The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 15, No. 3


25¢ March 1, 1985

[Front page:

Build the Movement Against Apartheid!;

AFL-CIO charts new paths for retreat;

To fight the nuclear buildup, fight imperialism! The more the superpowers talk, the more they arm]


Jesse Jackson's 'anti-gang' program hits all youth...................... 4
Buffalo mayor plans playground on chemical dump site............ 17
Michigan anti-abortion legislation............................................... 17

Strikes and work place news:

Detroit bakery picket, NYC transit slowdown, Miss. teachers' strike, V. Va. coal miners' strike............................................................................................. 5

U.S. imperialism get out of Central America:

Nicaraguan people shoot down contra helicopter, No to Reagan's lies, Reagan double-speak on El Salvador, U.S. backing death squad parties......................................................... 7
From the pages of Nicaraguan workers' press............................. 6
Reagan's Star Wars plans............................................................. 8
Boston Univ. students protest CIA recruiters............................... 8

California anti-apartheid demonstrations..................................... 10
LA mayor denounced for collaboration with apartheid............... 10
Trans Africa opposes revolution in name of reform.................... 10
Shantytown residents battle forced relocation............................. 11
Mass upsurge against apartheid continues................................... 11
Repression and treason trials by apartheid rulers......................... 11

The world in struggle:

Bolivian workers against austerity, general strike in Dominican Republic, workers in struggle in Spain and Colombia................ 13
Reagan rushes to support Korean dictator.................................... 12
Gen. Chun's 'democratic' elections in Korea.............................. 12

Poem: New heats of steel............................................................. 5
Song: Fight the sell-out union bosses.......................................... 19

Build the Movement Against Apartheid!

AFL-CIO charts new paths for retreat

To fight the nuclear buildup, fight imperialism!

The more the superpowers talk, the more they arm

Roybal takes aim against the immigrants

Another anti-immigrant bill from the liberal Democrats

Chicago protesters corner the regional head of the INS


Embarrassed sighs from the opportunist friends of Roybal

More repression against the youth

The Supreme Court gives the go-ahead to arbitrary searches of students

Police raids on Detroit schools

War on the youth in the name of 'fighting crime'

Letter from a high school student

Jesse Jackson's 'anti-gang' program:

More Police Measures Against the Youth

Strikes and workplace news

From the pages of Prensa Proletaria of Nicaragua

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

Reagan's 'Star Wars' plans:

Arming the heavens for a 'winnable' nuclear slaughter on earth

Boston University students protest:

CIA, Out of the Universities!

Anti-Apartheid Demonstrations in California

Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles denounced for collaboration with apartheid

TransAfrica on how to fight apartheid:

Opposing revolution in the name of reform

At Crossroads, outside Cape Town, South Africa

Shantytown residents battle forced relocation

Mass upsurge against apartheid continues

How the apartheid regime rules

Mass repression and treason trials

Birds of a feather

Reagan rushes to support Korean dictator

General Chun's 'Democratic' Elections

The World in Struggle

The lesson of the Kampuchean tragedy:

The peasant revolutionary movement needs the leadership of the proletariat

Buffalo, NY:

Mayor plans playground on chemical dumpsite

Michigan anti-abortion legislation:

'Pro-Life' Hypocrisy

'Fight the sell-out union bosses'

Build the Movement Against Apartheid!

The black people and other oppressed masses in South Africa are continuing their courageous struggle against the racist apartheid regime. Tens of thousands of black people have risen up against forced relocation from the shanty town of "Crossroads" and other areas. Black students have struck against the denial of school elections. These and other actions continue the mass rebellions that have swept across South Africa, setting ablaze the black townships with militant demonstrations and bringing mass strikes into the coal and gold mines. In response to the people's struggle the white minority rulers have come down with the iron fist. They have not hesitated to gun down hundreds and jail thousands more. But neither bullets nor jails have been able to stop the relentless drive for freedom from apartheid slavery. The bold outbursts of today are preparation for the glorious day when revolution buries the racist slave masters once and for all.

The target of the oppressed masses is the apartheid System. Under apartheid the white South African capitalists have instituted an inhuman system of legal segregation. The black people, the vast majority of the population, have been forcibly exiled to harsh wastelands called bantustans or into segregated townships on the outskirts of the cities. Political rights for blacks are nonexistent and humiliating laws restrict every aspect of social activity. Last year alone over 200,000 blacks were arrested simply for having faulty "pass books" -- police documents they must carry everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of more workers are forced to live away from their families in order to have work at all. And black workers, the "fortunate" ones who have work, make one- sixth the wages of their white counterparts and destitution, hunger and disease run rampant. The government tries to keep them in ignorance, as it spends less than one-tenth the amount on schooling per black child as per each white child, Asian Indians and mixed-race "coloreds" also suffer oppression under apartheid.

Reagan Administration Backs Apartheid in South Africa and Racism in the U.S.

The Reagan administration's policy of "constructive engagement" exposes the support of U.S. imperialism for apartheid. According to the twisted logic of "constructive engagement" the more support given the racists, the more likely they will give up apartheid! Thus Reagan has sent cattle prods and other military aid, helped bolster the South African economy, etc. Reagan's support for the apartheid racists in' South Africa, with their nazi theories of master races and subject races, is in line with his encouragement of racism, police murders and repression in the U.S.

But this policy is not simply the whim of Reagan. It results from the entire capitalist system of exploitation and repression of the working masses. Exploitation of the workers goes hand in hand with repression, racism to divide the working class, and militarism to slaughter the workers of other lands. And the apartheid regime in South Africa is a major oppressor of the African people and a bulwark of the worldwide network of the Pentagon and the State Department to defend the interests of the multinational corporations.

Imperialism reaps fantastic profits from exploiting the black workers and from the mineral wealth of their stolen land. Just as the racist oppression of blacks in the U.S. is a source of extra profits for the capitalists, GM, Ford and Mobil Oil reap fantastic riches from the extreme oppression of black labor in South Africa. This is why every capitalist administration, Democrat and Republican alike, has backed apartheid.

Working People of the U.S., Stand With the Black People of South Africa!

But while the capitalists back apartheid, there is widespread sympathy among the workers and progressive people in the U.S. for the struggle against the South African racists. This is particularly true of black people who have suffered and fought slavery, Jim Crow racial codes and Reagan's segregationist drive. Demonstrations against apartheid are taking place all across the country. The question on everyone's mind is: How can we strengthen the anti-apartheid movement? To do this the following tasks are crucial:

* Support the development of the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

The continuation of the racist system means the enslavement and degradation of blacks and other oppressed. The people can win liberation only by smashing the apartheid regime and having majority rule, freedom, in South Africa.

There is no lack of people trying to tell the black masses to cool off and accept minor reforms and dialogue. Why, even chief apartheid oppressor Botha himself is making a fuss over "reforms," pretending that everything would be fine if maybe he eventually allows a marriage or two between the races, or at least hand-holding, and he has installed a powerless sham parliament for coloreds and Asians. But all this is simply to fool those who walk around with their eyes shut tight. The masses of the oppressed want a thorough sweeping away of all the apartheid and racist institutions; they want majority rule and political power; they want revolution.

It is only the revolutionary movement of the black people and other oppressed people in South Africa that is shaking the apartheid system. It is essential for true opponents of apartheid to do their utmost to support the revolution in South Africa.

* Oppose U.S. imperialism.

U.S. imperialism is one of the main backers of South African racism and one of the main exploiters of the black masses of South Africa. Thus to support the black people of South Africa we must oppose U.S. imperialism and the U.S. capitalists who themselves are on a racist offensive in the U.S.

We must take an irreconcilable stand against imperialist chieftain Reagan and his "constructive engagement." We must not advise him as to how best to carry out foreign policy, but denounce and expose each and every Reaganite crime. And we must have no illusions in the Democrats who also supported South Africa in every Democratic presidential administration and who still support South Africa today. It is an encouraging sign of the growth of political knowledge and maturity that anti-apartheid fighters in South Africa denounced Ted Kennedy, this smooth- talking imperialist, when he came to South Africa to tell them to engage in "dialogue" with Botha.

Any politician who is a servant of the capitalists, any politician who worries about how best to increase profits and to strengthen U.S. military might, is inevitably an opponent of the struggle in South Africa. We must oppose all the capitalist parties and build up a revolutionary movement here in the U.S. against the imperialist system.

* Base the struggle on the working masses.

It is the working people in the U.S. who are the basis of the struggle against apartheid. It is they who sympathize with the plight of the black and oppressed people of South Africa, and they who have no interest in maintaining the capitalist and imperialist system that squeezes the masses here as well as sitting on the black people in South Africa. The movement against apartheid can only be built by going all out to mobilize the working people, to draw them into the struggle, to rouse their fighting spirit against the imperialists.

The big name politicians posture "against" apartheid in order to gain popularity, while selling out the struggle against apartheid in the committee rooms and in handshakes with the apartheid spokesmen. No, it is the working people who are the true heroes of the struggle against apartheid. From the San Francisco dockworkers who put their very jobs on the fine in order to boycott South African cargo, to the students who protest despite disciplinary measures and arrests, it is the working masses, youth and progressive people who are the motive force of the anti-apartheid movement.

The Reformist and Liberal Forces Are More Interested in Opposing Revolution Than in Opposing Apartheid

Today certain reformist forces in and around the Democratic Party have declared themselves staunch opponents of the racist regime and of Reagan's support for it. But for all their pious declarations against apartheid they live in fear that the masses will rise up in a revolution and overthrow white minority rule.

Consider the Free South Africa Movement that all the news media are promoting as allegedly the true leaders of the movement in the U.S. to oppose apartheid. Various of the members of the steering committee of the FSAM, including Randall Robinson, have repeatedly expressed their aim as the avoiding of a revolution in South Africa.

In one typical statement, for example, they stated that their goals "are, by no stretch of the imagination, radical." They pointed out that "The apartheid regime cannot stand. It will be changed either by bloody revolution or by peaceful political processes." Then, in the name of "change without bloodshed," they denounce revolution. (The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, February 18,1985)

Their solution is negotiations and dialogue, the same scheme that Kennedy promoted in South Africa, when he went there with the consent of the Botha government. This is billed as a "humane" way to end apartheid without bloodshed. But this scheme is pure treachery. It calls on the masses to rely on the reasonableness of the racist rulers, despite their century of supermen mentality and their hands dripping with the blood of the African people. Actually, if the black people of South Africa accepted "dialogue" it would mean, at best, that the bulk of the racist system will be left intact while some minor reforms are implemented to pacify the masses.

One of the main aims of the reformists is to bolster the reformists inside South Africa such as Bishop Desmond

Tutu. Tutu also considers revolution a "ghastly alternative." Although we oppose the futile strategy put forward by Tutu and other reformists, we vehemently oppose the arrests and persecution of all the critics of apartheid, no matter what their trend, including the reformist leaders. But this very repression highlights the bankruptcy of the reformist plans for dialogue and change without revolution.

Reformists Promote Illusions in Reagan and the Conservative Republicans

The reformists not only oppose the revolution in South Africa, but they are not for militant struggle against Reagan in the U.S. either. Despite the claim of the reformists to oppose "constructive engagement," it is notable that whenever a Reaganite utters a hypocritical word against apartheid, the reformists scramble to praise this. And the reformists went simply ecstatic over the letter to the South African ambassador in December of 35 Republican conservatives, allegedly criticizing apartheid, although it was simply advising the Botha regime on how best to avoid the danger of revolution.

This tendency of the reformists to fawn on the Reaganites, to orient the struggle to obtaining a nice word from Reagan himself, a visit to the White House or some bipartisan rhetoric about opposing apartheid while the support for South Africa continues under the table, shows that, when all is said and done, the Reaganites and the reformists share a common goal. They both have stamping out the revolution as their primary objective. Their only difference is that Klansman Reagan believes in direct support for the apartheid regime, while the reformists believe that unless some crocodile tears are shed over the plight of the masses, who are bound to overthrow the regime someday, these masses will orient their hatred to U.S. imperialism as well.

Forward Against Apartheid!

Workers, students and all anti-apartheid activists! The black people of South Africa are shedding their blood in a heroic struggle for liberation. Let us support the revolutionary movement in South Africa against all those who want to keep the African people downtrodden and oppressed, a source of profit for racist overlords. Let us work to build up a militant mass movement in solidarity with the struggle of the oppressed masses of South Africa. Let us support their courage and militance by daring to stand up against U.S. imperialism, the backer of apartheid. Let us rally all working people around the banner of the anti-apartheid struggle!

Solidarity with the militant uprising of the black people of South Africa against the apartheid regime!

Down with the Reaganite racist offensive!

[Photo: Militant protests continue to flare up in South Africa. Here a youth strides past a burning truck after a student demonstration in Soweto, February 14.]

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AFL-CIO charts new paths for retreat

Last month, the AFL-CIO executive board held their annual meeting in Bal Harbour, Florida to discuss new strategies to confront falling membership and the low enthusiasm for the unions. On February 21, they adopted a 28-page strategy paper that was the fruit of two and a half years of work by the "Committee on the Evolution of Work," a team of top union bureaucrats and Harvard professors. It is being trumpeted that this is a new aggressive strategy for revitalizing the unions. But this paper and the noises coming out of Bal Harbour show that the AFL-CIO chieftains are only planning to sink to new depths of class collaboration and betrayal of the workers.

What Is Ailing the AFL-CIO Bureaucracy?

There is no question that the AFL-CIO officialdom is a gravely diseased body; but the Harvard scholars have given them a faulty diagnosis. Their chief ailment is chronic class collaboration, which keeps growing from bad to worse.

With the deep capitalist economic crisis in recent years, the working class has faced the combined ravages of high unemployment and the employers' onslaught on the workers' livelihood. In this situation one would think that the unions should naturally be the centers of mass resistance, attracting the militant enthusiasm of both the organized and unorganized, the employed and unemployed workers.

But the trade union chiefs have done nothing to mobilize against this capitalist offensive. No, they have done less than nothing, as from industry to industry they have joined hands with the corporate bosses to saddle the workers with concessions. Under the signboards of "saving jobs'' or "saving the union," the union bosses have become the salesmen of wage cuts and job- eliminating speedup and productivity drives.

In auto, transport, and other industries the union bureaucrats, in order to help serve up concessions to the employers in bite-size pieces, have abandoned the demand for industry-wide pattern agreements. Instead of banding the workers together into a solid class-wide front, they have maneuvered to let the capitalists break the workers section by section and factory by factory.

In the face of the arrogance of the capitalists' takeback demands, the workers' only defense is their united action in strikes and other mass actions. The workers have repeatedly shown that they are willing to take this road of hard struggle, despite the harsh sacrifices this demands in these difficult times. Nonetheless, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, strike activity over the last four years has been far lower than any similar period since they started keeping figures after World War II.

In large part the blame for this must be laid at the door of the trade union chiefs who have been pushing the workers to knuckle under without a fight. And when a strike does break out they do their best to convince the workers to surrender, or even to have unions scab on the strikes of brother unions (like in the defeat of the PATCO workers.)

The sorry results of this policy of class collaboration aren't hard to see. Because of wage concessions handed over by the unions, this year union wage increases averaged only 2.5%, which is not only below inflation, it's below the increase in non-union wages. But base wage figures are only part of it. What they don't show is that, in 1984, two hundred thousand workers were saddled with new "two-tier" wage systems; or that last year the number of union workers covered by cost of living clauses declined from 50% to 40%; or that hundreds of thousands of workers are now paying into co-payment health insurance plans that before were the responsibility of the employers; or that jobs have been combined, production lines sped up, and health and safety measures scrapped turning the work places into hellholes of harassment and overwork.

Is it any wonder then that the union chiefs gathered in their Florida hotel to bemoan their unpopularity among the workers?

Madison Avenue Unionism

But this didn't stop them from charting new paths for selling out the workers and for new forms of cooperation with the capitalists. In the name of "new innovative tactics" to attract workers, the AFL-CIO executive board recommended, among other things, the acceptance of the old and hated system of no-strike agreements and submitting contracts to binding arbitration. (Business Week, March 1,1985)

The logic is to shed the old "adversarial" image of strikes and picket lines in favor of the new image of unions as "respectable" bourgeois institutions, just like the corporations. As executive board member Robert Hartmen explained, the unions must meet the corporations "not as street fighters but as professional opponents." (Wall Street Journal, February 21,1985)

A key to this new image is the plan to rely more heavily on so-called "corporate campaigns." There are two main ingredients to running such a campaign to lobby a company for this or that demand. First, you hire a Madison Avenue advertising firm to produce TV spots, or pay an electronic mailing outfit to ask constituents to put pressure on politicians, or put the workers' dues money into any other such outlet of the public relations business. And if that fails, you bring out the big guns and threaten to withdraw the workers' pension funds from the banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions that are invested in the company in question.

Such "corporate campaigns" are central to the AFL-CIO's new "aggressive" strategy. No matter that such campaigns in the past have never accomplished a thing. Most recently, the AFL-CIO chieftains made a big hullabaloo about their "corporate campaign" in support of the Phelps Dodge copper strikers. Meanwhile, they refused to lift a finger to mobilize the other copper workers, or the other USWA members, or other sections of the workers to take solidarity action, leaving the heroic Phelps Dodge miners to fend for themselves, and eventually to lose the battle. Such "corporate campaigns," where the bureaucrats don't lift a finger to back up the mass struggle of the workers, have had similar results in other strikes.

Pouring union resources into advertising firms and shuffling around blocks of pension funds is worse than wasteful and ineffective; it's also one more means the union bureaucrats have found to undercut the struggles of the workers.

They reason: Don't go out on the picket line. Don't bother about mobilizing to stop the scabs. Don't struggle and sacrifice to defend your fellow workers down the street who are losing half their wages, their union and their jobs. Because our executive board assures us that the Harvard professors have studied the matter and have decided that the workers are better off if they give up such "old tactics." It's better for the workers to put their fate in the wheeling and dealings that go on in the plush glass offices of the union headquarters, advertising agencies, financiers, politicians and corporations.

These "corporate campaigns" are being passed off as the new innovative tactics required by the new high tech society. But these tactics aren't high tech, they're just more high treason against the workers' cause.

A Step Backwards in Organizing the Unorganized

The other main "innovation" adopted in Bal Harbour was the setting up of "employee associations" for the unorganized workers. Organizing the unorganized is an important task facing the workers' movement. Since 1980, the combined effect of the loss of millions of union jobs in heavy industry and the breaking of unions by the employers has cut the number of unionized workers by 14%, leaving a mere 18.8% of the workforce in the unions. The electronics and other growing industries remain almost entirely unorganized.

On the surface the "employee association" plan may look like a half a step towards addressing this problem. For workers who want to join unions but don't have the votes to carry a union election, at the cost of paying some dues, workers could join associations that would give them access to job search programs, group insurance plans, and other union resources. These associations are supposed to draw other workers towards the union bringing about eventual organization of the work place.

But hold on. The failure of the bureaucrats to attract the unorganized can't be separated from their policy of class collaboration. Why would the workers be flocking to the unions when they can see the union bosses twisting their members' arms to take concessions? They wouldn't. And they won't be attracted powerfully to the unions until the organized workers break the grip of their leaders and mount a vigorous resistance to the capitalist offensive which, among other things, would demonstrate the importance of being organized.

Moreover, the union officialdom have approached organizing the unorganized in their deathly lethargic and bureaucratic fashion. Instead of organizing and mobilizing the unorganized in struggle against the employers, their general approach is to sell unions like a life insurance salesman sells premiums.

Without concerted efforts to organize and mobilize the rank and file for struggle against low wages, rotten working conditions, lack of job security, and for their other pressing demands, there can be no talk of organizing them into unions. And without such a struggle the "employee associations" are bound to be hollow and lifeless shells.

Even within the executive board some bureaucrats are complaining that these "associations" are an attempt to collect some dues money while giving up on organizing workers into unions. True enough. In the absence of any real effort to organize the unorganized, the "employee association" plan looks like a white flag, a surrender notice that the AFL-CIO chiefs are willing to abandon difficult union drives in favor of these token associations.

Organize the Class Struggle! Fight Back Against the Capitalist Offensive!

The "new strategies" adopted in Bal Harbour show that the AFL-CIO leadership is not about to budge an inch from its policy of collaboration with the capitalists' offensive against the workers. Rather it is seeking new ways to put a stop to strikes and to cozy up to the corporations.

