The Workers' Advocate



Volume 14, Number 2

February 10, 1984

[Front page:

U.S. imperialism will never subjugate Lebanon;

Report from Managua;

The Democratic Party presidential candidates: THE OTHER FACE OF REAGANISM;

Reagan's New Budget: Starving the people to pay for war]


On the Democratic candidates.......................................... 2
Jackson campaign: Behind the media hype...................... 3
CPUSA and the 1984 elections......................................... 3

Fight U.S. Steel plant closings......................................... 4
U.S. Steel buys National Steel.......................................... 4
'Extra Step' campaign at NY telephone........................... 4
GM and Ford: No to overtime while thousands are laid off..................................................................................... 5
Phelps-Dodge copper strike.............................................. 5
Strikes in brief.................................................................. 5

Chicago: No to immigration raids.................................... 4

World's Marxist-Leninists condemn Contadora............... 8
Revolts against price hikes in Tunisia/Morocco............... 11
Auto workers strike in France.......................................... 11
General strike in Uruguay................................................. 12
Condemn arrests of Dominican Marxist-Leninists.......... 12

Song: Union boss.............................................................. 13
Poems: Against U.S. invasion of Grenada........................ 10
Letters............................................................................... 13

Follow the path of the 2nd Congress of the MLP,USA.... 14


* An MLP delegation visits Nicaragua

* Joint Communique of MAP-ML of Nicaragua and MLP,USA

* Victories of the Salvadoran revolutionaries

* Kissinger Commission calls for Viet Nam-style escalation

(See inside, pages 6-10)

U.S. imperialism will never subjugate Lebanon

Report from Managua

The Democratic Party presidential candidates:


Reagan's New Budget:

Starving the people to pay for war

Unabashed Reaganism - The Conservative Democrats Glenn and Askew

The Neo-Liberalism of Hart - Another Name for Reaganomics

Reaganism with a Liberal Face - Mondale, Cranston and Hollings

The McGovern Candidacy - Last of the Mohicans of 'New Deal' Liberalism

The Jesse Jackson campaign:

What's the reality behind the media hype on 'peace' and 'human rights'?

The CPUSA and the 1984 elections

The CPUSA's 'All-People's Front Against Reagan': Fronting for All the Democrats


Down with immigration raids!

The 'Extra Step' Campaign at N.Y. Telephone

An 'extra step' towards layoffs and speedup

Fight the plant closings by U.S. Steel!

For the workers U.S. Steel has no money

But it finds $1 billion to buy National Steel

Phelps-Dodge strike enters eighth month

A tenacious fight against capitalist strikebreaking

Fight the new concessions deal being planned by GM/Ford and UAW hacks

Not a minute of overtime while a single worker is laid off!

Strike News in Brief

A delegation of the MLP,USA visits Nicaragua

Joint Communique of the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist and the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA

To strengthen the revolution in the face of U.S. aggression:

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists Must Have Their Political Rights

Telegram to the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua

Marxist-Leninist parties around the world condemn the Contadora group

Salvadoran Revolution Shows Its Strength

In El Salvador

How the death squads organize elections

Democrats march in step with Reagan

Kissinger Commission calls for Viet Nam-style escalation

An Ode to the Fighters for Humanity

The Crime Was Done in Grenada

Capitalist austerity program in Tunisia and Morocco

Masses Revolt Against Food Price Hikes

'Socialist' Mitterrand sends in the riot police

Peugeot-Talbot auto workers strike against layoffs

General strike rocks the Uruguayan dictatorship

Social-democratic government arrests two leaders of CPL

Solidarity with Dominican Marxist-Leninists

2nd Conference of CPL of Dominican Republic greets MLP,USA

'Union Boss'


Follow the path of the Second Congress of the MLP

Opposing reformism is a vital part of any real fight against the capitalist offensive

U.S. imperialism will never subjugate Lebanon

The first week of February has seen dramatic developments take place in Lebanon. The militias of the Lebanese left now have complete control of West Beirut after overrunning a series of positions held by the government army. The U.S.-backed fascist regime of the Phalangist Amin Gemayel is in total disarray and faces imminent collapse. And its army is rapidly disintegrating as nearly half of its over 30,000 troops have either defected to the left or melted away.

A sharp blow has been inflicted at Reagan's military intervention in Lebanon. Not only are his Phalangist friends in terrible crisis, but he has also been forced to order the start of the removal of the Marines from Beirut, a step which he was vowing not to take just a few days ago. Meanwhile, some of the European imperialist troops which came in alongside the U.S. as a so-called "peacekeeping" force have also begun to pull out.

In the face of this setback, the Reagan administration has gone into a frenzy of revenge-seeking against the Lebanese people. They are carrying out a large-scale, brutal bombardment from the safety of their naval ships off the coast. And Reagan continues to declare that he will keep a huge U.S. military presence in the area to back up the forces of reaction and intimidate the popular resistance.

The Workers' Advocate condemns the continued attacks by U.S. imperialism against the Lebanese people. And we welcome the victories of the popular resistance against the Gemayel government. A reactionary regime, hated by the majority of the Lebanese people, is going down to defeat. This is also a debacle for those who put Gemayel in power and propped him up. It was the Israeli Zionists with their 1982 invasion who set up the Gemayel government and the U.S. imperialists who have poured in every kind of support for this regime. At that time, the Israeli Zionists and U.S. imperialism thought that they were on top of the world; they smugly thought that the Lebanese left had been crushed. But in less than two years, the aggressive policies of the U.S. and Israel have suffered a big fiasco at the hands of the Lebanese people. This testifies to the enormous resilience of the Lebanese resistance; it is an inspiration to all who fight against tyranny and oppression everywhere.

But the struggle in Lebanon is far from over. The fascist militia of the Phalangist Party and remnants of the Lebanese army still remain and plan revenge. Meanwhile, the Reagan administration has by no means decided to pull out. The bombardment from the guns of the warships is ample proof of that. And the pullout of the Marines is to be dragged out over at least four months. As well, one can be sure that the American diplomats are already in the field, wheeling and dealing with Arab reaction in Syria and Saudi Arabia, to prevent any serious damage to the reactionary big bourgeoisie of Lebanon.

The U.S. government swears up and down that it is really fighting Syria. In Reagan's view, and that of the imperialist news media, the Lebanese people hardly exist and are simply puppets of Syria, or of Iran, or of the Soviet Union. What rot! It is the people of Lebanon who have humiliated the U.S. and Israeli war machines. It is the social and political conditions in Lebanon that have impelled the Lebanese masses to rise in struggle. As for Syria, which switches from side to side of the Lebanese struggle, it is a false friend of the Lebanese resistance and has sought to put dampers on the people's resistance.

The Lebanese resistance has won important successes in its recent battles. But the collapse of the Gemayel government is still quite far from actually defeating the reactionary big bourgeoisie of Lebanon which Gemayel represents. The Lebanese resistance thus faces the task of using the positions it has won to carry forward the struggle against the reactionary order.

The Rapid Collapse of the Gemayel Regime

The recent round of fighting broke out on February 2. Huge tank, rocket and artillery battles erupted between the Lebanese army and Druse and Shiite militias in Beirut and the surrounding hills. Among the events sparking off the fighting was an attempt by the Lebanese army to close down a 1.5 mile corridor which links the Shiite suburbs south of Beirut with the Druse positions in the nearby hills.

In the course of these battles, the Lebanese army carried out massive bombardment of civilian neighborhoods. This was so brutal that immediately 150 to 200 Muslim soldiers defected from the army, refusing to kill their own people.

By Saturday the 4th, leaders of the Lebanese resistance called on the Gemayel government to resign and urged Muslim soldiers to defect from the army. On Sunday, Gemayel's cabinet ministers, realizing that the ship was close to sinking completely, decided to resign. Meanwhile, hundreds of soldiers continued to go over to the resistance forces.

On Monday, the militias of the Lebanese left successfully took over West Beirut. Government buildings, including radio and television stations, came under their control. The control of Gemayel's regime now did not extend much beyond the bomb-damaged presidential palace where he continued to hold out. The Lebanese army was thrown back to East Beirut, which has long been under the control of the Phalangist militia. But by this time, the army had virtually disintegrated, as an estimated 40% of the troops had given up or joined the Lebanese left.

As the tide of battle turned affairs, Gemayel, the U.S. government made a series of last-ditch attempts to shore him up. At one point, the U.S. Ambassador even tried to talk one of the Lebanese leaders out of calling for defections from the army. On Monday, Reagan came out with a statement declaring his firm support for the Gemayel regime. The power of such statements from the U.S. president has of course been amply seen in recent years, if one only recalls Carter's declarations in support of the Shah of Iran and, Nicaragua's Somoza in 1978-79. To back up his statement, Reagan also ordered naval and air raids against positions of the Lebanese left in the hills near Beirut. But this could do nothing to bolster 'the badly mauled Gemayel regime.

By Tuesday, however, the Reagan administration was forced to sing a new tune. Reagan ordered the beginning of a phased withdrawal of the Marines from the Beirut airport. But this does not yet signal an end to the U.S. intervention. The Marines are only to be gradually moved out and the U.S. will maintain its huge military presence off the coast. As well, Reagan ordered naval and air raids stepped up. This was carried out with a savage bombardment from the guns of the U.S.S. New Jersey which began on Wednesday the 8th. As a result of the nine-hour long barrage that day, dozens of Lebanese civilians were killed, including women, children and old people. This was nothing but a cowardly display of imperialist muscle, to shore up the bruised imperialist ego with a frenzy of revenge-seeking.

But despite the continued U.S. attacks, the fact remains that the Reagan policy of intervention in Lebanon has suffered a major setback.

In 1982 Reagan backed the bloody Israeli zionist invasion of Lebanon. After killing more than 10;000 people and destroying much of Beirut and southern Lebanon, this invasion set up the Phalange-dominated government of Gemayel. The U.S.-Israeli invasion forced the withdrawal of the Palestinian liberation forces and ousted the Lebanese left from West Beirut.

But the Israeli plan soon began to unravel. The Lebanese resistance continued to fight. And the Israeli occupation threatened to widen the front of opposition to the Zionists. The cost became so high that Israel was forced to withdraw to the south of Lebanon this last fall. The Lebanese army tried to take over the Israeli positions but were rebuffed by the Lebanese resistance. The U.S. military backed up the Lebanese army, but this too did not work.

Today Israel continues to occupy a part of southern Lebanon. But the cost is growing, because it faces an unrelenting and growing resistance from the people. There are increasing lamentations coming from Israeli government and military circles that Israel may be forced to get out of Lebanon altogether. In the meantime, the Phalangist government they set up and which Reagan has tried so hard to prop up has all but collapsed. Clearly the effort to impose a pro-Israeli and pro- U.S. regime on the Lebanese people through brute military force has failed.

And all this has taken place at the hands, not of any big professional army, but of irregular militias based on the oppressed communities of Lebanon. Ultimately, the successes of the Lebanese resistance came because their cause was just and based on the majority of the Lebanese people, while the U.S. imperialists and Israeli Zionists backed up an unpopular and reactionary regime.

The Struggle Between Oppressor and Oppressed in Lebanon

Of course Reagan has all along tried to cover up the real situation in Lebanon. He has painted the conflict in Lebanon between the Gemayel government and the Lebanese resistance as a struggle between the forces for "peace," "moderation" and "reconciliation" and the forces of "fanaticism," "terrorism," and so forth.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Gemayel regime in fact epitomized the blatantly undemocratic system that has long been in place in Lebanon. It has been the most recent and most reactionary in a long series of regimes of the pro-imperialist, reactionary big bourgeoisie which have ruled the country for many decades. In Lebanon this reactionary bourgeoisie is dominated by the Maronite Christian bourgeoisie and one of the bulwarks of its rule has been the systematic oppression of the various Muslim communities, which all combined make up two-thirds of the country's population.

The Maronite Christian bourgeoisie forms the richest and most powerful section of the big capitalists of Lebanon. Of course all the Maronites are not bourgeois, but the reactionary bourgeois temporarily dominate this community. Its domination over the political and economic structure of the country is enshrined in the confessional system worked out in 1943 between the French colonialists and the bourgeois-landlord chieftains of the Maronites. This system was also supported by the bourgeois-landlord leaders of some of the Muslim communities who received a smaller share of power and privileges.

Maronite bourgeois domination of Lebanon has meant the preservation of privileges for a minority and systematic discrimination against the different Muslim communities, the Shiite, Druse, Sunni, etc. It has also meant a very tight relationship with Western imperialism. The Lebanese bourgeoisie has turned the country into a base for imperialism. Over the years, the Maronite bourgeois domination and imperialist oppression have only meant fatter profits for the rich and poverty and misery for the poor, who are overwhelmingly from the Muslim communities.

As a result the confessional system has come into sharp conflict with the majority of the Lebanese people. This erupted into open civil war in 1975-76. The internal struggle in the country has taken on the form of a struggle for equality of the different oppressed communities against the domination of the Maronite bourgeoisie.

In the meantime, the most reactionary grouping within the Maronite community has come to the top. This is the Phalangist Party which was organized by Amin Gemayel's father, Pierre, in the 1930's on the model of Hitler and Mussolini's fascist movements. In 1982 the Israeli invasion helped put the Phalange in a dominant position in the Lebanese government for the first time. It was this party which carried out the brutal massacres of the Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in September 1982 in coordination with the Israeli Zionists.

The U.S. backers of the Gemayel regime have sought to whitewash this fascist force as an alleged force for "democracy" and "peace." They even organized "national reconciliation" talks, but these were nothing but a complete fraud. The Phalangists have repeatedly made clear that they do not intend to relinquish their own privileged position one bit, nor that of the Maronite bourgeoisie in general.

Only Revolutionary Struggle Can Bring Unity and Democracy to Lebanon

The stranglehold of the big bourgeoisie and imperialism over Lebanon can only be broken through the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed masses. Today the Lebanese resistance forces have won an important victory by bringing the Gemayel government close to complete collapse and by forcing the disintegration of its army. The defeat of the Gemayel government must pave the way for a complete smashing of the undemocratic confessional system. This requires the overthrow of the pro-imperialist big bourgeoisie. Only through this struggle can all the toilers of Lebanon, whether from Christian or Muslim communities, be united and mobilized to carry forward their class struggle for liberation from all oppression and exploitation.

The Lebanese masses still face numerous obstacles ahead in carrying forward their struggle. One factor is that the leaders of the Lebanese left are composed of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois elements who follow a policy of reformism. This leadership, even as it has had to fight against the Phalangist assaults, believes that a reformist accommodation with the Maronite bourgeoisie is feasible in Lebanon. The falsity of this reformist policy is evident if one only looks at the history of the last two years. In 1982, these reformist leaders supported the formation of the Gemayel government and had illusions in its promises about seeking "national reconciliation."

Only recently, after Gemayel had shown his bloody fangs once too often, and the militias had begun to defeat the Lebanese army in the recent battles, did these leaders finally give a call for his resignation.

The Lebanese resistance is also caught up in a complex relationship with the Syrian government. They are temporarily in a coalition with Syria because they have a common interest in scrapping the Gemayel-Israeli treaty of May 1983 which preserves Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and allows Israel to threaten Syria's security.

But the Syrian government is no friend of the Lebanese left. In 1975-76, during the civil war, it was Syria which came in to aid the Phalangists at the crucial moment when the left was about to seize power. And in the last two years, Syria's influence has been a major factor restraining the Lebanese left from being able to fight effectively. For example, Syria's influence helped push the reformist leaders in Lebanon to agree to support the formation of the Gemayel government.

Thus today, even as the militias of the left have scored important victories, there is a serious danger that their reformist leaders will simply want to arrive at a reformist accommodation with the Maronite bourgeoisie. This will not mean the democratization of Lebanon but an arrangement which will allow the Muslim bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie a bigger share of governmental power. As well, one can be sure that Syria will throw all its influence in favor of some arrangement of this kind, or worse. Already the Syrian government is having talks with various representatives of the Muslim big bourgeoisie that have long been in accommodation with the Maronite bourgeoisie. Syria simply does not believe in allowing the fundamental domination of the big bourgeoisie in Lebanon to be broken.

The Lebanese resistance thus still faces the task of freeing itself from the harmful influence of its reformist leaders and the treachery of the Syrian government. This requires that the Lebanese toilers who are doing the actual fighting today must organize themselves independently into a force that can provide consistently revolutionary leadership. The historic task of carrying the Lebanese struggle to victory falls on the shoulders of the workers and peasants of Lebanon.

A decisive victory has yet to come, although nothing can take away from the gain the Lebanese resistance has already made by inflicting a heavy defeat on the Lebanese army and government. U.S. imperialism's frenzied attacks today cannot restore what it has lost. Nevertheless, the continued intervention by U.S. imperialism and the remaining positions of reaction in Lebanon still pose great dangers for the Lebanese people. The Lebanese resistance faces the task of using its present successes to press forward its struggle.

The workers and progressive people in the U.S. must press on with the demand that the U.S. imperialists get out of Lebanon lock, stock and barrel. The Lebanese people must be allowed to determine their own destiny free of imperialist dictate and interference. Through their courageous struggle the toiling masses of Lebanon will find the way out of their oppression and exploitation. The workers of the U.S. should extend their solidarity to the Lebanese workers and peasants in their struggle to break the stranglehold of the big bourgeoisie over Lebanon.

Condemn Reagan's continued attacks on Lebanon!

Salute the victories of the Lebanese resistance against the Gemayel regime!

[Photo: Lebanese resistance fighters riding on a captured Lebanese army armored vehicle in West Beirut.]

[Back to Top]

Report from Managua

By a member of the MLP delegation which recently visited Nicaragua.

On the streets and in the working class neighborhoods of Managua, the great upheaval gripping Nicaraguan society can be seen everywhere. The city is still scarred by the bombardments of Somoza's National Guard against the popular insurrection of 1979, and a big part of the city still lies in the ruins of the 1972 earthquake because Somoza was too corrupt to rebuild it. At the same time, in the midst of the destruction from the past one can feel the revolutionary atmosphere of a people who have cast off the heavy yoke of a brutal tyranny.

The overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza demonstrated the power of the working masses when they take up arms and rise up in revolutionary struggle. The Nicaraguan example has fanned the conflagration of revolutionary upheaval throughout Central America, and inspired the workers and downtrodden the world over. Meanwhile, U.S. imperialism has never been reconciled to the loss of its Nicaraguan stomping grounds; and it sees Nicaragua as a threat to the U.S. jackboot and to the other U.S.-backed dictatorships in the region. That is why the CIA,, the State Department and the Pentagon are unleashing their Arsenals of destabilization, blackmail and intervention to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution.

The combined pressures of U.S. imperialism and the local Nicaraguan reaction can be felt on all sides. The U.S. economic blockade and capitalist economic sabotage have caused economic problems of the first order. A lack of spare parts and fuel have resulted in a sharp crisis in public transportation, and there are acute shortages of everything from bread to toothpaste. The internal bourgeois reaction is openly applying pressure against the FSLN government and the working masses. And the real military danger from Yankee imperialism and the Honduran generals is on the minds of everyone. But there is no sign of panic or despair among the people, as the militias of armed workers and youth calmly patrol the streets.

Nicaragua is in the grips of a struggle between revolution and counter-revolution -- between the working class and toilers on the one side, and U.S. aggression and the counter-revolutionary front of the local bourgeoisie and imperialism on the other.

The Nicaraguan People Stand Determined in the Face of U.S. Imperialist Aggression

In the face of the blackmail of imperialism and the arrogance of the bourgeoisie, the Nicaraguan people stand firm. In the working class districts there is a burning and almost universal hatred for U.S. imperialism and its contra bands of ex-National Guardsmen and other maneuvers of the counter-revolution. This is not surprising as nearly everyone has lost a family member or close friend at the hands of the butchers of Somoza's National Guard. The darkness of the dictatorship has not been forgotten. Nor have the people forgotten the repeated crimes of U.S. imperialism against Nicaragua and its decades of support for the Somoza tyranny.

Each new atrocity committed by the CIA and its ex-National Guard mercenaries is further arousing the vigilance and the anti-U.S. imperialist passion of the masses. Each new military provocation unleashed by Reagan or his Honduran puppet generals is further stiffening the Nicaraguan toilers' determination to stick to their guns.

That is why Managua shows all the signs of a population aroused for the tasks of defense. The masses have poured into the Sandinista Popular Militias. The streets are patrolled by militia members -- veteran workers, teen-age youth, men and women -- from the factories, schools and neighborhoods. Besides the armed militias, broad sections of the people have mobilized themselves for other tasks of defense, from digging trenches to taking part in the neighborhood groups of revolutionary vigilance.

In a working class barrio of the capital, the MLP delegation visited the home of a comrade of the FO (Frente Obrero or Workers Front). In his backyard this worker and his neighbors had dug a large trench for protection against the threat of U.S. bombings. In the working class neighborhoods many trenches like this were dug in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Grenada. The comrade was careful to point out that these trenches were not dug because the workers feared the enemy. On the contrary. They were dug because the workers are steadfast in their determination to confront any Yankee imperialist aggression. These trenches, it was explained, are only for the protection of the children and the elderly. Meanwhile, in the case of necessity, the overwhelming majority of the able-bodied men and women of the district are prepared to shoulder arms and take their place in the military defense of the city.

The proletariat and working masses of Nicaragua showed their immense courage and power in the revolutionary insurrection that toppled the Somoza dictatorship. They continue to show their revolutionary vitality and strength in their determination to confront the U.S. aggressors and the capitalist counter-revolution.

The Overthrow of the Somoza Dictatorship Has Brought the Class Struggle to the Fore

For more than four decades the Nicaraguan people suffered under the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship. The whole country was subordinated to enriching the Somoza clan, the U.S. multinational corporations, and their allies from the Nicaraguan big bourgeoisie. The principal pillar of the Somoza dynasty was its National Guard, which acted as its private mercenary army, and which was originally set up and trained in the art of torture and massacres by U.S. occupation forces in the 1920's. The workers and peasants and the political opposition were put down by one of the most fanatical and ruthless tyrannies that Latin America has ever known.

But the workers and peasants never gave up their struggle; and in 1979 they rose up in a popular insurrection that sealed the doom of the bloodstained dictatorship. The dead hand of tyranny was lifted by the revolutionary action of the masses. This was an historic achievement which has put its moral imprint on the people, and which has released great revolutionary energies.

Anti-imperialist activists here in the U.S. know that the people rose up against the Somoza dictatorship and that U.S. imperialism played dirty role. But there is generally a misconception spread that the overthrow of the tyranny brought the class struggle to a successful conclusion, and now the possibility of an epoch of class harmony has opened up for the Nicaraguan family. But the opposite is true.

In fact, a law of all democratic revolutions is that they bring the class struggle to the fore. They put the class antagonisms into sharper focus, bringing them out from under the dark shadows of tyranny. The apparent struggle of one and all for freedom is replaced by a broader and more intense class struggle between the different classes.

The Nicaraguan revolution has been no exception to this law. Indeed one of its accomplishments is that it has brought out into the open more clearly than ever the fundamental antagonism between the interests of the workers and poor peasants and those of the local bourgeoisie.

Today the Nicaraguan big capitalists and landlords form the bulwark of the U.S.-backed counter-revolution. The revolutionary drive of the proletariat and the poor peasantry is the mainstay of the struggle against the U.S. imperialist intervention and the local bourgeois reaction. And the petty bourgeois and intermediate classes, which presently hold the reins of political power, adopt a contradictory policy vacillating in between the working masses and the bourgeoisie.

The Counter-Revolutionary Front of the Bourgeoisie

A point frequently covered over in the literature on the Somoza dynasty is that for decades the dictatorship had ruled with the support and approval of the upper bourgeoisie. The factory owners and landholders profited immensely from the super-exploitation of the workers and peasants, as the National Guard met every attempt of the toilers to get organized with massacres and kidnappings. That is why the chieftains of the bourgeoisie made open agreements with Somoza against the revolutionary movement. The liberal bourgeois opposition had no further objective than pressing for a more equitable agreement with the dictator, allowing the bourgeoisie as a whole a greater share of the state power and the plunder of the masses that comes with it.

When it became clear that the Somoza dictatorship was sinking under the waves of the popular revolution, a sizeable portion of the bourgeoisie jumped ship before it was too late. At the end this section even endorsed the general strikes against the dictatorship. But all along the primary aim of the bourgeoisie was to ensure that it came out on top, or failing that to at least get its foot in the door to ensure its place in the post-Somoza Nicaragua. In these efforts, the leaders of the bourgeois opposition worked hand in glove with Carter's State Department. Undersecretary of State William Bowdler helped to negotiate their positions in the new government and even accompanied them home to Managua after the fall of the dictatorship.

However, after a brief attempt at participation within the FSLN's ruling junta, the leaders of the bourgeoisie formed an open opposition to the FSLN government and the revolution. And today, with the careful grooming and backing of the CIA, the big bourgeoisie has formed a counter-revolutionary front stretching from the contra bands waging a terroristic war on the Nicaraguan people, to the reactionary bourgeois parties and organizations that continue to sit on the legislative State Council in Managua.

The counter-revolutionary bands:

One wing of the reactionary bourgeoisie are the leftovers of the Somoza regime, the close associates and bloodstained criminals of the former dictatorship. Some of these have fled to Miami or California, while others are with the contra bands of ex-National Guardsmen and other CIA-mercenaries in Honduras. These Somocista reactionaries are openly seeking revenge, to restore a new dictatorship through strangling the Nicaraguan people with plenty of help from the CIA, the Pentagon, and the fascist Honduran generals.

Another section of the contras are based mainly in Costa Rica. Their two best known leaders are Alfonso Robelo and the former Sandinista and arch traitor Eden Pastora. Robelo is the leader of the Nicaraguan Democratic Movement (MDN), which was one of the main groupings of the liberal bourgeois opposition to Somoza. After the overthrow of the tyranny, Robelo sat in the ruling junta of the new government. But before a year had passed, all the principal groupings of the bourgeoisie decided that they could fight the revolution more successfully outside of the government. Some of the bourgeois leaders stayed within the country, to wage the political fight as an open opposition. Robelo and others went off to form contra bands to fight the revolution with guns and bombs. At first Robelo and co. tried to pose as a "democratic alternative'' to both the Somocistas and the Sandinistas, and attempted to keep some distance between themselves and the ex-National Guardsmen. But in fact nothing separates them from the other contra bands; they are part of the same CIA-backed terrorists and assassins of the bourgeois counter-revolution. Robelo and other "patriotic'' and "democratic" leaders of the bourgeoisie have joined Ronald Reagan's "freedom fighters," drenching themselves in the blood of the Nicaraguan people.

The bourgeois political opposition:

Robelo's bourgeois associates who stayed behind did not lie down and play dead, nor did they turn into peaceful lambs. No, the bourgeois political forces have stayed in the country to carry out the counterrevolutionary political struggle from within. The standpoint of this opposition is that the FSLN is an "illegitimate" and "totalitarian" power, and only the "democratic" parties of the big bourgeoisie have the right to rule. And they are more than willing to ally with contras and do the bidding of U.S. imperialism to accomplish its aim.

The newspaper La Prensa is the principal voice of the internal bourgeois reaction. La Prensa constantly makes sniping attacks on the government and the revolution. It combats even the mildest reform measures as allegedly "totalitarian" steps. Every calamity that is brought on by imperialism or the contras, or even tragic accidents, are blamed on the revolution. La Prensa cannot openly say that it supports the barbaric crimes of the contras, but it echoes Reagan's blackmail that, if the government only caved in to all the demands of the bourgeois opposition, then there would be no more contra attacks.

Similarly, the honorable bourgeois gentlemen of the "free press" line up on the side of the criminal military provocations of U.S. imperialism against the Nicaraguan people. The mid-January helicopter incident was a case in point. When the people's militias courageously shot down the U.S. army helicopter as it was flying a mission for the CIA bands over Nicaraguan airspace, La Prensa parroted the lies of Shultz, the Pentagon and the Honduran generals blaming Nicaragua for the incident. Meanwhile, La Prensa opposes as a violation of "freedom" any measures taken by the government to defend the national territory, and appeals to the people not to defend the country so long as the "totalitarian" FSLN is in control.

These reactionary ravings of La Prensa have been reported on in the literature on Nicaragua available in the U.S. But what is less well known is that La Prensa is the voice of the whole reactionary bloc of bourgeois parties and organizations. The U.S. media will report on "democratic" politicians criticizing the government, and it is known that the FSLN is having trouble making allies out of the stubborn leaders of the opposition parties. In reality, the internal bourgeois opposition forms the internal front of the capitalist-imperialist counter-revolution. Of course, this internal opposition has to tailor its rhetoric to the conditions within the country, and some may speak in more rabid or more moderate tones than others. Nevertheless, there is a direct political bridge linking the internal reaction to the counterrevolution pounding on the gates from the outside. Capitalist La Prensa and the bourgeois political parties and organizations are linked with thousands of threads to the contra bands as well as to the CIA and U.S. imperialism.

The principal grouping of the internal bourgeoisie is the so-called Democratic Coordinating Committee (DC), which is the bourgeois opposition bloc within the legislative State Council. The main parties of the DC are the Conservative Democratic Party, the Social Christian Party, the Liberal Constitutionalist Party and the Social Democratic Party. These parties work closely with the U.S. State Department and are funded by their imperialist friends in the U.S., West Germany and elsewhere. The DC also includes the business associations of the bourgeoisie, including COSEP (the Superior Council of Private Enterprise), the Chamber of Commerce, and UPANIC (the association of big ranchers and growers). These trade organizations are important economic levers of the bourgeois opposition. Moreover the reactionary trade union centers, the CUS and the CTN, take part in this reactionary bourgeois bloc. The mercenary leaders of these unions work with the CIA through the notorious AIFLD to destabilize the "totalitarian" government and combat the revolution.

