The Workers' Advocate



Volume 14, Number 12


October 10, 1984

For class struggle against the Reaganite offensive!

Where the candidates stand

Reagan and Mondale are both warmongers

No to U.S. imperialism's war on Nicaragua!

Why they back the Democrats

Trade union bureaucrats- strikebreakers in the fight against Reaganism

War is 'peace', Poverty is 'prosperity'

Reagan's Double-Speak

As the politicians debate about recovery

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer

Black People in South Africa Rise Up

For class struggle against the Reaganite offensive!

Down with the Republicans and Democrats!

In an obscene orgy of super-patriotism and dollar-worship, Reagan is stumping for four more years. Reagan and the Republicans are stumping for four more years of assault on the working people. Four more years for the rich to get richer and the poor poorer. Four more years of growing racism and the buildup of the police state. Four more years of expanding military adventures against the peoples of other lands and of feverish preparations for nuclear slaughter.

But that's only half of it.

The other half is that Mondale and the Democrats are promising the people four years of the very same thing.

The Democrats pose as the "party of labor and minorities,'' the "party of peace'' and the alternative to the cruel Reagan policies. But the Democrats are campaigning against Reagan on Reagan's platform. Mondale and the Democrats have pledged to their capitalist bosses that whichever candidate wins the .November 6 election the Reaganite assault on the working people will get a second term.

Tens of millions are looking for a way to meet the challenge of the Reaganite offensive. But for the workers and jobless, for the blacks and other oppressed nationalities, for the opponents of militarism and war, the capitalists' electoral circus is offering no alternative.

Use the Elections to Push Forward the Class Struggle

But this doesn't mean that we can sit at home while the capitalists carry on their electoral circus. The workers and oppressed cannot be indifferent to this electoral campaign of capitalist reaction. We must seize on the occasion of the elections to advance the independent politics of the working class, the politics of class struggle.

We should use the elections to combat the influence of the capitalist parties. Reagan and the Republicans are already despised among tens of millions as the capitalist monsters that they are. But more work is needed to expose among the widest sections of the people the anti-worker, racist and warmongering reality behind the mountains of Reaganite lies and chauvinist demagogy.

The popular enthusiasm for Mondale and the Democrats is at rock bottom. There is a widespread opinion among the working people that Mondale is no alternative. But more work is needed to tear the mask off the Smooth-talking Democrats and expose them as merely disguised Reaganites. The Democratic Party "heroes of the working man" provoke nausea and disgust among the working people because they too are tools of the capitalist ruling class. The general discontent with the Democrats needs to be turned into the determination to take action against the capitalist offensive, action independent of the capitalist parties.

This electoral season of Madison Avenue commercials and carefully staged appearances before the cameras is making it clearer than ever that the strings of the electoral game are pulled by the money men behind the scenes. The elections are bought and sold by the most powerful groups of finance capital. And despite all the inevitable promises of "peace" and "prosperity," and no matter who wins office, the real business of making policy is set by the Wall Street kings and Pentagon generals.

We must spread the truth that nothing can be accomplished through this year's electoral farce. All the promises that the Reaganite offensive can be stopped at the polls this November are a great hoax being played on the masses.

There can be no illusions in election year promises. For the working class the only sure promise is that there's no way out of this capitalist hell without struggle. There is no way out of the misery of unemployment, racist oppression, and the growing danger of new wars without the working masses rising in bitter class struggle.

For the Independent Movement of the Working Class

For success in this struggle the working masses must build up their own independent political movement; they must forge the powerful weapons of the working class struggle.

Work is needed to push forward the mass struggles. Strikes, demonstrations, protests and other forms of mass action are the bulwark against the Reaganite offensive. Without the initiative and struggles of the masses there can be no talk of political independence. As the proletarian forces grow in strength, running candidates in elections may be a subsidiary front of work. However, progressive successes in elections only register the advances won in the direct mass struggle.