The entire history of the workers' movement in this country and worldwide, shows that the workers' most potent weapon against the capitalist onslaught is mass struggle -- the reliable working class weapons of strikes, demonstrations and other forms of mass action. This struggle needs to be waged on class lines, building a solid front of the workers of all industries, mobilizing the unorganized and the unemployed.

But to meet this challenge the workers must build up their independent organizations and wage a merciless struggle to overcome the strikebreaking and treachery of the trade union bureaucrats.

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To fight the nuclear buildup, fight imperialism!

The more the superpowers talk, the more they arm

The U.S. Secretary of State and the Soviet Foreign Minister met in Geneva in January to discuss nuclear arsenals. A press corps 940 strong gathered for this momentous event that produced nothing. All that Shultz and Gromyko came up with was an agreement to hold more talks; and for the last weeks Washington and Moscow have been arguing back and forth about what they had agreed to talk about.

Reagan meanwhile is basking in the afterglow of the Geneva media show. The capitalist press and politicians have discovered that the missile-rattling war buff in the White House has begun his conversion to peace.

The prostitute scribblers of Time magazine have found -- contrary to popular belief and every warmongering step of his first term -- that "What Reagan truly wants is to be a 'Peace President'" (January 28,1985)

The Democratic Party "doves" are also cooing about Geneva and Reagan's alleged new commitment to peace and arms control. Among others, Senator Alan Cranston, who ran on the "nuclear freeze" platform in the Democratic primaries, is praising Reagan's new understanding of "global realities and the hopes and fears of the American people." (Nation, January 12,1985)

Now we are supposed to believe Reagan is losing his enthusiasm for a "winnable nuclear war," and is coming a- round to being a true champion of disarmament.

Now we are supposed to sit on the edge of our chairs waiting for the talks to begin again in Geneva, as if the chitchats between Reagan's men and the Kremlin's men might lift the dark clouds of the nuclear arms race.

This is the tale being spun by the imperialist press and politicians in the U.S. and around the world. But what is the cold reality behind the Geneva "talks about talks"?

A Trillion More for the MX, Midgetman, Trident 2, the Neutron Bomb, Star Wars, and Every Conceivable Device of War

The hard reality is that both nuclear superpowers, both the U.S. imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists, are pressing ahead to modernize and reequip their arsenals in the biggest arms buildup the world has ever seen.

Reagan and Pentagon chief Caspar Weinberger are pushing for a $263 billion military budget in 1986. This is a staggering sum. It means that since1980, figured in real dollars after adjusting for inflation, the war budget will have grown by a full 55%. But this is only the beginning; over the next three years (1986-88) the administration is planning to spend nearly one trillion dollars on the military buildup.

For its strategic arsenal, the Pentagon is scheduled to deploy 48 B-l bombers next year at a $6 billion cost, and hopes to deploy the first of the monster., ten-warhead MX missiles. Development will be stepped up for the mobile Midgetman ICBM, the Stealth bomber, and a new generation Trident II missile for the multi-billion dollar Trident subs. Besides these strategic weapons systems, more cruise and Pershing missiles are being deployed, and U.S. artillery in Western Europe is being equipped with new shells that have neutron bomb ("enhanced radiation") capability. Reagan's pet project, "Star Wars," will cost some $26 billion over the next five years in research alone. And the conventional tools of mass destruction -- the new $2.5 million M-l tank, the new AH-64 attack helicopter, new generations of war naval cruisers, etc., etc. -- are being turned off the production lines at a terrific pace.

''Reducing Arms" by Arming to the Teeth

In the Reaganite propaganda of "double-speak," all of this arming and rearming is not for war -- oh no it's all for the sake of "arms reduction" and "peace on earth."

In his State of the Union address Reagan repeated his master plan for "disarmament": Build the nuclear stockpiles up to the skies to bring the Soviet Union to its knees.

Reagan boasted that only the fabulous arms buildup during his first term had brought the Soviets to Geneva in the first place; and he appealed to Congress to continue to rubber-stamp his trillion dollar war buildup in the name of "supporting our chances for a meaningful arms agreement." Reagan made a special pitch for votes for the deployment of "Peacemaker" (otherwise known as MX) missiles, calling votes for the MX critical to "move toward mutual and verifiable arms reductions." (New York Times, February 7,1985)

Stacking the arsenals to the heavens with bigger, more deadly and destructive devices of war. This is Reagan's road towards "arms reduction." This is what the imperialists like to call "Peace through strength." And this is the reality behind the fuss about the Geneva talks.

National Security Decision Directive 75: Arming for Global Domination

For the U.S. imperialists there is a cool calculation behind this madness. This has been put down in black and white in something called the National Security Decision Directive 75. According to a report in the New York Times last October 28, this directive, which was signed secretly by Reagan in December 1982, sets down the strategy of "capitalizing on Soviet difficulties." Taking special note of the great burden the war buildup places on the smaller and weaker Soviet economy, the directive calls for accelerating the arms race to press the Soviet Union to the wall.

After its crushing defeat in Viet Nam, U.S. imperialism began, in the days of the Carter administration, applying this strategy in earnest cranking up the Pentagon war machine at a fantastic speed in the hopes that the rival Soviet war machine cracks under the pressure. This is the deadly game that the U.S. imperialists are playing in the mutual struggle with the Russian social-imperialists for world "spheres of influence."

The U.S. imperialists' strategy for world victory is both economic and military. They are calculating to come out on top by amassing so much fire power that the Soviet Union is forced to capitulate or, failing that, the Pentagon's plans go into effect for "prevailing" in a "winnable" nuclear slaughter.

Reagan and the U.S. imperialists don't have the slightest intention of resolving this deadly rivalry between thieves through talks and "arms agreements." The spirit of Decision Directive 75 has been and remains the guiding star of policy.

The War Buildup and Capitalist Profit

This policy and the trillion dollar war buildup are not just the doings of an administration that glories in the specter of nuclear "triumph." Reaganite militarism flows from the monopoly capitalist drive for profit.

Starving the unemployed to finance MX missiles and M-l tanks provides a windfall for General Dynamics and the other war contractors. But above all the drive for profit demands the conquest and domination of."spheres of influence" -- foreign markets and lands to plunder and labor to exploit. To protect and expand their imperialist interests throughout the world, the American billionaires are arming to the teeth to put down the revolutionary struggles of the working masses (yesterday in Viet Nam, today in Central America, tomorrow...) and to overwhelm their imperialist rivals.

The secret behind the bipartisan support for this arming in the Congress lies in the fact that both Republicans and Democrats, both hawks and doves, are linked with a thousand threads to the stock markets which are growing fat on military contracts and to the monopoly corporations which have cast their net of exploitation and robbery across the four corners of the globe.

No Illusions in the War Makers!

In the face of the world capitalist economic crisis, the craze of arms production and militarism has gripped the ruling classes of all the big capitalist states. But among the working people the war preparations of the two superpowers and the world bourgeoisie has provoked a powerful opposition.

From West Germany to New Zealand, from Tokyo to London, thousands and millions have been marching in the streets against the Pentagon's deployment of Pershing and cruise missiles and the other steps towards war.

The imperialists want to stem this wave of mass opposition with the sop of "arms reduction" talks. This is why the U.S. and Soviet war makers are both dressing themselves up as "peace presidents" and high saints of "disarmament." As a number of Washington's arms control "experts" have pointed out, if nothing else it is hoped that the Geneva talks will relieve some of the pressure on the U.S. and its allied governments by taking the wind out of the sails of the anti-war protests.

This same hope is being echoed by the capitalist politicians, along with the social-democrats, revisionists, bourgeois pacifists and other misleaders of the anti-war movements. They are preaching to the masses: "For the sake of peace, don't get too fired up against the imperialist war makers. Let us watch, hope and pray that the superpowers' men in Geneva take a step in the right direction."

But what can be expected out of Geneva? At most, several years of talks may produce another SALT-type treaty. Since its negotiation in 1979 both superpowers have pledged to stick to the terms of the unsigned SALT II agreement; nonetheless, the past six years have witnessed a meteoric arms buildup on both sides. Such treaties aren't for "arms control" as they only lay the ground rules for the unlimited arms race.

The chances for another such useless.treaty, however, don't look good, as the nuclear war buffs that Reagan has assembled for his "arms reduction" team may scuttle even the most meaningless agreement.

In either case, Reagan's negotiators have already sworn before their goddess of the nuclear warhead that not one of the Pentagon's major new weapons systems will be stopped at the negotiating table. Agreement or not, the MX, Star Wars, et al., will go forward full speed ahead.

Build the Mass Struggle Against Imperialism's Drive to War!

There is no room to "hope and wait" for the outcome of the Geneva talks. There can be no illusions that the nuclear wolves are about to become disarmament sheep.

To confront imperialism's war preparations we must build up the mass struggle. Every step towards imperialist war needs to be met by the anger and powerful protests of the working people.

Clarity of purpose must be brought into the demonstrations and mass actions. The purpose of the struggle can't be to pressure the White House to agree to a better recipe for arms talks -- to negotiate a "freeze" instead of "control" of the buildup, or to negotiate "reduction" instead of a "freeze." This only plays into the word games and demagogy of the war makers. (Reagan himself rejects the "freeze" on the grounds that he is holding out for "meaningful reductions"!)

No. To strengthen the movement we must work to reveal the utter hypocrisy and double-speak of the imperialists' "disarmament" lies. Nothing good can come out of the wheeling and dealing of the superpower chieftains.

Work is needed to raise the broadest masses of workers, youth and progressive people in struggle against nuclear weapons and against all the other fronts of imperialist aggression and war making -- from U.S. intervention in Central America to U.S. backing of apartheid.

The struggle against the war buildup must be aimed squarely against those who are responsible for this nuclear madness: the Reagans, Weinbergers, Shultzes, Chernenkos and Gromykos and the imperialist governments and system that they represent. Here in the U.S. our foremost enemy is our "own" Pentagon, and our "own" imperialist ruling class.

We must work to channel the anger and struggles against these war makers into building the revolutionary movement. The revolutionary movement of the toilers of all countries puts spokes in the wheels of imperialist aggression and war.

The development of the revolutionary movement of the American workers and oppressed can strike heavy blows on "our" government's war plans. And the triumph of this struggle in the proletarian revolution and socialism will finally liberate humanity from the shadows of the Pentagon's "first strike" arsenals.

[Photo: Recent protest against Pershing II missiles in West Germany. Thousands marched from Heilbronn to U.S. military base in Waldheide.]


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Roybal takes aim against the immigrants

Another anti-immigrant bill from the liberal Democrats

On January 3, the opening day of Congress, Representative Edward Roybal introduced into the House another version of the notorious Simpson-Mazzoli anti-immigrant legislation, a bill which has been condemned and demonstrated against all across the country for the last two years. Roybal is a liberal Democrat from California and a leader of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). Last year Roybal was heavily promoted as the spokesman for the opposition to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. His new bill exposes what the supposed "opposition'' and "pro-immigrant" stand of the Democratic Party liberals really amounts to. While continuing most of the worst features of last year's Simpson-Mazzoli Bill, Roybal's legislation actually breaks new ground in finding even harsher means for oppressing the immigrant workers.

Another Version of the Simpson-Mazzoli Legislation Against the Immigrants

The Roybal Bill is largely a rehash of the dirty attacks against immigrants which were set out in the Simpson-Mazzoli legislation. (See The Workers' Advocate, August 1,1984.)

* It contains the same provision which greatly expands the number of La Migra, the INS agents who hound, arrest and deport immigrants. Last year the House accepted Roybal's amendment to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill which gave the INS in immediate grant of $80 million. This year Roybal is back campaigning for this same increase in 1985, plus further increases of $51 million in 1986 and $15 million in 1987.

* It contains the usual "amnesty" trap which will clamp an even more extensive police control over the immigrants, setting up the majority for deportation while reducing the rest to the position of a legalized subcaste of workers who are stripped of rights and forced into grinding exploitation. The cutoff date for "amnesty" is moved up to 1982 (that is, an immigrant would have to prove he lived in the country continuously since 1982). But the bill sets out more stringent requirements for achieving legal status.

Similar to last year's Senate version of the bill, Roybal's legislation apparently leaves intact the super-exploitation of some 20,000 "guest" workers in the presently existing program and also legalizes the agribusiness's use of undocumented farm workers for three years. Thus the profits of the multi-billionaire farmers are looked after at the expense of immigrants.

And the list goes on with one after another of the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill's provisions against the immigrants.

But more! The new Roybal legislation introduces new measures to hound and persecute the immigrants.

For example, the bill would establish regular reporting from the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service as to the effectiveness of enforcing the payment of taxes from undocumented laborers. What this means in practice is that the SSA and the IRS will be set loose to hound the immigrants and may join forces with La Migra to track them down.

Even more important, and probably the centerpiece of the Roybal Bill, is a new twist on the employer sanctions provision which would, in effect, make the union bureaucrats an arm of the INS to ferret out and persecute undocumented workers. Let's take a look at this provision.

An Attempt to Split Up the Workers and Make the Union Bosses Into Spies Against the Immigrants

To begin with, Roybal's version of employer sanctions is like all of the others in that it would intensify the exploitation and persecution of the immigrants. Some' capitalists may stop hiring the undocumented or fire them en masse and one can expect harsh discrimination against every worker who looks "foreign." Meanwhile many of the capitalist slave drivers will continue to grow rich off immigrant labor by handing out sub-minimum wages and forcing the undocumented to pay for "sanction insurance" to protect the capitalist from any possible fines. Although it's called "employer sanctions," in either case it is the immigrants who would suffer, not their money grubbing employers.

But in a letter to congressmen encouraging their support for his new bill, Roybal stresses that, "My bill provides a workable approach to employer sanctions by viewing the practice of hiring undocumented workers in a new light and focusing on adverse employment effects... [which] may result in the displacement of legal workers or depression of their wages and working conditions." (India Abroad, February 1, 1985)

What is "new" in Roybal's bill is the method for carrying out the employer sanctions. This bill would set up the legal machinery (including a Special Council with its own independent investigation apparatus, an administrative law judge and an Immigration Board system) to entice the union bureaucracy and individual workers to sue companies for "knowingly hiring, recruiting, referring, or retaining unauthorized aliens." The bill specifically states that the lawsuits are to be "initiated by an individual or class (or representative organization such as a union.)" ("Summary of the Immigration Act of 1985 Introduced by Re. Edward R. Roybal") And any violating companies would not only have to pay a fine of from $1000 to $3000, but they would also have to provide jobs and back pay for those who were allegedly displaced by undocumented workers.

In other words, this provision is directly aimed at splitting up the workers by providing incentives for "legal" workers to join hands with the government against their undocumented brothers and by providing the legal machinery for the union bureaucracy to become a major force for tracking down undocumented workers and driving them from their jobs.

This is truly a measure to warm the hearts of the AFL-CIO bureaucrats. For years they have been denouncing the immigrants for supposedly "stealing American jobs" and driving down the wages and working conditions of the true-blue Americans. They never consider fighting against the capitalists, whose productivity drives, automation, killing overwork, and economic crises have resulted in millions of workers being left with no means of livelihood. Nor will they consider uniting the working class to eliminate the grinding poverty and terrible conditions that the immigrants face. No, they see the despicable situation that the capitalists impose on the immigrants, and they blame the immigrants themselves for the capitalists' crimes. Indeed, they use the immigrants as scapegoats to divert anger away from the capitalists' offensive to drive down the conditions of all the workers.

Now, with the Roybal Bill, the union hacks would be allowed to go beyond their racist propaganda against the immigrants. They would be let loose to take up the practical work of hunting down the immigrants and filing law suits that will mean more persecution and deportations for the undocumented.

Fight for Full Rights for the Immigrant Workers

But workers can never defend their jobs and livelihood by supporting the special oppression of another particular section of the workers. This only means intensifying the competition between workers, of workers fighting workers, while the capitalists have a free hand to carry forward their job elimination and concession drives.

The workers can only defend themselves by uniting every section of the workers, immigrant and non-immigrant, documented and undocumented, into a powerful class struggle against the capitalists. All workers must join hands to demand an immediate and complete legalization of the undocumented, and full rights for all immigrants. All workers must stand up to fight the horrible conditions in the migrant fields and sweatshops and to organize the unorganized. All workers must come to the defense of the immigrants and, in so doing, strengthen the solidarity and organization of the working class independent from and against not only the Reaganites, but also against the liberal Democrats like Roybal and AFL-CIO sellouts.

Down with the anti-immigrant bills!

Full rights to the immigrant workers!

Unite the working class for the struggle against the capitalist offensive!

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Chicago protesters corner the regional head of the INS



On February 3, some 200 protesters gathered to denounce the recent wave of immigration raids against industrial workers, taxi drivers, and office workers in the Chicago area. The demonstrators included immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, and Chile and also activists born in this country and in Puerto Rico.

The protest began with a meeting at a church in Oak Park. There the demonstrators condemned not only the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for its raids and deportations against immigrant workers, but they also lambasted the Chicago city government for assisting the INS to track down undocumented immigrants.

From the church the protesters marched several blocks to the home of the regional head of the INS, A. D. Moyer. Fiery slogans rang through the streets as the demonstrators chanted against the INS raids and deportations; against the government's persecution of the sanctuary activists who assist Central American refugees who have fled to this country without immigration documents; and in defense of the international unity of the working people.

Up and down the street the marchers distributed leaflets door-to-door which began by asking "Do you know who your neighbor is?'' and went on to condemn the dirty deeds of Moyer. Borrowing a tactic from the movement of the Chilean toilers, the demonstrators loudly banged pots and pans to draw attention to the protest.

The militant protesters marched right onto the porch of Moyer's home and demanded that he come out and face them. For a long time Moyer cowered in the dark inside his house while the demonstrators kept up their boisterous slogan-shouting. Finally, Moyer crept out of hiding to beg the demonstrators to leave him alone. But he was met with a stunning condemnation by the marchers. One protester introduced Moyer to the crowd as "a man who has the blood of immigrants on his hands" and Moyer had to retreat back into his house as the protesters booed and continued their slogans against him.

The Marxist-Leninist Party actively participated in this protest. It organized a contingent in the march and distributed leaflets. The MLP leaflet condemned the attacks on the immigrants. It exposed the hypocritical role of the Harold Washington government which, while claiming to stand for the oppressed, helps the INS track down undocumented taxi drivers. And it called for uniting all the workers, immigrant and non immigrant, those with legal status and those who are undocumented, for a vigorous fight for the full rights for the immigrants and to beat back the Reaganite offensive on every front.

The February 3 demonstration, and earlier actions like the January 26 march organized by the MLP, are important weapons for organizing the workers and building up the movement in defense of the immigrants. Let's have more protests such as these.

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Embarrassed sighs from the opportunist friends of Roybal

Since the liberals and social-democrats last year promoted Roybal as the leading spokesman for the "opposition" to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill they are extremely embarrassed by the openly reactionary nature of his new proposal and they are feverishly trying to distance themselves from it.

Last year Roybal's legislation was the Congressional Hispanic Caucus's (CHC) "alternative" to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill. This year the chairman of the CHC, New Hampshire Democrat Bill Richardson, is talking about writing an "alternative" to Roybal's bill. It matters little that the CHC has all along supported stronger police terror to keep the immigrants out of the U.S. A good face has to be put on this dirty work and thus the rush for one "alternative" after another.

The social-democratic rag called In These Times went straight to the heart of the problem. Roybal's new proposal was just a "gaffe," a social blunder, due to a lack of political maturity. (ITT, February 27-March 12, 1985) In other words, Roybal forgot to disguise the reactionary legislation with a heavy enough coating of "pro-worker" and "pro-immigrant" demagogy. Surely any mature Democratic Party liberal would have known better.

Other Roybal supporters have been less candid, claiming that last year Roybal's proposal was "progressive" while this year he has "shifted positions." But let us not forget that last year Roybal's contribution was to accomplish the passage of an amendment to the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill which would have greatly expanded the border patrol and strengthened the INS with $80 million in additional funding. This amendment could hardly have been made from the perspective of defending the interests of the immigrants. But then Roybal's cheering squad would have not noticed since they seem to think stopping unlawful migration is "progressive."

Take for example the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). Last year one of Roybal's biggest rooters, MALDEF has this year put itself in the center of the criticism against Roybal's "shifted position." But take a look at their complaint. In a January 4 memorandum criticizing Roybal's employer sanctions provision, MALDEF declares that, "We have consistently opposed the use of employer sanctions as a means of stopping illegal immigration because it...has never worked to stop unlawful migration." How's that for a stunning condemnation of Roybal. His bill's no good not because it will harm immigrants but, rather, because it won't do enough to keep the immigrants across the border.

