the Chrysler workers, rallying them to fight against the takeback offensive of the capitalists and their lackeys in the UAW leadership. In the latest round of talks the Party's supporters leafleted the Chrysler plants exposing the cynical maneuvers of Iaccoca and Bieber. The Party took its campaign right to the door of the UAW's Bargaining Council meeting in Detroit and denounced the top hacks to their faces for plotting to continue concessions.

In its leaflets the party gave voice to the workers' demands in unmistakable terms:

END ALL WAGE CONCESSIONS NOW. The Chrysler workers must receive full parity with the workers at GM and Ford now.

NO FORCED OVERTIME, END THE OVERWORK. The national and local agreements that have allowed the brutal job combinations and speedup must be ended. The terroristic absentee control program must be abolished. Not an hour of forced overtime should be allowed while Chrysler workers are still laid off.

JOBS OR LIVELIHOOD FOR THE UNEMPLOYED. Plant closings must be stopped. Chrysler must fully fund the supplemental unemployment program. And the laid-off workers must be called back or provided with a livelihood.

RESTORE ALL BENEFITS THAT HAVE BEEN CUT. All benefits that have been cut must be fully restored. Among other things this includes ending the freeze on retirees ' pensions and restoring the $1,100 per year that has been cut from pensions. The wage and benefit cuts for new-hires should be restored. The second surgical opinion program and other medical concessions must be ended. Local concessions cannot be allowed.

For the time being negotiations have been called off. But in a letter to the workers on August 5, Iaccoca called for reopening negotiations again right away. In any case the current contract will expire in January and negotiations for a new one will begin in the fall. So now is the time to get organized against another round of concessions to the Chrysler billionaires. Workers should go to union meetings and oppose the extension of concessions under any pretext. Militants should agitate against concessions everywhere in the plants. Leaflets against concessions should be circulated and discussed. Stickers against concessions should be put up in the factories, in locker rooms and cafeterias. Telephone grapevines should be set up for quick mobilization for actions. And networks of militants should be formed to prepare for demonstrations, slowdowns and other mass actions against concessions. Only militant struggle by the rank-and-file workers can defeat concessions. Now is the time to organize such a fight.

[Photo: Detroit: Outside the UAW/Chrysler Council Meeting, MLP militants distribute leaflets and denounce the latest concessions plot being cooked up by the UAW and Chrysler]

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Lynn, Mass.

Oppose GE's 'Absence Review Board' Scheme

(The following article is reprinted from the July 11 Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

On Friday, June 17, 1983, the IUE Local 201 paper, the Electrical Union News, announced a "tentative agreement" on the Absence Review Board (ARB) and on a proposed agreement on worker involvement groups. These agreements are a major betrayal of the workers' interests and a continuation of the union's line of "new approach" and "cooperation."

The ARB was imposed on the workers over two years ago as part of GE's efforts to carry out its productivity drive and build the "factory of the future" in Lynn. It is designed to get rid of "less desirable" workers and create an atmosphere of fascist intimidation where the remaining workers would be less able to fight GE.

The provisions of the ARB were so outrageous that workers who took their paid, contractual sick and personal time or were out of work because of such chronic illnesses as heart disease found that they were guilty of excessive absenteeism. Dave Roberts, who suffered from chronic heart problems, was harassed to death by GE through the ARB, while another worker was driven to the point of attempting suicide.

Several dozen workers have received "letters of concern" and several have been fired through the ARB. The workers' outrage after the death of Dave Roberts began to turn to demands for action. At the time, there was widespread sentiment to strike to achieve the workers' demand to "Abolish the ARB." The union bureaucrats felt compelled to call a plant gate demonstration and make some promises about negotiating a settlement on the ARB.

Union Leaders Give Up Without a Fight

Now, after over two years of posturing, foot dragging and false promises, a tentative agreement has been reached. In some respects, this agreement is even worse than the original GE-designed program. None of the proposed changes in the ARB alters its character one iota. It continues to be a loaded weapon in the hands of GE to use against militant workers or anyone they consider "undesirable." It continues to be a tool for intimidating the workers and squashing any resistance to automation's effects.

The most important and sneaky change in the new agreement is the open endorsement of the company's "Absence Review Policy" by the top union officials. In fact, they have never opposed this policy or organized any real fight against it. Now they want to convince the workers that they should go along with this policy. And the "agreement" even authorizes the union officials and stewards to assist GE in monitoring absenteeism and counseling workers on their "absence problems."

Worker Involvement Groups Help GE Automate

As if this utter capitulation to GE by the union officials isn't enough, they go even further and agree to endorse the idea of "worker involvement groups." These groups are a continuation of "quality of worklife" circles, which GE has repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to get going here at Lynn. GE has set up similar programs at other plants where their automation plans are the most ambitious. They are designed to help break down the workers' opposition to increasing productivity and automation and to help GE solve some of the equipment, tooling, work flow problems, etc., involved in automating. The workers at Lynn have vigorously resisted these circles and the very idea that they have any interest in cooperating with GE. By endorsing the worker involvement groups, the union officials are stepping up their subversion of the workers' struggles and telling the workers there is no hope of resisting. They say the best that can be expected is a chance to help GE increase productivity, eliminate jobs and cut wages.

GE is at a critical stage in its automation plans at Lynn. They are moving from NC, DNC and other automated machines to flexible machining centers and automated handling of equipment. They are setting up the systems for the "factory of the future." Just when the workers need to resolutely defend themselves against wage cutting, job combination and layoffs, and GE needs a more cooperative and subservient work force, our top union leaders stand firmly on GE's side!

Organize Independently Against GE and die Union Leaders

Knowing the depth of their betrayal and fearing exposure and rejection of their "agreements," these sellouts tried to prevent any discussion of them before they were to be ratified. The barest and most confusing "highlights" were published in the union paper on June 17, and ratification was on the agenda for June 21, a scant three working days later. Their plan to railroad ratification through at the June 21 meeting was not successful. However, neither were the "agreements" rejected. Both "agreements" were tabled pending a special Stewards' Council meeting. If these proposals were put to a vote by the full membership, they would probably be rejected by the overwhelming majority of the workers. The workers' demand to "Abolish the ARB" is absolutely correct. The ARB should not be "agreed" to in any form.

These "tentative agreements" should be widely discussed and denounced. The "agreements" and the line of cooperation should be firmly rejected by GE workers both in the union meeting and in practice on the shop floor. The union misleaders can't be trusted in any way to defend the workers' interests or to organize any sort of fight against GE's wage cutting and job-eliminating productivity drive.

Workers! Build up your own organization independent of the union leaders. Take matters into your own hands and rely on your own efforts to fight the productivity drive and frustrate GE's schemes to impose the ARB and worker involvement "agreements"!

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At Russer Foods in Buffalo, New York

Meatpacking workers strike against wage cuts

(The following article is taken from a leaflet of the Buffalo Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

Since July 1, nearly 150 workers at Russer Foods have been on strike, after rejecting the company's proposal for a new contract. The workers are fighting to eliminate a whole series of vicious measures which have been imposed upon them with the last contract, as well as to defeat new concessions the company is trying to force down their throats. Further, the Russer workers are fighting to defend their struggle against a full-scale strikebreaking campaign which has been mounted by the capitalists and the government. The struggle of the Russer workers deserves the support of the entire working class.

Getting a Piece of the Concessions Action

The contract which the Russer capitalists are demanding is a ruthless attack on the workers. They want to impose a wage cut of close to 20%, in addition to strengthening an already harsh contract. Conditions in the plant are currently unbearable and the company aims to make it even worse. They want to eliminate both the guaranteed minimum workweek and the maximum limit on overtime hours, leaving the workers completely at the mercy of the company's production schedule. They want to strengthen an already severe point system aimed at increasing discipline on the job under the threat of firing. They want to retain a "management clause" which, among other things, has enabled the company to virtually abolish seniority rights. Already these measures, along with speedup and automation, have resulted in reducing the workers' numbers by almost half over the past three years, while production has increased enormously. And these are only some of the most glaring of the attacks contained in the company's new contract proposal.

This contract is part of the vicious concessions drive throughout the meatpacking industry. At many plants the workers' wages have been slashed in half and the entire work forces of several plants have been replaced with scabs.

For their part, the Russer capitalists openly admit that they are having no financial trouble. But they claim that concessions are necessary in order to make the company "more competitive." They imply that the benefits to the company will eventually "trickle down" to the workers if Russer can improve its position in the industry. The Russer capitalists are trying to use the conditions of extreme job insecurity which plague the whole working class, and the meatpacking workers in particular, to create an atmosphere in favor of concessions among the Russer workers.

But concessions were made to Russer three years ago, and has this benefited the workers in any way? No! Concessions to the capitalists have meant greater profits to the company and nothing but tremendous job loss and hardship for the workers. Regardless of the condition of the company, whether it is facing high times or hard, the workers can never gain any security by submitting to the concessions drive.

Workers Stand Firm Against Savage Strikebreaking

The Russer capitalists, with assistance from the police and the courts, are going all out to try to break the strike. Russer is keeping the plant operating during the strike by bringing in scabs to replace the regular production workers. They are shipping their products into Freezer Queen Foods for storage. And they have hired a security firm to protect the scabs as they cross the picket line. This security firm is headed by Buffalo police officer A1 Rosenow, who personally drives the scabs across the line every day. Furthermore, regular on-duty Buffalo police have been brought to the plant in force to assist the company's hired thugs.

The police, both on and off-duty, have repeatedly used violence against the strikers, including running over one man's foot. The courts have also joined in the strikebreaking offensive, issuing an injunction limiting the number of pickets to five. Clearly the government is standing firmly on the side of the bosses against the workers, just as it always does.

Against these attacks, the workers are standing firm in their strike action and are developing various ways of fighting back. The power of the strikers lies in their ability to halt production. Thus they are trying to prevent the scabs from entering the plant and there have been numerous confrontations with the police.

In this effort, the workers have won the active and enthusiastic support of their neighbors from the working class community which surrounds the plant. As well, the strikers organized a demonstration in front of City Hall to protest the police harassment and violence, bringing the news of their struggle to the masses downtown. They have also organized informational picketing at Freezer Queen to protest its use as a storage site for scab-made Russer products. The Russer workers have shown determination and creativity in developing their struggle against the company.

The struggle of the Russer workers against concessions and against strikebreaking is an important event in the working class movement in Buffalo. In taking this stand, the Russer workers are joining with increasing numbers of workers across the country who are rejecting the capitalists' concessions drive and saying "no more" to the wage cuts, speedup and other attacks which it brings.

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Nurses at Buffalo General Hospital are victorious after 12-week strike

After nearly three months on the picket lines, the 800 nurses at Buffalo General Deaconess Hospital (BGH) have won their strike. The strike ended on July 19 when the hospital administration caved into the basic demands of the nurses. The two-year contract gives official recognition to the nurses' union, a 13% wage increase and increased benefits. In addition, the BGH management was forced to accept a back-to-work agreement that places all the strikers back into essentially the same jobs they held before the strike, thus eliminating the scabs hired during the strike.

This is a significant victory. The nurses have defeated the arrogant moneybags who run BGH and successfully fought back against the vicious attempts to break the strike. The organization of the nurses at BGH is already providing the impetus to other area nurses seeking to organize themselves into unions. Moreover, the BGH strike is a victory for all the working people of Buffalo, who actively supported the nurses throughout their strike and were in complete solidarity with their struggle against the Reaganite strikebreaking of the local bourgeoisie.

Nurses Defeat Vicious Strikebreaking Tactics

For 12 weeks, the nurses were faced with one assault after another by the hospital administration and directors who were determined, in all their Reaganite arrogance, to break the strike and prevent unionization of their work force. First, the nurses faced police intimidation, as the administration sent police, police horses and police dogs to harass and hound their picket lines. Then, the administration went all-out to hire scabs, loudly boasting that in no time they would replace all the strikers -- unless they came to their senses and returned to work on their knees. The administration also resorted to physical assaults and arrests against more active and militant elements in the strike.

And all the while, the capitalist media droned on about the plight which the strike caused "the innocent victims": the patients and other hospital staff who were laid off during the strike. Incredibly enough, the media attempted to paint the striking nurses as selfish individuals only out to get more money at the expense of the defenseless sick and the other hospital employees. But it is clear as day that this only describes the moneybags of the BGH Board of Directors!

Against these assaults, the ranks of the striking nurses held up firmly. And the nurses answered these attacks with their own mass tactics. They organized two mass rallies, two marches and a day of mass picketing.

Beside the hundreds of striking nurses participating in these actions, workers from work places throughout the city came to demonstrate their solidarity. Throughout the strike, in fact, workers from other work places and industries joined their picket lines. Most especially, from nearby Roswell Park Memorial Institute scores of workers regularly visited the BGH pickets.

The support for the strike from area nurses attending schools and working for agencies was also very significant. It was out of the nursing schools (whose classes graduated during the strike) and from nursing agencies that the BGH administration attempted to recruit the "hundreds" of scabs, boasting that they would have BGH back in full operation without the strikers. But a total of 23 scabs was all the administration could muster to replace the 800 strikers. This is a testament to the firm solidarity felt by the people of Buffalo for the nurses' struggle.

The BGH strike has shown that the vicious strikebreaking of the Reaganite reactionaries can be defeated. What is required is that the rank and file organize their mass struggle, and not passively rely upon negotiations and talks to bring the frenzied enemies to "reason." What is required is that the working people develop their wide solidarity and provide active support to all who are fighting the greedy capitalists.

[Photo: During their 12-week victorious strike, the 800 nurses at Buffalo General Hospital organized pickets, rallies, marches and protests to defend their right to unionize. The above photo shows one of the mass marches organized by the nurses.]

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10,000 West Coast shipyard workers strike against concessions

Ten thousand workers from West Coast shipyards walked off the job on July 26 in a contract strike against the Pacific Coast Shipbuilders Association (PCSA). Five days earlier the workers rejected the vicious concessions contract demands of the PCSA by an overwhelming vote of 6,535 to 54. When the PCSA capitalists later broke off talks, the workers put down their tools and started setting up picket lines in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.

On the first day of the strike 600 strikers, picketed the main gate at the Todd shipyard in Seattle. When two pickup trucks full of workers from a subcontracting firm tried to slip in a side gate' 200 picketers rushed over and turned them away. From Seattle to San Francisco the picketing workers completely shut down nearly every yard that was struck.

Meanwhile, the government jumped into action to support the shipbuilding capitalists. Navy officials ordered federal workers from the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California to scab on the striking workers at the Triple A shipyard in San Francisco in order to complete the overhaul work on the USS Enterprise. The Reagan government is once again displaying its strikebreaking colors, this time in support of the capitalist war merchants.

There is every indication that the workers are in for a long and difficult strike.

Capitalist Moneybags Demand Outrageous Concessions

The PCSA is composed of nine of the big shipbuilding monopolies. In the past period they have raked in profits hand over fist,from the enormous war buildup of the Carter, and now the Reagan, administrations. For example, Naval contracts were largely responsible for last year's $30 million in profits of the Todd shipbuilders and for Tacoma Boat's $1.1 million profit in the first three months of 1983.

But despite their already over-bloated profits, the magnates of shipbuilding still want to grab more out of the hides of the shipyard workers. It is bad enough that to make a living, the workers are forced into building up the naval war machine for U.S. imperialism. But now the capitalists demand that the workers' livelihood suffer major cuts as well.

Originally the PCSA capitalists demanded a 10% cut in the workers' wages. Union sources report that, just before breaking off negotiations, the capitalists tempered their lust for concessions and demanded "only" a three-year wage freeze. If this is not bad enough, the capitalists are demanding a whole slew of additional concessions. Among other things these include the virtual elimination of cost-of-living increases, the cutting of overtime pay from double time to time-and-a-half (except on Sundays and holidays), and work rule changes which open the way for massive job combinations. It is reported that the work rule changes alone could eliminate as much as a third of the shipyard jobs.

Of course, while demanding concessions to eliminate thousands of jobs, the PCSA is going through the tired-out capitalist song and dance that these concessions are really aimed at "saving jobs." They beat their breasts that unless the workers take cuts their shipyards won't be "competitive," the contracts won't flow in, and jobs will be lost. But this is just an attempt to split the workers, to force the workers from the different shipyards to compete against each other over who can take the biggest cuts.

The shipbuilding monopolies are playing this divide and rule game to the hilt. For example, Lockheed, which employs some 3,000 shipyard workers, withdrew from the PCSA earlier this year to pursue separate negotiations with the unions. Now the Lockheed capitalists can declare that more concessions are needed from their workers in order to undercut the competition from the PCSA, while the PCSA capitalists demand takebacks to out-compete Lockheed. Meanwhile both Lockheed and PCSA complain that the yards south of San Francisco, which employ another 5,000 workers, are undercutting both of them and therefore even more concessions are needed.

Thus the capitalists try to set the workers from yard after yard against each other, while they sit back and count their profits taken from the workers' pocketbooks.

Union Bureaucrats Weaken the Strike

What is worse, the union bureaucrats are helping the capitalists in this divide and conquer strategy.

Both the PCSA workers and the workers at Lockheed belong to the Pacific Coast Metal Trades Association (PMTA), which combines together 11 craft unions for the contract struggle. But while the 10,000 PCSA workers are out on strike, the top PMTA bureaucrats have forced the 3,000 Lockheed workers to stay on the job. Similarly, the top bureaucrats from the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers in the southern shipyards are keeping their members at work despite the expiration of their contract on July 27. The union bureaucrats are just weakening the strike and setting up the different sections of workers to be picked off one at a time.

Even while splitting up the workers, the union hacks are trying to put on a militant face, especially by trumpeting the demand for a $2.80 raise in wages and benefits over the three-year contract. Despite their posturing, the union bureaucrats are letting out hints that they will be more than willing to sell out the workers with a wage freeze settlement. The July 28 Seattle Times reports that Jim Seabolt, president of the Seattle Metal Trades Council, told the paper that the union wanted to seriously consider the PCSA's wage freeze demand. But, he complained, "they never put anything to us in writing."

Imagine that! If the union hacks are so eager to give up the workers' demand for wage and benefit increases then they can't be trusted to defend the workers from any of the other concessions demands of the capitalists either.

The shipyard workers must remain vigilant against the treachery of the union bureaucrats. Waiting on the union bureaucrats is just waiting to be stabbed in the back. It is up to the rank-and-file workers to organize themselves to carry through their strike and to spread it to the other yards.

[Photo: On July 26, workers set up picket lines outside the Todd Pacific shipyard in Seattle.]

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A fierce struggle against concessions to Phelps-Dodge in Arizona

Militant Copper Workers Battle Scabs

Over the last week, the copper mines and smelters of the Phelps- Dodge corporation across Arizona have been the scene of fierce battles by striking workers against the strikebreaking attempts of the company. On Friday, August 5, the Phelps- Dodge capitalists announced a plan to hire 1,500 scabs as their latest attempt to break the month-long strike. Since then, the workers have organized powerful mass pickets armed with baseball bats, ax handles and pipes.

