The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 15, No. 12


25¢ December 1, 1985

[Front page:

Strikers fight back: No more concessions!;

Filipino workers and peasants declare: Marcos must go!;

Solidarity tour by Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua]


A Summit of Reaganite doublespeak............................... 2
Reagan takes out a contract on Khadafy.......................... 2
Throwing the poor out of the hospitals............................ 2

Tax-exempt status to segregationist academies............... 2
Dearborn, Mich.: No to the segregation of parks ........... 3
Philadelphia: No to attacks on black families.................. 3
Anti-racist rebellions break out in Britain....................... 3

Strikes and workplace news

Hormel; other meatpackers; LA supermarkets; Somma; Arizona farmworkers organize......................................... 4
Longshoreman murdered; GE; Great Lakes Steel; firings at Magnesium Casting; Trico plants close........................ 5
Watsonville canneries...................................................... 6
National Chrysler strike; St. Louis strike; Jefferson Assembly job security....................................................... 7

Death to apartheid

New advances in struggle of oppressed........................... 8
Apartheid press curbs...................................................... 8
Racists extend state of emergency................................... 9
Anti-apartheid students in U.S. under attack................... 9
MIT rightists split anti-apartheid movement................... 9
Tufts students demand: 'Divest Now!'............................ 10
October protests against apartheid................................... 10
WWP on ANC, Defending reformism with lies.............. 10

U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America

Death-squad elections in Guatemala............................... 11
Rebound of Guatemalan people's struggle...................... 11
Daring raid by Salvadoran guerrillas............................... 11
Democrats vote 'humane' war on Nicaragua................... 11
3,000 Nicaraguan workers demonstrate.......................... 12
Interview with Isidro Tellez of MLP Nicaragua.............. 14

The world in struggle

Greek workers, students fight Papandreou...................... 16
European anti-war; Pinochet under fire........................... 16
Pressure mounts against Marcos dictatorship.................. 18
Marcos' election ploy; Moscow woos Imelda................. 18
Hundreds killed in Puerto Rico mudslides...................... 18
We condemn the assassination of Colombian ML's........ 20

Strikers fight back:

No more concessions!

Filipino workers and peasants declare:

Marcos must go!

Solidarity tour by Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua

Peace talks to vindicate the war buildup

A summit of Reaganite doublespeak

Reagan takes out a contract on Khadafy

Giving tax-exempt status to segregationist academies

Throwing the poor out of the hospitals

No to the segregation of the parks in Dearborn, Mich.!

Jesse Jackson advises racist Thatcher's police

Anti-Racist Rebellions Break Out in Britain

Goode arrests anti-racist demonstrators

Down with racist attacks on black families in Philadelphia!

Strikes and workplace news

Death to Apartheid!

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

Comrade Isidro Tellez addresses meetings in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco

Strengthening proletarian internationalism

Interview with Comrade Isidro Tellez

The World in Struggle

Strikers fight back:

No more concessions!

The fight against concessions is heating up. Over the last several months a series of important strikes have unleashed the fury of the workers to hit back at the greedy capitalist moneybags.

Some of these struggles made headway. At Chrysler the workers emerged from six years of bitter wage cuts and loss of jobs to wage a 12-day national strike. And the longshoremen, at the cost of one member's life, blocked the opening of a scab operation in the port of Baltimore.

In other strikes, such as those at the Bath Iron shipyards and the Wheeling-Pittsburgh steel mills, the workers have suffered serious setbacks.

But through it all, a new spirit of defiance is growing deep in the heart of the working class.

The Wheeling-Pittsburgh workers faced tremendous odds -- with the steel capitalists, the big bankers, and the capitalist courts combined against them at every turn. But still they fought. For 13 weeks they held out and only succumbed in the end to the terrible treachery of their own union leaders. Such a fight has not been lost on the 130,000 steel workers who face contract battles ""with their own steel bosses in '86. That spirit of standing up against all odds is helping to strengthen their defiance. That bitter defeat is helping to make them wiser.

And so the movement develops. Whether victory or defeat in any particular struggle, the most important thing is the overall growth of class consciousness and organization among the working class.

One of the positive signs today is the appeals for solidarity which are beginning to be heard from every quarter. Solidarity, this is essential!

The current concessions drive is an offensive of the entire class of capitalists. And they hold nearly all of the aces. They have the wealth. They have the state power. They pull the strings of not only Reagan, but of.the Democrats, and the courts, and the police, and more. How can the workers stand against them except by welding together our superior numbers into a powerful fighting force? The struggle we face is a class struggle and we cannot hope for much success unless we build up our class solidarity.

But building solidarity requires the exposure of and the breaking with the treacherous union bureaucrats who are nestled in our very midst.

How can the steel workers unite their ranks when the USWA leaders allow the split-up of the national steel pact so that the workers in each company must face separately the W-P model? The USWA bigwigs even have the nerve to declare a "victory" at W-P because it gives them two seats on the board of directors!

And how can the meatpackers be united against concessions as long as the heads of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) are calling for "retrenchment" and go so far as to try to mobilize other meatpackers against the striking Hormel workers? The workers at Hormel could only go on strike over the heads of their national union leadership.

The unity so desperately needed to defeat the vicious strikebreaking of the big time capitalists will only come over the heads of the national and local sellout union bosses.

This is what the current movement teaches. Both its victories and its defeats show us that lasting unity and effective struggle require the exposure of the union bureaucrats and the organization of the rank and file independent of them.

The strikers today represent only a small portion of the working class. But their determined struggle shows that the years of small, isolated, and sporadic resistance are gradually giving way to a resurgence of the workers' movement. The capitalists have grown fat off the workers' suffering too long. The time has come for struggle. No More Concessions to the Capitalist Billionaires! Get Organized for the Class Struggle!

[Photo: Grocery chain workers on strike in Southern California denounce a scab truck driver.]

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Filipino workers and peasants declare:

Marcos must go!

The times are tough for the U.S. government's favorite tyrants and dictators. a In '79, the Shah of Iran was brought down by revolution. So was Somoza of Nicaragua. Today, in South Africa the racist Botha is shaking, as is General Pinochet in Chile.

As 1985 comes to a close, the rulers of America are edgy about the fate of yet another of their favorite sons -- Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.

Marcos, the despot who has ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for 20 years, is in deep trouble. Every day demonstrations and strikes sweep across the country, calling for an end to the U.S.-backed dictatorship. And an armed insurgency steadily surges forward.

For all these years, U.S. governments have solidly supported the Marcos regime, no matter whether a Democrat or a Republican sat in the White House. But today the officials in Washington are nervous.

The White House sends emissaries to talk to Marcos. Congress holds hearings. The CIA discovers that it has neglected to set up enough of a network. The capitalist newspapers find that a Southeast Asian country is again newsworthy. And they get down to the business of discrediting the revolutionary movement by setting in motion their lie machine.

Support the Revolutionary Struggle

The debacles of the rulers are cause for joy for the ruled. Let the politicians, generals and money sharks chew their fingernails in worry. The workers have to set themselves to the task of supporting the fighting people of the Philippines.

Justice is on the side of the Filipino workers and peasants.

The Marcos regime is synonymous with corruption and ruthless exploitation. He and his cronies have amassed billions of dollars by plundering the state treasury. The masses of Filipinos groan with misery and hunger, while Marcos and his capitalist and landlord buddies gorge themselves and stash away their gold in bank vaults and real estate abroad.

The Marcos regime rules with terror and repression. While he overflows with fine words about democracy, the opponents of the government face jail, torture, or murder.

And Marcos is a bulwark of U.S. imperialist domination. The Pentagon gets two huge military bases, standing guard over U.S. interests in Asia. And multi-national corporations get a big slice of the exploitation of the workers and peasants.

The Filipino people are not impressed one bit with these benefits of dictatorship and U.S. imperialism. They want an end to all this. This is why they are taking the road of revolution.

This is the only road to overthrow the present order. And this is what we should support in the Philippines.

(See page 18 for more articles on the struggle in the Philippines.)

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Solidarity tour by Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua

Last month something new and important took place in the movement of support for the workers' and peasants' revolution in Nicaragua. Under the fighting banners "Down with Reagan's War on Nicaragua!" and "Support the Workers and Peasants of Nicaragua!", the MLP,USA organized a successful solidarity tour by Comrade Isidro Tellez, the secretary general of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly called the Popular Action Movement/Marxist-Leninist, or MAP-ML).

Comrade Isidro Tellez is a veteran construction worker. In the early 1970's he took part in the work of MAP-ML to build up a Marxist-Leninist trend in the workers' movement, a revolutionary trend opposed to the reformist treachery of the pro-Soviet revisionists. He was an organizer of the powerful strike of construction workers against the Somoza tyranny in 1973. And from the mid- 1970's Comrade Tellez has been a leader of MAP-ML's revolutionary trade union center, the Workers Front (FO).

During the war against the dictatorship he helped build the Popular Anti-Somoza Militias (the MILPAS). Made up of workers and youth, the MILPAS were the second army of the insurrection.

After the triumph over Somoza, Comrade Tellez was a leader of the mass upsurge of the toilers against the capitalists and landlords. For this he, along with over 100 other MAP-ML and FO militants, was condemned to the Chipote prison for several months in 1980 by the FSLN-led government.

Comrade Tellez was MAP-ML's presidential candidate in the 1984 elections and was elected as a representative to the National Assembly. Nonetheless, despite the diplomatic niceties that are supposed to be respected for members of parliaments, it was no simple task getting Comrade Tellez into the U.S. After months of giving him the runaround, it wasn't until the day before his flight that the U.S. authorities gave him permission to enter the country.

A Report From the Front Lines of Struggle

Today the working people of Central America have been placed on one of the front lines of the world struggle against imperialism and the bourgeoisie. The tour by Comrade Tellez gave workers and anti-imperialist activists in this country a direct report about what the revolutionary Nicaraguan workers, peasants and combatants are thinking and doing.

We were able to hear firsthand how the class conscious workers of Nicaragua are addressing the burning problems of the revolution. How they are mobilizing against the U.S. intervention and against the capitalists and landlords which support this aggression. How they are conducting the fight against bourgeois reaction. How they are working to free the masses from the reformist and vacillating policy of Sandinism. How they are organizing in the factories, fields, and within the armed forces to defend the revolution and carry it forward to the victory of socialism in Nicaragua.

Experience in the Revolution

We also got a chance to learn from the rich experience of the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists in the revolution. Whether in the struggle against the bloody dictatorship of Somoza or in the resistance to the U.S. intervention, the Marxist-Leninists have adhered to the class struggle. Instead of the above-class and vacillating policy of Sandinism, they have based their activity on the drive of the working class and exploited, opposing all attempting to surrender their revolutionary interests before the imperialists and domestic exploiters.

Their experience also brings home the importance of building the working class party. Every step towards consolidating the independent action of the masses in the revolution -- from building the MILPAS in the war against the dictator to building the committees of the Workers Front today -- has been linked to the work to strengthen the Marxist-Leninist party of the proletariat.

MAP-ML has for years considered itself to be such a party. However, its last effort to formalize this in a party meeting was interrupted in 1978 when MAP-ML threw itself into the insurrection against the dictatorship. Afterward there was the severe repression from the Sandinistas and then a process of recuperation of the party. A few months ago MAP-ML held a national conference which, among other things, adopted the new name of Marxist- Leninist Party of Nicaragua.

Internationalist Solidarity in the Face of Reagan's War

Every day the Reagan regime is tightening the screws of intervention against the Nicaraguan revolution. While U.S. imperialism is out to strangle the petty-bourgeois Sandinista government, in the final analysis this aggression is aimed at putting down the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan working class and exploited masses.

In the face of Reagan's war, our Party has been working hard to rally support for the workers and peasants of Nicaragua and their working class party. Comrade Tellez' tour marked a high point in this work. The tour was a display of internationalist solidarity for the Nicaraguan people in the face of the criminal aggression of "our" government. And it showed that the Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary workers of Nicaragua and the U.S. stand shoulder to shoulder on a common front of struggle against the imperialists and exploiters and for the revolution and socialism.

We should take good advantage of this tour to continue our efforts. Let us continue to organize deep among the American workers and activists for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press Campaign and other forms of political and material support for the Nicaraguan toilers. Let us work to build the mass actions and protests against U.S. intervention. And in this work, let us put in the forefront support for the workers and peasants, the creators and defenders of the revolution.

Active and all-sided solidarity is the internationalist commitment that we have made to the Nicaraguan working class and toilers and their Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua.

[Photo: San Francisco, November 17]

[Photo: Chicago, November 16]

[Photo: New York City, November 9]

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Peace talks to vindicate the war buildup

A summit of Reaganite doublespeak

The November 19-20 Geneva Summit between Reagan and Gorbachev ended as it began. The discussion created an agreement to have another discussion, nothing more. And the leaders of the two imperialist giants departed beating the drums of war still louder.

Seldom have what are supposed to be "peace" talks been so openly and cynically used to promote the enormous war buildup. In each country, for months, the media has been haranguing the workers that the other side is a bunch of aggressive warmongering tyrants while their own government is supposedly the saintly defender of peace, freedom and the welfare of the people. Even beforehand Reagan declared that no matter what happened in Geneva he would not put aside his dangerous star wars plans nor give up a penny of his trillion dollar arms buildup. And Gorbachev, for his part, pledged to match Reagan weapon for weapon. Moreover Reagan's proposal that the Russians join him in crushing the Nicaraguan revolution and his demand that they give the U.S. a piece of the action in Afghanistan and Ethiopia shows that behind the chitchat about "peace" the two sides are playing out the deadly game of jockeying over which imperialist superpower gets to dominate which country.

And now, after Reagan and Gorbachev have had their "frank" exchange, it is being claimed that the ''success" of the summit proves that it is necessary to arm and rearm still more. Clearly, despite talk about a "new beginning" towards peace, the summit has been used by both governments as a propaganda forum to mobilize the people of their countries, and their respective allies, behind their own war schemes.

U.S. and Western Imperialists Claim the Summit Justifies their Arms Buildup

Reagan had hardly left Geneva before he began campaigning for greater militarization. In his address to Congress, Reagan stressed the big lie that the summit had proven the correctness of his warmongering policies.

"...When I took the oath of office for the first time, we began dealing with the Soviet Union in a way that was more realistic than in the recent past...we began strengthening our economy, restoring our national will and rebuilding our defenses and alliances. America is once again strong -- and our strength has given us the ability to speak with confidence and see that no true opportunity to advance freedom and peace is lost. We must not now abandon policies that work. I need your continued support to keep America strong....A new realism spawned the summit; the summit itself was a good start, and now our byword must be: Steady as we go." (New York Times, November 22,1985)

Here we find the typical Reaganite double-speak. Unprecedented arming for war brought about the summit and still more war preparation will ensure "peace." What deadly nonsense!

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Western European imperialists echoed Reagan's theme. Although Gorbachev had hoped the summit would bring pressure on the West European allies to break with Reagan's warmongering plans, instead they declared that the summit proved they were correct in building up the nuclear arsenals and deploying U.S. missiles across Europe.

Chancellor Kohl, the West German leader, asserted that the summit proved the arguments of the anti-war protesters to be "nonsense." And Mr. Lubbers, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, chimed in that Geneva showed that Gorbachev "had come to grips with the fact that the West has decided to deploy these missiles and that Moscow will have to make the best of it." (New York Times, November 22,1985)

What cynicism! Instead of the summit bringing a destruction of the nuclear stockpiles, it is declared that the "peace" talks are successful because they vindicate planting nuclear missiles all over the world.

Star Wars

One of the major issues debated at the summit was Reagan's star wars plan, or what he has misnamed the "strategic defense initiative" or the "peace shield." Star wars is an example of how seriously the imperialists are considering nuclear war as an option in their struggle for world domination.

Star wars is a central part of Reagan's current massive military buildup. It is part of a bipartisan plan developed by the U.S. imperialists in the late 70's to shore up the U.S. empire and break up the Russian empire. The star wars scheme is intended to force Reagan's Soviet rivals into an arms race that their economy cannot sustain, thus forcing an internal collapse of Russian imperialism with the U.S. and its European allies picking up the pieces.

But Gorbachev made it clear that Reagan's star wars plan is producing only a step-up in Russia's own star wars plans.

At his press conference immediately following the summit, Gorbachev declared that "It seems to me that much of American policy with regard to the Soviet Union is based on misunderstanding. In some cases, people feel that the arms race exhausts the Soviet Union economically, and thereby strengthens the hand of the United States of America. But history has already disproved such prophecies in the past. We've always been able to respond." (New York Times, November 22, 1985) And Gorbachev made it clear that the Russian imperialists are more than willing to devastate the living standard of the Russian workers, to squeeze them to the wall, in order to have the resources to again "respond" with stepped-up research and weapons production of their own.

Of course, should the economic side of this plan fail, Reagan is still hoping to have built up the capability of winning a nuclear war by being able to block a Russian counterattack. These plans were outlined in a frank speech by Henry Kissinger to NATO defense ministers as far back as September 1979, the last year of the Carter administration. Such is the cynicism of the imperialists. Reagan coolly plans for the incineration of hundreds of millions of people to protect the imperialists' profits and their privilege. And the Russian imperialists match him tit-for-tat.

Against the Revolution

One session of the summit was taken up with the two superpowers' mutual concern over revolutions breaking out in various regions of the world and their maneuvers to penetrate into each others' imperialist spheres of influence. That this is a major issue underlying the summit was demonstrated by the fact that one of the few agreements made was to organize "regular" exchanges between the two superpowers on such "regional conflicts."

In his report to Congress following the summit, Reagan indicated what these talks are for. Speaking of the Nicaraguan contras, and other such reactionary movements, Reagan declared, "We will continue to support the heroic efforts of those who fight for freedom. But we have also agreed to continue, and to intensify, our meetings with the Soviets on this and other regional conflicts and to work toward political solutions." (New York Times, November 22, 1985)

In other words, U.S. imperialism will continue its dirty war in Nicaragua and other attempts to suppress revolutions of the workers and peasants around the world. And the U.S. government will also talk with the Soviet social-imperialists to find joint means to suppress the revolutions. Such are the practical fruits of the "peace" talks.

Step Up the Fight Against Imperialism

And so it goes. Reagan and Gorbachev know that the working people in their own countries and around the world are fed up with their wars, their nuclear arsenals and their oppressive military budgets. They are hoping to fool people by telling them that there is a "fresh start" toward peace. But, in fact, it is impossible for them to give up their aggressive warmongering ways.

Their actions are dictated by the needs of the imperialist system and the ruling classes of both countries.

Reagan is the representative of the big capitalists, bankers and generals who run America. He is the leader of a class of parasites who live by exploiting and robbing the American workers and by plundering the working people in countries all over the world, and he must defend the parasites' interests.

Similarly Gorbachev is the chic new leader of the Russian bureaucrats who have destroyed socialism in the Soviet Union and become the new bourgeoisie. The Russian bureaucrats may call themselves communists, just like Reagan calls himself a champion of democracy, but they live like American capitalists and maintain a huge military machine at the expense of the workers in Russia and other countries.

Neither ruling class can maintain its wealth and power without a whole empire to exploit. Today when the world capitalist economy in both the East and the West is sunk in a depression, the Soviet and American imperialists and their allies are increasingly worried about their profits and about revolts of the workers in their countries and empires. Each block is trying to find a way out by beating down the workers in its own empire and by striving to take over the markets and spheres of influence of the other. It is these selfish interests of the imperialists that lie behind the growing militarism and the danger of nuclear war.

Workers, youth, progressive people, the Geneva Summit is a fraud to cover dangerous war preparations and to rally us behind "our own" warmongering government. To combat the growing militarism, aggression and danger of nuclear war we must attack imperialism, the system that breeds war. The workers of each big power must first settle accounts with their "own" imperialist exploiters.

Here in the U.S. we^must first and foremost attack our own imperialist government and ruling class. Our interests do not lie with the rich but with the workers who are oppressed by the capitalists all over the world, including the Russian workers who resent their new capitalist bureaucrat rulers. To stay the hands of our warmongering Reaganites we American working people must build up militant revolutionary struggle against every aspect of U.S. war preparations like we did during the 60's. We must build up a strong sense of class solidarity with the workers of South Africa, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines and other countries who are fighting to overthrow the rich and who are weakening our own imperialist ruling class. We must fight the Reaganite offensive of the rich here at home and work to build up a revolutionary movement of the working class that is independent of and opposed to all the capitalist parties and politicians.

Revolutionary struggle against the imperialists and preparing to overthrow their system, that is the only way to prevent wars. Everything else is just cheap talk.

Down with Reagan and Gorbachev, imperialist gangsters!


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Reagan takes out a contract on Khadafy

The Reagan administration has been shouting its head off about "state- sponsored terrorism." But the truth is that the Reagan administration itself is the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the Western world. It is the Reagan administration that sits down and in cold blood decides which government should rule and which should be overthrown and who should live and who should die.

In early November it was revealed that the Reagan administration had set upon the path of overthrowing the Libyan government. This of course was not to be done through an election among the Libyans, but through CIA terrorist activities inside Libya. And it was Reagan and the CIA who gave themselves the right to determine the destiny of other peoples in secret.