In the course of the struggle, the workers and all the oppressed need to forge revolutionary organization. In the work places, communities and schools the masses need to equip themselves with a variety of different types of organization, paying particular attention to supporting and building the genuine working class party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, as the militant general staff of the class struggle. Without the weapon of organization political independence cannot be consolidated; with it the working people can combine their numbers into an invincible force.

And to build their independent movement the working people need to arm themselves with class consciousness. This demands a firm ideological and political struggle a- against the bourgeoisie, exposing the lies of Reaganism and unmasking the Democrats, the union bureaucrats and the other soldout apologists of the capitalists. This demands the spread of revolutionary literature to counteract the capitalists' giant propaganda machine by telling the truth about the class struggle and championing the cause of the workers and oppressed. And this demands the popularization of Marxism-Leninism, the reliable compass of the revolutionary working class movement. As Lenin taught the workers, "Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement."

For Struggle Against Hunger!

Whatever the outcome on November 6, every step of the Reaganite offensive of capital must be fought tooth and nail.

The times cry out for the workers to put an end to the job-cutting and wage-slashing concessions drive of the employers. The unemployed and poor need jobs and real relief from hunger and poverty. The capitalists, not the workers, must be made to pay for the burden of the economic crisis.

For Struggle Against Racism!

The fight against the racist drive of the capitalists is a pressing task for all the working people. This demands struggle against the racist terror of the police and racist gangs; opposing the segregationist crusade to drive the black people out of the work places and schools; and fighting for the full rights of the immigrant workers.

For Struggle Against Imperialist War!

The working people's answer to the frantic nuclear buildup and the danger of new military adventures must be revolutionary struggle against imperialist war. This means fighting every act of aggression and slavery by our "own" government against the peoples of other lands. It means lending solidarity to the revolutionary struggles of the workers and peasants of Central America and the other victims of U.S. imperialism. And it means solidarity with the workers of the social-imperialist Soviet Union, and with the workers of all the other capitalist and pseudo-socialist powers -- with all who are taking part in the common struggle against the imperialist powers and their "own" warmongering governments.

For the Socialist Revolution of the Working Class!

Mass struggle is the essential weapon for holding in check the Reaganite offensive of capital. But the class struggle is not just a holding pattern; it is not simply an unending tug-of-war. The class struggle is the moving force of the socialist revolution of the working class.

For decades the ruling class has spread the lie that at least in capitalist America the working people are promised a certain level of rights and security. But nothing is destroying this lie faster than the Reaganite offensive of the bourgeoisie. It is convincing millions that the capitalist system offers nothing but the dead end of unemployment, reaction and war.

In the day-to-day fight against the Reagan offensive much work is needed to show that the socialist revolution is the only way out of this capitalist hell. This will make these struggles all the more powerful, lifting them out of the capitalist and reformist framework. In the thick of the struggle the hard work must begin to build the independent class organizations of the working masses. In the independent mobilization and organization of the working people today, the political army will be built for the socialist revolution of tomorrow.

This will be a tomorrow where the working class will be organized as the ruling class. Under the proletarian democracy of tomorrow, elections will not be a circus to choose between which cutthroat capitalist and warmonger will sit on the backs of the people for the next four years. Elections will be held to determine which men and women of labor are the best representatives of the interests of the working people -- the likes of Reagan and Mondale will be out of luck.

[Photo: At this year's Labor Day march in Detroit, the MLP denounced both capitalist parties and called for fighting the capitalist offensive 6f hunger, racism and war. Meanwhile the labor bureaucrats boosted the Democratic Party ticket.]


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Where the candidates stand

Where do the candidates stand on the issues? Just look at the themes of their campaigns.