In the face of the action of the workers, Phelps-Dodge has failed to carry out their plans. On August 9, they were forced to announce a ten- day official shutdown of the mine and smelter at Morenci. And at their mine at Ajo, a hundred scabs were trapped inside the facility. Faced with the angry workers outside, the company was unable to get the scabs out or bring their replacements in. A helicopter had to ferry in food and supplies for the scabs.

The 2,300 workers of Phelps- Dodge, who work mainly at four facilities in Arizona, have been out on strike since July 1. They are fighting against the company's attempts to impose an outrageous concessions contract on them which splits them away from the rest of the workers in the copper industry.

The Phelps-Dodge capitalists have desperately tried to break the strike with scabs. They have ordered all salaried personnel, including secretaries, to work in the mines. They have tried to entice laid-off miners into scabbing. Nonetheless, the corporation has had little success getting laid-off Phelps-Dodge workers to scab. Striking workers have pointed out that there has been no smoke coming from the smelters.

As the recent events show, the copper workers' strike has been marked by a lively and militant spirit. On the first day of the strike, workers set up mass pickets at the gates. Even after court injunctions limited the number of pickets at the gate to a small number, large crowds assembled near the entrances along the road leading into the mines. And in the recent days, the court injunctions have proven to be totally useless in the face of the determined action of the workers. But even earlier, cars carrying scabs were attacked by strikers. And in the first week of the strike, railroad bridges serving two different mines were burned.

The miners' families have also been active in the strike. Miners' wives have helped-out on picket lines and tracked down scabs and publicized their names throughout the mining towns. The children too have been active. The bourgeoisie has responded by wringing their hands about how the children are being "emotionally scarred" by this experience, as a New York Times article on August 9 pontificated. But far from being scarred, the children, along with the rest of the strike supporters, are getting valuable class education in the conflict between labor and capital which lies at the foundation of this capitalist society.

Background to the Strike

In Arizona, one-half of the 20,000 copper miners are currently unemployed. Phelps-Dodge has been trying to use the high unemployment in the copper industry as a club against the employed workers, to split them from the pattern agreement in the industry and impose especially severe concessions on them. In April 1982 Phelps- Dodge closed all of its mines and smelters in the Southwest. When they reopened in October, the company called back only 70% of the work force, and then forced these workers to produce more than had been produced before the shutdown.

Historically the pattern agreement for the copper industry is set by Kennecott. This year workers at Kennecott were forced to accept a concessions contract that included a wage freeze for the life of the contract.

At Phelps-Dodge, however, the capitalists demanded extra concessions from the workers. They demanded that COLA payments be tied to the price of copper, which has been declining. They demanded that new-hires, including any laid-off workers who are called back, be permanently paid 10% less than other workers. They called for major cuts in medical benefits such as forcing workers to pay for hospitalization benefits. The company also demanded changes in work rules and elimination of one week's vacation. All in all, it is estimated that the extra concessions demanded by Phelps-Dodge would cost each worker $18,000 over the life of a three-year contract.

In the conditions where the capitalists have succeeded in imposing concessions on the industry, the Phelps- Dodge workers are trying to keep from being pushed down even further. The Phelps-Dodge capitalists want to drive their workers into a permanently underpaid section of the industry. At the same time, other copper companies are eagerly awaiting the results, to see if the pattern agreement can be broken and further concessions imposed on their workers. And in this they are following the capitalists of other industries who have been working to break up industry-wide agreements, such as auto and steel.

The labor bureaucrats help the capitalists impose concessions on the workers. In the copper industry, there is a coalition of unions involved in the bargaining, the main one being the United Steelworkers union (USWA). The trade union bureaucrats agreed to concessions at Kennecott, thus opening the way for further concessions in the industry. And in the face of Phelps-Dodge's attempts to go further, the labor bureaucrats refuse to utilize the strength of the workers industry-wide. They do not consider calling out all the copper miners in solidarity with the fight against the special attack on the Phelps-Dodge miners.

But despite the refusal of the labor bureaucrats to forcefully prosecute the struggle, the Phelps-Dodge workers are putting up a spirited fight. They are an inspiration to the working class. Only by carrying forward their mass struggle can they expect to defeat the arrogant concessions demands of the capitalists.

[Photo: Over 1,000 copper workers celebrate a victory over the Phelps-Dodge company's attempts to bring scabs into the company's mine at Morenci, Arizona. The company was forced by the workers' mass pickets to announce a 10-day shutdown of the mine.]

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New York City

Consolidated Edison workers' strike enters eighth week

The strike of 16,500 Consolidated Edison workers is now entering its eighth week. On August 5, the union bureaucrats of the Utility Workers of America attempted to foist on the workers a new Con Ed contract offer that fell well below the workers' demands. But in a boisterous mass meeting of some 5,000 Con Ed workers the sellout contract was voted down. The rank-and-file workers are showing that they are determined to carry through their strike to victory. Below we reprint excerpts from a July 15 leaflet of the New York Metro Branch of the MLP in support of the striking Con Ed workers.

On June 18, the contract for 16,500 Con Edison workers expired. The workers overwhelmingly rejected Con Edison's contract proposal which included a paltry wage increase of a little over 6% a year for three years and an intensified productivity drive involving many changes in work rules, the workers' response to this outrageous contract proposal was to go out on strike.

As everybody knows who lives in New York City, Con Edison rakes in millions in profits. New York City residents pay the highest utility rates in the country. Every time you turn around the workers are faced with another rate increase which the government has of course agreed to. And furthermore every winter the brutality and inhuman character of this bloated utility monopoly comes to light when thousands suffer in the dark and cold and countless others die because of fuel cutoffs to customers who can't keep up with their skyrocketing utility bills.

Yet, despite the fact that Con Edison rakes in millions through huge handouts from the government, frequent rate increases and an all-round exorbitant price for gas and electricity, still the Con Edison bloodsuckers are not satisfied. Jumping on the bandwagon of the entire capitalist class they are demanding huge concessions from the workers.

Con Edison is demanding work rule changes such as sending only a single worker instead of two to test meters and equipment and not sending a driver escort to and from work sites. These takebacks have no other purpose than the elimination of workers' jobs.

Furthermore, Con Edison wants to fire 700 workers who are presently on disability. Thus you better not get sick or disabled while working for Con Ed because they will just throw you out into the streets.

And what does Con Ed's chairman and president, Arthur Hauspurg, say about all this? He writes in a letter to all union workers that this is a perfectly "reasonable contract offer"!!

Well, the workers have something different to say about this contract offer. First of all, the workers are demanding a 9% a year wage increase for three years, an increase in benefits and an absolute NO to any changes in work rules. And to defend their demands the Con Edison workers have militantly gone out on strike.

The mass struggle of the workers is the only thing that can force the greedy capitalists to give in to the workers' demands. And the Con Ed workers are militantly standing their ground. Already in the fourth week of their strike they are united and solid as a rock. Because of a virtual blackout in the news media about the Con Edison strike, the workers have resorted to other means to popularize their just demands and show Con Ed management they mean business. Mass actions such as the one on July 6, in Astoria, Queens where 100 Con Edison workers staged a militant march down a busy avenue has helped to create a spirited and determined atmosphere amongst the workers.


The vicious concessions drive of the capitalist class must be opposed. Con Edison, which bleeds the consumers of New York white, is also intensifying its attacks against the Con Ed workers by demanding concessions. But the 16,500 Con Ed workers are setting an example for the rest of the working class in New York by standing up to this vicious offensive of Con Ed's and saying NO, NO TO CONCESSIONS! The Con Ed workers do not stand alone in their struggle. They have the support and sympathy of the rest of the working class in New York.

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War criminal Kissinger heads Reagan's bipartisan commission for Central America

In mid-July, Reagan appointed a 12-man National Bipartisan Commission on Central America. This panel is due to report by the end of the year on how to build a "national consensus" on Washington's policy towards the problems in Central America.

Reagan knows there is broad opposition among the American people to his interventionist policies. This has been reflected in countless protests and demonstrations over the last three years. Even the opinion polls conducted by the capitalist news media show this. This sentiment of the people is a thorn in Reagan's side, and he sees the Bipartisan Commission as an instrument to get rid of it.

On the other hand, within the imperialist ruling class there is already a national consensus on Central American policy. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have worked hand in hand to send U.S. Green Berets, weapons and other aid to the Salvadoran "death squad" dictators and the Somocista contras. The military intervention in the region began under the Democrat Carter and has been continued by the Republican Reagan. Reagan's new commission seeks to strengthen this bipartisan consensus. For the Republicans, it allows them to hide behind a screen of "bipartisanship," while for the Democrats it provides a Jess embarrassing name for the honeymoon they declared with Reagan after the 1980 presidential election.

It is also true that there are still squabbles between the Democrats and Reagan over various details of Washington's policy. While both agree on the essential goals and the necessity to continue military intervention, the Democrats however believe in more sugarcoating for this policy. They want to adorn the Reaganite policy with empty words, about human rights, negotiated solutions, political solutions, etc. Hence their posturing as "critics" of Reagan. One reason for this posturing is because they wish to hold down the opposition among the people, to channel it away from the path of mass struggle towards faith in empty talk in Congress. The Democrats do not want to see a mass movement grow in the streets, as happened in the 1960's against the U.S. war of aggression in Viet Nam.

Reagan's search for a "national consensus" also seeks to iron out the squabbles with the Democrats. His new Bipartisan Commission is modeled after two similar commission he set up in the last few years, one on Social Security and the other on the MX missile. Both these panels helped to remove the minor Democratic haggling in favor of a common Reaganite policy which smoothly passed Congress. Reagan wants to repeat this with respect to Central America.

What kind of recommendations can the people expect from this commission? Nothing new whatsoever. It will surely continue the present imperialist policies. This is verified even if one looks at who Reagan has appointed to this commission.

It includes an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, all of whom are well-known advocates of Reaganite aggression in Central America. But most prominent among the members of this commission is its head, Mr. Henry Kissinger, the infamous war criminal of the Nixon-Ford administrations. Let us take a brief look at this man's record.

As the chief foreign policy conductor in the Nixon and Ford administrations, from 1969-1976, Kissinger became notorious for a series of crimes against the world's oppressed peoples.

The bourgeois media hails Kissinger as the man who worked out the peace negotiations in Viet Nam. Why, he was even awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 by the Swedish imperialist bourgeoisie! But behind this reputation lies a series of brutal crimes against the Indochinese people. He was instrumental in working out the policy of "peaceful negotiations" under the shadow of the most monstrous military threats. In 1972, after a breakdown in the "peace talks," he advised the Christmas bombing of Hanoi, which rained down some of the worst destruction in history. Kissinger was also the architect of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia in 1970 and the massive "secret" carpet-bombing of that country in 1971. It has also been reported that in 1969, he resorted to nuclear blackmail against the Vietnamese liberation forces. Nixon and Kissinger threatened to use atomic weapons in Viet Nam if the Vietnamese refused to make concessions at the "peace talks." But the Vietnamese people forced the Nixon administration to crawl out of South Viet Nam anyway.

Kissinger is also notorious for monstrous crimes against the people of Chile. In 1969-70 he ordered CIA covert operations in the hope of preventing the victory of Salvador Allende's reformist coalition in the 1970 presidential elections there. After Allende won, Kissinger tried to organize a coup to prevent him from taking office. At that time he remarked, "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people." The preparations for the coup turned out to take three years, and Kissinger was instrumental in organizing the massive destabilization campaign against Allende's government and the September 1973 bloody coup. This installed the fascist Pinochet to power who acted with a terrible brutality against the masses, killing tens of thousands and forcing a million into exile.

As for Central America, Kissinger has made his views quite clear. He is as loyal to his fanatic counter-revolutionary ideas as he ever was. Recently in an interview, he declared with respect to Nicaragua: "It escapes me why we have to apply the Brezhnev Doctrine in Central America and assert that any communist government that has established itself can never be changed."

This is quite a revealing statement. The Brezhnev Doctrine was the concept advocated by the late Soviet revisionist leader in 1968 during the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. This affirms that the satellite countries of the Soviet social-imperialist bloc only have "limited sovereignty," that the Soviet Union will prevent any attempt to change governments that are loyal to it.

When Kissinger rejects the Brezhnev Doctrine in Central America, he does so only to endorse the U.S. imperialist version of the same doctrine, the Monroe Doctrine. This claims that Latin America is in the U.S. sphere of influence and the U.S. has the right to keep its untrammeled hegemony over- it, even to the extent of "changing" governments which do not kowtow to the U.S.

Kissinger is openly declaring the U.S. imperialists' right to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. As for Kissinger's characterization of the Nicaraguan government as communist, this is just a reflection of his fanatical anti-communism. The U.S. imperialists not only hate the true communists in Latin America but they refuse to accept any government which does not fully pledge loyalty to the U.S. Thus even mild liberal governments, such as that of Arbenz in Guatemala, were overthrown by the CIA. However, Washington faces quite a different situation in Nicaragua today. The U.S. faces there a people who have been aroused and mobilized through the armed revolution against the late U.S.- installed tyrant Somoza. Thus even a force of over 10,000 heavily armed contras has proven no match for the staunch resistance of the Nicaraguan people.

Kissinger's comments towards Nicaragua make it quite clear that the recommendations of the new Bipartisan Commission will not be much of a surprise. And while Reagan may get his consensus with the Democrats strengthened, he is certain to get nowhere in his attempts to foist a patriotic "national consensus" for U.S. aggression among the working people and youth of the U.S. The experience of the 1960's remains very much alive among the masses.

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The Boland-Zablocki amendment

The Democrats want to cover the tracks of the CIA invaders

Reagan's latest policies of gunboat diplomacy in Central America have resulted in widespread indignation among the people. Under these conditions, the Democratic Party bigshots in Congress are once again stepping forward to wring their hands over Reagan's decisions.

But this is pure posturing. Far from being opponents of Reagan, the Democrats are in fact his partners in aggression. The fight against U.S. intervention in Central America cannot rely on the Democratic politicians.

Just take a look at the recent much- touted Democratic "opposition" to Reagan's covert aid program for the Somocista contras against Nicaragua. Last December, the Democratic-con- trolled House of Representatives passed the Boland amendment. This ostensibly banned all U.S. covert aid for the contras for the purpose of overthrowing the Sandinista government. Far from being a real obstacle in his path, this resolution didn't bother Reagan very much. All along he has simply chosen to lie that the aid for the contras is not for the aim of overthrowing the Nicaraguan government.

This spring, as the contras stepped up their raids against Nicaragua and it became impossible to deny what they were up to, the Democrats began to complain that Reagan had violated the Boland amendment. But did they therefore take any serious action against Reagan? Not a chance. Instead they began to work for a refurbished version of the Boland amendment. This resolution, the Boland-Zablocki resolution, was passed with much fanfare on July 28 by the House of Representatives.

But this is just another empty resolution. If the Democrats let Reagan violate the last resolution, why can't he disregard the next measure with impunity? Besides, even if the Boland-Zablocki amendment were to become law and Reagan promised to agree to it, this resolution still wouldn't put a stop to the aggression against Nicaragua. The Democratic plan is simply to oppose covert aid for the contras while supporting giving overt aid of $80 million to "friendly governments" in the region, especially the Honduran regime. But everyone knows that the Honduran military which rules that country is fully integrated into the CIA machinery for training and backing up the contras. Thus, if the Democrats were to have their way, it would only mean that the contras would get their money from Honduras instead of the CIA directly. Big difference!

Clearly the Democrats do not intend to stop Reagan's CIA plots against Nicaragua. Rather, by funneling money to the Somocista thugs by indirect means, the Democrats only want to keep U.S. imperialism's hands clean in the sordid invasion. The Democrats are upset that Reagan's covert operations have become widespread public knowledge -- hence they are interested in devising a new way to hide the criminal hand of U.S. imperialism.

Reagan's aggression cannot be fought by the empty congressional resolutions of the Democratic Party liberals. We have to fight by relying on the strength of the working masses, by organizing protests, demonstrations and other mass actions. The mass movement must be built independently of both the capitalist parties, Republicans and Democrats alike.


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The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists Speak

Introducing MAP/ML

On this page a number of articles have been reproduced from the Nicaraguan newspaper Prensa Proletaria. This is the periodical of the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist (MAP/ML) which is a revolutionary organization with deep roots in the Nicaraguan working class and revolutionary movement.

MAP was formed in 1972. It soon developed into a revolutionary organization with strong links with the urban workers of Managua and elsewhere and among the students. It built up a revolutionary workers' organization called Frente Obrero (FO, Workers Front), which was a center of the organized working class opposition to the Somoza dictatorship. MAP rejected the reformism of the Nicaraguan revisionists and aligned itself internationally with the genuine Marxist-Leninist communist forces.

While always maintaining its separate identity, MAP maintained links with the Sandinistas in the struggle against the dictatorship. The Frente Obrero was part of the Sandinista-led Patriotic National Front (FPN).

In 1978 MAP organized the Popular Anti-Somocist Militias (MILPAS). Based mainly in the urban areas the MILPAS carried out guerrilla actions against the Somoza regime. In the summer of 1979 the MILPAS played a role in conjunction with the forces of the Sandinista Front for National Liberation (FSLN) in organizing the general popular insurrection which sealed the fate of the Somoza dynasty.

In March of 1979, in the midst of the revolutionary crisis when Somoza was on his last legs, the FO launched the newspaper El Pueblo in Managua. Issued daily in 10,000 copies, El Pueblo was an important weapon in the workers' hands in waging the revolutionary struggle.

Four days after the triumph over the dictatorship, the new Sandinista government disarmed the MILPAS, suppressed El Pueblo and for a time jailed the MAP/ML and FO leaders. In January 1980, 140 MAP and FO militants were imprisoned for two months for their role in a series of worker strikes. The Sandinista government repressed the MAP/ML as part of its policy of conciliation towards the bourgeoisie, who they even brought into the state council. At the same time, the Sandinistas have ended up under heavy pressure from the local bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism anyway. Thus, as a counterweight, the Sandinista government has felt the need to allow the militant elements of the working class some room to mobilize the masses in defense of the revolution. Thus their zigzag policy towards the MAP/ML.

As explained in the material below on the press censorship, today the MAP/ML still does not have complete freedom. The censorship and other restrictive measures which are applied against the reactionary bourgeois parties are applied to the working class organizations as well, and in practice they place a much heavier burden on the working class organizations which lack the capital and means of the bourgeois parties.

The present strategy of the MAP/ML is to defend and deepen the revolution, to place the proletarian stamp on the revolutionary process so as to bring it forward towards socialism. It strives to expose and combat the counter-revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie and landlords, and struggles to forge the class unity of the proletariat and the alliance between the workers and exploited peasants as the bulwarks of the revolution. It raises the militant watchword that "The emancipation of the working class is the work of the working class itself."