The plan came to light when a document dated June 18,1984, the so-called "Vulnerability Assessment" by the CIA and other government-financed terrorist agencies, was leaked to the press. This document reviewed the over four years of attempts by the Reagan administration to pressure Libya through economic sanctions and financial and political support for pro-U.S. Libyan exiles. It concluded that nothing would work except overthrowing Khadafy, and it suggested that "disaffected elements in the [Libyan] military could be spurred to assassination attempts or to cooperate with the exiles against Khadafy."

It can be recalled that the CIA tried similar tricks with respect to Castro, and it launched a number of assassination plots against Castro and even explored enlisting the help of the Mafia. Now the Reagan administration has taken out its contract on Khadafy and is working to overthrow him in a covert operation. But, of course, it remains to be seen whether this contract will be any more successful than the one against Castro.

Some congressmen are supposed to have raised concerns about this. If the CIA overthrows Khadafy, that's OK with them, but to kill Khadafy will violate Reagan's executive order banning government assassinations. Such a fine distinction will surely reassure the world's people that the CIA is just a friendly little pussycat. Meanwhile Reagan administration officials have assured one and all that there will be no violation of the executive order. Indeed, if the U.S.-sponsored assassination attempts in Lebanon didn't violate the executive order, such as the car bombing that missed the CIA's target Sheik Fadlallah and accidentally killed scores of bystanders, then surely a little encouragement to potential Libyan assassins is just what the executive order had in mind.

The fuss about the executive order reveals that the press and the congressmen and the Reagan administration believe that none of the laws against murder apply when it comes to the needs of the CIA. It means to indirectly certify the CIA as above the law. Actually the executive order simply meant -- do what you want, but don't get caught. When the CIA report came out, Reagan was embarrassed -- not over being caught in terrorist activities, but he was angry over the fact that the press learned of them.

So when Reagan talks about "state- sponsored terrorism," he has finally hit upon a subject in which he has some credentials, for he is himself directly involved in sponsoring and ordering terrorism against the governments of others. The U.S. government traffics in bodies and governments -- putting prices on the heads of some, and taking contracts out on others.

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Giving tax-exempt status to segregationist academies

The Reagan administration has been doing its best to foster racist attacks on the black people. One front of this has been the encouragement it has been giving to segregationist private schools.

First the IRS under Reagan decided to grant tax-exempt status to all the segregationist academies. Under pressure from mass outrage, the Reagan administration backed down on this.

But recently it came to light that the IRS had found a new way to grant tax- exempt status to the segregationist schools. It was simply allowing them to publish a statement of non-discrimination in a newspaper and some school publications, which the IRS would accept without even the pretext of seeking to verify.

Thus the Prince Edward Academy of Farmville, Va. published such a statement and regained its tax status several months ago. This bastion of racism had been established in 1959 for the purpose of having a lily-white school at a time when public schools were supposed to be desegregating in accordance with the 1954 Supreme Court decision throwing out "separate, but equal. " And in 1978 it lost its tax-exempt status.

Having published its statement of non-discrimination, the school once again received the favorable tax status, but it still didn't have a single black student.

When this arrangement became known, the IRS again had to shift and shuffle. It announced at the start of November that it would reexamine Prince Edward Academy's claim to have given up racial discrimination and see whether it was just a sham. The results of this IRS review are not known yet, but surely Prince Edward Academy never had a better friend than the racists of the Reagan administration.

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Throwing the poor out of the hospitals

In early November it was reported by the news media that the Reagan administration is planning to eliminate the requirement that hospitals built with federal funds provide a certain, minimal amount of free care to sick people who are broke. According to the Hill-Burton Act, which dates back to 1946, hospitals that have accepted federal construction funds must provide a certain minimal amount of care to the indigent. The Reagan administration plans to release over half of such hospitals (those that can be labeled "public hospitals") from the Hill-Burton Act in the name of eliminating unnecessary administrative burdens. And the poor, of course, are to be spared the burden of being poked at and examined by the doctors.

At present, even before this proposal, the medical care for profit system in the U.S. is a scandal. The working people are stuck with extravagant bills. A single day in the hospital can cost a week's or even a month's wages, while the price of medical insurance keeps climbing. And the quality of the care is none too good while the savage productivity drive against the hospital workers further worsens the care of the working people. Poor people, of course, can expect nothing but the most callous assembly-line medicine. Meanwhile the hospital capitalists, the suppliers, the insurance companies and the upper strata of doctors rake in the cash.

The Hill-Burton Act itself was just a stopgap to provide a disgraceful minimum of care. It was just something to take off the pressure for a comprehensive system of medical care. Nor can it be said that the Hill-Burton requirements were always met. Obviously the Reagan administration, for example, never had any interest in enforcing them.

But the cutting of the Hill-Burton requirements marks a further step in squeezing the poor. Today the capitalists are talking openly of establishing what has been true for a long time -- a two-tier system where the rich get treated and the rest of the people can scramble as best they can. The Reaganite plan to cut off hospitalization for the poor is another step in this direction. It shows that the capitalists have no pity on the working people, and there is nothing that is too low when it comes to their profits. In the sphere of medical care, as everywhere else, the only salvation of the working people is class struggle.

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No to the segregation of the parks in Dearborn, Mich.!

(On November 28, the Dearborn city council promised that it would not enforce its segregationist ban on "residents" using Dearborn parks at least until a pending lawsuit settled whether or not the ban is legal. The coalition of Democratic Party politicians, ministers, and union bureaucrats known as Free Dearborn" announced at a protest rally being held at the Ford Rouge UAW local hall that they were immediately calling off their boycott of Dearborn businesses. However, militants attending the rally denounced the misleaders for selling out the struggle and helping the Dearborn officials and capitalists to sneak through the Christmas shopping season without damage. Below we reprint a November 25 leaflet by the Detroit Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA which was circulated in Detroit factories and protest meetings.)

The masses of workers and black people are outraged at the recent passing of the Dearborn city parks ordinance. There is widespread disgust with this obviously racist attempt at segregating the parks by restricting them to residents only. From the shop floors in the auto plants to the communities and schools, heated discussion has broken out on the need to fight against this outrage. Several meetings have already taken place to discuss the possibility of holding demonstrations and other mass protests, and several black ministers and Democratic Party politicians have called for an economic boycott of the businesses in Dearborn.

The ordinance, which would affect 14 parks and 20 playgrounds, calls for "residents only" signs to be posted and for the police to make spot checks for proof of residency. This would mean that Dearborn's children would be required to carry proof of residency and, since there are only a little over one hundred blacks living in Dearborn, these "spot checks" would naturally be aimed at any black people in the parks. The penalty for the "crime" of using swings and see-saws could be 90 days in jail and a $500 fine!

Everywhere the masses are comparing this to the racist apartheid laws in South Africa. There, the banning of blacks and other minorities from "all white areas" is but one part of the whole system of apartheid. The black people in South Africa have been heroically fighting to smash up these laws and to bring an end to apartheid. Here in the U.S. too, the people are ready and willing to take up the fight against attempts to implement segregation in any way, shape, or form.

From South Africa to Dearborn Mass Action Is the Way to Fight Against the Racist Attacks

In the face of growing mass opposition to the Dearborn parks ordinance, various Democratic Party politicians, trade union bureaucrats, and black ministers, who are tied to the Democratic Party, have appointed themselves as the leaders in the fight against segregationism. But, these "leaders" are advocating only the mildest forms of struggle. Their aim is to keep the fight out of the hands of the anti-racist masses and in the hands of the lawyers, judges, and businessmen.

These misleaders have refused to call the people into mass action against the racist attack. Instead they have promoted that the primary way to fight is to bring a lawsuit against the City of Dearborn. This means tying up the struggle in mountains of courtroom red tape.

In addition, these misleaders have called for an economic boycott of the Dearborn stores in the hope that the businessmen will bring pressure to bear on the city government to repeal the law. There is nothing wrong with a boycott in general and, indeed, many people are already taking it up. But the [plan for this] boycott of the stores is based on individual action instead of the united mass actions that are needed to build up a fighting movement against racist attacks. History has shown that boycotts are a subordinate form of struggle which have only been truly effective when used in conjunction with mass actions, such as in the black people's movement of the 50's and 60's and as in the militant anti-apartheid movement in South Africa today.

For an effective fight against the segregation of the Dearborn parks, it is up to the masses to take matters into their own hands and organize demonstrations, marches and other mass actions. To leave the fight against racist attacks in the hands of the politicians, lawyers, and businessmen is suicide. To leave the fight to them means endless court squabbles and petitions, while segregation continues.

We, the genuine anti-racist fighters, have a role to play. It is up to us to get organized independently of the Democratic Party politicians, the black misleaders, and the trade union bureaucrats who would have us sit on our hands and wait. We must work to mobilize the working masses -- the Detroit workers, who demand action against the segregation; the Dearborn workers, who in their thousands voted against the racist law; the Arab workers, who are also facing a racist campaign in Dearborn; and all progressive people, black and white -- in united militant struggle to smash tip the racist laws and fight against all the attacks on the blacks and other minorities.

To hell with Reagan and his cronies who have declared open season on the gains made by the black people! To hell with the plans to bring back segregation as a way of life! Wage mass struggle against these racist plans!

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Jesse Jackson advises racist Thatcher's police

Anti-Racist Rebellions Break Out in Britain

[Photo: Youths in Liverpool, England protesting against racial discrimination and police repression in October.]

Rebellions of black and white working class youth swept through the industrial centers of England throughout August, September and October. Angered by brutal racist police attacks, unemployment of 50-60% in the working class districts and poverty, hundreds of youth have demonstrated at police stations and entered street battles with police.

An unjust arrest triggered a rebellion in the Handsworth district of Birmingham in early September, arousing hundreds of youth into hurling paving stones and gasoline bombs at police.

Brutal police murders of two black mothers during "searches" triggered other rebellions in working class districts of London. In Tottenham (northern London), detachments of riot police responded to the rebellion by driving the youth back into the Broadstreet Farm housing project, cordoning it off and lining the side streets with vans and busloads of police. Helicopters hovered overhead and searchlights were pointed into the dwellings throughout the night. Armed with plastic bullets and tear gas, police swept through the project in the early morning hours hunting down the rebellious youth.

Hundreds of youth have been arrested in the protests in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

The riots have sparked a discussion in the ruling class circles over how to strengthen "law and order" to suppress the black, Asian and white working class youth who, they contend, are nothing but "thieves" who have "gone mad on drugs."

In walks Jesse Jackson. In London to address an anti-apartheid protest, this bourgeois hack, who betrays the struggle of the black people in the U.S., preaches to the black people to join the British police forces who are suppressing them!

It is little wonder that senior officials of the racist Thatcher government "show(ed) an almost touching gratitude to the Reverend Jesse Jackson" for helping them find ways of suppressing these angry black youth. (New York Times, November 8,1985)

Mr. Jackson may preach for a reformist way out for the Iron Lady's regime. But the contradiction between the British ruling class and the - national minority and working class youth runs deep, giving rise to one wave of revolt after the next. Not Jesse Jackson's reformist tinkering, but revolutionary mass struggle leading up to the proletarian revolution will liberate the working class and youth of all nationalities from the clutches of the racist rule of the British moneybags.

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Goode arrests anti-racist demonstrators

Down with racist attacks on black families in Philadelphia!

In the Elmwood area of southwest Philadelphia, the real estate companies have been busy going from house to house, inciting race hatred and threatening that blacks moving in will drive down the property values of the homes. They hope to force the white homeowners to sell cheap and flee, then resell the homes to blacks at a high price, making a good profit off the swindle.

In mid-November a black family and an interracial couple moved into two houses in this segregated community that they bought from the Veterans Administration. They were met by hostile racist crowds of up to 200 demonstrating night after night and shouting racist epithets and "get out" in front of the homes of the young couples. The police were in attendance and claiming all the while to be trying to disperse the crowd. However, given their sympathy with the racists, this sometimes took three hours and had more to do with the racists getting tired and leaving than any police action to remove them. No arrests were ever made.

Then Mayor Wilson Goode ordered a state of emergency in the 30 block area, limiting groups to no more than four people at a time.

Saturday, November 30, an anti-racist march was blocked by police from entering the segregated white area. Thirty anti-racists were taken into custody, the first arrests under the state of emergency.

Once again Mayor Goode, the respectable black bourgeois politician, shows his stripes. Last May he gained infamy when he ordered the bombing and murder of 11 black activists of the group called MOVE. Now he is defending the segregationists by coming down with the heavy hand of the law against those who protest discrimination and race hatred incited by the capitalist profiteers.

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Strikes and workplace news


Strike of Hormel meatpackers is gaining support

A car caravan more than three miles long drove through Austin, Minnesota on October 19 in a boisterous demonstration of solidarity with the striking Hormel workers. The caravan was sponsored by meatpackers from other plants and won the endorsement of many local unions and central labor councils around the country. The caravan demonstrates not only the growing sympathy with the Hormel strikers, but also the isolation of the national leadership of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) who have opposed this struggle.

The 1,500 workers at Hormel's main plant in Austin have continued their determined strike for the last 16 weeks. They have launched vigorous demonstrations and pickets against branches of the First Bank System (a major Hormel stockholder and creditor) in Des Moines, Iowa and in St. Paul, Minnesota. Meanwhile, Hormel workers from other plants picketed the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) offices in Minneapolis chanting "N-L-R-B works for the company."

The Austin plant workers are fighting to restore wages that were unilaterally cut by Hormel a year ago and against a series of other concessions. These include the murderous speedup at the plant which has brought about the dangerous conditions that led to over one-third of the workers losing some work last year because of a major injury; the gutting of seniority rights; and a two-tier system in which new-hires would receive only $7.50 an hour and no benefits and in which Hormel would retain the right to fire them at will.

The struggle of the Hormel workers is more than just and they are determined to win. But their top union leaders have opposed them every step of the way. The UFCW big shots claim that the time is not ripe to fight concessions and instead the workers should agree to "retrenchment," that is, to cuts in wages, benefits, and working conditions. The UFCW leaders have gone so far as to send out letters to the workers in other meatpacking plants which denounce the anti-concession fight at the Austin plant as "splitting" the union. But obviously it is the UFCW heads who are carrying out the splitting activity.

The Austin plant workers have carried out a vigorous campaign to combat these lies and slanders. They have sent caravans of workers to tell their story to meatpackers at other Hormel plants in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nebraska. They have also joined the picket lines in solidarity with the striking Morrell meatpackers (see article below) and other strikers. As well, they have gone to many other union locals, to community gatherings, and other events to win support for their strike. The October 19 caravan is just one of the fruits of this activity. Workers from many plants have passed resolutions supporting the Hormel strike and sent money and other aid to the strikers. And many workers from the area have joined with the Austin plant workers to carry out demonstrations and pickets against Hormel.

The vigorous strike of the Hormel workers is not only essential to defend the Austin workers against concessions but it is also helping to spread the spirit of struggle among workers throughout the meatpacking industry.

[Photo: Hormel workers on strike in Austin, Minnesota.]

Strikes spread in the meatpacking industry

Since the outbreak of the Hormel strike in August, strikes have spread to several other meatpacking plants around the country.

At the Morrell and Co. meatpacking plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2,700 workers struck for 81 days. The strike was marked by the solidarity of the Hormel strikers who joined the Morrell workers on the picket line. Despite the long strike, the workers won only an immediate 25 cents an hour raise.

Since the beginning of October, 1,000 workers have been striking the Clougherty Meat Packing Co. in Vernon, California. Clougherty, the maker of Farmer John meat products, raked in over $100 million in profits last year. But they still demanded the continuation of a wage freeze (which would keep the workers at from $5 to $9.72 an hour), the continuation of a two-tier wage system, and a change from the jointly controlled union/company health and pension plans to ones controlled solely by the company which would not have government guarantees and would cost the workers more. The workers are fighting these concessions and demanding a major wage increase.

On November 4th, 300 workers held a rally at the Clougherty plant despite a court injunction which limits picketing to only five.

After the rally at the Clougherty plant, the workers marched to the McCoy Co. plant and turned away scabs there. Almost four weeks ago workers, who belong to the same union local as the Clougherty workers, began a strike against even harsher concessions demanded by the McCoy meatpacking company.

Meanwhile, 65 workers are striking the Kowalski sausage plant in Detroit. Inspired by the Chrysler strike, the workers are demanding the restoration of a whole slew of concessions that have been grabbed from them over the last five years. And they are fighting against a change in their pension plan similar to the one demanded by Clougherty. Kowalski is hiring scabs and their own security police to break the strike. On November 22, when the workers approached a -delivery truck to ask the driver to honor their picket line they were attacked by Kowalski's rent-a-cops.

The meatpackers have been especially hard hit by concessions and union busting over the last number of years. The fact that they are stepping up their fight and, what is more, that they are linking arms in joint battles on the picket lines and in other mass actions indicates that they are building the strength needed to resist the dirty strikebreaking of the capitalists.

Strike shuts down supermarkets in the Los Angeles area

Sharp clashes have marked the strike against seven supermarket chains in the Los Angeles area.

Since November 5, some 10,000 meat-cutters and 12,000 truck drivers, warehousemen and office workers have been on strike. Another 65,000 retail clerks have refused to cross the picket lines of the strikers.

On the first morning of the strike a number of strikers were arrested and three were injured in picket line fights. This set the tone of the strike. The picketing began at 164 Vons retail stores and warehouses and then spread to 30 Safeway stores. Then all of the Albertson, Alpha Beta, Hughes, Lucky, Ralph and Safeway stores locked out the workers. Since then numerous fights have taken place.

On November 7, for example, pickets fought police and strikebreakers again. More strikers were arrested in this fight raising the total number of arrests to over 30 by that time. In another battle, on November 18, a dozen strikers took on a scab Safeway truck with tire irons. The next day stink bombs were set off in seven Vons Markets. Another two strikers were jailed that day.

The fierce fighting is the result of the dirty activity of the wealthy supermarket chains. They are demanding a wage freeze, a two-tier wage structure, and other concessions. And they have gone all out to try to break the strike with the use of scabs and police. But the workers are waging a stern fight, and if they stick to united struggle they can smash the food capitalists' strikebreaking.

Waterbed workers in Los Angeles organize

In 1984 the mostly Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadoran workers at the Angel Echevarria Company in Los Angeles organized a union. Angel Echevarria owns four plants which make Somma waterbeds. The $80 million a year operation makes its profits off the low wages and terrible working conditions that are imposed on the workers.

On January 11, 1985 the union was certified by a 70% vote in an election held by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). But Echevarria refused to recognize the union and in the four months following the election fired 27 workers. On May 1, the workers struck for two days, forcing Echevarria to rehire two of the fired workers. But the company still refused to recognize the union or rehire others of the fired. A week later the workers went back on strike for seven days. Since then they have waged what the union leaders call "a series of rolling strikes" and have maintained a constant picket line at the plants.

Even though the union certification was upheld by the regional NLRB, Echevarria stubbornly refuses to recognize it. Nor has the government lifted a finger to enforce the laws against him. Echevarria has powerful friends in the government. Recently he was appointed to the Water and Power Commission by Mayor Bradley, despite the protests of the workers. The workers are learning that they cannot rely on the government or their supposedly pro-worker friends in the Democratic Party. Only the independent action of the workers is an effective force against the greedy capitalists.

[Photo: Striking workers picket a Somma waterbed plant in Los Angeles.]

Arizona farmworkers strike Whitewing ranch

The strike of farmworkers continues against the Whitewing citrus ranch near Dateline, Arizona. A few months back, the workers organized a union and on September 16 began a strike to improve their terrible conditions. The workers are paid just $24 for each bin of lemons they pick and average only about $3 an hour. But they don't receive even this piddling amount since they are forced to pay the ranch for food, work gloves, mattresses, etc. They also suffer terrible working conditions.

As well, the workers face the danger of death to even get to the ranch for employment. Most of the workers are of Mexican nationality and many are undocumented. White wing recruits its workers in Mexico, but it provides no transportation or protection against the vicious la migra INS agents. Thus the workers have to secretly cross the border and a 60-mile stretch of desert known as "El Seguaro," on their own or by paying $100-200 for unscrupulous "coyote" guides. Recently 10 more dead bodies were found in the desert, a number carrying Whitewing employee cards.

It is reported that some 300 people have died in this desert crossing in the last five years. One of the demands of the strikers is that the Whitewing owners, Valley National Bank, compensate the families of the workers who have died trying to get to the ranch.

Right at the beginning of the strike, on September 23, the courts ruled it "illegal." The workers were kicked off the ranch property and barred from picketing there. But they have continued the strike and are picketing branches of the Valley National Bank.

As longshoremen shut down scab dock co.

Picketer murdered by police

A longshoreman was killed by police in Baltimore during a successful struggle to shut down the operation of a scab dock company.

In October, the Baltimore Launch and Marine Services attempted to use 400 nonunion laborers to unload a Cypriot ship in Baltimore's Port Covington. The nonunion workers were to be paid $5 an hour to do work that is traditionally performed by union members at $17 an hour. This was the first attempt at the port to use nonunion labor.