Reaction turns the economic screws:

The bourgeoisie, through the hierarchy of the Catholic church and every other means at its disposal, is waging an all-sided ideological and political struggle against the government and the working masses. At the same time its greatest asset is its economic strength. The large capitalists and landlords still control the great majority of the economy. And they want no one to forget that their demand is for political power to match their economic strength. Thus, working together with the U.S. blockade, the exploiters are turning the economic screws on the revolution.

After the triumph over the dictatorship the economy was in shambles. The destruction of the war was only part of the problem. Towards the end, Somoza escalated his normal level of plunder, virtually ransacking the national treasury, selling off cattle stocks and making off with whatever loot that he could. On top of this, since the revolution the imperialist financial sharks have continued to get their pound of flesh from the $1.5 billion of loans contracted under Somoza. Moreover, the World crisis has hit all the Central American economies very hard, driving down prices and shrinking markets for their major exports (coffee, cotton, sugar, etc.).

To make a bad situation worse, the U.S. imperialists have imposed their partial economic blockade of Nicaragua, closing lines of credit and shutting down markets for their exports even further. At the same time the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie has also carried out wide scale economic sabotage, decapitalizing their enterprises (e.g., removing equipment to resell abroad) and siphoning off funds to bank accounts in Miami.

The working masses are hard pressed by this economic squeeze of the counter-revolution. Already desperately poor, they now face many hardships: shortages of almost everything; rationing of rice, bread, milk and other necessities; towering prices; and austerity measures. The last four years have shown that mild reforms and halfway measures are not enough. There is no solution within the framework of capitalism and imperialist economic and financial dependency. Steps towards a fundamental change for the better and towards raising the masses out of their poverty would require revolutionary measures against the wealthy capitalists and landlords. It demands firm steps towards socialism.

The Contradictory Policy of the Sandinista Government of National Reconstruction

Unfortunately, the government is not displaying the revolutionary determination that the situation demands. The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) at the head of the Government of National Reconstruction is displaying weaknesses that are typical of the petty bourgeoisie. It is following a contradictory policy as it tries to walk a tightrope between the revolution and the counter-revolution.

On the one hand, the government distrusts the revolutionary drive of the working class and toilers. It strives to check this class drive and to keep the masses from challenging the sacred property and privileges of the exploiters. On the other hand, the government recognizes that the revolutionary impulse of the toilers is the counterweight that the government needs if it is to survive the pressure of the bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism.

The government feels the counterrevolution breathing down its neck. The capitalist opposition has demonstrated time and again that it is not to be satisfied with simply sharing power in a coalition with the Sandinistas, as the FSLN leaders would like it to be; but, along with the U.S. imperialists, the bourgeoisie seeks to crush the FSLN and its entire reformist program.

Nevertheless, the government continues to harbor hopes of escaping the heat and fury through a policy of conciliation. It hopes that a stable agreement can be reached with the bourgeoisie for building up the capitalist economy -- as if the bourgeoisie is about to give up its demand for a political dominance that matches its economic dominance. The FSLN leaders hope that their policy of kindness and favors will be reciprocated in kind -- as if by pulling at its heartstrings one can change the brutal and exploiting nature of the bourgeoisie.

The government's repeated expressions of goodwill towards those who are committed to strangling it, and all of the economic and political incentives that it has lavished on the exploiters, haven't cooled the fires of the counter-revolution in the least. The pressures of the bourgeoisie and imperialism repeatedly flare up with renewed fury, compelling the government to seek a counterweight to this pressure in the revolutionary drive of the masses.

Hence the contradictory, vacillating policy of the Government of National Reconstruction.

The Government's Reformist Policy

Since the triumph over the dictatorship, the government has organized some sweeping and popular reforms. The two best known reforms have been the spread of health care and the mass literacy campaign. There have been other steps to overcome the backwardness of the Somoza years, such as legal reforms concerning the rights of women and children. And there are many public projects underway, such as bringing water and electricity into barrios of Managua that lacked them in the past.

The properties of the Somoza clan were nationalized, creating a sizeable public sector, including some 20% of agricultural lands. Certain steps have been taken towards the distribution of unused lands to the land-poor peasantry, and backward tenant relations in agriculture have been replaced with more modern capitalist ones.

After decades of tyranny and darkness, the government's reforms have been popular among the working masses. And the local reaction, which preferred the darkness of the past, has responded as one might expect; some of these reactionaries even consider a literacy campaign as a communistic plot.

But the FSLN's reforms only go so deep. Any step that would seriously cut into the profits and property of the capitalists and landlords it will not touch. The government is even careful to avoid measures that might make the exploiters worry about their profits in the future. Thus, the government has backed down from carrying out a thorough agrarian reform, even though this was an important radical democratic measure of the FSLN's old program. And above all, the government adamantly opposes any measures that would strike at the basic structure of capitalist relations in the direction of proletarian socialism.

Influenced by a mixture of bourgeois, social-democratic and revisionist ideology, the program of the government does not go beyond the reformist interests of the petty bourgeoisie. While it has gained considerable influence among the workers and poor peasants, the FSLN leadership is guided by petty-bourgeois ideology. Moreover the core of the FSLN's organization continues to be the petty bourgeoisie of town and country. Its program is also supported by part of the middle bourgeoisie, that is, rural and urban producers that are larger than petty bourgeois but are considerably smaller than the dominant big bourgeoisie.

Sections of these intermediate classes became discontent and radicalized in the days of the dictatorship; they could not breathe under the tyranny, which was choking off the necessary reforms for a modern capitalist development. The FSLN represented the radicalized petty bourgeoisie in the revolution. Even though it was the proletariat and poor peasants who bore the main brunt of the war, and even though the organized forces of the FSLN were a relatively small part of the total forces of the popular insurrection, the FSLN was able to seize the leadership of a large part of the new forces that had spontaneously come up at the moment of the insurrection, thus outstripping the organized forces of the proletariat and coming to the head of the revolution.

Having been formed in the fires of revolution, the FSLN has naturally taken on a revolutionary and even a nearly Marxist or socialist coloring. But underneath the brilliant colors, the actual program of the FSLN government over the last four and one-half years has proven to be a petty-bourgeois program of class conciliation and reformism.

"Mixed Economy'' and "Pluralism"

The government codifies this program in its declared commitment to a "mixed economy'' and 'to "political pluralism.''

In practice, "mixed economy'' means the preservation of the capitalist domination in Nicaragua. While doing away with some of the most backward relations of super-exploitation that flourished under the Somoza tyranny, the government doesn't want to go beyond reformed capitalist relations. The majority of the economy remains in the hands of the big capitalists and landholders; even the notorious Bank of America along with other foreign multinationals continue their operations in Nicaragua.

To cope with the imperialist blockade and the capitalist crisis, the government tells the poverty-stricken masses that they must accept the painful medicine of austerity measures. At the same time the government is busy making life more comfortable for the bourgeoisie. Instead of the big capitalists being punished for taking the side of the imperialist aggression and the counter-revolution, they are showered with economic and financial incentives. Of course, this only strengthens the internal forces of the reactionary bourgeoisie and expands the secret flow of funds towards the contras and the fattening of many a small fortune in Miami.

"Pluralism" is the political framework under which the FSLN leadership is striving to work out a sharing of power, or at least a peaceful coexistence, with the bourgeois parties. Nicaraguan "pluralism" is alleged to be evenhanded towards all political tendencies and to provide the most complete type of freedom for one and all. But Nicaragua shows that a policy of trying to be evenhanded amounts to handing over one position after another to the bourgeoisie, putting a brake on the revolutionary initiative of the masses, and thus weakening the struggle against the U.S.-backed counterrevolution.

Instead of putting a clamp on the bourgeois political parties, all of which are linked up in one way or the other with the counter-revolution, they are given a free reign, political privileges and important positions. The reactionary bourgeois parties and organizations of the so-called Democratic Coordinating Committee are even allowed seats on the State Council from which they spit at the revolution. At the same time, the benevolence of this "pluralism" doesn't extend to the left, and especially not to the revolutionary proletarian party and organizations. As a result of a decision taken by the government last month, the MAP-ML and the FO are now the only organized political forces in the country that have been barred from the State Council. They are hounded and stripped of their rights despite their revolutionary stand and the blood that they shed in the revolutionary war.

Similarly, instead of muzzling the counter-revolutionary ravings of La Prensa, the government recently decided to give it large quantities of crucial foreign currency reserves to make sure that La Prensa can purchase the newsprint it needs in the face of the U.S. imperialist blockade. No matter that La Prensa tacitly supports this blockade. No matter that La Prensa works hand in glove with these same U.S. imperialists. The "pluralist" government does not discriminate in its offerings of charity. But then, when it comes to the working class press it is an entirely different story, a story which we will get to later on in this report.

The Revolutionary Class Drive of the Toilers and the Government's Policy of Class Conciliation

In the aftermath of the people's triumph over the dictatorship, in July 1979, a powerful revolutionary drive of the proletariat and toilers was unleashed against the exploiters. Immediately this class drive came into conflict with the government's policy of class conciliation.

The working class and poor peasantry were the ones who fought on the barricades of the insurrection to overthrow the Somoza tyranny. These exploited classes naturally expected that the fruits of their victory would include real steps against the terrible exploitation that they suffered at the hands of the capitalists and landlords during the Somoza years.

The workers launched a powerful movement to impose their demands on the capitalists; factories were seized and workers' control was established in many important enterprises. The land-poor peasantry also went into action, seizing land from the big landholders. An unprecedented class wave of organization and struggle was pounding against the positions of the exploiters.

But this wave threatened to scuttle the plans of the FSLN leadership. In particular, if the drive of the workers and peasants was not turned back, the entire strategy of compromise with the bourgeoisie would be put in jeopardy. Moreover, the very foundations of capitalist relations would be threatened.

The government came down hard to put a clamp on the workers. Through ideological and political pressure it tried to convince the masses to quit the struggle. Elsewhere the FSLN moved in to take over or disperse those workers' organizations that did not give in to this pressure, and a wave of repression was unleashed against many working class leaders. Among these, over 150 leaders of the FO were thrown in prison.

Step by step, as the organization and mobilization of the workers was weakened, the positions and property of the capitalists were restored. Presently the government continues to give back lands seized by the peasants to the former landholders. An emergency law is still in effect which imposes a three-year prison term on any participant in a strike, factory takeover, or land seizure.

The unfortunate net result of the government's policy of class conciliation has been the weakening of the revolution. The soft policy of favors and kindness lavished on the exploiters has allowed the bourgeois reaction to strengthen its economic, political and ideological forces within the country, while only further whetting the appetite of the CIA-backed jackals. At the same time, the government's enforced system of class compromise has temporarily taken the sharp edge off of the revolutionary drive of the working class and toilers -- blunting the only sure weapon against the imperialist-capitalist counter-revolution.

The Struggle for the Arming of the People

The struggle for the arming of the people is another important front of the clash between the revolution and the counter-revolution.

The insurrection against the dictatorship had created an armed people. This arming went far beyond the forces under the FSLN command. Apart from the FSLN-led forces, the other organized force of the insurrection were the workers and youth of the MILPAS (Anti-Somoza Popular Militias) that were organized by the MAP- ML and the FO. What's more, a great part of the insurrection had been shouldered by proletarian and poor masses who lacked the leadership of any political organization.

The sight of the armed toilers naturally frightened the bourgeoisie, as it correctly saw this as a danger to its very existence. The FSLN leadership also saw it as a threat to its petty- bourgeois program. Thus, within four days of the victory, the government demanded the disarming of the MILPAS, a demand the MILPAS agreed to in order to avoid a destructive clash. The other proletarian combatants outside of the FSLN's control were treated similarly. A clamp was put on the arming of the masses apart from the narrow forces directly under the FSLN command.

But with the barbaric atrocities of the contras and with the growing threats of U.S. invasion, the demand has also grown among the working masses for weapons to confront the danger and to destroy the counterrevolution. When the threats to Nicaragua have become particularly alarming the government has made concessions to this demand. Following the U.S. invasion of Grenada, for example, the Sandinista Popular Militias brought in large numbers of workers, peasants and youth, and military training and preparation was expanded among the people.

"All Arms to the People!" is one of the principal slogans painted on the walls and inscribed on banners hanging from government buildings. Nevertheless, the arming of the people only goes so far. The popular class character of the militias is undermined by the grip of the government. A number of bureaucratic methods of traditional non-revolutionary armies are applied to the militias. Instead of the election of militia officers by the rank and file, for instance, they are appointed from above. The number of workers from the factories and toilers from the barrios and their degree of participation in the militias is still too small. Most importantly, because of the a-class outlook of the government, the political scope of the arming of the people is too restricted; it is not seen as a necessity for the workers and toilers to defend and advance their class interests against the internal bourgeois reaction, as well as against the attacks of the contras and imperialism from the outside.

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists Are Striving to Deepen the Revolution

In the midst of the complex class struggle gripping Nicaragua, the Marxist-Leninist party of the Nicaraguan working class, the MAP-ML, is playing an active and vital role, striving to organize the proletariat and toilers to carry forward the revolutionary struggle. On every front of the class struggle the Marxist-Leninists champion the interests of the workers and poor peasants against the reactionary bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialist aggression.

The MAP-ML calls on the working class and toilers to take an active and militant part in the struggles against imperialism and the bourgeois counter-revolution. At the same time, it strives to build up the political, ideological and organizational independence of the proletariat from the influence of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. This independence is what is most essential for the proletariat to place its own class stamp on the revolutionary process. This independence is what is needed to ensure that the working class will be able to fulfill its historic mission and carry forward the revolutionary struggle to the realization of proletarian socialism.

The MAP-ML is putting forward the proletarian alternative to the crisis gripping Nicaraguan society. It advocates that the strengthening of the revolution hinges on the revolutionary struggle of the workers and toilers against both the internal and external forces of the counter-revolution. The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists strive to link the tasks of military defense from U.S. aggression to the class struggle against the internal social base of the U.S.-backed counter-revolution, the big capitalists and landlords. Similarly they advocate that the imperialist economic blockade and the economic crisis can be overcome in favor of the working masses only through revolutionary steps against the pro-imperialist bourgeois. And only through revolutionary measures can the backbone of the counter-revolutionary political offensive of the bourgeoisie be broken and the political freedom of the working masses be strengthened. Decisive measures in favor of the workers and poor peasants are essential to release the revolutionary energies of the masses for the defense and advance of the revolution.

The MAP-ML works to forge the unity of the proletariat and the alliance of the working class and poor peasantry as the class foundations of the struggle against the imperialist- capitalist' 'Counter-revolution. Instead of a "pluralist" political unity with the bourgeoisie, it strives for a class unity of the toilers in the revolutionary struggle to bring the workers and poor peasants to power.

In the face of all the concrete problems of the day MAP-ML is putting into practice its working class line.

Putting a Proletarian Stamp on the Tasks of Military Defense

Thanks to the barbaric policy of the Reagan administration and the ruthless brutality of the CIA-sponsored contra bands, the tasks of military defense are naturally a foremost preoccupation of the Nicaraguan people. MAP-ML puts before the masses the political perspective of strengthening of the military defense by strengthening its popular class nature. It calls for the broad and democratic military training and arming of the workers and peasants and for the heavy cost of this arming to be shouldered by the bourgeoisie. And it puts to the fore the political problem that the armed toilers must not only be organized and mobilized to meet invasion from without, but also to defend their own class interests against the reactionary interests of the exploiters.

The MAP-ML calls on the workers to join the Popular Sandinista Militias and to strive to influence them with their proletarian stand. We had the opportunity to talk with FO comrades working in the militias. Part of the military task of the class conscious workers is the mastering of the use of weapons and other military training; and the other part is the political work among their fellow worker militia members. This political work is not easy because of the bureaucratization and the sectarian system that has been organized against the revolutionary workers who do not accept the FSLN policy. Nevertheless, the Marxist- Leninist workers make use of all the possibilities available to them to raise to the fore the political and class tasks of military defense.

Political Work in the Work Places

Worker comrades from the FO also gave our delegation a picture of some of their work at the work places.

Following the triumph over the dictatorship, the FO led the unions in many key enterprises. But then came the repression against the FO: more than 150 FO leaders were arrested and held in prison for several months, and FO supporters were blacklisted from employment. Combined with the repression, the FO was weakened by the ideological pressures of Sandinism on the working class. As a result, most of the FO-led unions passed into the hands of the CST, the FSLN-led trade union center. The bureaucratic repression and blacklisting against the FO continues, with the CST leaders at times even calling in the police to arrest FO workers distributing literature. The comrades noted that to return the next day after these arrests to continue the distribution is part of the struggle to defend the rights of the working class.

The main emphasis of the FO's work is not contesting the elections to the union leaderships, but to build up the FO's influence and committees at the base on the line of defending the class interests and class independence of the proletariat. The FO defends the wages, safety conditions and other interests of the workers. However, it does not restrict itself to the economic struggle, but also wages an open struggle for the revolutionary political demands of the class. The FO strives to broaden the workers' freedom to organize in their economic and political interests in the face of the often non-proletarian and bureaucratic measures of the trade union leaderships. They work along these lines in both the private and state-owned enterprises, as the comrades pointed out the conditions of the workers in the state-owned enterprises are often no better and their rights are at times more restricted than in the private ones.

While centering its activities on the rank and file, the FO also participates in the trade union coordinator (CS), a council of the representatives of trade union organizations including the CST (the union center of the FSLN), the CAUS (the union center of the PCN, a pro-Soviet revisionist party), the CGT(I) (the union center of the PSN, the other pro-Soviet revisionist party) and other union organizations. Within the CS the FO champions the unity of the working class against the bourgeois- imperialist counterrevolution. For example, it has used the CS platform to fight for workers' control of production to combat capitalist economic sabotage and decapitalization. The FO has championed much needed reforms to be taken at the expense of the employers, such as improving health and safety conditions in the work places, and for a raise in the national pay scales to provide some relief from the spiraling cost of living.

Presently the CST, CAUS and CGT(I) are proposing to bring the CUS (the union center affiliated to U.S. imperialism's notorious AIFLD) and the CNT (the Social-Christian unions) into the CS. They are pushing this proposal despite the fact that the CUS and CNT are taking an openly counterrevolutionary and pro-U.S. imperialist stand. The FO opposes this and points out that to bring such reactionary organizations into the CS can only weaken the unity of the working class in the face of the counter-revolution.

A Class Line for the Production Campaigns

The FO comrades also explained their political approach toward the government's production campaigns. With the triumph over the tyranny, at first labor enthusiasm was high. An example of this was the "red and black days" of voluntary labor in production (red and black being the FSLN colors). This enthusiasm was connected to the working class initiative in imposing workers' control over much of production. Workers' assemblies sprang up which could oversee the allotment of resources and other production decisions; which could choose supervisors and even remove an entire administration and demand a new one; and which could demand to question delegates from the government. But as this workers' initiative was replaced by a bureaucratic control, and as the workers saw their efforts being taken advantage of by the capitalist owners, labor enthusiasm has weakened. This indicates that overcoming the economic difficulties and solving the problems of production is indissolubly connected with defending the interests of the workers.

Another example of this is demonstrated by the brigades that are organized to overcome the shortage of agricultural laborers. To meet this shortage, over the last few years the government has been sending brigades of workers to go harvest coffee, cotton and other crops in the rural areas. Despite the large-scale urban unemployment, many of the jobless don't join the brigades because the conditions are very harsh and the pay low. The factory workers, on the other hand, are more easily organized and mobilized (and can be, and at times are, compelled to join the brigades on the pain of losing their jobs).

Presently the workers are reluctant about these brigades. One reason for this is that they are not told beforehand whether they are going to pick coffee on private or state-owned lands. In other words, the sweat and toil of the workers often goes directly to fatten the profits of the capitalist coffee growers. Therefore, while not recommending that the workers don't produce the coffee, the FO comrades put forward demands that the profits must not go towards fattening the rich, but should go towards the needs of the masses (e.g. military defense, health care, education, public transportation, etc.).

The Struggle for the Working Class Press

An important front of the class struggle in Nicaraguan society revolves around the press. At present the daily press is monopolized by three papers: the arch reactionary bourgeois La Prensa, which is the largest of the three; the FSLN's Barricada; and El Nuevo Diario, which is closely allied with the FSLN. The ideological and political conflicts between these papers, which are hawked on all the streets of Managua and are followed closely, are an open expression of the contradiction between the classes that they represent. But to get a complete picture of the struggle around the press, it must be taken into account that the Nicaraguan working class only a short time ago had its own daily press, a political experience that is still fresh in the minds of the workers.

The daily El Pueblo, organized under the FO, had a broad readership among the working masses and played an important mobilizing role in the revolution against the U.S.-backed Somoza tyranny. After the overthrow of the tyranny it continued its role as the voice of the working class drive to carry forward the revolution against imperialism and the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. In January 1980, the government closed down El Pueblo, arrested its editors, and confiscated large quantities of equipment. For four years now it has refused all demands to reopen the doors of El Pueblo. Nevertheless the daily El Pueblo continues to hold an important place in the consciousness of the workers, and the struggle continues to step by step rebuild the workers' press.

Prensa Proletaria is being consolidated as the monthly organ of MAP-ML. There is also the bulletin of the FO. As well, a variety of pamphlets, leaflets and other literature produced by the Party and FO. The struggle for the working class press still faces many obstacles. Not the least of these is the U.S. imperialist blockade, which has meant that essential printing supplies are unavailable or can be purchased only at enormous expense. As well, the government censorship weighs especially hard on the working class press, as demonstrated by the closing of El Pueblo. The censorship is advertised as being above the class struggle, allegedly putting an equal burden on the reactionary capitalist press as on the press of the revolutionary workers. But in reality, the bourgeoisie has vastly superior abilities to broadcast its politics and ideology, through its radio stations, the pulpits of the Catholic church hierarchy, and so forth. Moreover, the bourgeois press has the financial resources -- and even the aid of the government -- allowing it to much more easily overcome the material shortages and to spread its counter-revolutionary poison far and wide.

The rebuilding of the working class press is a task that the comrades of MAP-ML have shouldered in earnest. This is an important part of building up the independent organization of the proletariat; the proletarian press is an essential tool for freeing the masses from the political and ideological influence of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie. Through the consolidation of the working class press, the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists are constructing a lever for pushing forward the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan workers and poor peasants against the bourgeois counter-revolution and its U.S. imperialist masters.

[Photo: Anti-Somoza youth fighting against the National Guard troops during the revolutionary insurrection in Matagaipa.]

[Photo: An intruding U.S. helicopter shot down by Nicaraguan popular militiamen. Note the mud which the U.S. claims was accidentally "splattered" over the identifying insignia.]

[Photo: A Workers Front poster on a wall in Managua calls for a May First workers' mobilization and action against the imperialist aggressors, capitalists and landlords. It declares that only with the working class in the vanguard is the socialist homeland constructed.]

[Back to Top]

The Democratic Party presidential candidates:


Eight major contenders are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination to run against the Republican Reagan. For three years the Democrats in Congress have rubber-stamped Reagan's assaults on the working people. But today, from the platforms of campaign rallies and from interviews and debates in the news media, the eight Democratic candidates are making all sorts of honeyed promises to the people. To a man they declare: "Elect me and I will reverse the disastrous policies of Ronald Reagan. Elect me and I will work against war, poverty and racial discrimination." At the same time, whole armies of trade union bigshots, "respectable" leaders of black and other minority organizations, and even groups calling themselves "Marxist" and "communist" are going around calling on the working people to line up behind this or that Democratic candidate as the antidote for the Reaganite poison.

It's not hard to see why the Democrats are posturing against Reagan. There is a widespread anger among tens of millions of workers and poor people against the reactionary and cruel policies of the Reagan administration. Reagan's name is synonymous with unemployment and growing poverty, with warmongering and aggression, with racism and rabid reaction.

The Democrats and their frontmen are hoping that the working people will fall for the quick cure for Reaganism being promised by them. They are hoping that the masses will forget that this party has for the last three years voted for Reagan's policies in the spirit of "bipartisan consensus." At the very least the Democrats hope that the workers will support them as the "lesser evil" against Reagan.

The Marxist-Leninist Party holds that the workers should not follow this course. The Democrats and their flunkeys are nothing but snake oil salesmen, simply out to tap the anti-Reagan sentiment of the masses for their own advantage. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats are simply the other face of Reaganism. This is because the Reaganite reactionary offensive is the general program of the capitalist class; and the Democrats, like the Republicans, are a political party of the capitalist class.

This election year is a good time for the workers to closely look at the actual policies and record of the Democratic Party and its various candidates. This will make it quite clear that the Democrats do not offer any real alternative to Reaganism.

The Democrats -- the Other Face of Reaganism

In looking at the various Democratic candidates, it is essential to remember that these are not some isolated individuals but the representatives of a definite political party. And like every political party, the Democratic Party has its own program, policies, stands, etc. The program, policies and goals of every political party represent a definite class, which, in the case of the Democrats, is the ruling capitalist class of this country.

The policies of the Democrats can be observed in clearest terms when they are in power, and, when they are not, by examining their attitude to the party in power. And over the last three years, while Reagan has been in the White House, the policy of the Democrats has been to collaborate with him in practice while posturing against him in words. The Democrats have worked hand-in-hand to implement Reaganism in the spirit of bipartisanship. This has been the case whether the issue at stake has been tax cuts for the rich, cuts in social benefits for the workers and poor, the huge military budgets, or sending weapons and troops to back up brutal dictators in El Salvador and Lebanon. As for the bursts of anti-Reagan rhetoric here and there, that has merely been for show, to throw dust in the eyes of the people.

As is well known, the Democratic Party contains within itself a whole range of political positions, ranging from rabidly reactionary and racist Dixiecrats to smooth-talking liberals and reformists. But collaboration with the Reaganite offensive is the common program of the entire party, conservative and liberal alike.

The candidates for the Democratic nomination also reflect stands across much of this political spectrum. And like their party, they represent the politics of the other face of Reaganism. The only difference among the candidates is that while some are more open about their right-wing politics, others seek to sugarcoat the reactionary poison in order to make it more palatable for the people.

Below we publish a series of short commentaries surveying the policies being advocated by the different Democratic candidates. This survey shows that the Democratic Party is an accomplice, not an opponent of Reaganism. Putting a Democrat in the White House will not in any substantial way alter the basic policies carried out by Ronald Reagan.

There are those who say the Democrats should be supported as the "lesser evil." This is a timeworn trick of the Democrats to attract the disenchanted back into their fold. But history has repeatedly exposed this as a complete fraud. In 1960, John F. Kennedy was supposed to be the "lesser evil" against Nixon, and we got the government of the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the step-up of intervention in Viet Nam. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson was said to be the "lesser evil" against Goldwater, and we got the massive escalation of the U.S. aggression against Viet Nam. In 1976, Carter was promoted against Gerald Ford, and we got the administration which began the policies which Reagan is now carrying forward.

All this is no accident. The fact of the matter is that both the Republicans and Democrats represent the politics of the same class of billionaires. So, no matter which party wins, it's certain that the program of the capitalist rulers will be implemented. And today the program of the capitalists is the reactionary offensive of Reaganism. The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Republicans rule openly as the party of big business while the Democrats are used by the capitalists to fool the masses by posing as the party of labor and the minorities. And to accomplish this deception, the Democrats give more of a role in their regimes to the labor bureaucrats, the traitors to the working class who work as agencies of the rich within the working class movement.

A Real Fight Against Reaganism Calls for a Break With the Democrats

Thus, supporting a capitalist party like the Democrats is no answer to the Reaganite offensive. No. But there is a real alternative. There is a way to build up a real fight against Reaganism. That road is the road of fighting the capitalists, not reconciling with them.

This calls for breaking with both the two capitalist parties. It calls for building up a working class political movement, a movement independent of and opposed to the rich and their political parties. This involves concrete revolutionary work. It means to fight the capitalist assaults on every front -- to develop the strikes, protests and other mass actions against hunger, racism and war. It means to build up revolutionary organizations to mobilize the masses into a powerful fighting force. And it means to spread revolutionary consciousness, making the working masses aware of the truth about the capitalists and how to carry forward the class struggle and build up the forces for the socialist revolution to end capitalist rule altogether.

Fight against the capitalist offensive of the Republicans and Democrats -- this is the fighting path advocated by the Marxist-Leninist Party, the party of the class conscious proletariat.

[Back to Top]

Reagan's New Budget:

Starving the people to pay for war

The Reagan administration has presented Congress with its 1985 budget. And once again the empty-headed figurehead in the White House has shown why he is the darling of the millionaires. He has presented them with another budget of unparalleled militarism. It is a budget of astronomical increases in the defense budget to pay for nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, space weapons, research on weapons and everything the Pentagon wants. It is another budget that mocks the millions of people ruined by the economic depression, another budget that ensures that tens of millions of workers and unemployed will suffer from hunger, from cold, from lack of medical care, from shamefully inadequate schools, and so forth.

The Democrats have already shown what we can expect from them. They can quibble loudly with Reagan in order to play for the cameras, while rubber-stamping the main features of the Reagan budget. Hunger and war are the bipartisan program of the capitalist parties.

The Reagan budget shows that the working people have no alternative but to organize themselves for struggle. Even this year, when the economy has had a slight upward blip, the conditions for the masses have grown worse, and the budget shows that they can expect nothing from the sham benevolence of the lying capitalist politicians. Only struggle is the path forward for the working people.

Budgeting for the "Winnable Nuclear War"

Reagan's 1985 budget calls for a whopping 18% increase in the military budget. Furthermore, Reagan plans to hide much of the money for the arms race in space in the non-military portion of the budget; none of the money for the building the manned space station is included in the "defense" budget, nor is the nuclear production and weapons research of the Department of Energy.

Why are these increases needed? The U.S. military is already the most over-bloated military arsenal yet assembled in the world's history.

One thing for sure. It is not for "defense," but for aggression. The Reagan administration is proceeding with its plans for a "winnable nuclear war." The Reaganites, thirsty for a showdown with their equally imperialist rivals in the Soviet Union, believe that they can overwhelm the Soviet Union by military means. The talk about being behind the Soviet Union in arms is just for show: every administration, Democrat or Republican, always discusses an arms gap when it is asking for more funds. In fact, the Reaganites believe that the U.S. is ahead in the arms race and have declared repeatedly that the U.S. can win it.