The following articles reprinted from Prensa Proletaria reflect some of the stands and activities of MAP/ML in the complex situation now prevailing in Nicaragua. The article "FMLN Orients Itself Towards the People's Victory" is from issue number three of February-March, 1983. All the rest are from issue number four of June-July, 1983. Translations are by The Workers' Advocate.

[Prensa Proletaria masthead.]

"The revolution is the only way out for the toilers"

Four years ago, the Nicaraguan people broke the chains to which they had been subjected by the Somocista dictatorship and opened up a new stage in order to consolidate that triumph and achieve new revolutionary conquests. During many years, the Nicaraguan people had remained either repressed by the dictatorship or fooled by the same old song of the supposed bourgeois opposition. Events like those of January 22, 1967 convinced those who had wanted to believe or to make others believe about the supposed "patriotism" and consistency of the bourgeoisie, that only the people could bring about a solution to their own problems. The murders against the people carried out by the mercenary gangs of today, led by elements who until recently militated officially in the legal reactionary parties, show the people once again that there was not a single essential difference between the Somocismo and the "patriotic oppositional" bourgeoisie. Presently Alfonso Robelo [former leader of the bourgeois opposition to Somoza and currently a leader of the contra bands on the Costa Rican frontier -- WA] is as much a murderer and executioner of the people as was Somoza or any other similar henchman. And this in spite of the fact that the same Robelo was even a member of the (new) ruling Junta and the decrees of the first revolutionary stages are signed by him. The reactionary essence of the exploiting classes and their political agents just shades itself like the chameleon, according to the environmental conditions. The same thing occurs with the rest of the legal pro-imperialist forces in Nicaragua. Not that all of them are at present at the same level as Robelo, but in their class essence they are indeed waiting in turn for their own moments to manifest themselves more clearly. In this way elements like [the leaders of the bourgeois opposition parties -- WA] Adolfo Calero (Democratic Conservative Party), Chamorro (Social-Democratic Party), Davila (Social-Christian Party), etc., have been coming out openly.

Local reaction in Nicaragua undoubtedly synchronizes its internal activity with the aggressive activities of imperialism and that includes the pastoral services of [Archbishop] Obando y Bravo and his Catholic hierarchy. It becomes scandalized when the people mobilize themselves, and plays deaf, blind and dumb when imperialism and reaction strike against the people.

The bourgeoisie speculates, sabotages, conspires, blackmails, pulls out capital, continues to steal and corrupt. Meanwhile it launches a tenacious political and ideological campaign in collusion with the external fascist and social-democratic forces and pulls along behind it the shameful revisionists and opportunists. Thus, it opens up more political space for itself.

This political space of the legal reaction in Nicaragua is being institutionalized with the approval of the Law on Political Parties. This law recognizes the "right" of the pro-imperialist forces to contend for power and guarantees their freedom of expression "according to the economic capabilities of each party and respecting free enterprise." These concessions occur at a dangerous time because U.S. imperialism is not only widening and deepening its support for the aggressive armed gangs, but is also preparing to participate more directly in the Central American conflicts.

In this context, the revolutionary tasks are all the more demanding for the forces of the proletariat in Nicaragua. The working class must take up the military tasks from its own class perspective, fighting to develop the arming of the people not only for defense, but also to guarantee the revolutionary advance in the economic and political spheres against the internal exploiting classes and against imperialism. This implies saying NO to the institutionalization of the counterrevolutionary political activity of the pro-imperialist forces. It is necessary to further develop the levels of organization and participation of the workers and to raise their political understanding so that they do not allow themselves to be dragged along either by the tunes of regional "pacifist" bourgeoisies or by opportunism disguised as revolutionism and "flexibility."

The alliance of interests between the exploited classes, the workers and peasants, is the revolutionary answer to the new historical challenges.

The revolution of the toilers is the only way out of the crisis, of the threats and sufferings, for the peoples. Nicaragua is not the exception to this historic rule.

"Prensa Proletaria at the Fifth Congress of the UPN"

In the first half of the month of May, the Fifth Congress of the Union of Journalists of Nicaragua took place in Managua. At this event important agreements were reached which concern the activity of journalism in our country and its role in the class struggle, especially on the ideological plane. Prensa Proletaria attended this event through its journalists, Comrades Juan Alberto Henriquez, Carlos Cuadra and Xiomara Chamorro, sending a proposal of study and analysis on the effects of censorship in Nicaragua, which we reproduce below, for our readers:

Prensa Proletaria, official organ of the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist, on the occasion of the "Andres Valle" Fifth Congress of the Union of Journalists of Nicaragua, greets the efforts of the revolutionary journalists who, in the present condition of war posed by imperialism and faced with the sharpening of the class contradictions, take up responsibilities not only in the tasks of military defense but also in the field of the ideological struggle against the aggression, which the bourgeoisie is carrying out in that field.

The official press of the MAP/ML calls on these comrades to initiate a serious and formal analysis of the present Press Censorship and its effectiveness in relationship to the bourgeois maneuvers and to put forward their views on the effects that this measure has had on the development of the journalism of the working class, in order to better oppose the ideological points that the bourgeoisie uses against the process [revolutionary process].

The formal control of the publications of the bourgeoisie, even though it serves to neutralize the manipulations of information and the ideological positions of reaction, is not enough to prevent the aggressive escalation of the pro-imperialist bourgeois ideology through articles on faith, the Holy Spirit, the homilies of Obando y Bravo [the Archbishop of Managua -- WA] the defense to the extreme of the "family" and private property against the revolutionary processes of other peoples, with implicit corollaries against our own and all the refined ways in which the means of communication succeed in filtering through the official censorship.

The fact is that up to now the official censorship has not considered the class character of the means of communication and has forced the workers' press to be under the same formal mechanism of censorship as the means of communication which are pro-imperialist and pro-capitalist. This fact, for organizations of the workers who do not have many material and technical resources, makes the difficulties of publication grow due to the material conditions imposed. The lateness of publication, the lack of resources, given the social dynamics of the information and the circumstances, increase the difficulties of the workers' press to freely wage effectively the ideological and political struggle against the reactionary forces.

In order to develop the freedom of the press of the toilers, among other things, the censorship must assume a definite class character, not only keeping the formal censorship over the pro-bourgeois and pro-imperialist means of communication, but strengthening more the control over the sophisticated forms of the counter-revolutionary propaganda, and even more to free the publications of the workers' press from this formal process.

Maintaining and deepening the formal censorship against the pro-imperialist publications and making it easier for the workers' press to carry out more fluidly the ideological smuggle, the censorship will take up a definite class character, in favor of the revolutionary forces and against the bourgeois forces, giving channels for the freedom of the toilers to make itself felt in the strength of its arguments and positions against imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the landlords.

The problems among the revolutionary forces of misinterpretations, deviations, badly elaborated criticisms, must be resolved through the ideological struggle, having understood that the erroneous positions or approaches will be recognized by the people and accepted by the workers' organizations and their publications. The freedom for the workers' press must facilitate self-criticism and criticism, raising the political levels of the masses and the toilers as well as of their organizations and publications.

Editorial Committee of Prensa Proletaria

Official publication of the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist

May 5,1983

[MAP/ML graphic.]

[Photo: Members of the 58-20 battalion from the city of Diriaba leaving for the front to fight the counter-revolutionary bands. Within the battalion are members of the Frente Obrero.

In the face of the CIA-Somocista invaders, MAP/ML and the FO call for military defense. They call on the workers and other toilers to join the ranks of the Sandinista Popular Militias and to strive to give them the class stamp of the proletariat and working masses. The February-March Issue of Prensa Proletaria reports that:

"The Frente Obrero has continued propagating among the workers the need to strengthen the workers' presence in the Militias, and even more so when external and internal aggression against our people is tending to be sharpened. The Militias are the immediate and direct guarantee of the people's hegemony in defense and the deepening of the [revolutionary] process."]

"In the tasks of defense, mobilize and strengthen the working class"

[The article begins by explaining that the struggle to defend the Nicaraguan people from the aggression of U.S. imperialism, and from its little Trojan horses who still move around the country legally, requires not only a coordinated fight on the military, political and economic front but also the deepening of the revolutionary process in the country. The article then proceeds to show how in each sphere of defense against imperialist aggression, whether it is the military, the political or the economic, the fight can only be carried forward by deepening the revolution -- WA]

The military mobilization, which implies putting a large part of the country's forces into readiness and designating resources for immediate consumption, cannot be maintained indefinitely unless the situation of the working people is taxed further or one makes the landowners, rich peasants and big bourgeois pay for the cost of the aggression of imperialism and the counter-revolutionary armed bands. The extraordinary expenses of military defense demand political and economic measures against the direct and indirect allies of the aggression and the interests of imperialism. One way of making the big owners and producers pay for the cost of the external aggression is by increasing the level of the tax contributions of these sectors by decreeing an extraordinary war tax; freezing their profits while the aggression lasts in order to delegate them for defense costs; decreeing that the land rents paid by the peasants to the big and middle landowners be suspended indefinitely in favor of the state, or in favor of the poor peasant cooperatives that cultivate those lands. Undoubtedly defense measures of this type signify at the same time the deepening of the reforms or, at the least, ensuring the possibility of deepening them later on.

The political defense of the revolution, which implies mobilizing the toilers against their enemies, is not really effective unless it is accompanied by the organization, training and arming of the toilers against imperialism and reaction. Political defense means developing the capability of the toilers to make a class response, including in the military field.

The measures of economic defense, which imply the development of the workers' participation in the tasks of control against waste, abuses, squandering, irresponsibility, bureaucracy, cannot be separated from the development of the militias, from the vigilance groups in the productive centers and neighborhoods, etc.

In these fields, the massive, organized and conscious participation of the working class is the decisive factor for the resolute defense of the revolutionary process and to ensure its deepening towards more profound transformations and towards socialism.

It is necessary to strengthen and develop all the forms of workers' participation and toilers' participation in the tasks of economic, political and military defense. Purging the trade unions of opportunists and careerist elements who are revolutionary only in words; organization of the Committees of Workers' Control which would oversee the administrative activities of the bosses and watch out that no maneuvers to pull out capital take place, nor frauds, nor speculation; strengthening of- the General Trade Union Assemblies in order to discuss the burning national problems and the issues faced by the workers in their branch and enterprise; the development of the workers' own expressions, their bulletins, newspapers, journals, murals, so that the working class and toilers can freely express their worries and their points of view; meetings to exchange views among trade unions and among workers of a branch of production; activities of militant solidarity with the struggle of the Salvadoran people; the formation of Workers' Committees for the defense of the real wage, which will be able to effectively fight the speculation on the basic consumer products; meetings among the trade unions and the revolutionary and progressive political parties in order to get to know their points of view on the national situation. That is, more and more political and trade union activity of the toilers, so that the working class will be able to raise itself in practice to its condition of vanguard of the economic, military and political defense of the [revolutionary] process. The mobilization and the strengthening of the toilers and the working class in particular in the tasks of defense are the best guarantee that our [revolutionary] process is consolidating itself through the junctures and the particular situations, and is ensuring the path towards socialism of the proletariat.

"Defense should be given a class content"

The escalation of imperialist aggression against the revolution has forced all the social sectors and classes in the country to express their views to try to explain this aggression.

There are those who ask, why is imperialism attacking Nicaragua, even though it has a mixed economy and political pluralism? There are others who see the formula to avert the threat of war in the tactical discrepancies between a part of the U.S. Congress and Reagan.

Up to now, the versions expressed regarding the aggression have failed to point out which class interests Reagan represents and the class character which the defense of the revolution should have.

In other words it seems, according to some opinions, that the monopolies have nothing to do with it; that the interests of the international bourgeoisie have nothing to do with it; and that it is only Reagan and a gang of paranoids who are responsible for the aggression against Nicaragua.

On the other hand, the latter thesis is complemented by another that believes that every Nicaraguan, including the bourgeoisie and the landowners, is going to fight against imperialism.

Those analyses, lacking in the fundamental element of the confrontation, namely which class attacks the other class, only result in creating a smokescreen which prevents one from getting to the root of the problem.

From the perspective of imperialist logic, what Reagan is doing, as the most perfect representative of an imperialism in crisis, is the only thing which world capitalism can do to try to solve its economic crisis. Or are there still people who believe that capital sacrifices itself for the benefit of the worker?

The interesting question is whether the answer being given is correct. There is no tactical solution which will force imperialism to back down. The example of the massacre of the Palestinian people is very illuminating. The Salvadoran guerrillas' constant declarations in favor of a dialogue have also not stopped the stepping up of U.S. intervention in favor of the Salvadoran bourgeoisie and oligarchy.

Imperialism is so faithful to its interests that it attacks at the smallest hint of a perspective that might have unfavorable results for it. And many times it attacks not because the government of a given country speaks to it without the respect it thinks it's due, but rather because the class dynamics which events take lead to unforeseeable situations....

U.S. imperialism...financed the overthrow of Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 because he was pushing for reforms which did not break through the capitalist framework but which opened possibilities for the masses to push beyond the reforms. Nobody can accuse Arbenz of being more than he was, a consistent bourgeois-democratic reformist.

And closer to us, in Nicaragua, the actions of imperialism against Zelaya [Nicaraguan dictator who was forced out of power by the U.S. in 1909 shortly before the invasion by the Marines -- WA] and even the aggression which provoked the answer of Benjamin Zeledon, did not arise because of any structural changes taking place which could endanger capitalist relations or even the relations of dependence in general, but on the basis of contradictions between national development and the particular economic and political interests of the United States.

In other words, to become the object of imperialist aggression the peoples do not have to wait to carry out revolutionary changes in capitalist exploitation; simply adopting political positions contrary to imperialism is sufficient to expect the interference, threats, destabilization, aggression and blackmail of U.S. imperialism.

Imperialist aggression -- and its barking -- are not necessarily indicative that things are advancing. Imperialism also acts preventively when it senses the scope of the reforms and the evolutionary changes which may accumulate forces for the revolution. The Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua continues to carefully respect big private property, as it has said, for tactical considerations, while Reagan is saying that here we are already in a full-blown "Marxist" society.

Nevertheless, given the magnitude of the imperialist aggression against Nicaragua, the defense of the self- determination in the face of the world bourgeoisie, and the defense of the national territory in the face of the armed aggression of imperialism and its puppets, are presently the prerequisites to ensure the transition to really revolutionary transformations and changes to open the way to socialism. The anti-imperialist struggle in Nicaragua is part of the struggles of the proletariat for its class and national emancipation.

The tasks of national defense must be intimately linked to the internal class struggle.

[MAP/ML poster: The poster reads:

The Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist,

The Workers' Front and the Marxist-Leninist Youth

Call on the working class and toilers in general to militantly take up the tasks of defense, thus imprinting on it the mark of their class, the sole guarantee for the advance and deepening of the revolution.

For the advance toward socialism, defend the revolution!!!

Workers, Peasants, Toilers!!!

All united to fight the maneuvers of the bourgeoisie, the landowners and imperialism.

All to the Sandinista Popular Militias to forge the proletarian arm that will strike


"FMLN orients itself towards the people's victory"

The insurrectional struggle of the Salvadoran people has resisted all sorts of forces, attacks, maneuvers of the oligarchy, the ruling classes and imperialism for several years.

The seizing of the town of Berlin in Usulutan and the subsequent military advances show that the accumulation of forces by the FMLN, taking place in the midst of stern struggles, is strategically favoring the insurrectionary forces and is weakening the Salvadoran dictatorship militarily and politically.

The military advance of the FMLN is growing side by side with it being recognized as a legitimate political force among the masses and in world public opinion.

The unsuccessful maneuvers with the elections showed at that time that the Salvadoran people have chosen the revolutionary path, the armed mass insurrection, in order to get rid of the root of the oppressor minorities and the imperialist forces. These reactionary forces already had their test by fire in 1932, when thousands of workers led by Farabundo Marti carried out a brave mass insurrection, which from that time put forward the struggle against capitalism and the development of the power of the workers and poor peasants. The first victories in the insurrectional battles of that historic period of the Salvadoran workers produced the flowering, although temporarily, of the first organs of revolutionary power in Central America.

Today, the world crisis of capitalism is rousing even more forcefully the revolutionary strength of the peoples of Central America, and is provoking desperate reactions from those who hold the oppressive and exploitative power. The crisis in Central America, in which the struggle of the Salvadoran people is playing a strategic role, has brought together all the forces that on a world scale are shaking in the face of the imminent defeat of imperialist domination in the area: In less than three months the Central American region has had as visitors the political representative of the U.S. monopolies, Ronald Reagan; the genocidal Sharon and his retinue of zionist war merchants marauded the region; John Paul II came by; the pro-imperialist heads of government of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica met; the ultra-rightist Kirkpatrick made her inspection; the "Big Pine" maneuvers are being carried out, mobilizing.more than 15,000 soldiers and military apparatus coordinated by the U.S. forces; deceptive maneuvers of political dialogue are put forth in order to tie up the revolutionary forces, etc.

Together with the above, the bombing, genocidal repression, rockets, grenades, bullets, napalm, and phosphorus bombs, by massacring the people, try to stop the wheel of history and the inevitability of the social changes that will bring happiness to the Salvadoran people, and try to stop the effect of their great example of courageous and persistent struggle. It is in these circumstances that the popular fighters have had to develop their own military and political forces and to build a great people's army which has given lessons of militancy and revolutionary morale to the elite troops of the battalions Atonal, Belloso and Atlacalt, who, even though they have the most modern techniques and U.S. advice, have not been able to stop the victorious advance of the revolutionaries.

"Our revolutionary forces are oriented towards victory," said a Salvadoran guerrilla commander in order to clearly define the character of the struggle of the guerrillas and the masses, whereas Guillermo Ungo, a social-democratic member of the FDR, declared in Paris that "if the military Equilibrium is broken, maybe tomorrow, it would already be too late to negotiate." Ungo declared that the proposal of the FDR "is not our surrender or subordination, but talks to establish a formula of peaceful coexistence, democratic and pluralistic."

But for imperialism and the Salvadoran oligarchy the possibility of reaching a negotiated settlement for the conflict is getting later all the time; this is even more so, given that the fighting forces of the FMLN continue achieving strategic advances and accumulating social and political forces in their favor.

Clearly, the reactionary Salvadoran army is heading towards defeat; it is being torn by revolutionary victories that range from the capture by the guerrillas of the Vice-Minister of Defense himself, to isolated attacks and small victories at remote police posts and soldiers' barracks. The new imperialist fever that seeks a deceiving formula in order to simulate a dialogue or certain degree of understanding came too late.

The Salvadoran masses, as a result of events like the massacre of February 28, have been getting rid of the political and ideological tutelage of the oligarchy and the bourgeois and pro-imperialist forces. The social- democratic door, which presents itself as the alternative to the fascist hell, will be overcome by the real revolutionary alternative, by the unquestionable victory of the Salvadoran people and its organizations.