Well, it would seem that the social-democrats and liberals are embarrassed by Roybal, but not enough for them to shift their own positions. They are still supporting repressive legislation against the immigrants. To build up a strong movement in defense of the immigrants these opportunists must be exposed for the charlatans they are.

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More repression against the youth

The Supreme Court gives the go-ahead to arbitrary searches of students

The capitalist system has shut the door to any future for the sons and daughters of the workers save a minimum wage dead-end job, or a place on the unemployment lines, or on the firing lines in imperialist wars. Increasingly the youth are becoming fed up with business as usual and are finding their place in the anti-war movement, the rebellions against racist police terror, and other progressive movements. The capitalists are once again worrying out loud about "youth alienation" and are working to head off a new youth rebellion. On the one hand, the capitalists glorify drug taking, gangsterism, and the like to send the youth down a dead-end road of crime and decadence. On the other hand, the capitalists are enacting more reactionary laws, gearing up their repressive police forces, and turning the public schools into virtual prisons in order to terrorize the masses of young people and suppress any sign of awakening rebellion.

One front of the growing repressive measures is the stepped-up use of arbitrary searches of youth. In January, the highest court in the country gave a green light to the wider use of arbitrary searches against students.

On January 15, the Supreme Court ruled that any public school official may legally search any student with no more basis than having "reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school." (Time, January 28, 1985) The Court argued that normal rights to privacy and against arbitrary searches do not apply in the schools. Students must give up their rights so that school officials can have "a certain degree of flexibility in school disciplinary procedures." (Ibid.)

Although it is claimed that the "reasonable grounds" ruling still leaves the students some rights, the court's decision is already being used to justify such outrages as mass shakedowns and strip searches. Recently in Elyria, Ohio 20 seventh grade girls were strip searched in what even a school board member termed "next to Gestapo tactics" when a watch and ring turned up missing. In Detroit a special city police "strike force" is carrying out unannounced raids to search every school student when they enter the building (see article below). When questioned about the legality of such raids Detroit Mayor Coleman Young claimed they are just because the police are only searching schools where they have "reasonable reason to believe that guns exist" and Detroit's school superintendent quipped that the Supreme Court's ruling "supports what we're doing." (Detroit Free Press, November 28, 1984 and January 16, 1985)

The denial of rights to students and the expanding use of police repression is being justified on the grounds that the schools must be cleared of drugs and violent crimes. These are of course serious concerns. But long experience has shown that increased police repression does not help put a stop to criminality. This problem can only be solved by improving the education system and alleviating the horrible situation that capitalism is forcing onto the youth.

Meanwhile, the use of arbitrary searches and the filling of the schools with police does mean abuses against the broad masses of the youth and above all the suppression of the development of the revolutionary movement among them. The significance of the Supreme Court's ruling can be seen in the letter from a high school student in the Chicago area about the confiscation of leaflets against U.S. imperialism's aggression in El Salvador and Nicaragua and other revolutionary literature (see letter below). It would seem that the Supreme Court ruling is aimed not at making the schools safe for the students but at suppressing the students to make the schools safe for the capitalists.

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Police raids on Detroit schools

War on the youth in the name of 'fighting crime'

(The following article is based on a report from the Detroit Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party.)

Detroit's schools are in terrible shape. Class sizes continue to stand at some 34 to 35 students per teacher. It was reported in February that of the 193 schools surveyed some 150 have shortages of textbooks, paper, pencils, and other essential supplies. Reagan's budget cuts have cost Detroit schools some $14 million per year in Federal money and, among other things, caused 7,000 disadvantaged students to be expelled from programs for special tutoring in reading and math. Although the Michigan state government has recently stepped up school funding, this money is being geared to the "academic achievers" while the masses of students are left to go down the tubes. As a recent study by the National Coalition of Advocates for Students put it, "state and local financing of schools adds up to a conspiracy to spend more money on rich kids and less money on poor kids." (Detroit Free Press, January 29, 1985) The children of the workers and poor are hardly receiving an education.

It is not too surprising then that the youth, faced with the horrible school conditions and the future prospects of unemployment and poverty, are becoming alienated. Side-by-side one finds some of the youth being propelled towards petty crime and, at the same time, a growing sentiment among others to stand up and fight against their wretched conditions. Worried about the growing rebelliousness, and unwilling to alleviate the abominable conditions, the government is turning to repression against the dissatisfied youth.

Last November, Detroit's liberal Democratic Mayor, Coleman Young, declared a comprehensive program for a supposed "war on crime." Echoing the policy of the Reaganites, one of the chief aims of this program is to bring the hammer down on the high school students.

City Police Raid the High Schools

At a press conference on November 27, 1984 Mayor Young announced that, along with the hiring of 51 additional security policemen for permanent stationing in the schools, a special "strike force" of city policemen was being formed to make unannounced raids on the schools. As Young put it, "We will descend, without notice, on any school in this city, where we have reason to believe guns are in use and do a shake- down. We will search every student and every locker and any other orifice and opening that has to be searched. We will use electronic devices and whatever other means. That's a strong measure. But hard times call for hard measures. And we're prepared to be just as hard as we have to be." (Detroit Free Press, November 28,1984)

Since December there have been at least six such police raids on different high schools and middle schools. City policemen and school guards force thousands of kids to line up as they arrive at school. Each student is searched with metal detectors; purses, lunch bags, lockers, etc., are gone through; and anyone that looks "suspicious" is pulled aside for a more thorough search. Meanwhile, any kid that tries to leave is grabbed by plainclothes cops and interrogated in the office. In at least two cases, teenagers who had been told by their mother to refuse being searched were held in the principal's office, were told they could not return to classes until they agreed to being searched, and were not even allowed to call home.

In the raids thus far at least 45 students have been arrested for carrying such items as small amounts of marijuana, alcohol, pocket knives, and other objects that the policemen considered to look like "weapons." These students were automatically suspended from school and put up for expulsion. As well, those who are 17 or older are being prosecuted in the city courts as adults.

Originally Mayor Young claimed that such "strong measures" as mass searches and the criminal prosecution of students were necessary because of a "crime" epidemic characterized by "wanton shootings in the streets. Shootings that have affected our young people and even extended into the schools." (Detroit Free Press, November 28, 1984) While these are serious concerns, Young has been exaggerating their proportions to justify using police terror against all of the students. Thus far only two pistols have been discovered in all of the raids. What is more, the police make no distinction between the student who carries a pocket knife in his neighborhood for self-defense and accidentally brings it to school and the student who is armed to rip off his fellow students. Indeed, you don't have to be armed at all to be harassed since every student is herded through the searches like common criminals.

And this is the real point to these police raids, to harass all of the students, to "teach them their place," and thus to try to head off any student rebellion before it can even get started.

Threatening the Parents as Well as Their Kids

Meanwhile, the school board has threatened to prosecute the parents of any kid arrested in the searches and it recently announced that it is already preparing civil law suits to prosecute the parents of two kids who have been caught with guns. The school board's attorney, Ligen D. Moore, declared that, "We want to send a message to parents by suing them for whatever we can get. It's serious enough so that we'll find some money from someone -- even if we have to get a collection agency to snatch their car at midnight. They'll have houses, jewelry, bank accounts, we'll attach if we get a judgment." (Detroit News, November 29, 1984)

How's that for justice? Just imagine how it will help the education of students to have their parents lose their cars (and the jobs they have to drive to) and the homes they live in. It would seem the school board thinks that it is not enough to terrorize the students. Their parents too must be threatened. The government wants the parents' full cooperation in suppressing the youth and they are gearing their repressive machinery to ensure that they get it.

An Excuse for Turning the Schools Into Prison Camps for the Young

Mayor Young and the school officials have tried to justify the sweeping arbitrary searches by claiming they have to clear guns out of the schools because of the large number of kids shot last year. It is estimated that some 248 kids who were 16 years old or younger were shot in Detroit in 1984 and 19 of these died from the wounds. But the government officials fail to point out that most of these cases involved adults shooting kids. Many were accidents. But there were far too many instances where policemen, store owners, and others gunned down kids for merely being rowdy or in revenge for some petty theft. One has to wonder what this country is coming to when the news appears about the 11-year-old who was mowed down for picking grapes from a neighbor's yard.

What is more, the school officials fail to mention that at most only a handful of these shootings took place in the schools. And one of these was when a policeman murdered a 16-year-old. The cop claimed the youth had a gun. But it turned out to be nothing more than a BB pistol. With cases like this it is hard to see how bringing more police into the schools will make them "safer" for the students.

Of course nobody can help but be concerned over the petty crimes, fights, and even shootings that have followed in the wake of the deteriorating conditions of the schools. But Mayor Young and the school officials are obviously exaggerating the question of guns in the schools in order to convince the working masses to go along with turning the public education system into an armed police camp for the youth.

Down With the Police Raids on the Schools, Fight for a Real Education and the Rights of the Youth

The initial fog from Young's media blitz is beginning to clear, and as the abuses of the police raids come to light the first signs of protest are emerging. When the news media set about interviewing parents whose children had been shot in the last year they universally denounced the government's attempts to prosecute the parents of kids who have been caught carrying guns. Other parents have begun to condemn the police raids themselves and a few are preparing lawsuits demanding the end to the arbitrary police searches. Meanwhile, the students are beginning to raise their voices against "making everyone feel like a criminal." These protests are a beginning that should be carried forward into mass struggle against the city government.

The education and needs of the young will not be satisfied by bringing more police into the schools. Rather the government must be forced to improve the education system. And, what is more, the capitalists must be forced to provide jobs and other opportunities for the youth. It is the capitalists who are pushing the youth out of the schools and toward a life of unemployment, impoverishment, petty crime, and hopelessness. The working people can win a decent life for their children only by building up a stern mass struggle against the capitalists and the government that serves them.

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Letter from a high school student

Dear Workers' Advocate,

1985 has begun with a new sign of the anti-democratic character of the U.S. Supreme Court. On January 15, the Supreme Court ruled that the search of student lockers in public schools by the faculty (administrators, teachers) is permissible upon "reasonable suspicion."

What this decision really means is that public school students are now subjected to complete search and seizure of their personal belongings.

The Supreme Court argues their ruling will provide protection for the general student body from drugs, weapons, and other hazards to education.

The court's concerns for student welfare is all fine and nice, but picture a scenario like this: "Hey you, open up your locker. No weapons... what's this?...birth control device?... do your parents know about this....?"

The power the court has granted school faculties is really a tool being used to restrain students from engaging in "non-favorable" activities.

This materialized recently in a Chicago suburban high school where a group of students were penalized for distributing revolutionary material.

They were told to discontinue distribution of this literature because of its "anti-American" character. The administration also threatened to expel these students if they continued to subject the student body to their "biased ideas," which has meant confiscation of any literature the administration views as "subversive."

This is a clear violation of students' rights. It is evidence that the Reaganite offensive is reaching every corner of the public schools. The right-wing plan for educating the population could be summarized by the following: promote the armed forces in the schools, discouraging students from questioning material in every academic subject from mathematics to English, presenting a reactionary view of American and world history, making student government completely subordinate to the administration, etc....the list goes on.

We can only expect the Supreme Court to be issuing decisions in the future aimed at controlling students' words and actions. And the only way to confront this injustice is for students to militantly struggle against these Reaganite provisions.


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Jesse Jackson's 'anti-gang' program:

More Police Measures Against the Youth

(The following article is based on a report from the Chicago Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party.)

The recent campaign of anti-crime hysteria didn't begin with the premeditated racist murders by the "subway vigilante'' in New York. At least in Chicago it didn't. The murder of Benjy Wilson, a popular black high school basketball player, and several gang-related killings, which have taken place from last November till now, have saddened and angered anyone with a heart.

The local media and several Democratic Party politicians immediately geared up to distort the concern of the masses over gang killings into a campaign to "beef up the police'' and "improve relations between the police and the community." It appears that some of these politicians, such as Jesse Jackson, feel that ordinary people should simply forget their decades of experience with racist police brutality and their concerns about their children and start thinking like reactionary policemen themselves.

Take, for example, Jackson's ten-point "anti-gang" program which he announced this past November. According to the Chicago Daily Defender this program includes, among other measures:

* "The community must fight for a new curfew law -- the age must be raised and the time of curfew must be lowered."

* "Laws must be changed to correlate between crime and punishment not age and punishment. The punishment must be made to fit the crime, not the age."

* "Guns and heroin must be seen in a similar vein and said possession of guns should also be held as a federal offense."

* "The community must close ranks -- including law enforcement officials, teachers, public officials, parents...." (Chicago Daily Defender, November 27, 1984)

Jackson does not say a word about going after the rich gang leaders who are making a fortune out of organized crime and who are duping and terrorizing many kids to join gangs and carry out petty crimes. Rather, to stamp out "gang violence," Jackson is calling for increased restrictive measures against all youth, stiffer punishment for youthful offenders and the throwing out of laws that give special consideration for their young age, jailing ordinary people who have bought guns for their own protection, and joining hands with the police to ensure that these repressive measures are carried out with a vengeance.

How is a simple policy of bringing down the hammer on the youth supposed to solve the problem in this capitalist society which romanticizes gang activity as the stuff of legends and heroes and which by its high unemployment, deteriorating schools, decadent culture, and so forth gives the youth little alternative but to join the imperialist army or take up a life of crime? It won't and Jackson knows it.

The real point of his program is simply to demand that black people "close ranks" with the police department and support the strengthening of repression against the masses. It is notable that Jackson announced his program only days after the police organized a racist gang attack to drive the Goffer family out of the segregated "Island" neighborhood. This is just one in a whole series of racist attacks carried out by the "ghetto raiders" of the police department or by gangs organized by the police. Strengthening the police forces only means strengthening the hand of capitalist government to carry out racist terror against the black masses and to suppress any just struggle by the working people.

Gang violence won't be stopped by strengthening the police. Only the working masses, organized into an independent revolutionary force, can resist police and gang terror alike and overthrow the capitalist system which has spawned such atrocities against the people.

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Strikes and workplace news


[Photo: Mississippi school teachers in increasing numbers went out on strike during the last week in February. By March 1st 4,500 teachers had joined the wildcat. They struck in defiance of a court-imposed 10-day cooling off period and in defiance of their union leadership which had agreed to abide by the court order. The average pay for the 13,000 Mississippi teachers is $15,971; this makes them the lowest paid teachers in the U.S. The teachers are demanding a $7,000 raise over the next two years to bring them up to the average pay for teachers in the Southeast. Photo shows teachers on picket line in Hattiesburg.]

Wonder Bread workers picket in Detroit against job elimination

Some 50 workers held a protest and informational picket against job elimination at Detroit's Wonder Bread bakery on February 19.

Wonder Bread employs 150 workers at this bakery. But it announced that on February 22 thirty jobs would be eliminated with the closing of its bun line. The company has also threatened greater job elimination if the workers don't agree to concessions in the upcoming contract.

But the Wonder Bread workers have started on the road of mass protest against the ruthless company. The Wonder Bread workers were joined on the picket line by workers from several other plants in the area including Tastee Bakery, Frito-Lay, and Stroh's Brewery. The Stroh's workers also face the loss of their jobs since the capitalists have threatened that they will permanently close the plant this spring.

The participation of workers from a number of factories joining together to protest against job elimination is a welcome sign. The capitalists are on a rampage of layoffs, plant closings, and takebacks. To beat back this onslaught the workers have no one to turn to but themselves. Yet when the workers from different plants and industries join together and begin to organize themselves as a class then they become a powerful force, and every step in this direction should be encouraged.

No to job elimination!

Organize class struggle against the capitalist offensive!

[Photo: Eight hundred miners from Kentucky and West Virginia picketing on February,18 outside a coal processing plant in Lobata, West Virginia owned by A. T. Massey Coal Company. The Massey company, demanding additional concessions from its workers, refused to sign the industry-wide agreement reached last October. More than 1,000 demonstrators turned out in Lobata on February 19 to protest a threat by Massey to dismiss striking miners. There have been sharp confrontations outside the plant site, with miners throwing rocks at company guards. In one day police arrested hundreds of workers who were sitting down in front of coal trucks to prevent scab coal from being brought into the plant.]

New York City transit workers resist wage cutting and productivity drive:

Bus drivers launch work slowdown

(The following is taken from a leaflet issued by the New York Metro Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on February 12, 1985.)

The Gunft-Kiley [heads of the Transit Authority and the Metropolitan Transit Authority -- ed.] attacks on transit workers, which in 1984 centered in the Car Maintenance Division, have now been extended to bus drivers. On February 6, a new bus schedule put many drivers on a split shift schedule, working both rush hours with layover time in between at only half pay! So, for example, a driver with four hours of midday layover would have to be on the clock ten hours to earn eight hours pay.

Further, the Transit Authority [TA] claims the right to pay drivers straight time for all scheduled work, even when it exceeds eight hours. Taken together, this is a big attempt to force drivers to work 10-12 hour days at straight pay or less. It is a prelude to further wage cutting and the imposition of more split shifts and unpaid labor time and even Replacement of full-time drivers with part-time rush hour drivers.

Drivers are fighting these attacks, however. A work-to-rule slowdown is being waged at various depots. For example, the Daily News reported that more than a quarter of the buses at the Kingsbridge depot pulled out of the barn late on February 9. And, of course, by refusing to pass and by traveling in bunches, drivers can further disrupt the TA schedules. This action, like the motormen's slowdown of 1983, deserves the full support of all transit workers. Mass struggle is the correct way to oppose the TA's attacks.


Currently, the Car Inspectors at various barns are trying to put a similar slowdown into effect. The new inspectors' pick, which went into effect February 3, consolidates job titles, massively increases the daily workload and assigns one foreman to oversee every six workers. Inspectors are forced to stay under their cars all day long, but they are refusing to be rushed in their work. So to keep the cars going out, foremen are again flagging incompletely inspected cars. Inspectors must work to maintain and extend this slowdown in order to force the TA to rescind this new pick, which weighs a ton on the workers' backs.


To the great satisfaction of the TA, its attacks meet with inaction or complete cooperation from the union bureaucrats.

John Lawe [president of Local 100 of the Transit Workers' Union -- ed.] and his TWU cronies made a gift to the TA of inspector and cleaner pick rights as their contribution to "labor-management cooperation." This is the direct cause of the slave labor conditions at the inspection barns since the new pick. When they aren't outright handing over the workers' rights to the TA, the TWU leaders simply shrug their shoulders and say, "There's nothing we can do," or "It's in the contract," or "We'll take it to arbitration."

But the TA couldn't care less. With blatant illegality, the TA simply refuses to implement any arbitration decision it doesn't like. Meanwhile, the workers are threatened with the Taylor Law [which outlaws strikes by public employees -- ed.] whenever they fight to preserve their hard-won contract rights. This is the one-way justice of the capitalist system.

At a time when the TA wants to reimpose slave-like working conditions, it is essential for the workers to get organized to fight back. The present slowdowns, though limited and disorganized, are a definite thorn in Gunn's side and hit hard at his promise to "improve service" on the backs of the transit workers. They also inspire other workers to take up resistance to the TA attacks.

In organizing their resistance, transit workers must not expect any help from the union leaders. They will only sabotage our struggles. We must take matters into our own hands. Workers must spread the word about all acts of resistance throughout the shops and barns. These leaflets should be widely circulated. Workers should link up with the Marxist-Leninist Party and keep it informed of developments to strengthen our agitation. Use any and every opportunity to build unity and a fighting spirit so that every attack can be fought tit for tat!

'New Heats of Steel'

--from a reader


Pounding hues

of yellow orange

flood the cavernous steel barn

of the basic oxygen furnace

where the huge

steel-making vessels rotate

to spill their molten contents

pouring flaming liquid sun, yellow-blue-

white hot to the sounds of sirens

and roaring, running new heats of steel.

Swirling smoke and sound

surrounds us,

we must almost yell

to rise above the din

to talk about the dangers

of imperialist war

of Reagan's plans for nuclear war,

we talk of his plans for an invasion of

Central America

and the need for proletarian revolution:

"what is the importance of Nicaragua,"

"what are the vacillations of the petty-

bourgeois Sandinistas toward the


"what is the importance of MAP(ML)

in leading the workers toward prole

tarian revolution in Nicaragua"

"why we American workers must make

our contribution, to hit the impe

rialist beast at home."