Of course, Reagan has learned from the Democrats that presidents must speak the language of "peace." The Democrats told him: we are behind you all the way on strengthening the working class and toilers on the one side, and U.S. aggression and the counter-revolutionary front of the armed forces, but use the language of peace. And that is what Reagan is doing.

Accordingly, in presenting his budget, and in surveying the State of the Union, Reagan doesn't say that he is planning for nuclear war. Oh no. He is just spending money for peace. Why, American weapons don't kill people. Perish the thought. They save lives. His "star wars" arms race in space isn't to kill people, but to save lives. This is like saying that tanks are weapons of peace, because the tank's armor plating is designed to save lives.

Reagan's State of the Union message showed the great priority Reagan has set on preparing for imperialist wars. Of the "four great goals" he set for the 1980's, two of them were military. He talked of building "a meaningful peace": bear in mind that Reagan regards the MX missile as the "peacemaker." He regards his gigantic military expenditures as the way he builds "peace." And he called for developing "America's next frontier"-- the manned space station. That is, he called for an arms race in space.

Money to Fight for World Domination

What is the purpose of this frenzied war preparations?

It is designed to fight for U.S. world domination. In his speech, Reagan said: "We have no territorial ambitions. We occupy no countries." But the facts tell a different story.

If the U.S. isn't occupying Grenada, then who is? U.S. troops invaded Grenada, without even bothering to observe the diplomatic nicety of declaring war, overthrew the Grenadian government, and installed U.S. puppets.


If the U.S. troops don't occupy foreign countries, then since when has West Beirut been a part of the U.S.?U.S. troops occupied positions in West Beirut, surrounded by a hostile population. Just now, after the U.S. troops have suffered humiliating defeats and started a slow withdrawal, Reagan ordered a full-scale barrage of Lebanon just for the sake of exacting blood revenge.

If U.S. troops don't occupy other countries, then exactly whose troops are advising the death squads in El Salvador? The current fascist dictatorship in El Salvador stays in power solely because U.S. arms and dollars back it up. The Kissinger Commission says, and Reagan agrees, that the Salvadoran reactionaries will fall unless the U.S. spends billions upon billions of more dollars in the region. And so it will.

If U.S. troops don't trample other countries, then what is happening in Honduras? The CIA and the Pentagon have turned Honduras into one big military base Tor the sake of attacking revolutionary Nicaragua.

It is clear why Reagan wants weapons. It is to make the world safe for the American multinational corporations. It is to slaughter the workers and peasants who rise up for freedom around the world.

Starving the Working People at Home

When it comes to weapons, Reagan says the sky's the limit. Who cares about deficits? Who cares about fiscal restraint? Whatever is needed for U.S. world domination, that's what will be appropriated.

But when it comes to the working people, reeling under the effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930's, then there's another story. They are to be bled to pay for arms. And they are to be bled because Reagan thinks it is right that they should bleed. This is part of Reagan's "traditional values," the strengthening of which is another of Reagan's "great goals" for America; it is against his values for the American workers to have too much medical care, too high a minimum wage -- or any minimum wage at all, too much education. Why, the workers might get uppity and interfere with the profits of the capitalist slave drivers.

Accordingly, the budget proposed by Reagan cuts once again into social programs. And, Reagan advisors inform us, after the presidential election the Reagan administration intends to cut even more severely.

The servile bourgeois news media says that Reagan's new budget has merely a few billions in cuts in programs. Merely a few billion, at a time when millions are shivering with cold and suffering the torments of hunger! If one corrects for inflation, the cuts are even bigger. Furthermore, the only true measure of the budget is how it stacks up against the needs of the working people and the unemployed in this period of economic crisis.

Reagan's idea is to starve the working people and force them to accept even lower wages and even worse working conditions. But what about the famous "safety net" for the "truly needy." Recently, Reagan's own director of the Office of Management and Budget, David Stockman, admitted that this was just a cynical public relations gimmick, a little Reaganite joke. He stated: "It (the safety net concept) was...just a spur-of-the-moment thing that the press office wanted to put out." Former White House domestic policy advisor Martin Anderson also confirmed that the "safety net" "was not really a social policy objective." (Washington Post News Service, December 9, 1983)

Just to make sure that no one had any doubts about his intention of starving the people Reagan appointed a Task Force on Hunger. The purpose of the Task Force was to tell the capitalists that the Reagan administration was going to continue squeezing the hungry. And it did its job well. In January, after several winter cold spells where a number of people died because they lacked housing or heating, the Task Force reported that hunger wasn't a problem in America. Oh yes, the Task Force laughed, "we cannot doubt there is hunger in America." We just couldn't find it. The coldblooded Reaganite hacks pronounced that "We have not been able to substantiate allegations of rampant hunger." Anyway, the Task Force said, present programs were sufficient for "those who take advantage of them." Just to make sure that there weren't too many who took such unfair advantage, it then recommended that the states be given the authority to terminate such programs at will and spend the money on other things.

Reagan summed up his coldblooded, cynical approach at the end of January. Addressing himself to the embarrassing problem of why there are at least two million homeless Americans in this era of the American "miracle" of Reaganomics, he pronounced that they were "homeless by choice." Reagan's idea of helping the poor is to mock them, to blame them for the capitalist crisis, to appoint commissions to tell them that they aren't really hungry, and to give speeches telling them that they are homeless by choice and are just in love with waiting hours in line for a little soup in the dead of winter.

It is clear, then, that the capitalists, headed by the Reagan administration, intend to squeeze the masses as hard as they can. They will not give up one penny more for the food, housing, education and welfare of the masses, whether through wages or government programs, than what the workers force them to give.

Reaganomics in Shambles

Reagan assured one and all that his economic program was not simply the greedy expression of capitalist revenge on the masses. The great liar in the White House swore to heaven that his program was not simply the expression of the capitalist drive to make as much as possible off cutting the wages and living conditions of the working people. Oh no, it was supposed to be the new economic gospel, the cold scientific facts, the new wonder working potion that would magically cure the ills of capitalism.

What trash. Reagan's budget itself shows that Reaganomics is in shambles. The sky-rocketing deficit alone shows that Reagan's "supply side" theories are simply rubbish, just a public relations gimmick to justify starving the poor, as Budget Director Stockman himself admitted in his famous interview in Atlantic Monthly magazine several years ago. The Reagan administration doesn't have the faintest idea of how the economy works. It just does whatever gives more profits to the millionaires.

And indeed the deficit is awesome. It grows under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, because it reflects the deepening economic crisis. But Reagan, and his astronomical military budgets, have brought it to truly monumental levels. Repaying the interest on the national debt -- that is, the total accumulated deficit -- now is the third largest expenditure in the federal budget. It amounts to a full 13%, about one-eighth, of Reagan's 1985 budget.

But every economic fact in capitalist society is two-edged. All this debt payment goes to the big capitalists and bankers. They rake in billions from the debt payments. That is why not a single capitalist politician, Democrat or Republican, proposes that the federal government should repudiate the debt payments. Instead they squeeze the masses dry to pay the ever increasing tribute to the banks. And just the increase during the Reagan years in these payments to the financiers exceeds the total amount of all the cuts Reagan has made in the social programs.

Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class

Let there be no illusions. The capitalists are not going to relent. They will starve to squeeze the working people harder and harder as long as they rule. That is the significance of the Reagan budget.

How can the workers and the unemployed defend themselves? They cannot put their trust in the Democratic Party. That would be jumping from one frying pan to another. The Democrats are Reagan's accomplices because they represent the same capitalist class that he does. Elsewhere in this paper we analyze the stand of the Democratic presidential candidates. We see that the Democratic Party is just the other face of Reaganism.

No, the answer to Reaganism is the class struggle. The workers must defend their livelihood, oppose the U.S. military interventions and war preparations, and fight every step of Reaganism by uniting together to fight the capitalist oppressors. It is a struggle that requires meetings, strikes, demonstrations and other mass actions. It is a struggle that requires organization at the place of work, in the community, in the schools and throughout the country. It is a struggle that requires studying the truth about the rotten capitalist system and understanding the path forward for the revolutionary struggle for its overthrow. It is a struggle that builds up the independent movement of the working class, independent of the capitalists and their political parties.

[Back to Top]

Unabashed Reaganism - The Conservative Democrats Glenn and Askew

There are two candidates from the conservative wing of the Democratic Party -- Reuben Askew, ex-Governor of Florida, and John Glenn, Senator from Ohio.

The politics of these candidates can best be described as unabashed Reaganism. The conservative Democrats reveal in a more naked way the actual politics of the whole Democratic Party. At the same time, like the liberals, even the conservative Democrats try to play to the mass sentiment against Reagan by posturing against him.

What this goes to show is that labels aren't worth anything; it's what's behind them which is important.

Askew and Glenn repeat over and over again some of Reagan's favorite themes. They admonish the Democrats that they must not appear soft on boosting the Pentagon budget or soft on cutting funds for social programs.

Thus these candidates call for continued increases in the huge military budget -- Askew for 5% and Glenn for around 6% real increase after inflation. They stand for continuing the U.S. aggression in Lebanon and Central America.

Glenn was one of those who supported sending the Marines to Lebanon in the first place; and today all he has to say is that the U.S. forces in Lebanon should operate more as a real multinational force, alongside the other imperialist troops in that country. Glenn also agrees with Reagan on increased strategic cooperation with Israeli zionism.

These candidates have also supported the U.S. intervention in Central America. Glenn recently pointed out: "In El Salvador, 1 have supported the continuation of the moderate level of support, military support for the El Salvador government." He added: "I supported the efforts in Honduras to stop the flow of arms from Nicaragua across to El Salvador." (New York Times, December 27, 1983) This means that Glenn also supports the U.S. backing of the contras against Nicaragua, echoing Reagan's completely fraudulent excuse that this is meant to "stop the arms flow" from Nicaragua to El Salvador and not to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

In domestic policy, the conservative Democrats insist on maintaining the overwhelming bulk of the Reagan cutbacks in social programs, with the possible exception of a few minor programs. And they advocate making _ deeper cuts in the future. Thus Glenn suggests that the Medicare program should be subjected to something like the bipartisan commission on Social Security which formally worked out the Reagan-inspired cutbacks in that program.

Glenn is also seeking to distinguish himself by calling for more taxes. He proposes an across the board 10% surtax on personal and corporate income. He pretends that since this will be equally applied to rich and poor it will be fair. That is ridiculous. Since the corporations pay only small amounts of taxes, Glenn's proposal will only mean that an even bigger load will be added to the already huge tax burden on the working masses. And the slight increase of taxes the corporations will pay will in no way compensate for the huge cuts in corporate taxes implemented by Reagan's tax plans, which Glenn voted for.

The tax hikes and cutbacks are being advocated under the typically Reaganite demagogy about cutting the big budget deficits. And like Reagan, the Democrats too believe that this should be done at the expense of the working and poor people and not by cutting into the profits of the rich er the ever increasing militarization.

Glenn's proposals are all consistent with his stands in the Senate. He has supported the huge military budgets and the Reaganite interventions against foreign countries. Recently he voted to support Reagan's proposal for nerve gas production. And of course, he's infamous for his open support for the Reaganomics tax plans to lighten the tax load on the rich. In this instance, given the Republican majority in the Senate, Glenn's vote wasn't necessary for the Reagan bill to pass. Indeed, a number of Democrats used the opportunity to vote no in order to polish up their anti-Reagan credentials. But not Senator Glenn. No, he insists that refusal to vote for the bill would have been "unstatesmanlike"!

[Back to Top]

The Neo-Liberalism of Hart - Another Name for Reaganomics

In recent years the Democratic Party liberals have all adapted their rhetoric to the capitalist offensive. In this regard, the most enthusiastic have been those party circles who have moved away from the "old liberalism" to "neo-liberalism." The neo-liberals boast about their economic conservatism while the old liberals still maintain a sprinkling of the traditional demagogy about jobs, social programs, etc.

In the present campaign, Senator Gary Hart of Colorado is the biggest champion of neo-liberalism. Like his fellow neo-liberals, Hart boasts about how he has moved away from his old, wild and woolly, liberal days. He was campaign chairman for McGovern's presidential campaign in 1972. Today Hart has adapted his rhetoric closely to Reaganism, echoing the stands of the conservative Democrats, but all in the name of "reform," "new ideas," etc. Hart tries to sell his reactionary stands under the guise of opposition to the "old leadership," the Democratic Party "establishment," etc.

Hart's economic program is merely a refurbished version of Reaganomics. He declares: "My tax reform program is real supply side economics. ...I say if you save and invest your money, then you don't pay taxes on it during a period of bad investment." (New York Times, January 2, 1984) In other words, Hart's "tax reform" is merely another version of Reagan's "tax cuts" for the capitalists. His only quibble with Reagan is that the handouts from the government should go to the rich who "save and invest" and not to all the rich; but the basic idea of "trickle down" economics remains the same.

More often than not, Hart cloaks his support for "real supply side economics" under the banner of "industrial policy," which has become a fashionable slogan for many Democratic Party leaders. The various Democratic candidates have different versions of this scheme but two things are common to all of them: first, some method of providing handouts to the monopolies, either through "tax reform" or a "reindustrialization bank"; and second, a form for "labor-management-government" cooperation to ensure that the labor bureaucrats impose concessions contracts on the workers and keep them in line. Hart was a big booster of one of the early prototypes of this Democratic "industrial policy" -- Carter's Synfuels Corporation which was set up to give huge handouts to the energy barons to develop "alternative energy" projects.

Hart also has "reform" plans for the social programs, his model being the Social Security "reform" carried out by Reagan's bipartisan Social Security Commission. In other words, more cutbacks.

For the military too, Hart proposes "military reform." This is accompanied by admonitions that the Democrats must not appear to be soft on increasing military spending. Translated into actual policy, Hart calls for a 4'/j- 5% real growth in the military budget. After a few verbal shows of opposition to Reagan's military plans, Hart goes on to declare: "But...I would spend more than Ronald Reagan on two defense categories that are almost always neglected. One is manpower and the other is readiness of our conventional force." (Ibid.) His solutions are to bring back the draft through a national compulsory service and to exchange a few of the nuclear weapons projects for expanded conventional military systems.

On the Mideast, Hart is an ardent defender of U.S. intervention. He even accuses Reagan of having been soft on support for Israel; Hart declares that he would "get the nation back to the mainstream of our relationship with Israel, which is a solid, dependable, reliable relationship." (Ibid.) Ronald Reagan -- the backer of Begin's bloody invasion of Lebanon and the author of the latest "strategic cooperation" agreements -- soft on supporting Israel? What a joke!

On Central America, Hart favors the Democrats' general policy of providing a "human rights" coat of paint over U.S. intervention. This is a policy he shares with the bulk of the liberal Democratic candidates. With him, as well as them, this signifies backing Reagan's aggression in Central America.


[Back to Top]

Reaganism with a Liberal Face - Mondale, Cranston and Hollings

The bulk of the Democratic candidates for president are from the liberal section of the Party. This includes ex- Vice President Walter Mondale, Senator Alan Cranston of California and Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina. Jesse Jackson also stands for the policies typical of mainstream liberalism, although he adds to that some of the rhetoric of the "left" wing of the Party. We have examined Jackson's campaign in an earlier issue (The Workers' Advocate, December 15, 1983) and there are more articles on his campaign elsewhere in this paper.

These liberals are from the mainstream of the Democratic Party today. The liberals too have stood for collaboration with Reaganism over the last three years. What distinguishes these liberal candidates from the conservatives and neo-liberals is their greater show of demagogical opposition to Reagan, under such slogans as "fairness," "compassion," "jobs," "justice," "human rights," and "peace." To a man, they all pay homage to Jimmy Carter. But Carter, despite his talk of "human rights," was precisely the author of the reactionary capitalist offensive which is being ruthlessly continued under Reagan today.

The stands of all these candidates are typified by Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter's vice-president and current front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Mondale has picked up the endorsements of the largest number of Democratic politicians and of such pillars of the Party as many big city party machines, the AFL-CIO bureaucrats, the bourgeois feminists of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a whole slew of the misleaders of the black and other minority people, etc.

Mondale talks a lot about reversing the Reagan policies in the spirit of "providing jobs" and ensuring "fairness." While he promises a lot of good things, he is generally silent on any concrete proposals. But it is notable that he too subscribes to the idea that the bulk of Reagan's cutbacks have to be maintained.

While Mondale has not fully spelled out his ideas on "industrial policy," he has endorsed its general tenets. He especially supports the idea of a presidential council for labor-management-government cooperation. This is of course not much of a surprise. It was the Carter-Mondale administration which in 1979 worked out a National Accord between the government, the monopolies and the top labor bureaucrats. This included a tripartite council which brought the labor bureaucrats into a very close relationship with the government in return for their help in keeping down the wages of the workers.

The essence of Mondale's "industrial policy,'' or what is sometimes today being called "competitiveness strategy,'' is exemplified by the 1979 Chrysler bailout worked out by the Carter administration, the Chrysler capitalists and the UAW bureaucrats. This meant government loans for Chrysler while workers were forced to accept wage cuts, a vicious productivity drive and the layoffs of thousands of workers. "Industrial policy'' is advertised as a program to save jobs and help the workers, but the Chrysler example shows the reality behind those promises.

Mondale talks a lot about "fairness'' for the working people. This is just another version of the liberals' lying refrain about "equality of sacrifice." But in capitalist society, a society divided between exploiters and exploited, there can be no equality between rich and poor. Thus the politics of "fairness" and "equality of sacrifice" inevitably mean imposing heavy burdens on the livelihood of the workers while the wealthy are asked to give up their third martinis. The issue is not that the workers should accept a "fair" share of misery, but of fighting the exploitation by the capitalists. This, of course, a capitalist politician like Mondale will never subscribe to.

Moreover, Mondale's pretensions of "fairness" are exposed by his own social practice. For several years now he has been getting paid $150,000 a year as a "consultant" for a predominantly Republican law firm by the name of Winston and Strawn. In 1981, Mr. Mondale, great champion of the working people, was paid to participate in a lobbying effort on behalf of an energy consortium including Exxon, Arco and Sohio which "wanted a special rule essentially guaranteeing the profitability of a gas pipeline project by allowing them to pass the costs on to the consumers long before they delivered any gas." (The New Republic, November 14, 1983) Helping the monopolies fleece the working people -- this is what can be expected from Mondale's promises of "fairness" and "compassion."

In the meantime, Mondale's stand on the war budget and foreign policy are not that much different than Reagan's. He talks of "cuts in defense," but that is only a quibble over individual weapons systems. He supports a 4-5% real growth in the Pentagon's budget. His "defense cuts" are exemplified by such statements as: "I want a strong defense but it has to be a sensible defense. I would cancel the B-l but I would move ahead more rapidly with Stealth. I would cancel the MX but I'd move ahead more rapidly with Midgetman." (New York Times, December 26,1983)

On the Middle East, Mondale too supported sending the Marines there. Like the bulk of his fellow candidates, Mondale now has a thin veneer of "opposition" to the Marines' presence in Lebanon, but he too opposes any notion of an immediate withdrawal of the Marines. Instead he supports moving them to other areas and some eventual replacement through an imperialist force recruited through the United Nations or "other Third World forces." Like the Democratic Party as a whole, he doesn't denounce U.S. imperialist goals in Lebanon, but just Complains that Reagan has failed to achieve them. In the meantime, he too declares his fervent support for the Israeli Zionists and admonishes Reagan for having been soft on this question: "I think in all respects, for at least three years this administration was afraid to be seen in public with the Israelis, and I think that's a mistake. I think we need a public, strategic, cooperative relationship with Israel." (Ibid.)

On Central America, Mondale, along with Cranston, Hollings, Hart, etc., stands for resurrecting the old Carter administration policy of crushing the revolutionary people under the fig leaf of "human rights." Indeed, over the last three years we have seen the Democrats in Congress carrying forward this policy -- continued votes for aid to the Salvadoran death-squad dictatorship so long as some lip service was given to "land reform," "human rights," "political solutions," etc.

To see the saber-rattling reality that hides behind slogans of "peace," it is worthwhile taking a brief look at Alan Cranston. First the image. This man has tried to make a name for himself as a "peace candidate." The cornerstone of this "peace crusade" has been the advocacy of the "nuclear freeze" proposal, which Cranston shares with a series of his fellow candidates, including Walter Mondale. Our Party has exposed many times that this proposal is not really an anti-militarist plan. It is simply another scheme for letting the superpowers negotiate arms treaties; history has produced many such treaties such as SALT and it hasn't stopped the nuclear arms race one bit. But what's more, even if the freeze were implemented, it still wouldn't cut down the huge nuclear arsenals even in the slightest; it does not propose to destroy one warhead, bomb, or weapons system.

Now the saber-rattling reality. Because the "nuclear freeze" plan is worthless and mainly for show, the same Democratic Congressmen and Senators who vote regularly for Reagan's huge war budgets have had no trouble endorsing the freeze as well. Cranston's support for the freeze also shows this type of stand. While he drones endlessly about "peace" and so forth, he is also an ardent champion of the B-l bomber and other weapons systems. In the recent New Hampshire debate, Cranston used this as an example to prove that his support for the freeze doesn't mean he's soft on support for the military. This is the stuff of which Democratic "anti-nuclear" politics is made up of!

[Back to Top]

The McGovern Candidacy - Last of the Mohicans of 'New Deal' Liberalism

More than anyone else in this Democratic campaign, George McGovern has sought to champion some of the traditional rhetoric of the old, New Deal liberalism. The other liberal candidates tend to shy away from this sort of rhetoric. McGovern has also resurrected the pacifist rhetoric typical of his 1972 presidential campaign against Richard Nixon. As a result, he comes off sounding more left than the rest of the Democratic pack.

Thus McGovern speaks of providing public service jobs programs for the unemployed. He talks of slashing the military budget by 25%. He advocates unconditionally cutting off all U.S. aid to the Salvadoran government and to the Somocista contras. And so forth.

But all this still represents a pro-capitalist and imperialist program just the same. McGovern himself notes that cutting the military budget by 25% will still leave a military budget of over $200 billion. That is comparable to the military budget of the later Carter years, after he had already launched the military buildup which Reagan has continued. Moreover, McGovern constantly repeats that he would like as his defense secretary someone like Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca. McGovern is deeply impressed by Iacocca's "efficient" restructuring of Chrysler and he believes that Iacocca could do the same for the military. Thus McGovern's cuts in the military are not meant to be any sort of scaling back of the Pentagon, for he believes that with his 25% cuts and Lee Iacocca in charge he could get just as much "bang for the buck" as the Reaganite budgets. This is hardly an anti-militarist stand.

In the meantime, McGovern's policies on social programs have indeed been adapted to the Reagan era. He proposes to put caps on Medicare and Social Security payments and freeze all increases, including cost-of-living increases, for three or four years. Moreover, McGovern's praise for Iacocca shows that he is impressed by Reaganite-style wage cutting and austerity measures for the workers.

While McGovern's policy towards El Salvador and Nicaragua is different than the bellicose policy of Reagan and the rest of the Democrats, it remains an imperialist policy. He shares the same aim of preserving U.S. imperialist interests in the region. Thus you will not find him exposing the imperialist aims that lie behind Reaganite aggression. No, McGovern's disagreement with Reagan is that he stands for a more crafty policy towards Central America. He recognizes that the revolutions are bound to be victorious against the dictators. He therefore seeks to preserve the privileges of imperialism through a hypocritical policy of "cooperation" and "aid" for the new governments that emerge in the region. He wants to make sure that after the old tyrannies are overthrown, the revolution is stopped halfway, where the privileges of the imperialists and the bourgeoisie are maintained and where their presence in the U.S. sphere of influence is preserved.

The model McGovern advocates is the Western imperialist policy towards the Tito regime in Yugoslavia in the late 1940's. He says: "I thought we followed an intelligent course 35 years ago with Yugoslavia that should have been a model for dealing with revolutionary or Marxist governments. Instead of trying to boycott them or overthrow them, try to work out a diplomatic and economic relationship that would at least be temporarily satisfactory." (New York Times, December 29,1983)

And what was this arrangement? The Yugoslav workers and peasants carried out a victorious revolution during World War II against the Nazi occupiers and domestic reaction. They set forth on the road towards socialism. But Tito and the Yugoslav leadership halted this revolutionary process and arrived at an accommodation with capitalism and Western imperialism. And today the results of this policy are clear to all: the fruits of the revolution were stolen from the toilers, and Yugoslavia is a capitalist country with all its typical diseases. The workers and peasants are still exploited; indeed, in the face of a dire economic crisis, the government is instituting Reaganomics-style austerity measures. Imperialism retains privileged positions. And there is savage oppression of subject nationalities such as the Albanians in Kosova. Thus it should not be thought that McGovern means to help the Central American toilers win their emancipation and freedom. By no means.

But the most important thing to remember about George McGovern is that he's a Democrat. He does not campaign against the Democratic Party's collaboration with Reaganism. Despite some of his complaints against the Reagan-like policies of the other candidates, McGovern continues to express the warmest praise for them, especially Walter Mondale. Indeed, he has pledged to support any Democrat against Reagan. This is the most telling exposure of McGovern's "maverick" stands. His "radical" ideas on military and foreign policy can hardly be worth much when he can support a Walter Mondale or a John Glenn who will in fact represent a continuation of the essential policies of Reagan.

Why then is McGovern running? Clearly he himself does not expect to win his party's nomination. That, he admits, would require a miracle. McGovern's campaign is in reality designed to appeal to the mass movements against nuclear weapons and against U.S. intervention abroad: not so much to really expect the activists to line up behind his campaign but to tell them that the Democratic Party is broad enough to embrace anti-militarist positions. In this way he seeks to maintain the fiction that solutions to, militarism and aggression can be found within the Democratic Party.

[Back to Top]

The Jesse Jackson campaign:

What's the reality behind the media hype on 'peace' and 'human rights'?

Jesse Jackson's run for the Democratic Party nomination in the upcoming presidential elections got a shot in the arm this past month. By convincing the Syrian government to release the U.S. fighter bombardier who had been shot down during a bombing run over Lebanon, Jackson captured the front page headlines and a handshake from Ronald Reagan. Capitalizing on the media attention, Jackson went on to hold a series of rallies and fundraisers including his biggest event yet, the drawing of some 7,000 people to hear him speak at the University of Detroit.

Throughout this whirlwind campaign blitz, Jackson worked to embellish his image as an "apostle of peace,'' a champion of "human rights,'' and as the "alternative to Reagan.'' But beneath all of the sweet-sounding slogans and media hype, Jackson continued to demonstrate that in fact he in no way represents a real fight against Reaganite reaction.

Jackson sings songs of "peace,'' but then always emphasizes the defense of the "vital interest'' of U.S. imperialism in Lebanon and around the world. Jackson declares the need for "human rights,'' but then turns his back on the struggle of the black masses against racial discrimination and terror and extends his hand to the arch racists and reactionaries such as the Reaganite "moral majority.'' Jackson cries out for "full employment,'' but instead of working for a fight against the job- eliminating capitalists he throws his support behind the capitalists' "reindustrialization'' drive of wage cuts, speedup and layoffs.

In short, Jackson is advancing the typical program of the Democratic Party. Instead of trying to organize the, working masses to fight the capitalist offensive headed up by the Reagan government, Jackson is dressing up each new capitalist attack as a "reform'' which is supposedly in the interest of the "downtrodden."

Today, when the Democratic Party is running short of "charismatic'' leaders and has become increasingly discredited for its support of each Reaganite offense against the working masses, Jackson has leaped into the breach. He is trying to restore confidence in the Democrats, to paint them up as the champions of the "poor and abused,'' to bring the masses back under Democratic Party control.

A real fight against Reaganite reaction cannot be waged as long as the working people are subordinated to Reagan's partner in crime, the Democratic Party. Reaganism is the bipartisan program of the capitalist class, of the Democratic Party liberals as well as the conservative Republicans. To fight them, the workers must build up their own independent political movement and rally to their side all of the oppressed and downtrodden.

Therefore it is essential to tear the mask off the Jackson campaign. In the December 15, 1983 issue of The Workers ' Advocate we made a comprehensive review of Jackson's program. In this issue we will simply look at the significance of Jackson's "peace" mission to Syria and another recent event in his campaign. This should prove useful to further expose the real substance that lies behind Jackson's hypocritical slogans.

The " Apostle of Peace" Sings Psalms to the Bloodstained Zionists and U.S. Imperialism in Lebanon

Jackson boosted his successful attempt to win the release of Lt. Robert Goodman as a "mission of peace." But when you put aside the euphoria created on Jackson's return from Syria and think about what Jackson actually did, it is a little difficult to find the difference between Jackson's "peace" mission and what Reagan claims to be "peacekeeping" in Lebanon.

Lt. Goodman was, after all, one of Reagan's "peacekeeping" forces in Lebanon. On December 4, Reagan dispatched a squadron of naval planes on a "retaliatory" bombing run over Syrian positions in Lebanon. This was done to prove the U.S. government's determination to back up the fascist Gemayel government, the Israeli Zionists, and the U.S. and other imperialist armed forces in their war on the Lebanese masses. Goodman was shot down and captured in this act of "keeping the peace."

Jackson, in obtaining Goodman's release, did not concern himself with the plight of the Lebanese toilers who have been murdered and jailed by the combined forces of the Gemayel army, the Israeli Zionists, the U.S. marines and other imperialist troops. Nor did he show any interest in the Palestinian fighters locked up in the Zionists' concentration camps. His tears were solely for the predicament of a single U.S. navy officer. Such a strange idea of "humanitarianism" is befitting only of such "peaceniks" as Pentagon generals.