Both Candidates Pledge to "Stay the Course" of Reaganomics

The Republicans are calling for "staying the course'' of Reaganomics. This is the course of "expanding opportunity'' through brutal strikebreaking and productivity drives against the workers -- cutting wages, tossing millions into the street, and driving the rest like slaves; "creating jobs'' with a sub-minimum wage for youth and stripping the workers of even the weakest wage, health and safety protections; "restoring the work ethic'' by slashing the meager relief programs for the unemployed and poverty-stricken; and "ensuring prosperity" with a tax policy of robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

There is a grain of truth in Reagan's promise of four more years of "prosperity"...if you happen to be a capitalist or a millionaire living off Wall Street dividends. But for the ten million jobless, or for the millions of employed workers sinking below the official poverty level, "staying the course" means four more years of hell.

But what does Mondale offer? He is promising a "realistic" and "tough" policy. In his Deficit Reduction Plan Mondale pledges that he won't spend a penny more than Reagan on social programs, and if anything he will cut Medicare and other necessities for the poor still deeper. (New York Times, September 11, 1984) And he has sworn himself to hitting the people with more tax increases. In short, Mondale is campaigning as the man capable of making the "hard choices" to turn the screws on the working people -- that he is the man best suited to "staying the course" of the capitalist offensive against the masses.

Both Candidates Stand for Racism and Building Up the Police State

Reagan continues his racist crusade a- against the black people, the Latinos and immigrants and other oppressed nationalities. He dreams of turning back the clock to the days of Jim Crow segregation. The Reagan appointees on the Civil Rights Commission speak in the jargon of the open racists and fascists, alleging that blacks and other oppressed nationalities have too many privileges, supposedly creating "reverse discrimination" against whites. Small wonder that Reagan has again been endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and that such a racist scum as "imperial wizard" Bill Wilkinson praises "many elements of the Republican platform as pure Klan."

As for Mondale, it should not be forgotten that he was the vice-president for Mr. "Ethnic Purity" Carter. Today, he is appealing to the black vote because it is critical to his campaign; but at the same time he will not say a peep that might offend the Dixiecrats in the South and other arch-racist Democratic politicians. Mondale hasn't put forward a single measure to stem the racist Reaganite tide. Instead he has chosen a running mate, Geraldine Ferraro, who has championed a constitutional amendment against busing for school desegregation and who backs Reagan's tax credits for private racist academies.

Under the signboards of "getting tough on terrorism," Reagan is pushing one draconic law after the next to jail strikers, demonstrators and revolutionary activists. He continues his campaign to beef up the CIA, the FBI, the police, prisons and the entire police state apparatus against the working people.

And the Mondale-Ferraro campaign is replying that Reagan may talk tough, but they are the ones who will act tough. The Democrats share equal responsibility for the repressive federal crime reform bill that Reagan is pushing, a bill passed down from Ted Kennedy's notorious S-l bill. Meanwhile, to show her enthusiasm for reactionary "law and order" themes, Ferraro boasts of having been a "tough" prosecutor. After the recent bombing at the U.S. embassy in Beirut, the Democrats and Republicans have begun a dispute over who is really loyal to beefing up the CIA and the "intelligence community," with Mondale chastising Reagan for being "soft on international terrorism."

Two Candidates of Militarist Aggression and the Nuclear Buildup

But the overriding theme of both campaigns is super patriotic appeals to the military buildup and to the strength of the U.S. world empire.

"America standing tall" is the banner of Reagan's campaign. Yes, "standing tall" on the arsenals of nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons that are being built up to the sky for a world slaughter. Yes, "standing tall" on the backs of the people of Grenada, Central America, Chile, Lebanon, the Philippines, South Africa and the other peoples bleeding under the yoke of U.S. military occupation or U.S.-backed dictatorships.

Draping himself in the bloodstained flag of U.S. imperialism, and spewing chauvinistic filth about the god-given superiority of America over the other peoples of the world, Reagan is promising four more years of the record military buildup and imperialist adventures against the peoples of Central America and other lands.