On the shoulders of these organizations, and in general of the Salvadoran people, lies a great historical responsibility for the revolutionary future of the Central American region. The Salvadoran people and toilers have known how to carry out this historical responsibility, resisting the interventionist war that imperialism is already waging in practice in El Salvador.

This heroic deed, sustained at the great expense of blood, suffering and lives, deserves the respect, homage and solidarity of all the people of the American continent and particularly of our people, who know, because they have felt it in their own flesh, what it means to try to get rid of a pro-imperialist military apparatus.

Acts in solidarity with this struggle must show imperialism that its enemies are multiplying, that the struggles of the peoples are indissolubly tied to each other, and that the intensifying crisis will have, sooner or later, the revolutionary outcome of the victory of the people and the toilers.

This is why we propose to all the revolutionary organizations of our people, acts of solidarity and support for the courageous and heroic struggle of the Salvadoran people, mobilizations of political and moral support for the struggle of the Salvadoran toilers, propagating the characteristics that the class struggle takes there, the program of the FMLN and a great national and popular homage of recognition by the Nicaraguan people of the heroic struggle of the Salvadoran people.

If imperialism displays its "democratic" forums its hawks and its "Big Pines," the revolutionary and anti-imperialist organizations and peoples must consolidate our forces, displaying propaganda, solidarity, political support for the just cause of the Salvadoran toilers and people.

This moral support for that struggle will undoubtedly strengthen the militant and revolutionary spirit of the Salvadoran people and the other Central American peoples, and will point out the scope of the adventure that imperialism will get into with the regionalization of the war in Central America.

[Photo: The Salvadoran people support the liberation fighters.]

"El Salvador at a crossroads"

Negotiate in Order to Make Revolution Or Make Revolution in Order to Negotiate

Revolution and negotiation are a burning issue not only in El Salvador itself, but over all the Central American region. The forces of imperialism are reorienting their counter-revolutionary strategy and tactics in El Salvador: putting forth the elections, declaring abortions of political amnesty, strengthening materially and technically the dark repressive Salvadoran forces, increasing the -U.S. interventionism to Viet Nam-type levels and providing channels to the "new-type" interference by the regional Latin American bourgeoisies.

In particular U.S. imperialism, by all means, does not lose sight of the perspective of creating conditions for forcing a negotiation disadvantageous to the popular guerrillas in the course of events, in order to strike the decisive military blows even more forcefully later. Social-reformism (that reactionary demagogical amalgam between social-democracy and revisionism, which are today, more than ever, tied together in the world) is making a big noise about the dialogue and the negotiations through the regional bourgeoisie of Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia, in the main. The most they can think of is to call for the intervention of a genuinely "Latin American" "peace" force (with the exception of Mexico which has not shown that it likes the idea), or for a "multinational" "peace" force, in order to allegedly avoid the North American intervention and the regionalization of the conflict. This idea is so nice that U.S. imperialism has voted in its favor and is the first one to volunteer -- as in Lebanon -- to come and "pacify" in its own style.

Some "Friends" of Nicaragua

So it turns out that U.S. imperialism is on the verge of invading Central America militarily, with the approval of Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Vatican, among others. In order to avoid this, the Central American people must accept the military intervention of a dozen "friendly" and "peacemaking" countries. Friends like the Venezuelan government which provides financial support for the Salvadoran dictatorship and gives military advice to some of the branches of the repressive army. Or friends like the "socialist" government of Felipe Gonzalez [prime minister of Spain -- WA], which is not embarrassed at allowing the sale of six to fifteen Spanish C-101 airplanes to the Honduran Air Force, which, as it is understood, will make it into the most powerful one in Central America. (Other Latin American clients of this "socialist" plane from Spain are Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay...)

The Spanish C-101 has electronic mechanisms, 100mm rockets, bombs, cannon, machine guns or delayed explosion bombs, etc., designed for attack missions on the ground. The role that these Spanish "socialist" planes can play at the time of an attack of Honduras against Nicaragua is the most effective exposure of the rhetoric on peace in Central America by these ill-named "socialists." In his recent Latin American tour, Felipe Gonzalez calmly declared that "even though it is clear that the purpose of the trip is in the main political, this does not exclude also dealing with bilateral themes with the countries I visit: I go with a certain economic-commercial apparatus." These social-demagogues go around talking about peace and lighting a spark for their war business.

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Demonstrations protest U.S. aggression in Central America

As Reagan steps up his aggressive actions in Central America, this summer has seen a renewed wave of mass protests across the U.S. In the two largest of the recent demonstrations, thousands marched in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area. Building up such mass actions is the fitting reply that the workers and youth can give to Reagan's imperialist warmongering.

Protesting Arms Shipments to the Death Squads in El Salvador

On July 24, nearly 3,000 activists converged on the Concord Naval Weapons Station and the adjoining Port Chicago naval facility on the San Francisco Bay. The demonstrators came to fight against the shipping of U.S. arms to the military dictatorship in El Salvador. Since 1981 Port Chicago has been the shipping point for 80% of U.S. weapons sent to El Salvador.

The demonstrators also condemned the Reaganite gunboat diplomacy off Nicaragua. The activists came from all over the western part of the country, including Colorado, Seattle, Portland, San Diego and Los Angeles. They also included numbers of Salvadoran refugees.

The next day, 300 activists took part in an attempt to blockade the Port Chicago facility by land and sea. A hundred people were arrested by the police.

Thousands March in D.C. While Reactionary Counter-Demonstration Flops

On July 2nd, 9,000 people marched militantly through the streets of Washington, D.C. to condemn the escalating U.S. aggression m Central America and the Caribbean. They gathered at the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial near the Washington monument and then marched to Lafayette Park across the street from the White House.

The demonstrators showed that the American workers and young people have not forgotten the lessons of the fight against U.S. aggression in Viet Nam. They vowed to fight the intervention in Central America in the same way that the masses fought the U.S. war in the 1960's.

Not only was this action a militant reply to Reagan's stepped-up warmongering, but it also marked a big victory over efforts by Reaganite reactionaries to float a flag-waving counter-demonstration. This had been initiated by 24 members of Congress who signed a letter protesting the gathering of the demonstrators at the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial. Reagan himself sent his personal greetings to the reactionary rally through a spokesman. The Washington, D.C. and national news media gave extensive coverage to this counter-demonstration both before and after July 2. They desperately tried to build it up and hoped to incite Viet Nam veterans to attend this "God bless U.S. imperialism" charade.

But this propaganda blitz failed miserably. Only a few hundred reactionaries showed up. They were a motley crew, consisting overwhelmingly of followers of Reverend Moon, Moral Majority types and politicians and businessmen sweating in their ties and jackets. Virtually no Viet Nam vets showed up while hundreds of vets marched in the action against U.S. aggression, pledging never to forget the lessons of Viet Nam.

On the same day, a similar action against Reagan's aggression in Central America drew several hundred protesters in Seattle. In recent months there have also been actions involving hundreds of people in other cities, including Detroit, New York, San Francisco, etc.

Vigorous Participation by the Marxist-Leninist Party

The activists of the Marxist-Leninist Party vigorously took part in the July 2 and July 24 actions in Washington, D.C., Seattle and the Bay Area. Contingents of the Party carried banners condemning U.S. imperialism's wars against Nicaragua and the Salvadoran people. Militant slogans were raised against U.S. imperialism. The spirited work of the MLP attracted numbers of activists to join in shouting anti-imperialist slogans and sing songs against Reagan and U.S. imperialism.

The MLP carried out widespread distribution of revolutionary literature to the activists. The Workers' Advocate put out a Special Bulletin for the July 2 actions which proclaimed solidarity with the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran peoples. It also explained the importance of fighting the treachery of the Democratic Party which falsely poses as opponents of Reagan while helping him in every way in his actual aggressive policies. Besides the distribution of thousands of leaflets, the militants of the MLP also held hundreds of discussions with activists focusing on questions of how to advance the struggle against U.S. aggression.

Down With the Sabotage of the Anti-Imperialist Struggle by the Friends of the Democratic Party

One of the major problems facing the struggle against U.S. aggression is the sabotage of the movement by the friends of the Democratic Party.

It was a notable feature this spring that despite the continuing escalation of Reaganite warmongering, the mass protests were virtually entirely liquidated by the political forces which generally organize the coalition demonstrations. By the end of the spring, because of widespread outrage against the CIA invasion of Nicaragua, the pressure of rank-and-file activists forced a few local demonstrations to be called in certain cities.

However, after the July 2 demonstration was called for Washington, D.C., it came up against active sabotage by a whole section of social-democratic and "peace groups," including the Democratic Socialists of America and various leaders of the Mobilization for Survival. These forces actively worked to boycott the event. Various excuses were offered for this attitude, focusing on sectarian methods of the Workers World Party which dominated the organizing for the July 2 event. But while it is true that the trotskyite WWP acts in a highhanded manner to dominate the events it organizes, the complaints about these pinpricks from WWP were nothing but a smokescreen by the social-democrats to cover up their real reasons for their boycott.

The same basic reason lies behind the boycott of July 2 and the liquidation of the mass protests this spring. The social-democrats do not want to have demonstrations against U.S. intervention since they upset their friends in the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party hates the specter of a mass movement developing in the streets like in the 1960's. And the big national demonstrations in recent years on this question have repeatedly embarrassed the Democrats who have been busy working hand in hand with Reagan against the Central American peoples.

However, if the social-democrats are not able to completely liquidate the mass actions and they are forced by mass pressure to make a feint of support for mass protests, then they actively work to tone down the movement to slogans and appeals that are acceptable to the Democrats. There are many such efforts, such as making sure that the protests do not target U.S. imperialism, that they do not denounce the Democratic Party, that they do not support the revolutionary forces in Central America, etc.

Today a big part of the social-democratic efforts to tone down the movement to what's acceptable to the Democrats is to give up anything which calls for defending Nicaragua against U.S. aggression. The Democrats are working closely with Reagan in the CIA war against Nicaragua. They are with him 100% in the vicious imperialist tirades against "Marxist" and "totalitarian" regimes in Central America.

The Workers World Party, in its organizing for the July 2 actions, also went far in making sure that the action would be acceptable to the liberals and Democrats. Hence they did not denounce imperialism or the Democratic Party; they did not openly declare support for the revolutionary fighters of El Salvador. But the social-democrats did not like the fact that the call for the demonstration demanded an end to the U.S. war against Nicaragua.

Unfortunately, there are not only those who oppose defending the Nicaraguan people under the pretext that this harms the struggle against U.S. intervention in El Salvador, but there are also those in the movement in solidarity with Nicaragua who believe that the U.S. war against Nicaragua can be opposed best by abandoning support for the Salvadoran struggle. Either way, this is an attempt to water down the revolutionary nature of the people's struggle -- whether in Nicaragua or El Salvador -- in order to solicit support from the Democrats. What this reveals is a very myopic view that actually believes in the various catchwords of the U.S. government rather than seeing that U.S. imperialism is out to drown the Central American people in blood in order to prop up its death squad friends in El Salvador and restore a bloodstained tyranny in Nicaragua. U.S. imperialism is out to preserve its profits and build up reactionary dictatorships.

Indeed, the U.S. imperialists are equally against the Salvadoran and Nicaraguan revolutions. They know full well that the struggles in Central America are closely intertwined. This is why they have a common regional strategy against the Central American revolutions.

Hence, today part of the struggle against Democratic Party sabotage of the mass movement is fighting any attempts to counterpose the struggle against U.S. aggression in one country to the struggle against U.S. aggression in the other country. This calls for standing firm in defense of Nicaragua against imperialism just as it calls for standing by the revolutionary struggle of the Salvadoran insurgents. To U.S. imperialism's regional strategy of counter-revolution the workers and progressive people of the U.S. must raise the banner of solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the entire region.

But despite the boycott of the social-democrats on July 2, nine thousand determined demonstrators turned out. This was a big blow at the flunkeys of the Democratic Party. The renewed wave of demonstrations this summer shows that the activists are yearning to fight. They must prepare to step up the mass actions even further in the months ahead as Reagan escalates aggression. They must discuss how to overcome the sabotage of the Democratic Party and its flunkeys. They should build up the movement by going to the widest sections of the workers and oppressed masses.

[Photo: A scene from the July 2 demonstration in Seattle.]

[Photo: A view of the MLP contingent in the march on the Port Chicago naval facility in Concord, California, July 24.]

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At the Electronics Corporation of America, Cambridge, Mass:

It's time for ECA to stop playing games and start paying severance benefits

For over a year the Marxist-Leninist Party has been carrying out agitation against the planned closing of the Cambridge, Massachusetts plant of the Electronics Corporation of America (ECA). In June and July, after another round of layoffs which brought the work force down to a fourth of its former size, the workers began a struggle for severance pay, health benefits and pensions. The Boston Branch of the MLP played an active part in encouraging this struggle. Below we reprint excerpts from two leaflets of the Branch. The first, dated June 29, calls for the struggle for severance pay. And the second leaflet, dated August I, draws important lessons from this struggle and from the overall experience of the ECA workers during the last year.

ECA workers,

It has been one month since the first round of layoffs in Electronic Corporation of America's plant closing. The workers who were laid off still have not got one penny of the meager severance pay they were entitled to under the old contract. Apparently ECA wants to claim that these layoffs were due to slow business, not the plant closing, to avoid ever paying any severance benefits. Meanwhile the workers who remain are being subjected to a form of psychological torture. They face certain unemployment in a time of a capitalist depression and must make plans for how they will get by in the future. And yet ECA refuses to let them know just how long they will be working, what their severance benefits will be or even what their pension rights and benefits are. Instead of straight answers the workers are fed one rumor after another. Recently a rumor was floated that the company was about to sign an agreement with the union to increase severance pay over the old contract and extend medical insurance for nine months. But as the weeks go by and no magic agreement is signed and no one gets any severance pay it becomes clear that this is just one more rumor floated by ECA to keep the workers quiet.

The ECA capitalists are not keeping the workers in the dark just because they are sadists. There is a method to their madness. First they want to keep the workers on a string until the last day that they need them. Then they will dump the workers onto the street like a worn out machine. Second ECA is planning to cheat the workers out of every penny of severance benefits and even pension money it can.

Of course the company flunkies and our soldout union officials will say that we are just trouble makers for saying this. But if what we say is not true, then why doesn't ECA simply agree immediately to a decent size severance pay and pay it to the laid off workers? Certainly ECA has plenty of money and certainly the workers who haven't had a pay check in four weeks could use it. If ECA is not deliberately keeping the workers on a string, why doesn't it tell them exactly what its schedule is for closing the plant? They have had four years to plan this move and they certainly know these things. If it is not keeping the workers on a string, why doesn't ECA, which promised to help the workers find other employment, give the workers a few paid days off to look for new jobs.

The naked truth is that ECA capitalists, like any other capitalists, simply regard the workers as inferior slaves who have no rights and no lives of their own. They plan to use the workers till the last day the workers can make a profit for them and then throw them out without a penny. Indeed the annual plant shutdown is coming up in a couple weeks. Over shutdown would be a very convenient time for ECA to quietly lay off another large group of workers and cheat them out of their severance pay.

ECA capitalists will get away with all of this unless we fight. Our soldout union officials and the company flunkies are telling us that it is useless to fight, that nothing can be done. If this is the case, why did the ECA officials go into such a frenzy when the Marxist-Leninist Party held a small picket outside the plant. Why did they call out their security guards and the Cambridge police the next day for fear the communists would return. Certainly they were not simply afraid of six people marching around with picket signs. What they were afraid of was that the ECA workers would join the picket, that they would take actions on their own. The ECA capitalists know that there is a lot of anger in the working class about unemployment. They know that any fight by the ECA workers would have widespread support among all the workers in the Boston area. They worry that such a fighting spirit might even contaminate their new workers in New Hampshire and spoil their plans to keep wages low there.

But if we are to fight we must get organized. Clearly we cannot rely on our union officials, whose reformist policy of appeasing the capitalists and keeping things quiet and tailing the Democratic Party politicians has led them to openly side with ECA against the workers. Instead we must take matters into our own hands. We should link up with the Marxist-Leninist Party. We should also get together and form our own committee of workers and laid off workers to agitate and organize for mass action to make ECA stop playing games with the workers and to pay them decent severance benefits.

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Lessons from the struggle against plant closings

(The following article is excerpted from Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on August 1, 1983.)

After months of keeping the workers in the dark about their severance benefits Electronics Corporation of America (ECA) and the union have finally reached a settlement on severance pay, health benefits and pensions. It is very interesting that after months of stalling, this settlement was reached only one week after the first protest motion developed among the workers in the form of a petition. Apparently ECA was waiting to see what it could get away with. When some workers began to organize in spite of their union "leaders," the company decided it was time to settle in order to cool things out.

The settlement reached by ECA and the union is of course a mere pittance compared to the difficulties created for the workers by being thrown out of work. Moreover the total cost to ECA of this "generous" severance package is only 3 to 4% of the $20 million or so that they will make off the sale of the building and property alone. Nevertheless this settlement is an improvement in the severance package over the terms of the previous contract, most notably in the fact of the nine month extension of Blue Cross coverage, an important demand of the workers. If the merest rumblings of a struggle could make ECA make some small improvements, how much better off would the workers have been if they had put up a militant mass struggle eight months ago?

In fact our union leaders were afraid that the workers would ask this obvious question. They were afraid that the workers would denounce them and demand a real fight and so they railroaded their settlement through with a mail-in vote over shutdown rather than hold a mass meeting to discuss and approve the new contract.

The situation and struggle at ECA over the last year has been a very difficult and a very eye-opening experience for the workers. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this experience.

The first lesson is the importance of developing the militant mass struggle against the capitalist offensive. From the very beginning ECA realized that militant mass struggle on the part of the workers was the one thing that could obstruct their plans to move production to New Hampshire and close the Cambridge plant with as little expense as possible. That is why ECA kept its plans as secret as possible right up to two weeks before the first layoffs in hopes that by then it would be too late for the workers to organize a fight. That is also why ECA went into a frenzy when the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA organized a small picket outside the plant the day before the first layoffs. It is also why ECA made the severance benefit settlement as soon as the first signs appeared that the workers were organizing independently of their soldout union. Indeed in hindsight we can say that if a militant struggle had been organized much earlier ECA might even have been forced to cancel its plans to move to New Hampshire.

The absolute necessity for a mass struggle against the capitalist offensive is a lesson that applies not only at ECA but in every factory and to the whole struggle of the working class. Today the capitalist system throughout the world is stuck in the deepest crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930's. Reagan's much ballyhooed economic recovery has hardly put a dent in the army of 15 million unemployed workers. Only the profits of the capitalists are recovering. In this profound crisis the only way the capitalists can maintain their profits and their system is by devastating the workers with layoffs, wage cuts, and plant closings and by preparing for lucrative new imperialist wars. Everywhere the workers are faced with the choice of either quietly watching their livelihood be devastated with wage cuts, plant closings and layoffs or rising up with strikes, demonstrations and revolutionary mass struggle to meet the capitalist offensive head on.