In the midst of screaming oxygen

lances, sirens and smoke

we "ignorant brutes" of industry

deep in the sulfureous

smoke-filled belly of capitalist hell,

the supposed draft animals of capitalism

the "ignorant mass" over whom the

social democrats,

the trotskyites, revisionists and Maoist

opportunists all throw their hands up in despair,

we the "ignorant mass"

who supposedly all "turned to the

right" and "voted for Reagan"

here we are,

only discussing some of the most important

and complex questions of the day

and history,

and all the while

we are making new heats of steel.

[Back to Top]

From the pages of Prensa Proletaria of Nicaragua

[Prensa Proletaria masthead.]

On this page we carry a number of articles from Prensa Proletaria, the newspaper of the Movement of Popular Action (Marxist-Leninist), the Leninist party of the Nicaraguan workers. From them one can see part of the concrete work of MAP-ML and its trade union center, the Workers Front, for the independent organization and mobilization of the toilers.

The articles were taken from Prensa Proletaria, number 12, January 1-15, 1985. Translation is by The Workers' Advocate staff.

Bureaucrats attack the Workers Committee

The Workers Committee (CDT) which was functioning in the construction firm Construcciones Inturismo, and which was working on the coasts of Lake Granada, was disbanded by the Sandinista trade union board of directors, reported Carlos Murillo, leader of the Workers Front in Granada.

The union board of directors accused the workers' leaders of being counterrevolutionaries, "because we struggle to make the bosses comply with the agreements that they made in the contract with us," said Nicolas Selva, worker and director of the Workers Committee.

He added that for nine months "we have been demanding that they install toilets and drinking water for us, and that they give us rubber boots, gloves, and a wage incentive, but even the Minister of Labor is opposed to this incentive," asserted Selva.

Separately, Carlos Murillo denounced the fact that the union board of directors was not elected by the workers, and pointed out that "all its members are at the same time directors of the Sandinista trade union central (CST)."

The Sandinista trade union board of directors prohibited the functioning of the Workers Committee. "In protest of this, some 300 workers from the plants decided not to attend the assemblies that are called by the CST every Thursday, and some workers proposed the formation of the Committee in Defense of the Workers," concluded Murillo.

On the other hand, Felix Pedro Palacios, union representative of the Central Tree Nursery Plant of the Managua Reconstruction Council, denounced the pressures of which he is the victim, on the part of some directors of the CST of Managua.

"They tell me that I am from the Workers Front, that this organization is deviationist and that if I continue there they are going to chase me," said Palacios, at the same time that he mentioned Pablo Martinez, a deserter from the revolutionary workers' movement, as one of the sickening bureaucrats.

Trade union office of the Workers Front is opened in Rivas

The Regional Commission of the Workers Front (Region IV) opened a trade union office in the working class municipality of Buenos Aires, Rivas Department, on Sunday, December 2.

Around 50 workers from the Benjamin Zeledon Sugar Mill (formerly Dolores Mill) and from the biggest tobacco plantations in the zone, accompanied the leaders of the Workers Front and the Movement of Popular Action (Marxist-Leninist) in the opening of the local office.

Isidro Tellez (Chilo), General Secretary of MAP-ML, and his counterpart from the Workers Front,Francisco Gutierrez, reaffirmed during the event the plan of struggle of both organizations and their commitment to the construction of genuine worker-peasant power in Nicaragua.

Bernardo Martinez and Julio Vasquez, directors of the Workers Front of Rivas, put forward that the trade union office will serve to coordinate the defense of the rights and interests of the toilers, to raise the consciousness of the working class through courses and seminars, and to give trade union advice to the toilers of the zone. The trade union office is located on the main street of Buenos Aires.


Stand in struggle against the bourgeoisie and imperialism!

The Marxist-Leninist party of Nicaragua, MAP-ML, rightly defined its tactics with respect to the process of institutionalization: To do battle against the economic crisis and its capitalist base; against the aggression of imperialism; against the policy of austerity and sacrifice for the toilers within the framework of the mixed economy; to confront the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois demagogy on democracy and the political struggle: to fight against the bureaucratic mechanisms of political control of the masses; to work for the propagandizing and defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the organs of power of the working class, for the construction of socialism and the strengthening and development of the party of the working class, its Marxist-Leninist party.

These tasks continue to have enormous force and point out the lines that the advanced proletariat in Nicaragua will have to implement during the year that is now beginning. The working class will have to place itself at the base of the struggle for the defense of its immediate interests and for the conditions that might assure strategic victories against the bourgeoisie and imperialism and against forces, like those of revisionism, which try to tie the working class to the tail of the bourgeoisie or to inactivity with respect to the petty bourgeoisie. Our Marxist-Leninist party has waged and will continue to wage the necessary battles on this line.

We salute the working class and we repeat the call of our party for the days ahead: Stand in struggle against the aggression of the bourgeoisie and imperialism!

People of Nandaime and Carazo demand arms

Through a letter signed by hundreds of inhabitants, the Workers front and the Marxist-Leninist Youth of Region IV are demanding to the government and the defense bodies of the revolution to facilitate "the distribution of all arms to the people, in order to defend and deepen the revolution," according to the heading on the letter.

The document, signed principally by residents of Nandaime and Carazo, holds that the fundamental instrument for the general distribution of arms "ought to be the Popular Militias of Workers, Peasants and Residents." Aaron Moraga and Manuel Corea, regional directors of the Workers Front, declared that they will continue with the collection of signatures to endorse the demand, "giving preference to those who can take the guns into their own hands," said Moraga.

[Photo: Collecting signatures among the working people for petition demanding arms.]

At the Plastinic plant Fight against the bureaucracy!

At Plastinic, a resin-processing and plastic products factory located in Carazo, the workers at the base are experiencing the effects of the disorganization provoked by the bosses and the trade union bureaucracy. Earlier, due to multiple pressures, the union president originally elected by decision of the workers found himself obliged to resign, with the bureaucracy proceeding to name another who did not represent the interests of the workers. In the earlier election the workers at the base had succeeded in counteracting the official formulas for the election of union representatives and in naming those who they believed to be more responsible to the workers.

However, the bureaucracy was able to have its own way, utilizing diverse mechanisms to deceive or neutralize the rank-and-file workers at Plastinic. Thus this union bureaucracy went on to secretly plot with the administration, giving bad recommendations about the workers, making itself the promoter or accomplice in unjust dismissals, capriciously elaborating criteria for the rating of the work, and coordinating with the administration in the application of the [national pay scale guidelines].

On this last point, logically, the bureaucracy tended to have the wage leveling favor more the administrative functionaries, where there are individuals who went from 6,000 to 12,000 cordobas a month in one stroke, than the plant workers, who went from 1,700 to 2,000 cordobas.

However, in January 1985 a new trade union leadership is to be elected. The workers from the various sections of Plastinic -- Extraction, Conversion, Maintenance, Printing, and the revolutionaries employed in administration should get prepared to wage an organized battle against the outrages that the previous leadership has been committing and to elect genuine representatives of the rank-and-file workers. The workers should give these democratically elected representatives all their moral and fighting support to confront the pressures of the bosses and the displaced bureaucracy.

The Workers Front has made a call in this regard to the workers at the base at Plastinic, and supports them in their just struggle for their demands and those of the working class.

[Back to Top]

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


Nicaraguan people shoot down contra helicopter

On February 7, Nicaraguan soldiers shot down a contra helicopter in the Nicaraguan province of Nueva Segovia. The U.S.-supplied helicopter, on its first operational flight since being delivered from Miami two weeks prior, was in the process of evacuating contra terrorists after a battle with Nicaraguan troops. The helicopter's pilot was killed and its passenger injured.

Reagan and Congress are making a song and dance to the effect that, until the administration's hands are untied by Congress, no aid can get to the contras. Actually the U.S. is all the while supplying war materials. In fact, the "Revolutionary Democratic Alliance" contras in Costa Rica claimed that this was the first time they had received a helicopter. (On the other hand, it is possible that it was actually U.S. piloted and from one of the U.S. military task forces directly involved in ferrying contra troops, and the story about its having been turned over to the contras was simply a lie.)

But this helicopter was unable to rescue the contras. Such swift justice is what the contra enemies of the Nicaraguan revolution should expect, because the people of Nicaragua are mobilizing themselves against the cowardly attacks of the CIA and local Nicaraguan reaction.

Reagan double-speak on El Salvador

Military suppression in the name of 'economic aid'

In his February 11 interview Reagan repeated one of his absurd lies about U.S. policy towards Latin America. This, he insisted, is "to try and make these countries self-sufficient and eliminate the great poverty in so many of these countries by simply helping them become more viable economically." Now, as always, he emphasized "...75% of the help we offer is going to be in social and economic aid." (New York Times, February 12, 1985)

Even as he was speaking, an investigation by the bipartisan Congressional Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus was made public documenting that of the $1.7 billion in U.S. aid to the Salvadoran oligarchy since 1980 (which the administration has specifically characterized as 75% economic) fully 85% has been military aid. (New York Times, February 12, 1985) As usual the "great communicator" turned out to be simply the great liar.

The full truth, which the congressmen refrained from stating, is that U.S. "aid" amounts to nothing but funding a vicious war against the people. It doesn't "aid" El Salvador, but, on the contrary, the U.S. has been extracting super-profits from the land and labor of the Central American people for decades on end. What is called "aid" is the ammunition used to supply the arsenal for slaughtering the workers and peasants when they object to inhuman exploitation. The small amount of "economic aid" for El Salvador is also designed for the same purpose, being used to prop up the infrastructure needed to support the war, to wage "psychological warfare" by promising some sops to the people, and to create more investment opportunities for the exploiters.

Reagan Can't Open his Mouth Without Lying

The report gave more examples of Reagan's conscious lies, which it politely referred to as examples of how the administration had supplied "insufficient, misleading and in some cases false information" on aid to El Salvador. (Ibid.)

For instance, the administration has also been misrepresenting the number and role of U.S. military personnel in El Salvador. U.S. soldiers are being used in the war far in excess of the official 55 advisors allowed under congressional regulations, and they are directly involved in the war. By making countless exceptions to the 55-man rule, such as temporary personnel, the administration has been deploying over 100 soldiers on any given day, all of whom are free to travel to any part of the country with Salvadoran Army units. For example, numbers of soldiers on temporary duty to El Salvador have performed such functions as equipping aircraft for combat and selecting targets for bombings, without being counted among the 55.

As well, the Congressional caucus pointed out that in 1984 Reagan asked Congress for $93 million in emergency aid to avert an alleged arms supply crisis, when in fact no arms shortage existed and $32 million of the arms supply fund was still unspent. The emergency aid was actually used to outfit new troops and escalate the war.

The Congressmen Are Only Timid Critics of Reagan's Lies -- Because They Too Stand for Crushing the Salvadoran People

Is the Congressional caucus exposing the scope of U.S. military aid because it is opposed to military intervention? Not in the least. While the congressmen may politely criticize Reagan for misstating the use of the emergency aid last year, they are the same ones who were quick to pass the $93 million based on its alleged purpose -- averting an arms shortage for the Salvadoran generals. Rather than becoming panic-stricken at the thought of the death-squad generals being empty-handed, true opponents of intervention would celebrate such an occasion.

As well, nowhere do the Congressmen call for an end to military intervention in El Salvador. What they stand for is complementing the military aid with more social and economic aid. They are afraid that by relying solely on military aid (with no overall, well-balanced plan for intervention) the U.S. is going to lose the war, despite what they term the "overly optimistic reports" from the Reagan administration.

U.S. policy in El Salvador, as in the whole of Latin America, is to try to crush the revolutionary movement of the working masses. The heavy military aid to El Salvador, expected to be about one-half billion dollars this year, serves this policy by supplying and managing the oligarchy's war against the people. The Congressmen only differ with Reagan on how to fight the Salvadoran people, not on whether to do so. That is why they are so polite about his lies. Only the true opponents of intervention in Central America, only the true friends of the Salvadoran workers and peasants, can consistently expose, in full, the lies of the Reaganites.

[Photo: Garment workers on strike against Davis Pleating Co. joined Los Angeles demonstration demanding U.S. out of El Salvador.]

Reagan administration backs death squad parties in El Salvador

The U.S. imperialists are once again stage-managing the Salvadoran elections, only this year they are singing a new tune.

Last May the CIA spent $2 million to elect Christian Democratic President Duarte over his far right opponent Roberto D'Aubuisson. The U.S. government then portrayed Duarte as a "moderate," dedicated to reforms and curbing the death squads. But once again Duarte was shown to be nothing but a figurehead as he presided over yet another year of the oligarchy's brutal war against the Salvadoran masses.

Now it seems that last year's promises about Duarte's reforms were not fantastic enough for the Reaganites, because this year they are promoting that, actually, the best way to stop the death squads is to support the death squad leaders!

Sure enough, the U.S. embassy in San Salvador has already indicated that, in the March 31 Legislative Assembly elections, it will throw its weight behind the death squad parties themselves: the ARENA party, led by "blowtorch" D'Abuisson, and the conservative Party of National Conciliation.

The embassy's twisted rationale is that if the far right does not gain a share of power "within the democratic framework" (through the sham elections) it will return to its murder campaigns of 1980-1984. One might as well deny the law of gravity as reason this way. The conservative parties in El Salvador are the straight-out standard-bearers of terror against the masses. To back them can have no other meaning then open advocacy of murder and fascist tyranny.

The conservative parties do already hold the lion's share of political power in El Salvador; they control both the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court, and, most importantly, they are entrenched in the reactionary armed forces. This power has not discouraged their terrorist practices in the least. In fact they have become so shameless that in broad daylight they gun down fellow government officials over minor differences. (See the article "Justice in the Land of the Death Squads" in the last issue of The Workers' Advocate on the murder of Pedro Rene Yanez, Duarte's "Presidential Commissioner of Integrity.")

The outcome of the CIA-organized elections this year will not alter the situation in El Salvador any more than in past years. Whether in the hands of a military junta, or Duarte's Christian Democrats or D'Aubuisson's ARENA, the Salvadoran government remains a dictatorship of the exploiting landlords and capitalists who are waging a vicious civil war against the working people. Until this war is won by the masses through revolution, and the dictatorship thrown off, there can be no serious talk of democracy or of stopping the death squads. The revolutionary struggle of the toilers is the only bulwark against the terror of the Salvadoran reactionary classes.

No to Reagan's lies against Nicaragua!

The last month has seen a ferocious campaign of lies by the Reagan administration against the Nicaraguan people and revolution. Reagan and his officials, such as Secretary of State Schultz, have made one warmongering statement after another, and one fantastic lie after another.

The occasion for these lies is Reagan's campaign for Congress to vote money for the contras. The overall purpose of the campaign is to whip, up war hysteria against Nicaragua.

Let us examine some of the propaganda themes of this militarist campaign. As we shall see, Reagan believes in the "big lie." He doesn't believe in trying to anchor his statements in even the appearance of fact, but prefers reiterating the most absurd nonsense over and over.

* Reagan and Schultz and the generals have told the public repeatedly that Nicaragua is arming for aggressive war.

The fact, however, is that the U.S. military is already waging hidden warfare against Nicaragua. It has mined Nicaraguan harbors. It arms the contras and ferries them in and out of Nicaragua in U.S. helicopters. It blows up Nicaraguan oil facilities. And to cover this up, Reagan tells us that it is little Nicaragua that is planning war.

Imagine the full cynical mentality of the Reaganites. Secretary of State Schultz nonchalantly tells American newsmen, on February 22, that American troops may have to be used to overthrow the Nicaraguan government. But the American people are not to believe that the Pentagon is the aggressor: oh no, it is Nicaragua.

* Reagan tells us that Nicaragua must be aggressive, why, it is building up an army stronger than that of its neighbors.

Only in a country with a servile press, such as the U.S., could Reagan get away with that one. The fact is that it is the U.S. military that is the organizer of the warfare against Nicaragua, and the Nicaraguan armed forces must deal with U.S. aggression.

The truth is that it is the U.S. that is arming to the teeth. It is not only arming for world war against the Soviet Union, but it is arming for "special warfare." As far as Central America goes, the U.S. has turned Honduras into one big military staging ground for operations against the Salvadoran revolutionaries and the Nicaraguan people. The U.S. is spending more money for these purposes than the total national budget of Nicaragua -- not just more than Nicaragua's military budget, but more than Nicaragua's total budget.

* Reagan tells us that the Nicaraguans have betrayed the revolution

Here; is another Reaganite big lie. For Reagan to take on the role of guardian of the revolution is like Hitler presenting himself as a spokesmen for the Jews. Reagan is the enemy of revolutions all around the world. And, as far as Nicaragua goes, he arms the forces of the overthrown Somoza tyranny.

* Reagan tells us that the Nicaraguans are nothing but trainers of terrorists.

Really now, here too Reagan accuses his opponents of his own crimes. Can one imagine any greater hypocrisy than Reagan, while arguing in favor of voting millions upon millions of dollars to the contra gangsters who murder Nicaraguan government ministers, sabotage Nicaraguan farms and factories, etc, accusing others of being terrorists? And indeed it is the same Reagan administration that has expanded as fast as it can the military forces for secret warfare and the intelligence agencies for "covert operations." Furthermore these agencies have produced such works as the CIA murder manual instructing the contras to murder as many of their opponents as they can, in order to intimidate the people, and even to kill their own supporters, so as to create martyrs. Now, just who is the real terrorist.

* Reagan charges that the Nicaraguans want to take their revolution beyond their own borders.

In making this charge, Reagan forgets that he has already charged the Nicaraguans with having given up and betrayed their revolution. Reagan had claimed that it was he who wanted to bring the benefits of revolution to other lands, yet now he thinks the revolution should stop at Nicaragua's borders. Ah well, Reagan's career as a revolutionary was short-lived indeed.

But the main issue is that it is U.S. imperialism itself that takes every opportunity to expand beyond its borders. Reagan defines the national interests of the U.S. as extending all over the world: whether it is the form of government in Nicaragua or the price of oil in the Middle East, the building of an airstrip in Grenada or the use of harbors in New Zealand. It is the U.S. that is seeking world domination.

* Reagan says that Nicaragua is a Soviet base.

In fact, the Nicaraguan revolution was made by the people, and it is the revolutionary people who are Reagan's real enemy. Reagan's mentality is that either you are the pawns of the U.S. or the pawns of the Soviet Union. It is totally beyond him, a bought and paid for advertising man of the corporations, that the working people live and fight on their own, for their liberation from oppression and tyranny.

The Soviet Union is one of the forces with influence on the Sandinistas. But this influence is negative. Its main role is to put additional pressure on the Sandinistas to make a deal with U.S. imperialism, with the neighboring reactionary states, and with the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie.

* Reagan says that the contras are his brothers, and it is necessary to support one's brothers.

Here, at long last, Reagan has hit on some truth. Reagan is indeed a class brother of the murderers, cut-throats, terrorists, Somoza supporters, etc. that all together comprise the contras.

Furthermore, the American people should indeed support their brothers in Nicaragua and not leave them in the lurch. Only, we add, the people should support their brothers, and not Reagan's brothers. All progressive people should render firm support to the Nicaraguan workers and peasants in their struggle against U.S. imperialism and the local bourgeoisie.

Solidarity With the Nicaraguan People

Reagan's talk is nothing but a series of worthless lies. Yet we must take seriously what he says -- it shows that U.S. imperialism is hellbent on subjecting the Nicaraguan people to a new tyranny. We must link ourselves arm in arm with the Nicaraguan workers and peasants against this aggressive intent of Reagan. We must support the Nicaraguan revolution. And, as one part of this struggle, we must expose the crass lies of the Reaganites to the widest circles of the working people, hold Reagan up to ridicule, and inspire the revolutionary urge to get organized for class struggle against the Reaganite offensive.

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Reagan's 'Star Wars' plans:

Arming the heavens for a 'winnable' nuclear slaughter on earth

For decades Ronald Reagan made his money as a TV ad man for GE and the other monopolies. But the President has graduated from soap and appliances to bigger and better things: selling GE's and the other war contractors' multi-billion dollar devices of nuclear slaughter. Over the last several months Reagan has passed his time doing TV appearances to plug for the Pentagon's latest craze in nuclear warfare -- Star Wars or the so-called Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).

He tells us: The SDI is the most wonderful idea; it's the defensive miracle weapon that "is only meant to save lives"; it's the weapon to end all weapons, rendering the superpowers' nuclear arsenals harmless and obsolete. This is how Reagan is plugging for his plan to spend $26 billion for Star Wars research over the next five years, a cost which the Pentagon admits could multiply into the trillions of dollars in later phases of development.

A "Defensive" Shield for Launching a First Strike Attack

In reality, Star Wars is an aggressive plan for gaining "first strike capability" for launching war.

