The Workers' Advocate


Volume 14, Number 8


August 1, 1984

[Front page:

Down with the capitalist 'realism' of Mondale and Reagan! For Struggle Against Hunger and War!;

Postal Workers, Fight Back! Defy the Strikebreaking Threats!;

No to the CIA war on Nicaragua!--Contras on the outside and a Trojan horse within;

Down with the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill--Fight for Full Rights for the Immigrant Workers!]


Against Reagan's "anti-terrorist" bills........................................ 2
Supreme Court supports job discrimination............................... 3
Supreme Court on a rampage against the people........................ 3
No concessions to Postal Service................................................ 4
Strike news in brief:

Phelps-Dodge, AP Parts, Danly................................................... 5
Ford and GM out for more concessions...................................... 5

Protests at the Democratic Convention....................................... 6
MLP agitation against Democratic Convention.......................... 6
On the Ferraro nomination.......................................................... 7

Provisions of Simpson-Mazzoli Bill........................................... 8
Democrats shepherd Simpson-Mazzoli Bill through House....... 8
AFL-CIO backs attacks on immigrants....................................... 8

India: Gandhi launches terror in the Punjab................................ 9
From the proletarian press in Nicaragua:

On the militias and the military service....................................... 10
MAP-ML fighters in the army reserves....................................... 10
Support Kurdish people against the Iranian regime.................... 2

Down with the capitalist 'realism' of Mondale and Reagan!

For Struggle Against Hunger and War!

Postal Workers, Fight Back! Defy the Strikebreaking Threats!

No to the CIA war on Nicaragua!

Contras on the outside and a Trojan horse within

Down with the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill

Fight for Full Rights for the Immigrant Workers!

Reagan's 'anti-terrorist' bills:

'Preemptive strikes' and police-state measures

Progressive Iranians in the U.S. declare:

Hail the Resistance of the Kurdish People in Iran

On the 5th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution

Protests against U.S. aggression in Central America

Supreme Court gives green light to job discrimination

The Supreme Court is on a rampage against the people

No Concessions to the Postal Service!

No to pay cuts and a two-tiered wage system!

'Two-tier'--a system designed to undermine job security and wages

USPS demands immediate wage cuts for current employees

Strike News in Brief

Auto Talks Open

Ford and GM are out for more concessions

50,000 Hospital Workers Strike in New York

The postal union leaders are not organizing any fight against USPS

Postal workers-- Prepare for struggle!

Protest against the Democratic Party Convention

For a Real Fight Against Reaganism, Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!

Words of peace, deeds of war

What do the Democrats really stand for in Central America?

Fight the bipartisan war drive of U.S. imperialism!

Demonstrations at the Democratic Party Convention

Jesse Jackson:

PR man to sell the Democrats to the discontented

Ferraro campaigns on 'traditional values'

Racism, 'law and order,' and the military buildup

Provisions of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill

Union bureaucrats back anti-immigrant legislation

Blaming the immigrants for the crimes of the capitalists

Indira Gandhi Unleashes Terror in India's Punjab

'Prensa Proletaria'--Voice of the MAP-ML of Nicaragua

On the Popular Militias and the Law on Military Service

Reservists with a high anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist spirit

For Struggle Against Hunger and War!

There was a lot of fancy rhetoric at the Democratic Convention last month. But the key message was delivered in Mondale's acceptance speech.

Mondale spoke of how since losing to Reagan four years ago the Democrats have looked into their mistakes and have now become wiser. "So tonight," Mondale declared, "we come to you with a new realism."

And what is this new-found "realism"? Mondale explained:

"We know that America must have a strong defense and a sober view of the Soviets. We know that government must be as well managed as it is well meaning. We know that a healthy, growing private economy is the key to the future....

"Look at our platform," Mondale went on. "There are no defense cuts that weaken our security, no business taxes that weaken our economy, no laundry lists that raid our Treasury."

In line with this "new realism" the Democratic Convention made three big promises: To continue to push forward the military buildup at record pace; to stick to the Reaganomic policy of tax breaks and handouts for the businesses and the wealthy; and to practice "fiscal responsibility" by imposing austerity measures on the masses -- continuing the cutbacks in the vital programs for the workers and the poor.

In short, Mondale and the liberal heroes of the Democratic Party are contesting the 1984 elections on Reagan's program. After four years of Reagan, the Democratic standard-bearer is campaigning on the "new realism" of Reaganism.

The "Realism" of Capitalist Profit Making

This is the "realism" of the corporate war merchants and imperialist multinationals, which are reaping a harvest of gold from the fever-paced war preparations and the criminal U.S. interventions abroad.

This is the "realism" of the bankers and other capitalist parasites who call for slashing unemployment insurance, food programs, and the rest of the "laundry list" of needs for the poor, while they make fortunes from tax breaks and other government handouts -- including the more than $100 billion in interest payments plundered from the Treasury by the Wall Street sharks every year.

This is the "realism" dictated by the needs of a system that grows fat on poverty, unemployment and war, a system that subordinates everything to the capitalist drive for profit.

To Hell With the "Realism" of the Capitalist Politicians

But if the Mondales and Reagans have their capitalist "realism," the working class has its "realism" as well, dictated by the need to advance its own class interests.

If the last four years have taught Mondale the "wisdom" of Reagan's reactionary program, these four years have also contained vital lessons for the workers and poor.

They have brought home that the working people cannot wait on their knees for a change to come from the capitalist politicians. The very idea of another four years of Reaganism is unbearable. Yet this is what the people will get, whether Reagan or Mondale is elected. The Democrats have been marching in step with the Reaganite offensive; and at their convention they have already announced that they have nothing to offer but more Reaganism with some liberal trimming to hoodwink the voters.

The workers must take their own independent path. Of course, the masses are told every day that to seek alternatives outside the two-party system is "naive" and "unrealistic." But if the working people are going to free themselves from the slave drivers' "realism" preached by the capitalist politicians, they have no other choice. They must break out of the framework of bourgeois politics.

The working people need their own politics. They need to build up their own independent political movement that is based on the class interests of the working masses.

This has nothing in common with "politics as usual." Rather, the first condition of working class politics is that it is the politics of struggle. The workers have to fight back against the exploiters. And to push forward the class struggle, the workers have to build up their fighting organizations.

Fight to Make the Capitalists Pay!

Capitalist "realism" demands that the workers tighten their belts while profit margins on Wall Street soar. But if the workers are to live and hope, they cannot accept this sort of "realism." They have to fight for their essential needs, no matter how outrageous it may seem to the rich.

The working people have to resist the capitalist assault on their livelihood. The employed workers need to put an end to the job-eliminating and wage-cutting concessions drive of the employers.

The unemployed and poor need jobs and real relief from hunger and poverty. This does not mean simply restoring the Reagan cuts in the already too meager programs (and even this the Democrats won't do); it means major steps to meet the demands of the workers and the poor whose needs for relief continue to grow in the face of wage cutting and sky-high unemployment levels.

"Utopian!" "Unrealistic!" "Where will the money come from?" cry the mouthpieces of the corporations and all those who hold capitalist profit sacred. And the workers' answer must be: Make the capitalists pay!

If the workers' struggles in defense of their jobs and livelihood cut into the bloated profits of the capitalist moneybags, so be it. If relief for the unemployed and the poor is a major expense, let the corporations and the wealthy bear this expense.

Mondale is quite right when he says that whichever of the two candidates is elected in November there will be an increase in the tax burden on the masses. But the working class fights for another alternative. This is to shift the burden of taxation onto those who can afford it -- the banks, corporations and wealthy, who presently pay next to nothing under the ^"realistic" tax policies of the likes of Carter, Mondale and Reagan.

No to the Imperialist War makers!

A burning task facing the working people is the struggle against the Pentagon's war buildup, its criminal intervention in Central America and around the world, and its massive preparations to fight a world war, including a nuclear war.

"For a strong defense against the Soviet threat!" cry the imperialist fiends and their lackeys. But the workers have their own battle cry: "For revolutionary struggle against imperialist war!"

This means fighting every step taken by our "own" government to unleash aggressive, enslaving wars against other peoples. It means standing in solidarity with the workers and peasants of Central America and the other victims of U.S. aggression. And it means solidarity with the workers of the social-imperialist Soviet Union, and with the workers of all the other capitalist and pseudo-socialist powers -- with all who are engaged in the common struggle against their warmongering governments.

Socialism -- the Goal of the Workers' Struggle

Four years of Reaganism show the need for the working people to take things into their own hands -- to struggle and build their own class movement.

Struggle, and struggle alone, can turn the tables on the Reaganite offensive of capital. Strikes, demonstrations and other forms of collective and militant action are the battering ram to press the demands of the masses.

Such struggles are essential to survive under capitalism. But these are not endless struggles, without perspective. The realities of the capitalist offensive are also helping to bring home to ever larger numbers of workers that there is something fundamentally wrong with the capitalist system and that it must be replaced. Indeed, the very bedrock of capitalist "realism" -- the idea that the capitalist system is eternal -- is coming more and more into question.

The workers must organize to blow up this^great lie altogether. They must prepare their revolutionary movement to end the criminal system of capitalist exploitation and replace it with the socialist rule of the working class.


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Postal Workers, Fight Back! Defy the Strikebreaking Threats!

The Reagan government is on the attack against the postal workers. The semi-governmental United States Postal Service (USPS) is demanding wage cuts and a two-tier wage system that would pay newly hired workers some one-third less than those currently employed. (For details see the articles on pages four and five.)

And on July 25, just a few days after the old contract expired, the USPS announced that it will unilaterally impose the two-tier wage system starting August the 4th.

This highhanded wage cutting is being backed up with threats of mass firings and police repression against any who dare resist. Three years ago the Reagan government fired over 11,000 air traffic controllers and brutally crushed their strike. As with the air controllers, federal law prohibits strikes by postal workers. The USPS is threatening to use this club against the postal workers. It has already ordered a close watch on anyone agitating for a strike, and even on anyone requesting sick leave, in preparation to fire them.

But the postal workers are 600,000 strong and have the experience of successfully standing up to the government's arbitrary dictate. In 1970, the postal workers waged a nationwide wildcat strike in defiance of the no strike law. President Nixon, no less a notorious reactionary than Reagan, dispatched the National Guard to occupy the post offices and tried with all his energy to break the strike. But in the end the Nixon government had to retreat and agree to a number of the postal workers' demands. And again in 1978 wildcat strikes in New Jersey and San Francisco threatened to bring out a nationwide strike.

The postal workers have defied the government before and won. They can do it again.

Union Bureaucrats Bend Before Reaganite Strikebreaking Threats

But the leaders of the postal workers' unions are bowing down in the face of the strikebreaking threats.

On July 21, when the USPS refused to back away from their wage-cutting demands, the union bureaucrats walked out of negotiations. But, even though the contracts had expired, the union bosses refused to call the workers to struggle. Instead they demanded that the workers remain calm and wait for a federal fact-finding panel to be set up to "investigate" the situation as the first step towards binding federal arbitration.

Then again, on July 25, when the USPS declared its highhanded institution of the two-tier wage system, the union hacks renewed their calls for the workers to remain calm.

Of course Moe Biller, the president of the American Postal Workers Union, made a pretense of militance by, denouncing the USPS move a "a provocative, union-busting tactic." But this is the same song and dance that the bureaucrats have been giving the workers all along. They claim that the USPS is trying to provoke the workers into a strike so that the Reagan government can attacks them like it did the PATCO workers and, therefore, the workers should outsmart the USPS by staying on the job and trusting their fate to federal arbitration.

But what makes the union bigwigs think that federal arbitrators will give the workers a break when the same federal government is so determined to fire the workers and bust their union?

The idea that federal arbitration will hold back the government's vicious concessions drive is a cruel illusion that the union bosses are spreading in order to dampen the fighting will of the postal workers and sell them out to the USPS wage-cutting demands.

Organize to Fight Back

The highhanded actions of the USPS have begun to provoke the anger of the workers. And talk of a strike is beginning to spread. This talk is absolutely right. Waiting for help from federal arbitrators is like waiting for hell to freeze over. The workers must take matters into their own hands and organize mass struggle against arbitrary dictate of the USPS slave drivers.

Down with the postal service wage cutting! Defy Reagan's strikebreaking threat! Get organized for mass struggle!


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No to the CIA war on Nicaragua!

Contras on the outside and a Trojan horse within

Today U.S. imperialism continues to escalate its brutal war of aggression against Nicaragua. The Reagan administration seeks to overturn the victorious people's revolution of 1979 and return to power a fascist dictatorship like that under the tyrant Somoza. The CIA has unleashed 15,000 contras to invade Nicaragua. The U.S. war fleets have been marauding off Nicaragua's coast and the Pentagon has been pouring troops and weapons into Honduras to lay the groundwork for a direct U.S. invasion.

This external aggression of U.S. imperialism is closely linked to the counterrevolutionary efforts of the big capitalists and landowners inside Nicaragua. These elements have been in the news a great deal recently, with their antics with respect to the upcoming elections in Nicaragua, the latest being their withdrawal due to fear of the results. The big exploiters are playing the role of the Trojan horse of U.S. aggression. Recent events in Nicaragua have forcefully brought home the serious threat that the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie poses to the revolution. As well these events have shown that, while the working class and toilers of Nicaragua want to vigorously combat the capitalist reaction, the petty-bourgeois Sandinista government continues to conciliate the bourgeois counterrevolution.

The Bourgeoisie and the Church Hierarchy Plot Counterrevolution

At a June 20 press conference, the Sandinista authorities announced the uncovering of a dangerous counterrevolutionary conspiracy. This conspiracy involved an alliance between the FDN, the main contra group of former Somoza officers and CIA mercenaries, which operates out of Honduras, with some of the principal forces of the bourgeois opposition inside Nicaragua. These internal forces included members of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the Superior Council of Private Enterprise, the Democratic Conservative Party and leaders of the Nicaraguan Federation of Workers, which is a right-wing and pro-U.S. imperialist trade union center. The confessed aim of this conspiracy was to set up a military front of the counterrevolution inside Nicaragua.

The organization of the counterrevolutionary network was graphically described by its ringleader, Pedro Hernan Espinoza Sanchez, in testimony given at the June 20 press conference held in Managua. Espinoza Sanchez, who went by the alias "El Pez," was in the custody of the Sandinista authorities who had arrested him three days earlier. According to his own account, El Pez began his contact with the contras in 1981 while managing a sugar company outside Managua. Two years later he had set up a headquarters near Managua. Secret military schools were formed and military actions planned. These military actions, stated El Pez, were designed to "sow terror and chaos" by sabotaging factories and electrical facilities, planting bombs in public facilities, etc.

These efforts were directly assisted by U.S. imperialism. In Honduras, El Pez received training in the use of explosives from U.S. and Argentine military advisors. Arms for the internal front were purchased by the CIA, which also organized their transport into Managua.

A central role in the counterrevolutionary plot was played by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. According to El Pez, the leadership of the internal military front included the Catholic priests Amado Pena and Jose Maria Pacheco. This was completely verified by a film shown at the June 20 press conference which featured a meeting between El Pez and the priest, Pena. On the film El Pez reads a warm letter from a member of the FDN high command to Pena. El Pez is seen handing explosives to Father Pena and instructing him on their use.

The film also shows Pena assuring El Pez that the Pope himself supports the counterrevolution. The terroristic aims of the "peace-loving" chiefs of the church are confessed by Pena who states: "I have to say that now we're preaching passive resistance, but when the time comes we know that there's nothing peaceful. When this thing breaks, the church must call on the Christian Command to destroy the CDS (Sandinista Defense Committees)." Discussing the assassination of the Sandinista leaders, Pena adds: "What is needed is four bullets for one of these sons-of-bitches.... If I take care of three or four of them, horror will reign."

These were not just idle boasts. In a second film shown by the Sandinistas a few days later, Pena is shown being intercepted by police who open his suitcase and find explosives, FDN literature and a Vatican flag with the letters "FDN" sewn on it. Disguised in the gowns of the Catholic Church, Father Pena was caught red-handed plotting the violent overthrow of the Sandinista government in favor of a CIA-backed Somocista dictatorship.

The Archbishop and the W.R. Grace Company

It should be noted that the conspiratorial activities of Fathers Pena and Pacheco enjoy the sympathy and support of the Catholic Church hierarchy right up to the Vatican. The Nicaraguan bishops proclaimed their sympathies for the plotting priests and on Easter Sunday issued a pastoral letter denouncing the government and calling on it to negotiate with the CIA- backed contras.

The Vatican made clear its policy towards Nicaragua in one of its secret documents leaked in June 1983. "The fact that the Sandinista regime is an enemy," the Vatican declared, "means that a policy of understanding cannot bring success." (Frontline, July 9, 1984) And to make sure the world knew his attitude towards the counterrevolutionary plots of his Nicaraguan underlings, on July 11 the Pope proclaimed his "intimate participation with the suffering of (the Nicaraguan) church."

The August 1 New York Times carried a report revealing one of the sources of "divine inspiration" for the church plotters in Nicaragua. According to a memorandum leaked by an official of the W.R. Grace conglomerate, Archbishop Obando y Bravo came to New York last May seeking financial support for the church's struggle against the Sandinistas. Bravo boasted of having the most effective organization for the struggle to remove the government from power. Bravo told the W.R. Grace executives that he "lacked both money and equipment to conduct training for everyone who was disenchanted with the government." And, of course, Bravo explained that this was a "pastoral" and not a "political" training. No wonder that W.R. Grace, a multinational company with extensive holdings in Latin America, would be a candidate for bankrolling the "pastoral" efforts of the Archbishop to overthrow the Nicaraguan revolution.

The Resolute Stand of the Workers and the Vacillation of the Sandinistas

The revelations on the counterrevolutionary front gave rise to burning indignation among the Nicaraguan working masses. The working class 7 and toilers want to push forward the class struggle against the U.S.-backed capitalist reaction. When the bourgeois newspaper La Prensa came out in support of Pena's innocence, several hundred residents of a working class community in Managua angrily marched on La Prensa's offices. A militant demonstration also broke out at Father Pena's neighborhood church. The locals of a 13,000-member construction workers union issued a statement condemning "the priests who, using religious robes, cover up for the counterrevolutionary bourgeoisie." Their statement demanded "that the weight of revolutionary justice be applied vigorously against the priest Luis Amado Pena, the suspect Pedro Hernan Espinoza (El Pez), and others implicated in the attempt to create an internal front." "Deal harshly with the terrorists in priests' robes!" shouted the workers at the public reading of their statement.

But the Sandinista government did not meet these demands of the working class. Instead they continued their policy of conciliating the bourgeoisie and pulling in the reins on the class struggle. True the Sandinista Authorities uncovered the dangerous plot against the revolution. However, they did not want to utilize these events to reveal to the masses the counterrevolutionary role of the church hierarchy and the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, they sought to limit this exposure, presenting it as a mere unfortunate occurrence not indicative of the church hierarchy and the bourgeoisie as a whole. As Sandinista Interior Minister Tomas Borge put it: "Never did we say that what was involved was a conspiratorial attitude on the part of the church. It has been others who hold this thesis. Moreover, we have done everything possible to demonstrate that Pena's participation was an isolated case. It has been others who have done everything possible to show the opposite." In other words, if only the church leaders would not so loudly proclaim their solidarity with the conspirators, the Sandinistas will do their best to help perpetuate the hoax that Pena's was just "an isolated case."

The Sandinistas also tried to withhold the film showing Pena with explosives in his suitcase, only feeling compelled to show it after the church hierarchy refused a request by Borge that they relieve Pena of his normal church functions. Borge also whitewashed the role of the counterrevolutionary political parties saying "We are not accusing the right-wing parties of acting on the military terrain nor do we want to limit their political activity."

The Sandinista government similarly failed to take resolute measures against the plotters. Though caught red-handed, Pena was not even arrested but handed over to the church for safekeeping! The others implicated by El Pez were not arrested either. Meanwhile the Sandinista government saw to it that the workers' outrage was kept in check.