The second major lesson of the ECA workers' struggle is the need to organize their struggle independently of the trade union bureaucrats. The top union officials at ECA openly opposed any mass struggle against the plant closing or any fight to force ECA to provide the workers with a livelihood. Instead they cooperated with ECA in keeping the workers in the dark. They wasted precious time carrying out secret negotiations with ECA in which they attempted to beg ECA to stay a few more years by offering to sacrifice the workers' wages and benefits. When the workers demanded a meeting to organize resistance to the plant closing they refused to let the workers meet. They branded anyone who wanted to fight as a troublemaker. The union bureaucracy at ECA was an enormous obstacle to the workers organizing any mass struggle. Any struggle that was organized was organized in spite of the union leaders' opposition.

This situation is not unique to ECA. For over 80 years, the American capitalist system has been using part of the super-profits it gets from plundering the workers in countries like El Salvador, Mexico and Korea to bribe and corrupt the upper strata of the working class and especially trade union officials. This bribery is not simply or even mainly a matter of money under the table. Rather it is an entire system of pay, privileges, and respectability, backed up by labor laws, and granted to union officials so long as they keep the workers' struggle within bounds. The union bureaucrats have been given a comfortable place in the capitalist system in return for controlling the workers.

Today the union bureaucracy in the U.S. has openly joined hands with the factory owners in shoving concessions down the throats of the workers in auto, steel, and many other industries. Clearly for the working class movement to advance in the U.S., there must be a resolute struggle against this stratum of sellouts. The workers must continue to fight against these sellouts inside the unions. At the same time, the workers must build up revolutionary organizations outside the union bureaucrats' control to organize and carry through the mass struggle in spite of the union bureaucrats' opposition.

The final lesson has to do with the role of the Marxist-Leninist Party. For three-and-a-half years, the MLP has stood by the ECA workers through thick and thin. It has carried on tireless work and agitation to politically educate the workers and to organize them into all the struggles of the working class both at ECA and in the wider struggle against the capitalist offensive and imperialist war preparations. In the past year, while the union officials were selling the workers down the river, while the liberal Cambridge Democratic Party politicians were rezoning One Memorial Drive to residential to help ECA sell its property for apartments and condos, the MLP alone worked to organize the workers' resistance to the plant closing. This stand of the MLP won a lot of respect among the ECA workers. Many workers came to see the MLP as an important weapon in their struggle and kept the Party informed of every development. As a result, the Party was able to assist the workers' struggle at every turn.

Why did the MLP stick by the ECA workers and keep fighting when all their other "friends".and "leaders" were deserting them? Because the MLP is the revolutionary party of the working class. It is not interested in preserving a position in the capitalist system but in organizing the working class as a strong independent force and preparing the workers to overthrow the capitalist system. The MLP champions the workers' struggle against the capitalists' attacks and for their pressing demands because it knows that without such a struggle, the working class will be ground down to helpless slaves. Moreover the science of Marxism-Leninism teaches us that the fight for the immediate demands and interests of the workers is a necessary part of organizing and preparing the working class for the great battles that will be necessary to overthrow capitalism.

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What is Chicago's new mayor doing-

Fighting for jobs or 'creating a climate for business'?

The following article is based on a leaflet produced by the Chicago Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party for distribution at the "Unemployed Congress" held in Chicago on July 2 and 3. One of the key issues facing the unemployed in Chicago is whether the fight against unemployment requires organizing the mass struggle or demands falling in line behind Harold Washington and his "trickle down" program of 'creating a climate for business to come in. '' The leaders of the conference idolized Washington and promoted his election campaign as a model for building the type of coalitions needed to fight unemployment. The MLP exposed this illusion, showed that Washington is bringing disaster to the jobless, and drove home the point that to achieve success in the fight against unemployment the workers must build up their own class movement independent of and in struggle against not only the Reaganite Republicans but also the silver-tongued liars of the Democratic Party.

The plight of the unemployed in Chicago grows worse with each passing day. The current depression has brought enormous layoffs and wide- scale plant shutdowns. In the last period Taylor Forge, Sunbeam, numerous oil refineries, and other plants have been closed permanently while U.S. Steel's giant South works has been reduced to a mini-mill.

Nor has Reagan's talk of "recovery" brought any relief for the jobless or put a halt to the growth of the army of unemployed. Most recently, for example, Western Electric announced that it will soon padlock its Hawthorne works. This will mean that another 4,200 workers will be thrown into the ranks of the more than 13 million unemployed across the country.

The constant growth of the army of unemployed workers is a basic law of the capitalist system of production for profit. Through much of the 1970's the capitalist economy has suffered one recession after another. And each new downturn in the economy has left in its wake hundreds of thousands of additional permanently jobless workers. In the Chicago area alone, some 123,000 industrial jobs have been permanently lost in the past nine years. This represents a full 10% of the industrial work force.

For the working class unemployment means untold suffering. But for the capitalists, mass unemployment is the silver lining in the dark cloud of economic stagnation. They use the misery of the working class to protect their profits and fill their bank vaults. The capitalists not only save money by throwing huge numbers of the workers into the streets during times of overproduction. They also use the enormous army of unemployed as a weapon to impose severe overwork, long hours and wage cuts on those workers who are still employed.

Clearly, to defend their jobs and livelihood the workers must put up a fight against the profit-hungry capitalists. Such resistance is beginning to emerge. For example, the workers at Westinghouse's southside plant have begun demonstrations and other protests against the closing of their plant. This struggle and others like it deserve the support of the entire working class. All of the various battles, against plant closings and layoffs, for relief for the unemployed, and so forth must be merged into a powerful class struggle of the workers against the capitalist offensive headed up by the Reagan government.

Chicago's Democratic Party Government and Reaganomics

Such a class struggle can only be organized if the workers break free from the hold of the Democratic Party liars and build up their own independent movement. The current situation in Chicago demonstrates this truth to a tee.

During the recent Chicago elections all of the Democratic Party politicians, both those who back the new "reform" mayor Harold Washington and those connected to the old machine boss Vrdolyak, promised the workers jobs and relief from the devastating unemployment. But all of their fine promises have come to nothing.

While Washington and Vrdolyak have squabbled over who controls a handful of jobs in city hall, the plight of the broad masses of workers has only grown worse. Indeed, the two factions have together presided over a program of layoffs and a hiring and wage freeze for city workers, and austerity cutbacks and a pledge of increased taxes for the working masses throughout the city. When all is said and done, Washington and Vrdolyak stand on a common platform that resembles Reaganomics more than anything else. Take a look at what they've been up to.

Vrdolyak and the Closing of Wisconsin Steel

Vrdolyak's sole interest in unemployment has been to use this devastating problem for the workers to milk a few votes and keep his own job as alderman.

Just prior to the election primaries Vrdolyak bought full page ads in the Daily Calumet, a newspaper in the

southside steel community where Vrdolyak's 10th ward is located. The ads announced that there would soon be a buyer for Wisconsin Steel, that an agreement was close to being signed, and therefore the workers should vote Vrdolyak.

But today the mill continues to stand idle and the workers remain unemployed without even the back wages and pensions they are due. Vrdolyak is just a liar. Before each election he makes such claims. But once he's in office the plight of the workers remains unchanged.

What makes this fraud all the worse is the fact that it was none other than Vrdolyak who helped International Harvester, Wisconsin Steel's parent company, to defraud the workers out of their pension funds when the mill was closed. Vrdolyak was the lawyer for the company union at Wisconsin Steel. He negotiated the contract with International Harvester which, without any vote by the workers, tore up the workers' previous pension guarantees.

More than this, he persistently opposed the workers' mass actions against the mill closing and demanded that the workers leave it up to him to solve their problems by finding a new buyer. Years have passed, and still Vrdolyak is making this same empty promise. Certainly this is not helping the unemployed. Rather Vrdolyak is standing in the way of the struggle of the rank-and-file workers against unemployment.

Today, Vrdolyak's "fight" for jobs has revolved almost exclusively a- round defending the patronage jobs of a few cronies loyal to him by blocking black and Hispanic politicians from obtaining seats in city hall. Vrdolyak's disgusting racism is repulsive to all the workers. He and his "machine" must be opposed if the workers of all nationalities are to unite in struggle against unemployment.

Washington's "Trickle Down" Jobs Program

Unfortunately Washington has done no better than Vrdolyak. Washington promised a "full employment" program. But so far he has only fought for tokenism, for bringing a few more black and Hispanic politicians into the top offices of the city council and for control of a few hundred patronage jobs. For the masses of workers in the city government and private industry Washington's policies have only meant intensifying the unemployment problem.

Washington's first act in office was the issuing of a freeze on the hiring and wages of all city workers without contracts (that is, all but the policemen and firemen). Seasonal hiring for the Streets and Sanitation Department was eliminated this year, reducing services citywide. As well the process of firing 300-400 workers has begun; Washington has announced that another 569 will be fired by September; and he has threatened to eliminate an additional 2,000 city jobs if his proposed tax hikes are not passed.

While the workers are suffering, Washington has turned his efforts to providing handouts for the capitalists. The initial firing of city workers was the result of a transfer of 13.5 million dollars in funds from Personnel to the Department of Neighborhoods. This money is earmarked to "improve business districts" and to "spur economic development." In other words, the construction capitalists are to be given handouts to remodel the business districts so that the local capitalists can make more money. Washington hopes that such spending will result in some temporary employment.

But this is just Reagan's "trickle down" economics. It has been argued that the hiring of workers by private industry will offset the firing of the city workers. But there is no way that a few temporary jobs in the construction companies can offset the loss of hundreds of permanent city jobs.

It should also be pointed out that Washington's newly appointed Commissioner of the Department of Neighborhoods is planning to negotiate with the construction unions to get the work done at below union wages. In other words, the Washington administration is trying to take advantage of the vast unemployment to drive down the wages of workers in the construction firms it is doing business with.

If a Republican carried out such a program it would be denounced far and wide as Reaganomics. But Washington paints up this program in flaming radical colors as a "reform" that will "help the neighborhoods." Such is the role of Democratic Party liars like Washington. They are trying to prettify the capitalist offensive and dress up starvation to make it seem more acceptable to the working masses.

The Practical Politics of "Reform" Is Nothing but Reaganism

In a recent speech at Chicago's Columbia College, Washington explained something of what his "reform" policies actually mean in practice.

Washington emphasized, "We are reformers and it is to the interests of reformers that the system and the people are to be benefited.... My goal is to cure some of the social ills that beset our city.... But I do not intend to let good intentions deter me from the practical world we live in day-to-day." (All Chicago City News, June 11,1983)

And what does this "practical world" demand? Well, Reagan-style job elimination and austerity cuts of course. Washington continues, "Now we have gotten spending under control and instituted an iron fisted set of fiscal reform...cut we must. We've stopped millions of dollars in unnecessary spending already, and expect to trim millions of dollars more." (Ibid.)

Now when Washington speaks of cutting "unnecessary spending" he is not talking about cutting the enormous interest payments to the banks or any of the handouts to the wealthy corporations. Oh no, it is the workers' livelihood that is being cut. In fact Washington emphasized that his austerity budget is aimed at proving to the capitalist financial sharks that Chicago will keep the interest payments pouring into their vaults. Washington stressed, "This necessary, sometimes painful belt tightening has caught the eye of the rating agencies nationwide, and I can tell you tonight that our city's bond rating is safe." (Ibid.)

Thank you for your frankness Mr. Washington. Now we understand that for all of your "good intentions" the "practical world" demands that you cater to the profit-hungry banks at the expense of the jobs and livelihood of the workers.

Let us look for a moment at how this policy works out with respect to the financial crisis in the schools.

Taxing the Workers to Enrich the Banks

Washington's program for the public schools is in all of its essentials no different from that of Vrdolyak and, in the final analysis, it amounts to a continuation of the policies of ex-mayor Bryne.

When Bryne came into office the Chicago school system was on the brink of bankruptcy largely due to the fact that the capitalist businesses had for years simply refused to pay the taxes they owed. Instead of collecting these back taxes, Byrne launched a policy of austerity cutbacks for the schools and ever increasing debt payments to the banks.

At the center of Byrne's policy was the creation of the School Finance Authority. This committee is headed up by the big banks. It has been given complete control over all school financial matters.

The Finance Authority floated bonds worth hundreds of millions of dollars. To ensure that the banks and the other capitalist financial sharks got their exorbitant profits off of these loans almost one-fourth of the property tax money which had previously gone directly to funding education was diverted to financing the bonds. At the same time the Finance Authority carried out heavy cuts in the school budget and imposed renegotiated takeback contracts and mass layoffs on the school employees. Thus, while the working masses paid dearly, the banks were ensured enormous profits. What is more, the small share of the taxes for the schools paid by the capitalists was further reduced by the complete elimination of the corporate personal property tax.

Byrne's policies saved the bond rating and ensured enormous profits to the capitalist financiers, but they have done nothing to relieve the financial crisis of the schools. Indeed, the schools' short-term deficit, which was $150 million when Byrne began her program, has risen to $200 million today.

Clearly Byrne's policies should be overturned and the rich must be forced to pay for the schools. But Washington is just traveling down the same road as Byrne. Under Washington the Finance Authority continues, the elimination of the corporate personal property tax remains, the bank vaults continue to fill from the workers' taxes, and the schools continue to deteriorate. Washington's sole effort has been directed to making up the school's budget deficit by increasing the taxes on the backs of the workers.

Of course the workers will sacrifice a lot to save the schools. But it is the capitalists who have been enriching themselves at the expense of the schools and it is they who should be made to pay the price. Instead of fighting in the interests of the workers Washington is supporting the most regressive tax increases which hit the workers the hardest.

To deal with the school budget deficits, and with those of the city generally, both Washington and Vrdolyak have campaigned hard for the package of regressive taxes proposed by Republican governor Thompson. These tax increases, which were recently passed, include, among other things: a 20% hike in the personal income tax; raising the gasoline tax from 7.5 cents to 11 cents now and another two cents over the next two years; and increasing the state sales tax from 4% to 5% on all items, except food and drugs on which the rates will be slightly lowered in January. On top of this Washington allied with the most reactionary Republican state legislators to push through an increased property tax for Chicago. Taken together these increases further shift the enormous burden of taxation onto the workers' shoulders.

Here is Washington's "reform" program in all of its glory. The bond rating will be saved, the banks will continue to rake in their tribute, the capitalist businessmen will thrive. But the schools will further deteriorate while the masses of workers suffer even more job elimination, austerity cuts and tax increases to boot. It is hard to see how the workers can survive many more Democratic Party "reforms" such as these.

For a Real Fight Against Reaganism

A real fight against Reaganite job elimination and austerity cuts can only be waged by organizing the masses of employed and unemployed workers. But Washington will have none of that. He prefers to play patty-cake with Chicago's machine bosses.

Washington himself emphasized this point in his recent speech at Columbia College. He stressed "Of all the accomplishments of the past five weeks, I take the most satisfaction in the role I've played in awakening a city council that has been sleeping for 30 years.... The sight of aldermen who once neglected to read new ordinances now intently reading state statutes and federal law gratifies the spirit in me that once loved to teach." Can you imagine that? Instead of a fight against the crusty old racists in city hall who have long sat on the backs of the workers Washington wants to "wake them up" and "teach" them. Ridiculous!

The workers cannot put their faith in the capitalist politicians of Reagan's Republican Party or in the honey-mouthed liars like Washington of the Democratic Party. Rather the workers must build up their own independent class movement in struggle against the capitalists and their political parties.

"Waking up" the capitalist politicians is folly. Waiting on the "future harvest" from today's austerity and job elimination schemes is suicide. The workers must organize themselves and take to the streets to fight for every job and every cent that the government is trying to cut. They must build up a powerful mass movement of the class to fight for the interests of both the unemployed and employed workers.

And in the battles today the workers must remember that only socialism can finally eliminate the plague of chronic unemployment and capitalist economic crisis. Organizing the mass struggles, building up the independent movement of the working class, this is the road that opens the way for the socialist revolution that will sweep aside this capitalist hell and lift the working class to be the masters of society.

[Photo: Unemployed workers march through downtown Pittsburgh on July 27. This was one of nine related demonstrations across the country to protest Reagan's economic policies and attacks on the unemployed.]

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United front tactics are an essential tool of the proletarian party

The Third Congress of the CI on the Reformist Parties as Diehard Defenders of Capitalism

This is the fourth article in a series on united front tactics. The Marxist-Leninist teachings on united front tactics clarify the theoretical basis for the present tactics being used successfully by the Marxist-Leninist Party in strikes, demonstrations and in the mass movement generally. These teachings also refute the fashionable liquidationist preaching about the joys of wallowing in the swamp hand in hand with the Democratic Party politicians and labor bureaucrats, preaching that is all the rage today among those who have turned their backs on revolutionary work and the class struggle. Instead, united front tactics are designed for winning the majority of the working class for revolutionary communism.

Some time ago our Party began a new study of the questions of the united front. This study includes examining the basic principles of united front tactics as elaborated in the Marxist-Leninist classics and at the congresses of the Third (Communist) International and reviewing the experience in applying united front tactics in the working class movement of various countries.

It was the Third Congress of the CI in mid-1921 that first set forward the slogan of "building up a united proletarian front." The last two articles in this series were devoted to the Third Congress. They summed up the lessons of the Third Congress on united front tactics under five general headings and discussed three of them in detail. This article takes up the fourth heading.


The Reformist and Centrist Parties Are Bulwarks of Capitalism

The liquidators of yesterday and today regard united front tactics as an excuse for reconciliation with opportunism. For them, the "united front" is but a pleasant-sounding slogan to cover up their cozy nuzzling with the hacks in the opportunist swamp. For this reason, it is important to stress that the Third Congress utterly denounced the social-democratic parties, whether they were avowedly reformist parties or phrasemongering centrist parties, and showed that they had stained their hands with the blood of the working class. For the Third Congress, the only question was how to fight the opportunist class traitors, not whether to fight them. United front tactics in their true sense are a tool to unite the workers in the face of the bitter resistance of the reformists and centrists and to destroy the influence of reformism and centrism.

Bulwarks of Capitalism

The Third Congress regarded the reformist and centrist parties as workers' parties only in the sense that they had influence over masses of workers and that these workers naively believed that these parties were opposed to the capitalists. Marxism, however, had long ago shown that opportunism represented bourgeois influence upon the workers' movement. Later, during World War I, Lenin stressed that the social-democratic Second International had gone bankrupt on a world scale and that its opportunist leaders had gone over to the bourgeoisie. He showed that the social- democratic parties had become bourgeois workers' organizations, and reiterating Engels' penetrating expression, he called them "bourgeois labor parties." (See his article "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism," Collected Works, Vol. 23, pp. 105-20) These parties, led by a soldout petty-bourgeois stratum represented the bourgeois trend within the working class movement.