It doesn't take a military genius to see through Reagan's con job. From the time of the ancients, unleashing war has required defensive tools of war as much as offensive ones. However, Reagan would have us believe that when the Roman legions launched an invasion only their swords and spears were used for war and conquest, while their shields and helmets were just for defensive purposes and "saving lives."

The idea behind the SDI is to find a space-based system to knock out incoming missiles. For the Pentagon strategists, such a system is no more "defensive" than the millions of tons of steel and concrete used to harden launching pads for ICBM's or the submarines used to hide and protect nuclear missiles under the oceans.

U.S. imperialism's drive to achieve "first strike capability" has two closely linked goals: first, to outstrip the Soviet rivals in the capacity to deliver the most megatons with the greatest accuracy and devastating force; and second, to keep to the minimum the damage to U.S. military strength in a retaliatory strike. Both are critical to achieving "first strike" capability. From the Pentagon standpoint, Star Wars is just another cog in U.S. imperialism's monster machinery for "winnable nuclear war."

At this point any SDI system (space-based lasers, particle beam guns, or whatever) is still technological fantasy. However, even if one of these fantasies is turned into a functioning system, there isn't a general in the Pentagon who believes in Reagan's fairy tale of an ironclad defense.

But for the Pentagon and U.S. imperialism what's important is that Star Wars might provide the edge in the nuclear exchange, and thereby realize their stated goal of "prevailing" in any nuclear conflagration. On top of the ashes and radioactive dust U.S. imperialism will be ensured of victory in its quest for world domination.

A New Spiral of Arming and Rearming for War

The fraud that Star Wars is being developed to end the arms race is exposed by the fact that the militarists are already working on plans to foil any space-based defenses the Soviet Union may deploy. It is claimed that the Pentagon has not yet taken space-based anti-missile weapons beyond the research stage, and it is likewise claimed that the Soviet Union is even further behind. But that hasn't stopped the generals from setting to work building new missile systems for penetrating the new generation anti-missile systems that don't yet exist.

According to a report in the February 11 New York Times, the Air Force has maintained for the last two decades a secret operation called the Advanced Strategic Missile System program. Its mission: "to design and test advanced decoys, zig-zagging warheads and other devices designed to sneak past any defense the Soviet Union can develop."

Just as sure as the right foot marches with the left foot, along with the accelerated drive for new anti-missile systems, the drive for new, more indestructible missile systems has also been cranked up. The Advanced Strategic Missile Systems program, part of the research side of this effort, has had its funding nearly doubled this year to $174 million and will get another $216 million the next year.

The program has set to work the resources of the big universities and corporations (such as TRW Corp., and Lincoln Laboratories of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to come up with advanced "penetration aids" and "defense suppression systems." The idea behind all this, as the head of the program, Air Force Major Larry Skapin, put it: "You can always beat the other guy's defenses if you know what he's got coming at you."

Meanwhile, War Secretary Caspar Weinberger has reported to Congress that progress in space-based missile defenses will require ringing North America with a whole new radar and interceptor defense system against low-flying bombers and cruise missiles. Weinberger projected that this supplementary defense alone will cost some $50 billion a year to build and operate.

In short, far from rendering nuclear weapons harmless and obsolete, Star Wars represents a most costly and dangerous new spiral in the soaring arms race.

The Imperialist System is What is Obsolete and Must Be "Rendered Harmless"

When Reagan is asked about the billions and trillions an operating Star Wars system will cost, he smiles reassuringly and promises that a product this wonderful is surely worth the price. Indeed, for the imperialists no price is too high for realizing military supremacy and world hegemony. The Star Wars "initiative" is just another sign that the whole society is being subordinated to these wonderful goals of the militarists and billionaires.

A recent national study estimates that 20 million people in this country are going hungry, while the war machine is going to be stuffed with a trillion dollar buildup over the next three years. The plague of illiteracy is spreading and the doors to the colleges are being closed to the working people, while the intellectual and scientific capacity of the country is absorbed with filling the oceans and heavens with new tools of mass murder.

Star Wars is just another sign that capitalist rule holds in store for the working people nothing but poverty, war and the dangling threat of nuclear extermination. Such a system has surely outlived its time. The only way out for the working people is to take up their weapon of all weapons, the revolutionary mass struggle for the new socialist society, for the new world where the bloated nuclear arsenals and the militarists and imperialists who gave rise to them will be "rendered harmless."

[Back to Top]

Boston University students protest:

CIA, Out of the Universities!

[Photo: Student action at Brown University disrupted CIA recruiting attempts on campus, November 1984.]

On Wednesday, February 7, 1984, students at Boston University demonstrated against the CIA on their campus. An ad hoc coalition of student groups under the title Community Council mobilized students within one day to protest the CIA thugs. The activists, independently, distributed a special leaflet on the university campus calling on progressives to participate in the protest.

They marched from the cathedral to Martin Luther King Center and picketed outside. At one point, a university official came out and told the students that the CIA was "out to lunch." Knowing that this was a lie, the students did not disperse but instead marched around the campus and went to the Link, the BU student center, and marched back with up to 50 students.

The students took up slogans calling for "CIA Out of BU" and also "PIA not CIA." PIA refers to the Program in Artisanry which the university is eliminating because it is not profitable. In addition, many anti-interventionist slogans such as "CIA Out of Nicaragua" were taken up. John Silber, a Democrat who served on the Kissinger Commission and is the president of Boston University, was also vehemently denounced. Silber, a racist and fascist, is notorious for his police state measures on campus. Silber, however, dared not release his campus police, who have been deputized with Boston Police powers, on the student protest fearing reprisals.

The Student hails the activists at BU and completely supports their actions against the CIA on their campus. We are especially happy in seeing their efforts in independent organizing and their denunciation of Reagan's war in Central America. Although The Student does not know the political nature of the Community Council, one activist in the Council commented on the need to break with the Democrats and build a student movement. More activists need to take such a stand in order to build an anti-imperialist movement.

In the recent past students at Tufts, Brown, the University of Massachusetts, and many universities throughout the country have denounced the CIA imperialist recruiters on their campuses. Such actions and the growing disgust at Reagan's war in Central America are blowing to the wind the bourgeois media's theories that students "don't care anymore." We call on more students and progressives to become involved to build a serious fight against U.S. imperialism.

CIA, off university campuses!

Build the anti-imperialist movement!

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Anti-Apartheid Demonstrations in California

Throughout the past month demonstrations against apartheid continued throughout the country. California in particular was the scene of a series of spirited protests.


The largest of the actions in California took place on February 14 at UCLA (the Los Angeles campus of the University of California). Some 1,200 students confronted university officials, demanding an end to the university's massive $1.7 billion investment in companies doing business in South Africa.

The protest began with a noontime rally. Then the demonstrators marched to the building where the University of California Board of Regents was eating lunch. The march was joined by many students along the way and became increasingly militant. When the demonstrators reached the building they demanded that the regents appear before them. When the regents refused, the angry students chanted with raised fists: "Bring them out or we'll go in.'' Then the students carried their protest inside the building. When the mass action eventually forced some of the regents to meet the students, the students raised their demands directly to the regents. The regents arrogantly refused to agree with the just divestment demands, showing the strong links between the American capitalists and politicians on the Board of Regents and the South African apartheid racists. The struggle for divestment continues.

At Berkeley

Meanwhile at the University of California's Berkeley campus a militant demonstration of 250 also raised the same demand for divestment. Raising slogans such as "USA, UC out of South Africa!'' the students marched throughout the campus rallying in front of various administration buildings. The march ended at Sproul Hall where about 60 people barricaded the hall.

Showing their support for apartheid, the campus authorities had two protesters arrested. As well they filmed the students' rally to gather evidence and intimidate the students. This reactionary suppression shows how the university officials fear the growth of the anti-apartheid movement. In fact their fear is such that they have postponed a meeting on the divestment issue until June when they hope few students will be around to protest their pro-apartheid stand. In order to foil these plans, the students are demanding a meeting in May.

In San Francisco

Besides the campus protests, an anti- apartheid picket of over 100 was held on February 12 in front of the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The demonstration targeted a party held by the South African Tourism Board, South African Airways and others to promote vacations in South Africa. With this affair, the racist regime hoped to overcome the effects of the efforts to boycott travel to South Africa and lure tourist dollars to prop up the apartheid system.

Work of the MLP

The MLP has been working diligently to provide revolutionary direction for the anti-apartheid movement. Prior to the February 12 demonstration the MLP distributed a leaflet at factories and in communities all over the San Francisco Bay Area, seeking to draw the working masses into the struggle. The leaflet emphasized that the anti-apartheid movement "can strike real blows against apartheid if it stands firmly in support of the revolutionary movement of the workers and students of South Africa and if it openly targets U.S. imperialism here at home."

The MLP took this orientation and leaflet into the picket itself. Hundreds of leaflets were snapped up by the activists and the passing traffic along with many copies of The Workers' Advocate. A large banner and picket signs were used to popularize the revolutionary politics. The pickets proclaimed: "Down with Apartheid!'' "Boycott South Africa!'' "Down with Racism, Down with Apartheid!'' and "Liberation Yes, Apartheid No!'' The MLP contingent also shouted militant slogans and distributed red ribbons for the activists to wear as a symbol of opposition to apartheid.

The MLP also took an active role in the Berkeley demonstration where its revolutionary leaflet was widely circulated.

The continuing demonstrations and the good response to the revolutionary work of the MLP are signs of the vitality of the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. While Reagan flaunts support for apartheid through his "constructive engagement'' policy and while the reformist politicians wring their hands in dismay at the sight of the revolutionary movement in South Africa and call for "dialogue'' with apartheid, the progressive masses in the U.S. are angry and indignant against apartheid and ready for a fight.

[Photo: Berkeley students protest against apartheid, February 14.]

[Photo: Banner of the MLP in the anti-apartheid picket against racist gala at the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, February 12.]

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Mayor Tom Bradley of Los Angeles denounced for collaboration with apartheid

On January 24th, 65 activists picketed the local NAACP "Bradley Award,'' in order to protest the collaboration of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley with the South African apartheid officials. It turns out that Bradley had given the key to the city to South African Consul General Sean M. Cleary on August 16, 1982 in the rich suburb of Beverly Hills. Yet the NAACP, as an organization of reformist representatives of the black bourgeoisie, saw nothing wrong with honoring Bradley and giving special awards in his name. What is important for them is gaining positions with the ruling bourgeoisie, even at the expense of joining the ruling class in trampling upon the black masses at home and in South Africa.

Meanwhile Bradley's defense of his action consisted of making public a letter addressed to apartheid chief of state Botha containing Bradley's polite suggestions for change. It seems that Bradley could think of nothing better than to imitate Reagan and the notorious "constructive engagement,'' which gives support to the apartheid racists under the hoax of engaging in "quiet diplomacy.'' It also showed that electing representatives of the black bourgeoisie to high office, such as Mayor Tom Bradley, makes no difference at all to the Reaganite racist offensive. It is only the development of the revolutionary movement of the working people against capitalism and national oppression, not the choice between different types of capitalist politicians, that provides a force against racism and for progress.

[Photo:"Uncle Tom" Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, presents key to city to racist South African consul.]

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TransAfrica on how to fight apartheid:

Opposing revolution in the name of reform

In the January issue of The Workers' Advocate we examined the stand of the black reformists in the struggle against apartheid. (See the article "The Black Reformists Dread Revolution More Than They Dread Apartheid.'') In this article we will look specifically at the group called TransAfrica, which is the major coordinating center for the participation of the reformists in the anti-apartheid movement.

TransAfrica was founded in 1977. Describing itself as "the black American lobby for Africa and the Caribbean,'' it functions as a congressional lobbying group of the black bourgeoisie. TransAfrica focuses on U.S. policy in Africa and the Caribbean although it also takes stands on other issues. For example TransAfrica praised last year's version of the anti-immigrant Simpson-Mazzoli bill proposed by Congressman Roybal of California. (For Roybal's stand last year see "Democrats Shepherd the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill Through the House'' in the August 1984 issue of The Workers' Advocate.)

The chairman of TransAfrica's board of directors is the black mayor of Gary, Indiana, Richard Hatcher. Its executive director is Randall Robinson, a Harvard- educated lawyer who worked as an aide for the former Congressional Black Caucus leader Charles Diggs of Michigan.

Following the recent upsurge of struggle in South Africa, TransAfrica and its executive director Robinson have gained much attention from the bourgeois media as the driving force behind the liberal coalition known as the Free South Africa Movement, founded in November 1984. This is a steering committee of reformist misleaders set up to coordinate the well-publicized protests at the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Randall Robinson is a co-chairman of the committee and its "key strategist,'' according to TransAfrica.

The membership of the Free South Africa Movement reads like a who's who of reformism. There are many bureaucrats (for example, members of federal commissions, such as Mary Frances Berry), politicians (including Jesse Jackson, who is on the steering committee) and others who live on the positions they obtain as members of the Democratic Party. There are many self-proclaimed leaders of the black movement who live on the goodwill they have earned from the big corporations and the capitalist politicians. There are some trade union bureaucrats who have sat on their hands as the union leadership has forced one concession deal after another down the throats of the rank and file, cutting wages, job security, safety and other working conditions. But there is not a single militant worker who has fought the union bureaucrats, not a single leader who has fought against both capitalist parties for building a revolutionary movement, not a single representative of the real masses of the black people. It is a group picked to include only the "respectable" big-wigs, without a single person who might rock the boat.

TransAfrica Stands for a Reformist Accommodation With the South African Regime

While TransAfrica "militantly" criticizes apartheid, it advocates that the struggling masses reach an accommodation with the racist oppressors. Its basic stand is ' 'to compel the start of good faith negotiations between the released leaders [trade unionists and others jailed by the regime--ed.] and the South African government, both on the grievances which prompted the most recent outbreaks of violence, as well as the ongoing denial of power- sharing to the black majority in South Africa." (TransAfrica News Release, November 23,1984)

TransAfrica does not support the masses rising up in revolutionary struggle to smash the racist regime. Instead the masses are supposed to trust their fate to the "good faith" of the slave masters in negotiations and eventual "power-sharing." Can there be anything more ridiculous than relying on persuading a regime that Robinson himself equates with Hitler's Nazis?

These negotiations are to lead to "power-sharing." And what does it mean to share power with the racists? Whatever the reformists may think, in reality it means leaving the repressive apparatus of the racists intact. It means that a handful of black sellouts will be brought into the white power structure to share in administering the racist system. And it means the racist oppression of the masses will continue unabated.

A Group Whose Declared Purpose Is To Prevent Revolution in South Africa

As a matter of fact, one of the main preoccupations of TransAfrica and the Free South Africa Movement is to prevent revolution in South Africa. This has been declared over and over again in the statements of the members and supporters of the Free South Africa Movement. They say that they see the present order is tottering in South Africa, and they make it their goal to ensure that there is no revolution and that future governments remain in the American camp.

This was recently reiterated in a statement by a number of members of the steering committee of the Free South Africa Movement, including Randall Robinson, Congressman Walter Fauntroy, and federal Civil Rights Commissioner, Mary Frances Berry. Seeking to set right "observations that are at once strange and dead wrong" from "many commentators in the press and some officials in the Reagan administration," they stressed:

"Finally, the purpose of these demonstrations must be kept clearly in focus. Its goals are, by no stretch of the imagination, radical. Many of us have been to South Africa, and our conclusions are similar to those of thousands of other observers who have traveled to that troubled land. The apartheid regime cannot stand. It will be changed either by bloody revolution or by peaceful political processes. Our central demand: that the true leaders of the black, 'colored' and Asian communities be released from jail and be invited by the government to join in a political process designed to achieve change without bloodshed." (Washington Post Weekly Edition, February 18, 1985, p. 29, emphasis added)

Thus, in the name of avoiding bloodshed, the Free South Africa Movement dedicates itself to preventing revolution. Instead, we see once again that it presents a fairytale of Prime Minister Botha emptying the jails, inviting the opposition leaders to tea, and changing the system. The white racists, armed to the teeth, are to peacefully and meekly agree to alter the system a bit, hand in hand with the black people.

Why even arch-racist and chief apartheid leader Prime Minister Botha himself sees that the present system needs some change. That is why he rigged up the mock, powerless parliament for sellout leaders from the Asian and colored (mixed race) communities, and why he is talking about maybe allowing a few mixed-race marriages. But he wants to keep the basic system of oppression intact and even strengthened.

The Free South Africa Movement insists that these meaningless changes be undertaken in a way that includes some leaders from the black and oppressed communities, just as the racist Democrats and Republicans have co-opted various black reformists in the U.S. and put them on government commissions while continuing to shoot down the black masses in the streets. And for the sake of this perspective, the Free South Africa Movement takes upon itself the task of preventing the revolutionary movement. And it assures the commentators in the bourgeois press and "some officials in the Reagan administration" that it is not "radical," oh no, it is against the revolution, too.

Presenting Imperialism as the Masses' Liberator

Since TransAfrica opposes the revolutionary struggle of the masses they are forced to look elsewhere for the force that will bring about the reforms they advocate. This turns out to be the imperialist corporations and the Western imperialist governments themselves, such as the Reagan administration, if only it will give up the infamous "constructive engagement" policy.

For example, Randall Robinson suggests that apartheid can be abolished by the U.S. and European imperialist corporations pulling out of South Africa. Thus says Robinson: "If these companies withdraw, the South African government would shut down." (Detroit Free Press, December 17, 1984) The demand for the multinationals to get out of South Africa is a just demand. The struggle for divestment can be utilized as one method to help develop support for the revolutionary movement. But Robinson uses it to oppose revolution and falsely contend that divestment itself will end apartheid. This is tantamount to spreading the fable that the masses will not be liberated through struggle to smash the racists, but by U.S. and European imperialism, who will have a change of heart and stop propping up the apartheid rulers, who in turn will throw up their hands and peacefully agree to help the masses dismantle apartheid through "good-faith" power sharing.

Trying to Work With the Reaganites

TransAfrica not only creates illusions about imperialism in general. They are also seeking to reach an accommodation with the Reaganites in particular. Thus, while they denounce Reagan's frank support for the apartheid regime, they take any opportunity they can find to prettify the Reaganites.

For example, Randall Robinson states: "We've got not only liberals but lots of conservative Republicans who want no part of apartheid." (New York Times, January 15, 1985) To Robinson even the conservative Republicans, who are in the forefront of Reagan's segregationist offensive in the U.S., want to liberate the black people in South Africa!

With this kindly attitude toward the Reaganites and the men of the corporate boardrooms, TransAfrica is unable to fight seriously even for the very divestment whose role they exaggerate.

Seeking to Preserve U.S. Imperialist Credibility Among the Black People of South Africa

As TransAfrica and the Free South Africa Movement view Western imperialism as the masses' liberator, they see one of their basic tasks as being to preserve the faith of the South African masses in the U.S. government and system. They criticize Reagan's "constructive engagement" because it creates a bad opinion of the U.S.

For example, consider the statement by Randall Robinson and others in The Washington Post National Weekly Edition that we have already cited above. It goes on to explain why the Free South Africa Movement opposes "constructive engagement" as follows:

"And our demand that our government abandon its policy of 'constructive engagement' is designed to put our country on the right side of history. There is no question that a government dominated by blacks will someday rule South Africa. A major issue for Americans is how that government will view the United States. As the hostile reception accorded Sen. Edward Kennedy by a small but significant minority of activist blacks indicated, 'constructive engagement' is engendering a substantial amount of hostility toward this country among people who yearn to be free. We simply want our government to abandon the cause of the oppressors and to join the moral struggle for freedom."

It should be noted that Randall Robinson and company, when they talk about the U.S., do not distinguish between the government and the working people. They are clearly talking about "our government" and the image of this government, and the system of exploitation and oppression for which it stands. They stress that their aim is to preserve the reputation of this government among the black masses, and their strategy for the movement in the U.S. is to bring the American government into the struggle for freedom. They don't suggest any changes in the American government needed to do this other than simply dropping the mistaken policy of "constructive engagement." As far as they are concerned, even the Reagan administration could join the struggle, just as, as we shall see in a moment, they believe that the Carter government had championed freedom.

Similarly, they do not hail the hostile reception accorded Sen. Edward Kennedy and point to Kennedy's betrayal of the black people in the U.S. and his support for imperialism against the world's people. Instead they wring their hands over the denunciation of Kennedy precisely because it indicates the anger and indignation against the U.S. government and system as a whole.

Watering Down the Mass Struggle in the U.S.