All of the Sandinista's efforts at conciliation only fueled the arrogance of the reactionaries. Their leniency was met with an escalation of counterrevolutionary activity by the church and the bourgeoisie. On July 9, Archbishop Miguel Obando y Bravo organized a public demonstration in support of the criminal Father Pena where they chanted slogans of the FDN contras.

No revolution, no matter how popular it may be, can afford the luxury of allowing nests of assassins and CIA mercenaries to operate against it with impunity. And this is even more true of Nicaragua where, with the declared aim of crushing the Sandinista government and turning back the revolution, the massive resources of U.S. imperialism are being unleashed from the outside and are funding and organizing the bourgeois counterrevolution on the inside. To fail to take firm measures against the U.S.-backed reaction is a dangerous game. As shown by the recent events, the Sandinista leadership is playing with fire.

Nevertheless, the Sandinistas and their supporters in the U.S. have been trying to promote conciliation as a wise and farsighted policy. They claim that arresting Pena would prevent the Nicaraguan people from judging the evidence against Pena objectively. But this excuse does not hold water. With the overwhelming evidence against Pena only the convinced reactionaries would not agree with putting Pena on trial and giving him the punishment that he deserves. As we have seen, the working masses who have sacrificed so much for the revolution were outraged against the plotters, including the ones in priests' robes, and are not disposed to allow the U.S.-backed reactionaries and terrorists a free hand.

The Sandinistas also claim that to allow Pena to go free is an obstacle to Reagan's propaganda efforts against Nicaragua. This is also ridiculous. According to this logic the counterrevolution should operate freely for fear that Reagan will say bad things about Nicaragua. For five years the Sandinista leaders have used this argument to justify their policy of conciliation. And what do they have to show for it? Every year the reaction grows more arrogant and every year Reagan's propaganda against the Sandinista "tyranny" grows more strident and ferocious. In fact, even though Pena wasn't arrested, Washington's filthy campaign of lies and threats against Nicaragua has been raised to a fever pitch since the exposure of the plotters. The Sandinistas' conciliatory policy only succeeds in allowing the U.S.-backed reaction room enough to organize for the counterrevolution. This policy does not undermine U.S. intervention; it encourages it and allows it to grow.

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist Push Forward the Class Struggle Against the U.S.-Backed Capitalist Reaction

The recent events underscore the importance of the work of the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists of the MAP- ML (Movement of Popular Action/ Marxist-Leninist). MAP-ML represents the working class, poor peasants and other toilers. It is working to organize the masses in struggle for their own class interests, in struggle to deepen the revolution against the big capitalists and landlords.

MAP-ML emphasizes that the struggle against the external U.S. war on Nicaragua must be waged in conjunction against the exploiting classes which are the internal base of the imperialist aggression. And it calls for mobilizing the masses to exercise revolutionary measures against the bourgeoisie and all the reactionary plotters.

MAP-ML points out that the gains that the masses won in the revolution can only be defended through the workers and toilers coming to power and establishing their rule over the capitalists, landlords and reactionaries. They hold that the doors to the U.S.-backed counterrevolution can only be closed by deepening the revolution to the triumph of socialism in Nicaragua.

The recently uncovered plot shows that U.S. imperialism and the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie will stop at nothing in their drive to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution. Assassination, terror, economic sabotage, counterrevo- provocations -- these are among the favorite weapons that the CIA, the reactionary political parties, the pro-imperialist trade union, and the Catholic Church hierarchy are unleashing against the Nicaraguan people.

Let us stand with the Nicaraguan workers and peasants in defense of their revolutionary gains. Let us extend our solidarity to the revolutionary workers of MAP-ML who are striving to carry the revolution forward against U.S. imperialist aggression and its Trojan horse -- the big capitalists and landlords and their political tools.

[Photo: Nicaraguan soldiers on guard against the CIA-backed contras at the Honduran border.]

[Photo: Textile workers in Managua demonstrate outside the church of Father Pena, denouncing his role in a counterrevolutionary plot. The workers' placard declares: "Death to the internal front of imperialism."]

[Photo: 600 Somocista contras invaded the town of Octal in northern Nicaragua, on June 1. The CIA mercenaries destroyed food-storage silos (above), a sawmill and energy installations. Through such attacks from across the Honduran border, and through internal sabotage, U.S. imperialism and the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie hope to turn the economic screws on the Nicaraguan revolution.]

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Down with the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill

Fight for Full Rights for the Immigrant Workers!

For nearly a decade the capitalists have been trying to pass a comprehensive law for the persecution of immigrants. They are now getting close to accomplishing this reactionary goal.

On June 19 the House passed the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill. This is a slightly different version of the bill that was passed in the Senate in May of 1983. If the differences in the two versions can be sorted out, the capitalists will be handed a new weapon for even more ruthless persecution and exploitation of the immigrant workers. But even if the bill is not passed this year the matter isn't over. The capitalists will continue their attacks on the immigrants and they will come back with new comprehensive anti-immigrant legislation next year.

The Simpson-Mazzoli Bill is a vicious attack on the immigrant workers and is part of the capitalist offensive against the entire working class. It is vital that the workers and all progressive people expose and combat this bill and take up the weapon of mass struggle in defense of the immigrant workers.

Congress Squabbles Over How to Exploit the Immigrants

The House passed their version of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill by a narrow vote of 216 to 211. If the House and Senate versions of the bill are put through a joint conference committee to reconcile the differences, then the compromise bill will have to again be passed in both the House and Senate before Reagan can sign it into law. But the capitalist politicians fear that, at least in the House, they won't again be able to get the bill through. They are presently scrambling around to find some way out of this dilemma.

The narrow vote in the House and the current impasse over the two different versions of the bill are largely not a product of some partisan split between the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats, like the Republicans, have long supported repressive legislation to control the immigrants. In fact some of the initial attempts at such legislation were sponsored by the prince of liberals, Teddy Kennedy, and the current bill is based on the recommendations of a commission set up by Democratic President Carter.

But despite the bipartisan support for anti-immigrant legislation, the politicians have had a hard time balancing the special interests of different sections of the capitalist exploiters.

For example, the agricultural capitalists, while supporting the general aims of immigration control, want the right to continue their extreme exploitation of immigrant labor. If they are to lose the use of the undocumented workers, then they demand unlimited access to contract immigrant laborers who will still have no rights and can be press- ganged into the worst conditions and lowest wages. But others argue that unlimited contract labor will mean continued large-scale immigration as the temporary "guest workers," once in the country, slip into the "illegal" community instead of returning home.

The agribusiness lobbied hard and got their "guest worker" program passed in the House by a large 228 to 172 vote margin. But now over 40 House members who voted for the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill have signed a letter demanding that the unlimited "guest worker" program be dropped. This means that both a bill with the program or a bill without it will probably not pass the House this year.

And there are similar contradictions on other questions such as employer sanctions and amnesty.

Faced with the uncertainty of compromise in the House, there has been some talk of simply getting the Senate, to pass the House version of the bill. But this too has run into trouble. Although the Senate passed their version of the bill by a four to one margin, Alan Simpson (Republican from Wyoming), the bill's Senate sponsor, is himself opposed to both the House's unlimited "guest worker'' program and its liberalized cutoff date for eligibility for amnesty. As well, Reagan's Attorney General, William French Smith, declared the administration's opposition to the House version saying, "some of its features require substantial change.'' (New York Times, July 25, 1984)

As Simpson pointed out, the 1984 version of the anti-immigrant bill now "hangs by a thread.'' (New York Times, July 30, 1984)

The Capitalists Want Immigrant Labor, but They Want It Without Rights

The difficulties in reconciling the interests of different sections of the capitalists also reflects the friction between the various aims that the capitalist class as a whole has towards the immigrant workers.

In the first place, the capitalists love the enormous profits they rake in from the low wages and slave-labor conditions they impose on the immigrants. Today, when the capitalists are on a rampage of wage cutting and other concessions, they find the super-exploitation of a section of workers particularly useful for splitting up the ranks of the working class, weakening class solidarity against the capitalist offensive, and thereby making it easier to drag down the conditions of all workers.

But to force the immigrants into the position of being a super-exploited section of the workers, the capitalists must terrorize them, hold over their heads the threat of deportation, deprive them of all rights and control the flow of immigration.

So too, the capitalists must drive a wedge between the immigrant workers and the rest of the working class. To this end, the capitalists work to whip up a chauvinist and racist hatred for the immigrants. They wrongly blame the immigrants for "stealing American jobs.'' They go into fits over the supposed threat that the immigrants will "overwhelm'' and "take over" entire regions of the country if the "borders are not brought under control."

As well, the capitalists fear the revolutionary potential that is to be found among the immigrant workers. The immigrants become part of the American working class and bring to it the revolutionary traditions and the experience in class struggle from their home countries. And the immigrant communities are centers of organizing by political activists in support of the revolutionary movements in their homelands against the U.S. imperialist-backed regimes.

So the capitalists whip up a chauvinist and racist hysteria and unleash police terror to keep the immigrants "in their place" as an especially oppressed section of the workers and to bolster reaction against all the workers.

Thus, the capitalists want immigrant labor to exploit. But they want it without rights. And this demands control of immigration into the country and repressive terror against the immigrants. This has been the thorniest problem confronting the capitalists in their attempts to draw up anti-immigrant legislation and has time and again contributed to their inability to pass a new law.

Fight for the Rights of All Immigrants

Despite their difficulties in passing the Simpson-Mazzoli legislation, the capitalists are firmly united in their desire to control and persecute the immigrant workers.

The working class cannot afford to take sides with one section of the capitalists against another; nor can it sit back and hope that the contradictions among the capitalists will bring down the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill.

The workers must take their own, independent class stand and fight for full equality and rights for all immigrants, whether documented or undocumented. The immigrant workers are a vital part of the U.S. working class. Their oppression and persecution is an attack on us all.

Today the Marxist-Leninist Party is unfolding a broad campaign in factories, neighborhoods and schools across the country to oppose the reactionary Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. We urge workers everywhere to spread the word and join the mass actions. Down with the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill! Fight for full equality and rights for all immigrants!

[Photo: Militant protest against the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli Bill, Chicago, July 4, 1984]

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Reagan's 'anti-terrorist' bills:

'Preemptive strikes' and police-state measures

In recent months the Reagan administration has unleashed another round of hysteria about "international terrorism." The opening salvo was fired by Secretary of State Shultz with his April 3 speech advocating "preemptive action against known terrorist groups." That same day Reagan approved a secret document, National Security Decision Directive 138, authorizing a series of "anti-terrorist" policies; and later that month Reagan introduced four "anti-terrorist" bills to Congress. The White House has kept its hysteria campaign on this question at high volume ever since.

What Is "Terrorism" According to Reagan?

Of course, when Reagan, or any other mouthpiece of U.S. imperialism, refers to "international terrorism" he is not protesting in general the use of terror, or assassinations and mass murder, or blackmail in international affairs. These things are the stock in trade of U.S. foreign policy. Look at a few examples.

When the CIA conducts its "secret" war against Nicaragua, mining harbors and arming some 15,000 mercenaries to massacre villagers, assassinate officials, and spread economic destruction -- this, in the doublespeak of Reaganism, is supporting "freedom fighters."

When the U.S. government pours countless tons of weapons and dispatches counterinsurgency advisers to back up the death-squad dictators in El Salvador, who have assassinated 50,000 civilians over the last five years -- this is "safeguarding democracy." When the U.S. arms and supports the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the barbaric shelling of the citizens of Beirut, and sends the marines to back up the Israeli occupiers and Lebanese fascists as they massacre Palestinian refugees and the Lebanese left -- this is an unselfish act of "anti-terrorism." When the U.S. marines overrun Grenada, overthrow its government and rig up a puppet regime -- this is an act of "liberation."

When the U.S. conducts a genocidal war of aggression against Viet Nam, massacring several hundreds of thousands of peasants in "search and destroy" missions, napalm raids, carpet bombings and through other means of mass murder -- this Reagan lovingly refers to as "a noble cause."

Or when the Pentagon builds up its nuclear stockpiles to the skies to guard U.S. imperialism's far-flung "spheres of influence," holding the world's people hostage to the terror of nuclear destruction -- this is called ''keeping the peace."

So then, what is "international terrorism" according to Reagan?

It is the struggles of the Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Palestinian, Filipino, South African, or any other peoples who rise up against the U.S. jackboot and the tyrants and oppressors that it defends. It is the struggles of the American working class against exploitation and U.S. imperialist warmongering. And such struggles are the principal targets of Reagan's crusade against "international terrorism."

Reagan's new "anti-terrorist" bills are aimed in two directions: First, to step up U.S. intervention to put down the revolutionary struggles of the peoples. And second, to crack down on the struggles of the American people against such U.S. aggression abroad.

"Preemptive Strikes"

Stopping "terrorism" is a well-worn pretext that the Pentagon and the CIA have used to justify countless assassinations, military interventions and other crimes. Now the Reagan administration has enshrined this pretext in its National Security Directive 138. This directive calls for "preemptive strikes" against "terrorists" or those who may engage in "terrorist acts" in the future.

But, the Reaganites swear, no one should think that Directive 138 is a license to kill. Displaying their high moral character, the authors of this directive swear that it won't alter present laws that ban the practice of individual assassination. Of course, the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies have never found such worthless laws to be obstacles to their dirty work of assassinations and terror.

But what does Directive 138 call for instead of "individual assassination"? Military raids and other forms of collective assassination. Even an administration official admits that such "preemptive strikes" will not only kill "terrorists" but also civilians in the area. (Los Angeles Times, April 15, 1984) Such are the high moral standards of U.S. imperialism!

Draconic Laws Against the Mass Movement in the U.S.

A key element in Reagan's latest "anti-terrorist" bills is a number of draconic laws to crack down on the mass struggles at home against U.S. aggression and in solidarity with the oppressed peoples fighting for their liberation from the U.S. imperialist yoke.

The administration has proposed the "Prohibition Against the Training or Support of Terrorist Organizations Act of 1984." This bill calls for up to 10 years in prison or a $100,000 fine for providing "any logistical, mechanical, or similar support services to... any foreign government, faction or international terrorist group."

The foreign governments being referred to here are those which the Secretary of State determines are engaged in "acts or likely acts of international terrorism." Nicaragua is the State Department's principal example of such a "terrorist" country. In other words, this law would make providing material support for the revolution in Nicaragua, or for any other people who overthrow the U.S.-backed tyranny, a major felony.

The "factions" referred to are "any political party, body of insurgents, or other group which seeks to overthrow the government of, or otherwise assert control over or influence any foreign country...through the threat or use of force of arms." In other words, any party or movement which rises in struggle to overthrow tyrants, oppressors and exploiters are to be labeled "terrorists." And for the American working people and progressive forces to provide material support to the Salvadoran or any other insurgent peoples would be at the risk of heavy jail terms and fines.

Indeed, one of Reagan's bills defines "terrorism" so broadly that providing international support for any movement that Washington considers harmful could be banned. In a companion bill called "Act for Rewards for Information Concerning Terrorist Acts," terrorism is defined to include any effort4 'to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion." Under such a definition the U.S. government could ban solidarity with such "intimidating" and "coercive" movements as the international struggle against war preparations or even the British miners' strike.

Reagan's "anti-terrorist" proposals include a number of other measures directed against the mass movement in the U.S. These include steps to increase infiltration and spying on progressive organizations by the FBI. Another measure would provide rewards of up to $500,000 for information on so-called "terrorism" at home and abroad.

At the present time, the main objectives of such bills would be to intimidate and disrupt the solidarity movements with the peoples of Central America and the Middle East. Central American and other foreign nationals in the U.S. who support the struggles in their homelands would undoubtedly become special targets of such laws.

Solidarity With the Revolutionary Peoples Confronting U.S. Aggression!

Under the banner of "anti-terrorism" U.S. imperialism is baring its fangs. It is lashing out against the workers and peasants of Central America and the other peoples who have risen in struggle against tyranny and the U.S. yoke. It wants to make a "preemptive strike" against the prospect of a powerful upsurge of the American people against the criminal aggressions of our "own" U.S. government, such as occurred during the war in Viet Nam. And it dreads the international solidarity of the American working masses with the revolutionary movements of the working and oppressed peoples of the world.

Of course, from their standpoint such a fear is well-founded; such international solidarity is a powerful factor for strengthening the struggle, at home and abroad, against the world's biggest terrorist -- bloodstained U.S. imperialism.

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Progressive Iranians in the U.S. declare:

Hail the Resistance of the Kurdish People in Iran

On June 5, 1984, the Iraqi warplanes bombarded the Kurdish city of Baneh in Iran. As a result hundreds of people were killed and hundreds more were injured or maimed. There have been similar attacks on other cities and villages in Iran by the Iraqi regime since the unpopular Iran-Iraq war started. The Iraqi regime has not been alone in committing the atrocities. The Islamic Republic regime of Iran has been massacring the Kurdish masses for over five years.

The heroic struggle of the Kurdish people in Iran has become an inspiration to the people throughout Iran. Kurdistan has turned into a bastion of revolution and revolutionary activities. At the same time, victories gained by the Kurdish people in Iran have given a momentum to the struggle of the Kurdish people in Iraq too. As a result, the two reactionary regimes of Iran and Iraq have had common interests in crushing the Kurdish people's struggle for self-determination.

The U.S. and the Soviet Union have been interchangeably supplying Iran and Iraq with arms and ammunition so that the bloody and fratricidal war between Iran and Iraq is continued. The two superpowers have turned the Persian Gulf area into a playground for their contention and war preparations. Each is trying to have dominance over the riches in the area. The war has cost the lives of nearly one million people in Iran and a similar number in Iraq. Several million people have lost their land and property and have been subjected to homelessness and starvation. Both Iran and Iraq have used the war as an excuse to brutalize the Kurdish people and suppress their resistance in each country. In some instances the two regimes have allocated nearly half of their respective military powers in Kurdish towns and mountains to combat the resistance forces in each country. The flames of resistance in Kurdistan have threatened the foundations of both murderous regimes of Iran and Iraq as well as the interests of imperialism.

According to radio news reports of the opposition forces broadcasted over "Radio Voice of Iranian Revolution" following the bombardment of the city of Baneh by Iraqi warplanes which cost the lives of hundreds of militant Kurdish people, the people poured into the streets and waged demonstrations condemning the Iran-Iraq war and the Islamic Republic regime of Iran for spreading the war to Kurdistan. The mercenaries of the Islamic Republic regime attacked the demonstrators. Several people were killed and many more were injured or arrested. The radio report continues by adding that "the struggle of the people of Baneh is continuing despite the pressures, the violence, the arrests and the murders."

Beside human losses, the war has turned the economies of Iran and Iraq into shambles. Iran alone has suffered over $250 billion in economic losses. Politically both regimes are totally isolated and have been forced to resort to police states. Undoubtedly this war will speed up the downfall of both regimes and the establishment of democratic and popular regimes under which the Kurdish people and other minorities gain their national and ethnic rights and the right for self- determination.

Down with the reactionary Islamic Republic regime of Iran and the reactionary regime of Iraq!

Down with world imperialism!

Condemn the U.S. military adventures and interventions in the Persian Gulf area!

Long live the heroic struggle of the Kurdish people!

The above leaflet was recently issued by the Committee for the Establishment of Democratic and Anti-Imperialist Organization of Iranians Abroad -- Chicago and the Iranian Students Association (SETAD) -- Chicago. These two organizations are among a number of groups of progressive Iranians in the U.S. who stand for the popular resistance to the medieval and fascist tyranny of the Khomeini regime in Iran. The Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA supports the struggle of the working people of Iran against the Khomeini regime and we work on a friendly basis with several groups of progressive Iranians in the U.S. Elsewhere in this paper we report on a recent demonstration in Chicago which was jointly sponsored by our Party and the Committee for the Establishment of Democratic and Anti-Imperialist Organization of Iranians Abroad; this action was organized for the 5th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution. And in the last issue of The Workers' Advocate we reported on a demonstration in New York City against the Iran-Iraq war organized by several Iranian groups; in our reportage of that event we reprinted excerpts from a leaflet issued by a New York group of progressive Iranians called Peykargar (Front of Strugglers).