But Mondale is protesting that he, not Reagan, is the man who stands for a "strong defense," who can deliver a "sustainable" military buildup, and who can provide more bang for the buck with more efficient and modern weapons systems. Mondale protests that it is he, not Reagan, who will be more "effective" in backing up the death squad dictatorship in El Salvador and in strangling revolutionary Nicaragua with a "quarantine."

At the same time Mondale is giving Reagan lectures about the usefulness of arms control talks for ensuring "a strong defense" and a nuclear arsenal "second to none." And he scolds Reagan about the need for complementing military intervention in Central America ("interdiction," "quarantines," etc.) with diplomatic pressures against the revolutionary movements. In short, Mondale is promising the same war buildup and the same military adventures abroad, along with a more wily policy to better hide the crimes of the warmakers and better defend U.S. imperialism's world empire.

Both Are Evil and Both Are Worse

For the working people there is no choice between Reagan and Mondale. Both are front men for the capitalist monopolies. Both are standing naked on a common platform of hunger, reaction and war.

Between Reagan and Mondale the choice is between which capitalist slave driver can better slash relief for the jobless and poor and drive the country towards new Viet Nams and nuclear destruction. There is no room here for speculation about the "lesser evil." Both are evil; and both are worse.


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Reagan and Mondale are both warmongers

No to U.S. imperialism's war on Nicaragua!

The U.S. government is knee-deep in aggression against the people of Central America. U.S.-made weapons rain death and destruction on the workers and peasants, and the entire region is swarming with American troops. There are active preparations for a full-scale invasion of Nicaragua.

A new Viet Nam-style war is in the making in Central America. Once again, the capitalist rulers of this country are preparing to use the sons and daughters of the American working class to carry out the dishonorable work of killing and maiming the poor workers and peasants of Central America.

Once again, as in the 1960's, we here in the U.S. must stand up and fight the aggression of U.S. imperialism. The 1984 elections offer no solution: Reagan and Mondale both stand for war in Central America. A powerful mass movement against U.S. imperialism must be built.

Solidarity With the Workers and Peasants of Nicaragua!

What is the situation in Nicaragua?

There, until not too long ago, a brutal dictator ruthlessly oppressed the people. The Somoza family had been put in power more than 50 years ago through invasion by U.S. marines. They ruled with full support from Washington. They tortured and murdered those who opposed the regime. They enriched themselves fabulously on the backs of the workers and peasants. And they made the country a haven for plunder by the big U.S. corporations.

After decades of struggle, the workers and peasants of Nicaragua carried out a successful revolution in 1979 which brought down the dictatorship and sent the last Somoza packing. The infamous National Guard, through which the Somozas had ruled, was smashed. For the first time the masses had a taste of freedom.

But the U.S. government, Somoza's longstanding patron saint, has refused to accept the verdict of the Nicaraguan people. Instead it wants to strangle Nicaragua and bring back a Somoza-style dictatorship. Washington has placed enormous economic difficulties on the country. The CIA has armed and organized an army of thousands of Somoza's former National Guardsmen. The U.S. uses this counterrevolutionary army -- the contras -- to wage a savage war against the Nicaraguan people. The hallmarks of their trade are murder, rape and pillage. Meanwhile the U.S. has turned the neighboring country of Honduras into a huge military base in preparation for an all-out invasion.

But the U.S.-backed war is being heroically resisted by the Nicaraguan people. This small country with less than three million people is standing up to the bullying of the "mighty" U.S. superpower. Their struggle deserves support from the U.S. working class and progressive people.

Reagan and Mondale Are Both Warmongers

Reagan is asking the American workers to back his savage policy in Central America. He declares that his warmongering is a symbol of America "standing tall." That may be so for the billionaires and millionaires Reagan represents but it is not the case for the workers. The workers of this country have no interest in a.war for the rich. Reagan's war is a war to defend the profits of the big corporations; it is a war to support the exploiters in Central America.

The apologists for the Democratic Party say that Mondale will be different. At the very least, they say, he will allow some "breathing space" for the working people of Central America. But in fact, this is a "breathing space" with no air.