In fact, Jackson did not even bother to criticize either Goodman's "retaliatory" mission or any of the other acts of U.S. imperialist aggression in Lebanon. After all, Jackson has repeatedly stressed the necessity to "protect America's national interest in the area, to be sure -- our investments and our soldiers there." ("Meet the Press," NBC News, December 4, 1983)

Indeed, only a few days before he left for Syria, Jackson emphasized his support for all of the basic aims that stand behind Reagan's policy in the Mideast. In a December 28,1983 interview with the New York Times, Jackson emphasized:

"America has a vital interest in peace in the Middle East...Economic interest, we get so much of our energy from there. Military interest, because of the geopolitical position. An interest because of the Persian Gulf, because their borders will take us to the Soviet Union. America has an interest in protecting Israel's right to existence in security within internationally recognized boundaries."

In other words, Jackson stands for U.S. imperialism's plunder of the oil of the Arab peoples; for maintaining the U.S. sphere of influence in the Mideast with the typical Reaganite rhetoric against the "threat" of Soviet social-imperialism; and for the defense of the Israeli Zionists who have long been the storm troopers and guard dogs for the "vital interests" of U.S. imperialism in the Mideast. On this latter point Jackson actually went into raptures, declaring that "Israel really is the most brilliant flower in God's garden." Such is Jackson's eloquent defense of the basic imperialist premises standing behind Reagan's warmongering in Lebanon.

It is little wonder then that not only the Democratic Party liberals but also Reagan himself praised Jackson's successful freeing of Goodman. To be sure the praise was given grudgingly since. Jackson had, for the moment, stolen the thunder from them all. But Democrat and Republican alike recognized that Jackson had served the "vital interests" of U.S. imperialism. He not only freed the Reagan government from a nagging POW predicament, but he also gave them the opportunity for a chauvinist campaign celebrating the return of a real "American war hero."

It is with these facts in mind that one should look at Jackson's criticism of Reagan's policy in Lebanon. Jackson does not oppose any of Reagan's aggressive imperialist ambitions. He is only concerned that the game be played better, with more hypocritical tears for "peace" and "justice" to fool the masses.

Take for example Jackson's hypocritical call to withdraw U.S. troops from Lebanon. Jackson, like the other Democrats, appears to have originally supported the Reagan administration's decision to send the U.S. marines into Lebanon. It seems that only after the marines got bogged down in the Lebanese quagmire, and only after public opinion in the U.S. and abroad mounted against the U.S. imperialist intervention, did Jackson, and other Democrats, begin to change their tune.

But even then, Jackson wants the U.S. troops pulled back only on the condition that other imperialist troops are employed to do their job. As Jackson put it, "It would be immoral to come out unless certain conditions were met. It is clear now that our soldiers, our marines, could not leave there unilaterally, without arrangements with other nations. If we were to leave unilaterally, there would be perhaps an uncontrollable bloodbath." (Village Voice, October 4,1983)

Here we find Jackson giving the same lying "bloodbath" excuse which Reagan used to send in the U.S. marines in the first place. But the military actions of the U.S. forces have amply demonstrated that they are not in Lebanon to prevent "bloodbaths." Rather they are there to back up the fascist army of the Gemayel regime and the Israeli Zionists as they carry out bloody attacks on the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance fighters. In dredging up this ridiculous argument, Jackson is justifying the continued aggressive actions of the U.S. troops and is demanding a U.S. withdrawal only on the guarantee that troops from other countries can be deployed to effectively suppress the struggle of the Lebanese toilers.

Obviously Jackson's talk of withdrawing U.S. troops is not really opposed to Reagan's policy; it is rather an effort to carry out Reagan's aims in a more concealed form. This is the real imperialist substance behind Jackson's self-cultivated image as a "peace" candidate.

Jackson Joins Hands With the Reaganite "Moral Majority"

Jackson has also cultivated the image of being a fighter for the rights of the black people. But,, in truth, he has turned his back on the struggle for the black masses against segregation- ism and racist terror. Instead, he is extending his hand to arch racists and reactionaries to prove his absolute loyalty to the big bourgeoisie and, through these means, to gain more "clout" and lucrative positions for a few black bourgeois. Jackson demonstrated this fact again recently when he linked arms with Jerry Falwell, one of the main reactionary leaders of the Reaganite "moral majority," in a joint campaign in defense of the so-called "Nebraska Seven."

The case of the "Nebraska Seven" has become the celebrated cause for the "moral majority" and other reactionaries to promote the development of racist fundamentalist Christian education. Under the signboard of "putting God back in the classroom," these reactionaries are pushing for classroom prayer and religious indoctrination of the youth. They are working to undermine scientific education with creationist pseudo-science and other religious dogmas. And they are working to fill the school curriculum with a militarist and racist content. Reagan, who has endorsed these aims, received the support of these reactionaries in the last presidential election, and Falwell has been a regular guest at the White House.

The case of the "Nebraska Seven" stems from the setting up of a fundamentalist Christian school in the basement of the Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, Nebraska. According to these fundamentalists, the whole world is a communist plot. Throwing everything into one pot, the church head, Rev. Everett Sileven, explained that the "fundamentalists oppose abortion, communism, socialism, the Equal Rights Amendment, homosexuality, sex education in the schools, gun control, the United Nations, court ordered busing and 'long hair on boys and men.' They support prayer in the schools and the death penalty." (Detroit Free Press, January 10, 1984) Claiming the right to teach history, science and even mathematics based on the Bible, the church leaders refused to even apply to have their teachers certified by the state. After years of lawsuits, the Nebraska courts finally ordered the school closed and seven of its supporters were jailed for contempt of court when they refused to testify last November. Nevertheless, to date the school is still open and operating.

On December 22, Jackson met with several fundamentalist leaders in Chicago and then, later that night, called Jerry Falwell asking him for a joint effort in defense of the jailed reactionaries. Falwell readily agreed and emphasized that he and Jackson were joining hands to pressure Reagan to intervene on behalf of the "Nebraska Seven." This is how Jackson fights Reagan: from the right.

Jackson later released a statement in Washington D.C. hailing the Chicago meeting as "historic" and declaring that "We have come together on this fundamental human rights issue, despite our philosophical and political differences, searching for the common ground of universal peoplehood." (Detroit Free Press, December 24, 1983, emphasis added)

But what about the rights of children to not be subjected to racist, militarist and clerical obscurantist indoctrination? The "moral majority" is just acting as the storm troopers for the Reaganite attacks on public education. Only a professional double-talker like Jesse Jackson can claim that the defense of such reactionaries is a "fundamental human rights issue."

It should be emphasized here that Jackson's joining hands with the reactionary Falwell is not a mere one-shot maneuver against Reagan or some diversion from his otherwise "progressive," "human rights" program. Jackson has long been sympathetic to many causes that are also taken up by the "moral majority" such as opposition to abortion. But what is more, in his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination, Jackson has made a special point of preaching reconciliation with arch segregationist politicians.

For example, Jackson began his campaign with a voter registration drive in the south where he appealed to Dixiecrats that "It is time to leave the battlegrounds behind us and seek a common ground -- then move to higher ground." (New York Times, May 25,1983) He held what he called a "summit meeting," i.e. the highest grounds of all, with George Wallace and lavishly praised this notorious bigot who barred the doors to integration in Alabama as being "hospitable and kind" and as a man of "stature, charisma and grace." (Chicago Tribune, May 26,1983)

With these types of gestures to the racist politicians and "moral majority" preachers, Jackson is going out of his way to prove to the big capitalists that he is absolutely loyal to them; that he won't rock the boat; that he won't lift a finger to support the struggle against the segregation of the schools, or against job discrimination, or for other democratic rights affecting the broad masses of black people. Through this means Jackson hopes to convince the big capitalists to throw him a bone; perhaps a little more "clout" in the Democratic Party; and maybe a few token positions for the handful of black capitalists and aspiring petty bourgeois in the monopoly corporations.

Jackson does not stand for the interests of the black masses. All of his talk about "human rights" is really just a cover for his sellout of the masses for the sake of obtaining cozy positions for the black bourgeoisie.

The fight against racism cannot be waged by extending your hand to the racists, as Jackson is doing. A real battle against Reaganite reaction cannot be fought by linking arms with the Reaganites, as Jackson is doing. Jackson is just another silver-tongued liar of the Democratic Party. The sooner he is exposed and the quicker the workers free themselves from all illusions in the Democratic Party, the faster the independent movement of the working class can be built up to wage a serious fight against the all-sided capitalist offensive that the Reagan government is heading up today.

[Back to Top]

The CPUSA and the 1984 elections

The CPUSA's 'All-People's Front Against Reagan': Fronting for All the Democrats

The Reagan offensive poses a serious challenge to the workers and oppressed masses.

How are we to confront this challenge? The Marxist-Leninist Party believes that the situation calls for a hard and relentless struggle. Reaganism is the bipartisan offensive of capital. It can only be fought by developing the class struggle, by helping the workers break free from the influence of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, and by working to build up an independent political movement of the working class.

But there are many quacks coming before the workers today promising salvation from Reaganism just around the corner. For one thing, there are the eight Democratic candidates. As well, there are other swindlers who call themselves "Marxist" and "communist" but tell the workers to line up behind this or that Democrat. They are not true communists at all, but revisionist and trotskyite traitors to Marxism-Leninism.

The Communist Party of the USA. the party of Gus Hall and Angela Davis, the official pro-Soviet revisionist party, is just such a party of swindlers. The theme of their 23rd National Convention held last November in Cleveland was that Reaganism can be defeated in 1984. And how do they propose to do this? Through the elections, of course. They have proclaimed that the crucial issue facing the working masses this year is to mobilize an "All-People's Front" to defeat Reaganism in the 1984 elections. Towards this end they are organizing a nationwide "Dump Reagan" campaign.

The essence of the CPUSA's campaign is to help elect the Democrats to the White House and Congress. The CPUSA is merely trying to tap the anti-Reagan sentiment of the masses to push its longstanding policy of tailing behind the Democratic Party of the capitalists.

It is of course completely ridiculous to suggest that voting the Democrats into office will defeat Reaganism. After all, the Reagan policies have been carried out through the bipartisan cooperation of both the Republicans and Democrats. In fact, even the CPUSA itself is occasionally forced to acknowledge this fact. For example, last year Si Gerson, the chairman of their Political Action Commission, admitted: "...the Democratic leadership has been following a policy of supporting Reagan on many basic questions in the name of bipartisanship. The sellout on Social Security is one glaring example. Another is the reversal on the MX missile. Others include voting for funds for the El Salvador government butchers and shadow boxing on the brazen intervention against the progressive government in Nicaragua...." (Political Affairs, July-August 1983, p. 50) Electing a party with this sort of record to replace Reagan can hardly defeat the Reaganite offensive.

But the CPUSA is so enslaved to the capitalist liberals that no matter how far to the right the Democrats go, the CPUSA will not be shaken from its corrupt liquidationist policy. Nevertheless, the CPUSA is forced to take the reactionary deeds of the Democrats into account when it comes to figuring out how to sell the Democrats to the workers.

With the record of the Democratic Party being what it is, the CPUSA can hardly campaign for them on the basis of praise for the Democratic Party's policies. They know very well that there is a skeptical attitude among the working masses regarding the Democrats. Revolutionaries work to deepen this skepticism in order to free the workers from the influence of capitalist politics. This includes constant work to expose the crimes of the liberals. But the CPUSA takes a different approach. They keep quiet about the crimes of the Democrats. And they resort to outright lying. Thus, despite the actual record of the Democrats in collaborating with Reagan, the CPUSA promotes the lying pretensions of the Democrats to be "anti-Reagan" as the honest truth. Whenever any Democratic liar postures against Reagan, the CPUSA splashes it across the front page of the Daily World as another powerful example of the movement to "Dump Reaganism."

A Strange Conception of "Independent Politics"

One of the principal arguments being used by the CPUSA to support the Democrats against Reagan is that this doesn't really mean supporting the Democratic Party but instead represents a stand of "independent politics."

Reporting on Gus Hall's Report to the Cleveland convention, the Daily World wrote:

"The report notes that the movement for independent political action outside the old party machines has swelled. 'What is new and different is that these broad peoples' independent forces are going to be an important factor, starting with the Democratic primaries.'

"As an example, he pointed to the presidential candidacy of Jesse Jackson.

'"Jesse Jackson's candidacy also adds a new dimension to political independence. It will force all the candidates to deal with some of the real issues. The candidacy of Jesse Jackson, the decision of the AFL-CIO convention, the actions of some of the women's organizations and others all add up to a new level of political independence.'" (Daily World, November 11, 1983, emphasis added)

Thus, what the CPUSA offers as the examples of a "new level of political independence" are, first, the Jesse Jackson campaign, and second, certain recent actions of the AFL-CIO and some women's organizations. By the latter they mean the decision of the AFL-CIO and such groups as the National Organization for Women to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primaries; as everyone knows, they endorsed Walter Mondale.

This is supposed to be "political independence"! What a sick joke! The first condition of independent politics is separation from the capitalist parties. But the actions the CPUSA is excited about do not express, either in form or content, any independence from the Democratic Party. In fact the phenomena they speak about are precisely efforts to strengthen the Democratic Party.

The Jesse Jackson campaign is a typically liberal campaign within the Democratic Party; one of its main purposes is to strengthen the Democratic Party by helping to bring sections of the disenchanted, oppressed masses into the fold of the Democrats. And the AFL-CIO decision to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primaries is part of the process Kirkland launched in 1981 to increase the AFL-CIO's position within the Democratic Party apparatus; it marks an effort to strengthen the relationship between the trade unions and the Democratic Party.

Thus, actions meant to bolster the Democratic Party are packaged by the CPUSA revisionists as "a new level of political independence." Do they know no shame? Clearly, the "independence" of the CPUSA with respect to the Democrats is akin to the independence of the tail to the dog.

The "All-People's Front" Means to Line Up Behind Every Democrat and All Sorts of Reactionaries in the Name of Fighting Reagan

Over many years, the CPUSA has justified its policy of supporting the liberal Democrats in the name of building "an anti-monopoly people's front." This has been their fancy left- sounding name for the liberal-labor Rooseveltian coalition of the Democratic Party.

Today, with Reagan in the White House and the Democrats asking for votes for Reaganism without Reagan, the CPUSA has cooked up a new theme: the "all-people's front against Reaganism." This was promoted at the Milwaukee Extraordinary Conference of the CPUSA in 1981. The meaning of this new theme was spelled out last year by Henry Winston, the National Chairman of the party:

"This valid concept was still another contribution in the anti-monopoly fight...and there is no contradiction between the two. This concept corresponds to the present level of mass consciousness in the land -- to reverse the insane policies of nuclear war....

"The fact that many involved in this movement, say, like Harriman, MacNamara, George Kennan, etc., will never support an anti-monopoly people's front, does not mean that they cannot be a part of an all-people's movement against Reagan's foreign policy....The concept of an all-people's front to defeat Reagan is a temporary tactic corresponding to the present moment." (Political Affairs, July-August 1983, p. 38)

Thus the policy of the "all-people's front" is meant to embrace every sort of reactionary capitalist politician, anyone who postures to the slightest degree as a "critic" of Reagan. Who are the Harriman's, MacNamara's and Kennan's? They are the bigwigs from past Democratic administrations, such as Truman's, Kennedy's and Johnson's; they are the worst Cold War liberals of the 1950's and 60's, the architects of the aggressive U.S. wars in Viet Nam, and so forth. Today these characters have certain differences with Reagan's nuclear policies, not, mind you, from any anti-militarist point of view but from different opinions about how best to prepare for nuclear war. But that is enough for the CPUSA to embrace them in their "all-people's front."

Today, in the 1984 elections, the All-People's Front finds expression in the fact that the CPUSA supports nearly every Democrat running for president. (The only one they occasionally criticize as a Reaganite is John Glenn -- but if Glenn were to be nominated, we'd certainly see the CPUSA do a flip-flop on him too.) In fact, the CPUSA advocates that the Democrats should not fight one another too hard. At their convention, Si Gerson "warned against those who would sow antagonism between the various currents of this Dump Reagan movement. 'There must be no war between the supporters of Jackson and Mondale.' He said, 'All are opponents of Reagan. There must be a fight for coalition and unity of anti-Reaganite congressional and senate candidates.'" (Daily World, November 15, 1983)

Thus the CPUSA's policy towards the Democratic Party this year is, support all the candidates, don't fight

one another too hard, and prepare to keep ranks united to back the Democratic candidate against Reagan. Unlike a number of other liquidationist outfits, the CPUSA is not throwing itself completely behind the Jesse Jackson campaign but trying to sit on many stools at once. The reason for this is that the liberal politicians that the CPUSA traditionally backs are not united on any one candidate: for example, Coleman Young, mayor of Detroit, is supporting Mondale, while Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is backing Jackson. The CPUSA does not want to alienate itself from any of its "respectable" friends.

The CPUSA Has Nothing to Do With Marxism-Leninism

By whatever name they call it, the CPUSA's policy of tailing behind the Democrats remains a thoroughly corrupt, anti-Marxist, revisionist policy. Although they claim to be communist and Marxist-Leninist, they have nothing in common with communism and revolutionary Marxism-Leninism. It is the Marxist-Leninist Party, the party that leads the working class to fight both the Democrats and the Republicans, which is the true communist party in the U.S. today.

[Photo: The leaders of CPUSA's All-People's Front.]

[Back to Top]


Down with immigration raids!

On February 4, the Chicago Branch of the MLP organized a militant protest against the recent immigration raids in Chicago and against the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. The demonstrators marched through the Pilson district of Chicago shouting slogans such as "No to the Roundups and Raids!", "Reagan, No! Simpson-Mazzoli, No! Immigrant Workers, To the Struggle!" and "Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!" The Pilson district is a center of the Mexican nationality in Chicago and many a worker there knows directly the lash of INS-(Immigration and Naturalization Service) police. Thus along the route of the demonstration there was a lot of enthusiasm to protest against the attacks on the immigrants. Some 500 people grabbed up the leaflets distributed during the march. And, at its end, a crowd gathered in front of Marxist-Leninist Books and Periodicals to listen to a speech denouncing the Reaganite attacks on the immigrant workers. Moved by the militant protest, one man turned to others present and declared in Spanish, "Long live the American working class!" Such sentiment shows the importance of actions like this one for encouraging the struggle in defense of the immigrant workers and for uniting the workers of every nationality in the common struggle against the capitalist offensive.

The following article is taken from the leaflet produced by the Chicago Branch for the demonstration.

The rich and all their loyal lackeys are continuing to wage a most brutal campaign against the immigrant workers in the U.S.

In Chicago last week, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents raided the Solo Cup factory in Highland Park and arrested 70 workers, including many immigrants of Mexican and Philippine nationalities. Shortly before Christmas, INS agents raided a westside factory and arrested 92 workers, dragging them out of heating ducts, refrigerators and other hiding places. These gestapo-style roundups are aimed not only at the undocumented immigrants but also at the intimidation of all workers. At Solo Cup, for example, before making the arrests, the INS agents detained for over an hour all "foreign looking" workers who could not immediately produce proof of "legality."

Since October 1, 1983, more than 700 immigrants have been arrested by the Immigration Service in Chicago. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that, including the immigrants caught-crossing the border, over one million "alien" workers were arrested nationwide in 1983. But the billionaire capitalists are not content with this already vicious level of persecution and terror against the immigrants. They continue to prepare even more fascist anti-worker, anti-immigrant measures such as the Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform Act now before the House of Representatives. This bill provides for more restrictions on legal immigration and political asylum. And it includes a program of near-slave labor and mass deportations for the majority of immigrant workers.

Immigrant workers are among the most savagely oppressed and exploited sectors of the American working class. This is especially true of those who are driven by tyranny and poverty from homelands under the jackboot of U.S. imperialism such as Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, Central America and other countries of Asia and Latin America. These workers are concentrated in the lowest paid, most backbreaking jobs and are subjected to racist and fascist persecution by the INS, police and other government agencies. The immigrant workers' sweat and blood have greatly fattened the pockets of the capitalists. The rich certainly have no intention of giving up this super-exploitation, only of making it more profitable.

From the Kennedy-Rodino Bill of 1972 and the Carter Alien Act of 1977 to the current Simpson-Mazzoli Bill, the anti-immigrant crusade has been completely bipartisan; it has been developed and carried out for the capitalists by both Democrats and Republicans. A substantial number of Democrats are supporting the Reaganite Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. (Mazzoli himself is a Democrat.) The so-called "liberal opposition" to Simpson-Mazzoli has nothing to do with opposition to the oppression of the immigrants, but only with differences on how to best carry out the anti-worker, anti-immigrant program. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill temporarily tabled the bill last fall not because he wanted to defend the immigrants, but because he was worried that Reagan would "decide to veto the bill to curry favor with Latino voters."

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO is criticizing the Reaganite attacks on the immigrants as being too soft. They want even more restrictions on legal immigration, more border patrols and more deportations.

The offensive against the immigrant workers is part and parcel of the capitalist offensive against all the workers. When one section of workers is allowed to be singled out for special attack, the easier it is for the rich to drag down all the workers.

The stand of the working class must be that all the workers in the U.S., immigrant and native born, legal or illegal, of whatever nationality or race must enjoy full and equal rights. What is needed is a fierce mass struggle against the racist attacks on the immigrants and against the rest of the.capitalist anti-worker offensive. The stirrings of this movement can be seen in the anti-concession strikes against Greyhound Bus and Phelps Dodge, in the demonstrations against U.S. imperialism's aggression in Central America, and in actions like last summer's Los Angeles demonstration of 3,000 people against Reagan's attacks on immigrant workers.

The MLP calls on the immigrant workers to join in the class battles in the U.S., and on the entire American working class to wholeheartedly defend the immigrant workers.

[Back to Top]

The 'Extra Step' Campaign at N.Y. Telephone

An 'extra step' towards layoffs and speedup

(The following leaflet was issued by the New York Metro Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA earlier this year.)

At the beginning of January, in response to the AT&T divestiture, N.Y. Telephone initiated a massive propaganda campaign, calling on workers to "Take the Extra Step!" Management is showering the workers with "gifts" -- free buttons, prizes, and balloons and inviting workers to join with them in their "Extra Step" carnival. They have gone all out to try and create a festive atmosphere, serenading the workers with live bands and entertainment. If you just put on an "Extra Step" button you'll get a free cup of coffee, and you might even get to shake hands with the president of the company!

Why all this sudden lavishing of affection on the workers by the NYNEX [the regional phone company in the New York/New England area -- WA] capitalists? Have these bloodsuckers who refused to give workers any job security last summer during the strike suddenly become their "best friends"? Have these rich moneybags who threatened vicious takebacks and refused wage increases suddenly become kindhearted saints? Not quite! In fact, behind all the glitter the "Extra Step" campaign is just a calculated effort to get the telephone workers to willingly join in N.Y. Telephone's vicious productivity drive. By painting a picture of "one big happy family" of labor and capital, N.Y. Telephone management hopes to dupe the workers into cooperating with its vicious program of speedups and job combinations.

Management is asking workers to assist them in increasing its profits by "cutting costs" to "beat the competition." But the main cost they are referring to is the cost of labor -- the wages and working conditions of the workers. For the workers to take the "Extra Step" and do more than their own job ultimately means the elimination of jobs! It is common knowledge that speedups and productivity drives mean layoffs, with overwork for those left on the job. In fact, AT&T has already set plans to use the divestiture to cut its work force by 13,000. N.Y. Telephone cannot be far behind. Cooperation with the "Extra Step" campaign means for the workers to dig their own graves!

The "Extra Step" campaign is really nothing new. Side by side with the hoopla painting a picture of "one big happy family" of workers and bosses, telephone workers have faced a stepped up productivity drive and vicious harassment. Since the strike, speedup, job combination, threats and harassment have become the order of the day. In many buildings the company is doing time studies, and using these to impose higher productivity quotas onto the workers. Workers are actually being forced to take the "Extra Step" through job combination which in some cases doubles the workload! Fascist rules and regulations are being imposed on workers under threat of suspension and other disciplinary action. The "Extra Step" campaign only shows that these attacks on working conditions are not just a temporary "revenge" for the strike, but an all-around company offensive which will only intensify with divestiture. If the capitalists have their way, divestiture will mean a "new era" of increased attacks and layoffs on telephone workers.

The post-divestiture NYNEX is being portrayed as a struggling new corporation which has been thrust into the competitive business arena and can barely stand on its own two feet. This is rubbish. Besides retaining a monopoly on local service, NYNEX ranks as one of the 20 largest corporations in the country. Its net income for 1984 is projected at close to $1 billion! Management's lies that N.Y. Telephone is "in the red" are only intended to fool the workers!

Management is even offering prizes to workers who they "feel are taking the Extra Step." They are pushing the workers to compete with each other for a token reward such as an "Extra Step" T-shirt, a "ride to work with the boss" or a small sum of cash. This is a vicious scheme where workers are supposed to willingly cooperate with management's speedup and productivity drive, while competing against each other! The workers must never sacrifice their greatest strength in struggle, unity, for the profits of the greedy telephone capitalists! The workers have no common interests with the N.Y. telephone bosses. They can defend their own interests only by uniting in struggle against the speedup and harassment campaign of N.Y. Telephone.

In this fight the workers must rely on their own efforts. The Communication Workers of America (CWA) and other trade union leaders are refusing to lift a finger to fight these attacks. Small wonder since last summer these misleaders gave AT&T a contract which did nothing to defend job security and have in the past welcomed AT&T's efforts to increase productivity.

The telephone workers are seeing through the company's schemes to divide them. They are not being taken in by petty bribes to betray their own class interests. Many workers are refusing to cooperate with the "Extra Step" campaign which they see can only be suicidal. The workers must use the hypocritical "Extra Step" campaign to expose the company's vicious harassment and speedup, to expose the true nature of the NYNEX capitalists. Workers must oppose management's attempts to divide them. Instead they should unite even closer to fight the speedup, job combination, and productivity drive! The working class has no common interests with the capitalist exploiters. To defend their interests as a class, the workers must refuse to cooperate with management in digging their own graves.

[Back to Top]

Fight the plant closings by U.S. Steel!

On December 27 last year, the mammoth U.S. Steel Corporation announced that on April 1 it will permanently eliminate some 15,500 jobs. It will close three mills entirely and shut down 70 shops, finishing lines and additional operations at another 14 plants. The work force at some mills, like the once 15,000-strong South Works in Chicago, will be reduced to only a few hundred workers.

Nearly 11,000 of the workers who are permanently losing jobs have already been laid off for some time. And U.S. Steel is trying to gyp many of these out of the severance pay due them. For example, some 3,500 workers at the South Works were laid off in the spring of 1982. According to their contract they can lose their severance pay rights after being off the job for two years. U.S. Steel has deliberately held off the shutdowns until April 1 so that these and other workers will be off for over the two-year deadline and can thus be kicked out the door without a cent.

What is more, U.S. Steel's chairman, David Roderick, is threatening to close even more plants "which are not labor competitive" if the workers don't grant greater concessions to the steel capitalists. It is not yet a year since the United Steelworkers (USW) union bosses handed the biggest steel monopolies over $3 billion in contract concessions on the promise that this would "save jobs." Now the number one steel giant, U.S. Steel, has eliminated tens of thousands of jobs and is back with its hand out demanding still more takebacks from the workers.

This outrage cannot be tolerated. Concessions bargaining, far from saving jobs, has only whetted the capitalists' appetite for even more concessions. The steel workers can't give them another cent. It is time to make the capitalists pay. A serious mass movement must be mounted to stop the mill closings. U.S. Steel must be forced to pay the severance benefits it owes. And, what is more, the workers already laid off must be brought back to work or guaranteed a livelihood by the steel billionaires.

U.S. Steel has arrogantly thrown down a challenge. The workers must answer them by organizing themselves and launching determined mass actions. No more concessions! Get organized to fight for our jobs and livelihood!

Fight the Union Bureaucrats' Sellout

The mass unemployment and mill closings create difficulties for the organizing of mass struggle against the capitalists. But the biggest stumbling block in the workers' path is their own trade union leaders. The USW hacks are not lifting a finger against the mill closings. In fact, they don't have a single idea of what to do other than to get back down on their knees and offer up even greater concessions to the steel capitalists.

After the national contract concessions were given up last March, the union hacks went on to give out concessions at mill after mill on the local level. Frequently the rank-and-file workers refused to grant the concessions. But in a number of cases, like at Republic Steel, the capitalists simply defied them and implemented work rule changes and other concessions unilaterally. The USW hacks, instead of calling the workers out on strike against these blatant contract- breaking acts, argued that the capitalists' arrogant attacks proved that refusing concessions was pointless. And therefore, the workers should bargain so they'd at least have a voice in what and where the concessions were to be given.

Recently, faced with the angry rank and file, the top USW leaders have begun to claim that they too have learned their lesson and are opposed to concessions. At the December 13, 1983 USW executive board meeting they even passed a resolution against concessions. But a quick look at this resolution shows how worthless the bureaucrats' anti-concessions rhetoric is.

The resolution declares that "where individual plants have been targeted for concessions, local unions are free to discuss local issues," but with the assistance of the international staff to ensure that "there is a quid pro quo arrangement with management." (Steelabor, November-December, 1983) What kind of opposition to concessions is this? To be sure the bureaucrats have complained that some local hacks have given up concessions that go beyond the scope of local issues. But all this complaint amounts to is that local bureaucrats should only grant local concessions, while leaving the handing over of national takebacks to the top USW sellouts!

It should come as no surprise, then, that the main response of the USW hacks to the U.S. Steel plant closures is to once again open up concessions bargaining with U.S. Steel. Lynn Williams, the acting president of the USW, admitted that he would be negotiating with U.S. Steel during the 90-day period prior to the April 1 shutdown and that he would "not necessarily be making concessions proposals." Not necessarily indeed!

The only other action of the bureaucrats has been to file three lawsuits over the South Works in Chicago. While one of these is against the stealing of the workers' severance pay, the other two amount to pleading that the courts force U.S. Steel to let the bureaucrats give them more concessions. One of the lawsuits charges U.S. Steel with breach of contract for violating last year's concessions deal to open a new rail mill at the South Works. The other lawsuit actually charges U.S. Steel with "slander" for its claim that the South Works is being closed because the USW bureaucrats would not grant enough concessions. Can you believe such belly-crawling? The steel capitalists claim you don't like being hit and you say, no, it's not true, please beat me into the ground.