Lenin repeatedly explained that the fact that a party had a following among the workers did not determine its class character. For example, at the Second Congress of the CI, he denounced the view that the British Labor Party was a proletarian party. He stated:

"Of course, most of the Labor Party's members are working men. However, whether or not a party is really a political party of the workers does not depend solely upon a membership of workers but also upon the men that lead it, and the content of its actions and its political tactics. Only this latter determines whether we really have before us a political party of the proletariat. Regarded from this, the only correct, point of view, the Labor Party is a thoroughly bourgeois party, because, although made up of workers, it is led by reactionaries, and the worst kind of reactionaries at that, who act quite in the spirit of the bourgeoisie. It is an organization of the bourgeoisie, which exists to systematically dupe the workers with the aid of the British Noskes and Scheidemanns [Noske and Scheidemann were German social-chauvinist leaders who helped the bourgeoisie subvert the German revolution at the end of World War I and who were prominent organizers of the bloody suppression of the post-war upsurge and of the murder of the communist leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht -- ed.]" ("Speech on Affiliation to the British Labor Party," August 6, 1920, Collected Works, Vol. 31, pp. 257-58)

Lenin further pointed out at the Second Congress that:

"Opportunism in the upper ranks of the working class movement is bourgeois socialism, not proletarian socialism. It has been shown in practice that working class activists who follow the opportunist trend are better defenders of the bourgeoisie than the bourgeois themselves. Without their leadership of the workers, the bourgeoisie could not remain in power." ("Report on the International Situation and the Fundamental Tasks of the CI," July 19, 1920, Collected Works, Vol. 31, p. 231)

The Third Congress, too, denounced the bourgeois nature of the opportunist workers' parties. It exposed their role as petty-bourgeois parties in the service of the bourgeoisie and denounced them as bulwarks of capitalism:

"The petty-bourgeois democrats in the capitalist countries, whose foremost sections are presented by the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, are at the present moment the chief support of capitalism in so far as the majority or, at least a considerable part, of the industrial and commercial workers and employees remain under their influence." (From Point 2, The International Alignment of Class Forces, from the "Theses on the Tactics of the Russian Communist Party")

Lenin, speaking at the Third Congress, pointed out that: "...we clearly see that in many West European countries, where the broad mass of the working class, and possibly the overwhelming majority of the population, are organized, the main bulwark of the bourgeoisie consists of the hostile working class organizations affiliated to the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals." ("Report on the Tactics of the Russian Communist Party," July 5, 1921, Collected Works, Vol. 32, p. 481)

The Third Congress denounced not just the reformist and centrist parties, but also the reformist international trade union center, as serving the bourgeoisie. It stated that:

"The International Trade Union Association of Amsterdam represents the organization in which the Second International and the Second-and-a-Half International meet each other and join hands. The whole international bourgeoisie looks upon this organization with assurance and confidence. The principal idea of the International Trade Union Association is at present the idea of the neutrality of Trade Unions....

"Under the flag of neutrality the Amsterdam Trade Union Association undertakes the execution of the dirtiest and most difficult commissions of the bourgeoisie: the strangling of the miners' strike in England...the decrease of wages, the organized plundering of the German workers for the sins of the imperialist German bourgeoisie....

"At the present moment the Amsterdam International Trade Union Association represents the chief support of International Capital." (from Point 2, Amsterdam a Bulwark of Capitalism, of the resolution on "The CI and the Red International of Trade Unions")

The Reformists and Centrists Continue Their Dirty Work

But did the adoption of the united front slogan by the CI mean that it thought that the reformists and centrists, rotten as they were, were tending to become better? On the contrary. Over the last year before the Third Congress the social-democrats had deepened their treachery and stepped up their attacks on communism. The Third Congress pointed out:

"The third year of the Communist International witnessed the further decline of the Social Democratic Parties, and the loss of influence and unmasking of the reformist Trade Union leaders. During the last year, however, they have attempted to organize themselves and proceed to an attack on the Communist International." (from Point 11, Decline of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals of the "Theses on Tactics")

The theses went on to detail the crimes of social-democracy in a number of countries. The case of Germany will suffice to show that the reformists and centrists were not relenting in the least in their service to the bourgeoisie. The Third Congress related that:

"In Germany, the Social-Democratic Party [the avowed reformists -- ed.], after withdrawing from the government, proved that it was no longer able to carry on even agitational opposition of the pre-war kind. Every one of its oppositional actions was carefully calculated not to elicit any struggles of the working class. Although apparently in the opposition in the Reichstag [parliament -- ed.], Social-Democracy organized a campaign in Prussia against the Middle-German miners, for the confessed purpose of provoking an armed combat before the Communist battle-front could be organized. [This refers to the events leading up to the armed struggle in the "March Action," which was discussed in detail in the last article -- ed.] In the face of the capitulation of the German bourgeoisie to the Entente [the U.S.-Anglo-French victor imperialists of World War I -- ed.], in the face of the undeniable fact that the German bourgeoisie is only able to carry out the dictates of the Entente by making the living conditions of the German proletariat absolutely unbearable, German Social-Democracy reentered the Government in order to aid the bourgeoisie in turning the German proletarians into helots [serfs or slaves -- ed.]....

"The centrists' parties and groups of the Two-and-a-Half International are no less crass examples of counter-revolutionary organizations. The German Independents brusquely refused to respond to the appeal of the German Communist party for unity of action, in spite of all differences, in the battle against the impoverishment of the working class. During the March revolt they took a decided stand on the side of the White Guard movement against the Middle-German workers, only to raise a hypocritical howl about White Terror, after they had aided in securing victory to this very White Terror, and had denounced the proletarian vanguard, before the eyes of the bourgeoisie, as thieving, plundering 'gutter' proletarians. Although they pledged themselves, at the Congress of Halle, to support Soviet Russia, their press is replete with calumny against Soviet Russia. They stepped into the ranks of the entire counter-revolutionary supporting the Kronstadt revolt against the Soviet Republic...." (Ibid.)

The Third Congress further pointed out that the reformists and centrists had united against revolutionary work in the trade unions "by expulsion of the Communists and splits in the trade unions." (Ibid.)

The Third Congress concluded that:

"It is the task of the Communist International to wage relentless war against the Two-and-a-Half International as well as against the Second International and the Amsterdam Trade Union International." (Ibid.)

Hence the adoption of the united front slogan by the Third Congress did not mean that the Congress thought that there were any encouraging signs whatsoever about the nature of reformism and centrism. On the contrary, the task was to fight the reformists and centrists. The liquidators of today are fond of denouncing the struggle among the masses against reformism and opportunism as an allegedly impractical "pure line" as opposed to their own truly impure and stinking corrupt alliance with opportunism, which they regard as the embodiment of "united front tactics." But the true united front tactics, as elaborated by the Third Congress, were set forward to help in waging a "relentless war" against the opportunists and to bring this war right into the midst of the widest masses of working people.

The Reformist Coalition With the Bourgeoisie

The reformists and centrists generally love to make great play with the slogan of "unity." Their idea of unity, however, is determined by their political stand. They are for unity with the bourgeoisie. In stark contrast, the united front slogan of the communist parties is an appeal to the working class to break up the class collaborationist coalition with the bourgeoisie imposed by the opportunists and form, instead, a united front for struggle against the bourgeoisie.

The social-democratic coalition with the bourgeoisie reached maturity on a world scale and appeared starkly, in all its repulsiveness, in World War I. Lenin pointed out repeatedly that opportunism means alliance with the bourgeoisie and that the social-chauvinism of the social-democrats in World War I brought this formerly secret alliance into the open. He wrote:

"The economic basis of 'social-chauvinism'...and of opportunism is the same, namely, an alliance between an insignificant section at the 'top of the labor movement, and its 'own' national bourgeoisie, directed against the masses of the proletariat; an alliance between the servants of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie, directed against the class that is exploited by the bourgeoisie. Social-chauvinism is consummated opportunism." ("Opportunism and the Collapse of the Second International," Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 442, emphasis as in the original)

And he added:

"The alliance with the bourgeoisie used to be ideological and secret. It is now public and unseemly. Social- chauvinism draws its strength from nowhere else but this alliance with the bourgeoisie and the General Staffs.... All Marxists in Germany, France, and other countries have always stated and insisted that opportunism is a manifestation of the bourgeoisie's influence over the proletariat; that it is a bourgeois labor policy, an alliance between an insignificant section of near-proletarian elements and the bourgeoisie.... Unity with opportunism means unity between the proletariat and its national bourgeoisie, i.e., submission to the latter, a split in the international revolutionary working class." (Ibid., pp. 443-44)

Thus the unity of the opportunists with the bourgeoisie stood out clearly in World War I in the social-chauvinist alliance with the war machines of their own bourgeoisie. After the war, this social-democratic unity with the bourgeoisie continued and deepened. The reformists and centrists served as tools of the bourgeoisie in suppressing the postwar revolutionary upsurge, cutting wages, implementing austerity programs, and so forth.

Hence united front tactics must not consist of simple sentimental longing after "unity" in the abstract. True united front tactics must counterpose proletarian unity against the bourgeoisie with the opportunist policy of coalition with the bourgeoisie. Only thus is the united front slogan of any value to the proletarian struggle.

One of the fashionable ideas of the liquidators is that the difference between revolutionaries and the social-democrats and reformists is just over ultimate goals. They hold that the reformists may not be for the revolution, but they are for the Immediate struggle. This, the liquidators say, is the basis for united front tactics: let us unite with the Democratic Party marsh and the labor bureaucrats in the struggle for the immediate goals which, allegedly, "we all" agree on.

This, however, is utterly wrong. It means to pretend that the immediate struggle can be waged on the basis of class collaboration, on the basis of preserving the coalition with the bourgeoisie. It means to confuse the reformist and centrist leaders with the working masses still under their influence who are searching for the path to their emancipation. These working masses are in favor of struggle for their immediate interests, and the Leninist united front tactics appeal to this burning sentiment of the masses to take part in the struggle. But the reformist and centrist leaders do their best to derail this struggle in order to preserve the coalition with the bourgeoisie. The reformist and centrist parties hypocritically give certain slogans of struggle in order to throw dust in the eyes of the working masses, just as the cynical Democratic Party leaders hypocritically mouth their so-called "opposition" to Reagan at the same time as they rubber stamp each of his measures.

The liquidationist unity with the reformists is just a lying excuse for taking part in the opportunist coalition with the bourgeoisie and for running after crumbs from the bourgeoisie such as cozy petty-bourgeois positions in the labor bureaucracy. It is the exact opposite of the Leninist united front tactics. As we have seen, the Third Congress of the CI did not give the united front appeal out of any belief that the reformist and centrist trends were in favor of fighting for the immediate demands of the workers. On the contrary, it held that the claim of these trends to be for the struggle for the partial demands and immediate interests of the workers was no more honest or sincere or meaningful than their claim to be for the ultimate goal of socialism or any other of the hypocritical phrases which they mouthed in order to throw dust in the eyes of the working class. The reformist and centrist politicians could be found, then as now, fighting tooth and nail to hold back from the class struggle those honest workers and activists who hate the bourgeoisie but have not yet emancipated themselves from a naive belief in the opportunist big shots. The united front appeal is a special method of appeal to these workers and activists to abandon the coalition with the bourgeoisie and take the first steps upon the road of struggle against the class enemy.

In fact, Lenin repeatedly showed that the coalition of the opportunists with the bourgeoisie affected all fields of their work. For example, in his "Greetings to Italian, French and German Communists," written seven months after the First Congress of the CI, he stressed:

"The Scheidemann [reformist and social-chauvinist -- ed.] and Kautsky [centrist -- ed.] gang differ from us not only (and not chiefly) because they do not recognize the armed uprising and we do. The chief and radical difference is that in all spheres of work (in bourgeois parliaments, trade unions, cooperatives, journalistic work, etc.) they pursue an inconsistent, opportunist policy, even a policy of downright treachery and betrayal.

"Fight against the social-traitors, against reformism and opportunism -- this political line can and must be followed without exception in all spheres of our struggle. And then we shall win the working masses." (Collected Works, Vol. 30, p. 62)

More on the Reformist Version of "Unity"

The reformist and centrist version of "unity" in the working class movement is completely connected with their stand of maintaining a coalition with the bourgeoisie. For them, "unity" exists when the workers are subordinated to the reformist leaders and their class collaborationist policies. The social-democrats pervert the slogan of "unity" in order to use it to demand allegiance to themselves, on the one hand, and also as the pretext by which they justify wrecking and splitting the militant actions of the proletariat. Let us glance briefly at how this works in practice.

At the beginning of World War I, the social-chauvinists had control of most of the official parties of the social-democratic Second International. The reformist and centrist leaders, finding themselves in possession of the party and union leaderships, found it convenient to sanctify their heavy-handed suppression of the militant workers and activists in the name of "unity." They called any criticism of reformism and social-chauvinism a violation of "unity"; the workers were to go cheerfully to the battlefields to slaughter their class brothers in other lands under the signboard of "unity."

This situation was described as follows in the "Theses on the United Front" issued by the Executive Committee of the CI in December 1921, half a year after the Third Congress:

"At the first beginning of the development of a conscious and organized protest against the treachery of the leaders of the Second International, the latter held in their hands the whole apparatus of working class organization. They used the principle of unity and proletarian discipline in order mercilessly to gag the voice of revolutionary proletarian protest and to hand over without opposition all the power of the workers' organizations to the service of national imperialism. Under these conditions the revolutionary wing had to win for itself at all costs freedom of agitation and propaganda...." (from Point 5. The Revolutionary Protest)

At the same time, it was clear even then, when the reformist and centrist leaders had control of the apparatus of almost all the organizations, that their "concern" for the solidity of proletarian organization was just a sham. They only were willing to recognize discipline when it was the discipline of the left to them, not of them to follow the will of the class-conscious proletarians. This was perhaps revealed most clearly in the process that led to the infamous unanimous vote of the German social-democratic parliamentary group for war credits on August 4,1914 at the outbreak of the war. This vote was preceded by a caucus meeting of all the deputies to the Reichstag (parliament), including those of the reformist, centrist and left trends in the party.

The diehard social-chauvinist deputies came to this caucus meeting with the ultimatum that they would vote for war credits no matter what the caucus decided. There was simply no way that the reformist deputies were going to break their coalition with the bourgeoisie. This revealed that they only cared for the party in so far as the party was firmly in their control, as it indeed turned out to be. Of course, when the centrist deputies voted along with the social-chauvinists, thus defeating the left deputies who were opposed to the war credits, the reformists and centrists then miraculously rediscovered the joys of "unity" and party discipline. They demanded that the left obey the caucus vote. And the lefts, who were not yet sufficiently firm in their position and who did not yet understand the need for breaking the "unity" with both the reformists and centrists, submitted to this ultimatum. Hence the unanimous vote of the parliamentary group for war credits.

Lenin summed up this episode as follows:

"Talk about the 'unity' of the German Social-Democrats is sheer hypocrisy, which actually covers up the inevitable submission of the Lefts to ultimatums from the opportunists." ("The Collapse of the Second International," Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 256)

Here we have the dirty secret of the reformist conception of "unity": the submission of the left to the dictates of the rotten opportunists.

But despite the shrieks of the reformists and centrists, the revolutionary proletarians slowly consolidated themselves and gained strength as the imperialist carnage called the First World War continued. Through a difficult and protracted struggle, the communist vanguards gained strength on a world scale. By the time of the post-war proletarian upsurge and the founding of the CI, it began to appear that the reformist and centrist leaders might find themselves in the minority in a whole series of parties and trade unions.

Faced with this calamity, what did the reformist and centrist leaders do? Did they say: we demanded obedience to party decisions when we had control of the party leaderships, now, when we are the minority, we will give an example of that rigorous obedience that we ourselves have always demanded? Not on your life! No more than the German social-chauvinist deputies would have voted against war credits if the caucus had so decided. Perish the thought that the reformist and centrist leaders would consent to lose their cozy positions and have to serve as rank-and-file soldiers in an organization that was actually fighting the bourgeoisie. Instead the reformist and centrist leaders embarked on frenzied splitting and wrecking activity in order to thwart the will of the class-conscious proletariat.

A vivid example comes from the history of the Socialist Party of the U.S. In 1919 the left wing gained a decisive majority in the voting for the national officers of the party and the national executive committee. Instead of turning over the control of the party to the elected left-wing officials, the social-chauvinist and centrist leaders united to tear up the voting results and expel en masse even entire state organizations of the SP, such as the Michigan, Massachusetts and Ohio organizations, and entire language or national federations, including the Russian, Lithuanian, Polish, Lettish, Hungarian, Ukrainian and South Slav Federations. At the next national convention of the SP, which opened on August 30, 1918, they arbitrarily disqualified left delegates in order to manufacture an opportunist majority. The right and center leaders then called on the capitalist police to throw those delegates out of the convention hall.

In essence, similar scenes happened in socialist parties and trade unions around the world. The CI "Theses on the United Front" of December 1921 pointed to this frenzied wrecking activity of the social-democratic leaders. It pointed out:

"The heroes of the Second and Amsterdam [reformist trade union -- ed.] Internationals preach unity in words, but in fact act to the contrary. The social- peace reformists of Amsterdam, having failed to suppress by their organization the voice of protest, criticism and revolutionary appeal, are now trying to get out of the blind alley into which they have brought themselves by introducing splits, disorganizations and organized sabotage into the struggle of the working masses." (from Point 6. New Form of Old Treachery) Indeed, the trade unions provide another excellent example of the social-democratic perversion of the ''unity" slogan.

The CI stood for trade union unity. It was for the unity of all workers, independent of political and ideological differences, in the same trade unions. The CI exposed the fraud of "trade union neutrality" and showed that, in reality, the unions stood on one side or the other of the political struggle. Hence the CI held that the unions should support the proletarian party and take a conscious part in the political struggle, according to the methods appropriate for unions, which differ from the methods of political parties. But this should not be accomplished by splitting unions or by expelling or hounding workers with different political views in the communist-led unions.

The reformists and centrists, however, had another idea. They did their best to purge the unions of revolutionary-minded workers. They forced devastating splits in the trade union movement. This was their last word in "unity."

At the same time, the reformists and centrists hypocritically covered up their splitting and wrecking activity with pious proclamations of "trade union neutrality." Under the banner that the unions were allegedly outside politics and the political struggle, they enforced the policy of class collaboration and coalition with the bourgeoisie. They demagogically ranted that this filthy "trade union neutrality" was necessary for the unity of all workers in the same union, while defending this "neutrality" and this "unity" by mass expulsions of everyone who was for a real struggle against the bourgeoisie.