Mondale has made it quite clear where he stands on Central America. He echoes Reagan's lie about Nicaragua being "totalitarian." He supports the policy of "interdiction" which is just a fancy code word for the Reagan policy of support for the contras. And he openly threatens to "quarantine" Nicaragua, which is an act of open war.

All this is no surprise. The Democrats in Congress have funded Reagan's war against Nicaragua. And it was the Carter-Mondale administration that launched the hostile campaign against revolutionary Nicaragua.

The workers and young people cannot look to the imperialist parties for ending the intervention against Nicaragua. To fight the plans for imperialist war, we have to remember the lessons of the 1960's. Only the struggle of the masses can build up an effective force against U.S. aggression.

[Photo: Nicaraguan masses show their determination to fight to the end should U.S. imperialism launch a full-scale invasion.]

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Why they back the Democrats

Trade union bureaucrats- strikebreakers in the fight against Reaganism

The Democrats are appealing to the capitalists that they can implement the Reaganite offensive better than Reagan. Mondale's Deficit Reduction Plan promises even bigger cutbacks than Reagan's proposed budget. If they nevertheless parade as the "party of labor" this is due in large measure to their support from most of the top leaders of American labor unions.

Who are these top union leaders? They are a bunch of overpaid, bloated bureaucrats who have usurped the leadership of the trade unions. They don't want to fight the capitalists, but to have cozy agreements. They call this "labor peace." And the price of this "labor peace" is sellout of the rank-and-file worker and destruction of what unions should really be.

They say they are against Reaganomics, but look at the contracts that they are trying to shove down the throats of the workers. Take, for example, the recent contract negotiated by the UAW leaders with GM. Here is a case of a giant union with workers with militant traditions. And here is a case of an overbloated corporation with record billions of dollars of profits. And what do the hacks do? They agree to a new concessions contract that sells out the rank and file.

Consider job security. The auto workers are extremely concerned about this issue. But the new contract ensures that a hundred thousand more auto workers will see their jobs eliminated. And it completely ignores the plight of the auto workers who have already lost their jobs. The contract instead ensures that there should be no obstacle to job elimination -- even the contract provisions themselves can be eliminated at the local plant level if they interfere with GM's plans. It also ensures that GM will continue to be able to have the workers slave at long overtime hours, six or seven days a week, while hundreds of thousands of former auto workers and ten million other workers remain unemployed.

All the contract grants is that a few thousand auto workers may get some benefits if they lose their jobs. It's like a lottery -- you better hope that you are part of the lucky chosen few if you are to benefit at all. But the contract is careful to feather the bed of the bureaucrats. And it provides that the UAW bureaucrats themselves will take part in setting up new capitalist enterprises -- in the name of providing jobs for the unemployed.

It is no wonder that Reagan's Secretary of the Treasury, Donald Regan, praised this contract as a model of restraint -- i.e., of ensuring lower wages and benefits for the workers. And it is no wonder that the Chrysler monopolists, who saw this coming, voted to give Owen Bieber, head of the UAW, a seat on the Chrysler Board of Directors.

The UAW bureaucrats are not alone. All the top union bureaucrats, those worthies who preach the glories of capitalism to the workers, behave the same way. Today, for example, the postal union bureaucrats, as well as the UAW bureaucrats, are accepting two-tier wage agreements. These agreements cut the wages of the workers section by section, starting with the newly hired.

In order to defend themselves against Reaganomics, the workers must not only fight the capitalists, but also fight the sabotage of those highly paid scabs, the trade union bureaucrats. They must organize themselves independently of the trade union hacks and carry out a real struggle against the capitalists.

The trade union bureaucrats are friends of the capitalists. They are against the class struggle of the workers, whether it is the struggle for wages and benefits, for job security and jobs for the unemployed, or on political issues. They talk against Reaganism, while sabotaging the struggle against Reaganism. This is why they support the Democratic Party, the party of sounding off about Reaganism while supporting almost every one of Reagan's reactionary initiatives. They tell the workers that they must support one capitalist politician or another.