The treachery of the USW hacks has gone too far. If the plant closings are to be fought, if the workers are to defend themselves from the barbaric attacks of the capitalists, then the rank and file must take matters into their own hands. Organization that is independent from the sellout hacks must be forged. Collaboration with the steel capitalists has proved disastrous. The rank and file must take the only path open to them, the path of determined mass struggle against the capitalist exploiters.

[Back to Top]

For the workers U.S. Steel has no money

But it finds $1 billion to buy National Steel

On February 3, U.S. Steel announced that it has reached an agreement to buy National Steel, the seventh largest American steel maker, for $575 million plus the cost of covering National Steel's back debts of about $400 million.

Only a month before, U.S. Steel eliminated 15,500 jobs on the plea that it was too impoverished to continue operations without enormous concessions from the workers. Now we see that the "poor" U.S. Steel capitalists, without blinking an eye, have poured nearly $1 billion into buying up another company.

The lesson is all too obvious. Whenever U.S. Steel sees a chance to make a buck it is never short of cash. But when it's a matter of the plight of its workers, well, the U.S. Steel tycoons simply don't give a damn. The steel workers can't give these billionaires another cent in concessions. On the contrary, it's time to force the U.S. Steel capitalists to bring back the laid off or provide them with a living wage as long as they don't have jobs.

Modernization Means Ever Greater Job Elimination

The USW A bureaucrats never seem to tire of pleading that, if the steel capitalists would just put more money into "modernization" and become more "competitive," then the workers' jobs would be saved. In fact, USWA president Lynn Williams recently complained that the loss of jobs at U.S. Steel was due to the company's failure to use more of the concessions money from the March 1983 contract to modernize. But this is just a bald- faced lie to trick the workers into getting down on their knees before the steel tycoons. The recent developments with U.S. Steel prove once again that modernization just means ever greater job elimination.

In the fall of 1983, U.S. Steel announced a three-year program to modernize their operations aimed at cutting costs and increasing efficiency. This program included: (1) demanding greater concessions from the workers, especially work rule changes, job combinations, and other job-eliminating measures; (2) eliminating "inefficient" and "obsolete" facilities and shifting production into facilities with continuous casters and other modern, efficient technologies; and (3) shifting the weight of their production from capital steel (like rail beam, tubes, etc.) to the more profitable consumer steel (flat-roll, sheet steel, etc. for automobiles, appliances and so forth).

U.S. Steel began this process in December with the announced closing of "inefficient " facilities to the tune of eliminating 15,500 jobs permanently. It should be emphasized that even where U.S. Steel is modernizing its older mills this does not save jobs. For example, in December it announced plans to build a second continuous caster at its Gary, Indiana mill at the same time that it announced the permanent elimination of 2,580 jobs there.

It should be noted that, aside from all of the other "cost savings" that US. Steel will make off the massive job elimination, it reaped an immediate savings of $1.2 billion from tax write-offs on the facilities it will close.

More Job Elimination With the Purchase of National Steel

The acquisition of National Steel was another step in U.S. Steel's modernization program.

National Steel's facilities are already quite modernized and efficient. For example, 65% of National Steel production is with continuous casters as compared to U.S. Steel's 10%.

As well, the purchase will raise U.S. Steel's flat-roll production capacity from 45% to 67% of its total steel- making capacity. This facilitates U.S. Steel's efforts to shift from capital to consumer steel.

But what all of this means for the workers is greater job elimination and more concessions demands. Wall Street analysts predict that U.S. Steel will save at least $200 million a year by eliminating "duplicate" facilities and by implementing further job-eliminating productivity measures at both National Steel's operation and at similar facilities already owned by U.S. Steel. What is more, U.S. Steel plans to use the acquisition of National Steel to launch threats of closing the "duplicate" facilities to blackmail the steel workers into giving up additional concessions such as combining the crafts into two "supercrafts," allowing greater contracting out of work, and so forth.

Obviously U.S. Steel's modernization program is not saving jobs, but is eliminating them. The workers' jobs cannot be saved by helping out the steel capitalists, but only by fighting against them.

The USWA Bureaucrats' Impotent Outrage

The fact U.S. Steel is "modernizing" not only by closing down or automating old facilities but also by buying out their competitors has irked the USWA bureaucrats. Williams, in a February 1 press release, denounced the merger of U.S. and National Steel as "negative modernization."

But did Williams then call out the workers for a real fight to defend their jobs. Not on your life! Instead Williams argued, "This acquisition provides further emphasis upon the need to oppose forcefully the continued dumping of illegal steel in the domestic market by foreign producers, which led me to join with Bethlehem Steel last week in a petition before the International Trade Commission.'' In short,u don't fight against the steel capitalists but join hands with them in a joint effort against "foreign" competition. How militant can you get?

The fact is that the merger of U.S. Steel, far and away the biggest American steel producer, with National Steel, the seventh largest steel maker, points up a general trend in the steel industry. The steel capitalists are caught in the grips of a worldwide over-production crisis. To deal with the enormous glut in steel and to fight against the stiff competition from the steel capitalists abroad, the U.S. steel companies are merging into ever more powerful monopolies, cutting their steel-making capacity, modernizing, and snatching concessions from their workers. Capitalist economists predict that by the end of the decade the steel industry in the U.S. will be "smaller and more concentrated with more efficient plants." This process, they estimate, will lead to the cutting of steel employment from the 1980 level of 396,000 jobs in the major companies to only 185,000 jobs by the year 2000. Such are the predicted fruits of the fight against "foreign competition." (New York Times, February 2, 1984)

Clearly the steel workers have to dig in their heels and organize a hard fight against the job elimination and take-back offensive of the steel capitalists. The program of the USWA bureaucrats of helping the capitalists to modernize and joining hands with the capitalists to fight "foreign competition" is just a program of capitulation, of smoothing the way for the steel tycoons to eliminate even more jobs. A break with this policy of class collaboration is essential for the workers to unite their ranks against the steel monopolies. Class struggle is the path for the workers to defend their jobs and livelihood.

[Back to Top]

Phelps-Dodge strike enters eighth month

A tenacious fight against capitalist strikebreaking

On the night of January 13, police in riot gear charged a picket line of about 70 Phelps-Dodge strikers and their supporters in the copper mining town of Morenci, Arizona. The police, armed with M-16 rifles, struck out with their night sticks and threw smoke bombs at the striking copper miners. Fifteen were arrested. Three days later a state of emergency and a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew against gathering in the streets were declared in that company town.

The Phelps-Dodge strike is entering its eighth month. The attack on the picket line came only a day after George Monroe, chairman of the board of Phelps-Dodge, arrogantly declared that, as far as the company was concerned, the strike could be considered over. This has refueled the workers' determination to fight on. The picket lines are again swelling into the hundreds at shift changes.

The copper miners are fighting against the company's attempts to force concessions on the workers which go beyond even the wage- freezing takebacks which were imposed on the rest of the copper miners in the U.S. The company wants to split them off from the Kennecott pattern agreement, which would mean the elimination of COLA, reduced medical coverage, a permanently lower pay scale for new hires and those recalled from layoff, a week less vacation time, and various changes in work rules.

An Example of Vicious Reaganite Strikebreaking

The Phelps-Dodge strike offers a graphic example of the ferociousness of the Reagan-led capitalist offensive against the working class.

Phelps-Dodge, the second largest copper producer in the U.S., has barred nothing in its attempt to crush the copper miners' strike. It has received the full support of the capitalist state in this campaign.

The company has kept a scab operation going through most of the strike. The scabs are heavily protected by the police and in many cases are themselves armed with rifles. On January 14 a scab fired shots into a picket line. Scabs have beaten three picketers, two of whom were hospitalized with serious wounds. And at least one picketer has been hit by a scab car.

The local and state authorities have fully backed up the capitalist strikebreaking. In August, Democratic Governor Bruce Babbit of Arizona sent in the National Guard to reopen mines that had been shut down by strikers. Many strikers and their supporters have been arrested during the seven- month-long strike. And once a striker is arrested, jailed, fined, etc., the company fires him for "picket line misconduct." This has happened to at least 70 strikers in Morenci alone.

The company has also used a variety of other vicious methods to crush the strikers. In October, the company tried to cut off all medical benefits to the strikers, claiming they were no longer employees of Phelps-Dodge. This was overturned in the courts some three months later, except in the cases of the fired workers. This effort by the company was in effect an attempt to fire all the striking workers. Phelps-Dodge even fired the company doctor in Morenci because he refused to stop treating those on strike.

The, strike of the Phelps-Dodge miners is located in four distantly separated Arizona towns -- Ajo, Douglas, Morenci and Safford -- and at one copper refinery in El Paso, Texas. The towns of Ajo and Morenci are straight-up company towns, and the corporation has sought to use this against the strike.

In these towns the strikers have to rent their houses from the company. Phelps-Dodge has sent up to three and four eviction notices to the strikers' families in an effort to force them out of town. In some cases the strikers have come up with the rent but the company has refused to accept"it on the excuse that they need the housing for scabs. In November, the company canceled the lease on one of the strikers' union halls in Morenci, declaring: "There are a number of better uses for the building than renting it to people who are unfriendly to us and who use it as a base to attack our employees."

In October, floods devastated areas of Morenci where the strikers live. It was the company which was empowered to administer the federal and state flood-relief aid. They used the money and manpower to first open the road leading to the mine so that the scabs could get to work and to clear the railroad tracks so the copper ore could be shipped. Only after this did they begin efforts to supply the strikers' families with drinking water!

Workers Wage a Militant and Determined Fight

Throughout this strike, the Phelps- Dodge workers have fought back against the savage attacks of the company with militancy and determination. They have persisted with mass picketing. When faced with injunctions, they have simply moved their large numbers further down the road where the restrictions don't apply. At times there are as many as 300 strikers and their supporters on the picket lines. The picketers have brought bats, sticks, rocks and chains to oppose the scab operations.

The strikers have also formed a women's auxiliary which has been active through the strike. The women are very active on the picket lines and carry out other valuable strike support work, such as following scabs, finding out their names and publicizing them.

The strikers have not been cowed down by the company's eviction tactics either. Wherever possible, they just ignore the notices. When one eviction went through in Ajo, 100 workers staged a protest rally at the site.

The striking copper workers are organized into 13 different unions; the majority, however, are in the United Steelworkers union (USWA). But the labor chieftains of the USWA have refused to utilize the potential strength of the union to support the Phelps- Dodge strikers. Far from organizing any serious solidarity campaign through the ranks of the entire USWA, they did not even consider calling out all the workers in the copper industry itself to place their strength behind the strike at Phelps-Dodge.

There has been some support organized by other sections of workers for the copper strike. Farmworkers organized a food caravan for them. Greyhound workers participated in a protest outside the Phelps-Dodge headquarters in Phoenix last November. One local of the IBEW (electrical workers) has been sending $1,600 a month for the last three months, one dollar per member per month. And there have been other food drives as well.

Despite powerful odds, the Phelps-Dodge workers are putting up a spirited fight. Their struggle is an example of a tenacious fight against the Reagan-led takeback offensive of the capitalist class. It is an inspiration to workers everywhere.

[Photo: Copper workers and supporters stand firm in Ajo, Arizona.]

[Back to Top]

Fight the new concessions deal being planned by GM/Ford and UAW hacks

Not a minute of overtime while a single worker is laid off!

In a little over seven months the present auto contracts at General Motors and Ford are set to expire.

Already the GM and Ford capitalists are clamoring in the press that they must have more concessions from the auto workers.

At the same time, the sellout leadership of the United Auto Workers (UAW) is also gearing up for the contract talks. They have scheduled a meeting of the UAW Bargaining Council for GM and Ford to take place in Detroit on March 6. Although the top UAW hacks are posturing as if they were "born-again" anti-concession fighters, initial reports indicate that they are also preparing to sock the workers with another round of concessions.

It is essential, then, that the rank- and-file workers not trust their fate to these big shots of the UAW and the auto monopolies. The workers too must begin to prepare for the upcoming contract battle. The potential power of the hundreds of thousands of auto workers is immense. If they but unite on their common goals, if they but organize themselves independently of the sellout hacks, then the rank and file is fully capable of putting a stop to the concessions railroad and waging a struggle that can defend their jobs and livelihood.

The Capitalists Are Raking In the Dough

Wage and benefit concessions have been a gold mine for the auto capitalists. Auto production has remained sluggish, merely creeping back a bit from the record lows of recent years. Yet the Big Three auto giants were able to rake in over $6 billion in profits in 1983. And the capitalist economists are predicting that they may make more than $8 billion in 1984. That would be a 33% profit increase even though auto production is only expected to increase by some 10%. (Business Week, January 9,1984)

These enormous profits come directly out of the hides of the workers. The wage freeze, benefit cuts, overtime, job combinations, work rule changes and other job-eliminating concessions have financed the profit recovery of the capitalists. It is no surprise then that these capitalist hogs are charging back to the concessions trough.

It has been reported in recent weeks that GM and Ford are getting ready for a fight to retain the bulk of the concessions they won in the 1982 contract. Despite their enormous profits, they don't even want to give the workers a wage increase. They have said that they may forgo a wage freeze. But instead of granting the workers a pay hike, these moneybags want to implement what they call "wage restraint" through another "profit sharing" scheme. As well, they want to add more concessions to their list including cuts in health and medical benefits and more plant by plant local concessions.

No More Concessions!

Concessions have meant disaster for the auto workers.

Far from "saving jobs" as was promised, concessions have paved the way for ever rising job-elimination through automation, job combinations, speedup and so forth. Despite the upturn in auto production, there are still well over 200,000 auto workers without jobs. Of these, more than 100,000 have lost their seniority and recall rights and the UAW leadership no longer even lists them on their layoff rolls.

Meanwhile, those workers with enough seniority to remain in the plants are being driven like slaves. Overtime has risen dramatically while the unrelenting productivity drive is pushing the workers to an early grave. Company harassment, write-ups and disciplinary time off are all skyrocketing. And the situation is getting worse by the week.

The workers are fed up with this situation. A revolt is brewing as the workers show their determination to put a stop to the capitalist take- back offensive.

Fearing the wrath of the rank and file, even the notorious sellout leaders of the UAW are posturing like anti-concessions warriors. UAW president Owen Bieber, who presided over the 1982 contract sellout to GM, and his cohorts are promising that they will not stand for further concessions. And they have been careful to paint up their bargaining positions for the upcoming contract talks in shiny anti-concessions colors. But when you strip away the paint all you find underneath is the same old rotten concessions deals that they have been trying to shove down the workers' throats for years. If the workers are going to prevent another sellout, it is important that they get a clear picture of what Bieber and co. are up to.

Put an End to Plant Closings, Stop the Job Elimination, and Bring Back the Laid Off!

Bieber claims that he is ready to wage a fight for job security. But this claim looks pretty empty when he has yet to say a word about defending the 200,000 workers who have already lost their jobs. But bringing back to work all of the laid-off workers, or at least providing them with a livelihood while they are out of work, would cut the "sacred" profits of the auto billionaires. And so company-man Bieber won't lift a finger for the unemployed.

But even for those who are still employed, Bieber's plan for job security is nothing other than to implement more broadly that infamous "Guaranteed Income Stream" program (GIS) which was first trotted out in the 1982 contract. Although Bieber has time and again claimed that GIS would mean "lifetime job security," once implemented this plan means only even greater layoffs and overwork.

Take for example the GIS plan that was sprung on the workers at the Ford assembly plant in Chicago last year. Under this plan the workers would first have to okay a productivity drive that would eliminate hundreds upon hundreds of jobs. Then, after this initial job elimination was done, only 80% of the workers left would be guaranteed "lifetime job security." But then this supposed "lifetime job security" would only last the "lifetime" of the contract, that is, to the fall of 1984. On top of this, the plan called for a joint committee of Ford and the UAW hacks which would screen the records of the laid off and wipe out the recall rights of any worker that the committee decided "didn't meet the minimum attendance and work related standards" regardless of the workers' seniority.

The Chicago Ford workers saw through this diabolical scheme and correctly denounced it as a "fraud" and "a plan to get local concessions." On March 19, they voted down the proposal by a 79% margin.

Now Bieber is trotting out this fraud again as his "job security" proposal for the 1984 contract. All the auto workers should learn from their brothers in Chicago and wholeheartedly reject the GIS scheme. A fight for job security must mean a battle to put an end to plant closings, to stop the job-eliminating productivity drive, and to bring back the laid-off workers.

Not a Minute of Overtime While a Single Worker Is Laid Off!

As overtime has mounted to nine and ten hour days and six and seven day weeks, the anger of the rank-and- file workers has grown. In recent weeks the bosses from Solidarity House have begun to claim that they will find a way to "limit" overtime in the upcoming contract.

We have yet seen no specific proposal how this is to be done. But considering the fact that even minimal time-off guarantees, like the paid personal paid holidays, were so easily tossed aside by the UAW hacks in the last contract, we have no reason to think that their "limits" to overtime will be much.

What is more, any plan that does no more than "limit" overtime is not enough. There are still over 200,000 auto workers walking the streets without a job. GM and Ford are not going to call back laid-off workers as long as they can squeeze any bit of overtime out of the employed. The stand of the rank-and-file workers must be: not a minute of overtime while a single worker remains on layoff!

No to Job Combinations, Work Rule Changes, Speedup and Local Concessions

The factories have become a hell on earth as, day by day, the auto monopolies step up their productivity drive. The UAW hacks claim that they also have a solution to this problem which will "democratize the work place" and "give the workers a say in how the plants are run."

But when you ask for specifics, it turns out that their plan is nothing more than the extension of the notorious "Quality of Work Life" (QWL) program at GM and the similar "Employee Involvement" (El) program at Ford. Far from acting as a brake on overwork, these programs have proved to be just a smokescreen for work rule changes, job combinations, speedup and other measures to "increase efficiency."

As far as the claims of "democracy" and "worker participation" go, these programs have done nothing more than to put UAW hacks on joint committees with company personnel to directly administer the productivity drive against the masses of workers.

These plans are so hated that the workers at five major GM plants, with a total of 25,000 workers in Flint, Pontiac, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, have thrown out their QWL programs. Workers at several other plants refused to let these slave-driving programs even be started.

But the UAW hacks won't listen to the voice of the rank and file. In fact Donald Ephlin, a UAW vice-president, recently denounced the workers' opposition to the programs, declaring that "being against it [the QWL -- ed.] is like being against motherhood and apple pie." (Detroit News, January 9,1984)

It should also be pointed out that a large part of the job-eliminating productivity measures have been shoved down the workers' throats by splitting them up through plant-by- plant local concessions bargaining. Opposition to the productivity drive must become the nationwide policy. The united strength of all the auto workers must be brought to bear to fight against job combinations, work rule changes, speedup and local concessions.

Prepare for Struggle!

These are just a few of the proposals of the UAW bureaucrats which have come to light. But it is clear from them that, despite their anti-concessions posturing, the UAW bigshots are preparing to once again sell the workers down the river.

But the backroom deals between the UAW hacks and the auto capitalists can be smashed up. The concessions railroad can be stopped. But this is possible only if the rank-and-file workers take matters into their own hands. There are seven months yet until the contracts expire. The workers must use this time well to get clear on their demands and to pull together organization on the shop floors.

No more concessions! No more sellouts! Get organized for mass struggle against the GM and Ford moneybags!

[Back to Top]

Strike News in Brief

4,000 workers continue strike against McDonnell Douglas

On January 31, over 4,000 workers at the Long Beach, California plant of McDonnell Douglas overwhelmingly rejected a proposed concessions contract and showed their determination to continue their 17-week strike.

McDonnell Douglas, a major aerospace monopoly, made profits to the tune of $192.3 million in the first nine months of 1983. Nevertheless, they have demanded concessions that would cost each worker at least $3,000 a year for the life of the contract.

The concessions demanded are similar to the ones already imposed on the aircraft workers at Boeing and at other McDonnell factories. But the workers in Long Beach have persistently refused these demands and are standing firm in their strike.

The McDonnell Douglas capitalists are trying to break the strike by employing scabs. In fact, the aircraft capitalists went so far as to fill up three buses full of scabs and ship them to the January 31 union meeting in an effort to impose a yes vote in favor of the concessions contract. But the strikers blocked the buses and expelled from the meeting the few scabs who had sneaked in. The concessions proposal was rejected by a 72% vote.

The rejection of the contract was also a defeat for the top leaders of the UAW, who represent these aircraft workers. Despite the fact that the proposed contract was virtually identical to one that the strikers had already rejected, and despite strong opposition to holding another vote, the UAW international leadership joined hands with McDonnell Douglas to demand that the workers once again cast their ballots on the contract. By overwhelmingly voting down the proposed concessions pact, the workers slapped the international UAW hacks in the face and showed their resolve to defeat the dirty concessions deal of the capitalists.

Picketers stand firm against police strikebreaking

The militant strike of 480 workers at two tool and die factories of Facet Enterprise just entered its 14th week. The Facet capitalists have attempted to break the strike at their Detroit and Madison Heights, Michigan plants by bring scabs across the picket lines. The police have pitched in to help the strikebreaking by protecting the scabs and by harassing and arresting strikers.

On January 16, a policeman in an unmarked car tried to cross the picket line at the Detroit factory. Defiant against scabbing, a striker smashed the car's windshield. He, and two other strikers, were arrested on the spot. Just two weeks before, seven strikers were arrested for blocking scabs at the Madison Heights plant.

Despite the police repression, the Facet workers remain defiant and have continued their picketing operations against the Facet capitalists.

Slowdown of GE workers in Lynn, Mass.

Workers involved in turbine production at Building 66 in GE's Lynn, Massachusetts complex are vigorously fighting GE's productivity drive.

GE has, among other things, introduced numerical control (NC) milling and polishing machines. And GE has, in the process, been combining jobs, eliminating some positions, slashing the piecework wages and refusing to pay extra labor charges.

The turbine workers have raised the demand "no loss of jobs or wages" and are backing up their demand with mass action. In April of last year they went out on a three-day protest strike. In November, the polishers in Building 66 began a slowdown.-Eventually all the workers in Building 66 joined the job action, which lasted till late in January. The workers refused overtime and cut productivity by as much as 50%. In a show of support, the workers in another building in the GE complex put together a petition calling on GE to agree to the demand of "no loss of jobs or wages."

GE and the bureaucrats from the IUE (International Union of Electrical Workers) have been falling all over themselves to put a stop to the workers' resistance. At the end of January GE agreed to negotiation. The IUE hacks went into a fit of ecstasy over GE's "good faith" and called a halt to the job action. But the agreement reached by GE and the IUE hacks did nothing to stop the wage cutting and job elimination. It amounted to nothing more than GE agreeing to inform the workers when and how their jobs are to be eliminated and how much their wages will be cut. The IUE hacks had once again sold the rank and file down the river.

It is clear that it was only the mass action of the workers that forced GE to the bargaining table. It will take further mass action to force GE to agree to the workers' demands. The rank- and-file workers have already begun discussion on how to take this next step.

New Jersey supermarket workers strike against concessions

On January 15th, 7,000 butchers and deli workers launched a strike against four major supermarket chains in New Jersey and parts of New York.

The capitalists from Shop Rite, Pathmark, Food Town, and Grand Union are demanding that the workers accept the elimination of overtime pay, a cut in vacations and holidays and the slashing of other benefits. The capitalists also want the right to lay off full-time workers before part-time employees.

The workers said no to these concessions and they have received the support of other workers in their strike. On January 20, for example, nearly 17,000 cashiers and other non-meat clerks walked off their jobs in solidarity with the strikers. It was a heartening show of solidarity. The solidarity of the workers in their struggle against the capitalists is the surest path to defeat the rotten concessions offensive.

[Back to Top]

A delegation of the MLP,USA visits Nicaragua

The delegation of the Central Committee of the MLP, USA has just returned from a trip to Nicaragua. This trip was a great success, and it strengthened the bonds of solidarity between the Marxist-Leninists of the U.S. and the Marxist-Leninist forces of the Nicaraguan working class, represented by the Movement of Popular Action Marxist-Leninist (MAP-ML).

For some time U.S. imperialism has been unleashing its CIA mercenaries against the Nicaraguan revolution. Today it is casting the shadow of further bloody interventions and escalations against the Nicaraguan people. This lends even greater importance to militant solidarity with the Nicaraguan revolution. It is the duty of revolutionaries in the U.S. to raise the working people here at home against the barbaric aggression of our "own" U.S. imperialist government against the Nicaraguan people. It is the duty of revolutionaries in the U.S. to support the Nicaraguan workers and peasants, because they are the force in Nicaragua that represents the firmest bulwark against U.S. intervention and local counter-revolution. And it is vital to lend support to the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists, because it is they who march at the head of the toilers, working hard to organize them to defend their revolutionary gains and carry forward the revolutionary process.

Inspired by their common Marxist-Leninist stand and proletarian internationalist outlook, the comrades of the MAP-ML and the MLP held extensive discussions on the present situation and the revolutionary tasks in Nicaragua and the U.S. As well, there was a fruitful exchange of views on the problems facing the revolutionary movement elsewhere in Central America and around the world.

The discussions paid special attention to the struggle against the growing U.S. intervention against Nicaragua. The urgent tasks for this struggle are outlined in the Joint Communique adopted by the delegations of the two Parties. The Communique, which is reprinted below, is a militant political statement. It expresses the determination of the two Parties to build up the revolutionary front of the proletariat and other working people against our common enemies -- U.S. imperialism, social-democracy and revisionism, and the bourgeoisie of the respective countries.

During its stay in Nicaragua, the delegation of the MLP witnessed the staunch determination of the workers and peasants to defeat the Yankee aggression and the whole counter-revolutionary front of the local bourgeoisie and imperialism. It also saw the unfortunate results of the contradictory policy of the petty-bourgeois, Sandinista government, which continues to try to balance between the revolutionary energy of the working masses and the counter-revolutionary front of the bourgeoisie. And the delegation got a firsthand look at the revolutionary work of MAP-ML, which is putting forward the path of deepening the revolution towards socialism as the only way to successfully carry forward the struggle against imperialism and local reaction and the only way to overcome the severe economic difficulties caused by the U.S. blockade and the massive sabotage by the local big bourgeoisie.

The discussions with the comrades of the MAP-ML and of the Frente Obrero (Workers Front, the trade union organization associated with MAP-ML) were of great value in shedding light on the complex class struggle that is unfolding within Nicaraguan society today. The "Report from Managua" by a member of the MLP delegation, which is carried in this issue of The Workers' Advocate, describes some of the striking features of the class struggle inside revolutionary Nicaragua.

It is well known that the Nicaraguan revolution has taken place in a poor and small country that has its particular concrete conditions. But every step of the revolution has demonstrated that the fundamental laws of the class struggle are operating in Nicaragua in full force. Indeed the overthrow of the reactionary Somoza dictatorship has brought out into the open more clearly than ever the fundamental antagonism between the interests of the workers and poor peasants and those of the local bourgeoisie. The local big bourgeoisie has formed a bulwark of counter-revolution. An understanding of this class struggle has particular significance for building solidarity with the Nicaraguan revolution; it underscores the importance of support for the proletariat and poor peasantry as the bastion against the counter-revolutionary front of U.S. imperialist intervention and local reaction.

The experience of the Nicaraguan revolution, and the struggle of the Marxist-Leninists to put a proletarian stamp on the revolution and advance it towards socialism, provides lessons of immense value for class conscious workers and revolutionary activists everywhere. In-upcoming issues, The Workers' Advocate will report on various aspects of the experience of MAP-ML: on their work to forge the Marxist-Leninist party; on their work to organize the struggle of the toilers against the Somoza dictatorship; on their role in the popular insurrection that was the final act in the toppling of the Somoza tyranny; and in the sharp class conflicts that have come to the fore since the victory over the tyranny.

The Workers' Advocate hails the successful visit of the MLP delegation to Nicaragua. "Workers of All Countries, Unite!" is the banner of our Party. We have always been champions of an active policy of proletarian internationalism; we stand for a living proletarian internationalism that supports and learns from the revolutionary forces of other countries that are fighting against the bourgeois-imperialist world. Today solidarity with the MAP-ML of Nicaragua cannot but have particular significance for us, because the struggle against U.S. aggression in Central America has become one of the focal points of the struggle against U.S. imperialism. The Marxist-Leninist forces of the Nicaraguan proletariat are working in the very midst of this cauldron of revolutionary upheaval. They are fighting side by side with the other revolutionary columns of the working class and toilers of Central America. And they are locked in mortal conflict not just with local capitalist reaction, but also with the barbarous aggression of the imperialism of our "own" U.S. bourgeoisie, our foremost enemy and a foremost enemy of the entire world's people.

[Back to Top]

Joint Communique of the Movement of Popular Action/Marxist-Leninist and the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA

In accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, the MAP-ML of Nicaragua and the Marxist- Leninist Party of the USA have ex-. changed their experiences of the struggle against the bourgeoisie, imperialism and revisionism and discussed the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat in Nicaragua and the United States of America. Our two Parties have undertaken the urgent tasks of fighting against the U.S. imperialist aggression and we address ourselves to the working class and the peoples of our countries to express the following:

1. Together, and as a Single Fist, the MAP-ML and the MLP,USA Condemn and Fight Against the U.S. Imperialist Aggression Against the People of Nicaragua

Through threats, provocations and concrete acts of aggression in the military, economic and political fields, the regime headed by Reagan is showing that imperialism will stop at nothing in its efforts to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution and prevent the proletariat from playing its role of deepening this revolution.

The CIA continues to organize and finance the counter-revolutionary bands, made up of Somocista ex-guardsmen and other mercenaries and lackeys, to put pressure and invade from bases in Honduras and Costa Rica, carrying out brutal crimes against the Nicaraguan people.

With the Big Pine II and III military operations, the Pentagon has moved its own forces into Honduras and towards the border with Nicaragua. They have turned Honduras into a Central American garrison of the military forces of U.S. imperialism and, together with the puppet army of the reactionary Honduran generals, they are carrying forward threatening and provocative operations. CONDECA, an alliance of the reactionary armies of Central America, will only serve as a cover for the military intervention of U.S. imperialism.