On the night of October 7, longshoremen threw up a picket line against the scab operation. Five picketers were arrested in a confrontation with the police. The next morning some 700 longshoremen showed up to picket.

About 300 of them broke through police lines to reach the ship and block its unloading.

Just then a speeding police car, apparently trying to break the picket line, hit and killed Jackson Taylor, a 59-year-old picketer. Several angry dock workers pulled the cop from his car and started to beat him, but other policemen intervened to free him. Then hundreds of cops in riot gear, some with dogs, descended on the pier. Despite the brutal police assault, the picketers held the line.

Faced with the militancy of the angry workers the company called for a meeting with the union on the spot. The Marine Services manager agreed to send home the scabs and the union representatives agreed to end the picket. As of last report, the ship has continued to sit fully loaded in the dock.

As usual, the government quickly covered up for the brutal police murderer. A manslaughter charge was dropped against the cop who drove his car into the picketers on the blatantly ridiculous grounds that he was speeding in response to a "distress" call.

But the blood of the martyred longshoreman has not been forgotten. In 300 of the country's ports, longshoremen halted work for half an hour to honor Jackson Taylor. And in Baltimore, the longshoremen refused to work until after a memorial ceremony held for Taylor was completed, at 1:00 p.m.

The Workers' Advocate also wishes to honor Taylor and calls on the workers throughout the country, in every industry, to avenge this brutal murder by stepping up the struggle to put capitalism, and all of its atrocities, in the grave.

GE workers strike against productivity drive

The workers at GE's Lynn, Massachusetts complex continue to build up the fight against the capitalists' productivity/concessions drive.

Workers in the diaphragm section of building 67 went out on strike on October 30. A multitude of unresolved grievances had been building up against the unhealthy working conditions, against GE's maneuvers to cut piecework and overtime pay, and on other issues. But the pot boiled over when GE suspended a shop steward, who had been arguing over the pay issue, for supposed "insubordination." The workers had had enough, and those in the diaphragm area walked out.

Other workers in building 67 and elsewhere in the complex wanted to join the fight, but the treacherous local leadership of the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE) restricted the strike to the diaphragm section.

Despite the union hacks' sabotage of the struggle, GE feared that the strike would spread through the complex and quickly gave into many of the workers' demands. The shop steward was reinstated, but still has a three-month suspension hanging over his head.

This strike won partial victory, but the struggle is heating up. GE is not satisfied with the concessions it just grabbed in the national contract. It is waging a campaign for local concessions, speedup and harassment. The workers have to learn from this strike and get better organized to unite their ranks and spread the struggle throughout the complex.

Report from Great Lakes Steel in Detroit

Workers at Great Lakes have already begun to organize on their own to fight the offensive of the steel billionaires.

Workers at the main plant and in the 80-inch steel mill have begun circulating an "unauthorized" petition against job combination and concessions. At the same time, workers at the Zug Island plant have been circulating a petition demanding the recall of the laid-off. Despite the fact that local union officials have ordered the workers to have nothing to do with these petitions, hundreds have already signed them.

As well, workers have begun wearing sweatshirts demanding pay increases or a strike in '86. And all over the main plant, Zug Island, and the 80-inch mill, stickers declaring "NO CONCESSIONS TO THE STEEL BILLIONAIRES!" have been put on hard hats, lunch boxes, lockers, restaurant walls and elsewhere. The sticker campaign was initiated by the MLP, and militant workers took the stickers and printed hundreds more themselves. To date approximately 1,400 stickers have been circulated by the workers. Workers are also circulating widely anti-concessions leaflets which explain the issues, expose the union bureaucrats, and help to unite the rank and file.

These types of independent activities, and more, are precisely what is needed to get the workers organized to fight the company's job elimination and concessions offensive. All workers should actively participate to build the movement. No to job combinations! No to job elimination! No more concessions to the steel billionaires!

Fight the firings at Magnesium Casting in Boston

(The following article is reprinted from the November 19, 1985 issue of Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

Last Wednesday, the Berman capitalists fired Demitrius Hullum. This is the fourth militant worker that the factory owners have fired since the company narrowly won the vote to decertify the union in August. Nelson Morales, Vernon, and T. C. Rice -- all open union supporters in die cast -- have been unjustly fired. The campaign of harassment and intimidation against the workers' movement at Magnesium Casting is intensifying. Now the company is spreading ridiculous lies to justify firing Demitrius. What really happened?

Demitrius has worked at the factory for two and a half years. In all this time he received only one written warning. He has gained the respect of a big section of the workers because of his militant stand of protesting the exploitation and discrimination suffered by the workers.

Since decertifying the union, the company has systematically harassed and tried to provoke Demitrius. Three weeks ago he was given three warnings and a suspension within three working days. For what crime was he suspended? Because he refused to act like a good slave when one of the factory owners was disrespectful and called Demitrius names. This is what Harvey Berman calls "insubordination." The workers were outraged at this and over one-third of them signed a petition protesting the suspension despite the danger of revenge from the company.

The following week Demitrius was actually fired by the plant manager, Cliff Thornton, who claimed that he had been sleeping on the job. But this had to be retracted when witnesses showed that this was a blatant lie.

Then on Thursday, November 7, another militant worker, John Contee, received a threatening phone call from a racist who said that he was going to teach John a lesson and fight him at the plant gate because John was not "proud to be a white man." This racist is Dave Feagan, a third shift worker who openly helped the factory owners decertify the union. The workers were convinced that this sleazy threat had been organized by the company to set up the militants and split the black and white workers. A number of workers from die cast used their coffee break to spread the word about this racist provocation among the workers in other departments so that the company's racist flunky would meet the solid unity of the workers.

In zinc assembly John and Demitrius found the black personnel director, Ray Nichols, socializing with a group of workers. When John tried to tell Ray about the racist, Ray began to move away saying he would not listen in front of the other workers and that he had "had enough" of the militants. Demitrius told Ray that it was his job to listen since he is supposed to be the personnel director. When Ray continued to refuse to even listen Demitrius denounced him for being a sold-out bourgeois who wouldn't stand up to the racists. Then Ray's son, who is not a worker, physically confronted Demitrius, pointing his finger in his face and puffing up his chest. He said that no one could tell the truth about his father like that. Then Ray also began puffing out his chest and defended his son's actions. When the buzzer sounded, ending break, Demitrius and John returned to their departments.

Thus the truth is that it was Ray's son who turned the situation into a physical confrontation because he could not stand to have his father exposed before the workers as a defender of the company and its racist thugs. In fact the next day another of Ray's sons told Demitrius that his brothers were going to get a group together and beat him up! And the capitalists claim that they had to fire Demitrius because he was dangerous!

Workers, this attack must be answered. The capitalists think that by firing a few militants they can smash our movement and silence the voice of workers' protest. It is important for us to defend the militant workers from the company's attacks with our united action because attacks on the militants are only a prelude to an attack on the rest of us. The company's systematic effort to fire known militant workers also shows us the need to build underground revolutionary organization to mobilize our forces for struggle. Let's start now. Spread these leaflets all over the plant. Agitate among your fellow workers for a fight to defend Demitrius and the other militants. Denounce and ridicule the company's flunkies. Unite the workers for struggle. Make the Magnesium Casting capitalists pay for firing Demitrius and the other militants.

No to the Trico plant closings in Buffalo

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

Trico Products Corp., where workers have been producing windshield wipers and other auto parts in Buffalo since 1917, announced plans last Friday to close two of its three Buffalo plants and build two new plants on the Texas-Mexico border. This proposed move will throw 1,100 workers out on the streets to join the already swelled ranks of the unemployed. This is a vicious attack on the Trico workers. Even though the UAW leaders negotiated a wage freeze in the union's three-year contract with Trico last June, the greedy Trico capitalists said their main reason for the move is the much lower wages they can pay workers in Mexico and Texas. After decades of sweating and toiling at Trico, and providing immense profits for the rich capitalists, the workers are told: "Tough luck, we're pulling up stakes and going to Mexico to super-exploit the Mexican workers at $1.25 an hour." We agree with the workers who booed Trico President Richard Wolf at last Friday's announcement meeting. We say NO to the closing down of Trico Plants 2 and 3 in Buffalo. We say down with your despicable plan to eliminate at least 1,100 more jobs in Buffalo.

The Trico workers are bitter, and rightly so. In deciding their course of action, however, they must keep in mind the treachery of the top national leaders of the UAW. These traitors preach constantly that "concessions save jobs." Not a peep has been heard from UAW local 2100 leadership regarding the fact that for the next three years, the Trico workers will be working with no wage increases, as a result of the concession demands of the latest contract. This proves that concessions don't save jobs. Just ask the tens of thousands of auto workers who have lost their jobs since concessions were forced on them beginning in 1979. The auto workers have learned bitter lessons from the concessions drives of the auto billionaires and their junior partners, the top national leaders of the UAW. And in the last period, the auto workers, alongside workers from other industries (i.e., meatpacking) have been waging struggles against concessions. It is the militant mass actions of the workers, organizing independently of the top, national trade union misleaders, that is the way to fight against plant closings, layoffs and the whole Reaganite offensive against the working class.

A fierce strike hits canneries in Watsonville, California

[Photo: A demonstration of the striking cannery workers in Watsonville, California raises the slogan, "One contract for all the canneries!"]

On November 12, some 50 strikers from the Watsonville Canning plant caught up with a bus and two company cars that were loading scabs at a shopping center in Gilroy, Calif. In the ensuing fight, at least five company-men were injured and 18 strikers were arrested. This is but the latest in a series of struggles waged by the Watsonville strikers.

Nearly 2,000 workers have been out on strike since September 10 at two plants in Watsonville, California -- the Watsonville Canning and Frozen Foods plant, and the factory of Richard Shaw, Inc. The companies earlier broke off negotiations with the Teamsters and unilaterally imposed a 40-cent wage cut, a two-tier wage system, and other concessions. They then came back to the Teamsters demanding some 45 additional concessions demands, including another 35% wage cut (which would drive down the average pay to only $5 an hour) and the right to slash wages further if any packer in the state imposed a deeper cut on the workers. Only after two months and intense pressure from the rank and file did the Teamsters agree to let the workers strike.

The canneries immediately started hiring scabs. And within two days they got a court injunction banning anyone associated with the strike from walking within 100 yards of the plants and limiting pickets to four at a gate. The workers, mostly women of Mexican nationality, responded by mobilizing wide support in the community and organizing mass actions.

For example, on September 20th, 17 Watsonville high school students and one teacher were arrested when they brought banners and signs to support the strike on the picket lines. On October 10, strikers fought police and scabs at Watsonville Canning. One was jailed on a $250,000 bond for throwing a molotov cocktail. And any number of solidarity marches have been organized through the town including one of 3,000 people on October 6 and one of 2,000 people on November 3. Strike support committees have been organized in San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and elsewhere and include many students.

These mass actions have been having an effect. On October 18, for example, 3a0 workers who had been scabbing on the strike publicly quit their jobs. They announced to the news media that they hadn't been told of the strike when they hired on for $3.30 an hour, that they were brought to work each day in a bus with plywood over the windows, and that they'd had enough.

The concessions demanded in Watsonville represent an assault against all the workers in the canning industry. These two plants are among the 16 largest frozen food processors and canners in the world. All 16 of these plants are located in California and together employ close to 15,000 workers. Contracts for many of these plants are coming up soon, and the capitalists are looking to the Watsonville canneries to set the pattern for the whole industry.

Thus the strike of the Watsonville workers is throwing a spoke in the wheels of the concessions offensive of the frozen food capitalists. This strike deserves the support of all workers.

12-day national strike against Chrysler

On October 15'more than 70,000 U.S. auto workers and 10,000 Canadian workers began contract strikes against the Chrysler Corporation. The strike in the U.S. lasted 12 days. It was the first national Chrysler strike since 1973 and it marked a turn from the concessions bargaining of the last six years.

The strike began with defiant wildcats which set the militant tone that pervaded the struggle. The workers won a partial victory in the new three-year contract, but this has not ended the struggle. Immediately local strikes broke out and more can be expected. The workers have vowed to fight against the job-elimination schemes and other concessions that are being floated at the local plant level.

In 1979 the Chrysler workers became the first major section of industrial workers who were forced to submit to concessions, after which the concessions fever spread to every industry. But this year the Chrysler workers hoisted the banner of "No More Concessions!" Their national contract strike and the continuing struggles at Chrysler are an important indication of the spirit of struggle that is beginning to grip the working class.

A Showdown Develops

For months preceding the contract a showdown was in the making between Chrysler and the workers.

In August Chrysler's chairman, Lee Iacocca, announced that he wanted the contract modeled after the notorious GM "Saturn" agreement. And Chrysler's head bargainer, Thomas Miner, outlined the concessions the company was demanding, including a system- wide cut in job classifications from 500 down to six, work rule changes, the gutting of seniority, the extension of the two-tier wage system, and more.

Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers' (UAW) leaders, fresh from signing the Saturn pact with GM, made conciliatory statements. While posturing against concessions, Marc Stepp, the UAW head for Chrysler, called for profit sharing instead of a big increase in the workers' base wage. And UAW President Owen Bieber bent before the demands to cut job classifications. He cried about how Chrysler needed help to be "competitive and efficient" if it was going to survive. Bieber's only quibble with Chrysler's plan was that it was too "drastic" to be done at one time.

But the Chrysler rank and file was buying none of this. As October 15 approached it was easy to see that the workers were becoming more militant and determined. They had suffered six long years under the Chrysler/UAW-organized concessions. They'd seen some $20,000 stolen from each worker's paychecks. They'd seen around 50,000 of their fellow workers thrown into the streets without jobs, and job combinations still continued. And they'd seen everyone else -- Iacocca, the banks, the stockholders -- paid back or awarded with multimillion dollar bonuses while Chrysler registered billions in record profits.

The MLP distributed numerous leaflets during this period that denounced Chrysler's demands, exposed the treachery of the UAW big shots, and voiced the desires of the workers. These leaflets helped to build up the anger in a number of the plants. Everywhere the workers were saying: "We want money -- payback time is now!" "No more concessions!" "No job combinations!" The rank and file was ready for a strike.

Defiant Wildcats Set the Tone of the Strike

Workers at three of Chrysler's biggest assembly plants -- St. Louis #1 and the Dodge Truck and Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plants in Detroit -- jumped the gun and staged wildcat strikes on the afternoon shift on October 15. Showing their determination to fight, thousands of workers defied the' attempts by UAW hacks to keep them in the plants and poured into the streets denouncing Chrysler's concessions plans.

The spirited walkout at Jefferson Avenue is of particular note. At one back gate several hundred workers rallied in the middle of the street, shouting slogans against Chrysler and waving picket signs that had been distributed by the MLP. Many workers shook the hands of Party militants and thanked them for bringing the homemade picket signs. In front of the plant, workers drove up and down Jefferson Avenue waving the picket signs out of car windows and honking their horns. Numbers of workers rallied around to shout fiery denunciations of Chrysler and to wave their picket signs in front of the TV cameras while others read Party leaflets and discussed how to develop the strike.

The early walkouts helped block the attempts by Chrysler and the UAW leaders to reach a last minute compromise. The wildcats demonstrated the workers' defiance of the UAW big shots and let it be known that the rank and file would not settle for the concessions demanded by Chrysler. At midnight all 80,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada gleefully walked off the job while Bieber could do nothing but moan that the strike was "unfortunate" and "harmful" for both the workers and Chrysler.

Militant Picket Lines Mark the Strike

The militancy of the early walkouts continued through the strike. At Chrysler headquarters, picket lines confronted Iacocca and other Chrysler executives and traffic was blocked for miles. At Jefferson Avenue the workers put the wildcat picket signs up on lamp posts and, frequently, 15-20 picketers kept up a chorus of slogans against Chrysler's concessions and against betrayal by the UAW bureaucrats. At Dodge Truck, Warren Stamping, and other plants many rank-and-file workers showed up for the picket lines and voiced their resolution to carry through the strike.

The UAW leadership attempted to disorganize the pickets and to undermine the fighting spirit of the workers. After Iacocca complained that his car had been scratched in the confrontation at Chrysler headquarters, the UAW leaders meekly apologized and called off the picketing there. In some cases, the UAW officials left gates unmanned and allowed Chrysler to ship out some cars that had been produced before the strike. And, at least in the beginning, the UAW hacks did not organize picket duty except among some of their fellow hacks.

But the rank and file came out to join the pickets on their own, and the UAW leaders failed to stifle the workers' militancy. On one occasion, for example, a UAW official tried to break up the slogan-shouting picket line at Jefferson Avenue by sending a number of the picketers to another gate. But this trick failed when these workers organized slogan-shouting at that gate too.

The New Contract -- A Partial Victory

The wildcat strikes, demonstrations at the plant gates, and militant picket lines threw a monkey wrench into the well-laid plans of Chrysler and the UAW leadership for more concessions. The workers won a partial victory. But, given the workers' militancy, they could have won much more had it not been for the UAW leadership's betrayal at the bargaining table.

The workers forced Chrysler to drop its demand for a sweeping, system- wide elimination of job classifications in the national contract. Chrysler was also forced to come up with a $2,100 bonus for each worker to "pay back" concessions stolen from the workers' paychecks. As well, the workers broke the concessionary pattern of profit sharing and bonus payments being used to replace increases in the base wage, as Chrysler agreed to restore the traditional 3% annual improvement raise in the third year of the contract.

This agreement was immediately denounced by the Ford and GM capitalists and, speaking for the capitalist class, the October 24 New York Times denounced it as "a step backward from the contracts in the early 1980's."

But this victory can only be called a partial one. The contract still provides for joint Chrysler/UAW committees to organize job classification cuts, job combinations, and job elimination on a local, plant-by-plant basis. The contract also runs for three years, which means that it will expire one year after the deadline for the Canadian Chrysler contract and the current Ford and GM contracts. Thus the U.S. Chrysler workers have been split off from their brothers and sisters in Canada and the rest of the Big Three. On the question of the "payback" money, while no worker would turn down the $2,100, they weren't fooled that this made up for the more than $20,000 stolen from them over the last six years. As well, there were other concessions such as the two-tier wage rate for new hires and wage increases so small that they fall behind the rate of inflation.

Therefore, the MLP called upon the workers to vote no on the new contract.

Even before the U.S. settlement, the MLP was distributing leaflets that criticized the earlier Canadian agreement. This contract was less generous than the one in the U.S., but generally set the framework for the American contract. When the UAW leaders and Chrysler announced that they had signed a new U.S. contract, the MLP went to work to provide the workers with a detailed analysis of the proposed pact. Thousands of leaflets outlining the provisions and hidden concessions were produced and distributed to the workers when they attended the informational/ratification meetings.

At the Dodge Truck meeting, the UAW hacks were so upset by agitation against the contract that they sent security guards to drive all leafleters away from the meeting site. Still, the MLP was able to distribute over 2,000 leaflets. Workers lined up in cars, hungry to get a hold of the leaflets. And many quickly criticized the contract saying they were sure that the UAW and Chrysler were trying to sneak through a bunch of concessions.

At the Jefferson Avenue Assembly meeting, the leaflets provided the workers with a framework to question the contract. More than 4,500 workers came out to this meeting. A number of workers got up to vigorously denounce the contract. And the local UAW leaders were questioned about whether they were going to give in to Chrysler's blackmail threats to close the Jefferson plant after 1987 unless concessions were given. The local union leadership was shaken by this opposition. They were unable to defend the new concessions in the contract and soon abandoned the microphone altogether, refusing to answer the workers' questions. They hurriedly ended the 20-minute meeting by telling the workers that they could collect their strike pay first and then return to the meeting, a process which took over five hours!

The opposition that surfaced to this contract was not enough to defeat it. But the struggle waged against the contract helped the workers maintain a sober assessment of what they had accomplished and helped prepare them to continue the struggle in the developing local contract battles.

Struggle Shifts to Local Chrysler Contract Talks

The ink was hardly dry on the national contract when strikes over local issues broke out.

Workers in Chrysler's Huntsville, Alabama plant went out briefly within a week of the contract settlement. And on November 2, workers at St. Louis Assembly Plant #2 went out for 21 days in a fight to restore job classifications that they had lost in an earlier local contract. (See article below.)

Meanwhile, Chrysler made itself clear that it wants local concessions -- including work rule changes and job combinations -- from the workers at Belvidere, Illinois Assembly, Jefferson Avenue Assembly, and other plants. Workers at these plants are now preparing for the upcoming battles. At Jefferson, hundreds of workers have taken up buttons produced by the MLP reading "No Cuts in Job Classifications," and leaflets have saturated the plant. (See two articles on Jefferson below.)

The Chrysler workers, who were the first to suffer under concessions, are now fighting. Undoubtedly this assists the workers in the rest of the auto plants and in other industries to stand up and fight back against the capitalists' concessions offensive.

[Photo: Workers at Chrysler's Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant walking out before the expiration of the contract.]

St. Louis Chrysler workers strike to restore job classifications

(Negotiations in the St. Louis strike were taken over by the international leadership and moved to Detroit on Saturday, November 23. A settlement was quickly reached and the workers were back on the job by Tuesday. We do not yet have information on provisions of the contract. The article below is taken from a leaflet of the Detroit Branch of the MLP dated November 9, 1985.)