Because TransAfrica does not want a fight against imperialism, but instead views imperialism as the people's liberator, and because they view themselves as an advisor to the U.S. government, they want to confine the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. to helping imperialism take a better stand. Therefore nothing must be done that will scare imperialism or impede rapprochement with the conservatives. Thus TransAfrica is only for the most mild forms of struggle that are designed simply to generate some publicity and increase the prestige of the liberals who will thus be able to get a better deal from the conservatives.

TransAfrica does not see any role for the masses other than as a cheering squad for the liberals. It only embarked on any demonstrations at all most reluctantly. Their alpha and omega is the current political alignments in Congress. Thus Robinson says: "Where it really counts -- in congressional support for sanctions -- this movement is still growing."

Clearly the development of a powerful mass movement depends on overcoming the reformist framework advocated by TransAfrica and other reformists. It is not the reformists, but only the revolutionaries,. who will utilize the mass outrage against apartheid to organize the masses and spread the conviction of the need to fight the U.S. imperialist system and the racist and imperialist parties of American capitalism.

TransAfrica Worships the Democratic Party

While TransAfrica is willing to play footsie with the Reaganites its basic stand is support for the Democrats. TransAfrica has numerous direct ties to this party of imperialism and war.

Indeed TransAfrica was intimately involved in formulating sections of the Democrats' 1984 foreign policy platform. This work began when Jesse Jackson asked them to prepare a critique of Reagan's foreign policy for Jackson's campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Later Randall Robinson testified before the Democratic Party Platform Committee. Then strategy sessions were held with vice-presidential candidate Ferraro. This process led to TransAfrica authoring a final document on Southern African policy whose recommendations were all incorporated into the Democrats' Southern Africa plank.

TransAfrica's aid to the Democrats stems from its desire to return U.S. imperialism to a Carterite foreign policy. In their publication, TransAfrica News (Vol. 3, no. 1, fall 1984), they state: "In a sharp break from the Carter administration's attempts to pressure the government of South Africa as a means of registering U.S. opposition to apartheid, the Reagan administration, upon taking office, clearly stated its intention to enter a period of accommodation with South Africa."

It is true that Reagan has openly befriended the racist regime. But TransAfrica's description of Reagan's policy as a "sharp break" from Carter's "opposition to apartheid" is a fraud.

The Carter administration was full of hypocritical rhetoric about "human rights" and token gestures against apartheid in South Africa, colonialism in Africa, etc. This was done to disguise U.S. imperialism as a friend of the oppressed people. Carter was concerned with the powerful liberation movements sweeping Africa. His concern was to use token words of sympathy and talk about "human rights" to gain influence on these movements and divert them. When possible he pressed for the struggle to be abandoned in favor of accommodation with the oppressors and minor reforms. When the movements burst forward beyond this, he sought to have their struggles stopped halfway and turned into neo-colonialist channels and the influence of Western imperialism preserved. In all cases he sought to preserve the influence of capitalist and exploiting classes. Meanwhile, despite his prattle about "human rights," he continued to quietly prop up the South African racists.

Carter's policy was sham tears for the masses and real support for the South African racists. Reagan's policy is open support for the South African racists. It is possible that some Republicans might be swayed in the direction of Carter's policy. But of what value would this be to the struggle against apartheid?

Oppose the Reformist Misleaders

TransAfrica's support for the Democratic Party highlights the need for combating the influence of the reformists in the anti-apartheid movement. The Democratic Party is nothing but a party of imperialist aggression, notorious for its efforts to crush the revolutionary struggles worldwide. Clearly solidarity with the struggle of the oppressed people of South Africa means opposing the Democrats and their reformist friends.

The anti-apartheid activists must expose the reformist schemes to oppose revolution with "negotiations" and "power-sharing." The anti-apartheid movement must be built independently of both the Reaganites and the liberal imperialists of the Democratic Party. These tasks are necessary to build a powerful movement that can assist the struggle of the South African masses to overthrow the racist apartheid system.

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At Crossroads, outside Cape Town, South Africa

Shantytown residents battle forced relocation

During the past month there has been a new wave of revolt against the racist South Africa regime. The black toilers, youth and students bravely confronted the racist authorities in a series of pitched battles. The apartheid authorities responded to the people's struggle with their usual savagery, shooting down 23 protesters and arresting scores more.

The Battle at Crossroads

A major clash in the recent upsurge occurred in the large shantytown of Crossroads, near Cape Town. The struggle developed in response to the stepping up of the government's efforts to forcibly relocate the town's 60,000 or more residents to an even worse location in a new government settlement. For some time the racist authorities have been applying pressure to force out the black residents. The government ended its paltry community improvement projects, refusing to fund a school for example. But this only resulted in the residents deciding to stop paying rent for their dwellings. Then the government began simply leveling the homes of the residents, leaving them shelterless. On February 15 the government announced it would take still further measures to evict the people.

In response the residents decided to stay home from work in case the authorities attempted further evictions. As well a demonstration of 3,000 was organized. The authorities tried to suppress the mass action with brute force. But the people battled back regardless. Barricades were erected and the masses hurled rocks and gasoline bombs against the police and their armored vehicles. Only after two days were the police able to suppress the rebellion, after killing 18 residents and wounding hundreds more.

The Shantytown at Crossroads: An Indictment of Apartheid

The events at Crossroads are deeply rooted in the oppression by the apartheid system. A basic tenet of apartheid is that the black population should be driven into bantustans: harsh, undeveloped wastelands of poverty and joblessness. In order to earn a living, though, blacks from the bantustans must migrate to seek work in the cities.

But the apartheid authorities forbid the black families from living in the cities. This has led to the creation of squatter camps on the outskirts of the cities, such as Crossroads.

Apartheid created the conditions that led to the migration to Crossroads. At the same time, the racist officials have declared this migration illegal and are trying to forcibly relocate the residents. Moreover the South African government also had plans to evacuate even the legal black townships around Cape Town along with the people of Crossroads. All together some 300,000 people were to be moved. But the Crossroads rebellion has forced the government to temporarily back down on its plans to relocate. the legal townships.

Over the last twenty years, an estimated 3.5 million people have been subjected to these forced removals. To put a nice face on some nasty business, the government is portraying the eviction plans at Crossroads as a "reform." After all, argue the authorities, the residents will be moved to a new government-built "model" town called Khayelitsha, ten miles away.

But if Khayelitsha is so great, why must the authorities force people there at gunpoint? Besides the fact that the move is being made in complete disregard for the wishes of the black inhabitants, the situation in the "model" city would be even worse than in Crossroads.

Khayelitsha is built on barren sand dunes. Whole families are to be crammed into houses equivalent in size to one room fifteen feet on a side. Rent would be almost tripled from $3.50 to $10 a month. The residents would also have to pay $15 a month in bus fare just to get to work in Cape Town. These sums would be an unbearable burden on the Crossroads residents whose average income is only $75 a month.

The authorities themselves recognize that many won't be able to pay rent. But don't worry, they say. They will grant such people the "right" to build their own shacks at the new settlement!

Besides all this, the masses are concerned that the racist officials will use the exile to ship "illegal" residents back to the bantustans. The government's cruel evictions policy is a fine example of "reform," apartheid style. Indeed the eviction at Crossroads took place right after the government promised the "reform" of reducing forced removals.

The plight of the people of Crossroads is yet another indictment of the barbaric apartheid system. It is also another exposure of the Reagan administration. According to Reagan's "constructive engagement" policy, apartheid will reform itself if only solid support is given to the racist apartheid government. But the events at Crossroads blow this lie to bits. They show that the "reforms" of the regime are a transparent cover for stepped-up brutality and oppression.

Government Terror Will Not Halt the People's Struggle

Last year the government murdered at least 170 protesters. But the resurgence of struggle in February shows that the government's efforts to crush the struggle have failed. Instead the regime's atrocities have only made the masses more determined to destroy the evil racist system.

[Photo: Residents of Crossroads gather in aftermath of battle with racist police.]

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Mass upsurge against apartheid continues

The events at Crossroads are deeply rooted in the oppression by the apartheid system. A basic tenet of apartheid is that the black population should be driven into bantustans: harsh, undeveloped wastelands of poverty and joblessness. In order to earn a living, though, blacks from the bantustans must migrate to seek work in the cities.

But the apartheid authorities forbid the black families from living in the cities. This has led to the creation of squatter camps on the outskirts of the cities, such as Crossroads.

Apartheid created the conditions that led to the migration to Crossroads. At the same time, the racist officials have declared this migration illegal and are trying to forcibly relocate the residents. Moreover the South African government also had plans to evacuate even the legal black townships around Cape Town along with the people of Crossroads. All together some 300,000 people were to be moved. But the Crossroads rebellion has forced the government to temporarily back down on its plans to relocate. the legal townships.

Over the last twenty years, an estimated 3.5 million people have been subjected to these forced removals.

"Reform"--Apartheid Style

To put a nice face on some nasty business, the government is portraying the eviction plans at Crossroads as a "reform." After all, argue the authorities, the residents will be moved to a new government-built "model" town called Khayelitsha, ten miles

In addition to the struggle at Crossroads, the last few weeks have seen the flames of militant protest spread to the town of Seeisoville in the Orange Free State. In prior months protests were minimal in this region. The development of clashes there shows that the liberation struggle is spreading to every corner of South Africa.

Protests broke out in Seeisoville on February 11. The immediate cause was that the racist officials, fearing the outcome of student elections, delayed carrying out their promise to allow the black students the right to elect their own leaders. Previously the student representatives in this area were hand-picked by the administration. Some 3,000 students left their classes and took to the streets in militant action. The students stoned the homes and cars of sellout teachers and black politicians who were collaborators with the white minority government. The demonstrators also vented their anger at the bloodsucking businessmen, destroying 27 establishments.

The racist police arrested 19 youth, but this failed to break the spirit of the people. Only 10 days later the masses again clashed with the police after the police fired on a crowd that assembled after a funeral.

Another big battle in mid-February occurred in Atteridgeville, a black township near Pretoria. Three thousand black youth confronted police after a memorial service for a woman slain by the racists last year.

Numerous smaller protests also broke out in February. In Duduza, near Johannesburg, 400 demonstrators, braving tear gas and bullets, stoned a police patrol. Clashes were also reported near Kimberley, Port Elizabeth, and elsewhere.

Apartheid has created unbearable suffering. But clearly it has also created its own gravediggers, the oppressed masses.

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How the apartheid regime rules

Mass repression and treason trials

The racist Botha regime knows no bounds in its attempt to suppress the people's struggle. In a ten day period this February it shot down 23 anti-apartheid protesters and wounded hundreds. In addition to murdering the fighting masses, the campaign of repression included a savage crackdown on thirteen leaders of the United Democratic Front, which is a reformist coalition of liberals and supporters of the banned African National Congress. (The ANC, although it talks of revolution and has an armed wing which occasionally engages in actions, has in practice an essentially reformist strategy and has faith in the liberals.) The apartheid regime brooks no opposition of any kind.

The UDF leaders and others were swept up and arrested on the morning of February 19. Charges of treason, an offense punishable by death, were leveled against seven of them. Bail has been denied and those arrested have been imprisoned until their next court hearing on March 15. They are expected to be tried with eight other UDF leaders arrested and charged with treason in a previous crackdown.

The brutal repression of the regime shows the cynical nature of president of apartheid Botha's recent talk about "reform." One day the regime is babbling about token Changes such as reducing forced relocations of blacks, changing racist marriage laws, seeking more consultation with blacks, etc. The next day an all-out suppression campaign is launched. For example, last year the government created powerless parliaments for "coloreds" and the Indian nationality. Then it viciously unleashed itself on the masses for boycotting this fraud. Indeed the treason charges against the six UDF leaders arrested in February and the eight arrested previously are based on the UDF's participation in the boycott campaign. The regime may or may not implement a token reform here or there. But clearly its talk about "reform" is simply a cover for crushing any opposition to apartheid.

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Birds of a feather

Reagan rushes to support Korean dictator

The return in early February of the South Korean liberal opposition leader Kim Jae Dung provided the world with a graphic picture of the tyrannical nature of the South Korean government. Kim was beaten by security agents and put under house arrest. A group of U.S. liberal capitalist politicians accompanying Kim was also manhandled.

The Reagan administration ardently came to the defense of the South Korean regime, providing yet another example of the reactionary character of the U.S. government, eager to embrace any dictator as long as he ties his fortunes with that of U.S. imperialism.

Meanwhile, the liberal Democrats are trying to use their treatment in South Korea to strike a pose of stern opposition to the South Korean dictatorship and Reagan's policies. The truth of the matter is, however, that they seek to undermine the struggle of the South Korean masses against tyranny and U.S. imperialism.

The Attack at the Airport

Kim Jae Dung is a South Korean capitalist politician who was in exile in the U.S. for the last two years. When he announced that he was going to return home, the South Korean government at first declared that he would be arrested on arrival; but later it relented and promised not to persecute Kim.

Kim was accompanied on his trip home by a number of American liberals from the Democratic Party. These people believed that some agreement had been worked out between-the U.S. and South Korean governments guaranteeing Kim's safety. They were worried that treatment like that meted out by the Filipino dictator Marcos to the liberal opposition leader Aquino (i.e., murder) may set off a major crisis in South Korea.

But upon arrival at the Seoul airport, they were met not with the welcome mat but by a disciplined force of security police. The plainclothed thugs, a hundred strong, formed a flying wedge and forcibly separated Kim from his American friends. The liberal politicians were punched, shoved and roughed up.

Kim was taken to his house and placed under house arrest. He is banned from political activity. The U.S. Democratic Party liberals issued a statement denouncing the airport attack and also criticized the U.S. Embassy for not vigorously protesting the incident.

In reply, the U.S. Ambassador, Richard Walker, issued a statement blaming the American liberals for the incident. Walker was backed up by his boss Reagan. In an interview in The New York Times, published on February 12, Reagan declared that "there was bad judgement on both sides." He went on to say that the furor over the airport attack has "tended to hide the fact that South Korea has made great strides in democracy -- that they have a prosperity that is far above that of a great many of their neighbors in that part of the world -- their democracy is working...." Thus Reagan came forward to defend the South Korean government. In April, he will greet the great "democratic" tyrant Chun Doo Hwan in Washington.

The South Korean Regime Is a Fascist Dictatorship

But despite Reagan's words, the airport incident provided an important glimpse of the real nature of the South Korean regime. That government is a military dictatorship headed by General Chun, who came to power in a coup in 1980. Under his regime, the masses are ruled with an iron fist; striking workers and demonstrators are regularly attacked by the police and other security forces.

The attack on Kim is itself a sharp exposure of the regime, because Kim is no radical fighter. He is a bourgeois politician, a defender of capitalist "free enterprise" and of South Korea's continued domination by the U.S. But Chun's dictatorship cannot tolerate any dissent. It is only the fact that Kim is a prominent bourgeois politician, with important connections in the U.S., that saves him from the jailing and torture experienced by hundreds of other less well-known opponents of the regime.

Reagan and Chun: Birds of a Feather

How could Reagan come out with a ludicrous statement praising the Chun regime's "progress in democracy"? The answer lies in the fact that at heart Reagan and Chun are soul mates. Chun is a rabid reactionary and anti-communist; that is all that's needed to turn him into a great "democrat" for Reagan.

A further clue to why Reagan supports Chun comes from his reference to South Korea's alleged "prosperity." What Reagan refers to by this is not prosperity for the working masses of that country, but for the South Korean capitalists and U.S. multinational corporations and banks which rake in billions in profits each year from the sweat and toil of the Korean workers.

Still another reason for Reagan's position is the role of South Korea as an important outpost for the war machine of U.S. imperialism. The country has long been a major garrison for U.S. troops and holds hundreds of nuclear weapons. And this year the Pentagon is pushing to increase its force in the country by 2,500 men, while requesting $3.2 billion in military aid for Chun.

The Liberals Dread a Revolutionary Opposition

But if Reagan is supporting a tyrant, are the liberal Democrats then supporting a movement to smash tyranny in South Korea? Far from it. This is shown by their effort to prop up the liberal opposition of Kim Jae Dung.

We are opposed to the Chun regime's repression, including of his liberal opponents, but, unlike the liberal Democrats, we point out that Kim is no real alternative for the South Korean masses to rally around. He seeks to undermine the growth of a revolutionary movement which is the real force that can build up an alternative to the Chun dictatorship.

When Kim first announced his intention to return home, he made it plain that his main concern was the fact that in South Korea the opposition to Chun was moving to the left. Kim announced his intention to return to work against "trends towards desperation and radicalization." Instead of revolutionary struggle, Kim promotes a "dialogue" with Chun as the way forward for democratization. And he echoes Chun by declaring that U.S. support for South Korea is the only way to prevent the country from "falling to communism."

The U.S. liberals who accompanied Kim included some prominent members of the Carter administration, for example, Robert White, Carter's "human rights" ambassador to El Salvador. All these people are experienced at throwing a "human rights" cover over U.S. imperialism's friends among reactionary capitalist regimes abroad. White after all was the ambassador to El Salvador at a time when the U.S. began to step up its intervention against the liberation movement in El Salvador, albeit under a properly "democratic" cover.

Today at a time when the South Korean masses are moving to the left, the "human rights" preachers of U.S. imperialism seek to provide a "democratic" facelift for the capitalist dictatorship in South Korea. Like Reagan, the liberals are 100% for maintenance of South Korea as a capitalist paradise and a U.S. military fortress. Their only difference is over methods to preserve the status quo.

However among the South Korean masses the forces to upset the apple cart of the U.S. imperialists are growing. The Korean people have a tradition of powerful struggle against the military dictatorships there. Today a student movement, not tied to the major bourgeois opposition parties, is emerging again. The workers are also stirring and alliances are being built up among the workers and students. Slogans declaring "Down with the dictatorship!" are beginning to spread. Opposition to the U.S. imperialist presence is also developing. These are excellent developments which should be supported by the workers and progressive people in the U.S.

[Photo: Student demonstration at Seoul's Pagoda Park on February 5 was attacked by police with tear gas. Hundreds of students chanted "Down with dictatorship!"]

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General Chun's 'Democratic' Elections

"Opposition Party Wins Seats in South Korean Assembly" -- this was the sort of headline the bourgeois press in the U.S. used to cover up the farce of "democratic elections" staged in South Korea February 12. The elections took place just days after the beatings of Kim Dae Jung and his supporters at the airport in Seoul, at a time when the world's attention was focused on South Korea and the repressive regime that is in power there. Taking their cue from Ronald Reagan, the capitalist press in the U.S. was eager to seize upon any excuse for praising South Korea's "progress in democracy" to smother the continuing controversy about the airport beatings. Thus when a bourgeois opposition party won some seats in the February 12 elections, this was promoted to the skies as proof that the elections in South Korea were completely fair and open and that General Chun's regime is indeed making progress in democracy.

But a closer look at these elections shows how little democracy there really is in South Korea.

In the first place, even the leading bourgeois opposition figures, Kim Dae Jung and Kim Young, were not allowed to run for office. They are both under house arrest and banned from participation in politics. This ban goes to the extent that political posters and propaganda were prohibited from linking any candidates to the name of any politician on the "banned" list.

Furthermore, during the election campaign no candidate was allowed to organize a rally on his own. District campaign rallies were organized by the government, which ensured that the ruling party's own candidates appeared at any rallies along with plenty of security forces to "keep order." At these rallies opposition candidates were forbidden from directly attacking the Chun regime. Despite this ban, some candidates did raise the slogan "Down with the military dictatorship!" Those candidates are now being subjected to criminal investigation for "profanity against the head of state."

In preparing these elections General Chun worked out a complicated formula for tabulating the results to ensure that, no matter what happened, his party would end up with a majority of seats in the Assembly. And this is exactly what happened. Chun's Democratic Justice Party received only 36% of the vote, yet wound up with 55% of the Assembly seats.

It should also be pointed out that, even if an opposition party did accomplish the impossible and win a majority of seats in the Assembly, this would still not imply very much. In accordance with General Chun's constitution the Assembly (parliament) is prohibited from passing laws or vetoing Chun's decrees; it is simply and solely a talk shop.

Despite all these facts, the U.S. capitalist media was determined to prettify General Chun's electoral farce as "progress in democracy." Thus in many news stories they raised the prospect that, even though the Assembly has no formal power, maybe, now that opposition parties have won a few seats, the Assembly may become a genuine forum for discussing issues and raising grievances.

Yes, anything is possible. But if General Chun can fix elections, ban candidates, and persecute any candidates who dare raise criticism of his regime, what is to prevent him from suppressing criticism of his regime in the Assembly, especially since his party is in the majority? No, promoting the South Korean Assembly as a "possible" democratic forum is nothing but whitewashing tyranny.