2. Contadora: The Other Face of Imperialism

Together with Reaganite fascism, imperialism is setting in motion its other face, the farce of bourgeois pacifism whose aim is to strangle the Nicaraguan and Central American revolution through blackmail, pressure and political demagogy.

The MAP-ML of Nicaragua and the MLP of the United States declare that the Contadora "initiative" of the governments of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama forms part of the counter-revolutionary strategy of imperialism, and that it is its objective to politically and militarily disarm the Nicaraguan and Central American peoples. This Contadora "initiative" only serves to further strengthen the reactionary and capitalist forces; it seeks to institutionalize a counter-revolutionary internal front in Nicaragua. Contadora is a demagogical way of trampling upon the right to self-determination of the Nicaraguan people and allows imperialism and the regional bourgeoisies to dictate the destiny of the Nicaraguan people.

3. The Leaders of the Democratic Party in the United States Are Counter-Revolutionary Chieftains and Enemies of the Peoples

The Democratic Party supports the Contadora Plan and stands one hundred percent behind the Reaganite policy of aggression and militarism. Its characteristic is to hide the aggression of imperialism behind a smoke screen of chatter about "peace" and "democracy." Both the Democrats, as well as the United States Congress, are no obstacle to aggression. To the contrary, both adopt and ratify Reagan's interventionist policies.

4. Social-Democracy and Revisionism Strengthen the Imperialist Plan

International social-democracy and revisionism are also applying pressure on Nicaragua to force it to accept the Contadora Plan and seek a path of conciliation with U.S. imperialism and Nicaraguan internal reaction. Contadora has been endorsed by the Socialist International, equally as by Cuba and the Soviet Union. Contadora and other bourgeois and revisionist "peace" plans have the object of disarming the masses in the face of the invasions and massacres of imperialism and reaction. Only by pushing forward their revolutionary struggles can the peoples of Nicaragua and Central America put an end to the present wars imposed by imperialism and the local exploiters.

5. The Working Class and Toilers Are the Bastion Against Imperialism

The MAP-ML and the MLP declare our militant struggle for the revolution of the workers and poor peasants, the revolutionary force that overthrew the Somocista dictatorship and dealt a heavy blow to U.S. imperialism and the local bourgeoisie. This exploit of the Nicaraguan workers and toilers has been a great inspiration for the struggle and organization of the toilers of Central America and has opened up new perspectives for their revolutionary struggle. It has been a triumph for the Nicaraguan people which signals the advance towards new conquests and new victories.

The government that came to power as a result of the insurrection of the Nicaraguan working class and toilers is neither Marxist-Leninist nor socialist. In fact, under the influence of an amalgam of social-democratic and revisionist ideas of "pluralism," class conciliation and "mixed economy," the privileges and positions of the bourgeoisie and of dependent capitalism have been preserved. Even in the midst of the imperialist and counter-revolutionary aggressions, this government continues to open up and put into effect all sorts of economic and political incentives for the exploiters.

The MAP-ML and the MLP, USA declare that only with the deepening of the revolutionary process, which is the fundamental task of the working class, can the immediate struggle against U.S. imperialism and its henchmen be strengthened. It is the Nicaraguan proletariat and toilers that are the bastion against the aggression and maneuvers of the counter-revolution and imperialism.

The U.S. working class has the duty to fight against its "own" government and its aggressions against the Nicaraguan toilers and other peoples. It is also the duty of the American working class and toilers to halt Reagan's aggressive hand through revolutionary actions.

6. The Marxist-Leninist Forces Are Active and Standing Firm in Nicaragua

The Marxist-Leninist forces of the Nicaraguan working class, represented by MAP-ML, are making efforts to defend and advance the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants towards proletarian socialism. The Marxist-Leninist forces, at the head of the working class in Nicaragua, struggle as well against the influence of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie over the masses and to strengthen the political and class independence of the proletariat. MAP-ML fights to defend and uphold the class interests of the workers and poor peasants and the rest of the toilers against the bourgeoisie and reaction in order to advance on the road of the proletarian revolution.

7. For Proletarian Internationalist Solidarity in the Face of the Imperialist Aggression and Maneuvers

The MAP-ML and the MLP,USA call on the Nicaraguan and American working class and people to strengthen the common struggle against the intervention and threats of U.S. imperialism against Nicaragua.

Both Parties declare our determination to strengthen the militant solidarity between the proletariat and toilers of the U.S. and Nicaragua. The strengthening of the proletarian internationalist ties between the Marxist-Leninist forces of the working class of both countries, represented by MAP-ML and the MLP, USA, is an immediate and very important task.

We express our militant internationalist solidarity with the Central American peoples who are rising up in revolution against poverty, tyranny, backwardness and imperialist slavery. We salute the heroic workers end peasants of El Salvador and hail their victories in the revolutionary war against the fascist regime and its U.S. imperialist masters.

The MAP-ML and the MLP declare their determination and efforts to work towards the strengthening of proletarian internationalism in a great revolutionary front of the international working class and the toiling masses, in the common struggle against our mortal enemies, imperialism, the exploiters and their lackeys.

Defeat the U.S. Imperialist War Against Nicaragua!!!

For the Advance of the Revolutionary Struggle of the Nicaraguan Proletariat and Toilers Towards Socialism!!!

Long Live Marxism-Leninism, the Guide of the Working Class in Its Revolutionary Struggle!!!

Delegation of the Central Committee of the MAP-ML

Delegation of the Central Committee of the MLP, USA

January 22,1984

Managua, Nicaragua

[Back to Top]

To strengthen the revolution in the face of U.S. aggression:

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists Must Have Their Political Rights

Below we have reprinted the telegram from the Central Committee of the MLP,USA to the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua protesting its recent decision to once again deprive the MAP- ML (Movement of Popular Action/ Marxist-Leninist) and the FO (Workers Front), its affiliated trade union organization, from their rightful places on the State Council.

Our Party vigorously condemns U.S. imperialism's brutal war to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution. We militantly champion the Nicaraguan people's right to self-determination and to decide their own fate without the bullying, blackmail and intervention of U.S. imperialism. Part of this bullying is the hypocritical protests of Reagan and co. against the lack of "freedom" for the CIA mercenaries and other U.S.-backed reactionaries to overthrow the Nicaraguan government and trample on the people.

The gate must be slammed shut on the U.S. intervention and CIA-backed counter-revolution. It was the proletariat and working masses who carried out the anti-Somoza revolution and who represent the firmest bastion against the local reaction and U.S. aggression. And it is the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists, the proletarian revolutionaries of MAP-ML and FO, who stand as the champions of the workers and poor peasants and who are working hard to defend and deepen the revolution. To strip the Marxist-Leninist workers of their political rights can only weaken the revolution in the face of(the U.S.-backed counter-revolution and intervention.

The MAP-ML has deep roots in the Nicaraguan revolutionary movement. Throughout its history it has proven itself as a courageous leader of the working class and toilers: from its role in leading the 1973 general strike of construction workers against the Somoza dictatorship, to the blood that its militants shed in the anti- Somoza insurrection.

During the days of the revolutionary war, the MAP-ML, the FO and the militias that they led cooperated with the FSLN in the armed struggle. The FO was a member of the FSLN-led Patriotic National Front (FPN). Along with the other organizations taking part in the FPN, the FO was to take its place in the legislative State Council that the new government was to set up.

But after the overthrow of the dictatorship, the FSLN leadership backed away from its promise and excluded the FO. They also excluded the PCN (a pro-Soviet revisionist party), from the State Council. At the very same time, the parties and organizations of the big bourgeoisie, that had not even lifted a finger against the Somoza dictatorship, the representatives of the internal reaction that were hostile to the FSLN and the revolution, were dutifully given their State Council seats.

Why did the government exclude the FO and the PCN while being so cordial to the bourgeois parties, even those that were openly reactionary and pro-U.S. imperialist? Undoubtedly this was connected to the FSLN's desire to keep intact the coalition which it had formed with the bourgeoisie. Two representatives of the big bourgeoisie had been brought into the ruling government junta, Alfonso Robelo (leader of the liberal bourgeois MDN) and Violeta Chamorro (owner of La Prensa newspaper and widow of the liberal bourgeois opposition leader Pedro Joaquin Chamorro assassinated by Somoza). Apparently, the exclusion of the FO and PCN was part of the FSLN's policy of building trust with the virulently anti-communist bourgeoisie in order to cement the FSLN-bourgeois coalition.

Despite the FSLN's best efforts, before a year had passed Robelo and Chamorro had abandoned their posts in the junta and the big bourgeoisie went into open opposition to the government. Robelo himself went to Costa Rica to become a leader of the CIA-mercenary bands. And the bourgeois parties and organizations formed a reactionary opposition bloc, the so-called Democratic Coordinating Committee (DC).

The DC encompasses the reactionary bourgeois parties: conservatives, Social Christians, Liberal Constitutionalists, etc.; the business associations of the big capitalists and landholders: the Superior Council of Private Enterprise, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.; and the reactionary trade union centers: the CUS and the CNT, tied to the CIA through the AIFLD.

The reactionary bourgeoisie grouped in the DC makes no secret of its hatred for the revolution. Its sympathies lie with Ronald Reagan and the contra bands waging war on the Nicaraguan revolution. In fact, this involves more than its sympathies, as this internal reaction is linked in countless ways with the external counterrevolution -- the CIA and U.S. imperialism as well as with Robelo and the other bourgeois leaders who are waging a war of terror and assassination against the Nicaraguan people. Nevertheless the parties and organizations of the DC continue to sit on the State Council from where they spit at the revolution.

Over the last several months the government has been working on setting up the regulations governing political parties and making other preparations for the scheduled 1985 elections for president, vice-president and a constituent assembly. As part of these preparations the government reviewed the composition of the State Council. 4t didn't even pose the possibility of excluding the bourgeois parties for their sympathies and links with those who are waging war on the Nicaraguan people. The only outstanding question was whether or not MAP-ML and the PCN would be on the State Council.

The government's mid-January decision was first carried in the bourgeois La Prensa, which announced that only the PCN had been brought onto the State Council. But the very next day the FSLN's newspaper Barricada, as well as El Nuevo Diario, a paper sympathetic to the FSLN, announced that MAP-ML had also been given its seat. Then, several days later the FSLN leadership reversed itself and declared that MAP-ML was once again to be excluded. It appears that what happened was that the La Prensa announcement was a sign of the bourgeoisie's opposition to the participation of the party of the Marxist-Leninist workers, and that the FSLN caved in to this demand of the capitalist reaction. A different attitude was taken towards the revisionist PCN, apparently because it has proven itself as a tame reformist voice.

This makes MAP-ML and the FO the only organizations in the country barred from participation in the State Council and stripped of the political rights which come with this participation. The Marxist-Leninist communists are the only political force in the country that are discriminated against in this way.

Meanwhile, the bourgeois friends of Ronald Reagan -- both the powerful groups of the big capitalists and landholders and miniscule groups of reactionaries, both those which strike a more moderate tone of opposition and those which make no secret of the fact that they stand on the side of the CIA- backed counter-revolution -- without exception enjoy their political rights. They do not just sit on the State Council. On top of this the government has now announced that it will provide the bourgeois parties with several million dollars to finance their election campaigns, and that it will allow them free access to the television and other media to spew their reactionary venom. Indeed, few governments anywhere pamper the political parties of the opposition with the same generosity that the Nicaraguan government is showing these parties of the internal reaction.

The FSLN hopes that by making these concessions it can relieve the external pressures of U.S. imperialism. The Reagan administration has been escalating its war on Nicaragua in the name of applying pressure on the government to grant more freedoms to the bourgeois opposition and to keep its promise of holding elections. The FSLN has done everything it can do to give into these demands. On this front they have only drawn the line at the demand of the State Department and the bourgeois opposition that foreign troops must be brought into Nicaragua to provide the "necessary climate" for the elections.

In response to the FSLN's concessions, the provocations against Nicaragua by the CIA-backed contras and the U.S. troops in Honduras have only intensified. Reagan has thanked them with more bombs and atrocities, as the concessions have only fueled the fires of U.S. imperialist brutality and arrogance.

Asked if the upcoming elections would satisfy the United States, Secretary of State George Shultz answered that, "An election just as an election doesn't really mean anything." (New York Times, February 6, 1984) And asked if Nicaragua still has reason to fear a U.S. invasion, Shultz said, "If I were them, I'd be worried too." (Ibid.)

In other words, elections or no elections, concessions to the reactionaries or no concessions, U.S. imperialism will stop short of nothing in its drive to overthrow the FSLN government and strangle the Nicaraguan revolution. Shultz's message is clear: If the FSLN wants to lift the threat of U.S. invasion, then let it get down on its knees before our dictate and surrender power to the pro-U.S. Reactionaries.

This shows the futility of the FSLN policy of granting concessions to the bourgeois reaction. This policy is only whetting the appetite of U.S. imperialism and weakening the internal front of the revolution. The reactionary forces of the bourgeoisie, which have taken the side of the U.S.-backed counter-revolution, should be put in their place.

At the same time, to strengthen the revolution, political rights should be restored to MAP-ML and FO, because they are consistent working class fighters against both the internal and external forces of the counter-revolution and U.S. aggression. The working masses created the revolution; the organizations of the working class and toilers must be allowed political freedom to defend and advance it.

[Photo: A spray painting of the Workers Front declaring, "No to the legality of the bourgeois parties."]

[Back to Top]

Telegram to the Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua

To: Junta of the Government of National Reconstruction of Nicaragua

Across the U.S. our Party campaigns to raise the American people in struggle to oppose the barbaric aggression of the Reagan government and U.S. imperialism against the heroic Nicaraguan people. We have been and continue to be ardent supporters of the Nicaraguan revolution and champions of the Nicaraguan people's right to self-determination. As communists it is natural that we extend particular solidarity to the Marxist-Leninist forces of the Nicaraguan working class.

Speaking from this revolutionary internationalist standpoint, we protest the decision taken by the Junta this January to once again exclude MAP-ML and FO from their rightful places on the State Council. It is inconceivable that working class revolutionaries who fought and shed blood to overthrow the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship are so persecuted, while the reactionary bourgeois and pro-U.S. imperialist parties and organizations of the so-called Democratic Coordinating Committee are allowed to spit at the revolution from their positions in the State Council.

Down with U.S. imperialism's aggression against Nicaragua! Solidarity with the Nicaraguan working class and people!

Central Committee Marxist-Leninist Party, USA Chicago, IL February 7,1984

[Back to Top]

Marxist-Leninist parties around the world condemn the Contadora group

The revolution in Central America is marching forward. U.S. imperialism, panic-stricken, is engaging in Viet Nam-style escalation in its intervention against the Central American peoples. At the same time, U.S. imperialism is also carrying out a diplomatic offensive to supplement its military efforts and put a good face on U.S. intervention. A key role in this is played by the Contadora group, whose efforts have been endorsed by the bipartisan Kissinger commission which recently reported in favor of massive military escalation.

The Contadora group is composed of the governments of Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela. The reactionary big bourgeoisies of these countries have their own particular interests, and they squabble a bit with U.S. imperialism, but they are united with U.S. imperialism in opposing the revolutionary upsurge of the workers and peasants. The Contadora group seeks to force the Salvadoran people to put down their arms and submit to the death-squad government; and it is also trying to beguile the Sandinista government of Nicaragua into handing over power to the local reaction.

The Contadora group dresses up its proposals in the name of "peace,'' "disarmament," and "democracy." The nature of their search for "peace" and "democracy" can be seen in the aid that various of the Contadora countries give to the U.S.-financed contras invading Nicaragua. One of the Contadora countries, Panama, is even a member of CONDECA (Central American Defense Council), where, side by side with the dictatorships ruling Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, it works out plans to justify a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua.

Support for the Nicaraguan people, and for the other struggling peoples of Central America, requires a condemnation of the plans of the Contadora group to ensure perpetual stability for the exploiters in Central America. But the false friends of the Nicaraguan people, such as the Soviet social-imperialists, the Cuban revisionists and the West European social-democrats, have put great pressure on the Nicaraguan government to bow down before the schemes of the Contadora group. The denunciation of the Contadora group is thus closely linked with the struggle against revisionism and opportunism.

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist Condemn the Contadora Group

The Marxist-Leninists of Nicaragua, organized in the MAP-ML, were in the front ranks of the insurrection that overthrew the Somoza tyranny. Today, faced with the contradictory policy of the petty-bourgeois Sandinista government, the MAP-ML calls on the workers and poor peasants to deepen the revolution as the answer to the counter-revolutionary bloc of U.S. imperialism and the local bourgeois reaction. The MAP-ML has repeatedly condemned the maneuvers of the Contadora group in their newspaper, Prensa Proletaria. One example is the article from last October's issue of Prensa Proletaria entitled "Contadora: The Other Face of Imperialism," which was translated into English and reprinted in the December 15,1983 issue of The Workers' Advocate. The Contadora policy is also flayed in the Joint Communique between MAP-ML and the MLP,USA that outlines the militant tasks for solidarity with the Nicaraguan toilers and that is reproduced elsewhere in this paper.

Meeting in Bogota, Colombia Condemns the Contadora Group

A number of Marxist-Leninist parties met at Bogota, Colombia in November 1983. The general plan for this meeting and the method of constituting it were not made public and thus cannot be assessed in this article. However, the meeting issued a Joint Communique which read, in part:

"We reaffirm our support and our defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of socialism in Albania.

"Central America is today one of the places where the contradictions of the present world converge. There are concentrated the aggression of the superpowers, their blackmail and maneuvers via various mechanisms such as the 'Contradora Group,' which intends to demobilize the struggle of the peoples and prevent the triumph of the revolution.

"Our Parties energetically condemn the aggression of American imperialism against Grenada and the preparations for the invasion of Nicaragua. At the same time we express our militant solidarity with the anti-imperialist struggle of the Nicaraguan people and the other peoples of Central America.

"Our active solidarity with the proletariat and the peoples who, in different regions of the world, fight imperialism, social-imperialism and reaction. Honor to the memory of the communist militants murdered in Turkey, Iran and other countries. Our encouragements to the comrades who, in these countries, are in prison and to those who continue to fight." (Translated by The Workers Advocate from the French text in the December 15-31, 1983 issue of La Forge, central organ of the Workers' Communist Party of France)

The Joint Communique ended with the slogan "PROLETARIANS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!" and was signed by the Communist Party of Bolivia (ML), the Communist Party of Colombia (ML), the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador, the Communist Party of Spain (ML), the Movement of Popular Action -- Marxist-Leninist of Nicaragua, and the Communist Party of Peru (Marxist- Leninist).

Japanese Marxist-Leninists Condemn Contadora Group

The Communist Party of Japan (Left) exposed the pro-imperialist policy of the Contadora group in its newspaper Jinmin No Hoshi of December 13, 1983. The CPJ(L) also reproduced this article in their International Bulletin, The People's Star, for December 15, 1983 under the title "The Contadora Efforts Supplement U.S. Military Intervention." The article runs as follows:

"While U.S. imperialism continues its military containment toward Nicaragua, the so-called Contadora Group is stepping up its efforts for a 'negotiated peaceful solution' to the Central American crisis.

"Deputy foreign ministers of the Contadora countries -- Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela -- and the five Central American countries met early December in Panama to work on the final details of a 'peace treaty for Central America.' The peace pact stipulates cessation of military clashes, disarmament, withdrawal of foreign military advisors and bases, introduction of democratic system based on political pluralism, and so forth. Apparently, it is intended to replace the revolutionary struggle of Nicaraguan people and the anti-imperialist national-liberation struggle of the Salvadoran and other neighboring peoples with a 'peaceful diplomatic negotiation' and to turn them [into] something harmless to the U.S.-headed imperialist camp.

"The Contadora Group pretends to be making efforts for a solution to the Central American dispute. This is a sheer fraud. A meeting of the Contadora Group was held in Panama on October 22-23, a few days before the U.S. invasion of Grenada. Fully aware of the U.S. intention to launch a brutal attack on the small island nation, the participants of the talks did nothing else but issue a deceptive statement that they should 'observe international agreements,' thus giving virtual sanction to the aggressive plan of the Reagan administration. Also in July, when the Contadora Group heads of state met in Cancun, Mexico, to release the Statement of Objectives, they kept silence on the large-scale military maneuver 'Big Pine II' which was about to be conducted by the U.S. and Honduran troops in August. All this clearly shows that the Contadora is going all-out to undermine the Nicaraguan revolution and strangle the surging anti-imperialist national-liberation struggle of the Latin American peoples just to complement the overt military blackmail by the Reagan administration, including the invasion of Grenada and the big joint military exercise.

"The Japanese proletariat must support with might and main the anti-imperialist national-liberation struggle of the Nicaraguan and other Central American proletarians and peoples, so that they will crush the U.S. imperialist military threat as well as the Contadora efforts under the 'peaceful' mask, and develop consistently their struggle along the correct revolutionary line."

[Back to Top]

Salvadoran Revolution Shows Its Strength

The revolutionary workers and peasants of El Salvador are inflicting one defeat after another on the U.S.- backed dictatorship. The nationwide revolutionary offensive, which began last September, has continued without letup. It has dashed to dust the so-called "National Strategy," the much ballyhooed counterinsurgency campaign of U.S. imperialism and the Salvadoran rulers. And it has thrown the Reagan administration's policy into crisis.

This is why Reagan is once again calling for an enormous infusion of U.S. military aid to the dictatorship. Only with a major escalation of U.S. intervention in El Salvador can the Reaganites hope to stave off the advancing revolution. But the Salvadoran revolutionaries have faced U.S. imperialist escalations in their struggle before. And on each occasion they have been able to regroup and to step by step mobilize the masses for an even broader assault on the U.S.-backed dictators. The latest victories in the struggle show that it is the revolution which has the strength to overthrow the fascist dictatorship.

Important Victories in the Revolutionary Offensive

The growing strength of the liberation movement has again been demonstrated in recent weeks. In particular the rebels have shown their ability to concentrate large forces to attack strongholds of the government. On December 28, the revolutionary forces scored one of their greatest battlefield victories, storming and capturing the government's El Paraiso military base. This base was built under the supervision of U.S. engineers and was the fourth largest and most modern in the country. About 300 soldiers were defending the base. But they proved no match for the revolutionary forces. Launching a bold attack, the armed toilers wiped out some 100 government troops, reportedly the largest number ever in one battle of the civil war. Another 184 were captured. The rebels held the fort for 12 hours, seized its weapons and then leveled it to the ground.

Only three days later the Salvadoran rulers again faced a humiliating defeat. The armed revolutionaries blew up the Cuscutlan Bridge which crossed the Lempa River 50 miles east of San Salvador. This bridge, a vital link between central El Salvador and four eastern provinces, was well guarded by hundreds of government troops. But once again a superior rebel force made short work of them, sending most of them fleeing in panic.

Constant pressure has been kept up on the fascist army. For example on January 15 an attack was launched on an army garrison in Chalatenango province. The minimized government figures admit that 22 casualties were suffered by the reactionaries. And on January 24 the guerrillas inflicted 27 casualties in a battle in San Augustin in Usulutan province. The stream of victories of the armed masses proves the power of the revolutionary struggle.

The Collapse of the Counter-Revolutionary "National Strategy"

The struggle of the Salvadoran workers and peasants is aimed against a savage system of oppression and poverty. The toiling masses are super-exploited by the big capitalists and landlords and by the U.S. multinationals. This system is enforced through the naked terror of the fascist government and its death squads who have murdered over 40,000 of their opponents in the last several years.

The real backbone of this cruel system is bloodstained U.S. imperialism which has been going all out to prop up the battered Salvadoran rulers. U.S. military advisors have taken practical control of the Salvadoran army's military operations. And the U.S. government is training the fascist battalions and arming them to the teeth.

As part of its efforts to save the regime from collapse, U.S. imperialism devised the "National Strategy" counterinsurgency plan. This plan, initiated in the spring of 1982, was supposed to reverse the tide of the war in favor of the fascists. This program aimed at securing whole regions under government military control through a Viet Nam-style "pacification" program. The plan was initiated in San Vicente province which was to be the starting point for a nationwide government offensive against the revolutionaries. The San Vicente "model" was supposed to inspire the demoralized fascist army which would then systematically conquer the rebels in province after province.

But the "National Strategy" has completely backfired. Indeed the situation is growing more desperate by the day for the U.S. puppet regime. Thus a U.S. diplomat admitted that even the supposedly "crack" U.S.-trained

Atonal Battalion was "the definition of bad morale." And the reactionary Senator Moynihan (Dem.-NY) recently complained that "American military aid ends up more or less equally in the hands of the insurgents and the Government." (New York Times, January 13, 1984, p. 4) Undoubtedly Moynihan is exaggerating somewhat. But his statement does reflect the fact that not only have the revolutionaries seized large quantities of weapons in battle, but the regime's army is so corrupt that they even sell weapons to the guerrillas.

The fascist army is truly in crisis. They are suffering casualties at an unprecedented rate. Desertions are taking place with regularity and the troops generally confine themselves to their barracks rather than face the liberation fighters.

This crisis has been accelerated by the policy of the revolutionaries of releasing captured troops. The revolutionary forces know that much of the rank and file in the army is conscripted from among the ordinary people. Often the government will simply sweep up all the young men in a town and force them into service. By doing political education work with these conscripts when they are captured, and then releasing them unharmed, the guerrillas have built up sympathy for the revolution among them and undermined the fascist army's fighting capacity. Also undermining the government armed forces is the fact that the support for the revolution is so widespread that a number of the conscripts entering the army are supporters of the revolution.

On the basis of their victories over the regime's military forces, the rebels have consolidated their control over large sections of El Salvador. They are administering much of the northeast, giving the masses their first taste of democratic rule free from the fascist regime. Among the other areas under rebel control is a 60 square mile area around the town of Jucuaran on the southern coast of Usulutan province. Here the revolutionaries have ordered wealthy coffee and cotton plantation owners to increase the wages of the farm laborers. Thus the control of various regions is helping to cement the liberation army's support among the working masses. Obviously the revolution is continually growing in strength.

Reagan Demands a Major Escalation of U.S. Intervention

Faced with the collapse of the "National Strategy" and the advancing revolutionary struggle of the Salvadoran toilers, the Reagan administration is demanding a major infusion of U.S. military aid to the Salvadoran dictatorship and a general escalation of the war against the guerrillas.

The administration is proposing to quickly add some 5,000 to 6,000 men to the regime's armed forces. This amounts to a 20% increase in the regime's troop strength. Reagan realizes that only by a major bolstering of the dictatorship's army can they hope to stem the tide of the advancing revolutionary struggle.

As well, Reagan has proposed that Congress step up military aid to the dictatorship to a whopping total of $244 million this year and at least another $133 million in 1985. These figures, which represent a gigantic increase over previous military aid levels, demonstrate that the Reagan government will stop at nothing to prop up the bloodstained dictatorship in its efforts to stamp out the revolutionary struggle of the toilers.

Reagan's escalation of U.S. intervention in El Salvador is a new crime against the revolution. Increasing the regime's weapons of genocidal war, bolstering it with new troops, and injecting in the war all of the barbaric methods of counterinsurgency developed by U.S. imperialism during its aggression against Viet Nam, will increase the slaughter of the Salvadoran toilers. Therefore it is more important than ever that the workers and oppressed people in the U.S. go into action against U.S. imperialist intervention in El Salvador. The American working masses must boldly stand up in defense of the revolutionary struggle of their class brothers in El Salvador. Militant mass action against U.S. imperialism is the order of the day.

[Photo: Twisted wreckage is all that remains of the Cuscatlan Bridge destroyed by the Salvadoran revolutionaries.]

[Photo: Salvadoran guerrillas with the masses after liberating their village.]

[Back to Top]

In El Salvador

How the death squads organize elections

The fascist Salvadoran regime has scheduled fraudulent presidential elections for March 25. These elections are being organized under the direction of U.S. imperialism, which is spending $3.4 million to finance them. The Reagan administration hopes that these elections will give the death-squad regime a "democratic" face lift. They want to create the illusion that the Salvadoran government is not a brutal dictatorship imposed on the people through terror but is freely chosen and has popular support. By painting fascist tyranny as "budding democracy," the Reagan government is striving to justify its deepening intervention on behalf of the dictatorship.

The upcoming election is a complete farce. Democratic elections cannot possibly be held under conditions of fascist terror. It is well known that the regime has murdered over 40,000 of its opponents in the last few years. Under such conditions any real opponent of the government would only be committing suicide by campaigning in the elections. These are "democratic" elections where all opponents of fascism are effectively banned and the brutal dictatorship is guaranteed to remain in power. Clearly the liberation forces are right to refuse to participate in these sham elections.

The Reagan administration itself has inadvertently admitted that the U.S.-backed forces have been systematically murdering the opponents of the Salvadoran regime. In a recent report to Congress the Reagan administration boasted how "important progress has been made on several fronts related to human rights." As evidence the administration stated that the Salvadoran government's death squads have "only" murdered 104 people per month in the last half of 1983 as compared to 177 per month in the first half. Thus, the administration's own statistics prove that bloody suppression of the political opposition, is an everyday occurrence. Of course the administration's figures grossly underestimate the actual level of terror since they are based on reports in the right-wing press which gets its figures from the regime itself. Even the reports from the Catholic church, which is no friend of the revolution, estimate that the death squads have been murdering at the rate of 436 people per month in the last half of 1983.

In this situation only two candidates are given a serious chance to win. The real "choice" of the voters has been reduced to the notorious death-squad leader Roberto D'Aubuisson, who has been heading the reactionary Salvadoran legislature, or the Christian Democrat Jose Napoleon Duarte who served as the "reform" front man for the military dictatorship prior to the elections of March 1982. As well, several smaller fascist parties may run candidates. Thus it is pre-ordained that no matter who wins, nothing will change.

Besides this, it is reported that under the new election laws voter registration may not take place. Thus, conditions are being prepared for mass&e fraud in the voting tabulations.