[Photo: The working people of Kurdistan rose up arms in hand in the 1979 revolution that overthrew the fascist shah (above). Today the Kurdish masses are heroically confronting the barbaric repression of the Khomeini regime. In recent days the Iranian army has launched a major offensive against the Kurd resistance and Kurdistan has become the scene of raging battles between the people and the army. The workers and peasants of Kurdistan are playing a vital role in the Iranian people's struggle for the overthrow of the Khomeini tyranny.]

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On the 5th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution

Protests against U.S. aggression in Central America

[Photo: Detroit, July 21,1984]

[Photo: Chicago, July 21,1984]

[Photo: Buffalo, June 23, 1984]

The last two months have seen a number of protests in various cities against U.S. intervention in Central America. (Above we publish pictures showing scenes from a few of these demonstrations.)

A series of actions were organized on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the victory of the Nicaraguan revolution.

On July 21, in Detroit nearly 200 people marched through the streets of the downtown area. The marchers condemned the war drive of the U.S. government in Central America. They shouted slogans and carried picket signs against the CIA war on Nicaragua, the intervention in El Salvador, and the occupation of Grenada. The MLP was active in building for this demonstration. In the weeks earlier, thousands of leaflets of the Party were distributed at factories and neighborhoods urging people to come out for the protest. At the march itself, the MLP mobilized a militant contingent with anti-imperialist slogans. And supporters of the MLP performed a number of anti-imperialist songs at the rallies before and after the march.

In Chicago on the same day, a march and rally were jointly organized by the MLP and the Committee for the Establishment of an Anti-Imperialist and Democratic Organization of Iranians Abroad -- Chicago, (a group of progressive Iranians in the U.S.). Nearly 40 demonstrators marched through the streets of the heavily Latino Pilsen community. They shouted slogans: CIA hands off Nicaragua! Forward with the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan workers and peasants! Run, Reagan run, the people of El Salvador have taken up the gun! U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America! The march was well received by the masses. Small numbers of people joined in from the street for parts of the march. People watching from apartment windows raised their fists and echoed the slogans of the protesters. And at the rally at the end of the demonstration, a number gathered to listen to speeches and songs and to watch the performance of a lively skit.

The third picture above is from a march held in Buffalo on June 23 by the MLP. It marched through downtown and the Puerto Rican community on the lower west side. This march was organized in solidarity with the workers and peasants of Central America and to promote the campaign of the MLP in support of the workers' press in Nicaragua.

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Supreme Court gives green light to job discrimination

On June 12, the Supreme Court gave a green light to the Reagan government's crusade for job discrimination.

In a six to three decision, the Court ruled that blacks, other oppressed nationalities, and women should not be given protection against disproportional layoffs. Essentially this is a declaration that the situation where blacks and other oppressed are kept in a position of "last hired, first fired" is the sacred law of the land.

Although the Court's ruling was "limited" to certain cases of layoffs where a seniority system is in existence, it based itself on sweeping racist logic from Reagan's Justice Department and will be used to step up job discrimination in wide fields of hiring, promotions and layoffs.

The Reagan administration immediately hailed the Court's ruling as a "monumental triumph." For years Reagan has denied the existence of racism in the U.S., claiming that discrimination only occurs in some few cases of particular individuals. He denounces any general measures against racial discrimination as "reverse discrimination." And under this signboard, the Reagan government has worked night and day to step up job discrimination and to wipe out any gains that were made through the hard-fought anti-racist struggles of the 1960's. The Reaganites applauded the Court's ruling as a vindication of this racist policy.

Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds declared, "The Court has moved us off the crossroads and propelled us down the road we have been urging. It is an exhilarating decision." (Washington Post National

Weekly Edition, June 25, 1984) With the Court's decision in hand, the Reagan government is putting its racist crusade into high gear.

It is up to the working class to fight back against the Reaganite offensive. Today, when unemployment is ravaging the workers and layoffs continue in plant after plant, the black workers and other oppressed nationalities are especially hard hit.

Workers from every nationality must link arms and mount a powerful class movement against all layoffs and unemployment.

At the same time, the workers must fight against job discrimination, whether in hiring, promotions, or layoffs.

The struggle to defend those sections of the workers who are especially oppressed is essential to help unite the workers of every nationality into a single, organized class. This struggle will give impetus to the fight against unemployment and layoffs generally. And it will help unite the working class for the socialist revolution which will put a final end to racial discrimination and ensure jobs and a decent life for all the workers.

The Court Decides to Give Reagan a Symbol

The Supreme Court case stems from the 1981 layoff of three white Memphis firemen. Only the year before, the Memphis city government agreed to step up the hiring of black firemen until they reached 35% of the department, the same as the percentage of blacks in the city's population. But in 1981, facing a city fiscal crisis, the government began laying off firemen. Since only 11.5% of the firemen were then black, and many were only newly hired, the layoffs threatened to not only stop the further integration that was promised by the fire department, but also to decrease the percentage of black firefighters.

There was an alternative to imposing any layoffs. Instead of sacking working people, the monopoly capitalists should be forced to pay for their crisis. But this would require a major struggle by the working class, because the capitalist politicians would never think of touching the wealth of the filthy rich. Of course the Memphis government considered no alternative but putting the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working people.

The lower courts issued a temporary order against using layoffs to decrease the percentage of blacks in the fire department. In the end, 24 firemen were laid off, 21 white and 3 black. All 24 had been hired on the same day and were laid off not by seniority, but alphabetically. But three of the white firemen were taken out of alphabetical order to keep three black firemen on the job. Within a month the three white firemen were called back to work.

The lower courts never made a final ruling. They did not even hear most of the evidence in the case. They issued only a temporary order and then, because the firemen were recalled so quickly, the case became moot and was dropped.

Normally this would have been the end of the matter. The Supreme Court has thousands of hidebound bureaucratic procedures through which it keeps lawsuits tied up forever in the lower courts. Furthermore, it hardly ever takes a case where the lower courts have not yet heard all the evidence or made a final ruling, and even more seldom does it take a case that is considered moot. But, as well, the Supreme Court is nothing if it is not arbitrary. It will bury a case in mountains of red tape one day and the next day throw out its own normal procedures to take a case, each time depending on what it thinks will help the capitalists to throttle the working masses. In the Memphis case the Supreme Court arbitrarily dismissed its own procedures and bent over backwards to hand the Reagan government a symbol that the highest court of the land is backing the crusade for job discrimination.

Racist Reaganite Logic

Reagan's Justice Department intervened in the case before the Supreme Court and argued that the lower courts had forced white firemen to "sacrifice not only their seniority, but also their jobs, to persons who have never claimed to be victims of unlawful discrimination." (New York Times, June 13, 1984, emphasis added)

This is the pure racist mumbo-jumbo of the Reagan government. Reagan has long argued that there is no racial discrimination in the U.S. Sure, it is admitted, perhaps an individual here or there may have been mistakenly refused hiring. But the systematic and institutionalized nature of racism under American capitalism is strictly denied.

Thus, in the Memphis case, the Reagan government argued there was no racist job discrimination. The fact that blacks represented only 4% of the fire department in 1977, when the original suit against job discrimination was brought, and the fact that it was proved that the Memphis city government had followed a systematic pattern of discrimination against blacks, meant nothing to the Reagan government. Since the black firemen who were eventually hired had not individually proven that they were personally discriminated against by the fire department, the Reagan administration claims they had not been "victims of unlawful discrimination."

Under such a racist system of logic no real measures against racial discrimination could ever be taken. One can imagine the impossible chaos of millions upon millions of lawsuits if every black person went to court each and every time they were discriminated against. Of course, given the great expense, the mountains of legal red tape, and so forth, there are only a handful of cases where a black person can actually get to the courts and legally prove he was discriminated against at a particular work place. And this burying of anti-discrimination measures is exactly what Reagan wants. Under the Reaganite logic all the talk about "civil rights" and all the general laws barring job discrimination become just empty, meaningless ornaments.

Despite the blatant absurdity of the Reaganite arguments, the Supreme Court took them up and wrote them into the law. In the majority decision written by Justice Byron White the Supreme Court ruled that "If individual members of the plaintiff class [that is blacks and others who have been discriminated against] demonstrate that they have been actual victims of the discriminatory practice, they may be awarded competitive seniority and given their rightful place on the seniority roster...however...mere membership in the disadvantaged class is insufficient to warrant a seniority award; each individual must prove that the discriminatory practice had an impact on him...." White later argued that "There was no finding that any of the blacks protected from layoff had been a victim of discrimination." (New York Times, June 13, 1984, emphasis added)

In other words, the Supreme Court based its decision on the Reaganite logic which in fact denies virtually any legal remedy to job discrimination.

In this case, the Supreme Court "limited" its ruling to the issue of layoffs at work places which have a seniority system and then, too, only in cases where the employer had not previously agreed to give blacks protection against disproportional layoffs. But by basing itself on the sweeping racist arguments of the Justice Department, it gave the Reagan government the go-ahead to step up its racist crusade with respect to hiring, promotion, and other cases of layoff.

Indeed, the very day after the Supreme Court ruling, Reagan's Assistant Attorney General, William Reynolds, called on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to stop negotiating any new agreements that provide bars against job discrimination, such as quotas that force the hiring of at least a certain percentage of blacks. As well Reynolds began work to overturn as many as 50 major affirmative action programs that were negotiated in the past including, according to the Washington Post, those in the steel industry and at General Motors. Obviously the Reagan government is out to turn back the clock to the dirty days of Jim Crow segregation.

Union Bureaucrats Take Reagan's Side

Besides the Reagan government, the union bureaucrats of the AFL-CIO were quick to hail the Supreme Court ruling as a victory. Although these union bosses claim to be opposed to Reagan and dress themselves up as champions of the black people, they have for many years past put themselves in the center of the campaign to maintain job discrimination. Their enthusiasm for the Supreme Court ruling shows that they are nothing but hidden Reaganites lurking within the workers' movement.

The AFL-CIO honchos portray the racist ruling of the Supreme Court as a defense of the rights of labor provided by the seniority system. But this is nothing but hogwash. Incorporating measures against job discrimination into the seniority system would not harm it, but instead would make the seniority system even stronger.

It Would Strengthen the Seniority System to Include Protection for Blacks and Others

To understand this point one has to look at what the workers want out of the seniority system and at why the capitalists oppose seniority.

The capitalists prefer what they sometimes call "management fights," that is, the privilege of the bosses to arbitrarily hire and fire, promote and lay off, anyone they please. Under "management rights," the capitalists can fairly easily get rid of militant and class conscious workers and can also set the workers into fierce competition with each other, like dogs fighting for a bone from the bosses' banquet table. By fighting for the seniority system, the workers have tried to limit the arbitrary power of the capitalists, to limit the competition in the workers' own ranks, and to thereby further unite the workers' ranks against the capitalists.

But if seniority is used to carry out job discrimination, as the union hacks want, then the aim of the whole fight for the seniority system is lost. White workers are set against their, black brothers, and the capitalists are given another weapon to split the ranks of the working class, to super-exploit the black workers and drag down the conditions of all workers.

At the same time, it should be emphasized that putting into effect special measures against job discrimination does not mean that the seniority system must be destroyed or that the door is opened further for arbitrary layoffs and promotions. The seniority system only needs to be modified to include simple measures that put up a bar against racial discrimination. Such modifications do not harm the seniority system, but, instead, make it fairer and more useful in uniting all the workers against their capitalist exploiters.

If the union bureaucrats were really interested in defending the rights of the workers, they themselves would draw up the needed modifications in the seniority system and stand at the forefront of the fight against job discrimination. But the AFL-CIO hacks are misleaders. They are applauding the racist decision of the Supreme Court and joining hands with the capitalists' offensive against the black workers and the workers of other oppressed nationalities.

The Government's Sham Support for Anti-Discrimination Measures

In the 1960's and 70's, the government made a show of opposing job discrimination. Its aim has been to stifle the anti-racist mass struggle by gaining the confidence of the black people with a few concessions; but the government makes these concessions as minimal as possible, it makes a show of giving concessions rather than actually doing much in the real world, and it then tries to whip up racist sentiment that the black people are allegedly over-privileged, the beneficiaries of so-called "reverse discrimination," and so forth. The fight against job discrimination therefore does not mean that the workers should endorse the way the government and courts usually handle (intentionally bungle) affirmative action programs and other measures.

It was only with the mass civil rights movement of the 1950's and, especially, with the revolutionary upheavals of the 1960's that the government took any steps against job discrimination. Feeling the heat of the mass anti-racist struggles, the capitalist rulers gave a lot of promises and a few concessions hoping to appease the fighting masses and head off the revolutionary movement.

But the affirmative action programs that the government has negotiated have never covered more than a fairly limited number of work places and then, too, have seldom ever provided more than a few jobs to the oppressed nationality workers.

Even where the government's programs have given a few jobs they are filled with all manner of restrictions. The 1964 Civil Rights Act, which provides the basis for most of the government's programs against job discrimination, itself includes all sorts of restrictions such as the outlawing of most measures against disproportionate layoffs where seniority systems are in existence. This is an example of how the government gives concessions to the masses with one hand and then takes them back with the other.

The government not only limits the number of jobs for black workers, but it also designs its court cases and bureaucratic programs Tn a way to pit the workers of different nationalities against each other. The negotiation and carrying out of these plans, and the interminable court cases around them, are aimed at creating endless squabbles among the workers and bogging down the anti-racist movement in legalism and mountains of technicalities.

It is essential to fight for concrete measures against job discrimination. And the working class should utilize the minimal concessions that the government programs do actually end up providing, including the few jobs given to blacks. But it must be said that the government's measures are quite distorted and mutilated and most often create the least number of jobs with the maximum attempts to mobilize backward elements against the black workers.

Fight Against Job Discrimination and for Jobs for All Workers

The Supreme Court decision shows once again that racial discrimination is inherent in the capitalist system. Through the big mass battles of the 1960's, the black people broke down some of the worst features of Jim Crow segregation. But the gains against job discrimination through the government's handling of affirmative action and other programs have been meager and mutilated at best. Now, even those minimal gains are being taken back by the Reagan government, and the Supreme Court has given Reagan their official stamp of approval.

Racial discrimination in jobs and other fields can only finally be defeated by destroying the capitalist system. The socialist revolution will consolidate the iron bonds of class solidarity among the workers of all races and nationalities in the struggle to build a new and better society free from racism, from unemployment, and from all exploitation of man by man. The fight against racial discrimination is an essential component of the struggle leading up to the socialist revolution.

Today the fight against job discrimination comes up particularly sharply on the question of unemployment and layoffs. Because of job discrimination and the whole racist system of "last hired, first fired," blacks and other oppressed nationalities have been especially hard hit by the capitalists' drive to shut down, plants, to eliminate jobs, and to create staggering unemployment.

The defense of the workers' jobs and livelihood demands that the working class unite its ranks and organize a stern fight against the capitalist offensive. The union bureaucrats are concerned about job security for only a select handful of workers while they forget about all the rest, not just blacks or women, but also the new hires, the unskilled, or the workers from another craft. The interests of the working class is not to protect only the jobs of a few, but to demand jobs for all of the workers. And a powerful mass movement must be built toward this end.

At the same time, the working class must become the greatest champion of the fight against job discrimination. It must fight not only that blacks and other oppressed nationalities be given jobs, but also that they be afforded protection against disproportional layoffs. The fight for such demands is essential to break the racist cycle of "last hired, first fired." But more than this. The fight against job discrimination is essential to unite the ranks of the working class and thereby strengthen the fight against all layoffs and unemployment.

The Supreme Court has handed Reagan another weapon against the black people. The working class must take up the challenge. Down with the racist Supreme Court ruling! No to Reagan's segregationist drive! Fight against job discrimination and for jobs for all of the unemployed!

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The Supreme Court is on a rampage against the people

The capitalists are waging a vicious offensive against the working masses, an offensive of hunger, reaction, racism, and imperialist war preparations. The Reagan government stands at the center of this offensive.

As well, the supposedly "impartial" Supreme Court has made one ruling after another putting the official stamp of approval on Reaganite reaction. In June and July alone the highest court of the land handed down a series of decisions which opened wider the door of "law and order" police-state measures, which gave the green light to Reaganite segregationism and attacks on immigrants, and which rubber-stamped militarism and Reagan's imperialist foreign policy. These decisions show that Reaganite reaction is not just the policy of a conservative madman but is the official course of the capitalist class.

Apologists for American reaction often claim that there is democracy in the U.S., and that democracy is protected, because of the governmental system of "checks and balances." Under the U.S. system the president's executive branch is supposedly checked by Congress. And then both executive and legislative branches are checked by the supposedly "neutral" and "impartial" courts. But the Supreme Court rulings show that it is marching to the same drummer as Reagan and Congress. Far from being "neutral," the Supreme Court is working in favor of the capitalists and against the interests of the working masses.

Below we will outline a number of the other reactionary decisions that the Supreme Court made in June and, July.

Preventive Detention for Youth

On June 4 the Supreme Court reinstated a New York state law that allows juveniles (ages 7 to 16) to be held in preventive detention.

This is the first time that the Supreme Court has ruled on the preventive detention approach to pretrial confinement. Under traditional bail laws a judge is supposed to set bail at the amount he considers necessary to ensure that a person will show up for their trial. The bail system tends to be arbitrary and full of other flaws that allow poor people to be kept in jail for months, and even longer, awaiting trial. But the preventive detention system goes much further and allows judges to imprison anyone whom the capitalists dislike on the plea that he might commit a crime in the future. It is based on the Alice in Wonderland system of justice -- for protesters, blacks and poor people, the punishment will precede the crime.

Juvenile law differs from the laws on adults, and most states use systems of parental supervision, court-appointed supervisors, and so forth for youth awaiting trial rather than a bail system. But preventive detention is also widely used. Some twenty-three states filed suit in support of the New York law, and the Supreme Court claims that "Every state, as well as the United States in the District of Columbia, permits preventive detention of juveniles accused of crime."

In 1981, lower federal courts struck down the New York law on the grounds that it constitutes punishment without a trial. But the Supreme Court, in the ruling written by Justice William Rehnquist, reinstated the New York law, claiming that "the combined interest in protecting both the community and the juvenile himself from the consequences of future criminal conduct is sufficient to justify such detention." In other words, the Supreme Court has such touching concern for the youth that it is quite willing to punish them with jail terms even before they have been convicted of any crime.

The Court justified its ruling on the ridiculous grounds that being in jail is really no different than being under parental supervision. Rehnquist argued that while youngsters have an "interest in freedom from institutional restraints" this "must be qualified by the recognition that juveniles, unlike adults, are always in some form of custody." Why not just throw all the kids in jail, if it makes no difference, then we wouldn't have to worry about youth crime at all.

The high court's okay for preventive detention for youth, along with the rapid deterioration of the education system, the plan for sub-minimum wages for teenagers, the reintroduction of draft registration, and so forth show that American capitalism has nothing to offer the youth but a life of super-exploitation, war, and jail.

What is more, by making the first Supreme Court ruling that explicitly upholds preventive detention for youth, the Court has taken a step on the road to instituting preventive detention for adults as well. There are already preventive detention laws for adults on the books in Nebraska and the District of Columbia.

Police-Coerced Confessions

In two separate rulings, on June 12 and July 2, the Supreme Court opened a wide hole in the law that is supposed to prevent the police from bullying people into giving confessions.

In 1966, in the famous Miranda ruling, the Supreme Court held that in picking someone up the police must inform them of their rights to remain silent, to have a lawyer present when they are being questioned, and to receive a court-appointed lawyer if they cannot afford to get their own lawyer. This ruling never provided more than a minor limitation on police efforts to force people into making confessions, even where a person had done nothing wrong.

Nevertheless, the police departments and reactionaries throughout the country have been campaigning for years to tear down even this most minimal limitation on police coercion.