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The World in Struggle


Bolivian workers confront new austerity measures

On February 16 the Bolivian government announced a new IMF-dictated economic austerity program. This came despite a continuing month-long strike of manufacturing workers and barely a week and a half after another massive day-long general strike of all the Bolivian toilers. This shows that the reformist government of president Siles Zuazo, despite his promises of democratic reform and of wage raises for the workers, is proceeding full tilt to drive down the living standards of the laboring masses.

Siles Zuazo's latest austerity plan will further impoverish the Bolivian workers. It includes food price increases, a 400% increase in utility rates and an 80% devaluation of the currency. These new measures will make it even more difficult for working class families to keep up with Bolivia's ruinous inflation, now running at an annual rate of 3,000%.

The latest austerity plan comes right on the heels of massive strikes and demonstrations by Bolivian workers. On January 17 the workers of La Paz seized factories in the capital and held hostage the capitalist executives of the plants. The workers were demanding an immediate payment of wage raises that had been promised by Zuazo but which the Bolivian capitalists arrogantly refused to pay.

After three days the workers turned to other methods of struggle. They let the hostages go but immediately launched a massive strike which shut down all manufacturing in the region around La Paz.

The industrial workers were later joined by taxi and bus drivers in the city, who struck demanding an immediate wage increase of 300%.

Then on February 5 the Bolivian workers in all sectors staged a 24-hour walkout in solidarity with the manufacturing workers. As in previous general strikes, the country was paralyzed.

President Zuazo's latest austerity plan, coming right on the heels of these massive strikes, is a direct challenge to the Bolivian working class and a slap in the face to any workers who may have thought Zuazo would make good his promises of wage increases for the workers. Right after Zuazo's announcement the main trade union center in Bolivia announced a national emergency, and mine workers from Oruru announced they would stage a protest march to La Paz. The Bolivian capitalists have thrown down the gauntlet, and recent events indicate that the Bolivian workers will not hesitate to take it up.

General strike in Dominican Republic

A general strike in the Dominican Republic on February 11 forced President Jorge Blanco to rescind some of the price increases he announced on January 23. This action was the result of two weeks of militant struggle against the price hikes.

The price hikes of January 23 were at first followed by a series of protest demonstrations across the country, as reported in the last issue of The Workers' Advocate. After those actions, calls for work stoppages were made in some of the poor barrios of Santo Domingo. Local and partial job actions then began to spread to the rest of the capital. Transport workers went on strike, followed by a February 6 strike of shopkeepers.

Strikes were organized in the barrios of other cities as well -- for example in Santiago and San Francisco de Macoris. In several locations government food stores were attacked by the masses and emptied of their goods. These actions ultimately spread to the entire country in the general strike pf February 11.

On February 11 commercial activity in Santo Domingo was paralyzed as shops were closed and street vendors did not open for business. Jorge Blanco ordered government office workers to report for work, but the shutdown of public transport helped to stymie this government dictate. The only stores open in Santo Domingo were department stores kept open by heavily armed troops.

A notable feature of the nationwide strike is that it represented a victory over the fierce repression of the Jorge Blanco government. As the protest movement spread and preparations for the February 11 action were underway, the government tried to forestall the general strike by arresting the leaders. Early in the morning of February 5, security forces arrested scores of left- wing political and trade union leaders.

As the strike deadline approached, the government poured thousands of troops into Santo Domingo. The masses threw up barricades around the poor barrios to keep the troops out. Government planes and helicopters circling constantly overhead directed the troops against the masses. Any youths on the street were immediately arrested and beaten by the army and police; one young man was shot dead. Given this kind of repression, the fact that the working masses in the Dominican Republic were still able to organize a powerful general strike is a tribute to their- determination to fight Jorge Blanco's austerity program.

The Dominican working people are facing increasingly difficult economic conditions. Unemployment is now 40%. The prices of food and other necessities have gone through the roof as a result of the austerity measures agreed to by the Jorge Blanco government and the IMF.

The recent strikes and demonstrations are a welcome sign that the working masses are determined to fight back against the offensive of the Dominican exploiters and the yoke of the imperialist IMF.

[Photo: Demonstration in the Dominican community of New York City, February 17, in solidarity with the Dominican toilers. MLP banner denounces the repression of the PRD (the ruling party) government.]

[Photo: Spanish shipyard workers continue their struggle against the social-democratic government's plan to rationalize the shipbuilding industry and eliminate 2,000 jobs. In recent weeks shipyard workers and their supporters have staged militant demonstrations in many cities across Spain. Photo from Vanguardia Obrera, newspaper of the Communist Party of Spain (ML), shows a mass rally in Vigo.]

Workers in struggle in Colombia

[Revoluci®n masthead.]

In January, 1,100 workers at the Croydon footwear plant in Bogota, Colombia waged a strike that has lasted almost one month at last report. Revoluci®n, central organ of the Communist Party of Colombia (ML), writes in its issue of January 15-31 that the workers walked out when the enterprise refused to resolve their 16-point list of demands, including job security, wage increases, improvement in housing and health, and education for the workers' children. Instead the company presented a counter-proposal that sought to cut back on the workers' past gains.

The Croydon plant, which is 98% owned by the U.S. monopoly Uniroyal, produces different types of footwear, including some for export. It has been operating in Colombia for 45 years.

The workers at Croydon have a long fighting history. Besides participating in the civic strike of 1977 and the mobilizations of September and October 1981, they have waged other struggles through which they were able to obtain important demands.

In supporting the strike, Revoluci®n calls on the Croydon workers to seek solidarity with other sectors of workers, especially in the industrial belt on the south side of Bogota, as well as to participate in the mobilization of other sectors of the trade union and popular movement.

Revoluci®n also reports on the struggle of state employees against the anti-worker measures of the Betancur government of Colombia, which is a liberal capitalist government of the Conservative Party. Revoluci®n says that government workers "militantly rejected presidential directive 001 of January 9 which tries to abolish the right to collective negotiations and contracts and to impose a 10% limit on wage increases in this sector. At the same time the state workers agreed to unfold a series of actions to confront the government's economic, social and labor policies."

At a joint meeting of the state employees' unions, the workers decided to hold a two-hour national strike and a march on January 17; to prepare for a 24-hour strike on February 21; and to take steps leading to a new civic strike in the country.

"The response of the state workers could be no other," Revoluci®n exclaims, and goes on to show that the presidential directive is a vicious attack on wage increases as well as on the right to collective bargaining and contracts. The directive instructs administrators in all public entities, including state-run industrial and commercial enterprises, not to agree to wage hikes above 10%. The government policy will also provide support to private capitalist enterprises to restrict wage increases to a maximum of 10%.

This attack on the workers follows on the heels of an insignificant increase in the meager minimum wage. The government executed these measures in line with "recommendations" by the International Monetary Fund.

[Photo: Workers on strike against footwear factory owned by Uniroyal in Bogota, Colombia. (Photo from Revoluci®n, Central Organ of the Communist Party of Colombia [Marxist-Leninist])]

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The lesson of the Kampuchean tragedy:

The peasant revolutionary movement needs the leadership of the proletariat

Today the situation in Kampuchea is again in the news. There have been major events in the war there between, on the one side, Viet Nam and its client Kampuchean regime and, on the other side, the Kampuchean opposition backed by the U.S., China and southeast Asian capitalist reaction. As well, the movie The Killing Fields is being heavily promoted, which purports to tell the story of what happened in Kampuchea during the Pol Pot regime.

This article is the first of several articles that The Workers' Advocate plans to carry on the subject of what has been happening in Kampuchea (Cambodia). In this issue, we begin by analyzing Kampuchea under the Pol Pot regime.

Our analysis will center on several facts.

The standard bourgeois picture that this period was simply an endless hell, a period of continuous and mindless executions, is a bourgeois fantasy. It has been deliberately cooked up to obscure the real events, and it is bolstered through being repeated time after time. The bourgeoisie has good reason to lie about this, because just as many or perhaps more Kampucheans died from imperialist intervention during Nixon's war of the early as in the Pol Pot period, and what is more, the devastation wrought on the country by that war was one of the main factors responsible for the deaths by starvation and disease (numerically the largest number of deaths) in the Pol Pot period.

The tragedy of the Pol Pot period was real enough without having to be exaggerated many times over by bourgeois lies and malice. It was a political tragedy whereby the strategy and tactics of the Khmer Rouge, despite their heroic victory over U.S. imperialism and the local Lon Nol reactionaries, proved incapable of governing the country and providing revolutionary change. It was an economic tragedy whereby the new regime couldn't deal with the devastation imperialism imposed on the country, and, lacking outside economic aid, massive suffering resulted. And the excesses of the regime also exacted a heavy toll.

The Pol Pot regime and the Khmer Rouge were not a communist movement, despite their claims, but a peasant revolutionary movement. This is clear from an examination of their strategy and tactics, from their disdain for cities, from their romanticized picture of the peasantry and lack of concern with the working class. Although they didn't talk much about their ideology, from their actions it is possible to get an overall view of their outlook and guiding ideas.

The lesson of the Pol Pot period is that while peasant revolutionary movements can display a great deal of valor and revolutionary energy, nevertheless they cannot achieve their goal of liberation without being linked up with a more organized, more disciplined class, a class representing modern large-scale production, the proletariat and its communist movement. The tragedy of Pol Pot, while having its particular features, is in essence not something peculiar to Cambodia. It is the general tragedy of the peasant revolutionary movement.

Right from the start, Marx and Engels pointed out this aspect of peasant revolutionary movements. From Engels' brilliant work The Peasant War in Germany to the teachings of Lenin, the communists have always 1) regarded the revolutionary energy of the peasantry with enthusiasm and paid close attention to the peasantry, and 2) taught that the peasantry required the leadership of the working class and its scientific socialist ideology in order to achieve its emancipation. Peasant revolutionary movements are still an important factor in the world. And the Kampuchean events prove the absolute importance of the Marxist-Leninist lesson on how to properly channel the energies of such movements so that the sacrifice and heroism of the poor and working peasants is not in vain but contributes to the emancipation of the toilers.

In the 1960's and 70's, the peoples of Viet Nam, Kampuchea and Laos fought titanic struggles against U.S. imperialism and the local reactionary regimes. These struggles defeated the war machine of U.S. imperialism, struck major blows at the local exploiters, and were an inspiration to the oppressed masses everywhere.

But unfortunately the bright future which the masses of Indochina and their supporters worldwide had hoped for did not materialize. The region has continued to be gripped by crisis, poverty and war. The people of Kampuchea have faced an especially difficult situation. First they went through the ravages of Pol Pot's regime and today they are caught in the midst of an unpopular war.

Over the years a great deal of confusion has been created over the fate of Kampuchea. This is particularly true of the Pol Pot years. The events in that country have been used to provide grist to the mill of a vicious campaign to malign revolution and communism. This has had a depressing effect on the revolutionary movement in many places.

Right-wingers are fond of using Pol Pot's reign to suggest that the U.S. imperialist cause in Indochina was just after all. They say, doesn't it prove the correctness of the U.S. claim that the alternative to U.S. intervention was going to be a terrible bloodbath? Meanwhile, some capitalist liberals will admit that the destruction caused by U.S. policy was partially behind the Kampuchean tragedy, but they too echo the anti-communist propaganda campaign.

Moreover, there are the Vietnamese revisionists and their international supporters, such as those in the pro-Soviet revisionist and Trotskyist groups in the U.S., who echo the basic themes of the imperialist campaign about Kampuchea. They agree with the picture of Kampuchea painted by the imperialists and point the blame at what they call ultra-leftism, which they identify with the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist stand of opposition to Soviet revisionism. (There are also a few remnants of Maoism who find ways to apologize for the Pol Pot regime and support the current U.S.-China backed war against Vietnamese occupation; but that is a different story.)

This year the reactionary campaign is focused on the release of the film The Killing Fields that has been nominated for the Academy Awards. This film is being showered with praise, not just from the pages of The New York Times, but also from such journals as the pro-Soviet CPUSA paper Daily World, the opportunist Guardian, and Frontline, journal of the rabidly pro-Soviet sect headed up by Irwin Silber.

We do not plan to review the film here. Suffice it to note that it is a depiction of Kampuchea from the liberal imperialist viewpoint. While showing a bit of the destructive character of Nixon's policy towards Kampuchea, the film mainly serves to bolster the campaign that denigrates revolution.

It is important to combat this dirty campaign which has allied imperialism and pro-Soviet revisionism. This requires that it be clarified what were the actual forces involved in Kampuchea, what happened and why. This is useful to cut through the enormous cloud of mystification and confusion created about Kampuchea.

What About the Standard Picture Painted of the Pol Pot Regime?

There is a standard picture painted by the capitalists and pro-Soviet revisionists about the Pol Pot years. This is typified by The Killing Fields. This standard picture claims that Kampuchea was under the rule of insanity where two to three million people died of starvation and terror. It claims that there was a policy of extermination of all intellectuals; that medicine, education, the family, etc. were destroyed. And it also claims that everything was based on irrationality, without basis in any sort of judgements about economic or political necessity.

Now it is quite true that Pol Pot brought disaster to Kampuchea; many brutal and strange things did happen during that time. But the problem with the standard picture is that it is not true. It is an absurdly exaggerated and simplified view. And there is a reason behind this distortion promoted by the imperialists, the remnants of the old Kampuchean exploiters, and the Vietnamese revisionists. It is to turn the Kampuchean question into something that should be judged through simply emotional blinders. In effect it means casting fidelity to truth aside in order to grind one ideological axe or another. In this case, it is used to malign "communism" or "ultra-leftism".

In fact, what happened under Pol Pot is far more complex. From afar, although it is not possible to know the full story, it is still possible to get a closer approximation to the truth than that depicted in the standard picture. The truth of course hardly exonerates Pol Pot but it does help to draw lessons to defend and strengthen the revolutionary movement.

There are reams and reams of literature which purport to describe what happened in Kampuchea. A great deal of it comes from the imperialist reactionaries. Of course, progressive people naturally have little stomach to listen to the writers of Reader's Digest pontificate about the brutalities of the Pol Pot, years when they whitewash the incredible savagery of U.S. intervention which dropped half a million tons of bombs on Kampuchea. So at first glimpse literature from liberal or revisionist circles appears to be more credible. But in fact the great bulk of this literature merely echoes the views of the reactionaries.

However, among the published literature there are exceptions. In particular, there is a recent book which comes as a refreshing contrast to the standard propaganda literature. This is of course not the definitive study of Kampuchea which explains everything; and when this author tries to expound on revolutionary theory, he shows that he doesn't know what Marxism-Leninism really is. But despite its limitations, it contains a wealth of facts and exposures which would be of interest to those who are interested in recent Kampuchean history.

The book in question is Cambodia 1975-1982 by Michael Vickery (South End Press, 1984). Vickery appears to be a liberal historian who has many years of interest and association with Kampuchea. His present political sympathies regarding that country lie with the Vietnamese-backed Heng Samrin regime. We do not agree with this stand of Vickery's nor do we share his liberal opinions which are found in many places in his study. However, in contrast to, the apologists for Vietnamese revisionism that are found in the left, Vickery appears to have an interest in looking into the facts of what has been happening in Kampuchea.

Vickery has examined the literature that has been written on contemporary Kampuchea; he has closely examined the accounts of the refugees which this literature is mainly based on; he has interviewed refugees in the Thai camps as well as paid a brief visit to post-Pol Pot Kampuchea. From this Vickery provides an assessment of the Pol Pot years that is probably the best researched one available so far and he also provides important clues to understand something of the character of the movement that was represented by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge.

The first task that Vickery undertakes is to examine what he calls the Standard Total View of Pol Pot's Kampuchea. In passing, we may note that Vickery also cuts through the distortions promoted in the Standard Total View of Kampuchea today under the rule of the Vietnamese- backed regime. Through a detailed examination of the reports of refugees and the general literature, Vickery points to the holes and contradictions in these reports. Vickery also exposes evidence showing that a deliberate campaign has been mounted by the mainstream capitalist press to provide a distorted view of Kampuchean history.

Vickery helps to expose the class bias that pervades the literature which is based on accounts from the Kampuchean refugees. This is an important thing to keep in mind. These accounts are mainly from elements of the upper strata, or at best the urban petty-bourgeoisie, and they look at events in Kampuchea through the biased spectacles of these strata. Thus when many of these sources tell heart-wrenching tales of the forced labor and hardships they underwent, they show no appreciation, for example, of the terrible conditions that the Kampuchean peasantry had long faced, including during the barbaric U.S.-backed war. There is an interesting anecdote about a Kampuchean refugee who found upon his emigration that normal factory discipline in the West was more taxing than forced labor in the Kampuchean countryside.

In his critique, Vickery points to interesting observations. Among other things, he reveals that there was a difference in what happened in Kampuchea during different phases of the four years of Pol Pot rule. During 1975- 76, the Pol Pot regime did launch many of its peculiar policies, but there is little evidence to back up anything of the standard picture of Kampuchea as hell on earth. True, there were reprisals against elements of the old regime, but we can hardly shed tears for the criminals of the Lon Nol regime who committed barbaric atrocities against the masses. It is also true that the policy of retribution was applied unevenly and there were harsh mistakes which went beyond what was just; but while these were unfortunate, it is not hard to see how such things may happen in a country torn up by brutal war.

Meanwhile, the later period of Khmer Rouge rule, 1977-78, appears to have been worse, although it too does not back up all the gory details of the standard picture. In this period, the policies of the regime were leading towards disaster and it alienated even the peasant base of the movement. There were revolts, heavy repression, and major fights within the ranks of the Khmer Rouge itself; and it was in these that some of the worst terror took place. In this situation, there also appear to have been more unjust and harsh acts carried out.

Vickery also points out that it is not true that everything in Kampuchea, in all places, was the same. The situation appears to have varied across the country. There were "good" and "bad" places all over the country, reflecting different local economic and political conditions, local policies of a factionalized political movement, and so forth. Even these observations are an indictment of the stand which sees Kampuchea during those years as simply one uniform chamber of horrors.

It may be noted that one of the key elements of the standard picture of Pol Pot's Kampuchea is the claim that two to three million people died in that period, including hundreds of thousands of executions. Vickery is one of several sources who have exposed the absurd wildness of this charge. The bourgeoisie makes its fantastic claims because it wants to obscure the facts that the U.S. intervention wreaked a terrible death toll and the devastation of the war was itself a major factor for the large number of deaths during the Pol Pot period that were due to starvation and disease. The Kampuchean tragedy was not that it was one huge execution chamber but it was a political and economic tragedy, which included the fiasco of the new regime's policies.

As can be seen, Vickery does not dispute that many brutal things went on in Kampuchea, especially in the latter years. And he does not dispute that Pol Pot's rule was a disaster. But he also offers a number of important observations which set the social context for the practices of the Pol Pot regime and which show the social and class basis of the Khmer Rouge movement.

He points out that despite verbal declarations of loyalty to Marxism-Leninism by the Pol Pot leadership, the Kampuchean revolutionary movement did not represent a Marxist or proletarian movement of any sort but a peasant-populist movement. In his view, the practices of the Khmer Rouge regime are those of such a movement which emerged victorious within the specific conditions of Kampuchean society and in the aftermath of a horribly destructive, war. Although Vickery's conception of what Marxism-Leninism is is wrong (he lumps different varieties of revisionism in the Marxist-Leninist and socialist camp) -- he is nevertheless right in pointing to many of the non-Marxist and anti-Marxist conceptions of the Pol Pot movement. Thus Vickery does provide important clues to understanding the Pol Pot phenomenon.

The Khmer Rouge -- A Peasant-Populist Movement

The conclusion that the Khmer Rouge was in essence a peasant revolutionary movement is supported by a good deal of evidence beyond what Vickery presents in his book. In this section of this article, we present our analysis of the basic character of the Khmer Rouge movement. Facts supplied by Vickery's work have been useful in confirming this analysis but it should be noted that this analysis is not simply based on Vickery's conclusions.

The conclusion that the Khmer Rouge was essentially a peasant revolutionary movement is of course a most generalized description of a complex political movement. In fact, the Khmer Rouge has its foundations in two major social currents. The bulk of the central leadership of this movement -- Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, etc -- have their origins as a petty bourgeois nationalist current which sprang up among intellectuals, many of whom studied in France in the 1950's. Although they took on Marxist-Leninist labels -- the claim is that they founded a "Communist Party of Kampuchea" in 1960 although it was not declared publicly until 1977 -- they were not Marxist-Leninists but a radical current that was attracted to Marxism. This current linked up with the ferment welling up in the Kampuchean peasantry, which during the 1970-75 war, provided the actual force of the movement and had a deep imprint on its ideology and politics.