While these sham elections are aimed at the anti-fascist forces, they have also given rise to squabbling among the fascist parties. Several parties have been complaining that the main5 fascist party, D'Aubuisson's ARENA, by not holding national assembly elections along with the presidential elections, is squeezing them out of the electoral process in order to ensure ARENA an ever greater role in the government. This infighting is further evidence of the meaningless nature of the elections hoax.

The completely farcical nature of the upcoming elections can also be seen by recalling the last elections held under the dictatorship, the March 1982 elections to the constituent assembly. Anyone voicing opposition to the regime was put on a government "hit list." Then, with only reactionary parties running, the population was forced to vote by law or risk reprisal. The voting procedure allowed the government to know how each person voted. And on top of this, there was massive fraud in counting the votes. Vote totals were inflated in an attempt to back up the lie that the military dictatorship had wide support. The result of this grand "democratic" process was the coming to power of the assassin D'Aubuisson as head of the assembly.

This disgraceful charade was praised lavishly by U.S. imperialism. Not only the ardent Reaganites, but the liberal Democrats like Senator Christopher Dodd hailed it as a great triumph. Indeed, disguising the fascist regime with a "democratic" and "reform" mask is the stock-in-trade of the Democratic Party.

Clearly the democratic goals of the Salvadoran people will never be won as long as the fascist government rules. Nor does U.S. imperialism have any intention of bringing democracy to El Salvador. Only the revolutionary overthrow of the dictatorship can satisfy the democratic aspirations of the Salvadoran toilers. The courageous armed struggle of the masses is bringing closer the day when the masses achieve their true liberation.

[Back to Top]

Democrats march in step with Reagan

Kissinger Commission calls for Viet Nam-style escalation

On January 11, Reagan's National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, better known as the Kissinger commission, released its report. This report calls for a major escalation of the savage U.S. intervention against the working masses of Nicaragua, El Salvador and the rest of Central America. It is a bipartisan declaration of wholehearted support for Reagan's "big stick'' policy by the twin parties of imperialist aggression, the Republicans and the Democrats. And the commission report is a bipartisan effort to quell the widescale opposition among the American masses to U.S. intervention in Central America.

Major Viet Nam-Style Escalation

Under mountains of verbiage about "economic aid,'' "human rights,'' and concern for the impoverished, the heart of the report is its recommendations for an all-out military drive to smash the revolutionary struggles of the working people of Central America against the U.S.-backed dictatorships and to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution.

In El Salvador: Citing the fact that "a collapse is not inconceivable'' for the fascist regime in El Salvador "given the increasing damage -- both physical and political -- being inflicted'' by the guerrillas, the report urges a colossal increase in military aid to $400 million over the next two years to prop up this murderous regime against the workers' and peasants' armed struggle.

Already U.S. imperialism has armed this regime to the teeth and trained thousands of its troops. As well, U.S. military "advisors" have assumed direction of the counterinsurgency operations. But all this has failed to weaken the people's revolution. Thus the report recommends tripling the military aid to the dictatorship.

This recommendation is just what Reagan wanted. The report gives him bipartisan support, for a giant increase in military aid to the Salvadoran dictatorship. Bolstered by this bipartisan warmongering, Reagan has already announced he will seek a total of $377 million in military aid for 1984 and 1985. It is no wonder that Shultz, Reagan's Secretary of State, hailed this bipartisan report as "an outstanding contribution."

The Kissinger commission claims that this enormous military aid will not go to support the regime's genocidal war on the people. Oh no. This aid will allegedly allow the U.S. imperialists to teach a "humane anti-guerrilla strategy" based on "the methods of counterinsurgency developed over the last generation by the armed forces of the United States." So, for the Kissinger commission, counterinsurgency war has suddenly become "humane," perhaps something like a picnic. Of course Kissinger himself was one of the authors of U.S. aggression in Viet Nam and he knows very well that the "humane" methods being spoken of are such things as the infamous "search and destroy" missions, the burning down of entire villages, the widescale massacre of women and children such as at My Lai, and so forth. These methods were themselves based on the study of the barbaric methods used by the Nazis in World War II. Today, the Salvadoran battalions that have been trained by the U.S. military are well known to have been involved in bloody massacres of peasants and other Salvadoran toilers. One can only assume that the U.S. government has done a good job in teaching them Kissinger's "humane anti-guerrilla strategy."

In Nicaragua: The report also gave its blessings to the brutal U.S. war of aggression against Nicaragua. For the last two years, the Reagan administration has been financing and organizing invasions of Nicaragua by thousands of Somocista contra bands. Meanwhile the U.S. has been preparing for an outright military invasion, carrying out war "exercises" in Honduras.

The Kissinger commission gives a blanket endorsement to Reagan's general policy saying: "As a broad generality, we do not believe that it would be wise to dismantle existing incentives and pressures on the Managua regime...." And the report supports the present preparations for an outright invasion by U.S. forces, stating: "Nicaragua must be aware that force remains an ultimate recourse."

As well, the report cites that the majority of the commission supported Reagan's method of directly giving aid to the contras. Among the supporters of this stand in the commission were such Democratic Party stalwarts as AFL-CIO leader Lane Kirkland and ex-Democratic Party chairman Robert Strauss. But because two commission members had minor disagreements with the majority on how to support the contras, this secondary issue was tabled.

In Honduras, Guatemala, and the rest of Central America: The commission's war plans for the rest of Central America include increased aid to the reactionary Honduran military and a resumption of open U.S. aid to the bloodsoaked military rulers of Guatemala. In addition the report calls for stepped-up "training and support of law enforcement agencies" in Central America. These police agencies are notorious for assassinating and imprisoning any opponents of the reactionary regimes in the region. In order to help put down the revolutionary movements in Central America, the Kissinger commission proposes strengthening the coordination between the counterinsurgency efforts of the various countries.

A Manifesto of U.S. Imperialist Expansionism

Utilizing the standard Reaganite code words, the report tries to justify imperialist warmongering with rabid jingoism and crude lies.

It brazenly declares that "the Central American-Caribbean region" is an area of "U.S. security interests." This is the typical imperialist logic by which U.S. imperialism gives itself the right to interfere anywhere in the world. Further spelling out this theme, the report restates U.S. imperialism's contention that Latin America is its private "back yard" of plunder and domination. Thus the report designates Central America as the "strategic rear" of the U.S. In short, the commission justifies the massive U.S. military intervention in Central America and the Caribbean on the grounds that this region must remain under the heel of U.S. imperialism.

The report also repeats over and over the tired old Reaganite lie that the revolutionary struggles in Central America are a Soviet-Cuban plot. In this way the Kissinger commission tries to whitewash U.S. aggression against the revolutionary workers and peasants as a fight against "outside forces," "threatening the region and robbing the people of their hopes for liberty."

The deceit of the commission knows no bounds! The Soviet social-imperialists and revisionist Cuba are no friends of the liberation struggle. But it is U.S. imperialism which is the "outside force" dominating Central America and "threatening the region" with outright invasion. It is the U.S. which is "robbing the people of their hopes for liberty" by supporting every cutthroat dictator in the region. And it is the revolutionary masses of Central America who are fighting the true outside aggressors, U.S. imperialism.

Imperialist Plunder in the Name of Economic Aid

Along with the call for a giant military buildup, the report calls for the U.S. government to spend billions in economic aid for Central America over the next five years. This aid is allegedly going to bring "democracy and economic prosperity" and alleviate the terrible suffering of the masses. Whether all of this enormous program will see the light of day is quite dubious. Nevertheless this economic program plays an important role in the overall report. The Kissinger commission's claims of bringing "prosperity" and "democracy" serve as an excuse for the commission's proposals for an intensified military offensive against the revolutionary movement. After all, the commission argues, how can the U.S. perform its miraculous improvements if "unchecked, the insurgents can destroy faster than the reformers can build." Of course these kindly "reformers" are none other than the U.S.-backed fascist dictators in Central America.

Even if this entire economic program was implemented it would not help the poverty-stricken masses. The recommendations would instead bolster the very economic system of imperialist plunder and exploitation by the local capitalists and landowners which perpetuates this poverty.

For example, it is well known that the U.S. multinationals have flocked to Central America to exploit its "cheap labor," which is deprived of even the most minimal rights to organize by the fascist tyrants. This super-exploitation is glorified by the report which says "U.S. investment in the region now plays a vital and constructive role." On this basis the commission urges the Central American regimes "to pursue policies designed to foster increased investment." Indeed it considers sinking imperialism's claws deeper into the flesh of the toilers as the most important factor in rescuing the faltering economies of the region.

The report also calls for all sorts of aid to the local capitalists and landowners, which are often closely linked with U.S. and other foreign imperialist concerns. It recommends "a firm encourage private enterprise."

This aid to the local and foreign exploiters is estimated to be as much as $24 billion. The commission proposes that $8 billion of this come from the U.S. government. The rest of the aid is to come from U.S. and other imperialist financial sharks. The vast bulk of this "aid" is in the form of loans. This means that the imperialist financier % will reap fat profits while the Central American countries will fall into ever deeper debt enslavement to the imperialists. Clearly the commission's economic program is basically the bankrupt Reaganite "trickle down" theory of bringing "economic prosperity" by filling the coffers of the wealthy.

A Human Rights Face Lift

The bipartisan report also includes as part of its proposals a "human rights" cover-up. It does this by taking up much of the phoney rhetoric of the Democratic Party.

For instance the report states that "with respect to El Salvador, military aid should, through legislation requiring periodic reports, be made contingent upon demonstrated progress toward free elections...termination of the activities of the so-called death squads," etc. In other words, Reagan's commission supports the Democrat's phoney certification process under which Congress has for two years given the Salvadoran dictators massive military aid in return for Reagan's lies about the human rights achievements of the fascist regime.

As well, the commission devotes an entire section of their report to the Democratic Party rhetoric about a "political solution" and "negotiations." This means U.S. imperialism pursues its aims through diplomatic as well as military means. Among other things, the report explicitly praises the efforts of the Contadora group comprised of the bourgeois regimes of Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. Thus the report is calling on the Contadora group to bring pressure against the Central American revolutions as a supplement to the intervention of the U.S. imperialists. The Democrats like to present their "political solution" as an alternative to Reaganite military intervention. But the fact that it was included in the Reaganite report shows that the Democrats' "political solution" is perfectly compatible with increased military intervention. In fact it is a central part of U.S. imperialism's bipartisan "carrot-and-stick" strategy to crush the revolutionary movements with a combination of military might and "negotiations" to lull the vigilance of the masses.

The fact that Reagan's commission incorporated Democratic Party phraseology reflects the fact that the report was a bipartisan effort. Six of the twelve members of the commission were Democrats. And the Democratic Party commission members unanimously endorsed the report, from the well-known jingoist AFL-CIO chieftain Lane Kirkland to misleaders of the Latino community, such as San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros.

The only quibble from any Democrats on the commission was over how to aid the contras who are invading Nicaragua. Cisneros advocated that direct aid to the contras be cut off -- but only until 1985! In addition Cisneros supported the report's proposal to increase military aid to the Honduran military, which is fully integrated into the CIA machinery for training and backing up the contras. What disgusting posturing! A similar stand was taken by Yale professor Carlos F. Diaz-Alejandro who argued for funding the contras through overt aid to Honduras rather than direct covert aid.

Thus these minor disagreements had nothing to do with opposing Reagan's aggression. In spite of these quibbles Cisneros and Diaz-Alejandro warmly endorsed the report and its giant military increases.

Democratic Party "Opposition" -- A Lot of Hot Air

Meanwhile a number of Democrats who were not on the commission are claiming to oppose the Kissinger commission report. But this is not because they oppose the Reaganite war drive. They are merely scared of being identified with the commission's bloodthirsty calls for a military escalation.

But the Democrats are faced with a big problem in trying to criticize Reagan's commission. The Democratic Party's "opposition" policies are so worthless that virtually all of them have been incorporated into the commission report. Thus the Democrats often wind up in the absurd position of demanding policies already upheld by the Reaganite report.

For example, soon after the report was released, about 30 House Democrats led by Representative Markey of Massachusetts responded to it by writing a letter to Reagan. This letter urged Reagan to "shift from military confrontation to a negotiated settlement of the conflicts, an end to U.S. covert actions in Nicaragua, and a linking of further aid to El Salvador to human rights certification."

But how is this different than the Kissinger commission report? The report is willing to go along with the meaningless certification process that has never stopped bipartisan-backed aid to the murderous Salvadoran military. And the commission also phrase- mongered about the goal of "a diplomatic solution that will stop the killing" while the military aid continues to flow. As for the plea to end covert actions in Nicaragua, this goes no further than the two-faced stand of commission member Diaz-Alejandro who supports funding the contras through overt aid to Honduras.

The inability of the Democrats to distinguish their policy from the Reaganite commission can also be seen in the response of the prince of the liberals, Kennedy. In an editorial in the January 30 issue of The Washington Post National Weekly Edition Kennedy explains his "differences" with the report. His basic argument is that he would prefer a policy like that of his brother, John Kennedy, whose "Alliance for Progress...surely served our national interests better than our present unhappy alliance with the forces of repression in El Salvador."

But in fact the Kissinger commission praises the Alliance for Progress to the skies. This is not surprising. Reagan's bipartisan commission is well aware that the Alliance for Progress, contrary to Senator Kennedy's claim, did not mean breaking with "the forces of repression" but propping them up.

The Alliance for Progress was born in the wake of the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion by John Kennedy. The Alliance for Progress was a program to to fund the setting up of pro-U.S. imperialist political parties, trade unions and other organizations in Latin America; to build up the institutions of the exploiters and strengthen exploitation; to further open up markets for' imperialist plunder; and so forth. While John Kennedy administered the Alliance for Progress he also escalated counterinsurgency operations and military aid throughout Central America to directly prop up "the forces of repression." Indeed, as the Reaganite congressman Kemp noted in supporting the Kissinger commission, John Kennedy pledged "to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas" in his 1961 inaugural address. These were Kennedy's catchwords for upholding U.S. imperialist hegemony and backing up the infamous dictatorships. In other words, John Kennedy once again proclaimed the U.S. government to be the policeman of Latin America. Surely the warmongering Kissinger commission could not quarrel with such a policy.

But let us give Senator Kennedy his due. He is not only an expert at misrepresenting his late brother's policy but his own as well. Senator Kennedy is oh so "unhappy" about the U.S. alliance with the butchers in El Salvador. But Mr. Kennedy is evidently able to fight back his tears of sorrow very well because he does not call for ending U.S. aid to El Salvador anywhere in his article. What a classic example of the Democrats' stand on Central America!

When Reagan initiated the Kissinger commission last summer, he charged it with the task of developing a "national consensus" in support of his Central American war effort. What the report shows is that such a consensus exists between the Reaganites and the Democratic Party "opposition," including those Democrats who criticized the commission report. The report confirms once again that the Democratic Party "opposition" is no opposition at all. Clearly Reagan's imperialist aggression is supported by the Republicans and Democrats alike.

As for the report's efforts to build a "national consensus" among the American working masses, youth and students, they will fail miserably. This report is already an object of scorn in the broad movement against U.S. intervention in Central America. Its blatant warmongering is sure to further arouse the masses against U.S. imperialist aggression.

[Photo: Salvadoran revolutionary fighters on patrol in liberated Usulutan.]

[Back to Top]

An Ode to the Fighters for Humanity

This is an ode for the Grenadian fighters

Who shot the Cobra gunships down,

Then, overwhelmed, hid their guns and faded

Among the people of the town.

This is an ode to the Cuban workers,

Lacking even Castro's aid,

Their calloused hands such a mighty fist

They seemed an army brigade.

This is an ode to the masses of Cuba,

Told by Castro not to fight,

Who warned the imperialists from their doorsteps

Not to press this fight.

This is an ode to the American masses

Who cannot forget Viet Nam.

I love their No to the Reagan soldier,

Their No to the Reagan bomb.

This is an ode to the world's working people.

Who but they can turn this tide?

What course but revolutionary struggle

Can be the workers' reply?

[Back to Top]

The Crime Was Done in Grenada

"I do not know why young men die,"

The hypocrite general said,

As the hypocritical bugle blew

Taps for the Reagan dead.

And the hypocritical media

Hushed up Grenadian dead,

As if when blacks were massacred

It was not red blood they bled.

And the hypocrite Democrats, too,

Kissed Reagan's blood-red hand.

''Tip" and the freezeniks backed aggression

With a bipartisan stand.

"It's Viet Nam! I've seen it before!"

Rushed through tormented brains,

As if the ghouls Dean Rusk and Lyndon

Napalmed kids again.

As if it was 1967 and,

Returned from Viet Nam's shore,

The 82nd Airborne big-sticked

Blacks in Detroit once more.

Why should we murder working folk

For the rich who suck our blood?

Is the Dow Jones Average, or the dividend, cause

To die in foreign mud?

They want to starve us workers

While they sip our blood like tea.

To save the world for Texaco

We 're sent across the sea.

Say No to the imperialist wars of Reagan!

No to their venomous lies!

Say No to ''My country, right or wrong"!

Spit in their jingoist eyes!

The enemy of American workers

Is not a foreign one.

It schemes in plush-lined offices

In Wall Street and Washington.

The blood that's shed by imperialism's

Aggressive war machine unloosed

Will come back. Like Malcolm said of Kennedy:

''Chickens come home to roost."

--From a reader

[Back to Top]

Capitalist austerity program in Tunisia and Morocco

Masses Revolt Against Food Price Hikes

In late December and early January the poverty-stricken toiling masses in Tunisia and Morocco rose up in powerful revolts against steep rises in the price of bread and most other basic foodstuffs. The price hikes were part of austerity campaigns being launched by the governments of these two countries to shift the burden of the economic crisis onto the shoulders of the workers and peasants. They were planned in conjunction with the imperialist bankers through the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

When the masses revolted against the price increases, the governments of both countries came down with ferocious repression, killing hundreds of people and injuring and arresting hundreds more. Nevertheless, the exploiters were so shaken that both governments were forced to temporarily back down on the huge price hikes. This shows that the mass struggle is a powerful weapon in the hands of the working masses.

Tunisia and Morocco are ruled by governments of exploiters. They are both Arab countries in North Africa which also have a common history of colonial rule by French imperialism through the mid-1950's. Both countries maintain close links with French imperialism and have also linked up closely with U.S. imperialism's reactionary offensive in the Mediterranean- Middle East region against the revolutionary ferment among the masses. The recent revolts of the toilers in these two countries has alarmed the U.S. imperialists who are worried of future developments in this region.


On December 27, Morocco's King Hassan II announced a series of austerity measures. But he sought to appease the masses by claiming that the rich would pay for them. The Interior Minister went so far as to make the fantastic declaration that the government's policy was "to enrich the poor without impoverishing the rich.'' But the lie was exposed when in early January prices jumped on gasoline, soap, candles, meat and other foodstuffs and necessities. This dealt a severe blow to the workers and poor in this country of 25 million where 9.4 million exist on less than 45 cents a day and the average income in 1981 was only $860. With wages frozen for two years while the cost of living has practically doubled over the past three years, the masses were enraged at these new hikes.

When reports circulated that school fees would also go up, angry high school students stormed the streets of the southern city of Marrakech on January 8. The protests and demonstrations quickly spread to at least six other cities, including the capital, Rabat. Hassan attempted to suppress the masses with bloody force, using the army, tanks and helicopters. According to Spanish press reports, as many as 200 people were killed.

On January 22, the badly shaken Hassan rescinded price increases on bread, sugar and cooking oil. He feebly tried to blame the uprisings on "a multifaceted conspiracy perpetrated by Marxist-Leninists, zionist agents and Khomeiniites,'' who were supposedly seeking the collapse of the conference of Islamic nations being held in Casablanca.

In actual fact, the masses revolted because of their wretched conditions of life which have been worsened further by crisis in the domestic economy and the worldwide depression. A severe drought now in its third year has seriously hurt agricultural production. It has also made useless the hydroelectric projects in which the government had invested heavily, forcing Morocco to rely on oil imports for 85% of its energy. Prices for phosphate, the country's main export, have dropped considerably due to the world capitalist crisis. In this situation, Hassan has borrowed over $700 million from the International Monetary Fund since 1980. With its claws now sunk into the Moroccan people's flesh, the IMF demanded, and the Moroccan government readily agreed, to shift the burden of the crisis onto the toiling masses through cuts in food subsidies and other austerity measures. This caused a 67% price rise in staples like flour, sugar and cooking oil, among other things. It is against this policy of starvation that the Moroccan masses revolted.


On December 29, the government of President Habib Bourguiba announced measures that caused the price of bread, which provides 60% of the nutrition of the poor and toilers, to jump 125%, from about eight cents a loaf to eighteen cents. With almost 25% unemployment and with many more people chronically underemployed, the price increases were a harsh blow. Immediately the masses revolted, beginning in Nafzoua in the poorer and less industrialized southern part of the country. By January 1 the uprising had spread to the industrial center of Kasserine. By January 2, to the industrial towns of Gabes and Fafsa, where unionized workers joined in the demonstrations without the consent of their national leadership. On January 3, protests erupted in Tunis, the capital city of 1.1 million, and Sfax, the second largest city. Everywhere the youth were particularly active and vigorous in the uprisings.

Frantic to suppress the revolts, Bourguiba declared a state of emergency and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Massive force was directed against the people as riot police, soldiers, tanks and armored personnel carriers filled the cities. Some 60 people were killed and 800-900 arrested. Undaunted, the people attacked both public and private buildings and battled police with rocks. High school students marched in the streets chanting slogans against the government. In the capital, Tunis, and throughout this country of 6.6 million people, the demonstrators attacked symbols of wealth, including airline buildings, banks, gas stations and fancy shops of high-priced goods. It was the largest upsurge since a powerful general strike shook the country in January, 1978.

Tunisia, like Morocco and many other countries, is suffering greatly from the worldwide capitalist economic crisis. The prices of its principal export, crude oil, have dropped drastically and the quantity sold on the world market has declined. Because of the lengthy drought, agriculture has suffered, with production of cereal grains down 350,000 tons from last year. Thus the country had to import over one million tons of wheat. Its external debt has risen to $2.5 billion.

Attempting to shift this crisis onto the masses, the government had decided to reduce food imports and raise prices in the new budget which was announced December 29. As well, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank pressed the government to abolish subsidies on flour and other foodstuffs as austerity measures to cut the budget deficit. These subsidies had kept the bread price stable for over 15 years.

The revolt of the masses forced Bourguiba to roll back the price increase on bread on January 6. But this was only a temporary maneuver by the government in the face of the mass upsurge. Since that time the government has been working on reimposing the austerity measures. On February 3, the Tunisian prime minister announced a new round of austerity measures, including an 11% increase in the price of bread. According to him, the problem with the earlier price hike pf 125% was that it had been "too abrupt." Now the government plans to impose the price hikes slowly in order to avoid "abrupt" increases that may lead to further revolts.

The revolt of the toiling masses in Tunisia and Morocco is another example of the powerful impulse being given to the class struggle of the exploited masses by the current world economic crisis of capitalism. The only thing that the local exploiters and world imperialism have to offer to the impoverished masses of the dependent countries is ever-increasing austerity measures and repression.

But the offensive of imperialism and the bourgeoisie inexorably leads to revolutionary upheavals. Through strikes, protests and revolts, the toiling masses have shown their ability to win temporary concessions from the exploiters. But to defend any victories they win and to fundamentally improve the conditions of the masses, the workers and peasants face the all- important task of getting organized. It requires them to carry their class struggle forward to the overthrow of imperialist oppression and the domestic exploiting classes.

[Photo: A scene from the 1978 general strike which swept Tunisia.]

[Back to Top]

'Socialist' Mitterrand sends in the riot police

Peugeot-Talbot auto workers strike against layoffs

In December and early January, auto workers at the Talbot auto plant in the suburban Paris town of Poissy waged a militant strike and factory occupation against layoffs. In the course of this struggle fierce clashes took place between the largely immigrant auto workers and thugs who tried to break the strike. The workers also confronted riot police ordered out against them by the so-called "socialist" government of Francois Mitterrand.

The Talbot struggle was an important battle against a massive offensive of layoffs being carried out in France today by the capitalist employers and the Mitterrand government. The workers of France are faced with a situation where the government is made up of an alliance between the social-democratic Socialist Party (SP), and the pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party (CP), and where the largest trade union centers are also connected to these two Parties. The workers at Talbot faced a difficult situation where the "left" government gave the go- ahead for the layoffs and the "left" trade unions did their best to undermine the workers' struggle. The struggle at Talbot is another graphic example of the treachery and anti- worker nature of the social-democrats and revisionists. It shows that any advance for the workers is only possible through a relentless struggle against these scabs and traitors. The workers must rescue the banners of class struggle and communism which have been utterly betrayed by the social-democrats and revisionists.

The Struggle at Talbot

The struggle at Talbot-Poissy first erupted on July 21, 1983 when Peugeot, France's largest privately owned company, confirmed plans to lay off thousands of the 81,000 employees in its Talbot division. Following announcement of the layoff plans, the 17,000 workers at Talbot's Poissy plant walked out in a one-day protest.

In France, layoffs must be approved by the government. Thus negotiations were carried out between the unions and Jack Ralite, the CP minister of employment, which delayed the layoffs until winter. On December 7, hearing of the impending elimination of 2,905 jobs, hundreds of workers downed their tools and began an occupation of the factory under the slogan "Not a single layoff!" Immigrant workers, who comprise 53% of the work force, played a central role in the strike. Mainly Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan, many of the immigrants were recruited for the French auto plants during the economic boom of the 1960's. Placed in the worst unskilled jobs, toiling under harsh conditions, with veterans of the French colonial forces in Algeria as their foremen, the immigrant workers have become a very militant and powerful section of the auto workers.

On December 17 Ralite reached a deal with Peugeot. The government would approve 1,905 of the 2,905 layoffs requested. In return, Peugeot would invest some $150 million in retooling and modernization and would provide "job retraining" for the laid-off workers. The strikers rejected this sellout and continued occupying the factory. They felt that the type of "retraining" being offered was a cruel fraud on immigrant workers already in their 40's, unskilled in French, and with unemployment very high and discrimination rampant. As well, the $150 million in modernization means even more jobs lost through automation.

Furious at the workers for rejecting this plan, on December 31 "socialist" Mitterrand's Prime Minister Pierre Mauroy ordered the notorious CRS riot police to throw the striking workers out of the plant. But when Talbot- Poissy reopened on January 3, banners and leaflets filled the plant, and the workers opposed to the layoffs again successfully halted production. A mass meeting was held on the plant floor to vote on continuing the strike. The local leader of the CGT (General Confederation of Labor), which is led by the revisionist Communist Party, counseled the workers to accept the layoffs as a "necessity," appealed for "moderation," and criticized "adventurism." She was hissed and booed by the workers. The local leader of the Socialist Party-led union, the CFDT (French Democratic Labor Confederation), seeking to place his union at the head of the movement, hypocritically called for the strike to go on; two days later he was to call in the riot police. The workers voted to resume their strike and again occupied the plant.

The next day, and again on January 5, about 1,000 nonstriking employees, comprised primarily of members of the fascist CSL union (foremen's and technicians' Free Union Federation) viciously attacked the strikers. Violent battles ensued both days, with over 85 injuries, as the striking workers determinedly stood up against this assault. Frightened at the workers' staunch militancy, the CFDT leader utterly betrayed the workers by calling in the riot police, who again evicted the strikers from the plant. Undaunted, the workers marched to the center of Poissy and demonstrated against the government and the layoffs. On January 11, the traitorous CGT and CFDT leadership suspended the strike, calling on the workers to return despite 1,905 workers being laid off.

The Talbot Struggle Shows the Ferment Brewing Among the French Workers Against the Capitalist Offensive

Despite the outcome of the Talbot struggle, this fight is a welcome development which shows that the workers of France are taking up the struggle against layoffs. This is particularly significant because the monopoly capitalists and the Mitterrand government are launching a massive offensive on this front.

At the present time, a record 2.3 million people in France are seeking work; between March and December 1983, 163,000 workers lost their jobs. Yet Mitterrand plans to "increase productivity" by approving layoffs in nationalized and private companies. In the nationalized steel industry he aims to reduce the large financial losses by cutting workers' jobs. In state-owned coal mines the Mitterrand government is freezing subsidies and may slash production plans for 1986 to such an extent that one-third of 57,000 mining jobs could be lost. In the auto industry, where bourgeois analysts call for reducing the work force and improving efficiency to save the monopolists, some 40,000 jobs may be eliminated by 1985, particularly in the auto plant belt around Paris. One study on the effects of automation shows that in 1990, only 82.8% of the auto workers employed in 1980 will still be employed. The number of production workers would decline 25%. Already there is talk that Renault will soon need to lay off 6,000 workers and Citroen 7,000 in order to survive.

The Workers Can Advance Only Through Struggle Against the Capitalists and Their "Left" Servants

The layoffs offensive shows that the stage is being set for major clashes between the workers and the capitalists. In this struggle, the workers have to fight not only the private employers but also the "socialist" and "communist" leaders.

Mitterrand and the social-democratic/revisionist alliance came to power in May 1981 promising jobs and increased purchasing power for the workers. Despite all his talk about being for socialism and the working class, Mitterrand and his cronies have shown in practice that they are loyal lackeys of the capitalists. The French government of the "left front" is spearheading the offensive to rationalize industry, eliminate jobs and work the workers to death. To enforce these attacks, the social-democratic and revisionist trade union bureaucrats have done everything possible to undermine the workers' resistance. They have shown that they will go as far as calling in the police to crush the workers' battles.

The workers of France can only give one proper answer to the capitalists and their social-democratic and revisionist servants -- militant class struggle.

[Photo: A scene from the workers' occupation of the Talbot auto plant. This picture is reprinted from a recent article in La Forge, organ of the Workers' Communist Party of France, which called for solidarity with the Talbot workers' struggle.]

[Photo: The real face of Mitterrand's 'socialist' government: riot police move in against the Talbot workers.]