On November 4, the 3,000 workers at Chrysler's St. Louis Assembly Plant 2 walked off the job in a local contract strike. The strikers are defying Chrysler's threats to close the plant and they are demanding the restoration of job classifications and full seniority rights which were lost to concessions in 1983.

In 1980, after Chrysler workers gave up concessions on the promise that this would "save jobs," the company went ahead and closed this plant (and several others) throwing tens of thousands of workers into the unemployment lines. It was not until 1983 that the St. Louis factory was reopened, but then only after the UAW leadership agreed to further local concessions. Job classifications were reduced from some 90 to only 17, seniority rights were limited, and local benefits were cut.

Since then Chrysler and the UAW bureaucrats have promoted the St. Louis plant, and also the similar system at the Sterling Heights Assembly plant, as a veritable heaven-on-earth for the workers and a "model" for the rest of the Chrysler system. But the St. Louis workers have suffered under this "model" for nearly two years. They hate it and are determined to restore the former job classifications and seniority rights.

Now, Chrysler has gone into a frenzy against the strikers and is once again employing the threat of closing the plant as vicious blackmail to extract concessions. Chrysler officials arrogantly declared that they have "not scheduled any production for that plant after 1987" and "that any agreement must not be 'a step backward' or jobs at the plant would be in jeopardy." (Detroit News, Tuesday, November 5, 1985) In other words, accept the terrible overwork and job elimination that comes with the cutting of job classifications or Chrysler will close the plant, this is Chrysler's blackmail.

But the St. Louis workers are defying Chrysler's threats and are determined to carry their strike to victory. This bold stand has thrown a kink in Chrysler's plans to eliminate job classifications throughout their factory system. By fighting to restore the lost job classifications, and by defying Chrysler's plant-closing blackmail, the St. Louis workers are showing that there is no need to bow down to the billionaires. The workers can defend their jobs by taking matters into their own hands and organizing mass struggle against the capitalist exploiters. Hurray for the St. Louis workers! All out to support their strike!

[Photo: Striking workers from Chrysler's No. 2 plant in St. Louis encourage No. 1 plant workers to join them.]

Fight for job security at Jefferson Assembly

The national strike of the Chrysler workers blocked a sweeping, system-wide elimination of job classifications But the Chrysler billionaires are still determined to carry out drastic cuts. They got the top leadership of the UAW to agree, in the national contract, to implement the wholesale reduction of job classifications on a plant-by-plant basis. A test of this sellout agreement is coming up at the Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant.

Chrysler wants a local contract at Jefferson based on the "model" of the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and the St. Louis Plant 2. The company is demanding that the current 85 job classifications be slashed down to only 8. Such a cut would mean the elimination of a large number of jobs and increased overwork and harassment for those workers left in the plant.

But Jefferson workers are opposed to any cuts in job classifications and are demanding that Chrysler provide job security. The local contract must specifically outlaw the company from any tampering with the work rules or job classifications. As well, the agreement must guarantee all existing jobs and it must bring back the laid-off workers.

Jefferson workers, another battle is before us. With the early wildcat, we helped to create a tone of bold defiance in the national contract strike which temporarily beat back many of the most outrageous concessions demanded by Chrysler. Now Jefferson workers are being called upon to set another militant example -- an example of determined struggle for job security. Get ready for a fight over the local contract! No to cuts in job classifications!

A Wolf in sheep's clothing

(The following article is taken from a leaflet issued by the Detroit Branch of the MLP on November 9, 1985.)

Wolf Lawrence, president of the UAW local at Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant, has been feeling the heat from the struggle of the rank and file. Recently Wolf claimed that he wants "no part of the classification agreement that the UAW and Chrysler are talking about...even if the plant is closing."

These are fine words, but where has Wolf been while Chrysler has combined jobs and job classifications piece-by-piece at Jefferson for the last year?

Chrysler has eliminated 14 inspector jobs on the panel line, steering columns, and the electronic huntsville check in final assembly alone by combining inspector jobs, and by combining job classifications (in steering columns the assemblers are forced to do inspection under the threat of disciplinary write-ups). Similarly, material handlers, stock chasers and hi-lo drivers' jobs are being combined causing further job loss and overwork. As well, other schemes to eliminate janitors and make assemblers clean their own areas are slowly being put into place.

Yet through it all, Lawrence has not lifted a finger against Chrysler. Indeed, at the August local union meeting, Lawrence let the cat out of the bag, saying "I won't lie to you. Some job classifications will be eliminated. Some are ancient and outdated, thirty to forty years old."

It's as plain as the nose on your face that, far from opposing the classification agreements of the top UAW leadership and Chrysler, Lawrence has been going along with them. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf. And a sellout union bureaucrat, no matter his fine "militant" words, can still not be trusted.

The only way to defend job classifications and to fight for real job security, is for the rank and file to organize itself independently of the UAW bureaucrats. Get organized to defend job classifications! Prepare for mass struggle to win job security!

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Death to Apartheid!


South Africa

New advances in the struggle of the oppressed

The struggle against the racist South African rulers rages on and the bullets and jails of the racists cannot stop it. Each new outrage of the apartheid system leads to bolder and bolder action by the long-suffering black masses and other oppressed people all across the country. This situation has again been clearly shown by the events of the last two months.

Struggle Spills Into the White Areas

An important new feature of the struggle is that it has begun to spill into the white residential areas and commercial districts of the major white cities. Thus, even the formerly "untouchable" strongholds of white supremacist rule are feeling the wrath of the downtrodden.

On October 18, hundreds of black people poured into the streets of Johannesburg to protest the coldblooded execution by the Botha regime of anti-apartheid activist Benjamin Moloise. When civilian racists attempted to disrupt a memorial service in the city, the blacks militantly fought back, punishing a number of them. Moreover, the black people fiercely battled the white police sent to suppress them. Two white officers were stabbed and there were reports that the masses fired back in response to police gunfire.

Just six days later, the commercial district of Cape Town was the scene of another defiant action. A group of black women protesters gathered on a main shopping street demanding the removal of government troops from the segregated black and mixed-race townships. They were supported by hundreds of black and mixed-race workers and shoppers in the area. When the protesters ignored an arrogant police order to disperse, the cops opened up on them and bystanders with water cannons containing purple dye to identify and later arrest demonstrators. The brutish, racist police followed this by rampaging through the streets, whipping and arresting black youths and news reporters at random.

Cape Town Remains a Center of Revolt

The protests in the white areas are part and parcel of the ongoing upsurge that has continued to be centered in the black and mixed-race townships. The townships around Cape Town, for example, have been seething with revolt for the last three months. In the beginning of October, mixed-race students fought the police with stones and gasoline bombs at two high schools. In mid-October student youth smashed the windows of businesses in the white suburb of Wynberg in response to the police tear-gassing of a meeting of 1,000 students at a mixed-race school.

The struggle in the Cape Town area intensified after police hiding in crates in an ordinary-looking truck opened fire on unarmed youth in the mixed-race township of Athlone. In this atrocity, three teenagers were murdered. The masses of Athlone replied with three days of rebellion including a funeral protest by 10,000 residents. Meanwhile hundreds of blacks stormed into the white Cape Town suburb of Woodstock, damaging the businesses of the white racists. And clashes broke out in the black township of Langa as well.

Clashes in Other Areas

The Cape Town townships were not the only areas of powerful revolt. Major actions occurred in Queenstown in the eastern Cape province in mid-November, with police killing 14 protesters. In the black township of Mamelodi, near Pretoria, 50,000 people (one-third of the entire township) attended a demonstration against a rent hike. This protest, which capped five days of protest, was viciously attacked by the racist police who opened fire on the protesters, killing at least six, including three elderly women. Hundreds more were injured.

As the racist authorities have stepped up their butchering of the people, in a few instances the oppressed have begun to defend themselves with arms. In late October two officers were hit with gunfire in a black township near Beaufort West in the Cape. In the Athlone township revolts near Cape Town, police have been fired on six times. Such incidents reflect the growing militancy of the masses who increasingly realize that they will never rid themselves of racist tyranny through peaceful means.

Hospital Workers Strike

In mid-November a major strike broke out among the black workers and nurses at the huge Baragwanath Hospital in the black township of Soweto outside Johannesburg. The strikers, who make a mere $56-68 monthly, demanded a substantial wage hike.

The police, as the agents of exploitation and oppression that they are, immediately arrested 718 strikers. Then, a few days later it was reported that 1,800 workers were fired. But later a South African court, afraid of the prospect of mass sympathy action by other black workers, ordered the reinstatement of the 1,800 workers.

Support the Revolutionary Struggle in South Africa

There are no limits to the brutal measures of the Botha regime in its attempt to crush the anti-apartheid struggle. But recent events again confirm that no amount of repression can stop the oppressed masses when they are determined to be free. The masses are taking more and more to revolutionary methods of struggle.

American workers and progressive people! We must stand by the oppressed people of South Africa. Let us work to build up a powerful movement in support of the revolutionary overthrow of apartheid slavery!

[Photo: Inhabitants of Athlone, in Cape Town, turn over a van during a street protest.]

[Photo: Hospital workers on strike in Soweto.]

New press curbs:

Apartheid regime wants to kill in secret

On November 2, the South African government announced new curbs on press coverage of the anti-apartheid struggle. These police-state measures ban television, radio and photo coverage of the mass rebellion in districts under the "state of emergency" decrees. Only newspaper and magazine journalists approved by the government will be allowed into areas of revolt, and they must agree to a police escort and to obey all police instructions. The police can arbitrarily forbid even government-approved journalists from covering an event. The punishment for not following these laws is as much as ten years imprisonment or a fine of $8,000.

Even before these measures, the South African racists exercised police-state control over the press. Reporters were commonly detained or beaten while covering mass revolts and police brutality. And numerous restrictive measures were already on the books. On November 8, for example, the government brought charges against the editor of the Cape Times, an ordinary bourgeois newspaper of the ruling white racists. His crime was publishing an interview with ANC leader Oliver Tambo; this violated a law forbidding the press to quote persons officially declared non people ("banned" in the terminology of the South African police state) by the government. Moreover, the July "state of emergency" measures give the authorities the right to impose complete press censorship if they so choose.

The reason for the suppression of press coverage is obvious to any honest person. It wants to slaughter the black masses in secret. The racist Botha regime does not want the world to see its forces shooting and whipping the unarmed black and other oppressed masses. It wants to hide the segregation and rotten conditions the oppressed are forced to endure. And it wants to hush up the news of the powerful struggle against the racist system. In short, the regime feels that any reporting of the situation in South Africa, even by the pliable and sympathetic press of the Western imperialists, threatens to discredit it.

To cover over their brutality, the racists have sought to justify their press censorship with the flimsy lie that the press has been inciting the rebellion of the masses by being present during the revolts. Oh no, cry the racists, the black people are not rebelling against apartheid slavery. They are merely actors auditioning for the mass media!

As "proof" of this nonsense, the South African authorities quoted a letter that appeared in a newspaper whose author claimed to have witnessed television crews inciting schoolchildren to riot for the cameras. But even investigation by The Sunday Star of Johannesburg, an ordinary paper of the ruling white bourgeoisie, showed that the letter's author didn't exist and that the whole letter was a hoax. The incident thus further proved that the apartheid racists will resort to any lie to cover up the situation in South Africa.

The response of the U.S. imperialist media to the new restrictions has been one of cringing servility to the racist lords. Some of the TV newsmen, with a straight face, solemnly discussed whether the Botha regime was correct in blaming the mass rebellions on TV coverage. And they have agreed to go along with these measures, while addressing a few cringing notes to Botha in which they ask this racist and hangman to pretty please live up to his "democratic ideals."

The capitalist media beats its breast about how "free" it is, but in practice proves over and over to be nothing but flunkeys who bow down not only before the U.S. bourgeoisie but before racists and right-wing murderers around the world.

Racists extend 'state of emergency'

On October 25, the chief of the South African racists, P. W. Botha, announced an extension of the "state of emergency" measures to the Cape Town area and seven other districts. The "state of emergency" marks the stepping up of the regime's efforts to drown the struggle against apartheid in blood. It has been in effect since July 21 in many of the hotbeds of revolt.

The "state of emergency" legalized the police-state methods long used in South Africa and gave a green light for even more savage repression. Among other things the measures free the police and military from any liability for their action in suppressing the black and other oppressed peoples, and grant them powers to detain anyone without charges, search premises at will, seal off black and mixed-race townships and intensify press censorship. Under the "emergency" the racist authorities have committed one atrocity after another. In just one week in November, for example, about 52 blacks were gunned down by the racist forces.

Indeed, while Botha was declaring the extension, police rounded up 78 more anti-apartheid activists in the Western Cape, adding them to the thousands already detained under the "emergency." And the regime followed this up by banning meetings in the Cape Town area of the reformist United Democratic Front and 100 affiliated organizations. The cruel repression is such that the authorities even tear- gassed the Soweto home of the mother of Benjamin Moloise as mourners gathered in a vigil before the execution of Moloise for opposing apartheid.

The "state of emergency" poses a serious obstacle to the liberation struggle. But the extension of the "emergency" also shows the total inability of the racist government to stop the rebellion. The areas around Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape, which were covered by the original emergency' decree in July, remain centers of struggle. And other areas like Cape Town have been set ablaze with struggle since the measures went into effect. The Botha regime's extension of the "emergency" is in reality an admission that the racists are increasingly unable to keep a lid on the masses who are smashing past the fascist restrictions.

The extension of the "state of emergency" also further demonstrates that Botha's talk of "reform" is a paper- thin fraud designed to hide the fascist atrocities of apartheid. It shows that the racist rulers will never voluntarily abandon apartheid but must be swept away by the revolution of the oppressed.

[Photo: Black youths demonstrate at a funeral in Duncan Village, near East London in South Africa.]

Anti-apartheid students in the U.S. under attack

The capitalist authorities are continuing their efforts to crack down on the anti-apartheid movement. The repression during the last few months has centered on the progressive students.

At the University of Illinois

On October 13, the combined police forces of the city of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago arrested five anti-apartheid activists at their homes. Their "crime" was to participate in a protest during a public meeting of the university board of trustees on October 10 to demand that the school divest its $21 million in holdings in companies doing business with racist South Africa. No arrests took place at the meeting, but this was simply a ruse by the police and the university authorities, who wanted to carry out arrests later behind the back of the student body. This marked a further stage in their scheming against the solidarity movement.

The anti-apartheid activists were charged with "interference with a public institution of higher education." This arbitrary catchall law was passed during 1969 to help stifle the powerful movement against the war in Viet Nam which swept across the college campuses.

At Stanford

Meanwhile, at Stanford University in California harsh police actions were also used against anti-apartheid protesters. Campus police arrested nine people during a sit-in following a divestment rally on October 11. The police used "pain compliance" holds when removing the activists and they videotaped the protesters as well. The only black student participating in the sit-in was singled out for special attack. He was beaten by police, forcibly strip-searched and taken to jail with his hands and feet bound.

The Stanford students have not taken this repression lying down. Thirty-nine students have been arrested in actions denouncing the police repression and several hundred participated in a rally demanding that all charges against the protesters be dropped, that the police involved in the repression be fired and that the university pay the medical expenses of the black student worked over by the cops.

U.S. Bourgeoisie Sheds Tears About Apartheid -- While Throwing the Anti-Apartheid Activists in Jail

These and other cases of repression against the activists illustrate the utter hypocrisy of the claims of the U.S. bourgeoisie -- whether liberal or conservative -- that they are opposed to apartheid in South Africa. The U.S. imperialists beat their breast that they are the real force for change in South Africa, but when anti-apartheid activists in the U.S. organize a militant solidarity movement, they are met with an entire repressive apparatus leaping into action. The university administrations, the courts and police collaborate to squelch the mass actions. The solidarity movement faces not only the apartheid rulers in South Africa, but the resistance of the racist ruling class in the U.S. as well.

At MIT, rightists split the anti-apartheid movement

[The Student masthead.]

(The following article is reprinted from the October 9, 1985 issue of The Student a newspaper published by progressive students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.)

The last year, especially since last spring, has seen the steady growth of the anti-apartheid movement. The university campuses have become a center of the movement with activists carrying out demonstrations, sit-ins and building takeovers. The demonstrations have demanded that the universities immediately divest from the U.S. multinational corporations who are supporting the racist government of South Africa as they reap huge profits from apartheid slave labor.

But right from the beginning there has been a vigorous debate over how to carry forward the fight against apartheid, and it can be generally stated that there are two broad trends representing different orientations for the movement in the U.S. We believe that the recent split in the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid reflects the struggle between these trends. One orientation holds that the aim of the movement is to persuade the college administrations, the corporate boards, and the Congress and Reagan himself to "take a stand against apartheid." To achieve this aim, dialogue, so-called reasonable debate and lobbying are the preferred methods. The other trend supports the black peoples' struggle against the apartheid regime and wants to develop the mass struggle here in the U.S. against the reactionary administrations, the capitalists and their political parties. Here in Boston this trend has not only organized actions on the campuses, but has taken the anti-apartheid movement to the working masses with leaflets and with the militant street demonstrations of April 3, August 8 and September 12.

However, this fall there is a concerted effort to bolster the rightist trend. Suddenly the university administrations and the Democrats are "born- again" anti-apartheid fighters. The university administrations are sponsoring educational forums and offering money to the activists. But this money is not without strings attached: the movement must give up its militancy and channel the activists into a "respectable" movement that acts as allies and stockbrokers of the universities.

The universities are working overtime to draw the activists into their reformist schemes. At Tufts University, the student government, with the backing of the administration, invited the Democratic Party onto the campus to push for the Democratic sanctions now in Congress. These bogus sanctions do not address even the most basic inequities of apartheid, much less calling for majority rule, ending the pass laws or ending the forced settlement into the "homelands."

The fascist Silber and the Boston University Student Union are collaborating on a series of speakers on apartheid.... At Harvard University the administration is handing out one million dollars to "finance anti-apartheid activities," i.e., to tie the anti-apartheid movement to Harvard's purse strings.

Here at MIT the administration is also sponsoring a series of talks on South Africa. Over the summer the administration approached the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid in its effort to draw the activists into a dialogue on apartheid. Within the coalition this was the cause of much debate. The right was very excited by this overture from the Dean's office and felt that the MIT corporation was being influenced. The left, including The Student, was suspicious of the administration and insisted on pushing forward the mass struggle including the August 8 street protest against the imposition of martial law in South Africa. The debate between the right and the left intensified as a city-wide coalition of activists began to organize for September 12. The question of divestment was central here. The Student argued that the movement should stand for open support of the black peoples' revolutionary struggle in South Africa and oppose the U.S. government as a defender of apartheid. We hold that the fight for divestment must be organized as a way of supporting the peoples' struggle by causing the flight of capital from South Africa, thereby assisting the destabilization of the apartheid regime.

The rightists argued for limiting the struggle to divestment as an end in itself, apparently in order to keep the lofty reputation of MIT from being sullied. They maintained that the movement should be little more than left- liberal stock portfolio advisors, schooling the MIT corporation in "socially responsible" investments. A number of the rightists boycotted the September 12 demonstration and formally split from the coalition afterward over the question of whether to support the peoples' struggle in South Africa. This quite popular slogan was adopted by the coalition last spring and was no longer acceptable to the rightists, who have now formed the MIT Committee for Divestment.

The Student works in coalitions to strengthen the mass struggle. However, the political split in the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid and in the movement in general shows the vital necessity of the revolutionary activists to maintain our own independent organization and press. It is essential that support for the people's mass struggle always be advocated by the movement, even if the rightists attempt boycotts or suppression of revolutionary views. The Student continues to mobilize the fight against apartheid, and we call on all progressive activists to join the October 11 actions.

Anti-apartheid students at Tufts demand: 'Divest Now!'

(Below are excerpts from the November 20 leaflet of the Boston Branch of the MLP that called for attending an anti-apartheid demonstration at Tufts University. At this demonstration 150 students marched on the administration building, intending to march through it. Police blocked their way, whereupon the students refused to let anyone out of the administration building. After a one-hour standoff, the administration gave way and the protesters carried out their march through the building.)

On November 9, the Tufts Board of Trustees voted to keep their investments in companies that do business in racist South Africa. With investments of $6 to $7 million in companies doing business in South would not have been difficult at all for Tufts to divest. And yet the trustees and the administration stubbornly refused to meet the students' demand for immediate divestment as a show of solidarity with the struggle of the black masses and as an expression of revulsion at the profiteering of American capitalists off the nearly slave labor of black workers in South Africa. Not only has the administration refused to divest, but Mayer (President) has vowed to use harsh measures against any serious student protest at Tufts. The Tufts administration is standing firmly with Reagan and the rest of the imperialist ruling class in the policy of helping maintain the oppression and super-exploitation of the black majority in apartheid South Africa.