The Third Congress had already pointed to the reformist and centrist policy of "expulsion of the Communists and splits in trade unions." (from Point 11 of the "Theses on Tactics") The Fourth Congress of the CI elaborated further on this crime of the reformist and centrist leaders. It denounced

"...the systematic splitting of the trade unions by the leaders of the Amsterdam International. The Amsterdam leaders shrink from any fight against the capitalist offensive, and they continue in their policy of cooperation with the employers. To avoid being hindered by the Communists in their alliance with the employers, they endeavor systematically to banish the influence of the Communists from the trade unions. Nevertheless, the Communists in many countries have already won a majority, or are on the point of winning a majority, in the trade unions, in spite of these tactics, and the Amsterdam leaders do not shrink from mass expulsions nor from formally splitting the trade unions. Nothing so weakens the resistance of the proletariat against the capitalist offensive as the splitting of the trade unions. Of this the reformist leaders of the trade unions are well aware, but seeing the inevitable end of their influence, they hasten to disrupt the order to leave to the Communists a legacy of broken fragments of the old trade union organizations." (from Point 8. Splitting the Trade Unions and the Organization of White Terror Against the Communists of the "Resolution on the Tactics of the CI")

The reformists and centrists continue this perversion of the "unity" slogan when they are faced with the question of the united front. The "Theses on the United Front" of December 1921 pointed out:

"But while for those strata of the workers who are newly awakening to conscious life and are still little tried, the cry of the United Front is the expression of a genuine and sincere desire to combine the forces of the oppressed classes against the assault of the capitalist class; on the other hand, for the leaders and diplomats of the Second, Two-and-a-Half and Amsterdam Internationals the proclamation of this motto is only a new attempt to dupe the workers and to inveigle them by a new method into the old meshes of class- collaboration." (from Point 7. Reformist Treachery to Unity)

The reformists and centrists advocated that all that had to be done to have a "united front" was for everyone to follow behind the reformist dictate and for the class-conscious workers to surrender their hard-won independence from the opportunists. The reformist and centrist model was precisely the flabby old social-democratic parties and trade unions of August 1914 that had ensured the temporary paralysis of the militant working class in the face of the outbreak of the world imperialist slaughter. But to take part in a "united front" on such terms would simply mean making peace with the bourgeoisie. The Leninist united front tactics require a united front of struggle against the bourgeoisie, the only type of united front that is of use to the proletarian class struggle.

Are United Front Tactics a Trick?

We have thus seen that the reformists and centrists are diehard advocates of coalition with the bourgeoisie and diehard disrupters of the unity of the proletariat. We have seen that the Leninist united front tactics are a means of fighting the reformists and centrists and their coalition with the bourgeoisie.

There are those who have thereby concluded that united front tactics are simply a trick. They say that the Leninist united front tactics are, allegedly, not really aimed at uniting the proletariat but simply at exposing the social- democratic leaders. Why, in their eyes, these tactics simply consist of making proposals for united action against the bourgeoisie with one's fingers crossed behind one's back, hoping after hope that the reformists and centrists will turn down the proposals, so one can expose them for their refusal to unite. Allegedly, the last thing one wants is that the proposals are accepted, so that they are especially formulated for the purpose of forcing a refusal from the opportunists.

This, however, is utter nonsense. To make proposals that one oneself is opposed to would be to engage in mere conjuring tricks. Perhaps a party might, depending on circumstances, be able to carry out such a trick a few times, but it would be at the risk of losing its political soul.

The Leninist united front proposals are made by the communist parties because these proposals, if accepted, would advance the struggle against the bourgeoisie. This is not in contradiction with the goal of discrediting the reformist and centrist trends, because the communists know that the experience of the struggle shows the workers which trend is correct: the reformist or the revolutionary. The fact that the united front proposals benefit communism, therefore, does not come from some hidden clauses or fine print or other tricks cunningly concealed in the proposal, but from the fact that the communist doctrine is true and is the only profound and accurate guide to the working class struggle and the fact that it is the communist party that throws itself heart and soul into the class struggle. The communist parties must insist that the united front agreements contain provisions that ensure that they will actually help advance the struggle against the bourgeoisie, but the communist parties have no need of special sectarian provisions.

When the reformists and centrists reject the united front proposals, which is what they usually do, then of course the communist parties must make maximum use of this rejection to discredit the reformist and centrist trends, The communist parties must tirelessly, again and again, demonstrate to the workers how the reformist and centrist leaders sabotage the struggle against the bourgeoisie. The parties must make use of live political events to demonstrate over and over to the workers that it is opportunism which is responsible for the split in the working class movement. This is indeed at the heart of united front tactics.

But the communist parties are in favor of the acceptance of their united front proposal. They strive their hardest to ensure that the working masses will take up these proposals. They know, however, that the acceptance of these proposals by the reformist and centrist leaders does not mark the end of reformist and centrist sabotage of the workers' front. No, each step in actually implementing the proposals and carrying forward the struggle against the bourgeoisie will require a stubborn stand against reformist and centrist foot-dragging and treachery.

Precisely because the communist parties strive so hard to develop the united front among the working masses, they are faced with the hard task of knowing how flexible they can be in the various united front proposals. Certain concessions in the proposals might help the working masses come forward to take up the struggle. But if the parties concede too much in order to obtain agreement from the reformist and centrist leaders, than a united front agreement can turn into its opposite, into a fetter on the struggle. For example, the trade union bureaucrats have their own idea of what a "united front" is support of an economic struggle would be. Their terms may be: obey all the decisions of the reformist trade union bureaucracy, give up mass picketing, don't extend the struggle to other plants, be ready to give up the struggle whenever the capitalists offer a few crumbs to the bureaucrats, and give up all criticism of the labor bureaucracy. A "united front" on such terms would be of no benefit to the proletariat or communism. It would simply mean agreeing to join the coalition with the bourgeoisie.

Thus the Leninist united front tactics are not a trick. The united front proposals must be well thought out, so that they advance the class struggle and don't fall into the snares of the reformist coalition with the bourgeoisie. And it is the communist parties who are at the heart of the united workers' front, not because of some special sectarian provisions or tricks in the united front agreements, but because it is communism which is the ideology of the revolutionary proletariat and the guiding force of the workers' movement.

(Part V will be continued in a later issue.)

[Photo: Lenin speaking at the Third Congress of the Communist International, June 22-July 12,1921.]

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Another result of the CP of Canada (M-L)'s liquidationist errors

A Right-Wing Campaign on Behalf of the "Rule of Law"

Over the last few months, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has launched a noisy campaign in favor of establishing "the rule of law" in Canada. Under red headlines, their newspaper People's Canada Daily News has been running front-page articles on such themes as: "Only the mass struggle of the people in defense of their rights can ensure the rule of law" (June 15), "Lawlessness at home and abroad" (June 25), "The rule of the bourgeoisie -- a regime of lawlessness" (June 30), etc.

The basic theme of CPC(M-L)'s campaign is that today in Canada, under the rule of the bourgeoisie there is no rule of law. They complain that the bourgeoisie does not respect the law and simply engages in lawlessness. Wringing their hands about "anarchism and terrorism," they go so far as to imply that all acts of illegal protest are organized by the bourgeoisie! As the solution to this situation, CPC(M-L) advocates that the Canadian people must fight to ensure the rule of law in service of the nation.

Good grief! This sounds more like the ravings of "law and order" demagogues of the Spiro Agnew and Ronald Reagan type than the press of a party which calls itself Marxist-Leninist. These disgusting ravings by CPC(M-L) help to underscore how far their liquidationist deviations have taken them from the positions of Marxism-Leninism.

For several years now CPC(M-L) has been building up to this present campaign. In 1980, during the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Iran, CPC(M-L) raised a big fuss about the Canadian ambassador to Iran violating Canadian passport laws when he smuggled several U.S. personnel out of Iran. Instead of directing their fire at the Canadian bourgeoisie's imperialist stand against the Iranian revolution, CPC(M-L) chose a cringing legalist approach.

While the Iranian incident is still raised as an example of the bourgeoisie's "lawlessness" in CPC(M-L)'s current campaign, the immediate pretext for their new outburst at "lawlessness" appears to be the Trudeau government's introduction in May of a parliamentary bill to set up a new civilian spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. This is a vicious plan to strengthen the police apparatus of repression against the progressive movements. In recent years, there have been many disclosures of the criminal acts carried out against the left by the RCMP, Canada's present national police and internal security agency. The Trudeau government is now flaunting its intentions of escalating such activities further with the new agency. This agency is to have wider powers than the RCMP today, including the explicit right to circumvent other laws in carrying out its operations.

Trudeau's plan is a savage assault on the working class and the popular movements. It is part of the growing fascism of the Canadian bourgeoisie. It has given rise to widespread outrage among the masses. It is important for the Marxist-Leninists and all progressive people to put up a stern fight against this assault.

But CPC(M-L) is not interested in waging any serious fight on this question. While they have carried a few calls against the Trudeau proposal, they have kept their discussion in the realm of generalities, without bothering to expose anything concrete about the proposal. CPC(M-L) seeks to divert a struggle against a concrete reactionary law into a general propaganda campaign in favor of the "rule of law." Let us examine some of the main features of this disgusting propaganda.

The Marxist Approach of Class Analysis Is Abandoned

CPC(M-L)'s paramount claim is: "The experience of the Canadian people...shows that the bourgeoisie and its state do not stand for the rule of law." (PCDN, June 25, 1983, p. 1) For proof they offer two basic arguments.

The first is that "there is one law for the rich and another law for the ordinary working people." As the example for this, they point to how criminal law is applied differently to the rich and the poor.

The second is that the bourgeoisie engages in wanton lawlessness, such as the RCMP's criminal activities.

Both these points are generally true. The truth of these two points, however, does not at all prove that there is no rule of law in Canada. The only way they can prove CPC (M-L)'s assertion is if one believes that there is actually such a thing as law which stands above classes. But that is precisely the view of the bourgeoisie, which covers up its class rule with hypocritical talk about the "general interest," "national interest," "equality before the law," and so forth. The scientific analysis of Marxism, however, cuts through this fraud and exposes that bourgeois legality reflects the underlying economic relations within a society.

There is indeed the rule of law in Canada. But it is the rule of bourgeois law, for there is no such thing as law above classes. The bourgeoisie in capitalist society does establish laws which, on the surface, appear to allow for equality of all before the law. Therein lies its distinction with feudalism and other pre-capitalist societies where the laws openly defend class privileges. But the capitalist preaching of a law above classes is a sham. All bourgeois legal codes ultimately rest on the defense of private property, the right of the capitalists to exploit the workers. This is explicitly spelled out and many laws are written to ensure the maintenance of this exploitation. Moreover, since bourgeois society is divided between antagonistic classes and is the dictatorship of the rich, the functioning of the legal system inevitably favors the rich against the poor. The rich and their security agencies are given the latitude to do whatever they want, even if it is allegedly prohibited by the law, while the working people are subjected to "the full force of the law."

Furthermore, since capitalist society is the dictatorship of the exploiters, the bourgeoisie also allows in its laws for various exceptional measures to suppress the struggle of the proletariat. This includes such measures as declarations of state of emergency, martial law, special powers for police and government security agencies, and so forth. These exceptional measures throw aside the usual legal system; they are institutionalized "lawlessness." Legality in capitalist society is necessarily conditional. As Lenin put it once in refuting a German opportunist parliamentarian who was "affronted" that a German minister did not recognize the "parity of rights" between the workers' party and the bourgeois parties:

"Why was Frank so indignant? Because he is thoroughly imbued with faith in bourgeois 'legality,' in bourgeois 'parity of rights,' without understanding the historical limits of this legality, without understanding that all this legality must inevitably be cast to the four winds when the fundamental and cardinal question of the preservation of bourgeois property is affected. Frank is steeped in petty-bourgeois constitutional illusions; that is why he does not understand the historical conditionality of constitutional institutions even in a country like Germany.... " (Lenin, "Two Worlds," Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 306)

The duty of a Marxist-Leninist is not to preach respect for the rule of law, not in inculcate in the proletariat the spirit of a law above classes. Rather the Marxist-Leninists must train the masses in a spirit of defiance of the bourgeois laws which help to maintain the system of exploitation. While making use of whatever legalities can be made use of to organize the proletarian struggle, the Marxist-Leninists must prepare the proletariat for the eventuality of the armed insurrection, which will be the greatest act of disrespect for the "rule of law." As Lenin put it in his arguments against the German opportunists such as the above-mentioned Frank:

"The socialist proletariat will not forget for a moment that it is confronted, inevitably confronted, with a revolutionary mass struggle that must sweep away all the legalities of the doomed bourgeois society." (Ibid., p. 311)

As we shall see next, CPC(M-L)'s campaign on behalf of the "rule of law" takes them completely away from this revolutionary Marxist-Leninist stand. It takes them to one argument after another in favor of a stand of reformist and legalist cringing before the bourgeoisie.

CPC(M-L) Preaches Legalism

Far from preparing the proletariat for a struggle which will sweep away bourgeois legality, CPC(M-L) identifies the goal of the mass struggle to be the establishment of the "rule of law." Speaking of the "mass struggle in defense of their economic, political and social rights," PCDN writes: Only by waging this struggle through to the end can the genuine rule of law be established, a law which serves and defends the interests of the Canadian people and nation." (June 15,1983, p. 3)

This is quite a strange conception of carrying the mass struggle through to the end. We do not know precisely what CPC(M-L) is fighting for, but Marxist-Leninists seek to direct the mass struggle towards the proletarian revolution. CPC(M-L) in its "rule of law" campaign never speaks of the socialist revolution or the dictatorship of the proletariat. What it seeks, "the rule of the interests of the nation," can never be equated with the historic mission of the proletariat.

The proletarian revolution and its instrument, the dictatorship of the proletariat, will smash bourgeois law to smithereens and destroy all illusions in a "rule of law" above classes. The new socialist society will create a proletarian democracy which will be codified into an entirely new legality, a legality which will be partisan to the interests of the proletariat. And this new society will provide for exceptional measures to crush the resistance of the remnants of the capitalist bloodsuckers.

The preachings of CPC(M-L) in favor of the "rule of law" not only wipe out the perspective of the proletarian revolution but also inculcate a legalist and reformist spirit in the mass struggle today.

The Canadian government claims that its new spy agency will only go after "illegitimate protest" which threatens the "security of Canada." And how does CPC(M-L) respond to this? By denouncing all acts of militant protest as simply the handiwork of the police!

Thus it writes: "...all the acts of violent 'protest' and terrorism which came to light during the investigations of the royal commission whose findings form the basis of the legislation to create the new spy agency were shown to be the activities of the RCMP Security Service and other police forces aimed at splitting and discrediting the struggles of the working class and people...." (PCDN, June 15, 1983, p. 1) We do not know about the royal commission's findings, though it is well known that the police do instigate terrorist acts with their provocateurs. But CPC(M-L)'s denunciation of provocateurs is simply a ruse on their part to make a blanket condemnation of all acts by the masses in defiance of the law. Nowhere do they spell out that they support mass struggles that go beyond the bounds of the laws and regulations of the Canadian state.

There are other examples of how their "rule of law" campaign leads CPC(M-L) to advocate reformist solutions. For instance, take their argument about-how the law treats the rich and poor differently. From this they draw the following conclusion:

The fact of the matter is that the entire legal and judicial system in Canada is based on the vagueness of the laws and the arbitrary rulings of judges, who are not elected and accountable to the people but are appointed by the bourgeois governments.... The so-called 'elected representatives' in the Parliament and provincial legislatures do not write clear and well-defined laws, but deliberately leave the laws vague and indeterminate so that all matters are left in the hands of the judges...." (PCDN, June 30, 1983, p. 1, emphasis added)

Apparently, CPC(M-L) believes that what the Canadian people should be fighting for is "clear and well-defined" laws and the election of judges. What timid souls they are! All talk of working for "clear laws"is nonsense; the clearest written of laws in bourgeois society cannot alter the fact that bourgeois law will serve the rich against the poor. Besides, today the call for "clear and well-defined laws" is the theme for various reactionary revisions of the criminal codes; in the U.S. it is the excuse for the Kennedy-Dixiecrat criminal code revision attempts (Bill S-l and its descendants). As for the election of judges, this does not change the bourgeois nature of the laws. This is simply a reform of the existing system which, depending on the conditions, may be of some value. May we remind CPC(M-L) that there are bourgeois countries where judges are elected, such as various local judges in the U.S:, and it does not change the fact that the law weighs down like a ton of bricks on the backs of the workers and the poor.

A Gross Example of Liquidationism

Clearly there is wide gulf between the stand of Marxism- Leninism and the disgusting treachery embodied in CPC (M-L)'s "rule of law" campaign. This offers a striking example of what we mean by our charge that CPC(M-L) is today avidly flaunting a liquidationist deviation.

In the face of the capitalist offensive, when the liberals and social-democrats have more and more embraced openly reactionary positions, one finds a section of ideologues who justify this under the call that the "left" must steal the thunder from the right. For example, during the 1980 presidential elections in the U.S., ex-New Leftist and current chieftain of the social-democratic Campaign for Economic Democracy, Tom Hayden, declared that the liberals must seize back from the Reaganites the issues of "God, the flag, national defense, tax relief, personal safety and traditional family values." (Wall Street Journal, November 14,1980)

This sort of call has also found an echo among the revisionist liquidators. And quite apparently, it has also found an echo in CPC(M-L). Indeed, they are avidly seizing one code word after another from the right. We have discussed elsewhere their petty-bourgeois nationalist embracing of the "national interest" of Canada and the banner of patriotism. Now we find them jumping on the bandwagon of "law and order'' style demagogy.

And when they are not taking up straight-up reactionary code words, they descend to empty sentimentality and philistinism. This is how they took up the theme of "the family" at their 1983 New Year's celebrations. As PCDN wrote:

"This year the local Party organizations and all the members and supporters made special efforts to respond to the Party's call to make these New Year's celebrations into a real force for uniting the ranks of the Party and particularly for farther building and strengthening the unity of the families and the love between parents and children...." (January 10, 1983, p. 1, emphasis added) After this, can motherhood be far behind?

The liquidationist adaptation to the slogans of the right is rooted in tailoring their political stands to what appeals to the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. It is quite far removed from the working class. It is only the "respectable" bourgeois who holds firm to his sacred dogmas about the "rule of law," while the workers, from their daily experience with the law, have developed a healthy contempt for the "rule of law." Marxism stands for developing this class instinct into a conscious force in favor of the revolution, while CPC(M-L) is headed in quite another direction.

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The ground shakes under the Pinochet tyranny in Chile

In the last few months an unprecedented mass movement has developed against the fascist dictatorship of Pinochet. As we go to press, reports are coming in of another militant day of protest against the military regime. On August 11, the workers and youth repeatedly clashed with the police. Pinochet's storm troopers arrested at least 400 people and a curfew was imposed. Eighteen thousand heavily-armed soldiers are patrolling the streets of Santiago, the capital.

After the day of protest in May, the Chilean masses declared their aim of organizing such days of struggle every month until Pinochet is overthrown.