[Back to Top]

General strike rocks the Uruguayan dictatorship

On January 19 the workers of Uruguay staged a successful 24-hour general strike. This was the first general strike in 11 years of military rule. The strike was especially strong in Montevideo, the capital, where half the country's population lives. The city was virtually a ghost town for 24 hours;' no buses ran and factories and stores were shut tight.

The strike was organized by a confederation of 150 trade unions and supported by a number of illegal political parties. The strike combined a number of major economic and political demands. These included demands for- higher wages, union rights for public employees, democratic rights, amnesty for political prisoners, and for an end to military rule altogether.

This recent strike is the highest point yet reached by the mass movement against the dictatorship that broke into the open last year. It came only a month and a half after the massive demonstration that shook Montevideo on November 27. On that day, 400,000 people rallied in protest, chanting slogans such as: "The military dictatorship will fall!" (For a report of that demonstration see the December 15, 1983 issue of this paper.)

Since the November 27 demonstration there have been a series of actions against the military government. This period has also seen the emergence of the first strike wave since the beginning of military rule. Bus drivers went on strike in December, and in early January 600 workers at a wool weaving factory began an occupation of their plant. These struggles led the way to the general strike of January 19.

This wave of strikes has broken out in the face of a continued deterioration of the country's economy. Real income for the average worker dropped more than 10% last year, and soup kitchens are proliferating in Montevideo.

In their strikes and demonstrations, the workers of Uruguay are also pressing a variety of political demands. A major demand is that the government cease its policy of firing public sector workers on the basis of their ideological "purity." The military rulers have compiled a computerized list that ranks every Uruguayan citizen according to their ideology, loyalty to the regime, etc. Public sector workers with a low ranking are discharged from their jobs and blacklisted.

The Uruguayan dictatorship has met the recent upsurge of mass struggle with a new wave of repression. They are particularly alarmed by the open presence of illegal parties of the left at the November 27 demonstration. They had thought they had squashed the left through eleven years of brutal terrorist rule.

Today the generals have again banned demonstrations and imposed stringent censorship on newspapers and magazines. At latest report a tense situation prevails in Uruguay. After the January 19 strike the military banned the confederation of trade unions that organized it and closed down news magazines which reported on it. Trade union leaders have gone into hiding to avoid arrest. The government sent soldiers to storm the factory occupied by the workers and drive them out.

The Legal Bourgeois Opposition Kneels Down Before the Generals

The Uruguayan generals are scared of the developing mass upsurge. Along with their renewed crackdown, they are also trying to blackmail the mass movement by threatening that the continuation of protests may force a postponement of the elections scheduled for November 1984.

These elections are a complete farce. They are nothing but an attempt by the generals to provide themselves with a civilian facade in the face of popular discontent. The only parties to be allowed to legally participate in these elections are the old Colorado and Nacional Parties, the main bourgeois parties since the mid- 19th century, and the Civic Union, a small Catholic party. The generals have also prohibited 8,000 political leaders from participating in the elections, mainly from the left, but also some from the bourgeois parties. Not only are the military rulers determining who will be allowed to run in the elections, but they are also planning a permanent supervisory role for themselves in the proposed "civilian" government that gets elected.

These elections have all along been widely denounced by the masses, and even the legal bourgeois opposition -- the Colorado and Nacional Parties and the Civic Union -- was forced to echo this oppositional sentiment. But the fraudulent nature of their "opposition" now stands exposed as they are kneeling down before the military's threat to postpone the November fraud. They are working hard to conciliate the military. Since November 27, these parties have toned down the criticism of the generals in their party press. To quell any fears the generals may have about being prosecuted by a civilian government, the legal opposition parties have promised the generals a general amnesty from any crimes committed during military rule. At the same time, they are working hard to smother the mass movement. To this end the legal parties opposed the January 19 general strike, calling it "inopportune."

The struggle against the military dictatorship has thus already begun to bring into the open the deep gulf which separates the bourgeois opposition from the working masses of the country. The bourgeois opposition only seeks a compromise with the military rulers, while the masses are fighting for fundamental political and economic changes.

The aspirations of the workers cannot be fulfilled through compromise with the military dictatorship. To uproot the fascist reaction and liberate themselves from exploitation the workers of Uruguay need to carry forward the struggle against the dictatorship and crown it through a victorious socialist revolution.

[Back to Top]

Social-democratic government arrests two leaders of CPL

Solidarity with Dominican Marxist-Leninists

The social-democratic government of the Dominican Republic is continuing its campaign of repression and harassment against the revolutionary movement. The latest target of this campaign is the leadership of the Communist Party of Labor (CPL), the Marxist-Leninist party of the Dominican working class.

The front page headline of the January 30 issue of the Santo Domingo daily La Noticia screams "Police Link the CPL to Colombian Guerrillas." According to the paper's account, the Secretary General of the CPL, Rafael Chaljub Mejia, and another leader of the Party, Luis Manuel Reyes Munos, were arrested by the Dominican National Police upon their arrival from Bogota. They were interrogated by the Secret Department of the National Police which says that it suspects the CPL of having links with the revolutionary guerrilla movement in Colombia. Following protests of the families and others at the Palace of the Police, and after being held overnight, the CPL leaders were released. However, it appears that the case is not over and may still be under investigation.

The arrest of comrades Rafael and Luis is not an isolated incident. It is only the latest in a whole string of cases of government harassment and persecution against activists in the revolutionary movement including militants of the CPL. The social-democratic government of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (DRP), in agreement with the demands of the U.S. imperialists and the International Monetary Fund, is striving to saddle the working masses with the burden of the capitalist economic crisis. It is coming down with the iron fist against the mass struggles. An example of this was the shooting down of the CPL militant Nicolas Valerio during a student protest just over a year ago.

It is only natural that the government finds it necessary to persecute the leaders of the CPL. This is because they know the CPL is a vanguard fighter in the mass struggles of the workers and peasants. They recognize that it is a militant opponent of the social-democratic government of the big capitalists and landlords. And they fear Marxism-Leninism as a powerful revolutionary force.

In its growing fear of the revolutionary drive of the masses, the "human rights" mask is slipping from the face of the DRP government. When the DRP came to power in 1978 it freed the political prisoners of the previous Balaguer dictatorship. (It should be noted that both of the CPL leaders, comrades Rafael and Luis, spent many years languishing in Balaguer's dungeons.) The freeing of the political prisoners, including the release of leftists suspected of links to the guerrilla movement against the former tyranny, was one of the DRP's principal claims to popularity. But now this same government has gone to the absurdity of arresting revolutionaries on the outlandish charge of having links to a guerrilla movement -- on the other side of the Caribbean Sea! Of course, if the government plans to arrest supporters of the revolution in the other countries of Latin America and the world, the Dominican prisons will soon be overflowing once again, because the Dominican working masses have a militant internationalist spirit.

Indeed, the arrest of the two CPL leaders shows that the international bourgeoisie fears the revolutionary movement of the working class and toilers as an international force. It dreads the specter of the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries strengthening their bonds of solidarity and cooperation. This is especially true today in Central America and the Caribbean where U.S. imperialism and the local exploiting class are being pounded by a powerful revolutionary upsurge.

The Workers' Advocate vigorously protests the persecution of the CPL leaders by the Dominican government. We express our proletarian internationalist solidarity with our fraternal comrades of the CPL, confident that no amount of repression and intimidation can stop the revolutionary work of the Dominican Marxist-Leninists. Arrests and harassment cannot stop the revolutionary struggle of the CPL and the Dominican working class and toilers against the DRP government, the capitalists and landlords, and the U.S. imperialist yoke.

[Photo: Comrade Rafael Chaljab Mejia (center), Secretary General of the CPL (PCT In Spanish), leads a May Day demonstration in Santo Domingo in 1983.]

[Back to Top]

2nd Conference of CPL of Dominican Republic greets MLP,USA

To: National Executive Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party, United States of America

Dear Comrades,

This letter serves to express to you our most sincere thanks for the message sent by your Party to the "Onelio Espaillat" Second National Conference of Professional Cadre, carried out by our organization on the 10th and 11th of the current month of December.

This event, which culminated with complete success, authorized us to send you this communication, reciprocating your friendly salute [to our Conference]. Taking advantage of the circumstance that the first day of the coming year, 1984, will mark four years since the founding of the MLP,USA, our Conference considered the occasion opportune to send you our warm expressions of internationalist appreciation and the permanent wish that you advance on the road of the proletarian revolution and accomplish all the tasks that you have set for yourselves.

For the strengthening of our fraternal relations and with revolutionary greetings,

The Political Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Labor (Dominican Republic)

December 25,1983

(Translated by the WA staff.)

[Back to Top]

'Union Boss'

(In honor of the retirement of Douglas Fraser as president of the United Auto Workers. To the tune of 'Union Maid.')

There once was a union boss

Who was never at a loss

At selling out the workers' cause,

Delivering us into the capitalists

When the bosses said, 'Concede!

He did the dirty deed:

A contract flushing down the drain

What the workers fought to gain.


Oh, you can't tell him from your employer,

Or a bourgeois lawyer, he s a destroyer

Of all the rights you fight and die for,

In the class war for liberty.

When Reagan said to jump

His carcass he did hump:

He kissed the feet of Henry Ford

And joined Iacocca on the Chrysler Board.

When Kennedy ran for election,

He hugged him with affection

And swore that he would go to bat

For every Democrat.


A mighty fist he made

At Japanese foreign trade.

Oh, loudly he would shriek and cuss

At ''aliens " oh so ''devious"!

But when the Big Three came around

He'd kneel down to the ground,

And when they hawked their wage-cut plans

He'd always "Buy American"!


This boss is not alone;

His followers have grown

Like rabbits to a numerous host,

Occupying cushy union posts.

When the bosses holler: "Trouble!"

Here come these thugs on the double,

Cowardly wielding baseball bats

Against the workers' wildcats.


Oh, you can't tell them from your employer,

Or a bourgeois lawyer, they are destroyers

Of all the rights you fight and die for

In the class war for liberty.

Now as this boss retires,

To Cabinet he aspires

To prettify the Helm of State

And seal in blood the workers fate.

His proteges are no better;

The rank and file they fetter.

Against concessions how they scream!

While hatching brand-new sellout schemes!


You workers must rebel,

Send union hacks to hell,

Declare that you will not concede

A singe penny to the capitalists' greed.

Reject the bourgeois factions;

With powerful mass actions,

March forward militantly

To fight the bourgeoisie.


Then they'11 be kicked aside like their employers.

No bourgeois lawyers can restore them.

Then the workers all across the nation

For emancipation will be battling.

--from a reader

[Back to Top]


Dear comrades:

I have been reading over these new documents of the 2nd Congress of the Party. These resolutions are a tremendous inspiration to the struggles of the working people against capitalist exploitation in all its monstrous forms! It will certainly be through the working class' understanding through its experience and theoretical understanding that this mighty material force will organize in a revolutionary way and make its revolution to liberate itself and the rest of toiling humanity!

The most important parts to grasp now and implement are as I understand:

(1) Helping to effectively organize the will to struggle against the exploiters.

(2) As the mass movements grow, expose the liberal/laborite capitalist agents and promote the motion of the politically independent mass movements against the capitalists.

(3) Promote the fact in educating and organizing the class that working people need their own class party -- the MLP,USA!

(4) Redouble our best efforts to deal telling blows at the social-democratic and labor faker Judases who seek to cripple the workers by tying their actions to support for the boss-controlled Democratic Party!

(5) Link up the isolated workers' struggles into one mighty torrent that will eventually shake up and force the ruling plutocrats and their "labor" quislings in the labor struggles to cry uncle!

(6) Build the MLP,USA in the heat of the class struggles along with building up the mass movements against concessions, cutbacks, speedups, unemployment, racial oppression and imperialist war preparations, etc.!


Los Angeles

January 1,1984 --

Thanks for letter. I received Volume 13, Number 8 issue after mailing letter to you. Thank you. It took a lot of work to "fill up" the paper like you did. Additionally, compliments are due your Party for your successful holding of. your 2nd Party Congress. It was good to read your generalized views on the world situation, and the tasks facing the vanguard, the advanced workers and masses, all the oppressed. I anxiously await the complete text of your Party's resolutions.

Revolutionary Greetings, Greensboro, NC

Dear Comrades,

Heartfelt congratulations on the successful holding of the 2nd Congress. As always, the MLP is steadfastly forging ahead on the revolutionary path, guiding the way forward for the American working class and people. I'm eagerly looking forward to hearing more about the resolutions....

Red Salute to the MLP and its successful 2nd Congress.

Waldoboro, ME

Dear Friends:

This past weekend I read and reread The Workers' Advocate's lead article on the 2nd Congress of the M-L Party. Though the full resolutions text is presently unpublished, the communique; nevertheless boldly focuses upon problems facing the proletariat. These issues are reviewed with a scientific socialist insight well versed in understanding and forethought.

For years the working class has lacked a REAL Party of its own, a fighting Party that will expose and combat revisionist, labor-faker, social-democratic, and reformist lies and double dealings. The laboring folk seek solutions, not palliatives, crumbs, or meaningless promises. Hence, the obvious importance of the 2nd Congress as a clarion call to awaken dormant hopes, mend and organize workers' splintered ranks, and lead the CAUSTIC struggle to establish the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

As a national minority I look forward to the "...Struggle Against...National Oppression" resolution since the National Question is often utilized by the ruling plutocracy to divide and conquer.

Awaiting the next Workers' Advocate, I remain,


Mount Vernon, NY

Dear Comrades:

Enclosed please find $1.00 in currency. Please send me one copy of The Workers' Advocate, Volume 14, Number 1 (Documents of the Second Congress of the MLP,USA). This is Great! I want an extra copy to send to a friend. This is a fine analysis.

Lexington, KY

[Back to Top]

Follow the path of the Second Congress of the MLP

Opposing reformism is a vital part of any real fight against the capitalist offensive


The Marxist-Leninist Party held New Year's celebrations in a number of cities across the country. These celebrations hailed the fourth anniversary of the founding of the MLP and the successful holding of the Second Congress. Below we reprint a speech presented at one of these celebrations. The speech was edited for publication.

Comrades, the Second Congress developed a very rich summation of the history of the revolutionary struggle of the working masses and of the experience of our Party. But for this summation to enter into the lifeblood of the working masses; for it to become a force educating the workers in their own class interests, guiding them in struggle, assisting them to get organized; for this to take place, it is essential that we conscientiously apply the lessons summed up at the Congress to the practical struggle and that we conduct a wide campaign to circulate the Congress documents and bring their life-giving truth to the masses of the workers.

Of course all of this requires that we ourselves have a good understanding of the line of the Second Congress; that we ourselves seriously study the documents and discuss them in detail. Tonight we want to make a start at this discussion.

In a single night it is quite impossible for us to discuss all of the rich analysis of the Second Congress. That requires a whole period of study and we hope that everyone present tonight will join with the Party in an organized and systematic study of the documents over the next several months. But tonight we want to begin this discussion by taking up a couple of points of the analysis of the Second Congress. What I want to discuss tonight is the assessment of certain of the key features of the present situation and what this assessment means for strengthening the ties of the Party with the working masses in this new year.

The Reaganite Big Stick

Of course the first thing characterizing this period is Reaganite reaction; that is, the big stick of the capitalist offensive that is being wielded against the working masses.

Recently Reagan's adviser Edwin Meese declared that there is no proof that there is hunger in the U.S. Now comrades, this is not a statement based on some misinformation received by the Reagan government. Nor is it merely the insensitive ravings of a man who has spent so much time in the cocktail parties of the rich that he is too drunk to see the plight of the starving unemployed workers. No, with this statement Meese is acting as the point man for the Reaganite offensive against the workers. Meese is declaring that the Reagan government sees nothing wrong with having 15 million workers unemployed, or with thousands dying in the cold, or with hunger sweeping the country like a plague. Meese is doing propaganda for even more cuts of social benefits, for even greater attacks on the working masses.

This is the policy of the Reagan government, and indeed of the entire capitalist class, to starve the working masses for the sake of the profits for the greedy capitalists. And everywhere Reagan is backing up this policy with the club. Whether it is the sending of thousands upon thousands of troops with the most sophisticated weaponry to trample on the small and virtually unarmed people of Grenada; or whether it is the sending of the police with their clubs and water cannon to beat up the striking Greyhound workers: Reaganism means brutal terror against the working masses.

So this, the brutal capitalist offensive headed up by the Reagan government, is the first feature of the present situation that we must deal with.

The Activation of Reformism

The second feature that should be mentioned is that the capitalists are also making more and more use of reformism to misdirect, divert, disorganize and demoralize the working masses. The capitalists do not use the big stick alone; they are also using the trade union bureaucrats, the misleaders of the black people, the social-democrats, the revisionists and other reformists to undermine the struggle against the capitalist offensive.

Now when we talk of reformism we are not speaking of some step-by-step improvement of the conditions of the working masses. Nor are we saying that the problem is that the reformists improve the workers' lot only piecemeal. No this is not the problem. Experience with reformism, study of the vital role that it has played in the capitalist offensive, shows that what reformism means is collaborating with the capitalists in suppressing the mass struggle and implementing the capitalist program.

Now there are those opportunists who claim that Reaganism means that reformism is no longer a force; that it is no longer a stumbling block for the struggling masses. For example, Jerry Tung, the general secretary of the Maoist Communist Workers Party (CWP), has declared that it is no longer necessary to fight reformism, that reformism is no longer a "social prop'' of capitalist rule, because the Democratic Party leadership is "bankrupt'' and that "George Meany is dead, Lane Kirkland is old. The rest of them are like fossils, a bunch of helpless, incompetent old bureaucrats...the opportunist forces are...worn out...There really isn't any social prop to speak of.'' (Workers' Viewpoint, December 22 -- December 29, 1982) The CWP argues that, since there is a capitalist offensive, there is no room for reformism to improve the workers' conditions. Hence, the CWP concludes, we must join all the reformist fossils, corpses and bankrupts and campaign all out in support of this political hack or that old bureaucrat.

This assessment is of course quite ridiculous. Reformism in the 1960's and 70's didn't mean helping the working class, but disorganizing it. Reformism meant empty, lying talk of progress hand in hand with the capitalists, while helping the capitalists suppress the revolutionary class struggle which is the only real source of progress. Today too, anyone with eyes to see will notice that along with hunger and terror the capitalists are increasingly using reformism to impose the capitalists' "takebacks" on the masses.

For example, in the last year we have seen a whole series of black mayoral candidates run for office on the promise that they would improve the conditions of the oppressed people. Harold Washington is a good example. He rode into office promising the masses the moon; and then immediately upon taking the mayor's seat he implemented austerity cutbacks, he beefed up the police, he gave tax breaks to the rich corporations and so forth.

The Jesse Jackson campaign for the nomination to be the Democratic Party presidential candidate is similar. Jackson over and over claims he represents the "poor and abused" masses. But his actual program is one of collaborating with the worst racists and reactionaries against the workers and downtrodden. The high point of Jackson's voter registration drive in the south was to have what he called a "summit meeting" with the arch racist George Wallace. At the end of December Jackson called the "moral majority" leader Jerry Falwell asking for "unity" in a joint campaign to pressure Reagan to take a more militant stand in support of the reactionary Christian school leaders who were recently jailed in Nebraska for refusing to even apply to have their school certified by the state. And just a few days ago, Jackson emphasized that he was able to obtain the release of the U.S. fighter pilot from Syria because of the support he got from such notorious reactionary warmongers as Barry Goldwater.

This is the reality of Jackson's program: he makes sweet promises of peace, jobs and democratic rights to lull the masses to sleep, while he wheels and deals with the arch reactionaries to saddle the working masses with the capitalist program of starvation, reaction and imperialist war preparations. And then you have the CWP fervently supporting this rotten deception of the masses while assuring all and sundry that reformism is no problem. Indeed, support for the Jackson campaign has become the focus of activity for all sorts of social-democrats, revisionists and trotskyites.

"Left" Reformism

Now the reformism of Jackson and company is not the only form of reformism that the masses face. In the last few years we have also seen that whenever the masses go into action; whenever they begin moving to the left; whenever the activists become disgusted with the more capitulationist stands of the black misleaders, of the union bureaucrats, and of other reformists; then various trends have come up which espouse more militant slogans, but who refuse to actually break with the reformists.

Take the struggle of the auto workers. In 1982 the Ford and GM workers became disgusted with the outrageous sellout by Fraser and the other top leaders of the UAW. The rank-and-file auto workers were itching for a fight against concessions. What happened? Up popped LOC (Locals Opposed to Concessions). LOC was made up of social-democratic, trotskyite, revisionist and other reformist bureaucrats. They raised the slogan of "No Concessions." And they called on the workers to follow them.

But where did they lead? Right back into the arms of the top bosses of the UAW. LOC refused to organize the rank-and-file workers to fight the auto capitalists. They refused to organize the workers independently of the top sellout UAW hacks. Instead, the rank and file was supposed to sit on its hands and wait for these "heroes" to maneuver with Fraser in the bargaining council meetings. And what happened? The rank and file were disorganized and LOC collapsed at the first pressure from Fraser.

We have seen similar phenomena in the anti-war movement. There, a trend which we might call "left" social- democracy has come up. This trend will at times speak against imperialism, but it won't break with the Democratic Party.

For example, there is an anti-imperialist group that the Party's been working with. It has honest activists, but as an ideological trend it has been unable to break completely with the Democrats. It carries banners such as "U.S. imperialism out of Central America." But its anti-imperialism is not based on class analysis and the class struggle. It cannot see, for example, that the struggle of the toilers of Central America against their own domestic exploiters is an essential part of the struggle against U.S. imperialism. Thus, while this group will shout against U.S. imperialist aggression in Central America, it also has the illusion that the Contadora group (made up of the Mexican, Venezuelan, Panamanian and Colombian bourgeoisies) is playing a progressive role in the region.

The Contadora group is calling for Nicaragua to get on its knees and let U.S. imperialism dictate its policy and for the guerrillas in El Salvador to put down their weapons and trust their fate to negotiations with the death squads. In short the Contadora group is working to put out the flames of revolution in Central America. This, the Contadora group calls "political solution." Of course the policy of a so-called "political solution" is also the policy of the Democratic Party in the U.S. It amounts to a policy of covering up for Reaganite aggression and U.S. imperialist dictate with sweet words about "peace" and "democracy." Thus, the anti-imperialist group that I mentioned, while giving some anti-imperialist slogans, ends up supporting the imperialist policy of the Democratic Party.

The reformist ideology that still grips this group threatens to capture the militant, anti-imperialist sentiment coming up among the activists and, instead of moving them forward to revolutionary conclusions, draws them backwards into the grips of the Democratic Party. As I've pointed out, this group has many honest members and the Party works to help them advance. But this can only be done by opposing the reformist ideology that still has them on a string.

The Independent Movement of the Workers Won't Come Automatically

Thus comrades, in various forms reformism is being activated by the bourgeoisie. What conclusion, then, should we draw from this fact. I think there are two important points.

First, the activation of reformism in the present circumstances is an indication that anger among the masses is building up; that a ferment is at work across the country; and that the masses are preparing to turn to struggle. The bourgeoisie is afraid of the mass struggle and this is why it is activating reformism in an attempt to head off the mass struggle before it gets a good start.

No one can predict exactly when the big class battles will break out. But we know that recent struggles, like the Greyhound strike, show just the tip of the iceberg; down beneath the surface the workers are boiling mad and sooner or later this anger will erupt into powerful battles.

The second conclusion we should draw from the activation of reformism is that even when the powerful struggles of the masses of workers break out they cannot develop very far, nor can they have any lasting effect, as long as the masses are ensnared by the reformists. The workers must build up their own class movement independent of the Democratic Party and their reformist hangers-on. But this independent political movement will not come automatically. The Party must fight with all of its might to expose the reformists; to help the working masses get free from their stifling influence; and to organize the workers to overcome the reformists' sabotage of their struggles.

The degree to which the working class organizes itself and rises in struggle, the degree to which it establishes its political independence in the struggle against the capitalists and both their Republican and Democratic Parties, will determine whether or not the capitalist offensive is defeated. And it is this that will determine whether the fruits of the mass struggles are frittered away, or whether they serve to build up the forces for the socialist revolution which will emancipate the working masses from capitalist exploitation and tyranny once and for all.

Deepen the Party's Ties With the Masses

So comrades, what does this assessment of the present situation mean for the work of the Party in the new year? It means, of course, that the Party must fight with all of its might against the capitalist offensive headed up by the Reagan government. It also means that the Party must work to help the masses get free from the influence of the Democratic Party and all their reformist little helpers and to organize the workers into their own independent class movement. And to do all of this, the Party must bring all its strength to bear on the task of deepening the Party's ties with the working masses.

The Second Congress emphasized that one of the important reasons that the Party has been able to uphold the banners of the class struggle and revolution is because the Party has known how to maintain close contact with the masses. The Party has known how to judge the mood of the masses and find methods of approach to them so that, even in the midst of difficult periods, it is possible to carry out revolutionary agitation and to fight the capitalists and their reformist servants.

What do we mean by being sensitive to the political mood of the masses? We do not mean watering down the Party's revolutionary line or chasing after the fashionable prejudices of the reformists. Rather we mean finding the way to link up with the still inconsistent, vacillating and incomplete revolutionary tendencies that exist among the masses. It means learning to appeal to the confused strivings of the still unawakened masses and helping to bring them forward to a communist stand.

In this regard, the resolutions from the Second Congress explain the tactics of the Party in some detail. I cannot tonight go into the many tactical policies of the Party. But I would like to touch on the current presidential election race in order to better explain what we mean by being sensitive to the political mood among the masses and the Party's tactics in this regard.

Jesse Jackson and the Presidential Elections

Now there is no question that the working masses have had enough of Reagan. It is virtually impossible to even sit down on the bus on your way to work without hearing someone pour out their bitterness towards Reagan. The hatred for the Reagan government is widespread and growing daily.

At the same time there is a general skepticism towards the Democratic Party. The Democrats have not lifted a finger against Reagan. Rather they have supported each of his attacks on the masses and the workers are growing weary of this.

But Jesse Jackson has just entered the election race in order to polish up the tarnished image of the Democrats. Jackson has a certain false image for being a fighter for the black people in some circles. What is more, he is promising that, unlike the other Democrats, he offers a real alternative to Reaganite reaction. Therefore, the burning sentiment among the masses against Reagan is leading a section of them to support the Jackson candidacy. Even those who are skeptical towards Jackson are considering supporting him in order to take a stand against Reagan.

So how should the Party deal with this situation?

Should the Party denounce the masses for having illusions in Jackson? Should we denounce the sentiment against Reagan as being just illusions in the Democratic Party and preach to the masses that nothing can be done but to wait for the great days of revolution some time in the future? This is what the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) is doing and it is one of the reasons that they are so isolated among the masses. Their sermons are just so much phrasemongering about revolution in the abstract. Their policy is of no help in catching the ear of the masses who are under Jackson's spell and assisting them to break with their illusions and move forward.

Well then, in order to stay close to the workers and black people, should we support Jackson or other of the Democratic Party politicians? This is what the pro-Soviet revisionists of the Communist Party, the trotskyites of the Workers World Party, the Maoists of the Communist Workers Party and other liquidators are doing. But this just means to foster illusions in the Democratic party; to help the Democrats divert the masses from a serious fight against the Reaganite offensive. This is at the heart of giving up work to build the independent movement of the working class. We cannot follow this disgusting liquidationist policy.

The Party believes that the issue is to unite with the sentiment among the masses against Reagan; to appeal to them to wage a real fight against Reaganite reaction; and in this context to expose the fact that neither Jackson nor the other Democratic Party politicians stand for such a fight. In short, our policy is to use the burning hatred for Reagan to get the ear of the masses to expose the hypocrisy of Jackson and the other Democrats and to show the workers that building up their own independent political movement is the only sure way to organize a real fight against Reaganite reaction. This is what we mean by being sensitive to the political mood among the masses.

As with the presidential elections, the resolutions of the Second Congress elaborate the tactics of the Party on one front after another.

For example, in the new year we can be sure that the movement against Reagan's aggression in Central America, in Lebanon, and elsewhere, will continue to develop. The Second Congress resolutions show how the Party must work to develop the anti-imperialist content of the anti-war movement and how to organize against the Democratic Party. The resolutions also show the significance of building up and strengthening the revolutionary proletarian wing of the movement to ensure that it strikes real blows against imperialism and plays its role in preparing the socialist revolution.

Or another example. This year we face another round of concessions contract negotiations at Ford and GM. The Second Congress resolution on the workers' movement explains how such important economic struggles as this should be used to organize the workers, to break them from the treacherous union bureaucrats, and how the economic struggle can be used as a lever to build up the revolutionary movement of the workers.

It would take me too long tonight to elaborate on these and other tactics of the Party with respect to the mass movements. Tonight I would only stress to you that the new year opens up new opportunities for the Party to deepen its ties with the masses, to organize them and to lead them in struggle against Reaganite reaction. Tonight I would only stress to you that the documents of the Second Congress are a guide to this work. Tonight I would only stress to you that the Second Congress shows that the class conscious vanguard has preserved its revolutionary honor in these difficult times and is organizing and preparing the workers for the great class storms that lie ahead.

Comrades, 1984 is opening with the capitalists on a savage offensive against the working masses. But it is also opening with the brilliant perspective and life-giving guidelines from the Second Congress for how to fight this offensive. Let us all harken to the call of the Second Congress: To meet the challenge of the capitalist offensive, the times demand one thing: Steadfast revolutionary work.

Fight the Capitalist Offensive--Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!

Against Social-Democracy and Liquidationism -- For Steadfast Revolutionary Work!

Organize the Proletariat, Build the Marxist-Leninist Party!

Uphold the Red Banner of Communism -- Back to the Classic Teachings of Marxism-Leninism!

[Photo: In January, the MLP organized meetings across the country to report on the Second Congress and celebrate the fourth anniversary of the MLP,USA. Photo above shows the meeting held in Boston on January 14.]

[Back to Top]