At the same time Mayer is trying to put a good face on his love for apartheid. In his statement in the "Report to the Community on South African investments,'' September 17, he declares that he is against apartheid. But every argument he makes confirms his diehard racist position. He lauds the Sullivan principles as the way to get rid of apartheid. But the U.S. corporations that follow the Sullivan principles are using them to whitewash their complicity with apartheid. As well, these corporations are trying to create a bought-off strata of black managers inside South Africa. By putting a few black faces in high places, they hope to mislead the black workers and youth away from the path of revolution, leaving the system of apartheid intact.

Mayer insists that without training by the U.S. corporations, the black South Africans would be unable to govern themselves. What racist filth! This is what every colonialist and imperialist has said for the last 500 years. Mayer points to the poverty and repression in black-ruled Africa as the immediate alternative to apartheid.

What he neglects to mention is that the black rulers were educated at Harvard, Yale, Oxford, and Tufts and nurtured as capitalists who would keep their countries tied to the imperialist powers. Of course this neo-colonial system has brought nothing but famine and war to the black masses. Imperialism is responsible for the devastation of Africa and Mayer's friends in Pretoria play a major role in enforcing this neo-colonialism throughout southern Africa. To support the liberation of the black people of South Africa and its neighbors, we must support the revolution against apartheid, against the capitalist system which set it up, and against the stranglehold of imperialism. We must demand that U.S. imperialism get out of South Africa totally.

The demand for immediate divestment of university funds is a concrete act of solidarity. This is why president Mayer has vowed to crush any militant protest that may force Tufts to divest. He ends his September 17 statement with the threat that demonstrations or actions "cannot be exercised on sites, at hours and in a manner which disrupt the functioning of the university." What he will "tolerate" is "forums where all our community, students, faculty, administrative staff, alumni and friends can discuss the issues intelligently and rationally and try to convince each other of the superiority of their particular point of view as part of our ongoing educational experience." What this means is "You can reason with us 'til you are blue in the face but we who have the money and power will do what we want. And if you organize any real protest, we'll expel you."

In The Tufts Observer of November 8, the chairman of the trustees, Allan Callow, chastised the anti-apartheid activists to "go to Roxbury" if they want to fight racism. But you don't have to go to Roxbury to find racism, Mr. Callow. It is right here in the "civilized academic community" of Tufts. The number of black students graduating from Tufts has plummeted 55% in the last seven years, from 84 to 38! When Reagan recently reported that some "Whites Only" signs had been taken down in South Africa, he forgot to mention that a good number of them had been shipped to Medford [i.e., Tufts].

The Tufts administration is dutifully carrying out the policies of Reagan and U.S. imperialism, but with a slightly liberal mask. The recent increase in anti-apartheid posturing and real steps of repression show that these racists are running scared....By using liberal deception and tougher rules against demonstrations, university administrations around the country are trying to liquidate the anti-apartheid, anti-racist, and anti-imperialist student movement. They are especially afraid that the student movement will unleash the deep hatred of Reaganism that is brewing among millions of workers and youth.

Support the revolution against apartheid -- Tufts divest now!

No to the resegregation of Tufts! Fight the racist Tufts administration!

Nationwide protests against apartheid in October

[Photo: A scene from the militant march organized by the MLP through the streets of Boston on October 19. The demonstration declared its solidarity with the revolutionary struggle in South Africa and called for building the struggle here at home against the racist offensive.]

[Photo: Demonstrators at the University of Buffalo condemn apartheid in South Africa, October 11.]

In the first part of October, demonstrations and rallies were organized across the U.S. to protest South African apartheid and U.S. government and corporate support for the racist regime. Student actions were held on many campuses on October 11. Protests were also organized at offices of U.S. corporations such as General Motors, IBM, etc., which are big investors in racist white minority rule.

The MLP,USA threw itself into this nationwide campaign. It put out a special issue of The Workers' Advocate. It boldly declared Apartheid No! Revolution Yes! Support the struggle of the black people in South Africa!

The MLP also called for advancing the fight against racism here in the U.S. and targeted the Reaganite racist drive currently taking place. The newspaper and leaflets of the MLP were widely distributed at anti-apartheid events and in factories, schools and neighborhoods. The Party organized a militant demonstration and rally in Boston, as well as rallies in Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle.

WWP on the ANC of S. Africa

Defending reformism with lies

Among the opportunist forces in the anti-apartheid movement is the reformist "Workers World Party." Their basic role in the movement is to lend a militant cover to the bankrupt Democratic Party liberals and their allies, including the trade union bureaucrats and the black reformists. The November 7 issue of their newspaper, Workers' World, is typical. It promotes as great anti-apartheid heroes the likes of Representative John Conyers, Newark Mayor Gibson, the sellout Owen Bieber (president of the UAW), and Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.

And what is the actual stand of these liberals? Again and again they have spelled out their opposition to revolution in South Africa. They want to see the fighting masses diverted from revolutionary struggle and drawn into the game of negotiating with the racists over minor reforms. Meanwhile they seek to reduce the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. to a lobbying group for the empty symbolic sanctions pushed by the liberal congressmen.

But this does not bother the WWP in the least. Instead of telling the masses the truth about the liberals, they seek to mask belly-crawling before the liberals with a lot of "revolutionary" posturing. And they don't just hide the difference between liberalism and revolution in the U.S., but they seek to hide the difference between liberalism and revolution in South Africa. In particular, they glorify the stands of the African National Congress of South Africa because the ANC too has the stand of supporting liberalism and reformism in both South Africa and the U.S.

In order to give effective support to the revolution in South Africa, it is necessary to take a serious attitude to the different class forces and different political trends in the liberation movement. This is a matter of concern to every conscious activist in the solidarity movement in the U.S. We must denounce the repression directed by the South African racist regime against all opponents of the regime, from mild critics to real revolutionaries. And our Party firmly salutes all those militants, whether they have clear views or not, that fight valiantly against the racist tyrants. But it is precisely to render real support to the fighting masses that it is necessary to sort out the political trends and distinguish the revolutionary aspirations of the masses from the strategy of liberalism and reformism.

The WWP Lies About the ANC

The WWP opposes clarity about the situation in South Africa by simply hiding the real stands of the ANC. The ANC is fond of issuing one revolutionary-sounding statement after another to the masses, and undoubtedly most of its support among the masses is due to the impression that it stands for revolution. But the ANC also repeatedly vows its loyalty to the goal of unity with the liberals and reformists and repeatedly leaves the door open to negotiations; indeed, it has already started these negotiations with such liberal exploiters as the big mine owners in South Africa, who break strikes of the African miners on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and take Sunday off to go abroad to negotiate with Oliver Tambo. There is a big gap between ANC's words and deeds.

The WWP misleads its readers by reporting on ANC's revolutionary phrases, while leaving out any mention of ANC's repeated statements of its essentially reformist strategy, to say nothing of its reformist deeds.

For example, the WWP tried to portray imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela as an advocate of firm, revolutionary views. To this end they reprint sections of a Mandela speech where he states that the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe "was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle,'' etc. (Workers' World, October 17, 1985, p. 7) In this speech Mandela goes on to quote from the December 16, 1961 manifesto announcing the formation of the ANC's armed wing "Umkhonto we Sizwe."

We are against the outrageous persecution of Mandela by the government, and we think that all political prisoners in South Africa should be freed. But the WWP is harming the struggle when it "forgets" to mention that this very manifesto endorsed by Mandela states that this "armed struggle" hoped to "achieve liberation without bloodshed and civil clash" because it would "bring the government and its supporters to its senses." The WWP covers up the sorry part played by the "Umkhonto we Sizwe" in practice, and its reformist strategy, and this is no service to the many South African masses who put their lives on the line when they engage in struggle, including those "Umkhonto we Sizwe" activists who truly want revolution.

Similarly the WWP likes to create the impression that the ANC is for a revolutionary nationalization which expropriates the capitalists in South Africa when in fact the top ANC leaders, like Oliver Tambo, have repeatedly declared that "there will be plenty of room for private enterprise" if the ANC' has its way in South Africa. (For example, see Newsweek, September 16, 1985, p. 27) And the WWP pretends that the ANC is not interested in an accommodation with the racists through negotiations when the truth is that the ANC has repeatedly expressed its wish that "the mechanisms for an immediate change to majority rule" can be set up through negotiations with the racists. (Ibid.)

And no amount of trickery can prove the WWP's assertion that the ANC is a "vanguard revolutionary organization" (Workers World, November 7, 1985, p. 3). The truth is that the ANC has an essentially reformist strategy. While the ANC is quick to claim credit for every revolutionary deed in South Africa and to issue tons of revolutionary phrases to the masses, it is just as quick to direct its main work towards merging with the liberals and reformists. (See The Workers' Advocate, Vol. 15, no. 9, September 1, 1985 for a fuller analysis of the views of the ANC.)

The ANC Is Not for Arming the Masses

The reformist perspective of the ANC was graphically shown in a recent article in an interview in that Bible of opportunism, the Guardian. Here the ANC's foreign affairs director, Mfanafuthi Makatini, reveals that the ANC does not want to arm the militant masses who have been fiercely battling the racists with homemade weapons. Yes, Makatini says there are material difficulties in arming the masses, but he immediately adds:

"The degree of popular anger is so high that if you armed the people indiscriminately and they took to the streets to avenge months of daily repression you would no longer be in control -- you would create a Frankenstein, because until our movement is unbanned, we will not have all the facilities for sufficient political education." (Guardian, October 9,1985, p. 14)

So here a responsible ANC spokesman admits without hesitation that the ANC does not arm the masses because "popular anger is so high"(!) that the people will take "to the streets" and seek revenge against the racists. Can one imagine a revolution without such a "popular anger"? Can one imagine why ANC set up an armed wing if its idea is not to arm the masses? Isn't this just a repetition of the "Umkhonto we Sizwe's" 1961 manifesto where it wants to wage an armed struggle "without bloodshed and civil clash"? -- only now it wants to wage it without the Frankenstein of a burning popular outrage. The ANC's armed wing occasionally carries out well publicized actions, but anyone who doesn't keep in mind ANC's strategy will continually expect this to lead in directions where the ANC leaders have no intention of going, and where it can't go so long as the rank- and-file activists don't get out of "control."

Makatini disdains the popular anger of the masses in favor of a dream world where the racist butchers legalize the ANC and give it permission to carry out "sufficient political education" so that the ANC can overthrow them in a proper fashion! My, my, How "civilized" must the racist butchers be compared to the "Frankenstein" monster, the revolutionary masses! Not surprisingly in the same interview, Makatini makes another plea for negotiations with the apartheid lords.

The ANC Backs the Liberals

Closely tied to the ANC's reformism and fear of the popular anger is the ANC's faith in the liberals in South Africa and the U.S. Makatini, for example, states that "we have the highest admiration for people like Sheena Duncan," a South African liberal who heads up the Black Sash organization. Makatini says this despite admitting in the same interview that Duncan recently supported some of racist boss P.W. Botha's phoney "reforms," calling them "the beginning of the end of apartheid." And he further confesses that white liberals like Duncan "want to rule the blacks" albeit "much more humanely."

The ANC Backs Kennedy

In the same interview, Makatini also goes all out in defense of Ted Kennedy, the shining knight of U.S. liberal imperialism. In January Kennedy traveled to South Africa to hobnob with Botha and prop up Bishop Desmond Tutu's efforts to squelch the fires of revolution in South Africa. But instead of condemning Kennedy's explicit goal of avoiding revolution or thinking about why Kennedy found it useful to support the same liberals that the ANC supports, Makatini condemns the protests that greeted Kennedy in South Africa. He wails that Kennedy was "hunted down" and makes the filthy charge that the protesters "were caught in the same trench as the enemy," the Botha regime. Such an outrageous statement illustrates just how far the "revolutionary" ANC will go to save its friendship with the liberals.

Since Makatini has raised the point, it will be useful for the activists to take this question seriously and consider who really would like to share the trench with the enemy. As to the protesters, they correctly condemned Kennedy as an enemy of the liberation struggle, whereas Botha's disagreement with Kennedy was over the best way to crush the liberation struggle. On the other hand, it is the liberal and reformist adherents of "power-sharing" with the racists who have openly made the goal of their struggle trench- sharing with the enemy and have denounced Botha for refusing this trench- sharing. Meanwhile the ANC leaders stand side-by-side with these liberals and reformists, including Western imperialist leaders like Kennedy, and have repeatedly expressed their desire for an essentially reformist outcome for the struggle.

There is no doubt that the ANC's persecution by the Botha regime and its image of being for the revolution is responsible for most of its popularity among the masses. But there is also no doubt that the strategy put forward by the ANC's leaders is anything but revolutionary. If such a strategy were to prevail, the masses will do the fighting and dying, but the heavy chains of their oppression will only be adjusted, not broken.

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


Death-squad elections in Guatemala

On December 8 there will be presidential run-off elections in Guatemala. The Reagan administration will duly certify that now there is a "civilian" government in Guatemala, while the death squads will continue killing and the workers and peasants will continue to suffer under the iron heel of the military. The recent mass struggles of the Guatemalan people (see accompanying article) show that the real way the Guatemalan toilers will achieve liberation is not through putting a democratic facade on the military, but through struggle and revolution.

One of the main reasons for the present election farce is that the Reagan administration has demanded it in order to put a good face on its stepped-up military and economic aid for the Guatemalan exploiters.

Official U.S. military aid to Guatemala was cut off in 1977 as U.S. imperialism tried to pretend that it had nothing to do with the wide-scale massacre of the peasants that was going on. Despite the big show of a cutoff in aid, as part of former President Carter's "human rights" policy, the U.S. government continued sending economic aid, including helicopters with the machine guns temporarily removed and other disguised military aid. The Reagan administration resumed official military aid to Guatemala after the staging of an election farce in 1984. Those elections didn't even pretend to determine the ruling regime but were part of an elaborate process to lead up to the present elections; the present military government came to power in a military coup in 1983, overthrowing the previous military government which also took power in a coup, etc.

The present election is to justify even more stepped-up aid, with Congress already having approved for 1986 $90.9 million in economic aid, $10.3 million in openly admitted military aid, and another $300,000 for military training.

The First Round of the Elections

The initial voting for the presidential, congressional and mayoral candidates took place on November 3 with the Center for Political Studies (supported by the Reagan administration's Caribbean Basin Initiative) organizing the voting drive. As well, the Reagan administration paid $1 million to finance printing the ballots. Due to the severe political repression, none of the parties contesting the election represents any basic change for Guatemala. The Christian Democratic candidate for president, who is the favorite to win, himself states that, should he win, "the door to democracy would hardly be open in Guatemala" and that he will not implement programs opposed by the military.

Meanwhile, the masses of people are forced to the polls through fear of reprisals. Failure to vote is illegal and marks one for fines and retaliation, while ID cards are marked at the polls. Nevertheless, both in the 1984 elections and on November 3 this year, over half of the eligible voters showed their contempt for the electoral fraud by either not showing up or casting blank or spoiled ballots.

The Guatemalan youth and working people are skeptical of Gen. Mejia Victores' offering of "democracy" and are entering the bourgeois election period in a rebellious mood. Strikes and street protests flared in August and September against the high cost of living, while over 50 trade unions declared that "elections mean nothing to us if our own salaries can't support us." As well, the guerrilla movement, although it was badly damaged by the government's mass murder campaigns in the countryside of the last three years, is beginning to regroup, and it denounced the "electoral farce" and called for revolution. These healthy developments in the face of the Reagan-sponsored repressive regime are a positive sign for the Guatemalan popular movement.

Rebound of the Guatemalan people's struggle

In mid-August and September the long pent-up anger of the Guatemalan masses found expression in a wave of struggle which extracted concessions from the murderous military government of General Oscar Mejia Victores.

On August 21, in a step to force the burden of the Guatemalan economic crisis further onto the backs of the poor and working people, the death squad government announced a 50% increase in Guatemala City bus fares, from 10¢ to 15¢. The fare hike, scheduled for September 1, closely followed a 50% rise in the price of gasoline and was simultaneous with an increase in milk and bread prices. The masses of Guatemala City, already suffering from the austerity- level wages enforced by police-state measures, from close to 50% unemployment and 60-90% inflation, as well as from years of IMF-imposed social welfare cuts and tax increases, could take no more, and they threw themselves into struggle.

The struggle began as protests against the bus fare hike. Between August 21 and 29, public employees in banking and electric power staged slowdowns while high school students boycotted school in order to engage in street demonstrations. On August 29 hundreds of students massed in front of the National Palace demanding to meet with government representatives. When refused, they launched protests in which ten buses were burned and property of store and gas station owners was destroyed.

This outbreak over bus fares produced the first large-scale street demonstrations in seven years and the first work stoppage in five years. It swept the long-stifled popular movements with a breath of fresh air.

The Scope of the Struggle Widens

The bus fare protest quickly spread to other sectors and grew into a general struggle against the high cost of living.

On September 2nd, 2,000 university students demonstrated in downtown Guatemala City. And from San Carlos, the national university, 3,000 students, armed with rocks and firebombs, marched on the National Palace. At the same time, the poverty-stricken masses on the outskirts of the capital banged pots and pans until midnight protesting the milk and bread price increases. Throughout the city, groups of protestors burned rubbish in the street and denounced the police.

The government used massive force against the people, sending hundreds of riot police to block the demonstrations and tear gas the neighborhoods. On September 3rd, 3,000 troops took over the streets and 500 invaded the autonomous national university for the first time in 15 years.

Concessions Are Promised

Facing continued unrest despite the army's crackdown, the military government announced a series of concessions. On September 4, General Mejia Victores rescinded the bus fare hike, promised price freezes on basic foods and wage increases for public workers, and urged the private sector to increase wages as well.

However, neither the government's repression nor its promise of concessions succeeded in stopping the mass struggle. On September 5 and 6 more protests broke out including a shutdown of the city's 22 marketplaces by the street vendors. The masses' demands grew to include immediate price reductions and wage increases as well as the release of the almost 2,000 people arrested during the struggle.

The government responded with more repression. But even though the two weeks of street protest in Guatemala City cost 12 lives and 100 people were wounded, more struggles unfolded during September, including a national teachers strike and a successful government ministry workers' strike. As well, after years of being repressed into silence, more than 25 unions have raised the demand for a 300% wage increase. These urban struggles, along with the comeback of the guerrilla movement in the countryside, show that the spirit of revolt has been rekindled across the country.

[Photo: In Guatemala City on October 30th, 150 relatives of the "disappeared" lock themselves into the Metropolitan Cathedral, refusing to leave until the government accounts for the missing.]

Daring raid by the Salvadoran guerrillas

On October 10 Salvadoran guerrillas launched a successful attack on the Duarte government's Armed Forces Military Instruction Center -- the U.S.- built national basic training center for recruits at La Union, which is staffed by 12 U.S. advisers.

In a surprise two-hour rocket and rifle attack before dawn, the guerrillas blew apart the barracks at the 2,000-man base and inflicted heavy casualties, dealing their most serious blow to the government forces this year.

After the raid, which they carried out with few losses, the guerrilla forces pledged to continue their activity in the eastern part of the country, saying "there will not be peace for our enemies."

The La Union victory comes amidst the escalating 'high-technology air war against the revolution by U.S. imperialism and the Duarte regime. The air massacres are one component of the new counterinsurgency offensive modeled after the U.S. programs in Viet Nam. It is aimed at isolating the guerrillas from the workers and peasants and "decapitating" the revolutionary movement. Thus the successful guerrilla assault at this time shows that, despite the difficult conditions of their struggle, the Salvadoran revolutionaries are continuing the fight and are able to mount damaging military actions against the government.

House Democrats vote for a 'humanitarian' war on Nicaragua

After a year of theatrics about how the $27 million in Congressional aid to the contras (approved July 31) must be for strictly "humanitarian," "non- lethal," "non-CIA" purposes, the Democratic-controlled House just passed a bill authorizing this money to be spent on aircraft, vehicles and radios for these counterrevolutionary assassins.

On November 19, the House approved almost unanimously (387-21) a 1986 intelligence authorization bill which spells out the Democrats', broad definition of "humanitarian" aid. Even Congressional sources admit that the new bill authorizes the $27 million to be spent on planes, helicopters, ambulances, trucks, etc. which will transport military equipment and troops.

Not only is all aid to the contras, whether "humanitarian" or openly military, aid for an anti-people cause, but now Congress is openly saying that it will provide these murderers with an expensive fleet of vehicles which will of course be used to ferry fighters and arms to and from battle, as well as to deploy weapons.

Congress has also specified that the aid could provide sophisticated radio equipment and CIA training to them, and clearly this is not for tuning in dance music. U.S. planes constantly violate Nicaraguan territory to gather intelligence to send back to the contras for use in planning their attacks. As well, radios are used to coordinate the movement of troops. The fancy radios are supposed to prevent the CIA-provided information and instructions from being overheard by Nicaraguan sources.

Clearly this "non-military" aid is not just for the contras' good health.

The November 19 bill still retains Congress' ridiculous disclaimer that U.S. officials cannot participate "in the planning or execution of military or paramilitary operations against Nicaragua." But the deep involvement of U.S. advisers, troops, the CLA, the National Security Council, and the president in the contra war has been demonstrated so many times over. (See "Contras Take Their Marching Orders From the White House" in the September 1,1985 issue of The Workers' Advocate).