The day of mass action in June was transformed into several weeks of fierce struggle against the fascist tyranny. June 14 brought out tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets of Santiago and other cities, while many more boycotted work and school. Demonstrators set up roadblocks in major intersections with burning tires and stood up to police attacks. The fascists tried to smash the demonstrations with water cannon, tear gas and police dogs. Four demonstrators were killed by plainclothes policemen firing into crowds. And scores of demonstrators were injured, while 600 were arrested.

Shaken by the June 14 demonstration, Pinochet blustered that no more similar protests would be allowed and he proceeded to arrest some of the trade union leaders who had called the protest. This immediately sparked a strike by Chile's copper workers, who walked out of most of the large state-owned copper mines. Pinochet ordered that any striking miners would be fired and evicted from government-owned housing. Nonetheless, the copper workers stayed out for nearly a week. This was the first strike of the copper workers during Pinochet's ten-year rule.

In the aftermath of the copper strike, over 1,000 copper miners were fired and 30 union leaders arrested. But the sentiment of the masses was for stepping up the fight, so a general strike was called for June 23. To forestall this, Pinochet brought army troops into the streets of Santiago, ordered a curfew and imposed strict censorship on the media. The newspapers and radio were forbidden to mention any strikes or demonstrations. Just prior to June 23, Pinochet arrested more organizers of the struggle and confiscated hundreds of thousands of agitational leaflets. Pinochet's fierce suppression of the preparations for the general strike was assisted by the Catholic Church which came out with a call to "reduce tensions." As a result the June 23 strike proved to be less than completely effective.

Nonetheless, 70% of Chile's truckers stayed out for days. This is the same section that had been mobilized to support the destabilization of the Allende government during the rule of the reformist Popular Unity coalition, but Pinochet's economic and political policies have sent the truckers into the opposition too. The June 23 strike was also supported by copper and coal miners.

During last month's protest, on July 12, students clashed with police in demonstrations at the University of Chile and numerous bombs went off around Santiago.

The Chilean protest movement has shaken the foundations of the military dictatorship. But Pinochet has shown that he wants to stick it out to the bitter end. He hopes that the iron fist of repression will keep the masses down. As well he has offered some of the most miniscule and cosmetic "concessions," such as the return of a handful of bourgeois exiles, and a recent reshuffling of his cabinet. But none of this can stay the hand of the popular resistance. The Chilean masses are in no mood to accept the mirage of reforms from the hangman himself; neither can the repression quell the defiant spirit of the masses which has been repeatedly shown in recent months. The Chilean masses are fighting to put an end to the military dictatorship.

Enter the Bourgeois Opposition

But while the masses are fighting on on the streets and shedding their blood, there is treachery afoot to steal the fruits of the resistance away from them. The struggle of the last several months has shown that there are two basic trends in the Chilean movement against Pinochet. Besides the workers and youth who want a thorough uprooting of the fascist tyranny, there has also emerged a bourgeois opposition which seeks to prevent a decisive blow at the dictatorship.

This bourgeois opposition is made up mainly of right-wing political forces which were part of the original support for the Pinochet coup in 1973. It has also managed to draw in certain of the right-wing factions of the old Socialist Party of Allende. The main organization of the bourgeois opposition is the Democratic Convergence, a bloc which includes the Christian Democratic, Republican, Social-Democratic and Radical Parties and right-wing factions of the SP.

The leading force in this bloc is the Christian-Democratic Party. It is also closely connected with a section of the trade union leadership. The CDP came up in the 1960's as a liberal party closely associated with John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress. It ruled Chile in the 1960's under President Frei, who was replaced by Allende in 1970.

The Christian Democrats played a despicable role during the rule of the Popular Unity reformist regime. It was a major instrument of the destabilization campaign of the Chilean bourgeoisie and CIA that prepared the way for Pinochet's coup in 1973. It came out in support of Pinochet's coup. But as Pinochet did not give them a share of power, the CDP began to posture as "oppositional." This posture has been stepped up with the mounting mass oppositional sentiment of recent years. And while the parties of the left were heavily suppressed by Pinochet, the regime was relatively tolerant of the CDP. Hence the CDP has become the most visible oppositional political trend today in the country.

The CDP today calls for a "restoration of democracy" in Chile. But its past record cannot be forgotten. It must not be forgotten that this party came out for the fascist Pinochet coup, a regime which has achieved a special place in history for its brutality. Clearly the CDP's "liberalism" and idea of "democracy" only go so far and no more.

But it is not just its past record which speaks against the "democratic" posturing of the CDP. It is also seen by its current role in the Chilean movement against Pinochet. The CDP does not stand for the overthrow of the fascist dictatorship but for a compromise with it. It equivocates over the demand for the removal of Pinochet. All it seeks is the establishment of a regime that will keep the fascist apparatus intact behind a "democratic" screen. Thus the CDP calls for a "gradual transition to democracy." What this means is a new military junta which will share power with some civilian bourgeois politicians. After such a regime rules for several years and ensures "stability" in the country, then there would be elections. What a farce!

To ensure the coming to power of such a refurbished military regime, the CDP seeks to dampen the mass movement of the Chilean workers and youth. It demands that the movement must remain "peaceful and nonsubversive," i.e., the mass movement must not be allowed to take up a decisive struggle for the overthrow of the dictatorship.

The treacherous stand of the CDP is exemplified by Rodolfo Seguel, the president of the Chilean copper workers' union, who is being promoted by the imperialist and reformist press in the U.S. as the "leader of the Chilean movement." Seguel is a typical voice of Chilean Christian Democracy.

In a recent interview with the U.S. social-democratic paper, In These Times, Seguel explained his political views. He admitted that when Pinochet came to power, he "was happy when the coup happened because I thought they were saving the country." As for today, Seguel supports the plan for "a period of which there is agreement between civilians and the military to govern for a fixed time." In other words, he does not seek the overthrow of the military regime but a compromise with it. And to pave the way for this, Seguel repeatedly stressed the importance of restricting the anti-Pinochet struggle to "peaceful actions." He declared, "I reject, all of us reject any kind of violence -- completely. Brothers can't keep killing one another. We have to look for a consensus about how to raise up this country." (All quotes from In These Times, July 13-26,1983)

Just imagine! The fascist military has killed tens of thousands, spirited many others away into the ranks of the "disappeared," thrown hundreds of thousands into jail or exile. But instead of preparing for a struggle that will destroy this bloodstained monster, Seguel wants a "consensus" with the butchers. He wants to extend a helping hand to his ' 'brother" generals to escape the wrath of the Chilean working masses.

Seguel and the Christian Democrats are also closely connected with U.S. imperialism, the savage enemy of the Chilean people. Seguel is closely associated with the Democratic Union of Workers, which is funded by the AFL-CIO and is a typical CIA-organized-union in Latin America. In recent months, many contacts have been reported between these trade union bureaucrats and the U.S. Embassy in Chile. This does not mean that the U.S. has abandoned Pinochet. No. Just recently it came up with several hundred million dollars worth of loans and credits for the bankrupt Pinochet regime. Nevertheless, U.S. imperialism sees the writing on the wall. If Pinochet proves unable to preserve the "stability" of Chile for the bourgeoisie and imperialism, then the U.S. may throw its support for a "moderate alternative." Hence the recent contacts with the Christian Democratic elements and the U.S. Embassy in Chile.

But no "moderate" alternative or "transitional civilian-military regime" can satisfy the fundamental demands of the Chilean workers and youth for democracy and liberation from the devastation of the deep economic crisis in Chile. The Chilean workers have shown their powerful strength in the current protest movement against Pinochet. To make sure that the Chilean bourgeoisie does not steal the fruits of their struggle away from them, the workers must carry forward the struggle to a decisive blow at the tyranny. They must impress this uprising with the stamp of the working class and develop it into a socialist revolution. To prepare for this, the working class and popular movement must be vigilant of the schemes of the bourgeois opposition and its revisionist flunkeys.

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Brazilian workers fight capitalist austerity

As the worldwide capitalist economic crisis deepens, millions of workers are being drawn into struggle against the poverty and misery imposed on them by the bourgeoisie. This is also true of Brazil, the largest country of South America, where tens of thousands of workers have taken to the streets in recent weeks. The fighting Brazilian workers are opposing the government's harsh austerity program, which is meant to saddle the workers with the burden of the economic crisis. The strikes and demonstrations in Brazil are aimed not just at single employers but at the government's economic policies.

The latest round of struggles began with the rebellions of the unemployed in Sao Paulo this spring. (For details of this struggle, see the May 25 issue of The Workers' Advocate.) This was followed by a strike of 1,100 oil refinery workers at a large government-owned oil refinery outside Sao Paulo. When the state-owned oil monopoly, Petrobras, threatened to break the strike by firing the strikers, 1,000 workers at another refinery walked out in sympathy with the strikers. And on July 7 the oil workers received a massive display of solidarity, when 60,000 metal workers in the Sao Paulo area staged a sympathy strike. The metal workers' walkout paralyzed production in basic industry in the Sao Paulo area. Foreign-owned auto plants, such as assembly plants owned by Ford, Volkswagen, and Mercedes were completely shut down.

The metal workers' stride ended after a few days, and the government was eventually able to force the oil workers back to work. But these strikes showed the rising level of militancy of the Brazilian workers' movement. And these strikes raised demands not just at Petrobras, but at the federal government's policy of austerity for the toiling masses.

On July 21, Sao Paulo was paralyzed as a general strike successfully brought out 80% of the city's one million industrial workers. The general strike had been called nationwide to denounce the federal government's austerity policies, but the government's fierce repression prevented it from spreading everywhere with the same force as in Sao Paulo. The government mobilized 18,000 police and placed army troops and the air force on alert. Twelve labor leaders were arrested on the eve of the strike and 400 more on the day itself. A week earlier, Brazilian secret police chief General Otavio Morales had taken control of three of the country's largest unions. He imposed strict censorship in the press, TV and radio to prevent the strike call from spreading across the country. Despite this, 50,000 workers demonstrated in Rio and thousands of others rallied in other cities as well.

Stepped-Up Austerity Measures

As part of its program to make the toiling masses pay for the economic crisis, the Brazilian government has been increasing taxes, removing government subsidies for necessities and cutting government spending. But the most ferocious attack on the masses' living standards came on July 14, when the president of Brazil announced the end of the system of indexing wage raises. Since the 1960's Brazilian workers have received semiannual wage increases in accordance with the rising cost of living. But for the next two years, the president decreed, wage raises would be limited to 20% below the official inflation figure.

This is staggering news in a country where inflation is currently running at an annual rate of 127%. It means that for each of the next two years workers will be forced to take a big pay cut. Even before, with the semiannual wage raises, workers were not able to keep up with the rising cost of living; but now they will face even worse impoverishment.

Meanwhile, 20% of the work force in the major cities of Brazil is unemployed. Millions of Brazilians face daily hunger, as one-third of those employed make less than $75 per week. The crisis is even affecting the professional strata -- lawyers, professors, engineers, etc. Thousands of former professionals are now street vendors, hawking wares along with tens of thousands of other peddlers.

End of the Capitalist "Miracle"

During 1968-74 the Brazilian economy went through a period of relatively high growth. During this time capitalists of other countries hailed the "Brazilian miracle" and poured investments and loan funds into Brazil. But today this "miracle" is nothing but a bitter memory for millions of Brazilian workers. Today the loans have fallen due, and Brazil is more heavily indebted -- with a total foreign public debt of $90 billion -- than any other country. To pay its debts the Brazilian government is seeking more loans, and developing more and more severe austerity programs to pay them off. In February the International Monetary Fund granted a $4.9 billion loan, but refused to pay it out until the government developed more stringent measures for attacking the masses. The government's decree against indexing wage raises was one of the major measures designed to satisfy the IMF.

Today the Brazilian toilers are taking up the task of struggle against the capitalist austerity program. This struggle is also providing impetus towards strengthening the general political movement against the military dictatorship. The Brazilian regime is the longest-running military dictatorship in Latin America today, having been installed by a U.S.- backed coup in 1964.

Currently the regime, in an attempt to forestall the rising mass struggle, is going through a lengthy process of "liberalization" from above. Certain limited rights have been restored, elections have been allowed for local and state posts, and certain political parties have been legalized. But this sort of "liberalization" is not aimed at providing democracy for the broad masses. Instead it seeks to only provide some extremely limited democratic forms while placing a thousand and one restrictions before the working masses. It keeps the fascist apparatus intact. Thus the electoral laws of Brazil have been set up in such a way that the military's party maintains predominance. As well the Marxist-Leninist party, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB), and many other organizations continue to be outlawed.

But the regime is walking on thin ice. The Brazilian masses demand their full rights, not just some sops. And they will make use of the democratic struggle as a tool to bring closer the day of the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

[Photo: Brazilian workers demonstrating against IMF-imposed austerity measures.]

[Photo: Brazilian workers during a one-day general strike on July 21. The banner reads: Down with the dictatorship! Long live the general strike!]

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The strength of the working class in Brazil

Recent months have seen the workers of Brazil launch vigorous struggles against the impoverishment imposed on them by the Brazilian capitalists and the imperialist International Monetary Fund. The working class is marching forward in Brazil.

In recent decades, the Brazilian working class has had a rapid growth. Even numerically, it is today the foremost class among the oppressed masses of Brazilian society. This has enhanced the role of the Brazilian working class as the leader of the revolt of all the oppressed and brought the class struggle between labor and capital into ever greater prominence.

Below we reprint an article on the numerical strength and growth of the proletariat in Brazil. It has been taken from the May 2-8, 1983 issue of the Brazilian journal Tribuna de Luta Operaria (Tribune of Workers' Struggle), which reflects the political positions of the illegal Marxist-Leninist party of Brazil, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB). It has been translated by the staff of The Workers' Advocate.

This first of May finds the Brazilian workers fighting a difficult and bloody battle against the plague of unemployment and the tightening of salaries. Is it possible to win the battle? The working class is the major class in our society today. The facts of social development indicate that, moreover, it is capable of placing itself at the head of the people and changing the face of Brazil.

In 1907, when the first May 1st demonstration occurred in the country, the Brazilian workers did not amount to 200,000. Now the census of 1980, of the IBGE [a Brazilian statistical agency -- WA], although imprecise, allows the conclusion that they now number about 5 million in industry and 3 million in civil construction. Adding in other sectors of urban workers and the large mass of more than 5 million agricultural wage laborers, we have a proletariat which surpasses 17 million workers.

Our working class was formed from three sources: emigrants whom destitution had uprooted from their homelands to Brazil, in the holds of ships, like cattle; ex-slaves, whose conditions of life have improved little or not at all since the Golden Law [law abolishing slavery -- WA]; and finally, as it even occurs today, peasants ousted from the land by the large landed estates.

Among the employers, a good part were ex-slave owners, who were used to dealing with the workers on the basis of the whip for more than three centuries. Or else foreign capitalists who treated the Brazilians like the native population of their colonies. Thus, from the beginning the contradiction between capital and labor exploded with force.

It is a fact that the objective of the capitalist is profit. And the source of all profit is always the surplus value -- the wealth which the workers produce but the owners pocket. Thus, to the extent that capitalism expanded in Brazil, likewise the ranks of the workers have grown. Table 1 shows how that occurred, especially since 1964, when the military regime imposed a savage model of dependent capitalist development.

The Qualitative Growth of the Working Class

In addition to growing in number, the composition of the working class also changed. Before, the sectors that dominated were textile and transportation -- railroad workers, maritime workers, dock workers, who accumulated a considerable tradition of struggles. Today the most numerous category is by far that of the metal workers, which includes the metallurgic, mechanical, electrical equipment and transportation equipment sectors. In this category alone there are more than 1.5 million workers, as Table 2 indicates.

Another qualitative change was the concentration of workers in large factories. (See Table 3) An example is the sector that the IBGE gathers together under the name of transportation equipment, encompassing from the naval yards to the automobile multinationals. In 1960, it had 21 industrial establishments, employing 35,000 workers. Twenty years later, there were already 105 establishments, with 139,000 workers. Among them, there are real giants like Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Ford and General Motors in Sao Paulo, or Fiat in Minas Gerais.

The private capitalists and the government perceive the social and political danger that they run in amassing these large numbers of proletarians in large factories and industrial centers. However they run up against the impossibility of multiplying their profits without multiplying and concentrating the working class. As they "decentralized" the industries, the result was the creation of new centers of workers, like that of the metal workers in Campinas or that of the petrochemical workers in Salvador. The most typical example might be that of Manaus: in 1960 there were no enterprises that were approaching 50 workers; now the census of 1980 has registered 18 establishments with more than 500 workers, totaling 20,000 of the 48,000 workers in the Amazon industry!

From its first steps, even being small, the Brazilian working class threw itself into battle. And since 1922, with the founding of the Communist Party of Brazil, it began to act in an organized manner in the political arena, with its own revolutionary objectives. Now, its force is immensely larger, and it possesses an experience of struggle that comes from several generations. It has all the conditions to fulfill its historic mission, to lead the working people toward a society without exploiters.


Year Personnel Employed in Industry Increase in Ten Years Working Population Weight of the Industrial Workers in the Working Population
1940 1,534,000 - 14,758,000 10.4%
1950 2,427,000 58.2% 17,117,000 14.2%
1960 2,940,000 21.1% 22,750,000 12.9%
1970 5,294,000 80.0% 29,557,000 17.9%
1980 10,674,000 101.6% 43,796,000 24.4%

From 1940 to 1980 the personnel employed in the industries of transformation, of extraction, and of civil construction in the country increased by a factor of seven times.


Sector 1960 1970 1980 Increase Between 1960-1980
Metallurgical 174,000 266,000 526,000 202.3%
Mechanical 62,000 180,000 515,000 730.6%
Electrical and 57,000 115,000 242,000 342.5%
Communications Equipment 81,000 158,000 264,000 225.9%
Transportation Equipment 76,000 104,000 165,000 117.1%
Chemical 328,000 342,000 395,000 20.4%
Textile 97,000 164,000 427,000 340.2%
Clothing 266,000 372,000 566,000 112.8%
Food Products

How the personnel employed in some of the principal sectors of industry grew: The first five, considered "dynamic" have had an increase of 2.8 times. The chemical sector, although with the least labor cost, is the one that holds the first place in regard to the value of production.

Our working class has attained today an already considerable level of concentration in large enterprises, corresponding to a similar considerable concentration of capital. According to the last edition of "Who Is Who in the Brazilian Economy" in the magazine Visao (data of December 1981), there are not less than 388 industrial enterprises in the country which employ more than two thousand people, which signifies a contingent of more than one million workers. The largest number of them, 66, is in the sector of civil construction, where hand labor remains scattered through the work. But in second place comes the sector of machinery with 24 enterprises, and after textile (20 enterprises) is found the sectors of metallurgical workers (18 enterprises), iron and steel workers (17 enterprises), of electrical household appliances (14 enterprises), and chemical (13 enterprises). In only three enterprises (Petrobras, Volkswagen, and General Motors) more than one hundred thousand workers are concentrated.

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