But the working class wants a real fight against Reaganism, not playacting. This is why it is inevitable that fighting organization of the workers, separate from and against the capitalists and their parties, is bound to grow. And the workers will give rise to new militants from their ranks, to replace the scabs and bureaucrats who today style themselves "labor leaders."

[Photo: During a fierce strike against concessions, copper workers celebrate a victory over the strikebreaking of Phelps-Dodge corporation, early August, 1983.]

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War is 'peace', Poverty is 'prosperity'

Reagan's Double-Speak

The Reagan campaign has been packaged and produced by the same school of slick advertisers that sell trash on television. A smiling and sincere-looking gentleman comes on the screen to testify that product X will improve your health, save your pocketbook, add to your sex appeal, and generally "make you feel good again." Too bad that product X has no proven value for humans and just happens to cause cancer in laboratory animals. In fact, Ronald Reagan's decades of experience in Hollywood and as a television front man for General Electric make him just the right man for such a flimflam campaign.

But selling the program of the incumbent president is not quite the same as selling mouthwash. The smiles become the tools of cynical manipulation; and the lies resemble the infamous "double-speak" of the barbaric dictatorship portrayed in George Orwell's 1984.

War Is "Peace"

The rhetoric of Reagan's 1984 campaign is taking Orwellian "double-speak" to its height.

Reagan is spending hundreds of billions for a "winnable nuclear war." And he is unleashing new military adventures to enslave the peoples of Central America and other lands. But no one, god forbid, should think that all this unbridled militarism is for war. As Reagan put it at the Republican convention: "Some have forgotten why we have a military.... It's to be prepared for peace." To back up this idea, Reagan pointed out that over the gate of a strategic nuclear bomber base in Washington State hangs the sign "Peace Is Our Profession."

In the same speech Reagan boasted that "America is the most peaceful, least warlike nation in modern history." Indeed, from Reagan's standpoint no one on earth could match the "peacefulness" of the U.S. imperialists. Who else in recent decades has inflicted such inhuman slaughter as the U.S. war of aggression in Viet Nam? Who else has played the role of world policeman, trampling on so many peoples all over the globe (Chile, Iran, Indonesia, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, etc., etc.)? Who else but the imperialist rulers of the U.S. and the USSR have filled the oceans and skies with hydrogen bombs, threatening the world with thermonuclear destruction?

Reagan has dragged out the old warmongers' slogan "peace through strength" and is making no bones about what it means: "Peace" through nuclear superiority and "first strike" capability; "peace" through military invasions and bloodletting in the Caribbean, Central America, and the Middle East; in short, "peace through war."

The Police State Is "Freedom"

For four years Reagan has been beefing up the FBI, the CIA, and the other police agencies against potential domestic opponents. He has been pushing one draconic law after the next to persecute strikers, demonstrators and revolutionary activists. He has been backing the racist Simpson-Mazzoli bill to persecute and terrorize immigrant workers.

Building up the police state is one side of Reagan's "unfinished social agenda." The other side is to give moral and financial encouragement to racist academies, and to put the worship of racism, militarism and religious obscurantism as the first priorities of public education. Who knows, maybe in his second term Reagan will make official what has been unofficial so far and appoint the right-wing religious bigot Jerry Falwell to a new cabinet post of Christian Self-Righteousness and Public Morals.

And as you might suspect, Reagan has drawn up this "social agenda" of police state repression, racism and religious bigotry in the name of realizing "the ultimate in individual freedom."

Poverty Is "Prosperity"

Moreover, according to Reagan, the last years of strikebreaking, wage cutting and man-eating speedup of the workers, combined with the shameless robbery of the jobless and hungry to make sure that the rich grow even richer, is opening "new eras of opportunity." In the eyes of the Reaganites and millionaires, the declining real wages, the hardships of the ten million unemployed, the steady growth of poverty, are all signs of their "springtime of hope," carrying the promise of "permanent prosperity."