This movement, commonly known as the Khmer Rouge, was the product of a particular society with its distinct social and historical traditions. Kampuchea was heavily an agrarian society with an urban sector centered in Phnom Penh that was particularly parasitic. There was a very small industrial working class. The peasantry was poor and debt- ridden. A wide gulf separated the countryside and the city. Kampuchea was also a heavily oppressed nation which had suffered oppression, in precolonial times from feudal kings of Vietnam and Thailand, over the last century from French colonialism, and in the 50's and 60's from U.S. imperialism.

The Khmer Rouge began to organize among the peasantry mainly in the 1960's; they linked up with agrarian ferment and veterans from the nationalist movement against the French. But the scope of the agrarian movement remained limited. It was the liberation war against the U.S.-backed Lon Nol regime that gave them their broad base among the peasant masses. The war had enormous influence on the movement. It cannot be forgotten that the destruction caused by the war was tremendous; between half to one million perished in that war and vast regions of the land were devastated. The war not only successfully channeled the latent energy among the peasant masses into the liberation struggle but the vast wave of new forces from among the peasantry had deep imprints on the politics and ideology of the movement.

It was not that this peasant wave swamped the petty-bourgeois core of the Khmer Rouge; the Pol Pot leadership already had developed ideas glorifying peasant ideology. They operated on theories which saw the peasantry as vanguard of the revolution and promoted worship of the spontaneity of the peasant masses. While this had indigenous roots of their own, it is also clear that some of these ideas bore the influence of Maoism from China. It may be noted that Vickery underestimates the role of ideological influences from Chinese Maoism on the Khmer Rouge. His approach on this is quite simplistic since he tries to base it on direct comparisons between the policies of the Chinese party after liberation or during the Cultural Revolution. But it is not a secret in the revolutionary movement that in the 1960's the Maoist leadership in China promoted peasant-populist ideas widely.

Furthermore, Pol Pot's movement after it took power does seem to be stamped by policies that smack of extreme peasant-ism.

There is the famous evacuation of the entire urban population from the cities. Now the imperialist-sponsored stories about the brutality of this evacuation are not based on fact; Vickery's study presents a convincing case against these stories. Neither does the evacuation result from insanity. Whether one agrees with them or not, the Khmer Rouge appears to have taken their decision based on what they felt to be acute necessities in the immediate post-war situation. They appear to have based their policy, at least in part, on the fear that the U.S. imperialists may bomb Phnom Penh in revenge (this cannot be said to have been a groundless fear given the massive B-52 bombings during the war), or the fear that given the acute food situation in the country they would not be able to feed the huge urban population, and on the fear that they could not defend the new regime from centers of subversion that had been created in the cities. None of these fears could have been said to be absurd at the time. At the same time, we must note that this was not a Marxist-Leninist policy considering, among other things, that it was strongly biased against the urban population, including the urban workers.

Connected to the evacuation was the policy to relocate the urban population in the countryside. The Khmer Rouge did not simply plan the evacuation from the cities as an emergency act. They actually believed in transforming the urban population into peasants or at least remoulding them in the image of the peasantry. At the same time, it is not clear that the central leadership meant the relocation to be permanent for everyone. These policies were also not class policies directed against the bourgeoisie but against the entire urban population. In practice, they treated urban workers no differently than the bourgeoisie.

The Khmer Rouge also had numerous voluntarist views on building up agriculture. They did have certain prejudices against industry although the stories of a complete destruction of all industry are exaggerated. The voluntarism was based on utopian-nationalist views which glorified the peasantry. They glorified the historical traditions from the Angkor empire of the feudal past. But in these policies, they ignored science or the limits of objective factors and their voluntarism ultimately collapsed in disaster, as they turned to squeezing the rural population heavily in order to prepare for war.

In this regard, it is important to note that the movement was extremely nationalist to the point of chauvinism. Despite their Marxist-Leninist phrases, the pronouncements of the Khmer Rouge were marked by the absence of even much lip service about internationalism. Internally they promoted an extreme Kampuchean nationalism. For example, in the rules for their new society, their "class analysis" placed both capitalists and national minorities in one category of "depositees." Although their official pronouncements did not show it, there seems to be some evidence that they inculcated positions of seeking a "Greater Kampuchea," with the dream of recovering Kampuchea Krom, the one-time Kampuchean territories which have been part of south Vietnam for some time now.

In the social sphere, there were social codes which sought to enforce an extreme puritanical regimen. This is hardly a sign of "communism" or "ultra-leftism"; rather it smacks of idealizing peasant conservatism.

Their political-organizational conceptions were also strange. As has been noted, the "Communist Party" was kept secret until 1977. Until then, everything was done in the name of a mysterious Angka -- The Organization, whose character was not explained to the masses. This of course has nothing connected to the Marxist traditions of the proletarian movement. Marxism-Leninism promotes a party concept actively among the masses; far from hiding the existence of the party Marxist-Leninists lay a great deal of stress on training the proletariat to build up its own class political party.

The brief survey here shows that the policies of the Pol Pot movement were alien to Marxism-Leninism. They were policies with a peasant populist flavor. But the peculiarity of these policies do not provide evidence for the standard view promoted about Pol Pot's Kampuchea. There was glorification of the peasantry and agriculture, but there do not appear to be general policies of elimination of all industry, medicine, intellectuals, etc. Perhaps this is because the movement was more complex than being merely a peasant movement. Of course the practices of the movement were not just a direct outcome of all their policies; undoubtedly their policies fed into the committing of harsh acts which went beyond even their own policies.

History has shown that the Pol Pot movement ended up in disaster. The disaster of Pol Pot's rule is due, in the final analysis, of course not just to the excesses but also the basic policies of this movement.

It is a very difficult task for a peasant movement to organize to take power.

The Khmer Rouge appears to be an exception that succeeded. But a class such as the peasantry faces even greater impossibilities consolidating power. Either the state power must be based on alliance with a more advanced class such as the urban proletariat or else it must give way to a regime based upon exploiting classes or else it will collapse.

A utopian policy based on alienating the urban population as a whole cannot lead to a stable regime. The Pol Pot movement attempted at one stage to turn everyone into peasants. It failed to make a serious differentiation of the urban population in terms of which strata to isolate, neutralize and win over. Neither did it seek to forge an alliance with the urban working class, small as it was, nor did it initially seek to win the support or neutrality of some urban petty-bourgeois strata.

Meanwhile, its utopian voluntarist agricultural policies and its nationalist drive to build up economic: strength for war ended up squeezing the peasantry, its own base. Nationalist appeals to produce for the sake of fighting the foreign threat (Vietnam) could not overcome this. And these nationalist appeals combined with an attempt to seek alliances with the old urban upper classes came too late. In the latter period, although there were major instances of terror against revolting sections of the population including factions of the regime itself, the Pol Pot regime does appear to have moved in the direction of a relaxation of its policies against the urban "old" people. If it had survived, the Pol Pot regime would have probably evolved in the direction of a more ordinary bourgeois regime, but the system had generated too many contradictions. It could not stand up in the face of the 1979 Vietnamese invasion.

The revisionists are fond of claiming that the Pol Pot movement was an ultra-left trend. Of course it did have certain leftist features, based upon the fact that it was in essence a peasant revolutionary trend. But the movement was by no means a consistent trend. It was unstable-and vacillating, features which are inevitable given its peasant petty-bourgeois character. It may just be noted that in the 1960's, the Pol Pot forces were not all that leftist. They worked in Sihanouk's structures and flirted with him in the name of uniting with the progressive national bourgeoisie. And as we noted above, even in the years of their rule, they turned in 1977-78 to nationalist appeals across class lines and were heading in the direction of a bourgeois regime. And in the wake of their defeat, they have openly renounced even lip service to socialism or communism and thrown in their lot with the CIA, the Thai reaction, remnants of the old exploiting regimes of Kampuchea, etc.

This was an unfortunate culmination. The peasants of Kampuchea had fought hard and valiantly. But because of the ideological limitations of the Khmer Rouge movement, the fruits of this toil and struggle were wiped out.

Some General Lessons

Clearly then, the Khmer Rouge movement was not the result of the flowering of some dark insanity which had long been lurking within the Kampuchean countryside. Neither is it the product of "revolutionary French Marxism" or the "anti-revisionist French left," as Readers' Digest types or Irwin Silber claim. No, it has actual social foundations.

It may be noted that this is not a unique phenomenon. Other peasant revolutionary movements have appeared historically, in this century in Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Latin America, etc. And they will continue to appear. They will not all of course have the same features. And many of them have taken on and will continue to take on Marxist-Leninist labels because it has great prestige as a revolutionary ideology. These peasant movements have important revolutionary potential. But their ideological horizons are also limited. They are not consistent revolutionary trends. Even if they come to power, they cannot bring liberation to the toilers.

The forward moving class, the only consistently revolutionary class, is the proletariat. It is the working class that can provide the foundations of true Marxist-Leninist movements. The proletarian movement recognizes the revolutionary energies of peasant radical movements; it strives to link up with them and to win them over to its side. At the same time, this means not submerging into the peasant movements and losing its independent class character. It means not making ideological accommodation obscuring the differences between Marxist-Leninist and non-proletarian ideologies. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 gave a powerful practical example of the Marxist proletariat forging a successful alliance with the revolutionary peasantry for the socialist revolution.

The fact that the Khmer Rouge got attracted to Marxism was a two edged thing. On one hand it showed the powerful attraction that Marxist-Leninist socialism had for petty-bourgeois and peasant revolutionaries. It also meant the unfortunate fate that the disaster of the Khmer Rouge got linked up with the name of Marxism-Leninism and socialism. Unfortunately many people in Kampuchea have been alienated from communism as a result. To clear up this confusion, the Kampuchean experience has to be clarified and the true ideas of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism spread.

The international revisionists must take a big share of the blame for the Kampuchean tragedy. When they looked to Marxism-Leninism, Kampuchean revolutionaries looked to those who called themselves, Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet Union, China, and Vietnam But this experience was not a helpful one. The Russian revisionists scorned them and promoted reformism and liberalism in the Kampuchea of the 60's. The Chinese leadership built up links with the Kampucheans but promoted harmful Maoist influences. The Vietnamese leadership did develop links with them too and provided support to their struggle but they also promoted reformist views, tended to denigrate the Kampuchean revolution, and were not sensitive enough to national sentiments in Kampuchea.

It is not clear when Kampuchean society will generate new revolutionary forces again. The present regime in power, which is a liberal bourgeois regime, is letting capitalism loose, giving rise to social antagonisms. Sooner or later, the toilers will begin to struggle and organize once again for social revolution.

To support the growth of revolutionary forces in Kampuchea, and for that matter, all of Indochina, the revolutionary movement needs to defend and spread the truly liberating ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the October Revolution. The growth and strengthening of proletarian socialist movements built on truly Marxist-Leninist foundations worldwide, and especially in Asia, would be of immense importance in serving as a powerful pole of attraction for revolutionary forces that will inevitably arise again in Kampuchean society.

[Photo: Cambodian liberation fighters shoot down U.S. helicopter. U.S. warplanes constantly intruded on Cambodia, and B-52's carpet-bombed large areas of the country.]

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Buffalo, NY:

Mayor plans playground on chemical dumpsite

[Buffalo Workers' Voice masthead.]

(The following article is taken from the Buffalo Workers' Voice, newspaper of the Buffalo Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, special issue of February 6, 1985.)

In recent weeks, a controversy has been raging over the Griffin administration's plan to build a playground on Babcock Street near Clinton. The proposed area is an old junkyard previously used as a dump site for hazardous chemical wastes. This situation begs the question: why would so much as a second thought be given to building a playground for children on top of a hazardous chemical dump? Of course in a rational, sane society, not even a first thought would be given to such a proposal. But we live in the land of Reaganism, where ketchup is a "vegetable" for school children, and in a city where if Jimmy Griffin has his way, chemical dumping grounds are made into playgrounds.

Griffin: A Lackey of the Rich

Jimmy Griffin has the reputation of a "two fisted independent friend of the working man." In fact, as the entire sordid details of the purchase of the Babcock site prove, he is nothing but a two-bit flunkey of the rich. Griffin OK'd the purchase of this land to bail out an east side businessman who owed the city substantial back taxes. The land was purchased with $167,000 taken from funds managed by the Griffin-controlled Urban Renewal Agency, even though the original asking price was $150,000. "Independent," "friend of the working man" indeed! No, this is an example of Griffin doing what he does best, fattening the pockets of the rich by taking the workers' taxes and investing them in enterprises which profit the bankers and businessmen. "Dukes-up" Jimmy is no more independent of the rich than a pet dog is of its master. His entire term in office proves this over and over.

Griffin: Racist to the Core

Griffin's generosity to the rich is not his only motive in the purchase of the Babcock Street site. This entire project is one more example of the racism of the Griffin government.

The entire effort to build a new playground on the east side was undertaken in order to replace Dold Park on William and Fillmore. Dold Park was a very old city park in what had become an integrated neighborhood. The use of the park was enjoyed by black and white workers and their families. In 1982 Dold Park was demolished and construction began on a housing project for the elderly some time after. This demolition took place in spite of a heated opposition from the community and in spite of the fact that many alternate sites were proposed and available for the housing project.

Apparently the very thought of the black and white workers and youths playing together turns Griffin's stomach. The demolition of Dold Park gave Griffin the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. In choosing the Babcock Street site, Griffin will bail out a delinquent businessman taxpayer and put a new playground into an all-white neighborhood. So what if it is on land which covers barrels of contaminated and potentially hazardous waster material, at least it is on "all white land." Far more hazardous to the minds of racists like Griffin is the danger of black and white children playing together.

In this effort, an outfit calling itself the Thruway Industrial Park Taxpayers Organization led by a personal friend of the mayor and organized out of Precious Blood Parish has pushed the Babcock site. Precious Blood Parish was a center of racist anti-busing activity in the past. At a recent meeting called by the Thruway Industrial Park Taxpayers Organization held at Precious Blood and attended by Griffin himself, opponents of the Babcock site were denounced as "outsiders" who want to "ruin any good development the mayor proposes" (like building segregated playgrounds on hazardous waste dumps). This entire escapade is right in line with Griffin's history as a racist tool of the rich.

A quick review of his political history provides ample examples. This is the same Griffin who ran an outrageously racist campaign to be elected mayor in 1977. It is the same Griffin who denounced the anti-racist demonstrations in January of 1981 as "nuts and fruits." It is the same Griffin who said "Karl Hand [a local nazi leader -- ed.] is a poor excuse for a nazi." And the same Griffin who has all but cut off the predominantly black east side from city monies and services.

It is no surprise Griffin welcomed his good friend Ronald Reagan with open arms last fall, because the Griffin administration's program is right in line with the Reaganite offensive against the working class. Reaganism means taking from the workers and the poor and forking over unprecedented money to the rich. Reaganism means unbridled racism and the attempt to drive the black people back into Jim Crow segregationism.

Coalition for a Better Buffalo: No Genuine Opposition to Griffin

Griffin's antics over the Babcock site are only the latest of many actions arousing opposition from the working people. Numerous meetings have been held to denounce this outrageous proposal. Everywhere he is referred to as the "little dictator," "Buffalo's Mussolini" and "bigot." Even the Buffalo News has published an opinion poll which showed 67% think Griffin gives the city a "bad image."

It is this mass sentiment against Griffin that has been one catalyst for the formation of a motley collection of Democratic Party politicians, small businessmen, sold-out labor bureaucrats and various reformist leaders of the black community into a Coalition for a Better Buffalo. This organization is seeking to use the mass sentiment against Griffin as a means to get themselves elected and as a means to channel the anger of the masses against Griffin into the safe confines of the local Democratic Party. This whole appeal is based on denouncing Griffin's megalomaniacal personality, what they call the "arrogance" factor. While it is true that Griffin is a two-bit Napoleon, the Coalition for a Better Buffalo concentrates all its attention on this, to distract the masses from the fact that the Coalition for a Better Buffalo offers no alternative at all to the Griffin program. The Coalition for a Better Buffalo has yet to utter a word about Griffin's subservience to the banks or to his racism.

We say: Griffin's subservience to the banks and big businessmen is no surprise; he is a capitalist politician doing the bidding of his masters. We say: Griffin's racism is the racism of the rich and their system. We say: the reformists of the Coalition for a Better Buffalo are no alternative to the offensive of the rich. The path forward for the workers does not lie in putting their faith in the politicians like those of the Coalition for a Better Buffalo, but in building an independent political movement against the reactionary, racist, pro-rich measures of the Griffin government and the entire capitalist class and all their political lackeys.

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Michigan anti-abortion legislation:

'Pro-Life' Hypocrisy

The anti-abortion movement has once again found support from the capitalist politicians. In February the Michigan state legislature passed a stringent bill banning state funding for all abortions except in those cases where a mother's life is threatened. Presently a fight is pending over whether there are enough votes to override an expected veto, in which case Michigan will become the 37th state to cut off public funds for abortions.

While getting this bill passed the anti-abortion leaders exposed the hypocrisy of all their "pro-life" gibberish by simultaneously voting against funding for prenatal and infant care. Their actions demonstrated that this movement is actually one of the spearheads of the Reaganite drive to intensify the oppression of poor and working class women.

"Pro-Life" Hypocrisy

The president of Michigan's "Right-to-Life" chapter, Barbara Listing, declared that "The point is to save the lives that we can" and to stop the government from "killing the children of the poor." And, as far as the women who would lose government funding for the abortions that poverty has forced them to, Listing went so far as to claim that "If it's a woman in need, we should be able to find the funds to provide for that woman. I think in a society where we spend millions on pet food, we should be able to find the resources to provide for human beings that are already conceived." (Detroit Free Press, February 24,1985)

These are fine words, but when put to the test they proved to be complete lies.

An amendment to the "pro-life" bill was put before the House. It demanded that nearly $6 million a year, the amount that is presently spent by the Michigan government on funding for abortions, be used for prenatal and infant care and for more comprehensive sex education programs for those who would now become ineligible for state funds for abortions. But the anti-abortion leaders, despite all of their pious words of concern for the poor, did not support this bill. They blocked it from even being considered in the House committee that was dealing with the "pro-life" bill and they brought it to an inglorious defeat on the House floor.

The fact is that the anti-abortion leaders don't really give a damn for the plight of poor and working class women and their children. All their hypocritical talk about a "pro-life" stand is an attempt to play on the emotional issues surrounding abortion in order to try to draw the masses into a reactionary movement aimed at intensifying the oppression of women.

The practice of abortion arises because of the oppression of women. But the choice must be left to the individual. Neither should the government impose compulsory abortions and forced sterilization; nor should it be allowed to abolish an individual's right to abortion, a right that implies that poor and working women should be provided with the material assistance they need to acquire medically safe abortions. The right to abortion is essential as long as there are oppressive conditions that drive women into desperation over unplanned pregnancies. Even if a person does not like abortions, they should support women's right to choose them as part of the fight to end the oppression of women.

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'Fight the sell-out union bosses'

--from a reader

(To the tune of "Solidarity Forever" -- "John Brown's Body")

A truly fighting spirit through the workers' blood does run;

We wield the greatest power anywhere beneath the sun;

Yet our lofty hopes and cherished goals by traitors are undone,

Though the rank and file is strong.


Fight the sellout union bosses!

Fight the sellout union bosses!

Fight the sellout union bosses!

The rank and file is strong!

Is there aught we hold in common with the servile union boss

Who has helped his greedy masters throw the workers for a loss?

He has sold out to the bosses and betrayed the workers' cause,

But the rank and file is strong.


We who built the modern world can scarce afford to eat,

Yet the idle rich have got our leaders

cringing at their feet;

When we overthrow the flunkies then their masters we can beat

For the rank and file is strong.


It is we who built the unions at the cost of blood and sweat;

We made the haughty bosses pay a little of their debt;

Yet today our union leader is the bosses' little pet,

But the rank and file is strong.


In our hands is placed a power greater than the bureaucrat,

Compared to which his baseball bat gives just a little pat.

Shake off these union bosses! Give the capitalists tit-for-tat!

For the rank and file is strong!


This world belongs to Labor's hand and Labor's hand alone,

Though company and union bosses claim it for their own.

But when we flex our muscles we will sink them like a stone,

For the rank and file Is strong.


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