On June 12, the Supreme Court ruled that the police do not have to read people their rights if they consider the situation a threat to public safety. Showing contempt for the Miranda decision, Justice William Rehnquist declared in the majority ruling that "the need for answers in situations posing a threat to public safety outweighs the need for the prophylactic rule protecting the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination." Since the picking up of a suspected "criminal" can almost always be considered by the police to be a situation threatening public safety, the Court has given wide legal latitude to police intimidation and bullying.

On July 5, the Court also decided that the Miranda ruling does not apply to cases where the police have not yet formally put a person in custody.

The ruling came in a misdemeanor traffic offense. The Court ruled that an ordinary traffic stop does not constitute custody and therefore the police do not have to read a person their rights in those cases before formally arresting them.

If this were merely a matter of ticketing someone for something like a U-turn it might be one thing. But the Court's ruling appears to legalize the all too common police practice of pulling a motorist over allegedly on a simple traffic issue and then questioning them on more serious offenses. Especially in the big city ghettos the police frequently pull shotguns on cars and demand answers on everything until they find an excuse to arrest blacks, other oppressed nationalities, and the poor. But in the topsy-turvy logic of the Supreme Court a traffic stop is "comparatively non-threatening" and does not constitute "custody" even though they recognize that a person can't leave until the police let him go or arrest him.

Allowing the Use of Illegally Obtained Evidence

Police persecution of militant workers and political activists is a common practice in the U.S. Wiretapping, arbitrary raids on people's homes, and so forth are standard procedure. Most of this gestapo activity is fully legal; the police" only need to acquire a warrant. But the police grumble against this minor inconvenience.and frequently go about their reactionary business without "legal" authorization.

In the past various evidence seized without "legal" approval has been excluded from use in trials. This has never been more than the mildest restraint on the police, but the Reaganites have been on a crusade to do away with it. In three rulings, the Supreme Court supported the Reagan government's campaign to eliminate even this most minimal limitation to illegal police raids and surveillance.

On July 5, the Court ruled that some evidence that is obtained with a defective search warrant can be used by the prosecution in criminal trials. Although it is common practice for the police to use gung-ho judges who hand out search warrants whenever the police ask and on whatever grounds, the Supreme Court decision, written by Justice White, claimed that "We are not convinced that this [rubber-stamping of illegal search warrants] is a problem of major proportions." The Court ruled that the police only had to show that it was operating in "good faith" with an "objectively reasonable belief" that the search warrant, no matter how invalid, was legal. To expect U.S. police departments, who have so long violated the law with impunity, to operate in "good faith" is unbelievable.

Reagan's Attorney General, William French Smith, hailed the Court ruling. He claimed that the illegal police practice, which the court ruling now allows, "will help restore respect for the criminal justice system." Illegal police activity is "justice" in the Reaganite world of double-speak.

On June 11, the Supreme Court also ruled that illegally obtained evidence can be used in trials as long as the police show that it would have been "inevitably" discovered anyhow by lawful means. In this case, the Court ruled that the police department doesn't even have to lie that it was acting "in good faith." Chief Justice Warren Burger ruled that the "good faith" requirement is "formalistic, pointless and punitive."

This judgment shows how arbitrary the Supreme Court really is. One day they can denounce the need for "good faith" by the police and on another day they will dredge up the "good faith" promise as a maneuver to justify the illegal searches, wiretapping, and other misconduct by the police hooligans.

On July 5, the Court also ruled that illegally obtained evidence need not be excluded from a civil deportation hearing. This ruling was fully expected since immigrants in the U.S. are afforded virtually no rights whatever. The Court in effect declared that the police can do whatever they want as long as they dig up any shred of evidence that can be used to deport immigrants.

No rights for prisoners

While making it easier to throw people in jail, the Supreme Court also decided to make life harder for prisoners.

Without even the excuse that they are protecting security, prison guards enter cells and destroy personal property of prisoners such as letters, legal papers, and so forth. The Supreme Court, on July 3, ruled that such practices are fine.

Chief Justice Warren Burger read the vindictive ruling which declared that prisoners should have no right to privacy "as a reminder that, under our system of justice, deterrence and retribution are factors in addition to correction." Here we have another ruling that upholds arbitrary harassment and abuse of prisoners by malicious guards as the official law of the land.

Easing the Way to Deport Political Refugees

In a unanimous ruling on June 5, the Supreme Court held that immigrants seeking political refugee status must demonstrate a "clear probability" that they will be persecuted in their home country to avoid immediate deportation. The Court struck down a slightly more lenient standard that the immigrant need show only a "well-founded" fear of persecution.

There are some half a million Salvadoran refugees in the U.S. who have fled the U.S.-backed death squads of El Salvador, some 25,000 Haitians who have fled the bloody U.S.-backed dictatorship of "Baby Doc," and thousands upon thousands of immigrants who have come to the U.S. to escape fascist tyranny in other countries. The Reagan government wants to kick them out. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has already deported over 29,000 Salvadorans. Despite the fact that many have been murdered on their return to El Salvador, the INS has time and again declared that this is just a matter of "random violence" and not political persecution.

The Supreme Court ruling makes it easier for the Reagan government, which backs up bloody fascist dictators all around the world, to force refugees to return home to face the death squads and the iron heel of tyranny.

OK's Racial Discrimination in Selecting Grand Jury Foremen

Along with its ruling in favor of job discrimination, the Supreme Court also OK'ed the racist selection of grand jury foremen. It ruled on July 2 that the conviction of a defendant need not be overturned even if it is proven that the foreman of the grand jury was selected on the basis of discrimination against blacks or women.

The July 3 New York Times reports that "Chief Justice Burger said in the federal grand jury system the foreman does not play a significant role." Such are the absurd justifications for racial discrimination provided by the highest court of the country.

Upholding Measures to Enforce Draft Registration

On July 5 the Supreme Court upheld the Solomon amendment to the draft registration law. The amendment, which was sponsored by New York Republican Gerald Solomon, stipulates that federal scholarship aid must be refused to any college man who has failed to register for the draft.

The Reagan administration argued before the court that the Solomon law is essential to enforce draft registration. It pointed to government statistics that claim the percentage of the youth who refuse to register has fallen from 7%, when Carter instituted draft registration in 1980, to 3% after the Solomon amendment was passed.

The high court agreed with the Reagan government. Chief Justice Burger argued that the law is not punishment without a trial because "A person who has not registered is clearly under no compulsion to seek financial aid." Of course, for capitalist-minded judges, barring the children of the workers and poor from going to college is not punishment, but how things should be. The Court actually made the ridiculous argument that the law does not discriminate against the poor because it supposedly "treats all non-registrants alike, denying aid to both the poor and the wealthy." Far be it from the brilliant lawyers of the Supreme Court to notice that the wealthy do not need financial aid while the children of the workers and poor cannot go to school without aid.

This ruling is another sign that the government is hellbent on the road to fully re-instituting conscription for military service. What is draft registration for, after all, but to prepare the way to draft the sons of the working people to become cannon fodder for aggression against the people of El Salvador, or Nicaragua, or any other people who rebel against the dictate and plunder of U.S. imperialism.

Banning Travel to Cuba


The Court also ruled in favor of the Reagan government's aggressive imperialist foreign policy.

The Reagan administration has gone into a hysterical rage against the Cuban government, blaming it for the revolutionary movements in Central America, stepping up pressure against it, and threatening it with outright invasion. Although the revisionist leaders of Cuba have in fact played a dirty role in trying to pressure the revolutionary fighters in El Salvador and Nicaragua to conciliate with U.S. imperialism, the Reagan government has shown the Cuban government no mercy. The Reagan government cannot stand for even the mildest bourgeois reformist regime and is working to replace the revisionists in Cuba with another Batista-style fascist dictatorship.

As a further measure of pressure against Cuba, the Treasury Department banned tourists and businessmen from using U.S. currency in Cuba, thus essentially banning travel to that country. This is another in a long string of laws that attempt to keep people from the U.S. from visiting countries that the government doesn't like.

These laws aim especially at blocking the spread of knowledge of the revolutionary movements of the respective countries and thereby to retard the development of solidarity against U.S. imperialism.

The Supreme Court not only upheld the Treasury Department ban, but went out of its way to endorse the aggressive imperialist foreign policy of Reagan. The June 28 ruling, written by Justice William Rehnquist, declared that the travel ban is "justified by weighty concerns of foreign policy." The Court defended Reagan's aggressive policy by citing the aggressive policy of the John F. Kennedy administration towards Cuba. It declared that Kennedy's 1963 laws against Cuba "were originally adopted to deal with the peacetime emergency created by Cuban attempts to destabilize governments throughout Latin America" and therefore any reactionary measures Reagan wants to take against Cuba are certainly justified.

Thus the Supreme Court puts its official stamp of approval on imperialist bullying, intimidation, and pressure against other countries. How's that for American "justice."

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No Concessions to the Postal Service!

No to pay cuts and a two-tiered wage system!

(The following articles on the postal struggle are taken from a leaflet issued by the Seattle Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on June 28, 1984.)

At midnight on July 20, labor agreements covering 600,000 United States Postal Service (USPS) workers expire. The postal workers' contract struggle is an important event for the entire working class. USPS is the largest single employer in the U.S. As well, the postal contracts -- along with contracts covering coal miners and auto workers -- expire at a time when the working class faces a savage wage- cutting offensive that the capitalists have spread to every industry.

The capitalist management of USPS is demanding that current workers' wages be cut and that all newly hired workers be paid even less under a "two-tiered" wage structure. To justify these concessions, the Reagan- appointed managers of the Postal Board of Governors have simply declared that postal workers are "overpaid" anywhere from 18-23% as compared with workers in private industry.

But what are the facts?

First, the salary of the average postal worker today is worth less than it was in 1981, 1978 or even 1975, compensating for inflation and taxes!

Second, nearly one-sixth of the average postal worker's annual earnings of $27,531 comes from working at whatever hours of the day and night suit USPS and from working constant overtime! (New York Times, April 23, 1984) For example, it has been reported that in some cities, part-time flexible (PTF) workers have been forced to work 77-hour weeks for five weeks straight; elsewhere, full-time letter-sorting machine (LSM) operators have been scheduled to work 60- hour weeks for up to 18 months.

Third, over the last two years alone, the postal service has run up record profits of over $1.4 billion! These huge profits have been sweated from the labor of the postal workers through speedup, harassment and grueling hours of overtime.

Finally, as a result of constant productivity drives, today's postal worker moves as much mail as one and a half workers did in 1970! And without even cutting into their fat profits, USPS has been funding a massive program of automation and mechanization designed to eliminate tens of thousands of postal jobs over the next few years.

Completely disregarding these facts, Postmaster General Bolger and the Reaganite Board rely on one "simple" fact. Since the barons of "private industry" have used unemployment, layoffs, bankruptcies and strikebreaking to drive down wages, what could be more natural than that the "overpaid" postal workers should share in the misery of the great "Reagan Recovery."

But postal workers have other ideas. With more and more workers learning the truth about the USPS takeback demands, the word is rapidly spreading: No concessions to the postal service!

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'Two-tier'--a system designed to undermine job security and wages

The USPS negotiators are demanding a "two-tiered" wage structure as one means to achieve their wage- cutting goals. Under this proposal, all newly hired postal workers would receive wages at least one-third lower than at present " The benefits of these new workers would also be slashed. Both USPS and the postal unions have remained silent about the work rules applying to these new workers. However, it has been reported in the press that these new hires will be part- timers. (Federal Times, May 7, 1984) USPS also wants this new category of highly exploited workers as a weapon against the current employees.

The two-tiered wage structure is one of many concessions demanded by the rich to increase their profits at the expense of the workers. Such profitable monopolies as Boeing, American Airlines and Louisiana-Pacific have demanded "two-tier" to bring labor costs "under control." As well, the Reagan administration is pushing for another type of two-tiered wage structure in the form of a "sub-minimum wage" for teenagers, supposedly to "provide job opportunities."

As with any other concessions, "two-tier" only whets the appetites of the capitalists for further wage cuts. After establishing a two-tiered wage structure, the capitalists use any opportunity to reduce the wages of the original workers to the level of the new hires. This is exactly the course followed by Kroger Stores in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this year after establishing a two-tiered structure in 1980. (Wall Street Journal, March 6, 1984)

USPS Wants "Two-Tier" to Attack the Current Regulars and PTF's

"Two-tier" would provide USPS with a new incentive for further attacks on current workers -- either through firing them outright through new, streamlined disciplinary measures (such as the experimental "attendance control" program) or through layoffs of those employees without six years of continuous service. As well, it would increase the competition for jobs among postal workers and thus serve as a weapon to intensify USPS's ongoing productivity drives.

Even worse, a two-tiered structure would open another split in the ranks of the postal workers and create new roadblocks in organizing resistance struggles. Postal workers are already split along craft lines, and within crafts they are split between full-time regulars, PTF's and casuals (or NTE's). Postal management follows a crafty policy of using these various splits to disorganize workers' resistance to overtime, job assignments, and so forth.

For example, clerks have launched struggles in many cities against USPS's arbitrary downgrading of jobs and against attempts to force level-six LSM clerks to take level-three optical-character reader (OCR) jobs. By creating a new category of lower paid regular employees, USPS seeks to gain further leverage against the clerks, hoping to squeeze them by filling the lower-level jobs with new hires while eliminating the higher- level jobs through LSM shutdowns and other automation.

As well, "two-tier" would undoubtedly have disastrous consequences for the current part-timers. Since the PTF's lack seniority rights and are guaranteed only 20 hours of work a week, the creation of a new category of lower-paid part-timers (as reported) would severely undermine the PTF's work conditions and job security in the absence of new contract provisions in their defense. While it is bad enough that the work rules covering the new hires are "top secret," the postal unions also remain silent about the USPS proposals (and union counter-proposals) covering the work rules of current employees. The PTF's have every right to expect nothing but the worst from either USPS management -- who think nothing of working PTF's to death -- or from union officials who never lift a finger against this overwork.

Fight the "Divide-and-Rule" Tactics of USPS

If the contract contains a two-tier wage system, a major split is opened in the ranks of the workers that is favorable to management; and it is wishful thinking to hope that other contract provisions can protect the current workers from the effect of such a huge concession as the "two- tier" system. To understand this, it is only necessary to examine how USPS presently uses the NTE's (casuals) against regular employees--despite various contract provisions--simply by exploiting the existing splits among workers.

The postal service's use of casual employment is a longstanding problem for the workers. The NTE's do the same work as regulars, yet are paid 55% less. As well, they have no job rights whatsoever and can be fired for the smallest trifle.

In Seattle, recent Vietnamese immigrants were hired as NTE's to work on the new OCR's. Postal management used these workers'' relative inexperience and language difficulties to drive them at the fastest pace imaginable. Apart from the cynical, racist splitting of employees along nationality lines by the postal service in this case, the use of NTE's allowed USPS to set the most demanding work standards possible for these new machines.

Finally, it is no big secret that USPS has recently hired scores of new NTE's -- in Seattle and elsewhere -- in preparation for the contract struggle. Some of these new NTE's have denounced USPS for hiring them to scab on any struggles which might break out around the contract. In future struggles against USPS, the existence of a category of lower-paid regular employees would provide another opening for the postal service's longstanding "divide-and-rule" tactics.

Postal workers must take a firm stand against the USPS demands for "two-tier." They must work together to build the fighting unity of all postal workers -- of all crafts and classifications. The path toward eliminating the splits in their ranks lies in waging a united struggle in defense of their common interests.

[Photo: A scene from the postal workers' 1978 wildcat strikes against the sellout contract imposed by the government and the top union leaders.]

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USPS demands immediate wage cuts for current employees

Bolger and the Board of Governors make no secret of their "big discovery" that postal workers are overpaid. But they are downright shy about their specific demands. For example, on June 15 Bolger sent a letter to all employees rehashing his big lie that they are overpaid. He even reminded them what nice jobs they have, favorable comparing work at the post office to the unemployment lines. But at the end of the letter, he came a bit unglued. He was most upset at "erroneous" reports that "the Postal Service's [contract] proposals call for a pay cut." No, he said, "our proposals...retain the same basic salary schedules for current employees."

What a scam! While "salary schedules" might technically remain the same, still USPS has found countless ways to reduce postal workers' earnings. In fact, the pay cuts contained in Bolger's proposals would reduce postal workers' earnings immediately. Worse yet, the postal service proposes to eliminate even the minimal protection against the ravages of inflation provided by the old COLA formula. Bolger may content himself with lies and half-truths. However, to defend themselves postal workers must understand the vicious, wage- cutting nature of the USPS proposals.

USPS Proposes to Destroy the Postal Workers' COLA

To defend themselves from the effects of inflation and the constantly rising cost of living, postal workers in the 1970's fought for, and won, cost- of-living adjustments (COLA) to their base pay.

For example, from 1978 to 1984 the consumer price index (CPI) used to measure the effects of inflation rose over 55%. But during this same period, the average postal worker's base pay rose only 48% -- falling behind the rising cost of living. Of the pay increase won in this period, fully 69% is attributable to COLA payments. While COLA payments alone cannot keep pace with high inflation, without them the workers are very quickly fleeced.

In the past, COLA payments accumulated under the old contracts were "rolled" into the base salary schedules of the new contracts. However, in the 1981 contract negotiations, the major postal unions granted USPS the concession of postponing the "roll- in" of the old COLA for three years. While this change had no affect on hourly pay, it opened the door to splitting off COLA payments from salary schedules.

Today USPS is demanding that COLA payments be excluded from salaries permanently and they are demanding the elimination of the $1,643 in COLA earned under the last contract in exchange for three lousy "bonuses." They are proposing that future COLA payments neither accumulate nor apply to overtime and differentials. And just to make sure that the new "COLA" is basically worthless, they want to propose to "cap" it.

The net result of all these COLA "reforms" would be a big wage cut which could only grow bigger under the mildest inflation. (And no one is predicting mild inflation!) Just consider the following:

* The "conversion" of the $1,643 COLA to three lump-sum payments of $548 each spread over three years would result in an immediate 4.7% wage cut, rising to 7.1% in 1987. As well, since the COLA would not be rolled into the base salary, the shift differentials, overtime pay, and benefits figured on the base salary would be frozen at the 1981 level.

* Since the proposed COLA never accumulates, the workers' pay would never rise past the level it reaches the first year. In other words, postal workers' pay would be frozen at 1985-level inflation at best.

* The "cap" on the new COLA would insure an increase in postal workers' pay of less than 5.5% over the entire three years of the contract even if inflation should again reach double-digit levels.

Obviously, with these attacks on COLA, Bolger and the Reaganite Board of Governors would be off to a flying start in their wage-cutting plans.

Bolger's "Nickle-and-Dime" Wage Cuts Are Hardly a "Freeze''

Evidently, the USPS bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. have spent the last three years sitting at their desks studying every sleazy method imaginable to cut postal workers' wages. As a result of this work, USPS has come up with a whole slew of proposed wage cuts. Most of these cuts would affect the one-sixth of annual earnings received from overtime, shift differentials and other fringe benefits. All told, these "nickle-and-dime" wage cuts add up to a tidy sum -- in fact, these cuts have as much effect overall as the failure to roll-in the 1981/84 COLA.

* Cuts in differential payments.USPS proposes to cut night differentials from 10% of hourly wage to 504 an hour, or about 55%. A worker on night shift -- and a high percentage of postal operations are conducted at night -- would lose roughly $1,500 per year immediately from this change. As well, USPS proposes to limit the applicability of Sunday premium pay for those employees (mainly on a late-swing shift) currently earning it on Saturday.