For the Class Struggle Against the Reaganite Offensive!

Of course, there is logic and purpose to this Orwellian madness. The capitalist system is bogged down in economic crisis and all-sided decay; and the capitalist ruling class offers no escape. Its only solution is to squeeze the working people at home and a- broad for bigger profits and to lash out with the whip of repression and military intervention against the revolts of the workers and oppressed. That is why the monopolies have installed Reagan as the mouthpiece of their crusade of hunger, reaction and war. And to justify this desperate policy they are dishing out the most desperate lies and Reaganite double-speak.

It must be stressed that Reagan has no monopoly on lies and demagogy. Mondale and the Democrats are competing hard and fast in this department, trying to prove themselves as equally unashamed warmongers and reactionaries.

The Reaganite offensive is a bipartisan assault of monopoly capital. Whichever candidate wins in November, this offensive against the livelihood and rights of the working people and the feverish drive for new wars will continue without letup.

Reagan's campaign is simply the advance advertising for what the capitalist ruling class has in store. The working class and people must take up this challenge; their reply must be the class struggle against the Reaganite offensive.

[Photo: Nine thousand people marched in Washington, D.C., on July 2,1983 to protest U.S. imperialist aggression in Central America.]

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As the politicians debate about recovery

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer

Today one can hardly open a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing about the "great recovery," the "unprecedented" rebound. What caused it? Will it last? Is it due to Reagan? Questions abound. The Republicans crow while the Democrats say it won't last.

A better question would be: where is it? The official unemployment statistics have improved somewhat from the worst depths of the misery of 1981-82 up to -- up to what? Up to the situation prevailing at the miserable close of the Carter administration. And, in fact, long years of depression have resulted in millions more "discouraged workers" who aren't counted in the unemployment figures. Indeed, according to government statistics, the number of poverty-stricken workers -- both those unemployed and those employed at jobs that pay so little that one cannot hold together body and soul -- is higher today than in the economic low point of 1981-82.

What has happened? There has been a slight upturn in the midst of a continuing economic depression. The 1980's are proving to be a decade of stagnation and depression. But even in a depression, there are ups and downs. What is "unprecedented" is not the slight upturn, the "recovery," but the extent to which the capitalists have proved capable of making profits in a depression while the masses suffer more than ever.

What has rebounded is profits. This is why the capitalists are in ecstasy. In the second quarter of this year, profits were running a full 26% higher than the previous year. Presidents of the Fortune 500 companies are giving themselves million-dollar bonuses while slashing the wages of their blue-collar employees. American business is "standing tall" -- gorging itself on wealth while millions wonder where their next meal will come from.

The rich are getting richer, while the poor get poorer. This is the fundamental feature of the so-called "recovery." This is the "secret" of Reaganomics, the "secret" that explains why all the politicians who serve the wealthy -- whether Democrat or Republican, whether Mondale or Reagan -- accept the basic premises of Reaganomics. And this is the "secret" that explains why the masses are seething with discontent despite all the chants of self-satisfaction from the bourgeoisie. It is why the present lull in the strike movement is only temporary, and why the workers will find their true voice in a new wave of class struggle.

Whichever Candidate Wins the Election, the Workers Can Only Survive by the Class Struggle

The slight upturn in the midst of the depression illustrates all the more the basic law of capitalism: the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Reaganomics has meant financing a slight, temporary upturn by slashing the wages and social programs for the working people. It has meant making life intolerable for the employed and all but impossible for the unemployed. And Mondale too has promised his own version of "trickle down" economics. Under the name of deficit reduction, he has outlined a program of wage cuts and cutbacks in social programs and of subsidies for big business.