Each day brings fresh proof that the liberal Democratic policy of "humanitarian''-only aid to the contras is just the same old Reaganite policy. It means financing the White House-directed war against Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists provide revolutionary orientation

3,000 workers demonstrate at the National Assembly

On October 15 there was a big workers' demonstration before the National Assembly in Managua. Much has been said about this protest and the events around it. The opportunist newspaper, The Guardian, one of the biggest fans of the Sandinista government in this country, cites this demonstration as proof of the need for repression against the Nicaraguan workers' movement and the revolutionary left. On the front page of the October 30 issue, The Guardian expands on the FSLN's lies about this workers' action, denouncing it as a reactionary plot by the allegedly "ultra-left" Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua in cahoots with the Socialist and Communist Parties (two pro-Soviet revisionist groups).

It is our good fortune, however, that such yellow journalism doesn't have a monopoly on sources of information about the important developments in Nicaragua. Our ties with the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly known as the Popular Action Movement/Marxist-Leninist, MAP-ML) give us the possibility to learn about these events from the standpoint of the class conscious Nicaraguan workers. This November, Comrade Isidro Tellez, general secretary of the MLPN, was in the U.S. and in discussions with the comrades of the MLP,USA he gave a detailed account of the complex class struggle gripping Nicaragua.

Below we have put together a report based on firsthand information from Comrade Tellez,.one of MLPN's delegates to the National Assembly who took part in the October 15 rally. This protest provides a good example of the role of the Marxist-Leninist workers in the class struggle. It shows how the MLPN is working to mobilize the discontented workers towards defending and deepening the revolution against the exploiters and imperialism. And it shows concretely how the Marxist-Leninists are fighting the reactionary alliance between the right-wing parties and the two revisionist parties (the Socialist and Communist Parties) inside the workers' movement.

Conflict Over the 13th Month

During the harsh epoch of the Somoza dictatorship, the workers fought for and won from the capitalists and end-of-the- year bonus of one month's pay, known as the 13th month. After the triumph of the revolution the FSLN called on the workers to make sacrifices in the face of economic difficulties. At first the FSLN proposed scrapping the bonus altogether, but this was questioned by the workers and the FSLN had to come up with a compromise. They divided the bonus into two parts with half going to the workers and half going to a special fund supposedly for the unemployed.

Now, six years later, economic conditions continue to grow worse. Doubts also grow among the workers about the FSLN's economic policy. On the one hand this policy gives priority to profit incentives to the capitalists and to making good on the debts to the international banks; and, on the other hand, it squeezes the working people with painful austerity measures, wage freezes and soaring prices.

In these conditions a debate broke out over the restoration of the 13th month, with the three main political forces putting forward different demands: the bourgeois/revisionist block proposed a bill to restore the bonus that would especially benefit the well-paid functionaries and professionals; the FSLN proposed restoring the bonus to almost no one; and the Marxist-Leninist workers proposed restoring the bonus to the workers, but not to the managers and the well-off strata.

The Bourgeois/Revisionist Bloc Proposes Big Bonuses for the Managers

The revisionist Socialist Party, joined by the right-wing parties, put forward the demand for full restoration of the 13th month. The SP proposal, which was actually submitted to the National Assembly by Democratic Conservatives, called for a full bonus of a month's salary for all categories of salaried employees, including the highest paid bureaucrats and professionals. This proposal would especially benefit the state functionaries, managers, engineers, etc., whose monthly salaries can be three or four times those of the workers, and these salaries are complemented by state-provided homes, cars, fuel, and access to state funds (i.e., widespread graft).

This joint effort by the Socialist Party and the Democratic Conservatives marked another step in the dirty alliance between the revisionists and the bourgeois opposition. Over the last period of time, the SP and CP revisionists have slid even deeper into revisionist treachery. They have gone over to the reactionary campaign of the right-wing parties and groups in demanding a "fuller pluralism," yet more rights and privileges for the bourgeoisie and reaction, and even a "national dialogue" with the CIA's contras. With their proposal for bonuses for one and all, the rightist/revisionist bloc hoped to find a cheap way to gain popular support among the discontented workers.

Two days before the debate on the bonus in the National Assembly, one of the SP leaders tried to capture publicity by launching a hunger strike. This was the first time since the revolution that the SP revisionists had come out so openly against the FSLN. The scribblers for The Guardian, in their zeal to smear the revolutionary left, portray this publicity stunt of the SP as an act of the "ultra left." But there is very little "leftism" in the reformist old fogeys of the SP, who for the last half century have been the political slaves of the bourgeois parties. During the epoch of Somoza they cowered under the skirts of the Conservative Party opposition; and now under the Sandinistas they have once again sought political refuge among the Conservatives and the rest of the bourgeois scum. The SP didn't come out against the FSLN from the "left." They came out from the right -- arm-in-arm with the capitalist reactionaries.

The FSLN Maneuvers Against Restoring the Bonus for the Workers

The FSLN replied with its own proposal on the 13th month. Posing as the champions of the poor, the Sandinistas promised to restore the bonus only to workers at the lowest wage scales. However, in fact, this turned out to be little more than a maneuver to deprive most workers of their bonus. The FSLN proposed that the full bonus would only go to those earning less than 12,700 cordobas a month (less than $20 U.S.), even though the great majority of actual workers earn more than this. As well, the lowest paid workers frequently must work overtime and Sundays to make ends meet, which would even put many minimum wage workers above the ceiling for the bonus.

The MLPN Fights for Relief for the Workers, But not for the Managers

The MLPN rejected both the SP's and the FSLN's proposals. It called for placing the ceiling at 21,000 cordobas a month ($30 U.S.), which would restore the 13th month for most workers in the production and service sectors. At the same time it proposed withdrawing the bonus from the managers and others earning more than this ceiling.

The Marxist-Leninists also called for transforming the fund for the unemployed. Presently this fund is for the unemployed only in name. Mainly it is used for building roads for coffee farms (60% of which are owned by private capitalists) and for loans for private enterprises. The MLPN demanded that these funds be taken from the exploiters and put towards the tasks of military defense.

The proposal of the MLPN addressed a real grievance of the workers. And it carefully directed this grievance towards struggle against the exploiters and the bureaucracy and towards the defense of the revolution. In this way the Marxist-Leninists were able to take the issue of the 13th month out of the hands of the capitalist/revisionist alliance.

3,000 Workers Before the National Assembly

A reactionary coalition came together to lobby for the 13th month. It included the revisionist SP and CP, and their respective trade union centers, the CGT(i) and CAUS. They were joined by the bourgeois parties and the right-wing trade unions, CUS and CTN, both of which enjoy the support of the AFL- CIO and the CIA. The capitalists' association (COSEP, the Superior Council of Private Enterprise) also gave its blessing, issuing a communique in favor of restoring the 13th month as an alleged "religious tradition" of the people.

Together the revisionist and the pro-U.S. union chiefs (the CGT[i], CAUS, CUS and CTN) called for a workers' rally before the National Assembly on the day of the debate on the 13th month bonus. The Marxist-Leninists and their union center, FO, also called on the workers to come and fight for their platform. The FO shut down two major construction sites to bring the workers to the rally. Despite the attempts to intimidate the workers with a show of police might, some 3,000 workers converged on the National Assembly. Most of these were construction workers along with workers from the plants. (It should be noted that for the most part construction workers in Nicaragua are ordinary impoverished laborers. Historically they have been an important and militant section of the proletariat, waging many heroic struggles against the Somoza tyranny.)

As it turned out, the revisionist and right-wing trade union leaders never showed their face at the rally. The revisionist representatives to the Assembly stayed safely inside with their right- wing buddies. Edgar Garcia, an Assembly delegate and leader of the FSLN's peasant union (ATC), came out of the Assembly to give a pitch for the FSLN's proposal only to be shouted down by the workers.

Meanwhile, with their militant work and clear arguments, the MLPN and FO were able to take effective leadership of the protest. The delegates of the MLPN in the assembly repeatedly came out to meet with the workers, exposing the class nature of the proposals of the SP and the FSLN. The demonstration lasted from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., allowing the Marxist-Leninists to hold meetings of the workers and win their sympathy.

After the workers had dispersed, the FSLN pushed its plan through the National Assembly. Nonetheless, a number of things were accomplished with the rally. The attempts of the revisionists and rightists to exploit the demand for the 13th month were set back. The prestige of the revolutionary left was strengthened. And the rally helped to revive the spirit among the workers of taking mass action to struggle for their own class interests. In fact, it looked like the rally would have been the beginning of a new upsurge in the strike movement if the workers had not been confronted with a state of emergency decreed by the FSLN that very same afternoon.

Repression Against the Workers

While the workers demonstrated before the national assembly, Daniel Ortega and his cabinet were half a block away in the presidential offices preparing to reimpose emergency laws. At 6:30 p.m. they announced a new ban on strikes, public assembly and other rights.

The Guardian cites the rally at the National Assembly as an example of "what the Sandinistas were afraid of" when they declared the emergency "to suppress the agitation from the left and the right." (October 30, 1985) In fact, the brunt of the repression, just like during the emergency laws of 1982-84, will be borne by the revolutionary left and the workers' movement. Soon after the emergency decree, Isidro Tellez and other workers of the MLPN were rounded up by the Sandinista police and brought to the Chipote prison. The workers were released after several hours. But the message was clear enough: the Marxist-Leninists would be brought back to their "home" at the Chipote prison whenever the FSLN sees fit. Jailing revolutionary workers, however, doesn't bother the right opportunist boosters of the FSLN in the slightest. As the October 30 "Guardian Viewpoint" puts it, restricting the left is necessary to maintain "the delicate working arrangement that has been achieved with certain patriotic business owners." In other words, banning strikes and cracking down on the revolutionary workers is just a necessary part of the FSLN's program of class compromise with the so-called "patriotic" exploiters.

But all of the FSLN's efforts cannot eliminate the class struggle. With U.S. imperialism behind them, the big exploiters, "patriotic" or otherwise, are bound to grow more aggressive. The workers and poor peasants are also bound to rise in new struggles against these capitalists and landlords and for their own class interests.

Let the reformists and opportunists dream on about a petty-bourgeois utopia of Sandinista class harmony. And let all those who truly sympathize with the Nicaraguan revolution come to the support of the revolutionary workers and poor peasants and their Marxist-Leninist Party. These are the forces that can break the capitalist Trojan horse of the U.S. intervention on the path of the proletarian revolution.

Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

The Nicaraguan working people need our help against U.S. imperialist aggression. The MLP is organizing material aid through the Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press. In defiance of Reagan's blockade, the Campaign is sending much needed printing materials and supplies to assist MAP/ML and its Workers Front trade union center to build the workers' press. Send letters of support and contributions to: [Address.]

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Comrade Isidro Tellez addresses meetings in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco

Between November 9 and 17, the MLP,USA organized meetings in New York, Chicago and San Francisco in solidarity with the Nicaraguan workers and peasants in the face of the criminal aggression of "our" imperialist government. And Comrade Isidro Tellez, secretary general of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, was the featured speaker.

These meetings were quite unlike the usual fare dished out at many events to protest U.S. policy in Central America. The platform wasn't handed over to Democratic Party politicians selling their "peaceful alternatives for preserving American (imperialist) interests." Nor was it given to professorial "experts" to lecture about the "Contadora process" (under the Mexican and other capitalist and pro-imperialist regimes in the region) as the only hope against war. Nor was it given to preachers, or social-democratic and reformist types act like preachers, to wring their hands about the tragic situation and pray for " reconciliation" between the imperialist hangman and his victims.

These meetings were different. They were addressed by a representative of the class conscious workers of Nicaragua. And Comrade Tellez' presentations and the discussions were devoted to the tasks facing the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants for the destruction of imperialism and capitalism in Nicaragua.

The speaker gave a picture of the deep political and class contradictions gripping Nicaraguan society. He showed how the attacks of U.S. imperialism and the contras are closely bound up with the domestic capitalists and landlords, despite all the Sandinistas' compromises to these so-called "patriotic" exploiters. Comrade Tellez also illustrated with a number of examples how the reformist Sandinista policy of class harmony is creating a painful and dangerous situation for the revolution, demobilizing the masses and strengthening the hand of reaction.

A wide spectrum of questions were put to Comrade Tellez. Many who came to the meetings already knew of and supported the MLPN and wanted to hear firsthand about their work. Other activists came to find out just what the MLPN stood for. And some others came to defend the views of the Sandinistas. Comrade Tellez gave clear and detailed answers, which not only showed an intimate knowledge of the revolutionary movement in his country, but also the justness of the MLPN's working class stand.

Below we report on a few of Comrade Tellez' answers to these questions which may be of interest to our readers.

State of Emergency

In response to a question of the work of the MLPN against the right-wing opposition, Comrade Tellez described some of the work to build up the Workers Front (FO) trade union center in the workers' movement and among the agricultural laborers. He also talked about the directive of their Party to work in the army and to combat the contras.

On the new state of emergency banning strikes and other rights of the workers, he stressed that "counterrevolution in Nicaragua, both politically and militarily, can be opposed only by the actions of the masses, not by restrictions of this sort.... We would support any measures that will fight against the counterrevolution, but not those that will hurt the working class.... This decree appears to strike at both the right and the left; they are trying to not take sides in the class struggle in Nicaragua. But with the concessions the Sandinista Front has been making, we can see the side they are taking -- they are for the reconstruction of the capitalist system in Nicaragua.''

The Chilean Experience

Responding to a question about the experience of reactionary coups in Chile and Guatemala, Comrade Tellez pointed out that: "We should study more the situation in Chile. What was the position of Allende? He advocated the peaceful road for the Chilean proletariat to take power. The Chilean army, formed by U.S. imperialism, was supposed to accept the Chilean working class taking power. Allende didn't want to give arms to the people, despite thousands demanding arms. Allende thought that decrees could take over the multinationals.''

As far as Nicaragua goes, he said that "We believe in advancing the revolution, in deepening it, struggling for the proletarian revolution." And he added: "There can be no revolutionary development if we lay down our hands with a handkerchief in our mouth. That's not how revolution is made, but through action and mobilization of the masses. Without this there is no revolution."

The Reactionary Latin American Regimes

Comrade Tellez hit hard against any idea that the capitalist governments of Latin America could be friends of the Nicaraguan revolution. Referring to the governments of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and other regimes, he posed the question "Can these repressive governments support the Nicaraguan revolution? Are they going to confront U.S. imperialism? I do not believe this. They are trying to liquidate the Nicaraguan revolution. That is why we maintain our stand."

In response to this, someone posed a question implying that considering these regimes as enemies would lead to the isolation of the revolution in Nicaragua. To this Comrade Tellez replied that the support of the proletariat and oppressed masses of the other countries is what is essential to generate the energy for the advance of the revolution towards socialism in Nicaragua.

The Soviet Revisionists

A supporter of the Soviet revisionists asked Comrade Tellez why the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists don't look to the Soviet Union for assistance in the revolution and in building socialism. He replied that this would not make sense given the fact that the Soviet revisionists are backing the Contadora process for building up the capitalist forces in Nicaragua and liquidating the revolution.

The Role of Trotskyism in Nicaragua

At the meeting in New York, a self-described Trotskyist asked about the role of the Trotskyists in Nicaragua and about the Simon Bolivar Brigade as an alleged example of working class independence. Comrade Tellez began his reply by pointing out that his Party is Marxist-Leninist and therefore it has a contradiction in principle with Trotskyism. He then proceeded to recount the role of Trotskyism in the revolution, much to the discomfort of the handful of Trotskyists present.

During the liberation war against Somoza the Simon Bolivar Brigade was put together by Trotskyists from a number of Latin American countries. Comrade Tellez described that far from being heroic liberators, the Simon Bolivar Brigade was pretty insignificant. Their people saw little to no fighting as they arrived at the end of the war behind the FSLN's southern front.

And far from being the big champions of the workers, in fact the Simon Bolivar people played a dirty role. The FSLN, which had little experience in the workers' movement, made use of the Simon Bolivar cadre to build the FSLN unions through the bureaucratic and militarist suppression of the Workers Front and the independent motion among the workers. After the Trotskyists had done the FSLN this favor, the FSLN then proceeded to pack them all off in a plane to Panama. As for the remaining domestic Trotskyists they are very small and even less relevant to the struggle in Nicaragua.

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Strengthening proletarian internationalism

Last month's solidarity tour by Comrade Isidro Tellez, secretary general of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, was a tour of proletarian internationalism.

The public meetings in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco were declarations of the internationalist support of the American working class for the working class and toilers of Nicaragua in the face of the dirty aggression of "our" imperialist government. And they were a display of the militant bonds of solidarity between the Marxist- Leninist Parties of our two countries.

During the tour, Comrade Tellez also held numerous private meetings with party militants and supporters. These discussions with workers and activists gave him the opportunity to get a closer picture of some of the concrete work of our Party and of some of the conditions under which it is working. As well, Comrade Tellez' detailed answers about the revolutionary work in Nicaragua inspired much enthusiasm for the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists and for taking part in revolutionary work.

As well, Comrade Tellez also held extensive discussions with comrades of the Central Committee of our Party. These discussions covered the work of our Party and the important developments in the situation in Nicaragua and in the work of the MLPN since our delegation visited Nicaragua last June. Practical steps for continuing the Nicaraguan Workers' Press Campaign were discussed, as well as other issues of the concrete mutual support between our two Parties. There was also discussion of other issues of common concern which, in the first place, were the difficult and complex problems facing the international Marxist-Leninist communist movement and the work needed to strengthen and consolidate this world movement on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

Overall, Comrade Tellez' tour both demonstrated the vitality of the proletarian internationalist ties between our two Parties, and further strengthened them. We attach much importance to these ties because they are part of the links that bind together the international Marxist-Leninist movement. Moreover, in these critical times with the growing U.S. intervention against the revolutions in Central America, close ties with the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists are particularly essential because they facilitate mutual support and joint efforts against our common enemy.

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Interview with Comrade Isidro Tellez

(During his November visit to the U.S., Comrade Isidro Tellez, secretary general of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, held an extensive interview with The Workers' Advocate. The following are extracts from this interview. The full interview will appear in The Workers' Advocate Supplement. The translation is ours.)

On the State of Emergency

Workers' Advocate:

Last month the Sandinista government declared a series of emergency laws, including banning strikes and demonstrations, and censoring the press. What is the attitude of the MLP of Nicaragua towards this new state of emergency?

Comrade Tellez:

Last month, as the question points out, the FSLN suspended through the government thirteen articles of law which covered a series of rights of the workers. Among those articles suspended by the Sandinistas, basically taking away the rights of the workers, was the right to strike. Included as well were the right to organize trade unions and popular organizations, and the right to mobilize and to organize in general.

Certainly our Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party (MAP-ML) does not agree with the Sandinista position when they try to justify the State of Emergency by saying it is intended to strike at the counterrevolutionary forces....

We see that the workers' movement is at this time questioning the program of mixed economy and national unity, which has resulted in the workers, who find themselves in a situation of super-exploitation, bearing the brunt of the economic crisis.

Naturally our Party, which is linked with the workers' movement and the mass movement, has been implementing a policy of denouncing and attacking this program of mixed economy which, as I was pointing out earlier, creates great difficulties for the working masses. A series of slogans which our Party has launched in the workers' movement have been taken up; and the masses and the working class have gone into motion around these slogans. While it is true that we can't say that these slogans have taken concrete shape in a vast organization, nevertheless they have given rise to spontaneous movements of the workers who stand up to question the damage caused by the program of mixed economy....

Therefore we consider that the aim of the Sandinistas in imposing the State of Emergency is basically to stop that mass discontent which is stirring, although as I was saying, these manifestations have been spontaneous. Nevertheless, Sandinism is seeing that its own program is being questioned, and it tries to take measures in order to maintain a certain stability in the country, in which the struggle of the working class, which is in contradiction with the program of national unity and mixed economy, cannot emerge....

Our Party's stand with respect to the State of Emergency is in the context that we do agree with hitting the counterrevolution; and our understanding is that the counterrevolution isn't only the armed counterrevolutionary bands that operate in the northern part of the country. We understand that the counterrevolution has its manifestation in the military field as well as in the political terrain inside Nicaragua.

Since the creation of the Contadora Group [formed by the capitalist governments of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama], we have been denouncing the line of U.S. imperialism and of the Contadora Group, as a line aimed at creating an internal political counterrevolutionary front which would generate confusion among the masses. We have certainly seen this borne out. In this direction, we think that this internal counterrevolutionary front, which expresses the stands of U.S. imperialism, and which expresses the interests of social-democracy, has been opened in Nicaragua...protected by the acceptance and legalization which Sandinism has given them?

Nevertheless we find that the State of Emergency decree does not strike at these forces. We say that it's not necessarily through a decree or a State of Emergency that one is going to strike blows at the counterrevolutionary forces. We think that only through the mobilization of the masses, their action, the militant mobilization of the working class, will it be possible to stop the development of this internal counterrevolutionary front, and at the same time, to stop the activity of these forces.