* Cuts in sick leave pay. USPS proposes to stop paying sick leave for the first eight hours of each instance of sick leave use. Assuming the average worker were to call in sick just five times a year, this would result in an immediate $450 pay cut. As well, this proposed change in sick leave policy is designed to enforce attendance. Thus it is related to such reactionary measures as the new "attendance control" programs USPS is testing, programs which result in termination on the third instance of whatever management decides is "sick leave abuse." (Federal Times, May 14, 1984)

* Freeze in employer contribution to health plans. USPS proposes to make workers pay all future health insurance cost increases. With health insurance the fastest rising component of the CPI, there's no telling how much such a freeze would cost. Even with USPS increasing its contributions in 1982 and 1983, employee premiums rose an average of 31% and 24% respectively. (Postal Life, November/ December 1982)

* Medicare and Pensions. Apart from the contract, the postal workers are suffering takebacks from various government benefit programs. Postal workers are already paying a 1.3% Medicare tax. Since the Republicans and Democrats in Congress are still "reforming" federal retirement programs, one can only expect that postal workers will be skinned twice in this process, through both tax increases and cuts in benefits.

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Strike News in Brief

Phelps-Dodge Strikers Battle Police

Striking copper miners in Arizona fought another pitched battle with the police on June 30.

Marking the first anniversary of the strike, over 2,000 copper miners and their supporters held a militant rally on the outskirts of Clifton, Arizona. Late in the afternoon, several hundred marched through downtown Clifton and up to the Phelps-Dodge mine site. After the march 30 to 40 pickets remained at the mine site. The police, claiming that the demonstrators' parade permit had expired, ordered them to disperse. When the miners, who ordinarily picket every day, refused to leave, the police charged them and shot tear gas into a near-by store where other miners had gathered. A two-hour battle ensued.

Over 200 policemen were involved in the fighting. They fired tear gas into the crowd, clubbed demonstrators and arrested two dozen. But the miners fought back bravely. Rocks and a molotov cocktail were thrown at the policemen and the road was barricaded with boulders and tires. At one point, the demonstrators trapped the police chief in a store and his patrol car was demolished. After two hours of fierce fighting the police retreated from the city. The miners continued to occupy the streets for much of the night. Only with reinforcements the next morning did the police dare to reenter the town.

This battle, like the others that have gone before, shows the miners' determination to win this strike against concessions. The Phelps-Dodge capitalists cut wages almost in half, eliminated COLA and introduced many work rule changes and other productivity measures. They have hired scabs to keep the mine operating and are presently trying to decertify the unions. But the strike has thrown them into red ink and the striking miners are determined to carry their struggle to victory.

Danly Workers Resist Strikebreaking

The strike of the Danly workers in the Chicago area is entering its fourth month and the capitalists have stepped up their vicious efforts at strikebreaking.

In July the Danly bosses issued an.ultimatum that if the workers did not accept Danly's demands for job- eliminating work rule changes, pay cuts and a two-tiered wage system, then the strikers would be fired and replaced with scabs. The workers answered this ultimatum by stepping up their struggle.

On July 18, when the scab hiring was to begin, a mass picket of some 200 workers marched at the plant gates. And on July 22, over 1,000 strikers and their friends gathered fora militant rally at the Clyde Park Stadium in Cicero.

The Danly Machine Company, owned by the Ogden conglomerate, is a major producer of die sets and giant presses for the auto industry. Even though the Danly capitalists are reaping the benefits from the recent upturn in the auto industry they laid off some 1,000 workers and their concessions demands threaten further layoffs among the remaining 450 workers.

The Danly workers cannot allow the capitalists to cut their wages or introduce further job-eliminating productivity measures. As their recent mass actions demonstrate, the workers are not about to let their strike be suppressed.

[Photo: Danly workers jeer scabs.]

Toledo Workers Indicted for May 21

On July 3, a grand jury handed down indictments against 37 workers who had participated in the May 21 demonstration at the AP Parts muffler and tailpipe plant in Toledo.

Four hundred AP Parts workers have been striking against concessions and company strikebreaking since May 2. On May 21, some 3,000 workers from plants all around the Toledo area demonstrated in solidarity with the AP Parts strikers at the plant gate. Local police attempted to break up the demonstration with tear gas, rubber bullets, and clubs. But the workers boldly fought back for over an hour, damaging some 19 police vehicles. In the course of the fighting, 41 of the workers were arrested.

The grand jury charged 23 of the demonstrators with misdemeanors. Another 14 were charged with "inciting violence'' or "aggravated riot,'' felony charges that bring sentences of up to 18 months or two years respectively. Some of the stiffest charges were against those workers from the Toledo AMC-Jeep plant who were known to have called for the demonstration.

The indictments are clearly aimed at intimidating workers to not take further mass actions. The regional union leaders were long ago intimidated as is shown, for example, by their canceling of a solidarity demonstration that was scheduled for June 24. But the rank-and-file workers have only grown more angry with the announcement of the indictments and more bitter at the cringing capitulation of the union bosses.

A contingent of workers from the AP Parts strike joined the July 23 demonstration at the GM headquarters in Detroit. They voiced their militant determination to carry forward their strike and were greeted with exuberant shouts of "Support the AP Parts strike! No to concessions!"

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Auto Talks Open

Ford and GM are out for more concessions

On June 23, the first day of bargaining between General Motors and the UAW, 3,000 auto workers demonstrated against concessions. The Marxist-Leninist Party took an active part in this protest which was held at the GM headquarters in downtown Detroit. Below we print an article based on the leaflet of the Detroit Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA which was distributed at the demonstration and at auto plants throughout the city.

The first six months of 1984 have turned out to be an absolute gold mine for the Big 3 auto capitalists. The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press report that Big 3 profits for this period will top the $6 billion mark. And the Wall St. auto analysts are predicting that 1984 total auto profits will skyrocket past $11 billion. Have these enormous profits quenched the auto giants' thirst for concessions? No! Not a chance!

Throughout the summer, hardly a week has gone by without a statement by GM's Roger Smith or the negotiators at Ford outlining another concessions plot. Clearly, the greed of the auto companies knows no limit.

Faced with this outrageous situation, you'd think that the UAW International leadership would be gearing up for a big fight to win back the concessions given up over the last two years. Instead, Owen Bieber and the other UAW chieftains are working hand in glove with Ford and GM to keep the bulk of the hated concessions intact. Just take a look at what they have in store in '84.

* Wages

Ford and GM are still on the concessions trail. Both companies have openly stated that they are aiming to cut the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) payments and to eliminate the 3% Annual Improvement Factor (AIF). At GM, Roger Smith has arrogantly declared: "I don't think you're going to see the 3% AIF ever again." And he goes on to say that any future wage improvements can only come through "profit sharing."

The top UAW bureaucrats have declared they must win some "upfront" money to sell the contract to the rank and file. But they are noticeably silent about the 3% AIF and COLA. Are they planning to take cuts in the AIF or dilute the COLA? They don't say, but Owen Bieber, UAW's president, has stated that he might settle for "improvements and expansion" of the profit-sharing program. There you have it, the president of the UAW endorsing the auto capitalists' Reaganite "trickle-down" profit-sharing fraud. Ford and GM absolutely love this. After all, they get billions, while the workers are tossed a few hundred in crumbs.

This highway robbery must be opposed. Auto workers must fight for protection of COLA, for a full payback of all the wage concessions stolen in the past two years, for unfreezing the retirees' pensions, and for the elimination of the two-tier wage system for new hires.

* Overtime

The auto capitalists treat the question of overtime like a sacred god. Overtime is one of the main sources of the high profits for the auto companies. Therefore, the Big 3 auto executives get extremely nervous when the issue of stopping overtime is raised. Shaking in his boots, Roger Smith stated that it would be "impossible" to produce cars and trucks without overtime. And GM chief negotiator Alfred Warren has chimed in by saying that the elimination of overtime would "deprive us from selling vehicles."

As contract time approaches, the UAW hacks have begun to blow all sorts of hot air about "limiting overtime." But talk is cheap. Remember these guys haven't done a damn thing in the past five years to stop the backbreaking overtime.

Even if the bureaucrats were to slightly "limit" overtime this would not be enough. Two hundred thousand auto workers and millions of other workers are walking the streets without jobs. The overwhelming stand of the rank and file is for not allowing a minute of overtime while unemployment ravages the working class.

* Job Elimination

Ford and GM are hot on the issue of job elimination. They are working night and day cooking up new job- eliminating schemes. For the year1984 alone, GM plans to spend more than $6 billion for the introduction of new job-eliminating equipment like robots and computers. In GM's 1984 bargaining strategy document Alfred Warren outlines that his company plans to eliminate 80,000 more jobs in the next five years. And the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Ford has secretly told the UAW that it plans to eliminate 30,000 additional jobs in the same time period.

The top UAW hacks from Owen Bieber on down are all claiming that job security will be the number one priority issue in this year's contract talks. But this claim looks pretty empty when you look at their track record. In the past five years the UAW leadership hasn't lifted a finger to defend the 200,000 auto workers who have already lost their jobs. Forcing the auto companies to bring back the laid off or to at least provide them with a livelihood would cut into the sacred profits of the Big 3. And you know that the Solidarity House boys would never do that.

The chief "job security" demand of the UAW bureaucrats is to limit imports. This is hardly a fight for jobs; rather, it is an attempt to pit the American workers against their class brothers in other countries. What the workers need is to link arms around the world and wage a real fight against the capitalists. But the UAW bureaucrats are not for such a fight. In fact they are talking about preventing a strike against GM and Ford for fear that a strike would give Reagan a pretext to eliminate all limits on importing autos. The UAW hacks' anti-import talk is not a fight for jobs, but a plan to sell out the workers.

The other "job security" demand of the bureaucrats is for the fraudulent "Guaranteed Income Stream" program (GIS). Even though the GIS has been rejected by the rank and file at plant after plant, UAW Vice President Donald Ephlin has called for it to be instituted in all 151 GM plants across the country. The UAW hacks claim that the GIS will provide "lifetime" job security for the auto workers. But in reality, it's a program of local concessions and job elimination.

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.

* Local Concessions and the Productivity Drive

From 1979 right up until today, the auto companies and the UAW hacks have teamed up to saddle the auto workers with local, plant-by-plant concessions. They have attacked the workers with job combinations and eliminations. The lines have been sped up. Work rules, safety procedures and relief time have been limited and reduced. And tens of thousands of workers have been disciplined and fired under the notorious Absentee Control Program that was put in place with the last contract.

Competition between plants has been set up to pit the workers from one plant against another to see which local plant will work the cheapest and accept the most local concessions when parts contracts are given out. Blackmail threats of plant closings are used to push through the elimination of thousands of jobs and this is then hailed as a "victory" that saved jobs!

The rank and file must make the fight against the productivity drive a nationwide policy. Each rejection of the productivity drive and local concessions must be promoted across the country to build the auto workers' fighting spirit. The united strength of all of the auto workers must be brought to bear in the fight against local concessions, job combinations, work rule changes and the hated speedup.

Auto Workers, Prepare for Struggle!

Together the auto billionaires and the UAW hacks are cooking up back room concessions deals to shove down the auto workers' throats. This concessions railroad can be derailed. But this will only happen if the rank and file take matters into their own hands. A powerful mass struggle against the concessions schemes must be built.

Now is the time to build for that struggle. Leaflets like this one exposing the plots of the auto capitalists and the hacks should be distributed everywhere. Discussion must be organized in the locker rooms, on the lines, and in the break areas. Militants should organize networks and telephone grapevines in preparation for mass actions like slowdowns, wildcats, etc. Build the struggle in '84! No concessions in '84!

[Photo: 2,000 auto workers protest at GM headquarters in Detroit, as talks open.]

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50,000 Hospital Workers Strike in New York

(The following article is adapted from a leaflet issued by the New York Metro Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on July 20, 1984.)

On July 13th, 46,000 hospital workers of District 1199 (hospital workers' union) walked off their jobs at 27 hospitals and three nursing homes in New York City. They were soon joined on Monday, July 16, by 3,500 other hospital workers in 11 more nursing homes and three hospitals on Long Island. This brought the total to nearly 50,000 workers out on strike against a total of 44 health care institutions in the New York metro area. The Marxist-Leninist Party hails this militant strike of the hospital workers!

The vicious Reaganite offensive is raining down hard on the masses of working people. While Reagan and his crew boast about "recovery," the masses are becoming more and more impoverished. It is only the rich capitalist moneybags, who today are maximizing their profits by squeezing the workers ever harder, who are "recovering." In these times when the workers are being pushed to the wall by the rich capitalists, who are on a concessions rampage, the only way to resist these attacks is to stand up and fight. The strike of the 50,000 hospital workers is a good example.

Today the issues at hand in the strike are twofold. Firstly, the workers are demanding a 9% a year wage increase in each year of a two-year contract. Secondly, they are demanding a guarantee of every other weekend off. The League of Voluntary Hospitals and Nursing Homes has flatly rejected the demand for weekends off. And, as far as wages go, it has offered a pitiful 3% a year increase. This amount is so pitiful that even the hospital administrations were too embarrassed to own up to it and thus promoted the fast talk that they were really offering a 4% increase but that it would only cover three-fourths of the year! In other words, only 3% wage increase a year. And "givebacks" that the capitalists demand would reduce the wage offer to closer to 2.3% a year.

The hospital workers justly rejected this vicious offer and went on strike.

The hospitals, along with the news media, are condemning the workers for threatening patient care. But the workers have stated that they would not interfere with emergency medical care or with care of critically ill patients. And it is the hospitals themselves with their outrageous demands which have forced the workers to strike to defend themselves. While the voluntary hospitals are supposedly nonprofit, in fact the health insurance, medical equipment, and drug monopolies squeeze billions of dollars in profits out of the hospital workers and patients alike. It is the profit interests of these capitalist companies which the hospital administrations are defending -- not the interests of the patients.

The powerful strike of 50,000 is already crippling the functions of these hospitals. Elective surgery has been cancelled, clinics closed and admissions curtailed, and the hospitals are barely hanging on by organizing scabs to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week. In five of the struck hospitals, 1199 nurses as well as hospital workers are on strike, thus paralyzing these hospitals completely.

The striking hospital workers have also gotten support from non-1199 nurses and other workers such as private sanitation workers who have refused to cross picket lines at some struck hospitals.

On the other hand the city and state governments have come out to support the hospital administrations. The city declared a "health emergency" and ordered city sanitation men to pick up garbage at hospitals where private sanitation workers were supporting the strike.

Despite this strikebreaking of the government, the hospital workers remain determined to carry their struggle to victory. They deserve the support of workers throughout the city.

[Photo: Striking hospital workers march in New York City, July 25.]

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The postal union leaders are not organizing any fight against USPS

In waging their fight against Bolger and the Reaganite Board, postal workers should keep a close eye on the false friends within their camp, the top leaders of the postal unions.

Postal workers are organized into four main unions. By far, the largest and most influential of these unions are the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). These two unions are coordinating their contract negotiations through a Joint Bargaining Committee (JBC) headed by their respective presidents, Moe Biller and Vince Sombrotto.

Both of these trade union bureaucrats like to posture as militant defenders of the postal workers and as staunch fighters against concessions. But the facts tell a different story. Biller and Sombrotto are not telling the whole truth about USPS's outrageous takeback demands. They are not organizing the workers to resist them. And without this, the union chieftains' words against concessions remain just words.

Biller and Sombrotto Are Trying to Keep the Workers in the Dark About the USPS Demands

The APWU/NALC Joint Bargaining Committee has shown sluggishness -- or worse -- in exposing Bolger's concessions demands. As late as June 8, Biller and Sombrotto were still claiming that USPS was demanding "wage freezes for current workers and 'givebacks' for new employees.'' (JBC Bulletin #2, June 8, 1984) Not until June 15 did these union leaders admit that the USPS was demanding big pay cuts and not a "wage freeze"! And to this day, Biller and Sombrotto refuse to provide details about the USPS "non-economic proposals" -- for example the work rules for the proposed "two-tier" new hires. Stonewalling and distorting things is hardly a militant fight against concessions!

The Top Trade Union Leaders Are Avoiding Denunciation of the "Two-Tier'' Concept

On April 24, at the opening session of contract negotiations, Biller told reporters that the APWU had no position on the proposal for a two-tiered wage structure! (Federal Times, May 7, 1984) Since then, Biller and Sombrotto have said a lot of bad things about the USPS demands -- garbage this, garbage that, and so forth. But nowhere have they specifically denounced the concept of "two-tier"! What treachery!

The Union Chiefs' Betrayal of the Contract Struggles in 1978 and 1981 Should Not Be Forgotten

If the trade union leaders' corrosive activity sounds familiar, this is because it is hard to forget the sellout contracts imposed by them in 1978 and 1981. This is not the first time that the union big shots have displayed reluctance to fight, or have played "fast-and-loose" with the facts.

In 1978 -- when inflation was running in double-digit figures under the Carter administration -- USPS tried to cap the COLA and grant small raises which would have resulted in huge salary cuts due to inflation. The union chiefs went along with this and recommended acceptance of the contract. But the workers were angry. Wildcat strikes against this sellout broke out at the Bulk and Foreign Mail Center in New Jersey and at the San Francisco Bulk Mail Center. Moe Biller himself denounced this contract as a sellout, and used this posturing to propel himself to the presidency of APWU.

However, while giving lip service to fighting this sellout, Biller grabbed the first opportunity handed to him by the federal courts to call off a strike authorization meeting in New York City. He denounced the wildcats in New Jersey and California as "misguided." Biller and other local presidents then told the workers to trust their fate to the arbitrators of the Carter government. After stalling for months to cool off the struggle, the arbitrator imposed nearly the same rotten contract -- uncapping the COLA but removing the "no-layoff" clause in exchange.

In 1981, Biller (now APWU president) and Sombrotto vowed to repair the damage done in 1978. They sought to maintain their image as "militants" and ensure that the workers did not get out of hand as in 1978. And what was the result? They granted USPS the dangerous concession of a delayed "roll-in" of the COLA in exchange for nothing. Still worse, they misrepresented the amount of salary increases contained in the agreement and recommended its acceptance.

The postal workers' own experience shows that to resist the attacks of USPS they must rely on no one but themselves. They must be vigilant against the labor fakers in control of the unions.

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Postal workers-- Prepare for struggle!

The postal service has presented its brutal demands for wage cuts and a two-tiered wage system as an ultimatum. Bolger and the Postal Board of Governors are waving a big Reaganite stick to intimidate the workers and make them give up without a fight. Meanwhile, the top leaders of the postal unions are pursuing more subtle activities to undermine the workers' ranks.

But the postal workers can win. They can win by relying on their own efforts. The key thing now is to fan the flames of indignation against the takebacks. This will strengthen the workers' ranks and prepare for resistance.

Denounce the USPS takeback demands on the work room floor, in cafeterias and break rooms, and in union meetings. Expose the undermining activities of the top union, leaders. The workers in all crafts and at all stations need to get organized. And spread leaflets which tell the workers the truth and how to build the fight.

The postal workers are over a half-million strong. But to use this strength they must get organized and prepare themselves to confront not only the attacks of the USPS but also the sabotage of the trade union bureaucrats. If they do so, they will have no shortage of ideas on how to advance their resistance. To hell with the bluster of the USPS bureaucrats!

No concessions to the Postal Service!

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Protest against the Democratic Party Convention

For a Real Fight Against Reaganism, Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!


On this page we reprint the four articles from the July 5 Workers' Advocate Special Bulletin appealing for protests against the Democratic Party during its National Convention.

From July 16-19, the Democratic Party will hold its convention in San Francisco.

The Marxist-Leninist Party calls on workers, black people and other oppressed nationalities, working women, and youth to march into the streets in militant protest. Condemn four years of the Democrats rubber-stamping Reaganism! Say no to the bipartisan capitalist program of hunger, racism and war! Stand up for the interests of the working masses!

The Democrats are another big capitalist party like the Republicans. They can be no more relied upon to oppose Reaganism than a big businessman can be trusted to cut his profits so that his workers can eat.

If Reaganism is to be fought, the working masses must do it. Advance the mass struggle against the capitalist offensive. Get organized in the factories, communities, and schools. To hell with both the capitalist parties, Democrat and Republican alike. Build the independent movement of the working class.