Whichever candidate wins the election, the Reaganite offensive will continue. Whichever candidate wins the election, the number of poverty-stricken working people will continue to grow. There is only one alternative for the masses. The working people must struggle to defend their livelihood, to oppose the racism that is another feature of Reaganism, and to fight the military adventures of Reaganism. They must rally around the defense of the unemployed and the poverty-stricken, and they must fight to defend their own livelihood against concessions to the capitalists and cutbacks in social programs. They must fight to have the rich bear the burden of the depression of the 1980's.

Only the elimination of the capitalist economy will eliminate exploitation, business cycles and growing impoverishment. The present struggles against wage cuts, speedups and unemployment must be used to organize a movement independent of the capitalists, a movement that will lead up to a socialist revolution. Only when those who produce the wealth of society are in power, only when the working people themselves own and control the economy and run the government, will the world no longer be subject to the spectacle of increasing poverty amidst increasing wealth, of increasing degradation amidst the wonders of modern technology.

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Black People in South Africa Rise Up

Today South Africa is again in flames. A storm of struggle by the black and other oppressed people has broken out, the fiercest since the famous Soweto rebellions of 1976.

Entire black townships, the segregated ghettos in which the black people are forced to live outside the cities, have exploded in protest. Hundreds of thousands of school students have boycotted classes. And black miners in the gold mines and coalfields have gone out on strike.

The oppressed people of South Africa are once again rising up to fight the inhuman system of apartheid racism. This system spawned by capitalism has reduced the black majority to the status of convict prisoners in their own land. The black people are denied all rights and forced to live in intolerable misery. The white racist ruling class also carries out discrimination against the so- called "coloreds" (people of mixed race) and people of East Indian origin.

The catalyst for the present upsurge was the inauguration of a new constitution. This was touted as a big "democratic reform" by the South African racists and their friends abroad, such as the Reagan administration.

This new constitution created a parliament of three chambers -- one each for the whites, the coloreds and the Indians. There was not even the pretense of granting token representation to the black majority, 73% of the population. As well, the "representation" given to the coloreds and Indians was fraudulent through and through. Their parliamentary chambers are really only advisory bodies, lacking real power. They can only discuss affairs related to their own communities. And anything they decide can be vetoed by the white parliament, the real seat of legislative power.

The racist rulers tried to use this scheme to split the colored and Indian people from the black masses. But this failed. A boycott campaign of the "Uncle Tom" elections was successfully carried through, despite ferocious coercion by the government. Less than 20% of the eligible colored and Indian voters went to the polls. And once the elections were over, the pent-up rage of the oppressed masses broke through and South Africa exploded.

The racist authorities have met the struggle of the people with the brutality of the whip, the bullet and the prison. Over 55 people have been killed. In the townships, meetings and demonstrations are banned. But the people have not been daunted. Every day brings in reports of fresh outbreaks of struggle.

The struggle of the black people of South Africa is a just struggle deserving of worldwide solidarity. It is a powerful inspiration to all who are oppressed everywhere. It shows that even in the belly of one of the most brutal regimes the people can rise up in struggle.

While the apartheid system is condemned by progressive people the world over, it receives the full support of "our" government. The Reagan administration supported the constitutional reform fraud as "a step in the right direction." And just the other day, to show off its support for the racist rulers of South Africa, the U.S. government refused to grant sanctuary to six South African political activists who had taken refuge in the British consulate from the persecution of the police. The three activists who emerged from the consulate were arrested and taken to a prison camp.

Support for the South African racists is of course a bipartisan policy. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have always kept up cozy links with apartheid. Mondale stands for nothing different. This is no surprise. The Democrats and Republicans are parties of big business, and the big corporations, like GM, Ford and Honeywell, make fat profits off the super-exploitation of black labor in South Africa.

Solidarity with the oppressed people of South Africa requires struggle against imperialism.

Victory to the liberation struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa!

[Photo: This funeral procession, outside of Johannesburg in September, became a protest against apartheid racism. The demonstrators flash defiant victory signs against a convoy of South African police.]

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