We don't consider that the counterrevolution is being hurt through the State of Emergency decreed by the FSLN. For us the counterrevolution includes also the parties that are in the National Assembly: the Independent Liberal Party, the Popular Social-Christian Party, the Democratic Conservative Party, and also the two revisionist parties, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, which shake hands with these counterrevolutionary parties in order to act against the revolutionary process.

Thus, the stand of the Party is one of struggle against the Emergency decree which, as I was saying earlier, we consider to be aimed basically at preventing the mobilization of the masses, at impeding the organization of the working class, which would allow it to propel the advance and deepening of the revolution. In other words, we don't think the State of Emergency is causing any harm to the counterrevolutionary forces. We think that these counterrevolutionary forces and the parties I was referring to before have formed a front, one which expresses the political stands of all those political parties as well as the Catholic hierarchy, which is the spearhead of the counterrevolutionary parties among the masses. Nevertheless the Catholic hierarchy has been generating a series of movements, of demonstrations, from the pulpits, and the State of Emergency doesn't affect this in the least. In other words, the State of Emergency has not been applied to this violation of the emergency laws on the part of the Catholic hierarchy.

In synthesis, then, our Party does not support the State of Emergency in its entirety. We support those measures which tend to hit at the bourgeoisie, but since there are a number of measures which are aimed against the workers' movement, we reject and denounce them. We consider that these are measures which will impede the revolutionary action of the working class and the masses.

Now, it is also said that the State of Emergency affects the freedom of expression, the freedom of the press. But this is not something new in the State of Emergency. We have been denouncing this restriction with regards to the written and spoken press. These are measures which Sandinism had been implementing from before.

Let me give a further example. The counterrevolutionary press, La Prensa of the bourgeoisie, comes out daily in Nicaragua. The Sandinista government has what they call the Direccion de Medios y Comunicaciones, which is the body which reviews all the materials which the newspapers are seeking to publish. Thus La Prensa submits its materials for censorship. There is no variation, La Prensa can develop or criticize a series of deeds of the government and even publish communiques. The only thing La Prensa cannot do, as well as the press as a whole, is to talk about the military situation. But besides this, they can speak of anything they want. Thus this review on the part of the Direccion de Medios y Comunicaciones is a daily occurrence for La Prensa. La Prensa is a daily.

We have our newspaper, Prensa Proletaria, and sometimes weeks go by before they finally authorize the materials we take to the Direccion de Medios. Because it is a law, the paper cannot come out if the Direccion de Medios hasn't looked through the materials. Thus, we point out that the freedom of the working class press is fundamentally restricted, while Sandinism shows a flexible attitude towards the bourgeois press....

Now, as part of our position, we have pointed out that a frontal struggle must be waged as well to denounce revisionism. The revisionists are also part of this internal counterrevolutionary front and they have formed an alliance, a bloc, which our Party has correctly labeled a bourgeois-revisionist bloc. This bloc has been formed to pressure Sandinism towards the path of negotiations with the armed counterrevolution, for negotiations with Reagan and for negotiations in Contadora.

We find then that the revisionist parties [the two pro-Soviet revisionist parties are called the Socialist and Communist Parties] are carrying out a particularly harmful work, because these parties have had, and still have links with the workers, and they are trying to pull the workers' movement along towards a bourgeois bloc, a reactionary bloc.... We find that they are trying to manipulate the discontent among the working masses, to manipulate them and place them under the leadership of this bourgeois-revisionist bloc. For this reason our Party takes up the struggle to expel the revisionists from the workers' movement....

On the Workers' Protest Before the National Assembly

Workers' Advocate:

We have seen reports about a workers' demonstration before the National Assembly carried out a few hours before the declaration of the State of Emergency. What was the nature of this protest, and what role did MAP-ML play in it?

Comrade Tellez:

Regarding the nature of the workers' demonstration, it took place fundamentally because the workers were demanding a revision concerning the thirteenth month. [The revisionist Socialist Party, along with the right- wing parties, attempted to gain ground in the workers' movement with demagogic appeals for the restoration of year-end bonuses called the thirteenth month. The MLPN fought for their own proposal for the thirteenth month bonus that would benefit the workers and the tasks of defense against imperialism, and not the managers and bureaucracy. [See article on the demonstration before the National Assembly, page 12]...

We gave an orientation to the base of the Party and to the Workers Front (FO) to develop a whole activity inside the workers' movement to block the maneuver of the right-wing parties and the revisionists. ... The Party made extra efforts and we set for ourselves the line of capturing from revisionism and the right-wing trade union centers the leadership of this movement. This objective was achieved by the Party. And why is it that the Party achieved this objective of wrestling this mass movement from revisionism? This is because the Party has historically upheld a firm and clear stand in favor of the interests of the workers, and hence we have prestige. Therefore it was not difficult for us to expose this maneuver of the bourgeoisie and revisionism when they tried to manipulate this right of the workers.

At the site of the demonstration, we were the first ones to arrive with a number of worker comrades who had not gone to work in order to attend this rally. This frightened the revisionists, who said they were not able to mount a struggle to wrestle from us the leadership of the movement. Meanwhile, through the police force, the Sandinistas tried to block the workers' rally. Hundreds of police cars tried to disperse the workers that were going to the assembly. But they were unable to disperse them, and a rally took place of more than 3,000 workers. Our representatives to the National Assembly came out and spoke at length, explaining to the workers our stand and at the same time denouncing the maneuvers of revisionism and the manipulations of the bourgeoisie....

Daniel Ortega gave the justification here in the United States, which was made public internationally, that this was a demonstration of 200 to 400 workers that were being manipulated by the "ultra-left," and at times it was said by the "left." It is not true that there were 200 or 300 workers, but 3,000 workers. Sandinism is afraid of demonstrations of this type, because they undoubtedly interfere with the schemes that the Sandinistas uphold in their government platform. The Sandinistas staunchly support their program of national unity, of mixed economy, of class conciliation. So they have to try to prevent such an ascent of the workers' movement.

The Pro-Soviet Revisionists Cling to the Bourgeoisie

Workers' Advocate:

The opportunist press in the U.S. confuses the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML) with the Socialist Party and the Communist Party, calling them all "ultra-left." Could you say more about the role which the Socialist Party and the Communist Party are playing in the class struggle in Nicaragua today?

Comrade Tellez:

Yes. Undoubtedly, on the international level, the FSLN tries to hide the independent position which our Party maintains. As I was pointing out, the MLPN maintains a struggle against the program of national unity. We also carry out a struggle against revisionism. Thus we find that there is a whole manipulation carried out by Sandinism on the international level whose essential aim is to hide our presence, our independent stand....


Now, as to revisionism: what is revisionism's stand on the workers' movement? At a certain point, they supported all the measures which the Sandinistas applied against the workers, against the mass movement. Under their conception that in Nicaragua a well defined bourgeois democratic regime must be established, they don't believe in, nor are they for the struggle for socialism in Nicaragua. They say conditions for socialism don't exist. For this reason they follow a line of convergence with the parties of the bourgeoisie and, as a consequence, they also converge with the program followed by the Sandinistas....

On Defense of the Revolution Against Intervention

Workers' Advocate:

How does the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua see the current tasks for the military defense against aggression by U.S. imperialism and the Somocista bands?

Comrade Tellez:

We think that the defense of the revolution must not be seen only in its military aspect. We consider that the defense of the revolution must be seen in its political, economic and military aspects....

Thus our conception of the military defense is that it is not only military, but also political, and that at the same time, only by resolving the economic problems of the workers will there be a clear, firm participation in the all-sided defense of the Nicaraguan revolutionary process.

In this regard we have been proving the correctness of our stand through practice. Why? Because, currently, as the working class and sectors of the popular masses are having big problems, their participation in defense has been rather limited. I was pointing out that in 1980, '81, part of '82, and '83, there was a great enthusiasm around the victory of July 19 [the dictatorship was overthrown July 19, 1979]. The FSLN had a lot of prestige among the masses and could mobilize the masses.

Nevertheless today, given these problems, and given this policy of not solving these problems, but allowing things to become worse for the working masses, the result has been the relative demobilization of the masses. Because of this, Sandinism has been following the course of passing laws and taking bureaucratic measures to force the masses and the workers to take up defense in a compulsory fashion. Thus they have passed the law on the military service, which the Sandinistas call "Patriotic Military Service,'' but it's obligatory. In other words, the Sandinistas try to substitute bureaucratic measures for the voluntary acts of the masses....

We have always upheld the stand that the popular militias should be brought back as a voluntary form of working class participation in the military defense. We think that it is fundamentally on the basis of the political stimulus and with the solution to the economic problems of the workers, that the participation in the military defense through the militias can come about. We are in favor of bringing back the militias. We have upheld slogans around the issue of giving arms to the people. We have said that arms must be given to the working class in order to defend the revolution.

Nevertheless, the Sandinistas move further away from these stands with each passing day, as they base themselves mainly on the regular forces of the army, on the military service, on the so-called reserves. And this is no longer on the basis of a political activity, of a constant work of developing a truly revolutionary consciousness which, in turn, is the result of the class struggle which must be waged against the bourgeoisie inside Nicaragua, against imperialism....

On the Imperialist Politics of the Democrats and Republicans

Workers' Advocate:

The Sandinista Front has followed a policy of seeking the support of the imperialist politicians of the Democratic Party against the Reaganite aggression. What is the stand of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua on this policy of Sandinism?

Comrade Tellez:

It is obviously true. The Sandinista Front has not only sought the support of the Democratic Party in the U.S., but also of social-democracy, in the Contadora Group. And they have considered that those are fundamental points of support for the Nicaraguan revolution.

And here is our stand. In Nicaragua and in the rest of Latin America and in many countries of the world, the policy of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has expressed the defense of the interests of U.S. imperialism. These two parties, which have taken turns being in power in the U.S., have maintained a policy of support for all the dictatorships of Latin America....

Today, Reagan appears as the militarist, the one who is going to trample Nicaragua under his boot. And what the Democrats do is say: "Sandinistas, negotiate with Reagan. Sandinistas, look for a road of negotiation, because if you don't Reagan will smash you.'' So, what are the goals of the Republican and Democratic Parties? To defend the interests of imperialism. One party puts forth the road of negotiation, the other the military road. But the military road only tries to soften the Sandinistas so that they fall on the negotiating table and liquidate the Nicaraguan revolution....

This is why we think that the policy of the Sandinistas with respect to seeking roads for negotiation with these parties, and of seeking out and being patrons of the Democratic Party in the U.S., goes against the Nicaraguan revolutionary process.

On the Nicaraguan Workers' Press Campaign

Workers' Advocate:

We have organized a campaign in support of the Nicaraguan workers' press as an act of proletarian internationalist solidarity against U.S. pressure. What significance do you attach to this campaign and other work in solidarity with your Party?

Comrade Tellez:

The Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA has maintained a line of support and solidarity towards our Marxist- Leninist Party (MAP-ML) for a long time. Even before we had relations...the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA had already been propagating the positions of our Party (MAP-ML). We consider that this line of the MLP,USA has been directed mainly towards supporting the advanced positions of the Nicaraguan proletariat and that these positions are upheld by our Party, the MLPN. In this respect, the MLP,USA has carried out a great deal of propaganda for our Party, and at the same time it has organized a campaign in solidarity with the workers' press which is being led by our Party.

Undoubtedly this campaign carried out by the MLP,USA has had great significance for enabling our Party to maintain an active press. And not only its press, but also the general propaganda that the Party carries out in Nicaragua, in orienting the working class, and counteracting those positions alien to the proletariat. We consider that this campaign has had a very positive effect for the activity of our Party.

It is known that U.S. imperialism launched a policy of blockade against Nicaragua so that undoubtedly a whole series of press materials are unavailable in the country, so that it is difficult to obtain these materials.... In this sense, our Party's press would have been very limited, or maybe it might not have been able to continue coming out, had it not been for the campaign carried out by the MLP,USA. We see that this campaign carried out by the MLP,USA is a correct line, since it is a question of supporting a brother class party in its struggle to advance the Nicaraguan revolution towards socialism....


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The World in Struggle


Greek workers and students fight against social-democratic Papandreou regime

The social-democratic government of Andreas Papandreou has stepped up its attacks on the workers and youth of Greece. In response, a series of militant actions have broken out against the regime.

It was only in June that Papandreou won reelection with all sorts of promises. Shortly afterward, though, he announced an escalation of his three-year-old austerity program. Meanwhile, the social-democratic regime has even toned down its rhetoric against U.S. militarism. Papandreou had made a lot of noises against the U.S. bases in Greece, but of course no action was ever taken.

The recent outbursts in Greece show that the patience of the working people is wearing thin. Illusions in social-democracy are cracking and the masses are turning to struggle.

Strike Movement Against Austerity

On October 14, Papandreou announced a second round of austerity measures since his reelection. This included the devaluation of the drachma and a wage freeze.

In response, the trade unions called a nationwide general strike one month later, on November 14. The strike was largely effective, especially among mine workers, electricity and telecommunications workers. The strike disrupted airline, bus and train service.

In September Papandreou had directed a 50% increase in the cost of public transportation and a 15% increase in the cost of staple goods. He also announced a cut in AKA, the government-regulated cost of living adjustments in wages. Despite an inflation rate of 18%, the government called for a wage adjustment for an inflation rate of only 6.3%. Cuts in social services were also made; on September 28, a 25% cut in education spending was decreed.

The social-democratic austerity drive was quickly hailed by the capitalists of the Union of Greek Industrialists, who urged him to implement it quickly.

A strike movement began to develop against the austerity measures. Papandreou, the self-proclaimed socialist, has not hesitated to send in the cops. In September, the government sent 300 police to attack a strike of just 100 workers at a biscuit factory.

A serious problem facing the workers' resistance has been the reluctance to organize struggle by the trade union leaders of the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE). The bureaucrats of the trade unions are affiliated with Papandreou's Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) or other reformist parties that tail behind it.

Despite the foot-dragging of the trade union chiefs, strikes began to break out in September. On the 12th, there was a general strike in the province of Drama and a one-hour national strike of textile workers. On the 15th there was a five- hour strike in Thessaloniki and two weeks later a rally of tens of thousands in Athens, to protest the cuts in AKA. Then on October 1, a general strike took place in Thessaloniki.

Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism

The workers' actions in November coincided with an upsurge in the movement against militarism and U.S. imperialism. This is strong especially among the students.

On November 17 there was a demonstration of 100,000 people outside the U.S. Embassy in Athens. The protestors denounced U.S. imperialism's bases in Greece and the country's membership in NATO. The workers' general strike on the 14th, followed closely by the huge anti-NATO demonstration, made for three exciting days of struggle in the streets of Athens.

Another event being marked in the capital that week was the 12th anniversary of a student uprising that had been brutally suppressed by the old military dictatorship. A demonstration marking this anniversary was cosponsored by PASOK, but the participants of this action fed into and supported the anti-NATO demonstration which was protesting PASOK's policies.

This militant action was eventually attacked by the police, and street battles followed. Students first retreated to Athens University, where they were again attacked, by police. They then withdrew to the grounds of the Polytechnic University. This became a deep embarrassment for Papandreou, since it was precisely on the grounds of the Polytechnic that the students of 12 years ago made their last stand against the forces of the military dictatorship.

Papandreou was eventually forced to call off the police, after they had already killed a 15-year-old demonstrator. The scandal forced two of Papandreou's ministers to resign and the government postured by suspending three of the country's top police chiefs. A settlement was reached with the student demonstrators and they left the Polytechnic grounds, staging a protest march back to Athens University.

Immediately afterward, Papandreou announced that he is preparing legislation to regulate the press and is cutting back on government news briefings.

Revisionist Scabbing

Large numbers of workers and youth are in motion today against the social-democratic government of Papandreou. A problem that the movement faces is overcoming the influence of Greece's two revisionist parties. Both the pro- Soviet Communist Party (KKE) and the Euro-revisionist KKE-Interior are posturing against the regime's policies today although they generally follow a tailist stand towards PASOK.

These parties control the two major sections of the trade union movement outside PASOK. They have both worked to restrain the workers' resistance. For example, when discussing what to do about Papandreou's austerity measures in early September, the PASOK unions advocated doing nothing until consulting the government; the KKE-affiliated unions advocated a six-hour warning work stoppage on September 16; and the unions connected to KKE-Interior proposed a four-hour work stoppage! Such is the boldness of the revisionists in defending the working class.

Both revisionist parties promote reformism; instead of organizing a determined struggle, they are attempting to channel the workers towards the 1986 municipal elections.

A particularly despicable maneuver of the KKE has been its effort to split the two main sections that have recently gone into action, the workers and the students. Instead of supporting the student actions, the KKE denounced them and said that Papandreou's government had deliberately tolerated them in order to blame them on the left.

The Greek working people cannot count on the revisionist traitors to communism to show the revolutionary alternative to the capitalist and pro-imperialist policies of social-democracy. They have to build a revolutionary movement opposed to both the social-democratic and revisionist variants of bourgeois reformism.

Anti-war demonstrations across Europe

Over the last month, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Western Europe to protest militarism and war.

On November 16, on the weekend before Reagan and Gorbachev were getting together for their summit, 10,000 people demonstrated in Geneva against the two superpowers. The protestors came from many countries and carried banners in English, French, German, Spanish and Russian. The march disrupted downtown traffic in the city for hours. The main theme chanted was "Reagan, Gorbachev, the world does not belong to you.'' Banners demanded that the U.S. get out of Central America and the Russians get out of Afghanistan and Ethiopia. During the summit conference itself, the Swiss government banned demonstrations.

In Spain, November 10 saw a nationwide day of protest against NATO and U.S. military bases in the country. One hundred thousand people marched in Madrid. Many demonstrators carried effigies of Reagan and shouted "NATO No'' and "Bases Out.'' There were actions also in Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao and other cities.

In Holland, several hundred thousand people protested outside government buildings in the Hague as the Dutch cabinet met and voted to approve the stationing of 48 NATO cruise missiles in Holland. The Dutch masses are not taking the cabinet vote as the last word on the matter.

The new demonstrations across Europe were a breath of fresh air at a time when the air was filled with pollution coming from the Reagan-Gorbachev summit. It is not empty chitchats between the chiefs of the warmongering superpowers that will strike a blow at militarism and the threat of war but the mass actions of the working people.

[Photo: On November 9, demonstrators in Madrid condemn NATO and demand the withdrawal of U.S. military bases from Spain.]

Pinochet under fire from Chilean masses

Chile is seeing a revival of protests and demonstrations against the fascist military government of Augusto Pinochet. The latest manifestation of the Chilean people's hatred for the dictator was a huge rally on November 21. Held in a park in Santiago the capital, it was attended by hundreds of thousands. Rallies in other cities were planned in the weeks ahead.

This rally came on the heels of a series of strikes and demonstrations. On November 12 and 13, nearly two- thirds of the country's truck drivers staged a two-day protest strike against high gasoline prices. Their action disrupted transport in much of the country.

On November 5 and 6, demonstrators battled police in two days of militant actions by workers and students. Dockworkers struck at the country's two major ports. Barricades were set up in the streets of Santiago and bombs went off in numerous locations, knocking out electricity in a large section of the capital. Pinochet called the army into Santiago and on the second day police stormed the University of Santiago and arrested 150 people. Many others were injured in the police attacks.

This two-day protest was called as a show of support for six labor leaders arrested after protests held the first week of September. The September demonstrations came just prior to the September 11 anniversary of the fascist coup which brought Pinochet to power in 1973. Six people were killed in those demonstrations, most of them shot by roving death-squads.

This latest wave of struggle shows that the Chilean mass resistance to Pinochet is on the rebound after the state of siege he announced last year.

Treacherous Role of the "Moderate" Opposition

The turnout of hundreds of thousands at the November 21 rally in Santiago reflects the strong sentiment among the masses for an end to the dictatorship. However the leadership of this rally was in the hands of political forces which do not desire a thorough uprooting of the dictatorship.

The rally was called by a "moderate'' coalition led by the Christian Democratic Party. This party of the liberal bourgeoisie originally supported Pinochet's coup 12 years ago. Though they have gone into the opposition in recent years, they remain committed to making sure that the revolutionary movement gets blocked and a stable capitalist order is preserved in the country. They have been seeking an accommodation with Pinochet but the dictator has so far refused. At the same time the regime allows a certain room to the liberals so that they can continue to dominate the opposition. Thus the November 21 rally received official permission, the second time the regime has given approval to a large demonstration in its twelve years of existence.

Over the last year, the Christian Democrats have been taking even more of a groveling stand. Recently their coalition, the Democratic Alliance, struck a deal with a number of right-wing parties and toned down its stand. Leaders of the Christian Democrats now say they have matured since 1983 when they used to issue calls for Pinochet's resignation. Now they are refraining from such a call. They have also promised the military that there will be no collective trials for crimes against the masses during the Pinochet era.

Washington Backs Pinochet

Meanwhile the Reagan administration is continuing its support for Pinochet. It provides support to the regime in the UN and help in getting loans from the Import-Export Bank and the Inter-American Bank. The Reaganites are also lobbying Congress for a restoration of military aid to the Chilean dictatorship.