Democrats: Hypocritical Partners in Reaganism

Reagan is the capitalists' foul-mouthed spokesman, the loudest champion of cutbacks for the workers, of racism and segregation, of imperialist warmongering.

But the Democrats are the capitalists' biggest hypocrites. They cry buckets full of tears over "fairness" for the workers, blacks, women, and the poor; and all the while they are passing another bill to cut Social Security, Medicaid, lunch programs for children and other social benefits so desperately needed by the working people.

The Democrats wring their hands about "peace" and then vote for still another enormous increase in Reagan's war budget.

The Democrats moan and groan about "reversing Reagan's policies"; but the only "alternative" they have to offer is Mondale, who as vice-president under the Carter government helped to launch the very policies that Reagan is carrying forward today.

Yet Mondale claims that he is going to fight Reagan on the "issues" such as budget deficits, peace and leadership. Let's look at what Mondale's "opposition" to Reagan amounts to.

More Cutbacks in the Name of Reducing the Deficit

For four years Reagan has slashed every social benefit program to the bone in the name of reducing the federal budget deficit. Now Mondale is picking up Reagan's catchword. This means that Mondale is announcing beforehand that he will not fight for the interests of the working masses, that he will not restore a cent that Reagan has cut.

Is Mondale going to reduce the budget deficit by cutting military spending? Not on your life. He plans to raise the enormous Pentagon budget by at least 4-5%.

Will Mondale reduce the budget deficit by shifting the tax burden onto the rich? Wrong again. He may speak of minor tinkering with the taxes on the big capitalists, but the brunt of the taxation will continue to be shifted onto the shoulders of the working people.

Then what is Mondale thinking of cutting when he talks about reducing the deficits? It is nothing other than the standard of living of the working people that Mondale wants to cut back. He has already declared in favor of the Democratic Party's plan to cut Medicare after the elections. And you can bet more such cuts will be just around the corner. What Mondale is proposing is not a fight against Reaganism, but following Reagan's footsteps in impoverishing the working masses.

Empty Talk of Peace

Mondale is an imperialist politician and his talk of peace is like a robber trying to hide his tracks. It should be remembered that it was not Reagan, but the Carter-Mondale government that reintroduced draft registration; that first sent green berets to El Salvador; that created the rapid deployment force; that, with the "Carter doctrine," declared the oil-rich Middle East to be U.S. imperialism's sphere of influence; and that announced the first strike nuclear war policy.

Nor has Mondale recanted on these policies. His "peace" program is nothing more than replacing one nuclear weapon for another, jacking up the record military spending still further, and backing up every bloodstained dictator in the name of "not pulling the plug" on U.S. imperialism's friends.

An "Experienced" Slave Driver

Mondale is also campaigning that he is not a grade-B actor like Reagan, but a real "experienced" political leader. Of course this is true, but for the working masses the "experience" has been all bad.

Reagan has presided over the vicious takeback offensive which has spread against the workers in one industry after another. But it was the Carter-Mondale government which launched the capitalists' concessions drive with the Chrysler bail-out deal in 1979.

Reagan has stood at the head of brutal strikebreaking. But it was the Carter-Mondale team that unleashed the national guard against the coal miners and that drew up the plans which Reagan merely implemented in breaking the air traffic controllers' strike.

Reagan has been the champion of the racist crusade against the oppressed nationalities and immigrants. But remember it was the Carter-Mondale administration which set out the anti-immigrant policies that the House Democrats have just pushed through Congress in the reactionary Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. And it was not for nothing that the fighting black masses of Miami condemned Carter as the "racist chief."

Mondale is "experienced" all right. He is a seasoned slave driver with a program of attacking the masses which is no different in its essentials that the reactionary program of Reagan.

To Hell With the Capitalist Parties

Still, it is sometimes said that perhaps Mondale will be a little bit better than Reagan; or that, even if Mondale is no good, we should work within the Democratic Party to reform its policies. These are dangerous illusions.

Today the capitalist class is on a savage offensive against the working masses. Under this Reaganite policy the big capitalists, despite the most severe economic crisis since the 1930's, have raked in billions upon billions of dollars in record profits. The capitalists are not about to give up this gold mine without a struggle.

But the Democrats are not about to wage such a fight. To be more precise, the only fight waged by the Democrats is from the other side of the barricades. They are a capitalist party just like the Republicans and they dance to the tune that the capitalists play. That is why it was the Democratic Party government of Carter-Mondale that began the policies which Reagan has carried forward. That is why for the last four years the Democrats have passed virtually every reactionary measure that Reagan has called for. That is why the Democratic Party candidate, Mondale, is running on an essentially Reaganite program. And that is why, whether Reagan or Mondale take office, the Democrats will continue to back the capitalist offensive against the masses.

The working class and oppressed people cannot hope for salvation from either of the two big capitalist parties. They must reject the leadership of both, take matters into their own hands, and raise the fight against Reaganism to a conscious class struggle against the capitalist exploiters.

Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class

But if Reaganism represents the class offensive of the capitalists; if the Democrats are not an alternative, but rather the partners in Reagan's crimes; then what is the force that is capable of turning back the Reaganite juggernaut?

That force is the working class. By its size alone the working class is a major power. What is more, by its position in large-scale socialized production, the working class finds itself in irreconcilable contradiction with the capitalists and with the potential to be the most organized and disciplined fighting force against the exploiters.

But today the workers are shackled by the reformist lies of the Democratic Party and disorganized by the trade union bureaucrats. The unions have been taken over by a corrupt bureaucracy that is tied to the Democrats and sells out every fight of the workers. The AFL-CIO bureaucrats are acting as a machine for the Mondale campaign, and the UAW misleaders are even talking of putting aside a strike against the GM and Ford billionaires in the name of not hurting Mondale's election chances.

Thus, a real fight against Reagan must mean not fostering illusions in the Democrats or catering to the bureaucrats, but going to the masses of workers, encouraging their struggles and working to organize the class conscious movement of the workers, independent of and against both capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans alike.

This year's election campaign does not have to be a wet blanket thrown over the struggles of the working masses. The burning hatred for Reagan and the mass sentiment against the capitalist offensive should be used to push forward strikes against concessions, unemployment marches, demonstrations against imperialist war preparations, active resistance to racist oppression, and the other mass currents of protest against the capitalist dictators.

In this year's election campaign the capitalist politicians are not the only voice that must be heard. Revolutionary literature can be spread across the land that tells the truth about the capitalist offensive headed up by Reagan, that tells the truth about the treachery of the Democratic Party and the union bureaucrats, that tells the truth about the way out for the workers and oppressed.

This year's election doesn't have to be a campaign to disorganize the masses and tie them to the coattails of the Democrats. Work can be done to build up revolutionary groups in the factories, the communities and schools.

In this year's election none of the presidential candidates are worth voting for. But we do not have to content ourselves with choosing which of these representatives of the capitalists will crack the whip over our heads for the next four years. We can strike out on another path, the path of building the independent movement of the working class, the path of organizing a real struggle against Reaganite reaction.

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Words of peace, deeds of war

What do the Democrats really stand for in Central America?

For three and a half years now, Reagan has steadily escalated U.S. intervention in Central America. He has organized an army of-thousands of contras to restore a Somoza-style tyranny in Nicaragua. He has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up the death-squad dictatorship in El Salvador against the insurgent workers and peasants. And he has turned Honduras into a giant landing strip for the Pentagon's war plans in the region. Step by step a new Viet Nam-style war of aggression is being launched in Central America.

Today the Democrats and their various apologists are saying that the solution to this problem is to elect a Democratic president to replace Mr. Reagan. While some say that the Democrats are certain to bring peace and justice to Central America, others suggest that under the Democrats things will be at least a bit better.

We say that facts speak louder than words. We should judge the Democrats not on the basis of their pious declarations and promises, but by what they actually stand for.

* What's the record of the Democratic Party during the Reagan years?

The Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives. They have not blocked Reagan's war plans; they have collaborated with him. It is with both Republican and Democratic votes that Reagan has funded the contras, sent weapons for the Salvadoran military dictatorship, and built up Honduras as a U.S. garrison. Oh yes, the Democrats have often struck a pose of indignation and opposition, but it has all been a pose. Mere quibbles over providing a better "human rights"mask over the bipartisan policy of beefing up tyranny and reaction.

* The Democrats will nominate Walter Mondale. And what does Mr. Mondale stand for?

Mondale, like other liberal Democrats, has of course made many vague promises about Central America. But his real stand was indicated, for example, during the debates before the New York primary. He pointed out then that, as far as he was concerned, the lesson from the Viet Nam war is not that the U.S. must stop intervening abroad but a question of "when and when not to use American power." And he went on to declare that the U.S. government must not "pull\the plug" on the reactionaries in Central America.

* What's more, Mr. Mondale was part of the Democratic Carter administration that held power before Reagan. And what s the record of that administration in Central America?

The facts show that it was the Carter administration that set up one policy after another that the Reagan administration has carried forward.

In Nicaragua, Carter backed Somoza to the hilt. In 1978 Carter even sent Somoza a letter praising him for respecting human rights! When the revolution was on its way to victory, Carter tried to set up a regime that would preserve Somocismo without Somoza; but this failed because of the mass insurrection. The Democratic administration tried to get an inter-American (multinational) invasion force to take over the country and even considered direct U.S. intervention, but this too fell through. Instead they settled for putting pressure on the Sandinista government, while simultaneously setting up the contra army. It is important to remember that the contras first began to train and organize under the Carter administration.

In El Salvador, the Carter administration is notorious for putting together the "civilian" face to mask the brutal death-squad regime. Mr. Reagan's front man in El Salvador today, Duarte, cut his teeth under the Carter White House. And it was during that regime that the murders of Salvadoran working people ballooned to massive proportions.

Finally, the militarization of Honduras also began in the Carter years. In the 1978-80 period, Honduras received more U.S. aid than any other Central American country and it became the biggest arms importer in the region.

Clearly a rerun of the Carter-Mondale Democratic administration will not turn U.S. policy around. The Democrats are simply the twin party of the Republicans. Both are controlled by big business. Moreover, it may be remembered that the Democrats are also the party that gave us Bay of Pigs, the Viet Nam war, the invasion of the Dominican Republic, and so on.

No, the answer to Washington's aggression in Central America requires a struggle against both the political parties of the rich. The answer lies not in voting Democrat in '84 but in building up the mass struggle against U.S. imperialism. In the 1960's and early 70's, it was the struggle in the streets that helped stop the war in Indochina. The same lesson holds true today. The working people and youth must be organized for struggle, independent of both the capitalist parties.

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Fight the bipartisan war drive of U.S. imperialism!

Today the mass hatred for Reagan's warmongering is widespread and deep. The Reagan administration is throwing U.S. troops and "advisors" and military hardware around the world. The CIA is sending its armed thugs into Nicaragua; the Pentagon is sending its "advisors" into El Salvador; and Honduras has been turned into one big U.S. military base. U.S. troops have invaded Grenada, patrol in the Persian Gulf, and U.S. military support backs up the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. Meanwhile Reagan also continues his preparations for a "winnable nuclear war."

The Marxist-Leninist Party stands for an all-out fight against Reagan's program of imperialist war preparations and aggression. Our Party encourages every manifestation of mass indignation against the Reaganite war drive and seeks to orient them so that they will strike firmly against imperialism and militarism. Thus our Party is actively participating in the mass actions being organized July 16 and 17 at the site of the Democratic National Convention (Moscone Center). The MLP calls on the working people, the youth and all progressive people to take part in these demonstrations to protest against the war drive of the imperialist parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

Is a Vote for Mondale a "Peace Vote In '84"?

It is very fitting to demonstrate against the Reaganite war drive at the Democratic Convention, because the Democratic Party is one of the two big parties of war and aggression. It is the Democrats who began U.S. imperialism's post-World War II drive for world hegemony. It is the Democrats who began the nuclear armaments program. And today it is the Democrats who have for four long years voted one record-breaking military budget after another for the use of the blood-crazed Reagan.

The Democratic Party has thus been a willing partner in Reagan's war drive. The anti-war demonstrators at the Democratic Convention will be burning mad at this Reaganite war drive. Yet the official sponsors of the demonstration on July 16, the "Vote Peace in '84 Coalition," will try to turn the rally into a show of support for the Democrats. They claim that to vote for Mondale is to vote for peace in '84. (On the other hand, the official sponsors of the demonstration on July 17 are calling for a protest against the Democrats' support of militarism. Nevertheless, their leaflet suggests that "drastic changes" might convert the Democrats into a "peace party.")

Will a vote for Mondale in November or for other Democratic (or Republican) politicians mean a vote for peace? Will it retard the long string of Pentagon aggressions one iota? Will it even slow down the Reaganite policies of war and aggression ?

It cannot. The policy of war and aggression is the bipartisan policy of Democrat and Republican. The Democrats complain only that the Republicans are not skilled and efficient enough in their warmongering, that they waste too much money and alienate potential allies. Indeed, Mondale himself was vice-president in the Carter administration which began the recent round of record-breaking military budgets; re-instituted registration for the draft; pushed for the MX missile, neutron bombs and the "Stealth" bomber; organized the Rapid Deployment Force; began training contras for use against the Nicaraguan revolution; and openly avowed the policy of first use of nuclear weapons through Presidential Directive 59.

We hold that the anti-war activists should make use of the elections to agitate against the imperialist war drive. But this cannot be done by spreading illusions in the Democrats. It must be done by exposing both political parties of hunger, racism, and war, both the Democrats and the Republicans, and thus helping to organize the independent political movement of the working class.

Fight Against U.S. Imperialism

Why do the Democrats always end up with the same policy as the Republicans? Why does all their sweet talk about "human rights" and "peace" and "justice and equality for all people" always end up to be sordid lies?

It is because the Democrats are a party of imperialism, a party that supports the capitalists. The Reaganite war drive is not simply an accident or an aberration; it is not the invention of a single individual, Ronald Reagan. On the contrary, it is designed for definite aims: the defense of the profits of the multinational corporations and the search for U.S. world hegemony. Any political party that defends the profits of the imperialists will also have the same Reaganite policy of war and aggression as those avowed tools of the millionaires and the generals, the Republicans.

And the Democrats are precisely such a party of capitalism and exploitation. They support exploitation in the U.S., and they seek to extract profits from exploiting the world. This is why they constantly state that they wouldn't think of weakening the Pentagon. This is why, no matter how much they talk of "peace" because it wins votes, they are committed to a policy of aggression and war preparations.

It is the class struggle against imperialism that strikes heavy blows at Reaganite warmongering. The more the protests against Reaganite militarism are oriented at fighting the entire U.S. imperialist system, the stronger they will be. It is the capitalist and imperialist system that gives rise to war and aggression. The imperialist powers plunder other countries and also fight among themselves over the spoils. U.S. imperialism leads the Western imperialist bloc in a struggle with their equally imperialist rival, Soviet social-imperialism, for world hegemony. Here in the U.S. it is our job to center the struggle against all imperialism on the fight against "our own" U.S. imperialists, who are world exploiters and aggressors on a gigantic scale.

Mass Struggle Against Imperialism -- The Real "Peace Vote"

Not becoming footmen for one or another capitalist politician, but standing up in mass struggle is the way to put a spoke in the imperialist war plans. Let us remember the struggle against U.S. aggression in Viet Nam and Indochina as a whole. The Democrats as well as the Republicans gave us this war. It was the liberals Kennedy and Johnson as well as the Republican Nixon who sent 500,000 troops into Viet Nam. And it was the mass indignation, of the working people, not the hand-wringing of the hypocritical Congressional Democrats, that was the powerful force against this war.

The mass struggle, not voting for the Democrats, was the driving force of the anti-war movement. This struggle gave rise to anti-imperialist sentiments among the widest sections of the working masses, and it began to break down the illusions of the activists in the capitalist parties. It was a big step toward developing independent political motion.

It was this mass struggle that supported the heroic and protracted fight of the Vietnamese people and provided real support for the sacrifices borne by the millions of Vietnamese workers and peasants. The struggle of the Vietnamese people, and the mass movement in the U.S., is what caused the bourgeoisie to be defeated, so that even Republican fanatic Nixon was forced to retreat with his tail between his legs from Viet Nam.

The same holds true today. It is the struggle of the working people against imperialism -- both the struggle of the workers and peasants in Central America and other areas victimized by U.S. aggression and the development of the mass movement here in the U.S. -- that is the real obstacle to the Reaganite policies of war and aggression.

Therefore we must boldly answer the Reaganite policies of war and aggression by denouncing U.S. imperialism and building the independent movement of the working class. Let us demonstrate, organize, and agitate against the war drive and the imperialist system that stands behind it. Let us build up the mass anti-imperialist struggle. It is the mass struggle that worries the Reaganites. And it is the development of a powerful mass movement that is one step on the road towards the overthrow of the capitalist exploiters in the socialist revolution that alone can remove for all time the specter of Pentagon warmongering.

Down with Reagan's war drive!

Fight U.S. imperialism!

Oppose both parties of war and aggression -- the Democrats and the Republicans!

Build the independent movement of the working class!

[Photo: 2,000 protested against the Democrats' support of militarism in front of the Democratic Convention.]

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Demonstrations at the Democratic Party Convention

During last month's Democratic Convention in San Francisco, tens of thousands of working people and youth marched outside of the Moscone Center to protest against the Reagan government. They came to demonstrate their opposition to the offensive against the livelihood of the workers, the poor and unemployed; the racist drive against the black and other oppressed nationalities; and the criminal U.S. aggression in Central America and the Pentagon's monstrous war preparations.

One of the largest events was a July 15 Labor March of tens of thousands of workers. The next day 20,000 also participated in a "Vote Peace '84" rally. Unfortunately, both of these events were controlled at the top by the trade union leaderships, the liberal and social-democratic politicians, and opportunist groups. From the microphones, union bureaucrats and Democratic politicians preached the Democratic Party line: to escape the Reaganite offensive of hunger, racism and war, vote Democrat in November. In other words, exchange one group of capitalist, racist and warmongering politicians for another.

But despite the leaders, a good part of the rank and file at the Labor March and other events showed that they desire a real fight against Reaganism and the capitalist offensive. Many workers took up militant slogans, carried pickets condemning U.S. intervention in Central America and gave a warm response to the revolutionary agitation of the MLP.

A notable event at the convention was a protest of 2,000 people called to "protest against the Democrats' support of militarism." This July 17 protest was held in the parking lot of the convention hall. Directly condemning the Democrats' role in supporting aggression and war preparations, this protest reflects the deep discontent of the activists in the fight against militarism towards the Democratic Party.

There were also protests of several hundred young people in San Francisco's financial district against the war industries and banks that the Democratic Party loyally serves. These protests were repeatedly and brutally attacked by the San Francisco police, with 369 arrests on July 19 alone.

The MLP played a militant role in- the mass events around the Democratic Convention. In factories and communities in the Bay Area the militants of the MLP distributed thousands of Workers' Advocate Special Bulletins calling for protests against the convention. And the MLP took an active role in the marches and rallies under the banner "For a Real Fight Against Reaganism, Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!", and picket signs declaring "Down With the Democrats -- Reagan's Partners in Crime!" and "Denounce the Reaganite Program of the Republicans and Democrats!" The MLP militants raised fighting slogans and sang revolutionary songs for struggle against the capitalists and imperialists and their political parties. And some 15,000 Workers' Advocate Special Bulletin, along with other MLP literature, were distributed at the events at the Moscone Center.

[Photo: Outside of San Francisco's Hall of Justice, police brutally attack protesters against the Democratic Party.]

[Photo: At the "Vote Peace '84" rally, the MLP raised the slogans "Denounce the Reaganite Program of the Republicans and Democrats!", "For a Real Fight Against Reaganism, Build the Independent Movement of the Working Class!']

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Jesse Jackson:

PR man to sell the Democrats to the discontented

All this time, during the otherwise lackluster Democratic primaries, Jesse Jackson pushed his candidacy as the "alternative" to the mainstream candidates. He promoted himself as the champion of the oppressed masses, as the candidate of "peace," "justice," and "equality." Meanwhile, a whole slew of political forces in and around the "left" wing of the Democratic Party helped to bolster such an image for Jackson.