The U.S. government also keeps contact with the leaders of the liberal bourgeois opposition. The Democratic Party is especially active in helping the Reagan administration undermine the Chilean people's anti-fascist resistance. Recently six of the leaders of the bourgeois opposition were invited to Washington to take part in a conference sponsored by the Democrats on "democratization" of the Southern Cone of the Americas.

The resumption of the mass struggle against Pinochet is a welcome development. The Chilean workers and youth have a militant tradition of struggle. In building up the anti-fascist struggle, they face the complex tasks of organizing themselves independently of the bourgeois liberal opposition. For a thoroughgoing uprooting of reaction and ending the exploitation of the workers, Pinochet must be overthrown and a proletarian socialist revolution carried out.

[Photo: Thousands of Chileans demonstrate against Pinochet in Santiago on November 20.]

Pressure mounts against Marcos dictatorship

Popular unrest mounts in the Philippines. Recent months have seen a number of fierce clashes between the workers and peasants and the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. In a bloody frenzy, the regime has responded even to peaceful protests with savage brutality. But the fighting people remain undaunted, determined to bring down the hated tyranny.

Troops Take a Beating From the Armed Revolutionaries

Across the country, the revolutionary armed struggle of the toilers continues to gather strength.

On November 22, guerrillas killed 14 soldiers in an ambush on a truck in Camarines Norte province, 140 miles southeast of Manila. Just a few days earlier, there was another battle between government troops and armed rebels in northern Luzon, the main island of the country.

The guerrilla struggle has grown in areas where the level of activity used to be low and which the regime considers to be vital. This summer the New People's Army carried out daring actions in Laguna and nearby towns of Quezon, in Ilocos Norte and Cebu City. They inflicted heavy blows on policemen and soldiers, punished local despots, and captured many weapons.

Massacre in Escalante

On September 20, demonstrators in Escalante on the island of Negros were gunned down by government paramilitary forces.

Ten thousand people, many of whom were sugar cane workers, gathered in this town to support a general strike called in the region. Although the authorities had previously given permission to hold this demonstration, the security forces ordered the protesters to disperse as they converged on the town plaza. Met with refusal, the troops brought out water hoses, lobbed tear gas, and threw grenades.

When a young woman threw a tear gas canister which had landed near her away from the demonstrators, the armed thugs of Marcos opened up with automatic rifles and a machine gun. Reporters covering the rally were warned not to take pictures. In the end, at least 27 protesters, mostly members of the sugar workers' union, lay dead. A number of more were missing, presumed dead.

This clash is one example of the ferocity of the class struggle on Negros. This is the island where the sugar plantations of the Philippines are concentrated, owned by ruthless big landholders. They are bulwarks of the Marcos regime and have supplemented the government troops with their own private armies. The sugar workers, on the other hand, are facing extreme devastation as sugar has been hit hard by the worldwide economic crisis. The workers are in an angry mood and many have thrown in their lot with the armed insurgency of the New People's Army. And life is rapidly radicalizing the rest.

Indeed, the Escalante bloodbath has reinforced the fighting spirit of the working masses. A month after the tragedy, 3,000 workers marched in a memorial demonstration for the martyrs of Escalante chanting, Give Us Guns!

Peasants Clash With Police in Downtown Manila

On October 20, thousands of peasants marched into the capital from outlying provinces for rallies against the Marcos regime. On this day there were local general strikes and other protest actions across the country. Two days later, 3,000 peasants and their supporters attempted to march to downtown Manila. They protested against the U.S. government's support for Marcos, denounced the September 20 massacre in Escalante, and raised demands on behalf of peasants.

The police attempted to break up the march. They beat the demonstrators with clubs and fired at them. Two students died of gunshot wounds and at least 27 more were injured. Many demonstrators militantly fought back, and several policemen were injured.

Manila Teachers Strike

In the ongoing mass upsurge in the Philippines, the economic struggle of the working people also continues.

In late September, 20,000 public school teachers in Manila walked out on strike. The teachers demanded an increase in their minimum salary. They successfully shut down the capital's public elementary and high schools. Their strike received support from teachers in the provinces as well. Although they returned to work on October 3 after two weeks, the issues in the strike remain unresolved.

Support the Fighting Filipino People!

These stories help to give a picture of the popular upheaval that is taking place in the Philippines. But these are just reports on some of the more dramatic events. In fact, every week the country sees continuing demonstrations, strikes, and armed clashes against the government and the exploiters. The upsurge against the tyrant Marcos has already brought the fear of revolution to Washington, Wall Street and all the imperialist voices in the U.S. media. What the Filipino toilers have on their agenda is to turn that fear into reality.

[Photo: Anti-Marcos guerrillas in training in the Philippines.]

U.S. imperialism seeks a facelift for the dictatorship

Marcos' Election Ploy in the Philippines

Marcos has announced plans to hold new presidential elections shortly after the New Year.

This is attracting much attention from official Washington and the news media. Speculation abounds. What will the exact date of the elections be? Who will the opposition candidate be? Will Imelda Marcos run for Vice President? And so on.

But despite all the hoopla, can anything meaningful really come from these elections? Will they bring an end to the regime of terror, corruption, and exploitation that Marcos has established?

No way. Marcos has built up his tyrannical rule over twenty years. He and his cronies have amassed billions from his power. And he has carried out quite a few election charades. Indeed his vote-rigging abilities are world renowned. No one can seriously expect the dictator to dismantle his corrupt and repressive regime through elections that his government will organize.

No, Marcos' election plans are only meant to polish his image. Above all, they are aimed at satisfying his patrons in Washington who believe that a "democratic" facelift is necessary or else the revolutionary movement will only continue to gather strength.

The liberal politicians in the Philippines are preparing to take part in this upcoming election. They are attempting to get the masses to focus all their attention on what is really an empty charade. With this, they sap the strength of the mass struggles and only help Marcos with his devious maneuver.

Marcos Is Caught in a Tight Spot

The crimes of the Marcos regime have given rise to angry opposition across the whole country. A revolutionary insurgency steadily builds up its strength.

But Marcos, like other dictators of his ilk such as the Shah of Iran or Nicaragua's Somoza, tries to keep up a supremely confident pose in the face of deep crisis. A major section of the Filipino capitalists and landlords still stand solidly by his side, as they have for years. But other sections of the exploiters are not so sure. They want to replace him and give the government more democratic trappings in order to stave off the revolution.

U.S. imperialism has solidly supported Marcos all through his years in power. He has been a loyal servant of Washington. Reagan has repeatedly made known his gushing enthusiasm for Marcos.

In the meantime, the U.S. ruling class has also kept open its lines to the liberal opposition politicians, just in case a change of horses in Manila proves essential.

The Democratic Party in particular has been urging a more crafty policy towards the Philippines. Liberal stalwarts in Congress, like Stephen Solarz (D-N.Y.), have consistently advocated that alongside continuing military and political support for the Philippine government, Washington must also pressure Marcos to carry out some democratic facelifts.

As the crisis has gotten worse in the Philippines, the policy-makers in the Reagan administration have embraced the Democratic position. Today the Republicans and Democrats in Washington speak with a single voice.

Washington Gets Busy on the Philippines

This fall the U.S. imperialists have been very active on the Philippine question.

In August, at a high-level conference on the Philippines at the War College in Washington, U.S. officials decided that in order to preserve U.S. imperialist interests in that country, it was necessary to put some public distance between Washington and Marcos.

A number of Reagan's aides have shuttled to Manila this year. Earlier they included Jeane Kirkpatrick and CIA boss William Casey. In October, Reagan sent his friend Sen. Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.) to deliver "the bluntest presi-Despite Durenberger's opinion, Washington does not yet believe that Marcos has to go. No, he is too well liked by U.S. imperialism. Laxalt noted in a recent interview that Reagan has a "soft spot" for Marcos. And in November Reagan's buddy Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority paid a visit to Marcos and declared that the country under Marcos was "a paradise."

At the same time, the U.S. government is actively making contingency plans in case Marcos cannot clean up his act enough. It rests its hopes on a number of important military officers like General Fidel Ramos, key liberal politicians like Salvador Laurel, and the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Some voices of U.S. imperialism are already openly raising the threat of a military coup. On October 20, the New York Times editorialized, "An enlightened military may finally have to supervise the transition to democracy that Mr. Marcos refuses to arrange. If he will not listen even to that counsel, the many demoralized officers in Manila may have keener ears."

The main "reform" Washington has promoted to Marcos has been to call for new presidential elections earlier than 1987 when Marcos' term officially expires. Marcos had been resisting this but did a turnabout with his recent announcement.

Marcos Pulls a Fast One But the Liberals Go Along

But Marcos is not ready to quite his position quietly. For one thing, he has set the polls so early that the opposition politicians cannot put up much of a campaign. And of course it must never be forgotten that he is the grand master of rigging elections.

The U.S. government has welcomed Marcos' declaration. But the U.S. bourgeoisie is worried that this will not prove enough of a facelift for the regime. Hence their calls for "credible and fair" elections.

U.S. imperialism is backing both sides in the elections. Marcos remains their favorite but they are also working closely with the bourgeois opposition. There are reports that the National Endowment for Democracy, a fund for international intrigue set up by the Reaganites, might be funding the opposition campaign.

Liberal Politicians Help Marcos With His Maneuver

By taking part in these upcoming elections, the liberal politicians are once again showing their treacherous colors. They are only giving legitimacy to a thoroughgoing fraud being organized by the dictator.

This is not a big surprise since they support the U.S. imperialist calls for reforming the government in the Philippines in order to hold off the revolution. Moreover, electoral politics are the alpha and omega of the bourgeois political parties. They have postured in the name of supporting struggles against Marcos but only to subvert the mass movement. Their goal is to channel the mass ferment among the Filipino working people away from the path of struggle and revolution towards electoral dead-ends.

This has a disorienting effect on the mass opposition to the Marcos regime, but what makes it especially dangerous is that among the leaders of the revolutionary left there is a conciliatory stand towards the liberals.

Under the conditions of the sharp crisis facing the country today, what is called for to safeguard the combativeness and independence of the revolutionary alternative is a stem indictment of the liberals for accommodating themselves with the U.S.-Marcos maneuver. But for some time there have been noises from the National Democratic Front, associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People's Army, advocating support for a bourgeois opposition ticket against Marcos. And although we are not yet aware of any final decisions since Marcos' announcement, supporters of the NDF in the U.S. indicate that this is what's being considered. Were it to be the case, it would be unfortunate and harmful for the strength of the revolutionary movement.

But no matter what temporary disorientation that may take place, one thing is certain: the U.S./Marcos maneuver to provide the regime with a facelift will fail. The fighting people of the Philippines will not reconcile with the dictatorship, no matter how many flimsy "democratic" charades are organized.

Jerry Falwell may find the Philippines under Marcos a "paradise." The Reagan administration and the politicians in Congress, Democrat and Republican alike, may think that a liberal facelift for the regime in Manila is all that is necessary. But every day, with their blood and sacrifice, the Filipino workers, peasants and youth are showing that they want far more. And it is this -- their struggle for a real revolutionary change -- that we here in the U.S. should support.

Soviet revisionism at work

Moscow woos Imelda

The Marcos dictatorship is pounded by the blows of a powerful mass movement at home. And around the world, this base of U.S. imperialism and cesspool of corruption is condemned by revolutionaries and progressive people.

Marcos can count among his friends such diehard reactionaries as the Reagans and Falwells of the world. But what is interesting about the Marcos regime's worldwide fan club is that it also includes the social-imperialist rulers of the Soviet Union.

The revisionist traitors to Marxism in Moscow have been courting the Marcos regime for many years. Their warm embrace for this tyrant was again driven home the other day.

A Warm Embrace for the Dictator's Lady

A month ago, Lady Marcos, the dictator's wife, paid a visit to the Soviet Union where she was warmly greeted. She was no stranger to the Kremlin rulers since she has been received by them no less than seven times since 1972.

After her return home, she was invited to be the guest of honor at the November 7 celebrations at the Russian embassy in Manila commemorating the Revolution of 1917. In his toast, the Soviet ambassador gushed: "The Philippines nation is a happy one to have such a First Lady, and we are happy to have such a friend in the Philippines as Imelda Romualdez Marcos." (New York Times, November 8,1985)

What an outrage! Lady Marcos is not just the loyal companion of Marcos but a reactionary figure in her own right. She is the Marie Antoinette of the Philippines, a ruthless intriguer who has nothing but contempt for the Filipino people.

An Anti-Fascist Medal for the Tyrant Himself

But let it not be thought that Moscow has just been taken by the charms of Mrs. Marcos. No, this love affair is not restricted just to the First Lady. Earlier this year, the Soviet ambassador awarded Marcos himself with a Soviet government medal for what they described as his meritorious role in the struggle against the fascist Axis during World War II.

This is just as much a travesty, if not more. For one thing, how can anyone even think of giving anti-fascist credentials to a ruthless fascist tyrant who has the blood of the Filipino people on his hands? And as far as Marcos' World War II services go, it is not a secret in the Philippines and among those who know something of Filipino history that Marcos was no hero of the struggle against the Japanese occupation.

Marcos has indeed claimed all sorts of military exploits during the war, but examination of the record has shown that his military feats never took place. In fact Marcos is reported to have spent most of the war years hiding in a Manila hospital under the protection of Jose Laurel, Sr., who was president of the Japanese puppet regime.

The Supporters of Moscow in Manila

In looking at the Soviet Union's support for Marcos, it is also useful to look at the role of the official supporters of Soviet revisionism inside the Philippines today. They are not part of the revolutionary movement. In fact they defend Marcos and spend most of their efforts trying to deflect the mass opposition away from the dictator -- rather unsuccessfully of course. And the views of these elements, gathered in the tiny sect known as the Philippine Communist Party (PKP, not to be confused with the Communist Party of the Philippines which is linked to the armed insurgency), are avidly promoted by the organs of international pro-Soviet revisionism, like the misnamed World Marxist Review put out in Prague.

Russian Revisionism is a Diehard Enemy of Revolution and Socialism

The Reaganites work tirelessly to spread the propaganda that the present-day Russian rulers are revolutionaries, fomenting unrest around the world. And the same lie is promoted by the apologists for the Soviet Union in the left.

Indeed the Russian leaders do pretend to be Marxist-Leninists. But in fact they are thoroughgoing traitors to communism. Their support for a tyrant like Marcos is a striking example of what revisionism means in practice. This is why they can invite such scum as Imelda Marcos to celebrations of the October Socialist Revolution.

The Russian revisionists are no friend of the revolutionary struggle. In some places they may pose as supporters of the working people, but there it is only to find ways to undermine the revolutionary movement with revisionist advice. In other places, the Soviet Union is ranked firmly on the side of the fascist despots. They were infamous for siding with the ferocious Argentine military regime from the 1976 coup on. And they are flaunting their support for reaction in the Philippines today.

All those who support the Filipino people's struggle should condemn Moscow's shameful adulation for Marcos.

U.S. imperialism is to blame

Hundreds killed in Puerto Rico mudslides

In the beginning of October, the island of Puerto Rico was hit by torrential rains caused by the tropical storm Isabel. The dawn of October 7 came with a tragic catastrophe for the people of this oppressed U.S. colony.

From all comers of the island, reports began to pour in of people being buried under layers of mud and rocks, of hundreds of deaths and disappearances, and of thousands left homeless. The greatest loss of life occurred in the province of Ponce. In the community known as Los Mameyes, there was a mass burial of the population due to mud and rock slides from the neighboring mountains. More than 500 people were buried alive there.

As could be expected, the victims of this disaster were poor and working people.

This Tragedy Was Not an Inevitable Act of Fate

But this tragedy was not the inevitable result of the fury of nature. People do not have to live under the wretched conditions that the victims were living in. No, these conditions are part of the innumerable hardships which U.S. imperialism and its local servants have imposed on the working people of Puerto Rico. And on top of that, such extensive loss of life in this particular disaster could have been avoided. Despite advance warnings, the authorities did nothing to prepare the masses to cope with the threatened consequences of the tropical storm.

Driven by acute poverty and lack of decent housing, the poor in Puerto Rico must find shelter in shacks made of tin, wood or cardboard, often built on hillsides susceptible to mud slides. Recent plant closings, such as that of the oil refinery near Los Mameyes, and the wiping out of the sugar cane fields which had employed many residents of the community, have only exacerbated the hardships suffered by the shantytown residents of this area.

Washington and its Lackeys Did Not Lift a Finger to Prevent This Tragedy

In Los Mameyes, shanty-town dwellers had long been complaining of the danger caused by leakages from water pipes and sewers. The dampness made the terrain quite prone to mud slides. The torrential rains of Isabel were to be the final straw that broke the camel's back.

It was well known that the tropical storm was coming, but it was not until the day before the disaster that the Civil Defense Director of Ponce, Pedro Gonzales Ortiz, visited Los Mameyes, and that only because of the pressure of the residents who feared for their lives. But as he himself said later, "Nothing was done to evacuate the residents," since what he saw there was "nothing out of the ordinary."

Naturally, it was not the lives of Mr. Gonzales Ortiz or of the wealthy which were threatened, but the lives of the poor and unemployed who are considered to be worth next to nothing by the authorities. Moreover, Los Mameyes is not the location of one of the fortified U.S. military bases on the island, nor is it one of the training camps for mercenaries used in U.S. aggression against other peoples. Thus it is not surprising that the U.S. government and its local lackeys, such as Mr. Gonzales Ortis, found "nothing out of the ordinary" in the tragedy that was clearly in the making.

In Puerto Rico, U.S. imperialism has placed military strike forces to invade other countries with lightning speed. It used Puerto Rico as a base to invade the neighboring islands of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and Grenada in 1983. But it would not lift a finger to evacuate the impoverished residents of Los Mameyes and other shanty towns to safety. Such are the consequences of the U.S. presence in Puerto Rico, a presence which is nothing but an imperialist colonial occupation.

Down With U.S. Imperialism!

The recent tragedy in Puerto Rico is yet another crime of U.S. imperialism against the workers and poor people of the island. U.S. colonial rule has only meant enormous suffering for the masses, while the island has been turned into a U.S. military base and a haven for U.S. multinational corporations who super-exploit the Puerto Rican workers.

The Puerto Rican masses have repeatedly taken up struggle against the domination of U.S. imperialism. In recent years, the growing escalation of U.S. intervention in Central America and the Caribbean has provided impetus for a resurgence in the anti-imperialist struggle.

The Workers' Advocate condemns the latest crime of U.S. imperialism against the Puerto Rican people. We reaffirm our solidarity with the struggle of the Puerto Rican working people against U.S. imperialism and its local bourgeois servants. Only the advance of revolutionary struggle can take the Puerto Rican masses out of the suffering which has been forced upon them.

We condemn the assassination of Colombian Marxist-Leninists!

In the early evening of November 20, Oscar William Calvo and two of his comrades were assassinated by a machine gun toting death-squad in front of a drugstore in downtown Bogota. Comrade Oscar was the spokesman of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) and of its armed wing, the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), and he was a leader of the Party's youth organization, the Revolutionary Youth of Colombia (JRC).

Comrade Oscar had come out of the underground in order to give the CP of Colombia (ML) greater access to the masses during the period of what is called a truce between various guerrilla movements and the Colombian government. He knew he was taking his life into his hands. But he sacrificed himself for the sake of the Colombian workers and peasants.

The assassination of Oscar William Calvo and his comrades is a bestial crime. And the responsibility for this crime lies squarely with the reactionary regime of Belisario Betancur.

Betancur took office promising "social peace" and "democratic reform." But with every passing day he further bares the reactionary fangs of the big capitalists and exploiters. The government is steadily escalating its war on the working people and the revolutionary movement, as it dispatches troops to massacre peasants and strikers, and unleashes paramilitary assassination teams to eliminate revolutionaries.

The reality behind Betancur's promises of "peace" was demonstrated to the world with the recent bloodbath at the Palace of Justice. In a desperate publicity stunt, members of M-19, a petty-bourgeois radical group, seized the palace and took a number of justices hostage. Betancur responded with the iron fist. Troops, tanks and heavy weapons were hurled against the palace, indiscriminately killing over 100 victims, including a number of top judges and many other noncombatants. This massacre was another signal of how the regime plans to deal with its opponents.

In the face of the brutality of the exploiters, the Colombian Marxist-Leninists courageously persist in their revolutionary activity deep among the working class and peasantry. We salute all the militants of the CP of Colombia (ML), of the EPL, and of the JRC, who refuse to cower before the death-squads and torturers.

Comrade Oscar William Calvo was an example of this courage. He was a veteran of the armed struggle, and a revolutionary who put his life on the line for the cause of Marxism- Leninism and the proletarian revolution. In the summer of 1984, a delegation of our Party had the opportunity to hold a number of comradely discussions with this dynamic and capable representative of the CP of Colombia (ML).

The Workers' Advocate vehemently condemns the cowardly assassination of Oscar William Calvo and his comrades. And in their memory we reiterate our internationalist solidarity with the comrades of the CP of Colombia (ML), with the fighters of the EPL, and the youth of the JRC in our common struggle against imperialism and the bourgeoisie, and for the revolution and socialism.

Down with the assassins of the Colombian Marxist-Leninists!

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