But now the Democrats are about to nominate Walter Mondale, the candidate of the party machine who epitomizes the Democrats' program of Reaganism with a liberal face. And where is Jesse Jackson's sound and fury today? He has declared that now is the time for cooperation. Thus the essence of the Jackson campaign is out in the open for all to see. Jackson is nothing but a PR man for the Democrats to sell the party to the discontented masses, to bring into the fold those who have become skeptical of the Democratic Party's empty promises.

Jackson will of course keep his fancy rhetoric about "peace" and "equality." This is after all precisely what the Democrats need him for. Meanwhile, the "left''-wing Democrats, who are also rallying to Mondale, are saying that sticking with Jackson (and Mondale) is the way to ensure that the Democratic candidate will have a progressive platform.

This is just as much hogwash today as it was yesterday. Jackson is of no help to the struggles of the workers, the oppressed nationalities, and working women against Reaganite reaction.

Jackson is still pushing himself as some sort of opponent of Reagan's war drive in Central America. But the reality is that Jackson is a dyed-in-the- wool imperialist politician. He too believes in U.S. imperialism's god-given right to defend its "vital interests" abroad. When asked before the New York primary where he would commit U.S. troops, Jackson replied: "It would depend on where our national interests were threatened." This is hardly a serious anti-interventionist stand.

Jesse Jackson is of course trying to pass himself off especially as the champion of the black people's struggle. He has sought to tap the unrest among the black masses who are angry with the renewed racist offensive being spearheaded by the Reagan administration today. And indeed, large numbers of black people have voted for Jackson in the hope that he represents some sort of solution to this vicious racist drive.

But unfortunately, this is a misplaced faith because Jesse Jackson is no friend of the struggle against racism. Wherever a real struggle of the. masses has broken out, Jackson has tried to cool things down. In 1980, for example, he flew into Miami to calm down the angry black people who were rebelling against the racist police murder of Arthur McDuffie.

Instead of struggle against racism, Jackson stands for reconciliation with the racists. During this campaign, he has embraced the arch-racist George Wallace, sought out an alliance with Jerry Falwell, the leader of the Reaganite "moral majority," and sought and received the endorsement of Orval Faubus, the former governor of Arkansas who in 1957 called out the national guard and racist mobs to block the integration of Little Rock's Central High School.

All this has been to prove Jackson's loyalty to the racist capitalist rulers of the U.S. He is simply trying to trade in on the anti-racist sentiments of the black masses as a springboard for the ambitions of the black bourgeoisie. In exchange for getting out the black vote, Jackson seeks not to improve the conditions of the black masses but to get "more clout" inside the Democratic Party, i.e., cozy positions for the better-off black businessmen.

The working masses can expect nothing from Jackson except sellout of the mass demands. Not the Democrats but struggle, and struggle alone, can advance the cause of the working masses against the Reaganite program of hunger, racism and war.

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Ferraro campaigns on 'traditional values'

Racism, 'law and order,' and the military buildup

What a big flap about the nomination of Geraldine Ferraro as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate. "Historic." "Exciting." "A giant step forward." This is how her nomination has been trumpeted by the capitalist media and, of course, by the Democrats and their hangers-on -- the bourgeois feminists and other reformists.

So what is all this hoopla about?

Some are hailing Ferraro as a woman of the working people, a daughter of poor immigrants. No matter that she earns some $50-100,000 from her stocks and dividends alone every year; owns four homes, including one in the Virgin Islands; and is married to a wealthy New York City real estate speculator.

No matter that Ferraro voted against the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli Bill because, as she explained it, the voters in her constituency didn't like the idea of giving any type of amnesty (even the racist and repressive amnesty of Simpson-Mazzoli) to "illegal aliens." So much for Ferraro's immigrant heritage!

Others are pleased because she is a "true liberal." No matter that she ran for Congress under the slogan "At last, a tough Democrat" and that Ferraro boasts that she can outdo the Reaganites in being "strong in traditional values" -- patriotism, family, religion.

In Congress Ferraro has repeatedly voted to defend such "traditional values" as segregated education. She also supported Reagan's plan to give tuition tax credits to assist religious schools and racist academies at the expense of public education.

Ferraro is a "law and order" demagogue of the "lock them up and throw away the key" variety. "When I was a prosecutor," she crowed at a recent campaign rally in Texas, "I put my share of criminals behind bars...I was tough."

And Ferraro is putting militarist appeals for a "strong defense" and "Making America No. 1" in the center of her campaign. She has the voting record to back her up too. She voted for the Trident and Pershing II nuclear missiles and for draft registration. Ferraro voted in favor of Carter's MX system, and only later voted against Reagan's MX. On July 12 she gave a speech criticizing Reagan for harming the Pentagon's "military readiness." Of course, she is also for arms talks and a nuclear freeze -- but this, Ferraro explains, doesn't contradict her promise to build up the "toughest defense in the world."

Ferraro claims to have reservations about Reagan's Central America policy. But this doesn't mean she has reservations about the justness of U.S. imperialist adventures against other peoples. Ferraro made this quite clear in her acceptance speech at the convention where she paid tribute to the "brave" U.S. troops which laid waste to Viet Nam.

In short, Geraldine Ferraro is a typical Democratic Party hack. She has been carefully groomed by Tip O'Neill and the other Democratic bosses. And, like her mentors, Ferraro is reveling in the reactionary "new realism" that, despite a hint of liberal accent, makes her sound like an echo of the Reaganites.

Finally, others say, so what? Who cares about her politics? The important thing is that Ferraro is a woman and to have a woman on the ticket is a great step forward for women everywhere. This is how the Democrats are trying to sell their ticket; and this is how the bourgeois feminists and other reformist forces are helping the Democrats pass off their rotten wares.

For other rich ladies who aspire to be capitalist politicians, corporate executives, or Pentagon generals, the Ferraro nomination is a "victory" of sorts. But it means nothing, or less than nothing, to the tens of millions of working women. The exploited and oppressed women -- the underpaid, the unemployed, the poverty-stricken -- can expect nothing from a Mondale- Ferraro ticket. Mondale and Ferraro represent the "opportunity" for millions upon millions of women to sink deeper into poverty, to go without work, and to go without health care, nutrition and education for themselves and their children.

This is because Mondale and Ferraro, just like Reagan and Bush, are politicians of the capitalist offensive against the masses. They all stand on a common platform of hunger, reaction and war. And, as the last years have demonstrated all too well, working women are being forced to shoulder an extra-heavy load of the hardships of this capitalist drive against all working people.

Those who argue along the lines that "politics don't count -- at least she's a woman" have a lot of explaining to do.

They should explain this to the toiling people of India, where, after years of Indira Gandhi's rule, the Gandhi government is unleashing new massacres against the toilers and oppressed nationalities, where the children of the workers and peasants starve under the yoke of the capitalists and landlords, and where there has been a revival of the practice of female infanticide.

Or they should explain this to the working class of Britain, where the government of "Iron Lady" Thatcher is trampling on the working people and regularly dispatches the police to break the heads of the striking miners, the Irish, the blacks, and the women who protest her fanatical nuclear buildup.

Indeed, the Conservative Prime Minister and the Democratic vice-presidential nominee would do well comparing notes on nuclear war preparations, the buildup of the police state, austerity measures for the workers and poor, and other "traditional values" Thatcher and Ferraro share in common.

No. The nomination of Ferraro changes nothing. The "excitement" of a woman on the ticket cannot bring life to a Democratic election campaign that is being run on the "realistic" program of Reaganite reaction.

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Provisions of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill

The Simpson-Mazzoli Bill, formally entitled the "Immigration Reform and Control Bill," was passed by the Senate in the spring of 1983. A slightly different version of the bill was passed' by the House of Representatives in June of this year. And now congressmen are scurrying around trying to figure out how to deal with the differences between the two versions so that a final bill can be enacted into law.

But whether you take the Senate version, the House version, or some compromise between the two, you end up with a vicious attack upon the immigrant workers. Below we outline a few of the major provisions of this reactionary bill.

An "Amnesty" to Legalize Super-Exploitation

The capitalist politicians dress up the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill as a "humane" way to control immigration. They claim that the bill will provide "amnesty" for the so-called "illegal" workers who already live in the U.S. But the bill's "amnesty" provision is a trap. Instead of freeing the undocumented workers from the terror of La Migra raids and deportations, the new law will clamp an even more extensive police control over the immigrants, setting up the majority for deportation while reducing the rest to the position of a legalized sub-caste of workers who are stripped of rights and forced into grinding exploitation.

In the first place, very few undocumented immigrants will ever be able to receive the "amnesty." Among other things, the bill requires undocumented workers to prove that they have lived continuously within the U.S. borders since December 31, 1979 in the Senate version, or January 1, 1982 in the House version. Even if eligible, the undocumented who have lived for years in illegality, often under assumed names, will have a very hard time proving that they meet this requirement. Even according to the highly overblown estimates of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) the vast majority of the undocumented immigrants will never qualify for the "amnesty." The greatest number will just remain undocumented. Why apply for amnesty when you will probably be refused and will have, in effect, turned yourself in for deportation?

But those few who qualify for "amnesty" only face further hardships. First they must go through two years of"temporary residency." This is similar to being on probation from jail.

The INS has complete documentation of past and present addresses, employers, and so forth and checks up to make sure that the "temporary resident" is employed, is continuously in the U.S., is going to school to learn English and U.S. history, and has a clean criminal record. Any deviations from this allow the INS to cancel the immigrants' residency status and make them subject to deportation. After two years the immigrants may apply for "permanent residency," but they can be turned down and deported with no right to appeal.

Although the House version of the bill is more liberal on the cutoff date for eligibility for "amnesty," it is more stringent in the requirements it sets for an immigrant to obtain legal status. For example, the House version stipulates that to obtain "permanent residency" an immigrant must be studying English, U.S. history, and civics. The immigrant must also prove that he can hold down a steady job, no easy task in these days of enormous unemployment. As well, conviction for a felony or even three misdemeanors excludes one from "permanent" status. Thus the immigrant workers must avoid strikes or any other militant struggles, such as against racist terror, for fear of getting arrested. Instead they must passively accept intolerable and degrading working conditions, sub-minimum wages, racist harassment, and so forth.

But if anyone is able to achieve "permanent residency" they still face a terrible situation. You must be a "permanent resident" for five years before you have the right to apply for citizenship. And during the first three years of "permanent" status (and also for the two years of "temporary" status) the immigrants will be excluded from any federal social programs, including food stamps, welfare and medical assistance. (The House bill makes an exception for certain cases of medical emergency.) As well, state and local governments can deny them unemployment insurance and other benefits. Of course, the immigrants are required to pay all taxes throughout this period.

In short, the few who can meet the requirements of the "amnesty" face years of super-exploitation as a legal caste of workers who are stripped of all rights and are thrust into the worst poverty. And this is what the capitalist politicians call "humane" immigration control.

More Deportations and Police Terror

The "amnestied" immigrants face strict police control while millions of immigrants will remain undocumented and face even more severe persecution. Both the House and Senate bills greatly expand the number of La Migra, the INS agents who hound, arrest and deport the immigrants. The House version of the bill grants an immediate $80 million (up from the Senate's $35 million grant) to the INS to add another 1,600 border patrol agents to the present 2,400-man force and to buy more helicopters and surveillance gear for use on the border. This amendment, which was sponsored by the leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Democratic Representative Roybal, also gives the INS a general one-third increase in funding for the next two years.

Besides expanding the INS forces, the bill gives local police the authority to enforce some immigration laws.

As well, the bill creates an expedited procedure for deporting the undocumented without a hearing and without the right to appeal. It is suggested that this procedure is only to be used against immigrants when they are caught crossing the border, but there is nothing in the bill which prevents the wide-scale use of summary deportations in every other situation as well.

The Senate version of the bill also streamlines the process for deporting political refugees. This will be used to step up the expulsion of opponents of U.S.-backed hangmen regimes in various countries. It will hit hard, for example, among the half million Salvadorans in this country who fled the U.S.-backed death-squad regime in El Salvador.

Reinstituting the Infamous "Bracero" Program

While unleashing police terror against the immigrant workers, the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill shows a touching concern for the "special labor needs" of the capitalist slave drivers.

The Senate version of the bill makes it easier for the agricultural capitalists to get visas for temporary "guest workers" to slave on their farms. As well, it exempts the agribusiness from the sanctions against employing the undocumented for three years.

The House version goes much further and establishes a special program in which the big capitalist farmers can import an unlimited number of "guest workers." Spokesmen for the agricultural capitalists predict that they will employ from 200,000 to 300,000 of such workers each year. But most experts claim that the number will go much higher.

This rent-a-slave program is quite similar to the infamous "bracero" program under which some five million Mexican contract laborers were imported to the U.S. between 1942 and 1964. That program became notorious on both sides of the border for the barbaric slave-like conditions imposed on the braceros. In isolated farm camps throughout the Southwest, they were at times literally worked to death. They were often robbed of their minimal pay; and the food, shelter, and sanitation facilities provided them were unfit for animals. A source of intense outrage, the "bracero" program was finally abandoned in 1964.

It was replaced with a restricted "guest worker" program. Under this plan some 20,000 contract laborers from Haiti, Jamaica and other countries of the West Indies have been imported each year to East coast farms. Like the braceros, the "guest workers" of today suffer terrible conditions. One Florida grower emphasized that "if" he also "could deport" U.S. citizens, he could force them to slave for him like he forces his Jamaican "guest workers."

Now the House version of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill creates a program where the capitalists can import any number of contract laborers by merely asking permission from the Attorney General. And the Attorney General must grant permission within |2 hours if the capitalists claim they have "extraordinary and unusual circumstances" requiring additional "guest workers." In other words, the capitalists will get their "guest workers" whenever there is a crop that needs harvesting.

Under this program the immigrant workers have virtually no rights. They would be restricted to only a certain limited section of the country. They would be imported solely to sweat in the fields and, therefore, could stay only as long as there is harvesting to be done and for no longer than 11 consecutive months. And, as with the undocumented workers and the "guest workers" of today, they would be forced into abominable working conditions and the lowest pay.

In voting in favor of this proposal, the House rejected another proposal which would have extended labor law protection to agricultural workers, whether they be immigrants or U.S. citizens. This shows that what the House wants is to provide the agricultural capitalists with a work force subject to persecution, degradation, and super exploitation.

Fines for Hiring Immigrant Workers

One of the most talked about provisions of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill is the initiation of sanctions against employers who hire undocumented immigrants. In both the House and Senate versions the maximum fine on employers is $2,000. The Senate version also provides for a possible six-month maximum jail term for repeat offenders.

The authors of this provision claim that it will prevent the employment of illegal immigrants. No doubt some capitalists will stop hiring immigrants, not wanting to risk fines. And already some mass firings have taken place. For example, while the House debated this provision in June, hundreds of Mexican nationality workers were fired at a Starkist plant in Los Angeles when they could not produce documented evidence of U.S. citizenship.

But many other profit-hungry capitalists, who grow rich by paying sub- minimum wages for the most grueling labor, will try to make up for any fines by increasing the exploitation of the workers. It is reported that some capitalists have already begun demanding that, as a condition of employment, workers pay a certain amount of money as insurance against possible future fines.

Thus the burden of these so-called "employer sanctions" will actually fall on the shoulders of the undocumented workers. Many will be driven out of their present jobs into even worse sweatshops and labor camps, while all will be forced into an even more shadowy form of existence, threatened at every minute with being fired and forced to pay for their bosses "legal insurance."

Since employer sanctions require employers to discriminate against the undocumented, they will also, in practice, encourage discrimination against all "foreign-looking" workers. In recognition of this fact, the House version of the bill spouted a few pious words about forbidding discrimination against U.S. citizens and legal aliens. But the House, at the same time, rejected a proposal to streamline the process for redressing cases of job discrimination. Thus while admitting that the bill will intensify job discrimination, the House refused to even try to put into effect practical bars to racist discrimination.

A National ID Card System

The Simpson-Mazzoli Bill requires all job applicants to verify to employers that they are either citizens or "aliens" authorized to work in the U.S. Acceptable documents for this would be, for example, a driver's license and a Social Security card. The Senate version of the bill also provides for the President, after three years, to make such changes as "may be necessary to establish a secure employment eligibility in the U.S." That is, the President should move towards establishing a national ID card.

Of course, Social Security cards could be developed into a national ID card system. A step was taken in this direction when non-forgeable Social Security cards were developed. The House version of the bill takes another step. It stipulates that a toll-free telephone system should be set up which employers can use to quickly validate Social Security numbers The purpose of a national ID card is to set up a tracking system to persecute immigrants, militant workers, revolutionary activists, etc. Whatever its form, the capitalists could quickly find out about and blacklist foreign- born and militant workers. As well, such a system could easily become another weapon in the hands of the FBI and police against activists in the mass movements. Thus a step is being taken on the road to setting up an internal passport system like the one which is used to clamp down on the nonwhite majority in South Africa; but in the U.S. case it would be applied against immigrants and all the working and oppressed masses.

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Union bureaucrats back anti-immigrant legislation

Blaming the immigrants for the crimes of the capitalists

For years the big shot bureaucrats of the AFL-CIO have been among the loudest spokesmen for attacks on immigrants. Just as they blame "foreign imports," the AFL-CIO hacks blame "foreign workers" for the ills of capitalism in crisis -- unemployment, low wages, and bad working conditions. They do this to divert the workers from fighting against the real source of these ills -- the capitalists themselves.

Thus it is no surprise that the AFL-CIO bureaucrats are champions of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. Since the early 70's they have supported the passage of bills similar to Simpson-Mazzoli in Congress. And this year they were among the strongest proponents of Simpson-Mazzoli, with AFL-CIO lobbyists working day after day to get the bill out of committee and onto the House floor.

At the last minute, the AFL-CIO withdrew its support from the final House version of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill due to its unlimited "bracero" program. This is indeed a brutal program to turn the immigrant workers into slaves of the agricultural monopolies. But the AFL-CIO bureaucrats are opposed to the infamous "bracero" program not because of its savagery against the immigrants, but because it allows what they consider to be too many "foreign" workers into the U.S. Thus, the AFL-CIO called for a No vote in the House on June 20, while they continue to support the original Simpson-Mazzoli Bill.

Rabid Chauvinists

The AFL-CIO leaders are hardened racists who carry out massive propaganda campaigns against the immigrants. The labor chieftains justify this on the basis that immigrants supposedly "steal jobs" from true-blue Americans and drive down the wages and working conditions of all workers.

While blaming the immigrants for unemployment, the AFL-CIO hacks never say a word against the real cause of unemployment, the capitalists and the crisis of their system. Day in and day out the labor chieftains scream at workers that there is nothing they can do to fight the productivity drives, the reindustrialization, the mass layoffs and killer overwork that result in millions of workers being left with no livelihood. On the contrary, the labor hacks do everything they can to smooth the way for the capitalists, to assist them in wringing more and more concessions from the workers so that the capitalists can combine jobs, close plants, but more robots, etc.

The AFL-CIO hacks cover up the important contributions that immigrants make to the U.S. workers' movement. The U.S. is, after all, a country of immigrants. And throughout U.S. history immigrants have brought the revolutionary traditions and experience from their mother countries and contributed their efforts, and sacrificed many lives, to build up the class struggle in the U.S. But the union hacks want to deny this.

They see the terrible poverty the capitalists impose on the immigrant workers, but they blame the immigrants themselves for this capitalist crime. And they use the immigrants as a scapegoat to divert anger away from the capitalists' drive to drag down the conditions of all workers.

Of course it never occurs to the AFL-CIO leaders to unite the working class against the terrible conditions faced by the immigrants: to fight for immediate and complete legalization of undocumented workers; to fight for full rights for all immigrants; to fight for the full extension of labor law standards to cover agricultural laborers, workers in garment sweatshops, and domestic workers (areas of work with high concentrations of immigrant labor and for other measures to improve their conditions; to fight to organize the unorganized workers into unions. No, this is the last thing the trade union chieftains want; instead they work to assist the capitalists' attacks on the immigrants, to drive them into deeper conditions of illegality and impoverishment. This is the bureaucrats' absurd idea of "protecting the wages and working conditions of American workers"!

Bureaucrats Continue to Support Simpson-Mazzoli

In the House vote on Simpson-Mazzoli the AFL-CIO advocated a No vote. This was because the final House version carried with it the Panetta Amendment creating an unlimited "bracero" program.

Presently, a bracero-type program allows the agricultural capitalists to bring less than 30,000 temporary "guest workers" to slave in the U.S. fields. The Panetta Amendment would let the agribusiness import unlimited numbers of such super-exploited "guest workers," and, it is predicted, the "guest workers" would increase to some 400,000 within a short time.

The AFL-CIO bureaucrats have no objection to the slave labor conditions imposed on the "guest workers" through the bracero program. Indeed they have done nothing to oppose the appalling conditions faced by any of the agricultural laborers. But the union hacks complain that the Panetta Amendment would open the door to a huge influx of foreign workers who, they fear, might be "uncontrollable."

The AFL-CIO chauvinists oppose only the "unlimited numbers" provision of Panetta's bracero program.

Nonetheless the labor chieftains still support the Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant bill. After the House vote their journal, the AFL-CIO News continued to spout their chauvinist poison, such as "The AFL-CIO is concerned by the United States' lack of control of its own borders." (See back page of June 23 issue) As well, the journal expressed faith that they will be able to vote Yes on the final House-Senate version of Simpson-Mazzoli. The AFL-CIO hacks are diehard supporters of this reactionary legislation, and the workers' mass actions against Simpson-Mazzoli must target them as well.

Democrats shepherd the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill through the House

The Democrats, despite all of their pious words about human rights, are no friend of the immigrants. For many years Democratic Party politicians have sponsored and supported repressive legislation against the immigrant workers.

It comes as no great surprise then that the large vote against the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill in the House was not organized by the Democrats. Instead, the No vote included both Democrats and Republicans who were currying favor with such diverse forces as the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL- CIO bureaucracy, each of whom opposed some particular provision of the bill for their own reactionary reasons.

Far from organizing the opposition, the leadership of the Democratic Party shepherded the bill through the House. Tip O'Neill, the key Democratic Party leader in the House, cleared the agenda in the middle of June to allow a week and a half of uninterrupted discussion of this one bill. The fact that the bill had previously been delayed in House committees shows that the Democratic leadership had the power to delay it indefinitely if they chose. But O'Neill and the other Democratic leaders brought the bill to the floor and, despite the Democrats' substantial majority in the House, allowed it to be passed.

Democrats Strengthen Measures Against the Immigrants

In some important respects the House-passed version of Simpson-Mazzoli is more reactionary than the Senate version. And to a large extent this is due to the Democratic Party leaders.

The House version of amnesty, while more liberal in its eligibility date, attaches to it more requirements that an undocumented worker must meet to receive amnesty. This stems from a proposal made by Democratic Representative Jim Wright, majority leader of the House. In test votes House Republicans expressed opposition to any amnesty whatever for the undocumented, and special opposition to any liberalization of the amnesty cutoff date from what had been adopted by the Senate. So Wright engineered a compromise acceptable to the House Republicans. This compromise, with its stiff eligibility requirements to obtain amnesty, further ensures that very few of the undocumented will become citizens.

The proposal for an unlimited "bracero" program is also the work of the Democrats. This proposal came from Leon Panetta, a Democratic congressman from California, with the backing of Representative Tony Coelho, another California Democrat who is a national fund raiser for the Democratic Party.

Democrats also led the way to more repression from the La Migra agents of the INS. Edward Roybal (Democrat -- California), a leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and touted as the leader of the opposition to Simpson-Mazzoli, got the bill amended to provide $80 million for an immediate expansion of the Border Patrol from 2,400 to 4,000 agents and an additional one-third increase in INS funding.

A History of Support for Repressive Legislation

For years the Democrats have been supporting repressive anti-immigrant legislation. In the early 70's Representative Peter Rodino (Democrat -- New Jersey) first began introducing bills similar to Simpson-Mazzoli in the House. Later Rodino-type bills were cosponsored in the Senate by the prince of liberals, Edward Kennedy.

Democratic President Jimmy Carter introduced an anti-immigrant bill in 1978, but it, like the Kennedy-Rodino bill, did not pass. Carter then appointed a special commission, headed by President Hesburgh of Notre Dame, to study the situation. This commission issued its findings in early 1981; they were accepted by President Reagan and became the basis for the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. Thus Representative Dan Lungren was correct when he said, in the course of the recent House debate on Simpson-Mazzoli, "This bill is the product of four administrations, Democratic and Republican. The Carter administration is the progenitor of this legislation...." (New York Times, June 12)

The Democratic leadership followed through on their historic support for anti-immigrant legislation by shepherding Simpson-Mazzoli through the House in June. Many prominent Democrats, such as Jim Wright, voted for the bill. Some, like Tip O'Neill, feigned opposition. But a O'Neill said later on, the final vote was so close that "if somebody in the leadership had sneezed, it would have gone the other way." (New York Times, July 25) Thus O'Neill himself admits that he could easily have killed the bill, but instead let it go through.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus "Opposition" Caves In

The official liberal opposition to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill in the recent House debate was the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. But the CHC leaders completely caved in to the pressure from the Democratic Party leadership. Once they saw that the votes on amendments were not going their way, the CHC leaders decided that they should not be "obstructionist." The CHC head, Representative Roybal, stressed the need to be "realistic" about the need for "immigration reform" and he sighed, "An amended Simpson-Mazzoli would be better than nothing." (In These Times, June 13-26)

The CHC opposition to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill has always been tenuous at best. They have all along agreed that there should be stronger police terror to keep immigrants out of the U.S., but they preferred slightly more liberal treatment of the undocumented who are already in the U.S. and chiefly worried about the discrimination against legal immigrants. It is not too surprising than that the centerpiece of Roybal's alternative bill to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill was a provision to greatly expand the border patrol and step up the funding for the repressive INS.

When the Roybal alternative bill was blocked from getting to the House floor, and the votes were running against the CHC liberal proposals, Roybal decided to "improve" the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill itself by offering his amendment to expand the border patrol and to increase the general funding to the hated INS. Roybal's "realistic" proposal passed by a huge majority.

With such friends as Edward Roybal the immigrants sure don't need enemies!

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Indira Gandhi Unleashes Terror in India's Punjab

Both Hindu chauvinism and Sikh nationalism undermine the unity of the toilers

For several years now, a major crisis has been brewing in the northwestern Indian state of the Punjab. In June the crisis exploded. The central government of Indira Gandhi launched a massive military crackdown against the Sikh nationalist movement. Over a thousand people were killed and the state has been put under military occupation. The blows of the Indian government have fallen not just upon the Sikh nationalists but also against the Sikh masses generally.

The situation in the Punjab is the latest of a series of major crises that India has faced since independence from Britain in 1947. This crisis is yet another indictment of the reactionary character of the Indian government and of the brutal and oppressive social system that exists in India.

The Indian government boasts of having the world's largest democracy and this is said to be able to harmonize the interests of all the different sectors of society. But behind the parliamentary forms lies the oppressive rule of the big capitalists and landlords. And whenever Indian "democracy" is faced with a real test of its professed abilities, it flunks out miserably; the niceties of parliamentary haggling are quickly put aside in favor of the use of the real instruments of bourgeois rule -- the guns of the police and army.

The crisis in the Punjab is the result of the interaction of two major factors. First, the practice of national and religious discrimination by the Indian ruling class. And second, the growth of conflicts between regional bourgeois interests and the central government, and also within various regional interests -- both conflicts being due to the uneven development of capitalism in the different regions of the country.

The Punjab is a state where the people, who are mainly of the Punjabi nationality, belong to two main religious communities, Sikh and Hindu. While Hinduism is the majority religion in India and common to many different nationalities, the Sikh religion is mainly restricted to the Punjabi nationality. The Sikh community is thus an ethnic-religious community, making up just over half of the people of the Punjab today. The class divisions in the state cut across both religious communities. There are both Hindu and Sikh working people and Hindu and Sikh exploiters.

The Indian state has long practiced various forms of discrimination against the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular. The Sikh masses have grown bitter as a result of both these forms of oppression.

The Indian state makes pompous declarations of its alleged commitment to religious and national tolerance, but in fact it is a champion of Hindu chauvinism. Hindu chauvinism promotes a special privileged position for the upper-caste Hindus, for the Hindi-speaking nationality, and for the Hindu religion. It is a bulwark of the oppression by the Indian ruling class of the lower castes and of various minority nationalities and religious communities.

In the course of the current Punjab crisis, the Indian government has helped to bolster Hindu chauvinist bigotry and it has persecuted the Sikh masses. In the eyes of the government, every Sikh whose loyalty it is not sure of has become suspect, a "threat to the integrity of the nation."

Meanwhile the persecution of the Sikh masses has in turn helped to strengthen the influence of the Sikh nationalist movement over the Sikh masses. It has fed the nationalist propaganda about the alleged harmony of interests of all Sikhs, rich and poor alike. But this is a complete fraud. The Sikh nationalist movement is a movement in the interests of the Sikh bourgeoisie and it has nothing to offer the toiling Sikh masses.

The struggle of the Sikh nationalists against the central government is essentially a struggle of the rural and urban Sikh bourgeoisie for greater economic and political powers to enrich itself with. The contradiction between the local capitalists and the central government could have taken the form of a struggle of the Punjabi bourgeoisie as a whole against the central government. But this has not happened; instead it has taken on a communal (religious sectarian) character. The source of this lies in a long history of communal politics among the exploiters of the Punjab, which has today taken on a sharp character because of fierce competition between the Sikh and Hindu bourgeoisie of the state.

The greatest tragedy is that the crisis in the Punjab has led to a situation where both the Sikh and Hindu exploiters, and the Indian government as well, are systematically inciting the Sikh and Hindu communities against each other. Of course the incitement of fratricidal religious violence is not unique to the Punjab; the Indian ruling class regularly takes recourse to this sort of dirty work. Just in the recent period, we have witnessed major outbreaks of communal violence, in Assam last year and near Bombay just a few months ago.

Already in the Punjab great distrust has been created and there have been brutal killings of both Hindus and Sikhs. The stage has been set for even wider fratricidal violence. Such strife hits hardest against the working people of both religious communities. The exploiters, Hindu and Sikh, are attempting to use the toilers as pawns in their sordid rivalries with one another. They are actively promoting distrust between the religious communities in order to enslave the toilers of each community to their "own" exploiters.

The incitement of fratricidal violence is directly aimed against the unity of the workers and peasants. In the recent decades, the Punjab has been the scene of many a militant struggle of the toilers, including the large army of rural proletarians. It is this unity which is threatened today.

It is precisely these traditions of united struggle on class lines that offer hope for the future. The way out of the religious strife lies, above all, in the unity of the toilers across religious lines in revolutionary struggle against all the exploiters, both Hindu and Sikh.

The responsibility for building up such a struggle falls especially on the shoulders of the proletariat of India. It is this class which holds the key to the future, that can lead the way out of national and religious discord and out of the misery and oppression that are the lot of all the toiling masses. The proletariat is the class where the barriers of nationality, caste and religion have broken down to the greatest extent. Among the exploited masses, it is the class that knows best the importance of unity along class lines. It is therefore in the hands of the proletariat to rally its own ranks and the' rest of the working people in revolutionary struggle for the class demands of all the exploited.

The proletariat must build up the revolutionary movement also to take up the fight against all forms of special oppression, including caste, national and religious oppression. This is required not only in. the interests of elementary democracy but it is also essential to break down the barriers among the people, to win the trust of the specially oppressed sections, to defeat the poisonous influences of the nationalists, and to forge a powerful unity of all the working masses.

An end to all special forms of oppression can only come through a revolution of the workers and peasants. It requires the overthrow of the Indian ruling class and the coming to power of a revolutionary government of the toilers. History has clearly shown that all the bourgeois political forces in India openly defend or conciliate with the politics of caste, national and religious oppression. Only the poor, the downtrodden, the toilers can ensure true equality for all the oppressed sections of the people.

A revolution of the workers and peasants will begin the progress towards socialism. Only the abolition of all exploitation and the construction of socialism can ensure full emancipation for all the oppressed peoples of India. Only such a society can destroy the social foundations of every form of inequality. Only such a society can combat all religious prejudices and obscurantism and develop a scientific consciousness among the masses. (In the next issue of The Workers' Advocate we will carry a background article that examines the crisis in the Punjab in more detail.)

[Map: India is a very large and diverse country. It has a population of over 700 million. The divisions in the map above show the administrative divisions of the country; there are 22 states and 9 union (centrally administered) territories.

Many of the states and territories correspond to particular nationalities. The largest nationality, the Hindi-speaking people who make up over 40% of the country's population, are mainly resident in a belt that includes the six states of Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, and the Union Territory of Delhi. There are in addition 11 other major nationalities with their own language and a host of smaller nationalities and ethnic groups.

The people are also divided into a number of religions. The majority, about 84%, are Hindu while the rest include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, etc. Several of the religious communities but especially the Hindus are divided into castes. The weight of caste oppression is fiercest on the Dalits or Harijans (the so-called untouchables), who make up one seventh of the Indian population.

The present crisis has broken out in the Punjab, a state in the northwest where the people are mainly of the Punjabi nationality. Punjabis include both Hindus and Sikhs. The Sikhs form an ethnic-religious community among the Punjabi nationality and are today just over half the population of the Punjab. Today there are about 14 million Sikhs in India, mostly in the Punjab.]

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'Prensa Proletaria'--Voice of the MAP-ML of Nicaragua

On the Popular Militias and the Law on Military Service

[Prensa Proletaria masthead]

The June, 1984 issue of the Prensa Proletaria carries a lead article calling for "more impetus to the popular militias" and that "the working class must put its class stamp on the Military Service."

In the wake of the revolution which overthrew the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship, Nicaragua has been going through a process of creating new institutions. The Sandinista government has been directing this process of institutionalization in a way that undercuts revolutionary forms in favor of ordinary bourgeois forms of government and organization.

The Prensa Proletaria begins by pointing out that so far two fundamental laws have been approved by the Sandinistas, the Law of Political Parties and the Electoral Law. As well, the Patriotic Military Service Law has been approved and, as it is implemented, it is gradually displacing the Popular Militias which have been the revolutionary military form of organization of the masses.

The Military Service is the regular army. Thousands of youth have been recruited into it. But the Sandinistas have been giving it a more conventional form that tends to suppress the revolutionary initiative and spirit of the masses. The recruits are mobilized not as a part of an organized and conscious social sector, but instead as individuals.

The article points out that "This restricted character of the Military Service has generated unease and worry among the families of the recruits such as never happened with the families of the militia members who voluntarily and consciously mobilized to go into the combat zones."

The Prensa Proletaria explains that this different attitude towards the Military Service arises from the nature of this form of organization. The Popular Militias, for their part, are the direct inheritance of the popular insurrection that overthrew the Somoza tyranny and, after that triumph, they have come to play a strategic role in the defense of the revolution. They are, therefore, popular forms of organization which depend on the conscious political mobilization of the masses. The Military Service, on the other hand, limits the popular mobilization and organization of the masses. But because it has recruited such large numbers it is displacing the Militias. This change is already starting to have certain political consequences.

"When the mass organizations mobilize sectors of the population into the defense," the article points out, "there is a certain dynamic in which the workers, peasants and 'pobladores' are mobilized not as individuals but as part of a definite social sector. As well, they are incorporated as members of a family which acquires a certain degree of consciousness." The militia volunteer, who himself has been mobilized politically, talks with his family. And the mass organizations also do political work with the family. Thus the defense grows to the extent that the masses become conscious and are drawn into participation in the tasks of the revolution.

This process of creating an identification with the revolution, or at least of presenting something which is comprehensible to the family and in which it plays a part, is much more likely to succeed than bureaucratic enrollment in the military defense. The Prensa Proletaria notes that "We are not trying to say that when a militia member joins the defense there are no family contradictions generated. But the militia member can resolve these contradictions in a better way, starting from a political decision and with the backing of the masses." The support of the masses helps to overcome family contradictions and, as die article points out, "the social becomes dominant over the individual nuclei."

In the case of the Military Service, the recruits come into the army as individuals without any organizational backing such as from the trade unions or ^student organizations. They are mobilized according to their territorial locations and not in harmony with the recruits' organized political position. Because of this, especially the upper petty-bourgeois families find more freedom to oppose the Military Service. And this is even more the case in today's atmosphere, where the Sandinistas are providing more and more political freedoms to the bourgeois parties which are seizing on them to undermine the defense.

The Prensa Proletaria goes on to emphasize that, "Nevertheless, under the actual conditions, the Military Service is a reality that has its weight against the aggression; the working class and the rest of the popular sectors must utilize this situation to accumulate new victories in their favor.

"The Military Service and the Militias are not mutually exclusive, but the Military Service can not and must not displace the Popular Militias. Both forms are channels for the military training that must be supported and made use of by the toilers. The working class with its participation must imprint the Military Service and the Popular Militias with its class stamp.

"The mass organizations must redouble their efforts in their political work, under the premise that the protests of some families against the Military Service are the product, to a degree, of the demobilization in which the masses actually find themselves.

"Attitudes arise from this general demobilization which should not necessarily be treated as counterrevolutionary, because that is a category of conscious attitude that can not be applied to backward sectors of the masses who have not been given a proper direction and political clarity."

The article stresses that the counterrevolutionaries are those who are taking advantage of every kind of expression of discontent to try to undermine the revolution and organize and build up the reactionary forces.

Prensa Proletaria concludes that, "It is against the bourgeoisie and its organized expression, the rightist parties; it is against the promoters of conscientious objection and opposition to 'active violence' who from the pulpits praise aggression; it is against the communication media which publicizes and encourages the aggression; it is against this sector that the masses must organize to develop and deepen the revolution. The working class must be in the lead of this revolutionary impetus."

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Reservists with a high anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist spirit

[Photo: Members of the 58-20 battalion from the city of Diriamba leaving for the front to fight the CIA's counterrevolutionary bands.]

The following report on Leninist militants in the ranks of a battalion of the Popular Sandinista Army confronting the U.S.-backed aggression appeared in the April issue of Prensa Proletaria.

"The fighters mobilized in the mountains of Nicaragua show clear anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist sentiments, and continually put forward in one way or another their sympathy for the construction of socialism in our country." affirmed Rene Guiterrez Cheng, former military chief of the Popular Anti-Somoza Militias (MIL PAS), a militant of MAP-ML and a fighter of the reserve battalion 58-20 of Carazo.

This battalion was mobilized to Zalaya Norte on the day of the 4th anniversary of the liberation of Dirriamba -- June 22, 1978. After seven operative months it was demobilized on the 16th of this past January.

"This last mission was the most difficult as compared to the other 4 missions carried out by the battalion in its two years of existence," he continued.

In all this time the battalion has on its record the loss of three valiant fighters, Carlos Lara, Cezar Augusto Ruiz, and Manuel Cardenas. "But we have spread terror in the ranks of the pro-imperialist counterrevolutionaries, such that we believe all the fighters have won in practice the Banner of Combat," emphasized Guiterrez Cheng.

In approaching the fundamental problems of the mobilized reserves, the militant Marxist-Leninist held that the fighters are not intimidated by the precarious conditions and the limitations of provisions and supplies under which they operate, but, "the fighters are affected by the poor communications and correspondence with their families." "I, as a militant, was left practically with no correspondence with my party, all of my correspondence was interfered with, in spite of the fact that I mobilized because of the directives of the MAP-ML," he said.

Prensa Proletaria extends to all the fighters of this outstanding battalion warm communist greetings, a welcome they deserve by far for this latest revolutionary activity.

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